Cubs Extended Spring Training Roster - Jimenez & Soler Go Deep at Riverview Park

Eloy Jimenez and Jorge Soler belted back-to-back tape measure solo home runs, and Jae-Hoon Ha walked twice, singled, stole two bases, and scored a run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Soler (hamstring rehab) was left behind in Mesa when his Tennessee Smokies teammates left town today, but he hopes to join them soon. He has been taking BP for the last few days, but today was his first game action in almost two weeks. The Cuban slugger played RF for all four innings and got three Plate Appearances, striking out (swinging) in his first two AB (and looking very rusty in the process), before unloading his game-tying monster dinger onto the roof of the clubhouse in the bottom of the 4th. 

JH Ha (broken wrist rehab) can hit, run, and field, but can't throw, so he served as a DH for both squads, getting a total of seven Plate Appearances over the course of the game. In addition to his single and two walks, Ha also reached base on an E-4 dropped infield pop fly, grounded into a 6-4 FC, flied out to CF, and popped out to the catcher in foul territory.

Tennessee SP Corey Black and Daytona SP Tayler Scott were the two pitchers, getting their final tune-up in Mesa in preparation for their first regular season starts next Sunday.

Iowa SP Kyle Hendricks and Kane County SP Juan Carlos Paniagua faced-off in a four inning "sim" game prior to the intrasquad game, likewise as a final tune-up for their first scheduled regular season starts next Sunday.

Tennessee SP Ivan Pineyro, Daytona SP Rob Zastryzny. and KC SP Jen-Ho Tseng were also left behind in Mesa to get work, since their first scheduled regular season starts aren't until next Monday.    

Here is the box score from this morning's intrasquad game:

SQUAD  "ALINEUP
X. Jae-Hoon Ha, DH #1: 0-4 (6-4 FC, E-4, F-8, P-2, R) 
NOTE: Ha batted in the top of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings 
1. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 2-2 (2B, 1B, R, RBI, 2 SB, CS)
2. Kevin Brown, 2B: 1-2 (1B, F-8)
3. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-1 (BB, F-8)
4. Varonex Cuevas, SS: 0-1 (4-3, BB, SB)
5. Roney Alcala, LF: 0-0 (BB, BB) 
6. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 0-2 (K, K) 
7. Tyler Alamo, DH #2: 0-2 (6-3, F-7) 
8. Mark Malave, C: 0-1 (E-5)
9. Zak Blair, DH #3: 0-1 (F-7)
10. Rashad Crawford, CF: 1-1 (1B, R, RBI, SB) 

SQUAD "B" LINEUP
X-1 Jae-Hoon Ha, DH #1: 1-1 (BB, BB, 1B, R, 2 SB)
NOTE: Ha batted in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings
X-2 Jorge Soler, RF: 1-3 (K, K, HR, R, RBI)  
NOTE: Soler batted in the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, and 4th innings
1. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-1 (BB, F-8, CS) 
2. Charcer Burks, CF: 0-1 (L-8)
3. Rony Rodriguez, DH #2: 0-1 (K) 
4. Giuseppe Papaccio, 3B: 0-1 (5-3) 
5. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 1-1 (1B, CS)
6. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-1 (K) 
7. Antonio Valerio, C 0-1 (4-3) 
8. Matt Scioscia, 1B: 0-1 (6-3) 
9. Eloy Jimenez, DH #3: 1-1 (HR, R, RBI) 

SQUAD "A" PITCHER
Corey Black: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 1 WP, 3/2 GO/FO, 84 pitches (47 strikes)

SQUAD "B" PITCHER:
Tayler Scott: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 2 K, 3/6 GO/FO, 80 pitches (52 strikes) 

SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE 

SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 2 
1. 3B Giuseppe Papaccio - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 2B Dalfis Ortiz - E-4 (dropped infield pop fly allowing batter to reach 2nd base safely) 

SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE
Mark Malave: 2-4 CS, 1 PB 

SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE
Antonio Valerio: 1-5 CS

CUBS EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING ROSTER (51 PLAYERS ACTIVE)

NOTEThe Extended Spring Training squad formed at the conclusion of Minor League Camp, and consists of players who were left behind in Arizona to provide a replacement cadre in case of an injury to a player at Kane County, Daytona, Tennessee, and/or Iowa during the first two months of the season, inexperienced players who are competing for jobs with one of the "short season" teams (Boise, AZL, Cubs, DSL Cubs, and VSL Cubs) that begin league play in May & June, and players (both MLB and minor league) getting into playing shape and/or rehabbing from an injury. 

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS (29): 
Adbert Alzolay
Frank Batista
Trevor Clifton
Josh Davis
* Alberto Diaz
Greyfur Eregua
Eduardo Figueroa
* Frailyn Figueroa
David Garner
Trevor Graham
Zak Hermans
Luis Hernandez
Corbin Hoffner
* Tyler Ihrig
Trey Lang 
Erick Leal
Dillon Maples (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Trey Masek
Jeferson Mejia
* Jose Paulino
Hector Perez 
* Anthony Prieto
Jasvir Rakkar
Brad Renner (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Alexander Santana
Duane Underwood
Michael Wagner
Ben Wells
* Sam Wilson (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)

CATCHERS (6):
Tyler Alamo
# Mark Malave
* Justin Marra
Rony Rodriguez (ex-OF)
* Alberto Mineo
Antonio Valerio

INFIELDERS: (8+2)
# Roney Alcala
* Zak Blair
# Varonex Cuevas
# Frandy de la Rosa (INACTIVE - neck injury suffered in off-season car crash)
Jesse Hodges
# Dalfis Ortiz
Giuseppe Papaccio  
Matt Scioscia
# Trevor Stevens (INACTIVE - right hand injury)
Gleyber Torres

OUTFIELDERS (8+2):
Jeffrey Baez
* Kevin Brown
Charcer Burks
* Rashad Crawford
#  Kevin Encarnacion (INACTIVE - burns & other injuries suffered in off-season car crash)  
Jae-Hoon Ha (ACTIVE REHAB)
Eloy Jimenez
* Ricardo Marcano
Jorge Soler (ACTIVE REHAB)
Casper Wells (INACTIVE - knee)

PITCHERS REHAB GROUP (7):
Marcelo Carreno (2013 shoulder surgery)
Jesus Castillo (2013 unknown-type injury)
Josh Conway (2013 elbow stress fracture)  
Pierce Johnson (hamstring)
Barret Loux (shoulder) 
Ryan McNeil (2013 TJS) 
Trey McNutt (shoulder) 

PRESENT STATUS/WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN (by me)
* Jeffry Antigua, P
Mike Hamann, P
* Michael Heesch, P (was with DAYTONA squad at Minor League Camp)  
Reinier Roibal, P (was with KC squad at Minor League Camp)
* Brian Smith, P 


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Comments

Marlins Opening Day lineup vs J. De La Rosa features Jeff Baker batting 2nd and C. McGehee batting cleanup

Can we trade lineups?

watching games on ESPN is an exercise in patience.

the jose fernadez's grandmother show...featuring a COL/MIA game.

Miami backwards is I maim.

the mike trout show is on now...featuring a SEA/LAA game.

...and he hits a HR in his 1st AB. this will surely not help focus in the announce booth.

I'm aware. Of course, since I live in Seattle, MLB doesn't want me to support my local team, so I can't watch the game.

reminder- MLB EI is free this time of year (and mid-season) for a week or 2.

ANAHEIM -- Angels hitting coach Don Baylor fractured his right femur while catching the ceremonial first pitch thrown by former outfielder Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day at Angel Stadium. He was taken to a hospital and will have surgery on Tuesday.

damn dude...i mean...damn...that's some freak injury stuff...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLPgznhPtCw

According to Kaplan twitter

Heyward, Bruce, Cargo and Headley have gone combined 0 for 24 with 14 k's vs Liriano.
Votto 2 for 10.

