Cubs Roster Moves: Cubs Activate Nick Madrigal, Recall Michael Rucker, Anderson Espinoza, Claim RHP Kervin Castro Off Waivers

After a trade deadline that saw the Cubs’ biggest move, surprisingly, being their trade of Scott Effross to the New York Yankees, they have now made a variety of post-deadline roster moves.

Nick Madrigal has been activated off the IL, something we knew was coming. He slashed a healthy .309/.371/.394 in 12 games for the Iowa Cubs in his rehab assignment but has generally been a disappointment at the big league level for the Cubs, batting just .222 with 17 strikeouts over 31 games.

In addition, Michael Rucker and Anderson Espinoza have been recalled. And the Cubs have claimed RHP Kervin Castro off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

Here are the official press releases from the Cubs:

ST. LOUIS – The Chicago Cubs today reinstated infielder Nick Madrigal from the 10-day injured list and recalled right-handed pitchers Michael Rucker and Anderson Espinoza from Triple-A Iowa. Additionally, left-handed pitcher Steven Brault has been placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Madrigal, 25, landed on the 10-day injured list on June 15 (retroactive to June 12) with a left groin strain. Madrigal recently completed two rehab assignments with the I-Cubs from July 7-10 and 22-31, where he batted a combined .344 (11-for-32) with a double and three RBI in 10 games. The right-handed hitting infielder is batting .222 (24-for-108) with three doubles and two RBI in 31 games during his first campaign with the Cubs this season.

Madrigal was acquired by the Cubs from the White Sox, July 30, 2021, with right-handed pitcher Codi Heuer for right-handed pitcher Craig Kimbrel. Selected by the White Sox in the first round (fourth overall) in the 2018 draft out of Oregon State University, Madrigal owns a career .292 average (120-for-411) with 16 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 34 RBI in 114 major league games between the White Sox (2020-21) and Cubs (2022).

Rucker, 28, begins his fourth stint with the Cubs this season and has gone 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA (14 ER/24.0 IP) in 15 relief appearances. The righthander has walked eight and struck out 24, good for an average of 9.00 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Twice this season he has tossed a career high 3.0 innings, May 8 vs. the Dodgers and June 11 at the Yankees. In 10 appearances out of the bullpen with Iowa in 2022, he is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA (2 ER/15.1 IP).

Selected by Chicago in the 11th round of the 2016 draft out of Brigham Young University, Rucker made his major league debut with the Cubs last season and is 0-1 with a save and a 6.19 ERA (36 ER/52.1 IP) in 35 career relief appearances. Rucker is 21-14 with three saves and a 3.34 ERA (143 ER/385.2 IP) in 125 career minor league games (42 starts).

Espinoza, 24, is 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA (3 ER/9.2 IP) in three games out of the bullpen over four stints with the Cubs in 2022. The righthander made his major league debut during game two of the May 30 doubleheader against Milwaukee. He has tossed at least 2.2 innings and allowed two or fewer runs in all three of his outings.

Espinoza has split the rest of the season between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa, appearing in 15 games (13 starts) combined. On June 28 with Tennessee, he threw the first 5.0 innings of a combined no-hitter against Rocket City.

The six-foot, 190-pound Espinoza is in his second season with the Cubs organization after being acquired from San Diego for outfielder Jake Marisnick, July 30, 2021.

Brault, 30, has not allowed a run in 5.2 innings over five appearances out of the Cubs bullpen this season. The lefthander signed a minor league contract with the Cubs on March 21 after spending time in the Orioles (2013-14) and Pirates (2015-21) organizations.

ST. LOUIS – The Chicago Cubs today claimed right-handed pitcher Kervin Castro (pronounced kerr-VEEN) off waivers from the San Francisco Giants, and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. Castro was designated for assignment by the Giants yesterday.

Castro, 23, has appeared in 12 major league games out of the bullpen with the Giants since making his debut in 2021, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA (5 ER/15.0 IP). The righthander allowed only one unearned run in 10 appearances (13.1 IP) in 2021. He has split the 2022 season between San Francisco and Triple-A Sacramento, pitching in two games for the Giants (5 ER/1.2 IP) and 29 games for the River Cats, going 0-4 with a 5.57 ERA (20 ER/32.1 IP) and 32 strikeouts.

The six-foot Castro was signed by the Giants as an international free agent on July 2, 2015, converting from a catcher to pitcher prior to signing. He missed the majority of the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, but enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, going 5-3 with a 2.66 ERA (20 ER/67.2 IP) in 14 starts for Single-A Salem-Keizer, garnering Northwest League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star honors.

Castro, a Maracay, Venezuela native, entered the 2022 season ranked as the Giants’ No. 18 prospect per Baseball America and No. 19 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. All told, Castro has gone 14-9 with a 3.52 ERA (65 ER/166.0 IP) and one save in 87 career minor league games (14 starts), averaging 9.8 strikeouts per 9.0 IP and allowing only nine home runs in 699 batters faced.

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