Cubs put closer Adbert Alzolay on IL, activate Michael Fulmer

Alzolay will be sidelined until at least the penultimate series of the regular season.

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The Cubs put closer Adbert Alzolay on the 15-day injured list Monday with a strained right forearm.

The Cubs put closer Adbert Alzolay on the 15-day injured list Monday with a strained right forearm.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

DENVER — The Cubs put closer Adbert Alzolay on the 15-day injured list Monday with a strained right forearm, a major blow to the bullpen down the stretch.

“I can’t get my breaking balls down,” Alzolay said. “So that was the thing that was going to worry me a little bit, that I couldn’t get my breaking balls down. But we’re just going to give it a couple of days, then start throwing again to see how it’s progressing.”

If Alzolay is able to bounce back with just a minimum stint on the injured list, he could return in time for the Cubs’ penultimate series of the regular season in Atlanta. The move was retroactive to Sunday.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer, whom the Cubs reinstated from the 15-day injured list Monday, was on a similar plan for his strained forearm. And left-handed starter Justin Steele successfully used a short stint on the injured list in June to bounce back strong.

“[Alzolay has] been great for us all year,” Fulmer said. “This is something that he’s never done before.”

It’s Alzolay’s first full season pitching out of the bullpen, let alone in such a high-leverage role. He said his forearm has been bugging him for “at least a couple of weeks.” The Cubs tried to manage the injury without resorting to an IL move.

“Sometimes four or five, six [days off are] better than 15,” manager David Ross said. “Didn’t seem like we were gonna be able to navigate that this time.”

Alzolay had six days off between outings last week, then came back to pitch in consecutive games this weekend against the D-backs. He put up two scoreless innings, allowing one hit in each. But he also walked two Saturday.

“The first game I pitched, on Friday, it didn’t feel that bad,” he said. “But then going back-to-back, that was when I started feeling it with my sinker and breaking ball.”

Alzolay said he expects to undergo imaging sometime during this road trip.

“It’s hard to compete with the role he’s in at 75%,” Ross said. “So making sure he’s healthy and able to compete at the highest level is a real priority for him and us.”

Wicks consistent

Left-hander Jordan Wicks held the Rockies to one run in six innings. The only blemish came in the first inning. A leadoff double by Charlie Blackmon came back to bite him. He got grounders from the next three batters, but the Rockies took a one-run lead.

Lineup adjustments

When Ross moved left fielder Ian Happ from third to sixth in the batting order Sunday, it wasn’t immediately clear if it was a temporary change or something longer-lasting. On Monday, Ross again wrote Happ into the six-hole. He also moved Cody Bellinger up from fourth to third and put Seiya Suzuki in the cleanup spot.

Late rally

The Cubs fell behind in the seventh inning when reliever Jose Cuas gave up three runs with two outs. But lefty Drew Smyly came in to slam the door. The offense rallied in the ninth.

Dansby Swanson led off the inning with a line-drive double off Rockies center fielder Brenton Doyle’s glove. Happ drew a walk, and they pulled off a double steal. Yan Gomes drove them in with a line-drive single to take the lead.

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