When Pete Crow-Armstrong walked into the visitors clubhouse Monday afternoon at Coors Field, plenty of familiar faces were ready to welcome him.
The Chicago Cubs called up Crow-Armstrong, their top prospect, ahead of their series opener against the Colorado Rockies. As they try to lock down a playoff spot, the Cubs have not shied away from giving opportunities to younger, less experienced players.
Standing in front of his locker stall where his new gray No. 52 road jersey hung as he got settled in, Crow-Armstrong exchanged hugs with Hayden Wesneski and Alexander Canario. The Cubs optioned Canario to Triple-A Iowa as the corresponding move. Left-hander Anthony Kay was designated for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for Crow-Armstrong.
When he crossed paths with first-base coach Mike Napoli and third-base coach Willie Harris, both former big leaguers told Crow-Armstrong to take it all in.
“I‘m sure there’s going to be an influx of information and stuff, but ultimately the game doesn’t change all that much,” Crow-Armstrong said Monday. “… I’m looking forward to being in the dugout with the guys.”
Crow-Armstrong wasn’t in the starting lineup Monday but made his major-league debut in the seventh as a pinch runner following Mike Tauchman’s leadoff single. He attempted to steal second base, which prevented Nick Madrigal’s grounder from becoming a double play ball, however, Crow-Armstrong was thrown out trying to steal third on a perfect throw and tag by the Rockies for the second out of the seventh. He stayed in the game and played center field.
Manager David Ross expects he will “get some starts mixed in.”
“Trying to slide him in, we’re not going to force anything,” Ross said. “We’ve got a group of guys that have gotten us here, but he can definitely help us out.”
Crow-Armstrong, 21, gives the Cubs elite defense and speed at all three outfield positions for the stretch run to the postseason. The timing of his call-up isn’t lost on Crow-Armstrong with 18 games left in the regular season. The Cubs entered Monday sitting in the National League’s second wild-card position.
“It’s special and it’s definitely something that I’ve had my mind on for just about all year,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I’ve tried really hard to stay present. But I think if you’re a determined person and if you’re a competitor that it’s hard not to think about situations like this. I’m here to play my part and I think they’ve got a really good thing here so however I can fit in, I’m glad to do it and however I can produce and provide, that’s all I’m really thinking about.”
Acquired from the New York Mets at the 2021 trade deadline for shortstop Javier Báez and right-hander Trevor Williams, Crow-Armstrong opened the year at Double-A Tennessee.
Since his promotion to Triple-A Iowa on Aug. 1, the left-handed-hitting Crow-Armstrong put up a .271 average, .350 on-base percentage and .829 OPS in 34 games.
The Cubs currently have four players on their 26-man roster who began in the season at the Double-A level or lower, all of whom Crow-Armstrong has played with this year: right-hander Daniel Palencia, left-hander Jordan Wicks, catcher Miguel Amaya and left-hander Luke Little.