Cubs’ Adbert Alzolay lands on 10-day injured list with strained left hamstring

Alzolay was removed from Friday’s 14-10 loss to the Marlins in the second inning after feeling discomfort.

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Chicago Cubs catcher Robinson Chirinos, left, talks with starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay (73) as the bases are loaded during the second inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) ORG XMIT: FLLS112

Lynne Sladky, AP Photos

With the Cubs’ season now focused on learning and developing, the final two months are important for players such as right-hander Adbert Alzolay. But the team didn’t want to hear the latest news.

The Cubs put Alzolay on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a strained left hamstring he suffered in the loss Friday to the Marlins. Catcher Robinson Chirinos said he noticed something was wrong with Alzolay early in the second inning.

“When I was facing this second hitter, I started feeling something down in the back of my knee,” Alzolay said. “I tried to shake it off, but then to reach my pitches I couldn’t lock down my knee going forward. So that’s why I started pushing everything up [in the zone] and rolling some.

“[Chirinos] did notice because of the slider, it was just like spinning up there. It wasn’t having any bite. On the last hitter, the last two pitches were when I really felt like something wasn’t right in my legs. So that’s why I called the trainer.”

In retrospect, Alzolay’s rough inning makes more sense. Coming off arguably his best start of the season, Alzolay didn’t look like himself. The Marlins’ first three batters reached base before he allowed a grand slam to Bryan De La Cruz.

Though Alzolay ran the bases in the half inning before he got injured, manager David Ross said the injury occurred while he was pitching. The team called Alzolay’s hamstring strain mild. Alzolay said he has done some light work on the stationary bike, but there’s no timeline for his return.

“He was trying to pitch through it,” Chirinos said. “You could see that pain through his eyes and how he felt when he came out from that game.’’

Alzolay’s injury is a disappointment in what’s a big season for him and the Cubs. He has had some ups and downs this season but has shown flashes of success. He’s 4-13 with a 5.16 ERA in 106⅓ innings.

The team hoped to see Alzolay, left-hander Justin Steele and right-hander Keegan Thompson in the rotation together in the season’s final two months, but that will have to wait until Alzolay is back to 100%.

Despite battling injuries as he was coming up in the minors, Alzolay had managed to stay healthy in the majors. Before Saturday, his only trip to the IL came because of a blister on his right index finger. He’s trying to stay positive after the setback.

“That’s the hardest part to do,” he said. “Just the mental side. You just go back on things that happened in the past, and they start getting to your head with all the situations. For example, last night, I wasn’t thinking about anything good. But today was a new day. So I was feeling a little better.

“Just keep doing that. Keep having my mind in the right spot so we don’t get caught in that process when you’re rehabbing and can’t help the team on the field. For me, I’m just finding ways to keep my mind clear of all those bad things and then just put everything in work. [It’s] something that I know how to do to come back and be on the field.”

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