SAN DIEGO — All-Star shortstop Javier Báez could return to the Chicago Cubs if they reach the playoffs.

Báez saw a hand specialist in Chicago who confirmed the slugger has a hairline fracture of his left thumb. He is expected to miss the rest of this month, but the team said Monday he will continue his rehab in hopes of playing in October.

The slumping Cubs headed into their series opener at San Diego in the NL’s second wild-card slot.

Báez got hurt on a headfirst slide into second base during a 4-0 loss to Milwaukee on Sept. 1. He is batting .281 with 29 homers and 85 RBIs.

“We’re just going to have to wait on Javy,” manager Joe Maddon said.

With Báez and Addison Russell sidelined, touted prospect Nico Hoerner was promoted from Double-A Tennessee and got the start against the Padres.

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