Tyler Chatwood is making Thursday’s start in place of the injured Kyle Hendricks.
But touted prospect Adbert Alzolay – the people’s choice for that start on social media – likely still will make his big-league debut in that series opener against the Mets, after all.
The Cubs announced after Wednesday’s 7-3 victory over the White Sox that Alzolay will be recalled from Class AAA Iowa to back up Chatwood in that start. Left-hander Tim Collins was designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster.
Chatwood, who threw a season-high 71 pitches in a six-inning spot start in April, last pitched on June 11, when he threw 53 pitches in a long relief appearance at Colorado.
Alzolay, who recently earned a Pacific Coast League pitcher of the week award, has a 1.93 ERA in his last five starts with 40 strikeouts and three walks in those 28 innings. He last pitched Friday.
Cubs president Theo Epstein said Alzolay was in play to make his debut in a spot start before the All-Star break even before Hendricks went on the injured list Saturday.
“Right now he’s pitching extremely well,” Epstein said. “His curveball’s been as good as I’ve ever seen it in the last four or five starts. He’s getting a ton of swings and misses with it. He’s pitching really well up in the zone with his fastball, and his changeup’s really come on, too. So that’s three good weapons for him.
“He’s pitching with great rhythm and a lot of confidence.”
The Cubs said Alzolay, 24, was on track for a debut last season until a lat injury ended his season May 29.
He opened this season on the injured list with a similar injury but has looked better with almost each outing since making his season debut for high-A Myrtle Beach on May 12.