Maybe I was a little hard on Rizzo

Cherry-picking stats is not a compelling defense for Olt, Rizzo, and Castillo's performance. The appropriate defense is that it is just one game and Liriano was dealing.

Yeah, I'm not losing sleep over a couple of hitters getting shut down by Liriano. There are plenty more shutdowns to come!

Wait, that's not the defense I wanted to make...

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1138

Outside of the big 4 + Alcantara, who impressed you the most from the Cubs back field scouting?

Jason Parks: Jen-Ho Tseng. I really liked the profile. The FB showed plus velocity and life; the CB was tight and thrown for strikes. Advanced pitchability. Based on what I saw in camp, I would put him in the Cubs top ten.


Who finishes with more MLB HRs? Javier Baez or Kris Bryant?

Jason Parks: Career? Baez.


With the recent decision by the Cubs to try Javier Baez out at second base, does this open up third for Kris Bryant for the next few years?

Jason Parks: I think its about having options. You could try Baez out at third, but you already have Olt and Villanueva ahead in the queue--which should be considered a strength in the upper minors/majors, not to mention Bryant; although I think his long-term home will be in a corner OF spot. As an org, if you can fill a weakness from a position of strength, you explore those options. Baez needs more time in the minors, but there is going to come a time when he is ready to attack the major league level, and when that time comes, you have to play him somewhere. You might as well prepare for that outcome by getting him reps at a position of weakness in the short-term regardless of your long-term plans or projections for the player. It's smart baseball.

So Rob, is Baez getting reps at second in Iowa? You'd know more than I. I thought I read they're keeping him at short for some unknown absurd reason.

"He projects as a major-league SS" is not an absurd reason for keeping someone at short. It's a good reason. They may want to trade him or the other guy, and shortstops have more value than 2Bs.

They may want to trade him? Explain.

I think they'll trade Castro, but first they'll try to recoup some of the 30% to 40% of his value that Castro has lost on their watch. They know Castro is a slow learner, but maybe with Sveum gone he'll be a quick unlearner and revert to 2011 form.

Not that Baez is their type either, with his 3.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season. McLeod has admitted that he wasn't going to take Baez in 2011 even if he had drafted 9th rather than 10th. (I'm not sure why McLeod would want to say this publicly, but there it is. )

(Edit: I originally had Baez's K-to-BB at 4.3 to 1, but that was actually Castro's in 2013.)

Trade Baez?

I think Mike Wellman would know better than any of us, but as far as I know, he'll be playing SS most of the time, probably with an occasional 2B stint or at least some pre-game work.

Season starts tonight for Iowa.

Also from article referenced above

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?ch...

Over or under 700 career HRs for Baez and Bryant combined

Jason Parks: Over.

What? April Fool joke, total for all levels, or MLB HRs?
By comparison, Santo + Sandberg = 624

Under

certainly be an accomplishment, but possible. Sandberg got regular playing time at age 22, but didn't find power until age 24 and skipped a year and a half.. Santo was a full-timer by age 21, but ended his career at 34.

Obviously he's being extremely optimistic, but doesn't sound implausible and I think Bryant and Baez profile with more power than Santo and Sandberg respectively. Both should be regulars by next season imo (age 23 and 22 respectively).

jed hoyer did an april fools announcement on "Intentional Talk" naming k.millar a special assistant to the cubs.

chris rose didn't fall for it.

also, jed hoyer evidently uses an ancient flip phone with camera.

cc.sab and the D behind him are making the astros look like world champions.

17 pitches, 1 out, 4 runs in for HOU.

I know the Cubs minor league facilities in Mesa and the Dominican are state of the art. Does anyone know what kind of setup the Cubs have in Venezuela? The political unrest is pretty scary there.

