MESA, Ariz. -- The highlight for most of the fans at the Cubs' intrasquad game on Thursday was seeing Jorge Soler hit a home run. For Ian Stewart, it was just getting a hit.
But Stewart's mood quickly changed as he rounded first base. The Cubs' third baseman had to leave the game with a mild strain of his left quad. He had an MRI on Friday as a precautionary measure, the results of which the Cubs expected to have on Saturday.
"I hadn't run the bases in a long time," Stewart said Friday. "It feels sore today and I'm going to take it easy for a couple days and get some treatment and go from there."
The intrasquad contest was Stewart's first game action since last June 12. Nagging soreness in his left wrist forced him to see a specialist, and he eventually underwent season-ending surgery. Playing in 55 games in his first season in Chicago wasn't his plan.
Stewart's double in the first inning Thursday was his first hit in a game since last June 9.
"It felt so good and so bad at the same time," Stewart said.
After spending the entire offseason rehabbing from the wrist injury, the last thing Stewart needs is more down time.
"It's just another thing," he said. "I'm just going to try to get it taken care of and get back out there. I'm just glad it has nothing to do with my wrist and all the work I put in there, and that that's OK.
"It is frustrating, because I worked really hard in the offseason," Stewart said. "I don't think it'll be anything too serious. I'm just going to [get the MRI] to rule everything out."
How did it happen?
"It was kind of when I went from the dirt to the grass to round first, I felt it," Stewart said. "I pulled up noticeably. [First-base coach Dave McKay] asked me for a little more effort and then I explained to him what happened, and he's like, 'OK. It looked like something was wrong.'
"Trust me, I would've run hard -- it's my first time on a baseball field in six months," Stewart said. "I'm just trying to be positive about it. I've had enough stress and stuff to worry about since last June. I'm just going to roll with it and get this MRI and hopefully it says nothing but a mild strain or something, and [I'll] get back soon."
The Cubs are counting on Stewart to provide some offense. Last season, their third basemen combined to bat .201 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs. Luis Valbuena, who subbed for Stewart last season, is solid defensively but considered more of a utility player.
Stewart hit 25 home runs in 2009 with the Rockies, and 18 more in '10. He spent several weeks this offseason working with Hall of Famer Rod Carew on his hitting.
The key question for Stewart on Thursday was the wrist. How did it feel?
"It felt great," Stewart said. "It was not nearly as good as your first hit in the big leagues, but you realize how much you can lose by being out that long for injury and stuff, and it felt like it was my first year back in camp and playing in a big league game again even though it was just Spring Training and intrasquad. It was very important for me to come out and do that."
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.