Cubs invite 7 non-roster players to spring training


The Cubs announced Friday they've invited seven non-roster players to 2022 spring training, including former shortstop farmhand Dixon Machado. 

The other six players are infielder Ildemaro Vargas, catcher P.J. Higgins, right-handed pitchers Jonathan Holder and Mark Leiter Jr., and lefties Stephen Gonsalves and Locke St. John.

Non-roster invitees are non-40-man roster players signed to minor-league deals invited to big-league spring training to compete for spots on the Opening Day roster.

Machado spent 2019 in the Cubs' farm system at Triple-A Iowa. He was next in line for a big-league promotion when Javy Báez and Addison Russell got hurt that September but was on the minor league IL at that time. The Cubs instead called up Nico Hoerner from Double-A.

Machado appeared in 172 games with the Tigers from 2015-18.

Vargas played in 15 games with the Cubs the past two seasons. They designated him for assignment in May and the Pirates claimed him off waivers.

Higgins made his MLB debut with the Cubs in May. He played in nine games before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair his right forearm flexor tendon.

The Cubs signed Holder to a one-year deal last offseason but he missed all of 2021 with a right shoulder strain.

Leiter (47 career appearances), Gonsalves (10) and St. John (seven) have had brief big-league experiences in recent seasons.

Leiter is Mark Leiter's son and Al Leiter's nephew.

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