Cubs call up Arismendy Alcantara for two-day stint
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter July 8, 2014 11:14PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 2:23AM
CINCINNATI — Here they come.
The first of the Cubs’ touted minor-leaguers gets to the big leagues Wednesday — albeit for just two days — when Arismendy Alcantara joins the Cubs for second baseman Darwin Barney.
Barney packed after Tuesday night’s doubleheader in Cincinnati to return to Chicago for the scheduled birth of his daughter Wednesday. He’s expected to return from paternity leave when the Cubs open a three-game home series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
Until then, the Cubs get a sneak preview of the prospect general manager Jed Hoyer last week called ‘‘the underappreciated guy in our system.’’
Alcantara, a shortstop by trade who has moved ably between second base and the outfield this season, has been hitting nearly .400 over the last five weeks with a slugging percentage near .600. Overall this season, he’s hitting .308 with an .892 OPS for Class AAA Iowa.
‘‘No one talks about him because of guys like [Javier] Baez, [Kris] Bryant and [Albert] Almora,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘But he has a chance to put up a pretty special year in AAA when you look at doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases. Guys don’t really do that at that age . . . . I think he certainly belongs in that [core] group.’’
Alcantara played in the prestigious Futures Game last season, hitting a home run. He was rated the No. 100 prospect by Baseball America when the season started and rose to No. 33 on its mid-season list published this week.
Rizzo trailing in vote
Cubs All-Star candidate Anthony Rizzo was second to the Colorado Rockies’ Justin Morneau in what MLB.com called a ‘‘tight’’ race for the final spot on the National League All-Star roster.
MLB released the rankings of the five players on the ballot in its fan voting update Tuesday but did not release the totals or percentages. Voting continues until 3 p.m. Central time Thursday at www.cubs.com/vote or by texting ‘‘N4’’ to 89269.
Rizzo already suffered one defeat at the hands of the Rockies on Tuesday when Home Run Derby captain Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies’ shortstop, didn’t include him among his three Derby selections.
Rizzo responded with his second homer in two days during a 3-for-5 performance in Tuesday’s nightcap to pass Tulowitzki and move into sole possession of second in the NL with 19 homers.
Chris Coghlan became the first Cub since Alfonso Soriano in 2007 (against the St. Louis Cardinals) to homer in both games of a doubleheader. The last to do it in Cincinnati: Ron Santo in 1965.
◆ Brian Schlitter became the first Cub to pitch in both games of a doubleheader since Manny Corpas did it two years ago.
◆ The Cubs have been swept in their last three doubleheaders dating to last July 30 against the Milwaukee Brewers and twice in the last 11 days (including by the Washington Nationals at home on June 28).