Righty reliever Codi Heuer, who came to the Cubs as part of the Craig Kimbrel trade, will miss whatever of the 2022 season ends up being played after undergoing Tommy John surgery Monday. Heuer posted a picture on Instagram that shows him lying in a hospital bed and sporting a brace on his right arm, after which Meghan Montemurro of the Tribune confirmed the nature of the procedure.
“Horses don’t stop, they keep going,” wrote Heuer, who has clearly never heard of Medina Spirit. “Can’t wait to be back with the best fans in baseball again.”
The 25-year-old impressed after moving a few miles north and was expected to be an integral member of the bullpen, likely serving in a 7th-inning or setup role. After struggling with the White Sox through much of the season, Heuer was able to correct some issues with his sinker by working with Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy.
“He’s basically throwing one pitch in between a four-seam and two-seam grip and not maximizing either one,” pitching coach Hottovy explained back in August. “If it were a true sinker, it’d be moving a certain way, and it’s not.”
Alas, additional work on differentiating his fastballs will have to wait. As unfortunate as this is for Heuer, it could provide an opportunity for another younger reliever to step up. The Cubs have no shortage of hard throwers in the minors, most of whom are in camp right now, but those who are on the 40-man roster are barred from participating because they’re union members.
That means Ethan Roberts, who was added ahead of a Rule 5 Draft that hasn’t happened, can’t yet state his case for a promotion to Chicago. As for those who are in camp, Ben Leeper was pumping high-90s gas as he shot all the way up to Iowa as an undrafted free agent. Scott Kobos is another fast-moving pitcher who wasn’t picked in the truncated 2020 draft, though the Cubs may want to stretch the southpaw back out as a starter.
There are many other potential candidates for the bullpen this season, so now it’s just a matter of twiddling our thumbs until such time as the Cubs can actually make personnel decisions. The way things are trending, maybe Heuer won’t miss any games at all.