B-Jax, Watkins, and Rusin Lead Cubs to Victory at Fitch Park

Brett Jackson reached base three times on a single, a double, and a HBP, scored a run, and knocked in another, Logan Watkins belted a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a six-run 5th, and Chris Rusin threw six innings of three-hit ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and despite three hits by Rubi Silva and two each by Matt Szczur and Rafael Lopez, five pitchers combined to throw a ten-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) blanked the Tennessee Smokies 6-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Getting ready for the PCL season, starting pitcher Chris Rusin was in the I-Cubs lineup and got three ABs, ripping an RBI single through the box in the 4th, and then walking and scoring in the six-run 5th. (Rusin was a DH at the U. of Kentucky on days he wasn't pitching).

"Super-sub" Jonathon Mota played seven innings at 3rd base for Tennessee on Field #2, before moving over to Field #3 and playing two innings at 2nd base for Iowa. It would appear that Mota (who can play any position on the field) might be employed as a player-coach at either Tennessee or Iowa, going on the DL and coaching 1st base when he is not needed (he had TJS in 2012, so the DL excuse will probably be shoulder-related), and then getting reinstated whenever a warm position-player body is needed.

Several players from the Boise/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training) saw action in the later innings of the two games, including Reggie Golden, Xavier Batista, Trevor Gretzky, Garrett Schlecht, Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):


1, Matt Szczur, LF-DH: 2-4 (1B, 6-4 FC, 1B, F-8)
2. Anthony Giansanti, 2B: 0-4 (K, F-8, F-9, 6-3)
3. Rubi Silva, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 2B, 1-3, CS, PO)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, K, K, K)
5. Christian Villanueva, DH-3B: 0-4 (K, P-3, K, L-8)
6. Rafael Lopez, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K, 2B)
7. Johermyn Chavez, RF: 1-4 (K, F-7, 2B, F-8)
8a. Jonathon Mota, 3B: 0-3 (K, F-7, K)
8b. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Elliot Soto, SS: 2-3 (1B, F-9, 1B)

1. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 87 pitches (60 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. A. J. Morris: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Ryan Searle: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO

1. C Rafael Lopez - E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
2. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
3. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (fielding error allowed unearned run to score)

Rafael Lopez: 1-3 CS, 1 E (see above)


1a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (BB, 3-U, K, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
1b. Jonathon Mota, PH-2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-4 (L-8, 1B, 2B, 5-3, HBP, R, RBI)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-5 (K, 1B, 6-3, K, K)
4. Brad Nelson, 1B: 1-3 (2B, F-8 SF, BB, K, K, R, 2 RBI)
5a. Darnell McDonald, LF: 0-1 (F-8, BB)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, PH-LF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, R, RBI)
6a. Brian Bogusevic, RF: 1-3 (4-3, P-2, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Garrett Schlecht, PH-DH: 0-1 (K)
6c. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
7a. Luis Flores, C: 1-4 (F-7, 2B, F-8, 5-3, R)
7b. Lance Rymel, C: NO AB
8. Tim Torres, SS: 1-3 (3B, 4-3, BB, K, R)
9a. Chris Rusin, P-DH: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, BB, R, RBI)
9b. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-0 (HBP)

1. Chris Rusin: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 85 pitches (55 strikes), 9/3 GO/FO
2. Esmailin Caridad: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 33 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Rafael Dolis: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes)

1. P Chris Rusin - E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 3B Josh Vitters - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. P Rafael Dolis - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd)


WEATHER: Mostly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80's



Golden in Mesa? Zowie?

-edit- oops, already covered.

"Padres released OF Kyung-Min Na."

half of the rizzo/cubs trade...a very minor half.

Brett Jackson has looked very good at the plate since coming back from his shoulder injury a few days ago.

He hit three more rockets today. And no strikeouts. 

FWIW, if the Cubs wait until at least June 12th to recall Jackson, he can't be a FA until post-2019. (The Cubs had a similar situation with Anthony Rizzo last season). 

Sounds like they should wait that long anyway, just to keep him comfortable with the new approach he's said to be using at the plate. I've always in my own mind compared him as a prospect to C Pat. C Pat seemed to have absolutely no baseball instincts, but raw talent. B Jackson in my mind has very good baseball instincts out there and I really hope he has turned it around. But I'm also in the mode of, let's see how he does after a sustained number of at bats.

The big league club and organization actually has enough OFs, so it's the best-case scenario on how to handle Jackson this year. If he's thriving, no need to rush him before June. If he's adapting, maybe he'll be ready to come up for good in September. If he's stinking, they can just release him or trade him for spare parts after the season.

