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Cubs roster moves: Mark Leiter Jr. recalled to start Saturday, Alfonso Rivas optioned

Cory Abbott and Greg Deichmann were designated for assignment.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Leiter Jr. is from a pitching family — his dad, obviously named Mark, pitched for eight teams in an 11-year career from 1990-2001. His uncle Al had a very good 19-year career and pitched in three World Series for the Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets. And his cousin Jack, Al’s son, was the No. 1 pick (second overall) of the Rangers in last year’s draft and has just begun his pro career at Double-A.

The junior Mark Leiter pitched briefly in MLB with the Phillies and Blue Jays in 2017 and 2018, and the Cubs signed him to a minor-league deal this past winter. He had a very good spring in which he struck out 10 in 9⅔ innings, and has made one start at Triple-A Iowa this year in which he allowed one run in four innings. In that start, April 8 vs. Buffalo, he threw 59 pitches.

Leiter was called up from Triple-A Iowa today and will start tonight against the Rockies. To make room for Leiter, the Cubs made several moves:

These moves shouldn’t be too surprising. While Alfonso Rivas has talent, he doesn’t really fit a specific place on this roster and was likely headed back to Iowa once rosters went down to 26. Greg Deichmann also seems superfluous. Cory Abbott had some chances last year, but didn’t show all that much. Both might clear waivers and return.

Locke St. John is an intriguing lefthanded arm who pitched briefly for the Rangers in 2019 and had three good outings this spring. Plus, he could be a spy in a James Bond film when he’s done pitching.

Today’s game preview will post at 5 p.m. CT.