Cubs shuffle roster, call up Robel Garcia


Robel Garcia has turned more than a few heads with his bat in the Cubs farm system this season. Now, he’ll get his chance to show what he can do at the big-league level.

Before Wednesday's game in Pittsburgh, the Cubs announced they are calling up Garcia from Triple-A Iowa. In a corresponding move, reliever Dillon Maples was sent back down to the minors.

Garcia is not in the Cubs' starting lineup on Wednesday, however.

Garcia has yet to appear in an MLB game, though he played minor league ball with the Indians from 2010-13. Before signing a minor league contract with the Cubs on Oct. 31, 2018, he played professionally in Italy.

Despite his long time away from professional baseball stateside, Garcia has put up a dominant season at the plate with Double-A Tennessee and Iowa in 2019.  The switch-hitting 26-year-old holds a combined .285/.364/.594 slashline with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs in 72 games. He’s hit 15 home runs since getting promoted to Iowa on May 9. However, Garcia also has struck out 90 times in 256 at-bats, including 68 times in 178 at-bats with Iowa.

Garcia has played all around the field in 2019, making appearances at first base, second base, third base, shortstop and recently in left field. His most appearances have come at third base (37 games) and second base (22 games).

Entering Wednesday’s game against the Pirates, Cubs second basemen hold a combined .211/.296/.343 slashline, all team lows, by position (outside of pitchers). Garcia could be in the second base mix, but he'll likely bounce around the field, as the Cubs already have three other options at second base in David Bote, Daniel Descalso and Addison Russell.

In fact, Garcia started in left field in his last six games with Iowa. After designating Carlos Gonzalez for assignment last week, the Cubs now have just three outfielders on the 25-man roster in Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr. and Jason Heyward.

Kris Bryant has played 12 games in left field this season and 20 in right field, but with Bryant out of Wednesday's lineup, Willson Contreras is making his first MLB start in right field. In Garcia, the Cubs now have a Ben Zobrist-esque player who is capable of playing multiple positions. This isn't to say Garcia and Zobrist are the same player, though, of course.

Garcia isn’t currently on the Cubs 40-man roster, but the team doesn’t have to make an additional move to clear space for him there. The Cubs have two openings on the 40-man roster, as Carlos Gonzalez was designated for assignment last week and Tony Barnette was placed on the restricted list on Monday.

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