Minor League Camp is mostly about downward roster movement, but there were a couple of promotions at Minor League Cap today:

Anthony Giansanti (who can play RF-LF-3B-2B-1B-C) was moved up to Tennessee from Daytona, and C Luis Flores was moved up to Iowa from Tennessee. 

Also, 1B Justin Bour, OF Johermyn Chavez, C Jair Fernandez, and OF-IF Rubi Silva were moved down to Tennessee from Iowa, and SS Javier Baez, 1B-3B Dustin Geiger, and OF Jorge Soler were moved down to Daytona from Tennessee.



Looking at the Iowa pitching staff, there are a bunch of AAAA pitchers that will have to be sorted out real soon. Also, not one loogy in that bullpen group.

Happy Opening Day 2013

Remember Cubs fans, it could always be worse.

Nick Cafardo reviews the NL: Nats, Reds, Giants as first place teams. NL Central has Reds, Brewers, Cards, Pirates, Cubs.
His Boston bias isn't showing in the AL East prediction (except for picking the Yankees 5th)...Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees. Other AL 1st place teams: Tigers and Angels.

5. Chicago

The rebuilding continues. The Cubs may be able to sell off Alfonso Soriano, Matt Garza (on DL), and closer Carlos Marmol. Some of the future — 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Welington Castillo, 2B Darwin Barney, and SS Starlin Castro — is present, as is some of the pitching, with Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, and Travis Wood. The next wave of prospects is about a year or two away.

Chemistry rating: 4 — Good vibe for a transitional team.

per Trib/Sully...

The Cubs won't decide until Monday whether to put second baseman Darwin Barney on the 15-day disabled list.

Alberto Gonzalez, the last infielder sent down to minor league camp, will likely replaced Barney on the roster if Barney is unable to play for an extended period. Brent Lillibridge will start at second on Monday.

The Cubs are also expected to announce Hisanori Takahashi's contract has been purchased, leaving the left-hander as the final addition to the bullpen.


Robinson Crusoe DFA'd by Rays.

...somewhere, Jim Hendry smiles over his plate of pasta.

S.Baker to the 60-day DL...see you in very late May or early June, guy.

doh...and sigh...


"If Florida Gulf Coast's Chris Sale had dropped to the 15th spot, the Cubs would have selected him. But after the White Sox claimed Sale at No. 12, the Cubs selected Simpson, who had agreed to a pre-draft deal."

That draft was odd. Sale clearly was the best bargain and the quickest to the majors. Harper was the obvious #1 pick, Manny Machado was #3. The Cubs now have the #6 pick in that draft in Barret Loux. It's not like there were prospects that have gotten to the majors quickly after the Cubs pick. Not defending Simpson, which was one of those picks that everyone else but the Cubs considered a huge reach. Some bad Cubbery there too since Mononucleosis is one of those illnesses that leaves some residual for a long time. Zack Lee was at the bottom of that 2010 draft (now with Red Sox from Dodgers but was discussed in last years negotiations with LA regarding Dempster).


He would be a perfect cub pitcher, especially with the arm surgery he will be having.

Recent comments

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  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.

  • most likely cost sharing + the league is short on players anyway. not many teams are chipping in on 'advanced instructional.'

  • I'm glad this is a one game playoff coming up, because McCutchen is one of my favorite MLB players. And as a baseball fan, I rather like the Pirates. I hope we beat them bad, of course. No mixed feelings here. And, I don't want a nail biter. Too old for that shit. The team of moran fans is easy to hate, though, and more suitable for a longer series.

  • A Jurickson Profar sighting!!!!???

  • I'd guess Jackson over Coghlan for the defense.

    EDIT: Now that I think about it, is Jackson a better defender?

  • Less stress on the pitching staff?

  • I recall earlier this season when the Cubs played Bryant in center instead of left due to the weirdness that is the PNC outfield.

  • AZ Phil, what is the reason the Cubs are co-oping this team? They seem to have plenty of talent that would fill a roster.

  • RF is actually easier to play than LF in PNC so I'd guess Schwarber is there and that's why he was playing it Friday but yeah I'd say that's hopefully accurate.

  • Guess for Wednesday's lineup: Fowler (CF), Schwarber (LF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo (1B), Castro (2B), Montero (C), Russell (SS), Arrieta (P), Coughlan (RF)

  • Dusty already has blue and red wrist bands.

    /cmon dude