Cubs prospect Bryant having strong season in Minors

CHICAGO -- Top Cubs prospects Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are headed to Minnesota to play in Sunday's Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field.

Bryant, who was selected with the second overall Draft pick last year and is on the U.S. roster for Sunday, is hitting .346 this season with 31 home runs and 81 RBIs in 92 games with Triple-A Iowa and Double-A Tennessee.

Baez, the ninth overall pick in 2011, has played 84 games at Iowa, where he's hitting .240 with 14 homers, 55 RBIs and 35 extra-base hits. Baez is on the World roster for Sunday's game.

The duo, also listed as the top two Cubs' prospects by Baseball America, wrapped the first half of Iowa's season with a 7-4 win over the Oklahoma City Red Hawks on Friday.

Alcantara maintains torrid pace, plays solid center

ATL@CHC: Renteria on Alcantara, Jackson's performance

CHICAGO -- The chatter surrounding Cubs callup Arismendy Alcantara continued Saturday after the 22-year-old shifted from second base to center field and scored two runs while going 2-for-5 in the Cubs' 11-6 loss to the Braves.

"It's awesome, something special to me," he said afterward. "This has been my dream. It's something I can't explain to you. It's something you're looking for."

After the game, the Cubs held their stance of not confirming the status of the talented rookie, in terms of whether he'll be sent back to Triple-A Iowa after the All-Star break to make room for more starting pitchers. Manager Rick Renteria wouldn't even confirm if Alcantara would be in the lineup in Sunday's series finale.

But that doesn't change Alcantara's belief that he's prepared to remain at the big league level.

"I feel I'm ready," said Alcantara, who is 7-for-18 with three RBIs through his first four Major League games. "I just try to do the same things every day. Just try to do my job."

After scoring the game-winning run in the Cubs' walk-off win on Friday, Alcantara led off Saturday's game with a double, then scored on an RBI liner to left by Justin Ruggiano. He crossed the plate again on a wild pitch in the fifth after singling to lead off the frame.

Alcantara also showed no struggles in adjusting to center field, despite 15-mile-per-hour-plus winds at Wrigley Field. Nine balls were hit his way on Friday, all of which he fielded with ease.

"He looked very smooth," Renteria said. "He's obviously an athlete, obviously has a feel, and [it] looks like reaction and routes, at least for this day, were good. Very composed. He gets there and he's got a good arm."

In his six-year Minor League career, Alcantara played across the infield with the exception of first base. He took the outfield for the first time just this year in 11 games with Iowa.

So which does he prefer -- second or center?

"It doesn't matter," Alcantara said. "I just want to be in the lineup."

Bonifacio off to hot start on rehab assignment

CHC@PIT: Bonifacio suffers injury on swing, exits

CHICAGO -- Emilio Bonifacio went 3-for-4 with three singles as the designated hitter in his rehab debut with the Arizona League Cubs, the organization's Rookie-level affiliate.

Bonifacio sustained a right oblique strain on June 12. Manger Rick Renteria said they are not rushing Bonifacio back, given the nature of his injury.

"That's something that we need to make sure that we're mindful of, because those types of injuries can be chronic over the long haul, can re-occur," Renteria said. "We're going to take it as slowly as we have to or as quickly as we have to; it just depends on how he's moving along."

Bonifacio is currently on the 15-day disabled list, and he has up to 20 days to work his way back onto the Major League roster.

"We'll just see where he's at on a daily basis and see how he's progressing and if he's pain free or if his strength is good, get him back into baseball fitness shape. There are a lot of factors. Thankfully, he's moving along fine.

Bonifacio, 29, hit leadoff for the Cubs in 56 of 61 games this year. He's compiled a .310 on-base percentage and batted .266 with a homer, 16 RBIs and 14 extra-base hits. He primarily played center field, but he also saw action at second base in 22 games.