The Cubs have announced to reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, that they have selected the contract of left-hander Anthony Kay. Right-hander Nick Burdi was transferred to the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster while righty Jeremiah Estrada was optioned to open a spot on the active roster. Earlier today, the club also placed lefty Brandon Hughes on the 15-day injured list due to left knee inflammation while recalling infielder Miles Mastrobuoni in a corresponding move, with Jordan Bastian of MLB.com among those to relay those moves.
Kay, 28, came to the Cubs in December when they claimed him off waivers from the Blue Jays. They put him back on waivers about a month later but were able to get him through, keeping him in the organization. He’s spent the year in Triple-A so far, tossing 28 innings over 23 appearances. He has a 4.50 ERA, 27.4% strikeout rate, 12.8% walk rate and 54.4% ground ball rate.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Kay got some big league experience with the Jays. From 2019 to 2022, he got into 28 games and logged 70 2/3 innings with a 5.48 ERA. He struck out a solid 23.5% of opponents and got grounders at a 44.4% rate but walked 11.6% of batters faced.
The Cubs had been operating for a while with Hughes as their only left-handed reliever. Now that this knee inflammation will put him out of action for a while, Kay will get another shot in the big leagues as the team’s lone southpaw in the bullpen. He has one option year remaining and could be sent back to Iowa at some point while still holding onto his spot on the 40-man. He has between one and two years of service time and could be cheaply retained for future seasons if he does indeed hang onto that spot.
As for Burdi, he had his contract selected in the middle of May but then went on the injured list May 24 due to appendicitis. He’ll now be ineligible to return until 60 days from that initial IL placement, or late July.