clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cubs, Almora split for now but honeymoon not over

Almora makes a diving catch July 15 at Wrigley Field. (AP Photo/David Banks)

MILWAUKEE – Talk about making adjustments at the big-league level.

Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. got married Thursday. On Friday, before he could make plans for the honeymoon, the club gave him an all-expense-paid trip to the Pacific Coast League.

“I guess we’re in [the honeymoon] right now,” joked Almora, the impressive rookie who became the corresponding roster move when center fielder Dexter Fowler returned from a hamstring injury Friday.

Almora, who called Friday’s news “bittersweet,” hit well enough, looked poised enough and was spectacular enough in the field during his six-week debut in the big leagues that the baseball honeymoon has only begun for the former No. 6 overall pick.

He’s expected to return no later than September, and by next season’s opener could be the next homegrown player to take his place in the Cubs’ starting lineup, pending the Cubs’ decision on Fowler’s contract option.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wasn’t willing to look at potential personnel decisions that far down the road.

“All I know is that he’s proven to himself and us how good he is and that, yes, he can play on a consistent basis – there’s no question about that,” Maddon said. “I think that we, and the front office, are comfortable with the fact we believe he can [play regularly] and more importantly that he believes that he can.”

Almora, who was hitting .281 with nine extra-base hits until a 2-for-12 homestand, was an impact fielder in center, with lingering discomfort in his hip from a July 15 crash into the Wrigley Field wall as a reminder.

“I’m confident in my ability,” he said. “I’m confident I can play here, 100 percent.

“I played like I belong, and that’s what I feel like,” he added. “When I first got here what helped me sleep at night was that I played my all. I left it all on the field. I can’t predict what could happen but I’m happy with what’s going on.”

It may not be the way he and his wife, Krystal, planned to spend the first week of their marriage, leaving Chicago for Iowa. But he said now the plan is to just get back as soon as possible.

“It was a real a really exciting time,” Almora said of his off-day, courthouse marriage. “Now this happens [Friday]. But she’s a warrior, and we’ll get through this together now.”

Said Maddon of Almora’s 34-game debut: “He knows he can do this. He knows what to work on. He knows what it feels like. Moving forward, it was a great moment for him and for us.

“He’s going to be back.”

Notes: Six-time All-Star Joe Nathan had a scheduled inning of work scratched Friday when Iowa’s game was canceled over a logistical issue with Memphis, at which point the 30 days on the right-hander’s minor-league rehab assignment expired. They Cubs may have him throw a simulated inning before considering activating him from the DL. … Left-hander Mike Montgomery, who was acquired from Seattle in a four-player trade that sent prospect Dan Vogelbach to the Mariners, joined the roster for Friday’s game. Right-hander Spencer Patton was optioned to AAA Iowa to make room.