Adbert Alzolay injury: Cubs place closer on 15-day injured list with forearm strain

The Chicago Cubs will be without their closer as they try to lock down a postseason spot. Chicago has placed righty Adbert Alzolay on the 15-day injured list with a forearm strain, the team announced Monday. Fellow righty Michael Fulmer has been activated off the injured list in a corresponding move. Fulmer missed the minimum of 15 days with a forearm strain of his own.

Alzolay, who stepped in as Chicago’s closer earlier this season, was recently held out of games for five days with an undisclosed physical issue. He returned to action Friday afternoon and threw a scoreless inning both Friday and Saturday, though obviously, all is not well with his arm. The injured list stint means Alzolay will miss at least 11 of the team’s final 18 games.

“Everybody’s dealing with something this time of year and you give guys days off,” Cubs manager David Ross told Marquee Sports Network about Alzolay’s recent physical issue. “You can try to rest them and stay away from them. When guys are dealing with stuff, you gotta give them a little bit of rest. Sometimes four days is better than 15.”

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The 28-year-old Alzolay has 22 saves this season and is 20 for 23 in save chances since taking over as closer full-time in mid-June. Ross figures to lean on Fulmer and fellow righties Mark Leiter Jr. and Julian Merryweather in the late innings and may employ a closer by committee rather than designate one set closer. Chicago’s bullpen looks like this now:

“It’s that time of year. We try to navigate as best we can. We try to fill holes,” Ross told Marquee Sports Network. “It’s my job to navigate that and take the heat if I need to. I make the dumbest moves in the world and why didn’t I throw this guy or that guy? Sometimes (there’s) stuff in this seat that you don’t want everybody to know. Protecting the players is everything.”

The Cubs enter Monday three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and two games up on the Arizona Diamondbacks for the third and final National League wild-card spot. They are 2.5 games up on a postseason spot in general. The Cubs go to Arizona for three games this coming weekend.

Forearm strains are a common symptom of elbow ligament trouble. Alzolay has never had Tommy John surgery, though he’s had several injuries throughout his career, including missing most of 2022 with a lat issue.

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