Cubs will audition two more rookies as roster shuffle continues
The season of roster shuffling continues for the Cubs.
They’ve already set the franchise record by utilizing 61 players this year and they’re about to add two more names to the list.
The Cubs called up relief pitcher Scott Effross and first baseman/outfielder Alfonso Rivas Saturday. To clear room for both on the 40-man roster, pitchers Jake Jewell and Ryan Meisinger were designated for assignment.
David Bote was also placed on the 10-day injured list with a right ankle sprain suffered when he slipped on a ball while jogging to batting practice Friday evening.
“Watched the replay, it was pretty nasty how hard he rolled his ankle,” David Ross said. “Ball was laying in that writing where it’s hard to see and stepped right on it and he rolled it pretty good.”
The Cubs ran some tests on Bote’s ankle and it revealed a “significant sprain.” There is no current timetable but only a month remains in the season.
Rivas takes his place among the position player group. He has some experience playing outfield in the minors and played out there in college and high school but his main position is first base and that’s probably where he’ll see the most time with the Cubs.
Frank Schwindel has held down the spot on an everyday basis since the trade deadline. In the outfield, the Cubs already have a pretty regular rotation with Rafael Ortega, Jason Heyward, Ian Happ, Michael Hermosillo and can move Patrick Wisdom or Matt Duffy out there as well.
The Cubs also have the designated hitter at their disposal for a few more games, with Sunday on the South Side and then a 2-game series in Minnesota next week.
Rivas, 24, was slashing .284/.405/.411 at Triple-A Iowa with 4 homers, 32 RBI and 35 walks against 49 strikeouts.
The Cubs acquired the left-handed hitter in a trade with the A’s in January 2020, a move that sent utility man Tony Kemp from Chicago to Oakland.
“Rivas is swinging the bat well,” Ross said. “He plays a good first base. It will be nice to give Frank some time there, maybe let him DH a little bit here. ‘Fonsy’ made an impression last spring training, his first with us. Just a smooth glove over there [at first base].
“Controls the strike zone really well. Probably more of a line drive hitter than a power hitter but having a good season.”
Effross, 27, has a 3.41 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 31 games (2 starts) at Double-A and Triple-A this season. Most of his outings have been of a multi-inning variety this year.
He’s had a stellar last month with Iowa, posting a 0.61 ERA with 15 strikeouts over his last 9 appearances (14.2 innings).
The right-hander was the Cubs’ 15th-round pick in 2015 out of Indiana University.
“He’s a guy that actually made a lot of changes, dropping down, changing the arm slot,” Ross said. “Real sink action for righties. Sink and 4-seam, [the] slider has played really well for him. He’s got a changeup as well.
“He’s had a lot of success so I think he deserves his shot. Looking at his numbers and talking to everybody, it’s a good opportunity for him and the moments we’re in. Come out, see if he can’t prove something.”
Both Rivas and Effross are in the big leagues for the first time.