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03/20/12 4:29 PM ET

Nagging wrist issue won't affect Stewart's play

Cubs third baseman learns to work through lingering soreness

MESA, Ariz. -- Ian Stewart's wrist may never be 100 percent, but the good news is that it hasn't slowed the Cubs third baseman down.

"It stinks to say, but I've gotten to the point where I've got some nagging stuff that is going to linger for a while with my wrist so that's why I always have either heat or ice on it," Stewart said Tuesday. "That's just a thing that'll be there. You'll see it a lot. I'm just trying to maintain it. It feels good."

He had been slowed lately with a sore right quad but was in the Cubs' lineup on Tuesday to face the Athletics in Phoenix in a split-squad game. The injury scared him a little in the beginning, but he has taken precautionary steps to make sure it doesn't linger into the season.

The wrist flared up toward the end of 2011, and Stewart said he first felt it in late July.

"As far as I know, I just remember taking [batting practice] at Dodger Stadium and it becoming sore over there," Stewart said. "I said something and tried to play with it for a couple weeks, and it got to the point where I couldn't swing anymore so I shut it down in August."

His last game with the Rockies was Aug. 8, and he finished with a .156 average in 48 games. The year had started badly because of a knee injury. The wrist is the focus now.

"He says more than anything the thing might flare up or he feels it doing off-field stuff, not even baseball stuff," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's something you monitor, but it hasn't affected him at all in Spring Training. He just feels it once in a while doing something."

It's not broken, but there is inflammation and some soreness.

"If I had a whole year off, it'd be better," he said.

The Cubs don't want that. They acquired Stewart in a deal with the Rockies for Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu. The 26-year-old is projected as their third baseman for some time.

"The wrist hasn't affected my play or being in the lineup in Spring Training, so I'm very happy about that," Stewart said.

He will be the Cubs' first new third baseman on Opening Day in eight years, taking over for Aramis Ramirez, who left via free agency.

"I don't think breakout year, I don't think about replacing anybody," Stewart said. "I'm just focused on getting healthy and when I'm healthy I'll play, and when I do well, I'll continue to play. That's all I'm looking forward to is being as prepared as I can for when the season starts and maintain that preparation throughout the year and get 400, 500 at-bats, and when I get those at-bats, the numbers have been there in the big leagues. That's what I'm looking to get to."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.