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Cubs roster moves: Rex Brothers, Justin Steele optioned to alternate site in South Bend

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The Cubs will have two fewer lefthanders in the bullpen.

Rex Brothers
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

MLB teams have to reduce their rosters from 30 to 28 beginning Friday, as part of the agreement between owners and players for the 60-game season.

The Cubs announced Thursday that lefthanded relievers Rex Brothers and Justin Steele have been optioned to the team’s alternate training site in South Bend. That will leave 14 position players and 14 pitchers on the active roster, which will remain at 28 players through the remainder of the season, including the postseason. That’s a change from the original agreement, which had a further reduction to 26 two weeks from now.

Brothers made two appearances for the Cubs this year, covering 2⅓ innings. He allowed three hits and three walks with five strikeouts, but also served up two home runs and posted an 11.57 ERA. He threw a scoreless inning against the Brewers July 25, but Nick Castellanos and Nick Senzel nicked him for homers July 29 in Cincinnati.

Steele was called up from the alternate site Sunday but did not appear in any of the four games played since then. With the roster limit at 28 through 2020, it’s likely Steele won’t pitch for the Cubs until 2021, barring injury.

One thing the Cubs lose with these moves: Some great baseball names. For now, this leaves Kyle Ryan as the Cubs’ only bullpen lefthander.

The Cubs’ 60-man Player Pool roster remains at 58 players, with 28 active players (plus three 10-day injured list players) in Chicago and 27 players in South Bend.