The Cubs returned home Friday after a long, 11-game road trip. The first thing first baseman Anthony Rizzo did on arriving at Wrigley Field was to visit team offices and thank employees for helping get him to the All-Star Game.
"It's incredible," he said. "I walked over to our office and thanked all the front-office and people who were working behind the scenes to pump it up and to promote it. Very, very appreciative.
"The family is ecstatic. We've come a long way all together, me and everyone else that's coached me, that's helped me out through good times and bad times. It's an accomplishment I'll cherish forever."
Rizzo was elected in the "Final Vote," in which fans voted online. He got 8.8 million votes via mlb.com and Twitter to edge the Rockies' Justin Morneau and the Braves' Justin Upton.
Voting closed during Thursday's Cubs-Reds game at Cincinnati, and Rizzo found out he had won in the clubhouse after the game, a 6-4 victory in 12 innings.
"They called a meeting and told me," he said. "It was unbelievable."
Rizzo will join teammate Starlin Castro, who made it as a reserve, for next week's All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis. Former Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija also is an all-star, but because he was traded to the American League's Oakland Athletics, he may not participate in the game even though he'll be there.
Alcantara center of attention:
Rookie Arismendy Alcantara was back in the lineup at second base after Thursday's 4-hit, 3-RBI performance in Cincinnati. He wound up scoring the winning run in Friday's 5-4 win over the Braves.
There's a chance Alcantara will play center field Saturday. The Cubs brought him up this week from Class AAA Iowa, and Alcantara made his big-league debut Wednesday. It was assumed he'd go right back to Iowa, but the Cubs will keep him around for a bit.
"Right now, he'll be here through this weekend series and then as an organization, we'll determine how we move forward," said Rick Renteria. "Anytime you bring up a young prospect, you have to play. You have to see them. I'm going to see what I can do in terms of keeping him in there and balancing out the lineup a little bit. We'll probably work with him in center field a little bit tomorrow and see how that works."
The Cubs activated second baseman Darwin Barney off the paternity list and recalled left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup from Iowa. To make room, the Cubs optioned pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Blake Parker to Iowa.
The Cubs also said infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio would begin a minor-league rehab assignment Friday night at Mesa of the Rookie League. Bonifacio has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a right-oblique strain.