Alfonso Rivas makes the most out of return to Cubs

Rivas didn’t pout when he was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after the Cubs’ game April 15, and he responded by hitting a three-run homer Saturday.

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Alfonso Rivas watches his three-run home run.


First baseman Alfonso Rivas didn’t pout when he was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after the Cubs’ game April 15.

“It’s part of the business,” said Rivas, who was brought back Friday when outfielder Clint Frazier (appendicitis) was put on the 10-day injured list. “It always sucks when you get sent down, but the easiest thing for me was to understand that it was a business move, and it gave me the opportunity to play every single day down there. I saw it as the positive of that transaction.”

Rivas provided more positives Saturday, hitting a three-run home run in the Cubs’ 21-0 rout of the Pirates. Though the wind was blowing out, Rivas’ 416-foot blast didn’t need any help. It left the bat at 105 mph.

Manager David Ross isn’t surprised that Rivas, 25, took the demotion in stride.

“He’s got that personality,” Ross said. “He’s pretty in tune to what’s going on, understands that sometimes it’s an options game.” 

When Rivas was sent down to make room for pitcher Mark Leiter Jr., Ross was quoted as saying, “We’ll see you soon.”

“It definitely gives you confidence going down and kind of treating it as a temporary move, expecting to come back,” Rivas said.

“[Ross] is really good at communicating that. It helped me a lot, especially having that conversation and then saying the things he did say and taking it into Iowa. It paid off.”

Newcomer’s debut

The Cubs didn’t exactly give Sean Newcomb a high-leverage spot for his debut, calling for him to relieve Kyle Hendricks and start the eighth with a 17-0 lead. 

“Newcomb has great stuff,” catcher Willson Contreras said. “There’s some things that he might need to work on, but he’s going to be good. His fastball is powerful, and his breaking balls are really good.”

Newcomb struck out one in a perfect inning.

Speed it up?

According to an ESPN report, minor-league games using a pitch clock are 20 minutes shorter. Those games use a 14-second clock with the bases empty and 18 seconds with runners on.

Ross didn’t want to give an opinion on those clocks because he hasn’t experienced them personally, but he wouldn’t be surprised if they come to the majors sooner or later.

“Guys will adjust,” Ross said. “We don’t like change a lot as players, but then they’ll adjust to whatever is put in front of them.”

Feeling better

Frazier had his appendectomy, and Ross said Frazier texted him to say he was “ready to rake already.” Ross said Frazier seems to be doing well and that the Cubs hoped to have an update on his recovery in the next few days.

Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, but that was punted to Saturday because of the weather situation that forced the Cubs’ 4-2 loss to be pushed back to a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

Bear down

New Bears coach Matt Eberflus threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game, then led the seventh-inning stretch. Last Saturday, Bears general manager Ryan Poles threw out the first pitch at a White Sox game.

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