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Cubs call up top outfield prospect, veteran pitcher as rosters expand

9 months agoTony Andracki

MLB rosters are expanding as the calendar flips to September and the Cubs are calling up some reinforcements.

Teams are no longer able to add their full 40-man roster to the big-league clubhouse and can only add a position player and a pitcher as rosters expand to 28 for September.

The Cubs called up prospect Alexander Canario as their position player, adding the right-handed slugger to the outfield mix.

On the pitching side, veteran Shane Greene got the nod.

Canario, 23, is already on the Cubs’ 40-man roster and came over to the organization two summers ago in the Kris Bryant trade. He ranked as the Cubs’ No. 7 prospect in Lance Brozdowski’s preseason list

He has played all three outfield positions this season in the minor leagues and is slashing .273/.356/.488 (.844 OPS) with 9 homers and 47 RBI in 53 games.

Canario missed the first couple months of 2023 after suffered devastating ankle and shoulder surgeries playing winter ball. He enjoyed a breakout campaign last year with 37 homers, 97 RBI, 23 stolen bases and an .899 OPS at three levels in the Cubs system.

He has been on a tear lately with Iowa, hitting .324 with a 1.044 OPS, 6 homers and 21 RBI over his last 17 games.

Don’t expect the Cubs to hand Canario a bunch of playing time right out of the gate as the team’s position player group is pretty much set. Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki are playing every day at the corner outfield spots while Mike Tauchman and Cody Bellinger are splitting time in center field.

“There’s no starting job for any player that’s gonna come up right now,” David Ross said Wednesday. “I don’t know that they’d be the first person to pinch-hit in any situation. I think there’s value in bringing guys up to feel this environment. There’s value in letting guys continue to develop that aren’t ready for the big leagues.

“The great thing about where we’re at now and how things have changed since I was a player is Triple-A’s still playing. We can still use the roster as moving guys up and down as needed. Having somebody staying healthy, getting fresh at-bats and being ready to come up in case there’s still injuries in September is really important.”

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As for Greene, the 34-year-old has a long track record of experience and success in the big leagues. He has 343 MLB appearances under his belt, including 33 starts. He has spent time as a closer, racking up 66 saves for the Tigers and Braves from 2016-19.

Greene was an All-Star in 2019 and has pitched in the playoffs with the Braves in 2019 and 2020.

He signed with the Cubs on June 25 and has worked as a starter in Triple-A (5 games). The right-hander has had success with a 2.16 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 20 strikeouts over 16.2 innings.

Greene can provide the Cubs some length either as a spot starter in Friday’s doubleheader or in the bullpen throughout September.

Consensus top Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is still an option to make his MLB debut at some point in September, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense to do so right now.

Because the Cubs don’t have much playing time at the big-league level right now, Crow-Armstrong can still get everyday playing time in Triple-A, a level he has only been at for 24 games.

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