Whether it's nerve damage, whether it's structural, or whether it even requires exploratory surgery, Ian Stewart just wants to finally find out what's wrong with an ailing left wrist that hasn't been right in more than a year.
The Cubs' third baseman was placed on the disabled list Thursday with the lingering pain that has recently worsened. He's scheduled to travel in the next few days to Cleveland, where he plans to see a specialist on Monday.
Infielder Luis Valbuena - who was acquired on waivers by the Cubs at the end of spring training - was called up from AAA Iowa and immediately pout in the lineup at third.
In other moves Thursday, respected veteran catcher Koyie Hill was designated for assignment after a nearly four-week, second-time-around stint with the Cubs. That made room for Welington Castillo (groin), who was activated from the disabled list.
The bigger issue is the long-term prognosis of Stewart's wrist, which put him on the disabled list with the Colorado Rockies last season but seemed well enough entering this season to make him believe he could manger the occasional flare-ups with regular treatment.
A battery of medical tests last season, including exams for nerve damage, revealed no significant problems with the wrist, he said.
``Hopefully, he sees something different,'' said Stewart of the Cleveland specialist. ``When I was still with the Rockies, nothing ever came out of [the tests]. That was good at the time, and now it's almost disappointing because you don't ever want to be hurt, but when something lingers like this you almost wish they could just go ahead and find something and fix it, and you kind of move on from that and it's behind you.''
Whether the solution might involve surgery, ``I don't know at this point,'' Stewart said. ``With all the MRI and x-ray results, nothing of major value came up in there that they said, `we've got to get this done now,' or it would have been taken care of a long time ago. But there have been instances where things didn't show up on those, and they can go in [surgically] and look and see if there are other things, so I don't know if we'll go that route, but that's definitely a possibility.''
The top-hand pain has affected Stewart all season. He is hitting just .201 with five homers.
Sveum wasted no time getting Valbuena in the lineup, in part because one of his two hits against Justin Verlander (in 16 at-bats) is a grand slam.
As for Hill, Sveum said he hopes the organization won't lose him on waivers.
``He filled a big void for us with those two guys [Castillo, Geo Soto] going down on back-to-back days basically,'' said Sveum, who likes the idea of keeping Hill for depth. ``On the other hand, he's just an ultimate professional. You'd like to see him get claimed on waivers, too, and go straight to the big leagues with somebody.''