Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. left Monday’s win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with an apparent calf injury.
Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. hit a bump in the road this week, still looking to win a starting role with the team out of spring training,
The Chicago rookie left the team’s 13-10 win on Monday with a calf injury; Almora fouled a pitch off his leg one week ago Tuesday and has had lingering soreness since. Despite the injury, Almora came up in the clutch this weekend, hitting a grand slam on Sunday.
"“It’s a pretty nice center field, those two guys,” Maddon told MLB.com. “Jon Jay is outstanding — I’ve been a latent Jon Jay fan over the last couple years. Combined, they’re going to be an outstanding center field.”"
Jay signed a one-year, $8 million deal with Chicago this offseason. He’s looking to revert back to his prime, when he was a quality outfield piece with St. Louis. For a manager like Maddon, Jay is particularly intriguing. Over the course of his career, he has no discernible splits against lefties or right-hander pitchers.
Offense key for his progression
This allows Maddon to deploy him as needed, pairing him with Almora in ways that give the Cubs more flexibility with the roster. Roster fluidity is a key concept in Chicago with countless players who can play multiple positions well – at a big league level.
Last postseason, Almora grabbed the national spotlight when he made a game-saving catch in Game 4 of the National League Division Series in San Francisco. Although he went hitless in the Cubs’ postseason run, as has been the case through the minors, he made his presence known defensively.
Bat control and plate discipline will be the biggest focal points when the Cubs assess Almora this spring. If he manages to improve offensively, he will have the chance to seize more playing time in the Chicago outfield.
"“More than anything, what makes [Almora] play right now is the adjustments he made in his swing, where it’s a much more functional big league swing and there’s more power in it,” Maddon said."
There is no reason to assume this is a long-term ailment. With rest and some down-time, Almora should be back tracking down fly balls in the Cubs’ outfield in no time.