Cubs place closer Alzolay on the 15-day IL and promote top prospect Crow-Armstrong from minors

DENVER (AP) — The Chicago Cubs placed closer Adbert Alzolay on the 15-day injured list Monday and promoted top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong from Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs also activated reliever Michael Fulmer from the IL before their 5-4 victory at Colorado in the opener of a three-game series. Outfielder Alexander Canario was optioned to Iowa, and left-hander Anthony Kay was designated for assignment.

The 28-year-old Alzolay has a forearm strain. The right-hander pitched a scoreless inning on Friday and Saturday against Arizona.

“I don’t think he felt like he can really help us right now, and that’s concerning when you feel that way as a competitor,” manager David Ross said.

The loss of Alzolay is a big blow for Chicago, which is fighting for playoff positioning in the NL standings. Alzolay has been the team’s most dependable reliever, going 2-5 with a 2.71 ERA and 22 saves in 25 chances during a breakout season.

“We’ll fill the gap with some of the guys we have down there,” Ross said of the closer role.

The 30-year-old Fulmer also was sidelined by a forearm strain. He got two outs Monday night for his second save of the season.

The 21-year-old Crow-Armstrong was selected by the New York Mets in the first round of the 2020 amateur draft. The speedy outfielder was acquired by Chicago in the July 2021 trade that moved Javier Báez to New York.

Crow-Armstrong hit .283 with 20 homers, 37 steals and 82 RBIs in 107 games combined with Double-A Tennessee and Iowa this season. He also is regarded as one of baseball’s best defensive outfielders.

“He earned the callup,” Ross said. “Big outfield here, definitely can play some defense, steal a base. He’ll get some starts mixed in; he can definitely help us out.”

Crow-Armstrong made his big league debut in the victory over the Rockies. He entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and was thrown out trying to steal third. He stayed in the game in center field.