Cubs call up prospect Arismendy Alcantara for MLB debut

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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.

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.