As of Tuesday afternoon, the Cubs were still discussing who they would recall from South Bend as their 29th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader, according to Cubs manager David Ross.
One name was certainly on their lips: Adbert Alzolay.
As Ross put it, the 25-year-old pitcher was “in the mix,” even as the Cubs’ position player depth took a hit with injuries to third baseman Kris Bryant and outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
Bryant, after receiving a left wrist injection, is expected to be out at least until Friday. The Cubs placed Souza on the 10-day IL and called up utility man Hernán Pérez on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, right-handed pitcher Alec Mills will get his pick of which game he wants to start, the first or second. But the Cubs need two starting pitchers for Wednesday.
Alzolay was originally among the Cubs’ top options to start the second game of Monday’s double header, after Tyler Chatwood went on the 10-day IL with a mid-back strain. But Alzolay took a comebacker off his pitching arm, taking him out of the competition for Monday. Instead, Tyson Miller made his major league debut.
“From last report I heard he's you know he's feeling good,” Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said of Alzolay.
Cubs fans will remember Alzolay for the hype leading up to his debut with the team last June. He delivered in his first major league appearance, retiring 12 of the first 13 Mets batters he faced, reviving hope that the Cubs could develop homegrown pitching prospects.
He earned his first big-league start five days later. A solo homer in the first inning was the only real blemish on his 4 2/3 innings. He walked four but struck out just as many. But in his next start, Alzolay allowed seven runs in less than three innings.
Alzolay played in one more major league game that season, making a one-inning relief appearance. He then joined the Cubs for Spring Training but was optioned to Triple-A Iowa days before the Cactus League shut down.
“With the off day on Thursday,” Hottovy said, “we have some options for tomorrow with what we want to do, just depending on how we get through today.”
He was just as adamant as Ross that Alzolay was one of them.