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Cubs' Adbert Alzolay complains about South Bend conditions but comments misleading

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USA TODAY

Cubs' Adbert Alzolay complains about South Bend conditions but comments misleading

Cubs right-hander Adbert Alzolay made waves on Thursday tweeting (now deleted) about the conditions for players at the club’s alternate training site, hosted at the South Bend Cubs facility.

Alzolay and the 10 other players in South Bend are eligible for this season but will remain inactive unless need arises on the big league roster. He tweeted the players make $18 a day — or $10, when accounting for “dues” the players owe, while possibly tipping clubhouse attendants.

Whether it was a miscommunication by someone with Alzolay, the actual amount the players get is $25 and no dues are deducted from that. The option to tip clubhouse attendants is up to players individually. Through Summer Camp, the 11 Cubs in South Bend will also receive two packaged meals a day at the complex.

Once the regular season starts (July 23, per MLB’s arrangement for the 60-game campaign), the alternate site Cubs will receive $50 a day in meal money, instead of what was originally proposed because the Cubs proposed higher daily meal money.

Players will receive full salaries beginning July 23, per MLB’s agreement, and minor leaguers are being paid in the meantime. Six of the 11 Cubs in South Bend are not on the 40-man roster, and they will continue receiving $400 a week. Those on the 40-man (including Alzolay) received advanced salaries, per MLB’s agreement with the MLBPA in March.

Alzolay received $30,000 from that agreement.

Additional important context is the South Bend facility is one of the best in minor league baseball — with housing for the players nearby. The players are residing at new apartments that opened in December right outside the ballpark. They aren’t being charged for those apartments through Summer Camp, and the Cubs will subsidize many of the players in South Bend once the regular season starts. 

MORE: Where Cubs could find position of strength in 2020: South Bend

Alzolay later tweeted an update on the matter.

In wake of José Quintana’s thumb injury, general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday the Cubs haven’t decided if Alzolay will join the Wrigley Field training group.

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Why José Quintana likely won't return for upcoming doubleheaders vs. Cardinals

Why José Quintana likely won't return for upcoming doubleheaders vs. Cardinals

Cubs manager David Ross hasn’t  yet named the starting pitchers for the team’s two doubleheaders next week.

“I don’t want to put myself too much in a box leading up to that,” Ross said. “The games leading up to that series will dictate how we play it."

But it’s unlikely that left-hander José Quintana will be ready to return by early next week. The Cubs are scheduled to play seven-inning doubleheaders against the Cardinals on Monday and Wednesday, making for five games in three days. Those two extra games will count as Cardinals home games, despite being played at Wrigley Field, as the Cubs and Cardinals make up their postponed series from last weekend. The third game of that series is scheduled as a doubleheader on Sept. 5.

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Quintana, who missed the beginning of the season after slicing his left thumb in a dish-washing accident, is scheduled to throw another simulated game on Sunday. This one is set for four innings, a frame longer than his last on Tuesday.

“Talking to him, I didn’t get the feel that he’s quite ready yet,” Ross said. “I think we’ll get a lot of feedback Sunday, but rushing a guy like that, that’s so important, just doesn’t make a lot of sense in this scenario to me.”

So, why does Ross need to see how the next couple days play out? In two words: Colin Rea.

“If he’s going to pitch big innings in a W here and give us a chance to win a game,” Ross said, “I don’t want to stay away from guys that we have now just for the possibility down the road. I want to try to win tonight’s game and then adjust.”

Rea has pitched in two games since the Cubs recalled him from South Bend two weeks ago. At Kansas City last week, he made his first major league appearance since 2016. Rea threw one no-hit inning and struck out two. Then, at Cleveland on Tuesday he tossed two scoreless innings.

He’d been a starter for most his career and is a pitcher Ross feels comfortable calling on to throw multiple innings. Other candidates can be be found at the Cubs alternate site.

“We definitely have guys down there (in South Bend) that are ready," Ross said, "and understand that Monday and Wednesday will be days that we’ll be able to grab pitchers from down there.”

The South Bend roster includes pitchers like right-hander Adbert Alzolay. The 24-year-old prospect made his debut for the Cubs last season. He had one glowing start, in which he allowed just one hit and one run in 4 2/3 innings. But then in his next start, he lasted less than three innings.

Left-hander Justin Steele is also back in South Bend, after the Cubs briefly recalled him earlier this month. The 25-year-old has yet to make his big-league debut but has been a starter in the Cubs farm system since the club drafted him in 2014.

Ross also mentioned Tyson Miller and Rex Brothers as pitchers in South Bend who can throw multiple innings.

An injury threw another wrench into the equation Friday. Tyler Chatwood was originally scheduled to start against the Brewers Friday, but he was a late scratch due to mid-back tightness. Instead, Alec Mills took the mound a day early.

As of Friday evening, the Cubs had not announced a starting pitcher for Saturday.

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Cubs move up Saturday's game with Brewers due to threat of inclement weather

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USA TODAY

Cubs move up Saturday's game with Brewers due to threat of inclement weather

The Cubs moved up first pitch of Saturday's game against the Brewers due to a forecast of inclement weather later in the evening.

Saturday's game at Wrigley Field, originally scheduled for 7:15 p.m., is now a matinee set to start at 2:20 p.m.

The Cubs have only played three home day games this season, a shift made in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, they play weekend home games in the afternoon but all Friday games at Wrigley this year are evening matchups. 

Opponents, therefore, have to spend one less night in a hotel and can arrive in Chicago on Fridays rather than late Thursday night/early Friday morning.

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Outside of Saturday's 2:20 first pitch, the only other Cubs afternoon home game on a Saturday this year came back on July 25, also against Milwaukee.

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