Cubs show faith in Alzolay with Thurs. nod

September 6th, 2020

CHICAGO -- As the Cubs continue to monitor 's progress while he’s on the injured list, there is also the matter of filling the hole in the rotation. For at least one more turn, that job will again go to rookie .

Cubs manager David Ross announced prior to Sunday's game against the Cardinals that Alzolay is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Reds. That follows a tough outing on Saturday, when the righty lasted 2 2/3 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in the opener of a doubleheader.

"We have a lot of faith in Adbert," Ross said after Alzolay's performance Saturday. "He'll learn from this outing and continue to get better."

In the meantime, the Cubs optioned Alzolay and righty Tyson Miller to the South Bend (Ind.) alternate training site on Sunday. Since Alzolay was the 29th man for Saturday's doubleheader, the starter is not required to stay in South Bend for 10 days, making him eligible for Thursday's start.

Chicago also selected the contract of lefty from South Bend on Sunday to give the bullpen an additional arm in the wake of the twin bill. The 30-year-old Dermody signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs on Aug. 6, following a five-game stint with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters.

Dermody appeared in 28 games for the Blue Jays from 2016-17, posting a 5.33 ERA in 25 1/3 innings, while limiting lefties to a .250 average (.663 OPS) in 52 plate appearances.

Alzolay has turned in a 2.08 ERA with 12 strikeouts and seven walks in 8 2/3 innings across three outings (two starts) for the Cubs this season. With Tyler Chatwood (right forearm) and Quintana (left lat) both on the 10-day injured list at the moment, the righty serves as the top No. 5 starter option.

"I'm here to help the team in whatever spot they need me, you know?" Alzolay said on Saturday. "For this year, it doesn't matter if it's out of the bullpen or a spot-start like I've been doing lately. Like I said, that's my mindset right now."

After Thursday, the Cubs may not need a fifth starter until Sept. 22 against the Pirates, and then Sept. 27 against the White Sox. Off-days on Sept. 14 and 17 give Chicago the ability to mostly lean on its top four arms down the stretch.

That can also buy some time for Quintana, who had a pair of solid three-inning relief outings before being shelved on Wednesday. Ross noted that the veteran lefty was scheduled to have another doctor's visit on Sunday before potentially being cleared to resume throwing Sunday or Monday.

"He's going to start his throwing program," Ross said. "I know he was feeling a lot cleaner [Saturday]. Tried to get [the soreness] all out of there -- make sure [it's gone] before he starts back. We don't want any lingering issues."