OF prospects Brennen Davis, Pete Crow-Armstrong among Cubs cuts

The need for more at-bats remained paramount as they were among the 10 players cut Friday by the Cubs.

SHARE OF prospects Brennen Davis, Pete Crow-Armstrong among Cubs cuts
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Brennen Davis was limited to 178 at-bats last summer because of lower-back surgery. The Cubs optioned him to Triple-A Iowa.

John Antonoff/Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — Spending 312 weeks in spring training gave top outfield prospects Brennen Davis and Pete Crow-Armstrong plenty of time to get acclimated to a full-time major-league routine they hope to achieve soon.

But the need for more at-bats remained paramount as they were among the 10 players cut Friday by the Cubs.

Davis, who was limited to 178 at-bats last summer because of lower-back surgery, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

“All that matters with Brennen is health,” baseball president Jed Hoyer said of Davis, 23, who experienced minor discomfort that limited him to 18 at-bats for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League. “He looks great, playing great defense, running well. He just needs reps.”

Davis batted .231 (3-for-13) this spring but isn’t expected to be considered for a promotion until midseason, at the earliest, because of time lost due to his back injury.

The Cubs put Crow-Armstrong’s locker between those of Ian Happ and Nico Hoer-ner to help him learn the nuances during his first major-league spring training, and Crow-Armstrong didn’t disappoint with his fearless diving catches in center field and relentless willingness to learn.

But Crow-Armstrong, 20, hasn’t played above the high-A level and needs much more seasoning. He was sent to the minor-league camp.

“He’s got a bright future, but he has things to work on in the meantime,” Hoyer said.

Catcher Miguel Amaya, like Davis, needs at-bats after missing much of last season because of injuries and was optioned with the possibility of getting a promotion in the second half of the season.

Injury updates

Outfielder Alexander Canario, who was among the spring cuts, will remain in Arizona when the regular season starts to continue his recovery from a dislocated left shoulder and fractured left ankle suffered in a Dominican Winter League game in October.

Hoyer said the recovery for Canario’s shoulder is ahead of his ankle. Nevertheless, the recovery could last well into the regular season. “He’s got a ways to go,” said Hoyer, who didn’t disclose a timetable for Canario’s potential return.

The loss of Canario, acquired from the Giants in the Kris Bryant trade in July 2021, looms large because he was destined to earn an Opening Day roster spot after hitting 37 home runs in the minors last season and is out of minor-league options.

Canario also would have been a candidate to fill in for right fielder Seiya Suzuki, who has yet to resume baseball activities after suffering a mild oblique strain last week.

Suzuki could miss the first month of the regular season unless he’s cleared to perform baseball work soon.

Great expectations

Manager David Ross has endured a two-year rebuild but doesn’t believe the Cubs’ expectations in the National League Central have changed even in the wake of several free-agent acquisitions headed by shortstop Dansby Swanson.

“We’re all trying to win championships and work toward championships,” Ross said. “That’s the main thing for me, just continue to implement the things I believe in.

“Having winning-caliber players who have done it in the past, know their routine, know how to win, been a part of championships, have a lot of hardware, makes my job and the coaching staff jobs a lot easier.”

WHITE SOX 4, CUBS 3

Ryan Borucki, one of six non-roster left-handers competing for a bullpen spot, allowed a two-run homer to Bryan Ramos in the fifth inning. Zack McKinstry, competing for a backup infield spot, made a strong relay throw from shortstop to nail Andrew Benintendi at the plate to end the first.

• The Cubs had their eight-game winning streak snapped, and they failed to score six runs for the first time in five games.

• “I don’t really want to tell my secrets,” Cubs pitcher Drew Smyly said after nailing Oscar Colas off first base in the second inning on his first pickoff attempt. “We’ll see. I think there will be a lot more gamesmanship during the regular season where hitters try to deke me to [get me] to throw over.”

On deck: Cubs at Dodgers, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, Glendale, MLB, 670-AM. Hayden Wesneski vs. Noah Syndergaard.

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