The biggest promotion of the season for the Cubs happened Monday, when they called up their number one prospect Nico Hoerner from Double-A. The 22-year-old, who was drafted in the first round in 2018, played in just 89 minor league games before getting the call to the big leagues.
And what a debut it was for Hoerner in San Diego.
Hoerner wasn’t on the 40-man roster before Monday, so the Cubs had to make a move to make room for him.
The odd-man out was left-handed reliever Randy Rosario. He was DFA’d.
The Cubs also added right-handed reliever James Norwood to the bullpen and in a surprising move they optioned Adbert Alzolay down to the South Bend Cubs, the only minor league team for the Cubs still playing.
Alzolay, who made his MLB debut with the Cubs earlier this season, has only pitched 81.2 innings this year between the minors and the Cubs this year.
Last year Alzolay only pitched 39.2 innings because of a few injuries, including a strained lat that shut him down for the second half of the season. The Cubs were always going to limit his innings in 2019 and it seems like the right-hander reached that point.
But you know, Alzolay could have just stayed up with the team and not pitched, right? Well, let’s just say the Cubs are saving some big league service time by sending Alzolay back down to the minors and not keeping him up through the end of September.
However, Alzolay also had a biceps injury this summer, so the Cubs have every reason to want to limit him pitching heading into 2020, when hopefully he’s a factor in the majors?
Anyway, Norwood essentially replaced Alzolay in the bullpen and he pitched a scoreless inning on Monday in San Diego. He struck out 81 batters in 57.2 innings, while holding hitters to a .195 batting average at Triple-A this season.