Ex-Cubs playing elsewhere: 

MEXICAN LEAGUE:
Esmailin Caridad, RHRP  
Jake Fox, C-IF-OF 
Sean Gallagher, RHSP 

JAPAN (NPB): 
Michael Bowden, RHRP 
Chris Carpenter, RHRP 
Kosuke Fukudome, RF 
Matt Murton, LF
Cody Ransom, 3B

KOREA (KBO)
Felix Pie, OF  

 

Garza had a no-hitter through 6.2 IP before a Chris Johnson HR

Harang still has a no-hitter through 6

Shouldn't Lake and Olt be playing most of the time at least?
Ok..it's game #2, but is Morton that tough on righties?...Ok... so he was last year. I'm shutting up...

Is the line up out?

Bonafacio 2B
Valbuena 3B
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Kalish LF
Jackson P
Sweeney CF
Castillo C

batting your pitcher 7th...bold

Muskat has it as Bonifacio, Valbuena, Castro, Rizzo, Schierholtz, Sweeney, Castillo, Kalish, Jackson

whatever notion Renteria has that he's actually gonna win or effect games with rather trivial lineup juggling needs to get put to bed soon.

Play the youngsters, let them suck, hope they adjust...and stop bunting.

Lol. Whoops...not sure how I did that

Double steal?

"Archer, Rays agree to $25.5 million, 6-year deal"

and the take away...

''It seems like this was the first team that I've ever really played for that really believed in me and was willing to wait an extra year or two for me to really turn into what I could possibly be,'' Archer said.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/archer-rays-agree-25-...

The Iowa Cubs have not released their Opening Day roster, but last Sunday (3/30) this was the Iowa Cubs Active Roster (28 players plus Edgar Gonzalez INACTIVE as a player-coach): 

* Bats or throws left
# Bats both

PITCHERS: 16
Frank Batista
Dallas Beeler  
Casey Coleman
Marcus Hatley
Kyle Hendricks
* Tommy Hottovy
* Eric Jokisch 
Marcos Mateo  
Yoanner Negrin
Blake Parker
Carllos Pimentel
Neil Ramirez
* Zac Rosscup
* Chris Rusin
* Jonathan Sanchez 
* Tsuyoshi Wada 

CATCHERS: 2
Luis Flores
Eli Whiteside

INFIELDERS: 6+1
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Lars Anderson
Javier Baez  
Edgar Gonzalez (INACTIVE - player-coach)
Chris Valaika
Christian Vllanueva
* Logan Watkins

OUTFIELDERS: 4
* Chris Coghlan
* Brett Jackson
Matt Szczur
Josh Vitters

Darnell McDonald had disappeared by Sunday (may have been released), and outfielders Mitch Maier and Casper Wells are INACTIVE (injured) and will probably start the season on the I-Cubs DL while rehabbing at Riverview Park, although an injured player signed to a minor league contract can be released and be owed only two-weeks salary as termination pay as long as the player is released no later than the 14th day after Opening Day (that's why the Cubs should have signed James McDonald to a minor league contract).  

Jae-Hoon Ha is on the Iowa roster but he is presently on ACTIVE REHAB at Extended Spring Training (he can hit, run, and field, but he is not cleared to throw yet), and he will start the season on the Iowa 7-day DL.   

The I-Cubs had 16 pitchers on their roster last Sunday (three more than they will carry), but Frank Batista was left behind at Extended Spring Training (although he is NOT injured), and so that leaves 15 pitchers. It's possible that Carlos Pimentel could get moved-down to AA Tennessee (which had only 12 pitchers listed on their provisional Opening Day roster), where he can get starts until Pierce Johnson (hamstring rehab) is ready to join the team. It's also possible that the Cubs will loan Yoanner Negrin and/or Frank Batista to a team in the Mexican League if there is no room for them at Iowa (the Cubs did this with Negrin in 2012). 

