The Cubs have claimed right-hander R.J. Alvarez off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics and optioned the 25-year-old to AAA Iowa.
He appeared in 21 games last season, but struggled mightily, allowing 22 earned runs in 20 innings pitched. Alvarez was on the 60-day disabled list after undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery to remove bone chips at the beginning of the season. He had just begun his rehab assignment and is expected to continue it in Iowa.
Alvarez struggled with control last season, walking 13 batters in the 20 innings he pitched at the big league level. The righty has good velocity—his sinker and four-seamer average 96 MPH. If he is able to work his way up to the bigs, he would likely serve as a middle reliever.