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Latest starting rotation taking final form

7/18/2014

PHOENIX -- Heading into the All-Star break, the Chicago Cubs had questions regarding who would fill the final two spots in the starting rotation. Half of that equation was resolved before Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, when manager Rick Renteria announced Kyle Hendricks is his fourth starter.

Hendricks will make his second start of the year on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. How long he holds the job after that is yet to be determined.

"I think the thought is to allow him to slot into that spot and see how he does," Renteria said.

The rookie right-hander made his major league debut on July 10 against the Cincinnati Reds. Early nerves appeared to initially get the best of Hendricks, as he allowed three runs in the first inning. However, the 24-year old showed poise by settling down and allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings.

The final spot in the rotation has not been announced, and Renteria won't need to do so for almost two weeks, as the break and an off day Monday afford him time until a fifth starter is needed. That player is expected to come from the group of Dallas Beeler, Tsuyoshi Wada and recently acquired Dan Straily.

"Yes, we'll have to start making some adjustments to the roster, obviously, because we need the fifth starter also," Renteria said. "But once we see where we are at and how everyone's health is, we'll sit down and have that conversation and let everyone know. We're close to where we're at, right now; I just don't want to say."

Rookie infielder Arismendy Alcantara could end up being the victim of a numbers game despite his impressive five-game audition. Alcantara was initially expected to play two games in place of Darwin Barney, who was away on paternity leave. However, Alcantara is hitting .391, albeit with a small sample size, and is 9-19 in his past four games, which makes the decision whether or not to send him back to Triple-A Iowa before Tuesday's game a tough one.

"Obviously, he's been playing very, very well," Renteria said of Alcantara, who is at second base and batting second Friday. "Fortunately for me, we have three days and then the off day before we have to decide how we are going to proceed with the roster.

"I think we still have to have conversations to see how we'll go, but he is playing very well. It’s one of those situations that is still day to day, and we'll see how we proceed."

Bonifacio return draws closer

Cubs utility man Emilio Bonifacio is getting closer to returning from a right rib-cage injury. He played nine innings yesterday and has an off day today. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 13.

"He has a few more games to see where he is at," Renteria said. "We'll see how he is doing with his at-bats, but he is getting close."

Clubhouse notes: The Cubs announced the signing of their 35th-round pick, left-handed pitcher Jordan Minch, out of Purdue. Chicago has signed 27 of their 40 draft picks. … Catcher Yorvit Torrealba asked for and was granted his release from the organization today.