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Hoyer: 'It's time for Mendy to play'

7/23/2014

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer came up with a twitter hashtag without even knowing it Tuesday as the organization turned the page on veteran Darwin Barney while further solidifying newcomer Arismendy Alcantara's status.

"It's time for Mendy to play," Hoyer said after designating Barney for assignment. "He'll play second, he'll play center, but I think he'll be in the lineup every day."

"#MendyTime" may or may not catch on, but Alcantara will get every chance to be a regular as the Cubs head toward 2015. On Tuesday, manager Rick Renteria had him batting second and playing center field behind fellow switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio, who was at second base. The two can flip-flop positions any time, though Alcantara is going to get more looks in the outfield.

"One of the things we feel strongly about is when we bring these guys up, they're going to play," Hoyer said. "We're not going to bring up these guys who are our future to share time or sit on the bench. Because he's a switch-hitter he can play every day."

That's the benefit of the doubt Alcantara will get since the Cubs don't have to worry about righty-lefty matchups as they did early in the season with Junior Lake and Mike Olt. Hoyer lamented the fact that there aren't that many left-handed pitchers in the division forcing those two to the bench. He didn't disagree that with the quantity -- and quality -- of infielders getting closer to being major-league ready, a more permanent move of Alcantara to the outfield exists.

"We don't expect him to come up here and set the world on fire," Hoyer said. "He'll have some great series like he did and some struggles like he did in Arizona. That's part of the process and will be with every one of the young guys we bring up."

Alcantara is hitting .286 after a 1-for-12 weekend in Phoenix, but he has six extra-base hits in eight games, showing the energy and pop he has displayed throughout his minor league career. Renteria was excited for Bonifacio's return from the disabled list, as the veteran's game is similar to Alcantara, minus the home run and gap power.

"In a sense he has a partner, so to speak, that's done what he's doing, so it's not bad that they're here at the same time," Renteria said. "Hopefully it's something that's a positive."

It might not be long before Alcantara surpasses Bonifacio as his talent seems to have a larger effect on the game.

As for Barney, he might go down in history as the first player to essentially lose his job after going on paternity leave. A two-day absence earlier this month opened the door ever so slightly for Alcantara, and he has kicked it in. The roster turnover for the Cubs continues as he will officially get his chance now.

"With Mendy, it's time to see that," Hoyer said.

#MendyTime.