Cubs place Alzolay on injured list with blister
The Cubs placed pitcher Adbert Alzolay on the 10-day injured list Tuesday after he developed a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand during the previous night's 9-4 loss in San Diego.
What happens next is unclear. The Cubs are already down one starter with Trevor Williams recovering from an appendectomy. They also have a day off coming up Thursday.
They recalled pitcher Kohl Stewart after he spent one day, technically, with Iowa. The Cubs also recalled veteran pitcher Alec Mills and sent Cory Abbott back to Triple A Iowa. So that suggests if someone is needed to start in Alzolay's place, it will be Mills, who has been on a rehab assignment in Des Moines due to a back injury.
"Alec has been building up," pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said before Wednesday's game against the Padres. "I think he's feeling a lot better the last week to 10 days. Definitely somebody we're going to have in the mix very soon."
It was clear in the first inning of Monday's game that Alzolay wasn't himself. The Padres loaded the bases with nobody out on two singles and a walk. Alzolay did some nice work to get out of the inning with just 1 run allowed, getting a big strikeout of Fernando Tatis Jr.
He gave up a leadoff double and another run in the second inning. In the third, Alzolay struck out the first two batters, including Tatis for a second time, then a walk and 2-run homer by Brian O'Grady put San Diego up 4-0.
"It's been going on since last outing," Alzolay said after the game. "That was when I first felt it. But it was fine in my bullpen and everything was all right. But in the second inning, it was when I started feeling it the most. I just keep pitching like that. I know it's not your best day, but let's see what we can do with it."
Alzolay said the blister bothered him the most on his sinker and hard slider. He gave up a season-high 5 walks and left the game after opening the fourth inning with a walk to Tommy Pham.
"Everything else is good -- arm, body, everything is feeling good. Just that blister that got me today," Alzolay said. "I felt after the first inning, just being able to minimize the damage right there. That was a sign that I can just keep competing. It's just hard when you can't control your stuff, then you get behind in the count and have to go right over the plate."
Hottovy agreed it was a good sign Alzolay got as far as he did.
"That's what it takes to be a bona fide, major league, starting, top of the rotation guy," Hottovy said. "You've got to be able to control those moments even when you don't have your best stuff or something is up and find a way to get it done. These are all learning experiences for Adbert."
Mills was a regular in the Cubs rotation last season, but this year had just one start -- April 13 at Milwaukee -- and 11 relief appearances before going on the injured list.
Abbott, making his major league debut, appeared in two games and allowed 1 earned run in 3 1/3 innings.
In other minor league news, outfielder Nick Martini, a Crystal Lake native, cleared waivers after being designated for assignment, and will rejoin Iowa.