Alcantara optioned as Russell called up

Olt transferred to 60-day DL to make room on 40-man roster

Alcantara optioned as Russell called up

PITTSBURGH -- Infielder Arismendy Alcantara was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the Cubs' roster for Addison Russell on Tuesday. Manager Joe Maddon was excited about Alcantara when he first saw video of the versatile player this winter, predicting he could be another Ben Zobrist.

Alcantara, 23, who made the Opening Day roster this year for the first time in his young career, was 2-for-26 in 11 games with the Cubs. What does Alcantara need to work on? Confidence, Maddon said.

"A guy like that, his skills are fantastic," Maddon said. "With all of us, when our confidence is nicked a little, it can impact what we're doing."

Alcantara will likely play second base at Iowa. The Cubs are still waiting for Javier Baez to return following the death of his sister, Noely.

"I was told he was getting close to coming back," Maddon said of Baez. "From our perspective, we want him to take as much time as he felt was necessary. The kid was crushed by the moment, and we all grieve in different manners."

To make room on the Cubs' 40-man roster for Russell, third baseman Mike Olt was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Olt has a hairline fracture in his right wrist.

Extra bases:
• First baseman Anthony Rizzo has three stolen bases in 12 games; his single-season high is six, set in 2013. Does he have the green light?

"It certainly looks that way," Maddon said. "The thing about basestealing is it's about matchups and when it's in your favor or not. Some of those situations have been in our favor. He's done a nice job figuring that out."

Rizzo steals second

Rizzo said if he sees an opportunity, he'll take it.

"I'm not really slow," Rizzo said. "I kind of have a feel. If I get in scoring position, we put more pressure on the pitcher."

Plus, the Cubs' lineup has changed.

"They have to concentrate on throwing to No. 17 [Kris Bryant] now," Rizzo said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.