SURPRISE, Ariz. – Adbert Alzolay was speechless when finding out he made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. Manager David Ross announced on Saturday that the right-hander had made the team for the first time.
Even with a day to process the good news, it still hasn’t set for Alzolay that when the team heads back to Chicago on Monday, he’ll be joining them.
“When he called me to the office, anytime you go into the office you are kind of in between because, right now, they have really hard decisions to make. But when he called me and told me, ‘Congrats you made the roster.’ It just brought joy to me. I was so happy I couldn’t say anything. The only thing that I could say back to him was that I was so happy to be getting this opportunity.”
Alzolay will begin the season as the Cubs’ fifth starter and he’ll likely see time in both the starting rotation and the bullpen as the team closely monitors his innings.
“I’m getting what I have worked for,” Alzolay said. “For me, it’s a huge step forward in my career. I feel that all the work that I’ve been putting in with all these guys here are at the complex this past offseason and these years, I feel like that is paying off. Like I said before, that was my main goal [to make the Opening Day roster]. I wasn’t paying attention to everything that was talking around me. I didn’t put any of those thoughts in my mind.”
Alzolay’s earned rave reviews this spring around the organization for his preparation and dedication to making himself the best pitcher he can be. Nobody has been a bigger advocate for Alzolay than veteran Jake Arrieta, who was as thrilled as anyone his mentee had cracked the rotation.
“It’s a tremendous honor to make an Opening Day roster and for Alzolay to be in a rotation, very happy for him,” Arrieta said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him and watch him grow. He’s nowhere near where he’s gonna be and that’s a good thing.
“He’s in a great place, he’s only going to get better. He’s a tremendous student of the game. He prepares himself extremely well and there’s still room to grow.”
Cubs sign Maybin to minor-league deal
The Cubs signed outfielder Cameron Maybin to a minor-league deal on Sunday. Maybin, 33, will report to the Cubs’ alternate site in South Bend to begin the season.
There wasn’t a spot for Maybin on the team’s Opening Day roster after the team’s final roster decisions and he was granted his release on Saturday. But the organization holds Maybin in high regard for both his professionalism and influence in the team’s clubhouse.
“When you get to have guys like that around your group and on your team, it’s a positive,” Ross said. “When I got the news this morning about that, I was super excited. Happy to have him around. He likes being around. He’s a breath of fresh air every time you see him. He’s a quality human being, great baseball player. He’s done a lot in this game seeing winning, seeing losing. He knows how to talk to young guys. He relates to a lot of different things. He’s played a lot of different roles. I couldn’t be happier.”