The Chicago Cubs announced this evening that Adbert Alzolay, the Venezuelan right-handed pitcher that many (including me) ranked as the top Cubs prospect coming into 2018, will miss the rest of the season with a strained lat muscle that he suffered during a start on May 29.
The good news here is that the injury will not require surgery.
Alzolay had been rehabbing in Arizona, but the Cubs did not feel he was making enough progress for him to be back before the end of the minor league season, which ends on Labor Day. Instead of pushing this valuable player, the front office decided to shut him down instead. They left open the possibility that he would pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
Alzolay, 23, missed much of Spring Training with an ankle injury, so he didn’t make his season debut until April 20. In his first and third start of the season, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. While he struggled a bit in his next four starts, Alzolay had a perfect game going through four innings in the start when he suffered the injury.
For the record, Alzolay finished the season at 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA.
While obviously this is a setback for Alzolay’s development, it is certainly a better idea to play it safe with him and not push him to come back this year and possibly re-injure himself.