Arismendy Alcantara books reservation for next series

BY TONI GINNETTI For Sun-Times Media

July 13, 2014 8:48PM

Updated: July 13, 2014 9:23PM

Rookie Arismendy Alcantara, who hit his first home run Sunday, will remain with the Cubs through the first series after the All-Star break against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After that, the team faces a decision because another starting pitcher will be needed by July 22, when the team returns to Wrigley Field and opens a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.

Alcantara has done everything to earn his stay, including going 2-for-5 on Sunday with a home run on an 0-2 pitch from Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran. Chris Coghlan was on base, hiking Alcantara’s RBI total to five in five games.

“On an 0-2 pitch, I was just trying to hit it up the middle,’’ he said.

Manager Rick Renteria doesn’t mind getting asked continually about Alcantara’s status.

“I never mind you asking about our young players,” he said. “I just can’t say anything yet [about him remaining].”

Renteria said Edwin Jackson will open the second half against the Diamondbacks, followed by Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta.

Knocks on Wood

A year ago, Wood was heading to the All-Star Game. This year, he’s trying to put behind him a poor first half that ended Sunday with his eighth defeat in a 10-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His ERA has climbed to 4.96.

“I’m not happy with it at all,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff to improve on in the second half.”

Renteria said Wood is trying to regain his fastball command. Wood said he isn’t as sure what his problems are.

“I go to spring training every year saying you’re never the same as you were last year,” he said. “There are different challenges, and you have to deal with it.’’

Comforts of home

Players aren’t shy about their excitement for a new clubhouse, which is part of the first stage of renovations for Wrigley Field.

“The most important thing for the players is the clubhouse,” Anthony Rizzo said. “A lot of things will be beneficial. Just having the extra facilities, the batting cages, will be huge.”

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks unanimously approved the revised renovation plans last week, but full City Council approval still must be given.

Coghlan stays hot

Coghlan had another multihit day Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. He has hit safely in 13 of the last 14 games since June 30. Coghlan is hitting .435 in July after hitting only .147 in May and .232 in June.

His 20 hits this month include eight doubles and three homers with 12 RBI.

“He’s been taking advantage of the opportunities,’’ Renteria said of the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year. “He’s working very hard. And as his offense has picked up, his confidence has grown, though he’s never really lacked confidence.”

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