In seven full seasons of Major League Baseball, Anthony Rizzo has never been sent to the disabled list. That all changed just 10 days into the 2018 season, as the Chicago Cubs sent their first baseman to the 10-Day DL after a prolonged battle with “back tightness.”
While it’s a bit strange that a 28-year-old professional athlete would be having back problems just a couple weeks into the season, Rizzo actually blames his soreness on a hotel bed he slept on during a recent trip to Cincinnati.
“I think the next time I go (to Cincinnati), I’ll sleep on the floor,” Rizzo said, according to ESPN. “I just have to take care of myself better.”
He initially tried to play through the pain, but was forced to miss three games in Milwaukee. That prompted the Cubs to officially sideline him.
“It’s the nature of the back,” Rizzo said on Wednesday. “It got to the point where it was almost like, ‘We’ve got to let this calm down.'”
Rizzo has dealt with back soreness before in his career, but admitted it’s usually in “July, August, and September” when the grind of a long season is really kicking in. He’s hoping that taking ten days off will be sufficient to get him back on track.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wants Rizzo to ease up on batting practice.
“I still believe guys swing too much,” Maddon told reporters Tuesday. “I came here this morning and I’m hearing cracks of the bat down the hallways in the batting cage. I don’t think Billy [Williams] did that, I don’t think [Ron] Santo did that, I don’t think Ernie [Banks] did that. They probably didn’t have a batting cage to do that in.
“With Anthony, I’m trying to convince him to back off — no pun intended — a little bit, because swinging too often can exaggerate the issue,” Maddon said. “If more swings were the answer, everybody would hit .300.”
No word on whether the Cubs will consider changing their accommodation plans the next time they play in Cincinnati.