 

exciting infield, terrible looking outfield

be nice if Vitters would do something to make him tradeable...seems like a prime change of scenery dude.

pitching goes 2-deep in terms of guys worth watching (Hendricks and Ramirez).

e.jokisch is boring, but effective...with a surprising amount of Ks behind the low velocity junk in his arm.

fastball/change heavy, but both work well...cutter...

aside from his past history in the minors, he did damn well in intra-squad as well as "stats count" spring training work this spring.

he could emerge as a solid middle/end rotation guy even if he struggles to push his fastball to 90mph.

just released

http://www.milb.com/documents/1/7/0/70727170/04.02.14_r71mvabl.pdf

besides F. Batista, D. Beeler and Hottovy seem to be somewhere else.

Dallas Beller is not on the Iowa 25 man roster????

speaking of our Renteria, if he's playing to win this early, wouldn't you start Baker vs. the righty today and Castillo vs. the lefty tomorrow since it's a day game after a night game?

boni picked off...again.

this team is gonna steal and bunt it's way to the world series...woo.

Maybe Rickey and his 1B coach should instruct Bonifacio to take shorter leadoffs. That's two CS in two games.

JD just said Morton dropped a deuce on Jackson.

teehee

I noticed that too...bit of awkward silence, then continued broadcast.

Through 13 innings of batting, the Cubs have 10 hits, and Bonifacio has 6.

Lock him up to Cabrera like contract

If Starlin doesn't learn to lay off pitches low and out of the strike zone, in situations everybody knows he's going to get one low and out of the strike zone, the Starlin Castro era is going to be over very soon.

why the hell was boni smiling and getting high 5s when returning to the dugout after popping out to CF and not advancing any of the runners on base?

there's a limit to a positive and supportive workplace. =p

He didn't get picked off?

oh castro...

sigh.

signed through 2019 with an option for 2020...c'mon guy.

Well done Castro - that was very Roger Dorn-esque. Strong start to the bounce back season.

renteria wins a challenge...cubs gain a run because of it.

2 and 1/2 minutes for this one.

the next inning starts with a challenge...and it took 4m40s...and they got the call wrong (ruled a foul when it didn't even hit the bat).

these challenges can really grind the game down to a full on stop in momentum...meh.

I already am tired of challenges.

boni with back to back 4 hit games to start the season. swank.

CUBS TIE WITH VALBUENA! WOO.

lol...boni being intentionally walked with 1 out, a man on 2nd, and valbuena due up (with a righty pitching). he's turning to the cubs dugout and smiling/laughing about it.

valbuena Ks...and a double steal happens. why lake is stealing 3rd when he's the go-ahead run in the top 11th is a mystery, though.

...and castro swings at a 3-0 pitch outside breaking pitch...and misses. *golf clap* ...and then pops out to CF. end of the cubs part of the inning.

With Castro on deck knew the only chance for a run was to get him to third and pray for a wild pitch.

Strong open to the season for our franchise player.

Not sure Castro is ready to play big-time baseball just yet. He didn't really have a spring training -- most of his ABs were against minor league pitching.

rizzo HR! 3-2, top 12.

W00t!

Marmollery....

veras continuing a recently long tradition of cubs-cardiac-closers.

men on 1st and 3rd, 2 out...trying to protect a 1 run lead.

oh boy...tie game.

damn...bases loaded...2 outs...3-2 count...mcclutchen Ks.

drama, yo.

We will look back in October and realize just how critical that K was.

13th inning...travis wood is pinch hitting.

2014 cubs...catch the ebola.

Ricky Rents off to great start -- has Barney (Darwin Barney!) swing away in a bunt situation, and has to use T.Wood as a pinch hitter. Surprisingly, neither move was particularly effective.

It's great that he speaks Spanish and all, but, were there any baseball questions in the interview?

Thank god we don;t have to live with the Marmol roller-coaster any longer.

bases loaded 0 out...so awesome.

