Chicago Cubs prospect Brailyn Marquez’s journey back to the major leagues has hit another hurdle.
Marquez underwent surgical debridement of his left shoulder on June 17, vice president of player development Jared Banner said Monday. Marquez is out for the rest of the season. The Cubs hope he makes a full recovery.
“It was something that has been lingering for a while both with the pitching schedule and off the mound,” Banner said. “In the end it was something we had to do.”
The 23-year-old hasn’t pitched in a game since Sept. 27, 2020, when he made his MLB debut on the final day of the regular season and gave up five runs in ⅔ innings against the White Sox.
This was expected to be a breakout year for Marquez, the Cubs’ former top pitching prospect. He needs to work against hitters in game situations and get back into the swing of the season. His last minor league game was at High A in September 2019, and he has yet to pitch above High A in his seven-plus seasons with the organization, aside from his brief debut in the leagues. greater.
COVID-19 has set it back twice.
Márquez contracted the virus in the spring of 2021 and he told the Tribune in March who subsequently developed myocarditis, a heart condition, which he battled for months. Left shoulder fatigue then set in and lasted through the summer. A summer training program had Marquez feeling good heading into camp, until he again tested positive for COVID-19 and was symptomatic, preventing him from reporting to camp until March 21.
“When you have so much free time, it’s similar to going through rehab like Tommy John – the physical part is fine. It’s the mental part of getting back out there and competing,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said of Marquez in March. “If he does that, and everything goes well, there’s no question he can help us out at some point.”
Marquez was once rated the No. 37 overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2020 season. The Cubs appeared poised for Marquez to start this minor league season as a starter, but after another missed year, Marquez could pass. to a relief role, if he can stay healthy.
While Marquez’s future in the big leagues remains murky, top prospect Brennen Davis is about to return.
Davis is currently at the team’s complex in Mesa, Ariz., building after suffering back surgery June 2 to cauterize a vascular malformation. The Cubs are hopeful Davis will play in games in two to three weeks, starting in Arizona and eventually working his way up to Triple-A Iowa.
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“You have to take it one step at a time with something like this,” Banner said. “In a way it fits the timeline that we expected. You never know what is going to happen medically. But we were hoping all along that he would come back this year, and it looks like he should.”
Davis, 22, hasn’t played since May 3 at Triple-A and his back problem seemed to affect his game before surgery. He hit .195 and had a .286 on-base percentage and a .584 OPS in 22 games with Iowa.
Banner said the Cubs could look to Davis to get more at-bats in the offseason, “but where that will be remains to be seen.” The Arizona Fall League or winter ball could be options if Davis’ rehab process goes smoothly.
Meanwhile, Miguel Amaya’s return from Tommy John surgery took a big step forward on Friday. The 23-year-old catcher, fresh off the disabled list, played in his first game at Double-A Tennessee in more than a year.
Amaya, who underwent the surgery in November 2021, played 12 rehab games in the Arizona Complex League to allow him to work on his time and focus after the long layoff. In his first two games with Tennessee as designated hitter, Amaya hit a home run and two doubles.
Amaya isn’t expected to play in a game for a while longer, according to Banner, adding that it’s “definitely possible” for him to play in the AFL.
“He’s a really big prospect for us, a big position, it’s hard to find a quality receiver all game, so any time you have a catcher prospect, it’s always great,” Banner said. “For him to hit again, you don’t have to spend too much time with a young player. He got going this weekend.”