Second baseman Darwin Barney is on paternity leave and to replace him on the roster the Cubs have called up one of their many top-ranked position player prospects, Arismendy Alcantara, from Triple-A.
Ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect coming into the season, Alcantara has hit .307 with 10 homers, 25 doubles, 11 triples, and 21 steals in 89 games at Triple-A as a 22-year-old. He’s primarily a second baseman and has also played some center field.
Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports that the Cubs have already informed Alcantara his debut will be a very brief one, with a return to Triple-A planned as soon as Barney returns, but he figures to be back in Chicago at some point in the second half. Perhaps to stay.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.