Justin Steele injury sends Cubs fans to panic stations

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Steele was pitching like a worthy ace for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day against the Texas Rangers.

That's why watching him limp off the field with an injury felt like the worst outcome possible. Worse even than the thought of losing the game, which was tied 1-1.

Steele went 4.2 innings with one run allowed. He'd struck out six and given up just three hits. And he'd just made a great play, running down a bunt and flipping the ball to first base for the out. In the process, he appeared to injure his hamstring.

Justin Steele injury update: Cubs pitcher heading to IL

UPDATE: It's not good news for Steele. Manager Craig Counsell told reporters after the game that the pitcher will get an MRI on Friday but he expects to "miss him for a while."

The Cubs had to replace Steele with Julian Merryweather, who managed to get the final out of the fifth inning.

Steele was an All-Star for Chicago last year, posting a record of 16-6 with a career-best 3.06 ERA. With the departure of Marcus Stroman, he went into the season as the main man in the rotation. If he maintained last year's level, he'd be capable of holding that roll. If he got even better, he could truly contend for the Cy Young.

An injury is the last thing Steele or the Cubs needed on such a promising Opening Day.

Chicago didn't have an update on Steele immediately but one is expected. Stay tuned for more information.

The Cubs took the lead over the Rangers in the second inning as Dansby Swanson's sacrifice fly brought home Chris Morel.

The Rangers tied things up in the fourth inning with their own sac fly. It was 1-1 going into the sixth inning.

Next. Javy Baez trolled rival White Sox fans on Opening Day. Javy Baez trolled rival White Sox fans on Opening Day. dark