7/22 Cubs go with Alcantara
The Cubs’ youth movement is underway with the team’s decision to stick with Arismendy Alcantara and say goodbye to Darwin Barney, who was designated for assignment Tuesday.
“It’s time for ‘Mendy’ to play,” GM Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “He’ll play second, he’ll play center. I think he’ll be in the lineup every day. One of the things we feel strongly about is that when we do bring guys up, they here to play. We’re not going to bring up these guys who are part of our future to share time on the bench.”
Alcantara was called up from Triple-A Iowa on July 9 when Barney went on paternity leave, and was batting .286 in his first eight games. He will play both second and center field, switching with Emilio Bonifacio, who was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, which prompted the need for a spot on the roster.
“We don’t expect [Alcantara] to come up here and set the world on fire,” Hoyer said. “I think he’ll have some great series like he had, and he’ll have some struggles like he did in Arizona (when he went 1-for-12). That’s part of the process and it’s part of the process for every one of the young guys we bring up, as Starlin [Castro] and [Anthony] Rizzo can attest to.”
Alcantara and Bonifacio are interchangeable at the top of the Cubs’ order, too, as both are switch hitters, and both have speed.
Barney was DFA’d to make room for Emilio Bonifacio, who was activated from the disabled list. Barney, 28, was batting .230 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 16 RBIs in 72 games this season. He won the Gold Glove in 2012 after tying a Major League single-season record with 141-consecutive errorless games.
“I think he got out of whack mechanically last year,” Hoyer said of Barney. “I think he’d be the first person to admit that. He got pull happy and struggled to get back to what he’d been. I think he can get back there. A change of scenery and maybe an offseason, I think he can get back to that. He’s at his best as a pesky player, hitting balls the other way. When guys get pull happy and power happy, it can hurt him.”
— Carrie Muskat