The Cubs today announced that they had selected the contract of outfielder Narciso Crook from Triple-A Iowa. He replaces outfielder Jason Heyward, who moves to the injured list. To make room on the 40-man roster for Crook, the Cubs moved outfielder Michael Hermosillo to the 60-day injured list.
Crook, who turns 27 on July 12, is one of the best stories in the Cubs minor leagues this summer. Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to Trenton, New Jersey when he was 11. In this great article by The Des Moines Register’s Tommy Birch, Crook claims baseball saved his life by keeping him out of trouble in the tough streets of Trenton. His stepfather, former NFL tight end Al Darby, got him into baseball as a way of keeping him out of trouble. (He tried football first, but Crook didn’t like to get hit. Can’t blame him.)
Crook was a 23rd-round draft choice by the Reds out of Rowan College of South Jersey-Glouchester in 2013. He did well there, but he was always a fringe prospect at best. (Baseball America ranked him as the Reds’ 28th-best prospect before the 2016 season, the only time he made that list.) After a poor 2021 season split between Double-A and Triple-A, Crook, who qualified for minor league free agency, decided to try his luck with a different organization. He signed with the Cubs and has hit .268/.375/.510 with nine home runs in 47 games with Triple-A Iowa.
In his short time in the Cubs organization, Crook has won many fans for his positive attitude and friendly demeanor. (People who knew him in the Reds organization raved about his character as well.) As outlined in Birch’s article, Crook is always willing to sign autographs and take photos with young fans. He does have a price for his time, however: he insists the people he signs for and/or takes pictures with promise to do something nice for someone else in the next two weeks. He’s all about paying it forward.
Heyward goes back on the 10-day IL for knee inflammation and it is back-dated to June 27. This is the second time this year for Heyward after being on it from May 17 to June 1. Heyward is hitting .204/.278/.277 with one home run in 47 games.
Hermosillo has been on the injured list with a quadriceps strain since May 8. He was hitting .071/.257/.107 in just 17 games this year.