...and we had another 2+ minute delay to review a call. now renteria has the entire IF and part of the OF (lake) on the mound in a meeting...and lake joins the IF as part of a 7-man infield. the 2 OF'rs are playing a bit deep considering the setup.

double play! ...though for some reason j.lake was playing 3rd on that "extra infielder" setup. whatever.

Did he have a 1b glove?

Glow in the dark neon rosary?

j.lake needs to get a more laid back one like boni's.

boni's got 5 hits tonight...his obviously works better.

No kidding!! Haha. I do wonder if MLB will put restrictions on them ... only thing I think MLB will restrict is how low they hang ... it borders on being a distraction that actually hangs off the body.

officially the longest MLB game to take place @PIT.

neat.

why in the hell was lake playing on the warning track in LF?

playing "no doubles" is one thing, but that was weird.

tabata goes 1st to 3rd standing up on a single.

...and PIT wins on a single following it. awesome. back to back walkoff victories for PIT...back to back losses for c.villanueva.

That Rizzo at bat was a sight for very sore eyes. They were trying to make him bail on some outside stuff and he wouldn't bite, and when he kind of needed to swing at a marginal pitch he fought it off and teed it foul. Even his next at bat he almost got one again. Just didn't get enough wood on it.

I thought Bonifacio was supposed to Barneyesque hitting wise but he seems to have an idea what he's doing up there. Maybe he's in a zone but his last hit especially I wasn't expecting. I can't remember the pitch this morning but it seemed like a good one at the time.

I know he missed spring training but Castro is freaking me out a little. It wouldn't bother me, with all the kids coming up, if not for the contract. But they are getting him out the same way they did last year so far. It's just two games though, and before last year he was pretty good, and was able to hit stuff out of the zone so maybe that comes back.

Pedro Strop is good.

I didn't have the sound on my iPad so I couldn't hear JD talk about Veras, but is that Veras's normal pitching style? He looks like he's going to dislocate his shoulder on every pitch. I don't remember that when I saw him with other teams but I'm also sure I wouldn't have really noticed. Either way, he doesn't look ready to pitch in regular season games yet. He couldn't get his breaking stuff over at all and for some reason relied on it anyway. He got people out when he used his fastball. God, that was an ugly performance all the way around for him.

I really like Junior Lake. I know he's not the most popular guy here but he seems to have some intangibles to me. And that was a nice play on that double play and he did have a key hit.

I still don't get the whole Ryan Sweeney thing but maybe I will given more time.

I thought Bonifacio was supposed to Barneyesque hitting wise but he seems to have an idea what he's doing up there. Maybe he's in a zone but his last hit especially I wasn't expecting. I can't remember the pitch this morning but it seemed like a good one at the time.

I think this idea is to ducksnort enough hits to get into Renteria's favor. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts...

 

Haha, may be!

Dear closer-

Throw fucking strikes.

That is all. Carry on.

Recently signed veteran RHP Joel Pineiro threw three innings in a Cubs Extended Spring Training "sim" game this morning at Riverview Park.   

Ben Wells, Pierce Johnson, and Duane Underwood threw four innings a piece, Ryan McNeil (2013 TJS) threw two innings, and Tyler Ihrig, Corbin Hoffner, Michael Wagner, Frailyn Figueroa, and Jose Paulino threw one inning each.  

Josh Conway (2013 elbow stress fracture) threw "live" BP prior to the "sim" game.

Besides Pineiro, eight additional players (including five from Venezuela and one from Colombia) have been added to the Cubs EXST roster since last week:

* Jeffry Antigua, P (reported late)
Arnaldo Calero, OF (from VSL Cubs)
# Erick Castillo, C (reported late) 
Casey Coleman, P (sent down from Iowa)  
* Bryant Flete, INF (from VSL Cubs)
Erling Moreno, P (making pro debut - signed as 16-year old out of Colombia 7-2-2013)
Elliot Soto, INF (RESTRICTED LIST while serving 50 game Drug of Abuse suspension)
Eufran Vargas, C (from VSL Cubs)



Any quick impressions of Frailyn Figuroa or Jose Paulino? I'd love to see both of them be good prospects.

