*Ominous music playing*
The Cubs announced Friday evening that stud pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay was being shut down for the season because his recovery from a lat injury would take too long. The strain isn’t severe enough to require surgery, but it’s also not something the organization is going to take any chances with at all.
Alzolay is currently convalescing in Arizona, where he’ll likely remain through the rest of the regular season. If all goes well with his rehab, he could begin a throwing program this fall. It’s an unfortunate development to say the least, as the young righty sits atop the Cubs’ prospect list and was expected to be the first real impact pitcher to come up through the system under the current regime.
There was some talk earlier this season that Alzolay might join the Cubs for their double-header in Cincinnati, but that didn’t come to pass. Nor did he get the call when Yu Darvish went to the DL, a combination of Mike Montgomery‘s presence and Alzolay leaving a then-perfect game with the lat issue.
The 23-year-old was 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA in eight starts (39.2 IP) for AAA Iowa, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He’s got electric stuff, with easy mid-90’s gas and a curve that can make hitters look silly. Adding a third pitch has long been the focus for Alzolay, whose future could be determined by whether or not he can really get the feel for the changeup.
That’s all obviously on hold for the next few months, but perhaps the time off will give Alzolay a chance to step back and really hone in on the mental side of the game. If there’s a silver lining to this cloud, it’s that it happened early enough in the season that Alzolay will be able to rest and rehabilitate it in time to be fully prepared for next spring. And it really doesn’t impact the big club since he wasn’t expected to be a contributor.
Here’s to a rapid recovery and a return to form as quickly as possible.