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Cubs shut down top prospect Alzolay

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs top prospect Adbert Alzolay was considered a candidate for a late-season callup. Instead the 23-year-old right-hander, who last pitched for Triple-A Iowa on May 29, will not pitch the rest of the season -- and may not do so until possibly the fall -- to heal a strained right lat, general manager Jed Hoyer said on Friday.

"After seeing doctors, there's no operation necessary, but the inactivity period is going to be long enough that by the time he ramps back up again, he probably won't be helpful and able to pitch for us this year," Hoyer said. "It's a bad break for him and for the club, but the good news is it wasn't serious enough to need surgery."

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ST. LOUIS -- Cubs top prospect Adbert Alzolay was considered a candidate for a late-season callup. Instead the 23-year-old right-hander, who last pitched for Triple-A Iowa on May 29, will not pitch the rest of the season -- and may not do so until possibly the fall -- to heal a strained right lat, general manager Jed Hoyer said on Friday.

"After seeing doctors, there's no operation necessary, but the inactivity period is going to be long enough that by the time he ramps back up again, he probably won't be helpful and able to pitch for us this year," Hoyer said. "It's a bad break for him and for the club, but the good news is it wasn't serious enough to need surgery."

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Alzolay threw four shutout innings in his last start, on May 29, and struck out three. In eight starts at Iowa, he struck out 27 and walked 13 over 39 2/3 innings, compiling a 4.76 ERA.

Alzolay is currently resting in Arizona; the team will re-evaluate him later in the year and decide whether he will pitch in the Instructional League or Arizona Fall League, or possibly winter ball.

The Cubs had penciled in Alzolay to help late this season, but now they're looking elsewhere.

"With him, we had our eyes on two different things -- his development and obviously whether he'd be able to help us," Hoyer said. "He was certainly trending in that direction. We'll be on the lookout for depth in the rotation, depth in the bullpen no matter what. This underscores that a little bit.

"It's a setback for 2018, but we don't see it as a setback for his career. We love the makeup, love the stuff. We think he'll help us a lot in the future. Obviously, there's a setback and he'll need some development over the course of the winter and in the Minor Leagues because he will have missed a lot of time."

• Right-hander Yu Darvish, on the disabled list with inflammation in his right triceps, threw 35 pitches in his second bullpen session on Friday at Busch Stadium.

"You don't want to put too much importance into every single bullpen session, but he continues to feel good and we continue to move in the right direction," Hoyer said.

There is no timetable for Darvish's return, but he may be able to pitch before the All-Star break.

"I think there's a path to that," Hoyer said. "I think the path would have to be really smooth and everything would have to go right, but I do think there's a path to get back before the break."

Carl Edwards Jr., sidelined with inflammation in his right shoulder, played catch on Friday for the third time since going on the DL and has yet to throw off a mound.

"The important thing from both these guys is that we get them healthy and get them right," Hoyer said. "We're hoping to play seven months, and we're hoping for no setbacks. In both cases we're trying to be as cautious as possible."

• Cubs top Draft pick Nico Hoerner was finishing his final exams at Stanford this week, so he has yet to finalize his contract with the team. He still has to take a physical as well.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Adbert Alzolay, Yu Darvish, Carl Edwards Jr.