Zach McKinstry makes Cubs debut in 4-0 loss to Giants

The Cubs acquired McKinstry from the Dodgers for veteran reliever Chris Martin.


AP Photos

SAN FRANCISCO — New Cubs utility player Zach McKinstry turned double plays with David Bote before the Cubs’ 4-0 loss to the Giants on Sunday, with Bote fielding grounders and McKinstry tossing the ball from second base to first.

“We’ll continue to work through where he’s going to be,” manager David Ross said, “but I told him to get his work in all the infield positions.”

McKinstry, after joining the team Sunday, went down the list when asked what position he was most comfortable in: “Third base, second base, shortstop. I love the outfield, too. I’m comfortable in all of them.”

With their first deadline trade, sending veteran reliever Chris Martin to the Dodgers for McKinstry, the Cubs acquired a versatile player with 74 games of big-league experience. The Cubs already have a clearer pathway to regular playing time for him than the Dodgers did this year.

To make room for McKinstry on the active roster, the Cubs optioned first baseman Alfonso Rivas to Triple-A Iowa.

“Playing every day is my goal, and that’s why we’re here,” McKinstry said. “I felt almost like a caged animal there just hanging out on the bench, getting to see what they’re doing, learning from some of the best in the game. And I’m excited to use it now.”

McKinstry, who joined the Cubs with a .210 career batting average, got a taste of more consistent major-league playing time early last season, and he hit .296 in April. But a strained right oblique interrupted his hot streak.

“Looking back on it, definitely it was a big turn of events,” McKinstry said. “Didn’t play as much after, wasn’t sure if they were as confident in me as they were before the injury. So just had to go take it day by day. And here we are.”

McKinstry had a feeling he’d be traded. He’d had conversations with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about the possibility.

“I was sad to leave,’’ McKinstry said. ‘‘I’ve been there my whole career but excited for the new opportunity.”

McKinstry made his Cubs debut Sunday, pinch-hitting for Bote in the eighth inning. He struck out and stayed in the game at third base.

When in San Francisco

The Cubs got a minor-league trade done with the Giants before the four-game series concluded.

The Cubs traded middle infielder Dixon Machado for right-handed pitcher Raynel Espinal, who has a 5.29 ERA but a .640 strikeout rate in Triple-A this season.

The Giants inserted Machado into the starting lineup at shortstop. He batted seventh.

“He’s deserving of getting an opportunity here when they have a need,” Ross said of Machado, who spent two seasons in the organization on either side of a two-year stint in Korea. “Anytime you get to see good human beings get to have good moments like that, that’s good.”

Crosstown deja vu

The Cubs’ offense only had two hits against former White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, who threw seven scoreless innings and had 10 strikeouts.

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