Cubs’ All-Star 1B Anthony Rizzo batting leadoff days after ankle sprain

© Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after being diagnosed with a moderate lateral sprain in his right ankle, Chicago Cubs All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo will rejoin the lineup on Thursday.

Chicago announced before the game that Rizzo will hit in the leadoff spot after showing trainers he can sprint around the bases before the game.

It’s an unexpected and significant boost for the Cubs during a critical stretch of the season. Rizzo, who was in a walking boot on Monday, returns to a .289/.404/.516 slash line with a .920 OPS and 26 home runs.

Chicago faces the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night to begin a four-game series with significant playoff implications. The Cubs are three games back of St. Louis for first place in the NL Central entering the series.