Cubs face tough choice with Alcantara

Arismendy Alcantara looked like a natural in center field Saturday as the Cubs rookie continues to impress.

Question is, can the Cubs send Alcantara back to Class AAA Iowa over the all-star break?

Alcantara, who made three starts at second base after his call-up this past week, started in center for Saturday's 11-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. He went 2-for-5 at the plate with a double and looked fine in the outfield.

The Cubs brought him up because second baseman Darwin Barney went on paternity leave. Originally, it was thought Alcantara would go back to Iowa when Barney came back Friay, but the Cubs decided to keep him, at least for now.

In four games, the 22-year-old Alcantara is 7-for-18 (.389) with 2 doubles, a triple and 3 RBI. He gives the Cubs some much-needed speed in addition to his versatility and athleticism.

Manager Rick Renteria, who answers to team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, said only that the Cubs will have internal conversations about Alcantara. Renteria was asked what Alcantara has to prove in the minor leagues.

"Is there anything for him to do?" Renteria asked in return. "He's obviously shown that he can perform. Many times, there are a lot players in the minor leagues that aren't necessarily down there to improve other than the're just continuing to play."

Renteria also was asked if there is anything he's learned about Alcantara, even after having seen him in spring training.

"I don't know if I found out anything I knew other than confirming a lot of things I heard about him," the manager said. "Very poised, very calm. His at-bats seem to be pretty good. Obviously in the field at second base, he's been good, and running the bases. He definitely has some speed. But I think his response at being here and not being in the minor leagues has been really good. He responds as it's simply baseball. I think he's approaching it that way and having a lot of fun."

As for Alcantara, it's been all good.

"It's awesome," he said. "It's something special for me. It's something I can't explain to you because it's something you're looking for. ... If they think I'm ready, I feel I'm ready."

Rehab has begun:

Infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio was 3-for-4, all singles, in his minor-league rehab debut Friday for Mesa of the Rookie League. Bonifacio has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a right-oblique strain.

"That's something that we need to make sure we're mindful of because intercostals and all those types of injuries can be chronic," Rick Renteria said. "They can reoccur. We'll take it as slowly as we have to or as quickly as we have to. It just depends on how he is moving along. We'll just see where he's at on a daily basis and how he's progressing. If he's pain free and the strength is good and getting back into baseball-fitness shape, just a lot of factors."

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