Big Gun Balaguert Satisfies Need for Offense at Fitch Park

Shawon Dunston Jr reached base four times on three singles and a walk, scored twice, and drove-in a run, Yasiel Balaguert singled twice, tripled, and knocked-in four runs, and Jacob Rogers smacked a two-run triple and walked, leading one squad of Cubs to a 7-3 victory over one squad of Diamondbacks on Field #3, and Francisco Sanchez hammered a two-run triple and then scored on a WP in a three-run 5th, and Garrett Schlecht, Erick Castillo, and Wilfredo Petit punched-out consecutive singles with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, rallying the other squad of Cubs to a 4-4 tie with the other squad of D'backs on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

As is usually the case when they play an EXST doubleheader, both games were seven-inning affairs, and the games were played simultaneously on adjoining fields.

RHP Dayan Diaz saw his first 2013 game action today, starting and pitching one inning in the game on Field #3. Signed by the Cubs as a minor league free-agent last November, Diaz got an NRI to Spring Training, but never got to pitch in an MLB Cactus League game because of a sore arm. (In fact, he never even threw "live" BP while with the big club). He has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past six weeks.   

The Cubs have signed 30-year old veteran switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales to a minor league contract, and he was a DH in the game on Field #2. He went 2-3, roping two line-drive singles and striking out (swinging). With Steve Clevenger on the DL for at least 60 days with a strained oblique, it's possible that Morales was signed to eventually provide Manager Dale Sveum with the third catcher he seems to covet. 

The Cubs have been working out Jose Dore (acquired from SD last month) at 3rd base this week, and he played there in yesterday's intrasquad game and then again in today's EXST game on Field #2. He looks like a "natural" at the hot corner, and although he probably will continue to see action at 1B-LF-RF, it looks like he wil be playing a lot of 3rd base in the coming days. (He also got three innings at 2nd base last week, as the Cubs apparently see him as a bit of a "super-sub"). 

Conversely, I doubt that 18-year old slugging INF Luis Acosta (signed on July 2, 2011 - $1.1M bonus) will be remaining at 3rd base. His throws have been consistently scatter-gun (in fact, about the worst I have ever seen), and he was worked-out at 2nd base in pre-game infield practice this morning (although he did not play in the game). He was signed as a ahortstop, but was moved to third-base at DSL Instrux post-2012 because of defensive struggles at SS. If second-base doesn't work out, he'll probably be moved to LF. (He also needs to learn how to hit breaking balls, or at least recognize a breaking ball and then not swing at it).  

Here are the box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):


1a. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (L-6, BB)
1b. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 2-3 (F-8, 1B, 1B)
3. Jesse Hodges, DH #1: 0-3 (K, F-9, F-8)
4. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 0-2 (HBP, K, 3-1)
5. Jose Morales, DH #2: 2-3 (1B, 1B, K, R)
6. Jose Dore, 3B: 1-3 (K, 2B, 4-3, R)
7. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (F-9, 3B, K, R, 2 RBI)
8. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 2-3 (1B, 4-3, 1B, R)
9. Erick Castillo, C: 2-3 (5-4-3 DP, 1B, 1B)
10. Wilfredo Petit, 1B: 1-3 (5-3, 3-U, 1B, RBI)
11. Rashad Crawford, DH #3: 0-3 (K, P-6, K)

1. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 45 pitches (24 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
2. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Loiger Padron: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO 

SS Francisco Sanchez  - E-6 (throwing error on attempted 6-4 FC allowed baserunner to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run) 

Erick Castillo: 1-1 CS, 1 PB


1. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (BB, BB, BB, 4-6-3 DP, 2 R)
3. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 3-3 (1B, 3B, F-8 SF, 1B, 4 RBI)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-3 (K, BB, 3B, L-7, 2 RBI)
5. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-3 (1-2 FC, 6-3, K)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH #1: 0-3 (1-U, 6-3, K)
7. Justin Marra, C: 0-2 (BB, F-9, F-8, R)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (F-9, 1-3, 3B)
9. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (4-3, BB, P-1, R)
10b. Neftali Rosario, DH #2: 0-0 (BB, R)

1. Dayan Diaz: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 40 pitches (19 strikes), 5/3 GO/FO
3. Chad Martin: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 33 pitches (21 strikes), 1/5 GO/FO
4. David Cales: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO


Justin Marra: 1-1 CS

CF Shawon Dunston - threw out baserunner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single


WEATHER: Sunny & VERY breezy with temperatures in the 70's

NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League game, but there was a 3-1/2 inning intrasquad game played at FITCH PARK FIELD #3 yesterday morning.

RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina) was really on his game, striking out seven in 3.2 IP (64 pitches). And when he wasn't getting punch-outs, he was throwing ground balls (3/0 GO/FO).

Here is the box score from that game:

1. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-2 (K, K)
2, Rashad Crawford, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, SB, CS) 
3. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (K, BB, R, SB)
4. Jose Dore, 3B: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, RBI)
5. Erick Castillo, C: 1-1 (2B)
6. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (K)
7. Alberto Mineo, DH #1: 0-1 (K)
8. Kevin Encarnacion, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (3-1)
10. Jesse Hodges, DH #2: 0-1 (5-3)

1. Lance Rymel, C: 1-2 (1B, K)
2. Mark Malave, 3B: 1-1 (1B, R)
3. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-1 (5-3)
4. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-1 (3B, RBI)
5. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 0-1 (K)
6. Reggie Golden, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
7. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-1 (K)
8. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
9. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-1 (6-3)
10. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (5-3)

1. Andrew McKirahan: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches (21 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Anthony Prieto: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BR, 0 BB, 1 K, 12 pitches (8 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO

Josh Conway: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 64 pitches (40 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
NOTE: Game was stopped with two outs in top of 4th when Conway reached his pre-planned max pitch limit 


Lance Rymel 1-3 CS

RF Rashad Crawford - threw out baserunner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single 



this game sucks already...sigh.

this game doesn't suck so much anymore...cubs down by 1 after 3.

swainy tossed...

that'll rile up the fight in the team to get to .500

d.barney gifted his 1st hit of the year on an "infield hit" off the glove of the 3rd baseman.

1 for 10, 1bb, 3k...can't wait to see him at 2nd again next year.

rizzo with a bomb...not hitting .200 yet, but 5hr

cubs still down my 1, top 8.

Tony Four Sacks-#5

k.gregg...single, walk, done...

to be fair, if it was almost anyone but j.segura it would have been an easy out...dude is fast.

borbon makes his cubs debut as a pinch runner for d.navarro after a single.

caught over. welcome to the cubs. you'll fit in just fine.

That was one ugly ass steal. I love him already.

looked like he had it stolen, but slid too early and then touched bag with his left hand when his right hand would have beat it...

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • 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.