Alexander Canario shattered his left ankle in three places and then dislocated his left shoulder in the ensuing tumble when he stepped on first base wrong during a Dominican Winter League game. Less than a year later, he’s been called up to the majors as rosters expand for September. It’s technically just a report at this point, but it’s a done deal. Also coming up is 34-year-old righty Shane Greene, who gives the Cubs a little more rotation depth for at least the immediate future.
Canario didn’t play his first game this season until June 15, and that was in the Arizona Complex League. He spent just 11 days there before being promoted to High-A South Bend, where he first busted out as a member of the Cubs organization, for less than two weeks. In 36 games with Triple-A Iowa, he batted .276 and hit eight homers with 35 RBI and 23 runs scored. Not bad.
Two of those homers came last week in Indianapolis while I was in attendance, and it’s clear the young man has power to spare.
A lot of folks may be disappointed that it wasn’t Pete Crow-Armstrong getting the call, but there’s still time for the elite defender to come up. He could use the everyday at-bats as he continues to adjust to high-level pitching, so just have patience. In the meantime, Canario offers the Cubs a right-handed power option in lieu of Patrick Wisdom and Christopher Morel. While Wisdom actually hit well with a 139 wRC+ in very limited action over the last month, Morel batted .149 with a 47 wRC+ and a 37% strikeout rate in 81 August plate appearances.
Greene has not been officially announced as the starter for the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, but Jordan Wicks is taking the first game and Javier Assad is scheduled to start on Saturday. With Marcus Stroman still out and a stretch of 14 games in 13 days coming up, David Ross needs all the help he can get in the rotation. Greene last pitched on August 27, so he’s on regular rest for Friday.
He could then turn around and take another start either next Wednesday against the Giants or Thursday against the Diamondbacks to keep the rotation humming. The Cubs won’t need five starters again for a while because they’re off both September 14 and 18, so Greene’s performance may determine whether he remains as a long man or is DFA’d to make room for another call-up like Ben Brown or Luke Little.
It’s a bit of a deep cut, but the Cubs were actually kicking the tires on Greene back in 2019 when he was serving as the Tigers’ closer. Kind of fitting that they are going to use him as a starter shortly after placing high-leverage reliever Michael Fulmer, former Rookie of the Year starter for Detroit, on the IL. And the snake eats its tale.
More to come…