Let’s start with the update on Cubs pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay. The young right-hander was sent back to Triple-A prior to the All-Star break and he struggled with his command in three starts with Iowa. On Wednesday night Alzolay got roughed up again and then left in the middle of the game with an injury.
All we knew following the comeback win was that Alzolay’s pitching arm didn’t feel right. Now, we know a little more.
That’s a pretty good break down from Michael. The news as of now isn’t too bad, but that doesn’t mean Alzolay won’t eventually be diagnosed with something wrong in his elbow. Obviously the worst fear is needing Tommy John surgery.
But again, we won’t know that until he gets an MRI. Just crappy luck for Alzolay, who was on top of the world after a pair of great appearances at Wrigley Field to begin his MLB career.
Now, on to some positive news. Ian Happ has been killing it at the plate since the calendar flipped to July.
The switch-hitter has been on a rollercoaster ride at Triple-A this season, but maybe it’s time for the Cubs to give him another chance in the middle of his best stretch of the season. In 15 games this month Happ is slashing .322/.429/.661, hitting five home runs in his last 11 games. He’s struck out 17 times, while drawing 11 walks.
If not now, then when?
Albert Almora Jr. and Jason Heyward have been handling center field for the Cubs this year, Almora getting 2/3 of the playing time and the production has been subpar. Heyward’s been good overall and he becomes a lot more valuable to the Cubs when he’s playing right field. So, it’s really becoming a hole in the Cubs lineup when Almora is in it starting in center.
Remember Almora’s struggles after last year’s All-Star Game? Well, he hasn’t really improved despite a power surge in May.
Basically the only reason Almora is still getting starts is because he’s the best defensive option to play center on the roster. Yet, despite the highlight reel catches, it’s not like Almora’s been the best defensive center fielder out there or close to it and that’s what he has to be if his hitting is going to be as terrible as it has been for the past year.
The Cubs probably waited a few weeks too long to bring up Robel Garcia, but they finally did and he’s already making an impact.
There’s a definite need for more offense out of center field, so why not Ian Happ?