WASHINGTON — Albert Almora Jr. said he first became aware of the middle-finger issue when the Sun-Times tweeted a photo taken by Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet during the team’s visit with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Within minutes, the DailyMail.com had erroneously turned the Cubs’ young center fielder into a “smirking” player flipping the bird at the president in a post that included no reporting.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” said Almora, who clearly had his index finger also extended alongside the middle finger dangling from his pants pocket — and who might be the most mature, respectful member among the Cubs who attended the event.

 

In the photo, you can clearly see the middle finger sticking out from his left pant pocket. But, if you zoom in, it appears that there might be his index finger sticking out as well.

“I would never do that to the president of the United States,” he said. “We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there. There’s not one.

“The guys were giving me a hard time about it, but then I pointed out the second finger, and we’re all good. I can sleep at night, man. I know I didn’t do it.”

NOTES:

  • Switch-hitting catcher Victor Caratini, 23, was recalled from Class AAA Iowa to fill the vacated roster spot of Miguel Montero, who was designated for assignment after public comments critical of teammate Jake Arrieta. Caratini, was fourth in the Pacific Coast League in hitting (.343) with eight homers.
  • After John Lackey allowed back-to-back homers Wednesday night to the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters in the second inning and Daniel Murphy in the fifth, he took sole possession of the major-league lead with 24 homers allowed — one more than his total for all of last season.
  • Anthony Rizzo on the Trump visit, just five months after the team’s Obama visit: “When you get to go to the White House, it’s very special. To go to the White House twice in a year is something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
  • Ben Zobrist (wrist) will join Class AA Tennessee on Thursday to start a rehab assignment that suggests a return from the disabled list in a matter of days.

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