Why Alzolay’s IL move could be good for Cubs in long run originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
At first glance, the Tuesday IL move for Adbert Alzolay, the Cubs best starting pitcher this season, for a blister on his right middle finger looked like a blow to the rotation.
But, it might not be the worst thing in the long run.
"It's kind of a best-case scenario to take care of him," Cubs manager David Ross said Tuesday.
"Well, obviously not best case, but it's not all bad news," Ross added.
Alzolay's innings are being closely watched from the ramp up of the shortened 60-game 2020 season to the full 162-game schedule this season. His career high is 120 1/3, set back in 2016 in Single-A.
"It’s something that we’re going to keep an eye on," Ross said of Alzolay's workload. "With his history and the innings he’s been able to put together in the past, we want to be cognizant of not overworking him."
No pitcher on the staff is more important than Alzolay, who's been dealing with the blister since his last start. He had a 3.62 ERA and 0.91 WHIP before struggling with the blister in Monday's outing in which he walked a season-high five batters in three-plus innings.
"He’s a really big part of our success and where we need to go," Ross said.
The IL stint allows Alzolay a 10-day break in the action to get the blister right. The hope is he only misses one start, and with an off day Thursday, the Cubs can skip his turn in the rotation.
"It's not like we're looking for any little thing to pop up and shut guys down," pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. "But, understanding it's a long, long season, and we're going to have to be cognizant of the workload guys have, just making sure that we're just honest with each other about where we are, what we're seeing."
The blister first crept up on Alzolay in his start June 2 against San Diego. It worsened in the early innings of Monday’s game, and the Cubs training staff drained the blood out of the blister after he departed Monday’s game.
Alzolay played catch Tuesday, according to Hottovy, before the club made the IL move.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs recalled righty Kohl Stewart from Triple-A Iowa, a day after optioning him there.