Cubs sign corner infielder Edwin Ríos, put Ethan Roberts on 60-day IL

Ríos reunites with his former Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger.

SHARE Cubs sign corner infielder Edwin Ríos, put Ethan Roberts on 60-day IL
Edwin Rios finishes up infield drills Friday at the Spring Training site in Mesa, Ariz. He signed with the team on Friday.

Edwin Rios finishes up infield drills Friday at the Spring Training site in Mesa, Ariz. He signed with the team on Friday.

MESA, ARIZ. – The Cubs signed corner infielder Edwin Ríos to a one-year contract on Friday. The deal was worth $1 million, according to sources.

He was already with the team at the spring training site in Mesa, Arizona when the deal became official.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs put reliever Ethan Roberts (Tommy John surgery) on the 60-day injured list.

Ríos, a left-handed hitter, joins the position battle at third base, one that includes Patrick Wisdom, Nick Madrigal and Zach McKinstry. He also adds depth to the Cubs’ first base options and can play the corner outfield. Ríos has a minor-league option year left and two more years of club control remaining after this season.

In four years with the Dodgers, Ríos played a total of 112 games. He was slashing .244/.293/.500 with seven home runs last year before a hamstring injury and trip to the 60-day IL interrupted his season in early June. When he returned from injury, the Dodgers optioned him to Triple-A.

Roberts was an obvious 60-day IL candidate. He’s in the fourth week of his throwing program, stretched out to 75 feet on flat ground. He told the Sun-Times he’s targeting a full return about 14 months post-op, which would be in September.

“It sucks — I put the team in a bad spot with me being on the IL for a year and a half,” Roberts said. “It’s terrible. But this organization has been really good to me. Fans have been awesome. And I’m gonna make it up to them. It’s going to be fun. Just got to give me a little bit of time, but I’m going to make it up to everybody.”

Game of telephone

PitchCom is evolving, with MLB now permitting pitchers to wear devices to call their own pitches, rather than signs always going from the catcher to the pitcher. Though much of the Cubs pitching staff has given PitchCom positive reviews since implementing it last year, introducing the two-way system isn’t that simple.

“The one thing we just get concerned about is if the pitchers hitting it and the catcher’s hitting at the same time and stuff’s getting relayed back and forth,” Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “[Before] the catcher would put down a sign, a guy would shake, there’s a direct line of communication. When it’s just people hitting buttons, things can get a little disconnected.”

Fulmer sighting

Right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer sat in front of a locker bearing his name in the Sloan Park complex clubhouse Friday morning. But the Cubs had yet to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make his signing official. Fulmer is joining the Cubs on a one-year, $4 million contract, a source confirmed.

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