Cubs Sign RHP Vinny Nittoli to MLB Deal, Will Be Active Thursday

Break out those finger purses. Seeking help for a beleaguered bullpen, the Cubs have signed right-handed reliever Vinny Nittoli to an MLB deal. Jeff Passan was first with the news and Meghan Montemurro confirmed the move, adding that Nittoli will join the Cubs in San Francisco for Thursday’s series finale. The righty was recently designated for assignment by the A’s and opted for free agency rather than being outrighted to Triple-A.

Nittoli pitched just eight innings over seven appearances with Oakland this season, over which time he allowed two earned runs with five strikeouts and two walks. He put up big strikeout numbers at Triple-A with 36 punchies in 23.1 frames, leaning primarily on a cutter/slider combo from a funky arm slot. The 33-year-old was with the Cubs in big league camp last season and tossed 20.2 innings over 16 outings for Iowa before catching on with the Mets.

“He’s got a little bit of a unique pitch mix,” Craig Counsell told reporters, saying the quiet part out loud. “It’s not velocity. He’s got to be a pitcher when he’s out there. It’s just depth in the organization. We’ll see how it goes.”

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Skip.

The Cubs will need to clear space on both the 40-man and active rosters, so we’ll have more on that shortly. Yency Almonte suffered a setback in his shoulder rehab and could head to the 60-day IL, then either Luke Little or Porter Hodge could be optioned to Iowa to facilitate Nittoli’s addition.

Ma che vuoi.

Update: Almonte has been placed on the 60-day IL but the active roster spot was opened by Javier Assad hitting the 15-day IL with a right forearm extensor strain. Depending on the severity of the issue, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to three months for Assad to work his way back. If it ends up being toward the long end, he could be done for the season.

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