How did Wells look, and do you know why he was held back at XST?

CRAIG: I saw Ben Wells pitch a couple of times in Minor League Camp and he had a bad case of the yips both times (but then so did Scott Frazier, and yet he made the KC Opening Day roster). I guess that's probably why Wells was held back at EXST. He looked OK yesterday, though (at least he threw strikes), and so I would expect him to be moved up to the Daytona starting rotation soon. If he's stretched out and throwing strikes, no reason for him to stay at EXST.

Same goes for Pierce Johnson and Duane Underwood. They're both stretched out as starters & ready to roll (Johnson to Tennessee and Underwood to KC). They might get one EXST game start before they leave but there is no reason for either of them to stay at EXST for very much longer.   

Ryan McNeil is more advanced in rehab than Josh Conway. McNeil looks like he can pitch in EXST games right now, although I doubt that he will leave EXST before it's over. Conway is maybe a couple of weeks behind McNeil.    

Jose Paulino looks physically like a LHP version C. J. Edwards. He's a bean-pole. Throws a riding fastball (cutter?) that bores in on RH hitters, fair breaking ball (looks like a curve more than a slider). Didn't see a change-up.   

LHP Frailyn Figueroa doesn't look at all like Paulino. Figueroa has a thick lower body and a bit of a Mickey Lolich-type stomach paunch that most guys get in their 30's. He throws a heavy sinker and a hard breaking ball. Didn't see any change-ups from him, either. Had poor command yesterday, but it was his first game outing (albeit only a "sim" game).

I liked what I saw from Paulino more than what I saw from Figueroa.

About Roney Alcala... VERY heavy build (even heavier than Mark Malave), almost fat... slow runner... decent hitter but not as good as I expected... I thought the Cubs were planning on moving Alcala to catcher full-time (he was used as a catcher at the end of the 2013 season, and he's certainly built like the prototypical catcher), but he's played only 1B-3B-LF (so far) in fielding drills. 

Ricardo Marcano has been fairly impressive in BP. He's not a monster like Eloy Jimenez, but he has some pop and can drive the ball into the gaps. Remains to be seen how he'll hit in EXST games, but I'd say he is a good bet to make the AZL Cubs Opening Day roster. Handles corner OF OK, too (he was signed as a third-baseman). He's got a cut-build like he works out a lot.

Also, it looks like Rony Rodriguez is back to playing only corner OF again. His catching conversion seems to come & go with the wind.   

I failed to mention it yesterday, but Gleyber Torres made an MLB highlight-reel type leaping catch at SS in yesterday's "sim" game while going to his right. It's one thing to leap straight up and snare the ball, but to leap sideways and catch the ball (you had to see it to believe it) requires some major athleticism and defensive chops.  

 

RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) threw a 25-pitch "live" BP session this morning on Field #5 at the Cubs Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa (Extended Spring Training) and he looked very good.

Newly-hired Field Operations Assistant Darnell McDonald, long-time Rehab Pitching Coordinator Rick Tronerud, Assistant Athletic Training Coordinator Chuck Baughman, and Fujikawa's translator and personal assistant were watching the session closely. There were cameras set-up all over the field so no doubt Theo & Jed had the opportunity to watch it either "live" or sometime later at their convenience.   

Fujikawa is (right now) about where pitchers are the second week of Spring Training (end of February), so if he has no setbacks, he could be ready for a minor league rehab assignment within a week or two. Since he isn't a starting pitcher, he won't need to build his pitch count up to 90, and he won't even need to throw multiple innings. But he will need to prove that he can throw at least two days in a row, with the second day being at least as strong as the first day. 

 

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