The Cubs announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday afternoon, including the activation of Hector Rondon from the disabled list and the recalls of veteran infielder Munenori Kawasaki, right-hander Spencer Patton and prospect Albert Almora from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs also selected the contract of catcher Tim Federowicz from Iowa and designated right-hander R.J. Alvarez for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
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Rondon returns to the Cubs’ bullpen after spending about three weeks on the disabled list and brings an impact arm back to the team’s setup corps, helping to soften the blow of Pedro Strop’s extended absence. In 43 2/3 innings this season, Rondon has pitched to a 2.47 ERA with a stellar 51-to-6 K/BB ratio. He lost the closer’s gig when the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman and will return to the setup role in which he was largely excellent. Rondon served up four runs in 6 2/3 innings following Chapman’s acquisition, but all four of those runs came in one dismal outing. Aside from that hiccup, he made six scoreless appearances.
Almora has long been one of the Cubs’ top prospects and got his feet wet in the Majors earlier this season when he batted .265/.291/.422 across 86 plate appearances. Patton, meanwhile, has tallied 17 1/3 innings of 4.67 ERA ball out of the Chicago ’pen this season and has an excellent track record at Triple-A (2.51 ERA in 125 1/3 innings). And Kawasaki, of course, is something of a cult hero due to his gregarious personality and over-the-top exuberance in interviews. He spent a bit of the time with the Cubs earlier this season and has quite a bit of MLB experience with the Mariners and Blue Jays. He’s a .234/.315/.285 hitter in 715 big league plate appearances dating back to 2012.
Federowicz will return to the Cubs after being outrighted earlier this summer. He’s a career .194/.245/.297 hitter in 298 plate appearances between the Cubs and Dodgers and will add some catching depth, though the Cubs already have Willson Contreras, David Ross and Miguel Montero on the active roster.
Alvarez, 25, came to the Cubs via waivers earlier this year. He’s been involved in a pair of high-profile trades, going from the Angels to the Padres in package for Huston Street and also going from the Padres to the A’s alongside Jesse Hahn in exchange for Derek Norris. However, he hasn’t capitalized on the upside that made him a well-regarded arm in the Angels’ and Padres’ systems, compiling a 7.39 ERA in 28 big league innings from 2014-15 and struggling to a 7.00 ERA in 27 innings across three minor league stops in 2016.