MILWAUKEE — The Cubs reinstated reliever Manuel Rodriguez from the 60-day injured list Friday at the end of a four-month rehab process for a strained right elbow. The Cubs will continue to monitor his build-up in the big leagues.
”First of all, I want to show that I’m 100% healthy,” Rodriguez said through an interpreter. ”Once I do that, I just want to show that I belong, that I can be here with the team, that I can be out there whenever they need me and that I can stick with the team and stay here for the rest of the season.”
To make room on the active roster, the Cubs optioned reliever Kervin Castro to Triple-A Iowa and transferred right-hander Alec Mills (strained lower back) from the 15-day IL to the 60-day IL. Mills already has been on the injured list for almost eight weeks. Manager David Ross said he didn’t have a timetable for Mills’ return.
Rodriguez joined the big-league squad for the first time this season after beginning the year at Iowa. He had his first taste ofthe majors last season, when he posted a 6.11 ERA in 20 outings.
”He’s a guy that has had some success,” Ross said. ”He had some bumps in the road last year and put himself on the map. Throws hard, [he’ll] continue to develop as a pitcher. And the fact that he’s healthy now and back here, we’re all really excited about it.”
Rodriguez rehabbed at the Cubs’ spring-training complex in Mesa and appeared in two Arizona Complex League games before his rehab assignment at Iowa. He worked alongside right-hander Adbert Alzolay (strained right shoulder) in Arizona.
”It was a really good experience to be able to go through that with him,” Rodriguez said. ”I think that Adbert really helped me out with how he prepares, his work ethic and how with every pitch that he’s throwing he’s trying to dominate and know where he’s placing it and what he’s doing. So I think that helped me, and I think I’m going to take that now that I’m here in the big leagues.”
Alzolay, too, is progressing. He made his first rehab start in the ACL on Monday, throwing three innings of one-run ball. He’s scheduled to make his next start on Saturday for Iowa.
”He’s a completely different person,” Rodriguez said, complimenting Alzolay’s aggressive approach and improved strength. ”I think he’s going to be really good when he gets up here.”