The Cubs announced today that they have activated reliever Brandon Kintzler from the injured list and recalled infielder Addison Russell. In corresponding moves, outfielder Albert Almora and reliever James Norwood were optioned. (Via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune; Twitter links.)
It’s good news for the Chicago organization that Kintzler is already prepared to return from a pectoral injury. He looked like a financial weight around the team’s neck heading into the offseason, but has turned out to be a key steadying presence in the relief corps. He has thrown 46 1/3 innings of 2.33 ERA ball this year.
Russell is back after struggling in his return to the majors earlier this year. Since his demotion, Russell has been on a bit of a hot streak, even by the standards of the contemporary offensive haven of Triple-A. In 63 plate appearances over 15 games, he’s slashing .333/.413/.647.
Meanwhile, the decision to drop Almora comes after a long run of offensive difficulty. He’s slashing just .243/.275/.396 this year. His glovework has trended down as well, at least in the eyes of UZR and DRS, leaving him as a sub-replacement-level overall performer on the season. Almora has already crossed the line to 3+ years of MLB service, so he’ll be eligible for arbitration at season’s end. He’ll need to get to work on his offensive game if he’s to regain his standing with the organization.