MESA, AZ — One of the most exciting players for the Cubs during the 2022 season was a rookie who

But in 2023, fans are going to have to wait a little bit to see Christopher Morel at Wrigley Field.

Per the MLB transaction wire, the outfielder won’t be on the Opening Day roster as he was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Monday, three days ahead of the season opener against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

In the same transaction, the Cubs also waived reliever Rowan Wick.

Morel played in 22 spring training games in the Cactus League over the last month hitting .269 with four homers and eight RBI but did have 24 strikeouts in 52 at-bats with five walks. Going to Triple-A will give the outfielder a chance to get a few more plate appearances than he might have gotten in the majors early in the season.

Cubs fans might remember something similar happening with Nico Hoerner in 2021 when the team sent him to Triple-A in order to get more at-bats than he would have gotten on the big league level. The infielder was called up before the end of April.

Making his debut on May 17, 2022 against the Pirates at Wrigley Field, Morel started his career with a homer in his first at-bat. He’d stay with the Cubs for the rest of the season, sporting a slash line of .235/.308/.453 with 19 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, and 47 RBI in 113 games.

There was a thought that Morel could remain at the big league level to start the year since Seiya Suzuki continues to recover from an oblique strain that’s kept him out of most of spring training. But the club will send the talented young outfielder to the minors to start the season.