Monday, May 20, 2024

Cubs Continue to be Ravaged with Injuries

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It’s incredible that the Cubs are only half a game behind first place in the NL Central Division as we approach the middle of the May when you consider the volume of injuries the team has sustained through the first seven weeks of the season. And guess what, they aren’t stopping.

Now, maybe you’re thinking that this recent injury is made up, but regardless of how real it is or not the Cubs have placed right-handed reliever Adbert Alzolay on the 15-day injured list prior to Monday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves.

Alzolay, who did get the save in Sunday’s 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowed his sixth home run of the season, already one more than he allowed all of last year in 47 fewer innings. Alzolay has a strain in his right forearm. Right-hander Jose Cuas has been recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

Alzolay’s struggles have been well documented this season and although this seems like one of those “phantom” IL stints for a guy who is performing badly it does kind of sound like Alzolay is dealing with a legit arm issue.

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Via Meghan Montemurro.

Alzolay’s elbow became sore during his outing yesterday in Pittsburgh. He’s getting imaging today. Given that Alzolay went on the IL immediately and is getting testing, Counsell said that is concerning. Cubs won’t know severity & timeframe for return until they get test results.

Alzolay underwent testing on Monday and the Cubs are waiting to determine how long he will be sidelined after they get the results. It does appear as though there is serious concern about Alzolay’s pitching arm.

As a reminder, Alzolay is out of minor league options, meaning the Cubs could not simply send him to Triple-A without putting him through waivers first and then Alzolay would have to agree to the demotion.

You know the Cubs don’t want to give up on Alzolay because of 17 bad innings. The right-hander was fantastic in 2023 and in parts of five seasons he’s been a good relief pitcher.

If you look at those numbers, then you start to think that maybe Alzolay really is injured. If you recall the end of the 2023 season, Alzolay was cruising along as the Cubs closer until September. He blew a save against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 1, then didn’t pitch for a week and was then placed on the injured list with a forearm strain. He missed nearly three weeks before returning at the end of the month and made one more relief appearance.

So, Cuas is back in the bullpen and it’s not like Cubs fans feel great when he comes into the game to pitch. But looking at the overall scope of the team’s injuries this year the bullpen is almost made up of a brand new group of pitchers.

Out of the eight relievers on the Cubs Opening Day roster, only three remain active in Mark Leiter Jr., Hector Neris and Cuas. Keep in mind that Cuas was optioned two weeks into the season and has only pitched once for the Cubs since April 10.

Julian Merryweather, Drew Smyly, Yency Almonte and now Alzolay are all on the injured list, while Luke Little is in Triple-A.

Alzolay is now the 14th player the Cubs have placed on the injured list this season. Almonte, who has a shoulder injury, was the 13th player on the list during the weekend.

Here are a few updates according to Marquee Sports Network reporter Taylor McGregor.

The Cubs are 24-17 entering their series against the Braves. Pretty good all things considered.

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