Uh Oh: Adbert Alzolay Leaves Start With An Apparent Injury

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Uh Oh: Adbert Alzolay Leaves Start With An Apparent Injury

Chicago Cubs

Adbert Alzolay, who has struggled mightily since his second Major League start in Pittsburgh and his return to Iowa, left his start last night with an apparent injury.

Alzolay was off from the word go on Wednesday night, allowing two home runs to good Dodgers prospect Gavin Lux, while fighting a recent inability to find the strike zone. We had wondered if this might have been a mechanical change – perhaps stemming from Joe Maddon’s comments about Alzolay tipping pitches in Pittsburgh – or a mental roadblock after his bad big league start. I wrote this early in the night, before the injury:

Unfortunately, it now looks like the issue is actually something physical, which continues a long trend for Alzolay. After an ankle injury that slowed his season start in 2018, Alzolay missed the second half with a lat injury. He hurt his side in Spring Training this season, slowing his debut by a month. While Alzolay is an extremely hard worker, there remained questions about the viability of his endurance lasting in the rotation.

When right, Alzolay has been electric in 2019, showing a curveball in his early minor league starts that was the best of his career (with one of the highest spin rates in pro baseball). Then, when reaching the Majors, Alzolay threw his changeup the best he ever has. He showed in his first two big league outings that the stuff can succeed on the highest level.

It seems wrong to speculate on a significant arm injury, but with young pitchers, it’s too easy for your mind to drift there. This is a big blow for the Cubs, who likely planned to transition Alzolay to the bullpen for their September run (and perhaps he was in trade talks to land an upgrade). He also would have factored into the decision this offseason about how to handle Cole Hamels rotation spot.

Get well soon, Adbert. You belong healthy and in Chicago.

Author: Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is a Minor League Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @cubprospects.