The Cubs have recalled righty Adbert Alzolay, who will start the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. He will wear No. 73 and is being added as the 29th man for the day, so there was no corresponding move. The 25-year-old debuted last season and went 1-1 with a 7.30 ERA in four appearances with the Cubs, two of which were starts.
Though his changeup dazzled in his MLB debut, it has lacked consistency and was a big focus for Alzolay this winter. If his fastball is lively and his breaking ball is sharp, adding a third pitch would make him a legit rotation candidate moving forward.
“I said it last night too, it’s gonna be the Changeup Year,” Alzolay told CI at Cubs Convention. “I’ve been working really, really hard on it because I know that’s a game-changing pitch right there. My changeup has the same rotation like…it looks like my fastball, just drops at the end.”
The results weren’t evident during spring training, but he worked hard during the shutdown to continue his development in whatever ways he could manage. He even built his own practice mound, which he shared proudly on social media.
Even if the change doesn’t come around, there’s potential for Alzolay’s stuff to play up in a relief role. That’s essentially what this call-up is about, since he’s not expected to eat five innings and push for more starts later. If he can show something special, though, it’s easy to see a spot opening up in the bullpen here soon.