Cubs call up P.J. Higgins, designate Tony Wolters for assignment
This season, the Cubs have seen bench players thrive. Wednesday afternoon, they made a move to hope that the trend continues.
The Cubs selected catcher P.J. Higgins from Triple-A Iowa to serve as their backup catcher to Willson Contreras. The team designated Tony Wolters for assignment. Higgins looks to make his big-league debut.
“I think we have a really good group here that can walk through scouting report and information and kind of help Higgy be prepared,” David Ross said. “We have a lot of confidence in Higgy being able to process everything that’s going on and doing a nice job for us.”
Higgins highlights the depth at the catching position in the Cubs’ minor league system.
At Triple-A Iowa this season, Higgins has posted a .971 OPS in 11 games. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 12th round in 2015. He spent the 2020 season at the South Bend Alternate site and had 1 home run and 3 RBIs in 26 at-bats this spring.
“I’ve liked the way he handled the pitching staff, the game-calling, the preparation as the backend of spring training ramped up as we got closer and ran some things through him when [Austin] Romine was down,” Ross said. “He did a great job. Got to get his timing down in Triple-A, get some at-bats. Contact bat, driving the ball gap to gap.”
In 2019, he hit .276 with 5 home runs and 38 RBI in Double-A Tennessee before being promoted to Iowa. With the Iowa Cubs, Higgins hit .291 with 5 home runs and 19 RBI.
Wolters was signed prior to the start of the 2021 regular season to serve as the backup at catcher when Romine went down with an injury. Romine was originally signed in the offseason to serve as the primary backup to Contreras. Wolters was 3-for-24 in 14 games for the Cubs.
“[Higgins is] a guy that the organization thinks highly of,” Ross said. “When you talk to the coaches that have seen this young man come up through the minor leagues, it’s nothing but positive statements about who he is, how he plays, how he goes about his business and the kind of player that I think you can fall in love with.
“I’m super happy all his hard work has paid off and he’s here in the big leagues and gets to be in there and help us have a chance to win.”