Chicago Cubs: Adbert Alzolay set to make first big-league start
|Saturday, June 22, 2019, 6:23 PM- -|
CHICAGO — After shining out of the bullpen on Thursday, Chicago Cubs rookie pitcher Adbert Alzolay will make his first big-league start against the hot-hitting Atlanta Braves this coming Tuesday. On Saturday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters that Alzolay would have the opportunity to solidify himself as a starting pitcher with the Cubs switching to a six-man rotation.
With starter Kyle Hendricks on the shelf due to injury, Tyler Chatwood was called upon to replace Hendricks in the rotation. However, Alzolay pitched several innings in relief of Chatwood on Thursday, indicating that he might be the better option to serve as the replacement starter in the future. For now, Chatwood, who will start again next Thursday, will remain a starter while Hendricks continues to deal with his shoulder ailment, but Alzolay will join Chatwood in the rotation.
While speaking about the move to the press, Maddon said, "We've been talking about giving starters intermittent rest, and when you have guys like Alzolay and Chatwood that can permit it to occur, then you can do so."
Maddon did not clarify whether or not the Cubs would stick with a six-man rotation once Hendricks returned from the injured list. Regardless, considering that Hendricks is expected to receive ample time to recover from his injury, Alzolay and Chatwood could be starting for several weeks. If Alzolay were to continue to impress while serving as a starter, he could become a permanent fixture in a veteran-laden Cubs starting rotation that could certainly benefit from some youth being added to the mix.
When asked about Hendricks' situation, Maddon provided a positive update, iterating that Alzolay's transition to the starting rotation has nothing to do with a potential long-term issue concerning Hendricks.
Maddon said of Hendricks, "Kyle's doing extremely well. He's doing wonderfully. At this point, Kyle really sounds like he's getting in very good shape."