A positive Adbert Alzolay update! Yes! We’ve been waiting for this ever since the righty went on the IL with a lat strain in Spring Training.
Alzolay, 27, is now throwing bullpens, and he should be throwing live batting practice soon.
The timeline still looks good for Alzolay to appear in, say, an Arizona Complex League game or two in a couple weeks, and then get a minor league rehab assignment in. If all goes well, he could be back up and in the big league bullpen by late August, early September. I say bullpen not because you wouldn’t still love to see what Alzolay could do as a starter, but because, realistically, I don’t see the Cubs stretching him out fully this year, given the injury and so little time left.
Even in relief, I’m eager to see Alzolay before the offseason. No matter what, he can’t be expected to be in the rotation to open 2023, and even competing for a spot might be a stretch. Instead, you want him to be a multi-inning relief weapon next year. If he could just stay healthy, he could be an excellent one. In the days of the eight-man bullpen maximum, multi-inning relievers are going to be all the more important.
Meanwhile, Sean Newcomb, who has quietly dominated his last few long relief outings at Iowa, is getting a start tonight there. You wonder if the Cubs are thinking he might be an option to make some starts down the stretch – basically a trial run to see if the Cubs want to tender him in December.
If the Cubs move Drew Smyly and Wade Miley by Tuesday, there will certainly be a lot of available starts in August and September, especially with Kyle Hendricks unlikely to return any time soon.