Unfortunately, there is more bad news coming out of Chicago Cubs’ Spring Training. According to Jed Hoyer, right-handed pitcher Adbert Alzolay has right shoulder tightness and will start the season on the injured list. Hoyer added that it will not be a minimum IL stint.
We won’t know what exactly that means, but this is undoubtedly a stinger right to the gut. Many, including myself, have high hopes for Alzolay to break out, especially with the addition of Marcus Stroman. Alzolay and Stroman have displayed a connection and budding relationship on Twitter, and based on pictures from Spring Training camp.
One of Alzolay’s most significant issues on the mound has been his ability to get left-handed batters out. After struggling against lefties in 2019, allowing a .291 batting average and 11 home runs, Stroman improved against them last year. He allowed only a .239/.296/.350 slash line and eight homers to lefties last season. Stroman’s split-change held lefties to a .262 wOBA.
We can’t assume Adbert Alzolay will get better against lefties, but a pitch mix change, along with a new wrinkle and Stroman’s guidance, could go a long way toward improving his .384 wOBA and 22 home runs allowed against them.
Any way you slice it, this is a setback. The Chicago Cubs surely hope it isn’t more serious than shoulder tightness. But the fact that Alzolay has already been ruled out for the start of the season and it won’t be a minimum IL stint is not a good sign.
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