A's Pummel Pineiro at Papago Park

Gabriel Santana drove-in four runs with two RBI doubles and an RBI single and Scott Masik doubled twice, walked, scored three runs, and knocked in two more, helping the Athletics thrash Joel Pineiro and the Cubs 10-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Park Baseball Facility in Phoenix, AZ.

The 35-year old Pineiro was making his third EXST appearance after signing with the Cubs on March 30th, and it was (by far) his worst outing of the three.

After easily retiring the first six hitters he faced (1-3, 4-3, K, K, P-5, 1-3), the roof caved-in on Pineiro in the 3rd & 4th innings, as the veteran right-hander surrendered seven runs (all earned) on nine hits (five doubles and four singles) plus two walks in just two innings, What seemed to be different was his sudden inability to get ground balls in the 3rd & 4th, and his aging fastball just doesn't have enough juice to get outs if he can't keep it at knee-level or lower.     

No question Pineiro got a ton of ground balls in his first two appearances (a combined 15/2 GO/FO), but today was a different story. And his day could have been even worse if not for one A's baserunner being ruled out after getting struck by a rocket grounder headed for RF in the bottom of the 3rd and another being thrown out at the plate trying to score on a line-drive single to left in the bottom of the 4th. 

Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson and Player Development Assistant Darnell McDonald were at today's game and were watching Pineiro closely, and I would have to think they were not favorably impressed. While it's true that he has thrown a high percentage of strikes (74% over his three EXST outings), it might be better if he didn't. He just doesn't appear to have much left in the tank. Plus even without Pineiro, the Iowa starting rotation is already crowded.

4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
TOTAL: 12.2 IP, 16 H, 11 R (11 ER), 4 BB, 9 K, 2 WP, 18/5 GO/FO, 74% strikes, 7.80 ERA, 1.58 WHIP

Alberto Mineo provided most of the Cub offense today, contributing an RBI single, a double, and a walk, while also scoring two runs. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):    

1. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 1-5 (4-3, 1B, K, 3-U, F-7)
2. Varonex Cuevas, 3B: 0-5 (K, 4-6 FC, 6-4-3 DP, K, K)
3. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 1-4 (BB, 5-3, F-8, 1B, K, 2 SB)
4a. Rony Rodriguez, DH: 1-3 (F-9, 6-3, 2B, R)
4b. Eufran Vargas, C: NO AB
4c. Jesse Hodges, PH-DH: 0-1 (4-3) 
5a. Alberto Mineo, C-DH: 2-2 (BB, 2B, 1B, 2 R, RBI, CS)
5b. Justin Marra, C: 0-0 (BB)
6. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-3 (6-3, BB, F-7, F-9)
7. Arnaldo Calero, LF: 2-4 (1B, F-9, F-9, 1B, R)
8. Matt Scioscia, 1B: 1-3 (1B, BB, F-9, F-9, RBI)
9. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-3 (4-6 FC, SH-E2, L-7, K, RBI)

1. Joel Pineiro: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)  
NOTE: Pineiro's fourth inning was stopped with two outs and a runner at 1st base
2. David Garner: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 26 pitches (10 strikes)
3. Trevor Clifton: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (17 strikes)

3B Varonex Cuevas - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Eufran Vargas: 0-1 CS, 1 PB

LF Arnaldo Calero - threw out baserunner 7-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single to LF


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's



parachat license has expired

/I'm a loser

Albert Pujols hits HR's #499 and #500 tonight vs. Nationals

Alex Wood with 8 IP/11 K vs. Marlins and outdueled by Jose Fernandez with 8 IP/14 K, neither give up a walk, but Marlins up 1-0 heading into the 9th.


m.olt HR...maybe he'll get to play more than 3-4 games a week if he keeps doing that...maybe.

Hopefully with his glove work tonite, TheJedi talk to Cpt Happy about playing him every day

I <3 Starlin Castro.

And follows up the slick play with a double... nice.

Bounced a throw earlier on easy grounder but he's getting there

does anyone on the team work a count better than valbuena so far this season? short sample size and all (as well as a somewhat disappointing average), but he's had some long ABs all april with a good amount of walks.

no HRs yet...surprising...but given last season and especially this spring, he's got it in him.

His platoon partner does it pretty good too and hits hrs too

get rid of barney, put valbuena (and his 2 years of club control after this season) in at 2nd...let boni play more CF...tell renteria that r.sweeney really doesn't need as many ABs as he's getting...problem solved as far as i'm concerned.

seriously though...it's either valbuena or rizzo that sees more pitches per PA so far this season just guessing off the cuff.

Yes rizzo too
And yes to ur idea to move boni to cf

Still really early but Rizzo is currently 5th in baseball in OBP. His power hasn't been there but maybe his working the count can make up for Castro, Baez and them.

Len n JD said he saw 40+ pitches last night. Valbuena's winning me over. Time to dump Barney and park Valbuena at second, maybe Bonifacio at CF and make them 1-2 in the lineup. Definitely move Barney out of the lineup permanently.

I haven't been able to take in a whole game all season and that was a good one to watch. If they played like that every day they'd win the division. Castro was great - he seems like a different guy this year, more confident or something. Rizzo was good too, did a nice job on some tough throws from Olt and Castro.

Captain Happy (thanks Jacos), your third baseman is ready. Please play him everyday. Thanks.

Len and JD were looking for a nickname for Olt last night. I'm thinking Insane Bolt if he keeps up this HR pace.

castro's D is really nice so far this year...even with the scattering of non-error plays and 2 errors he has to his name in 19 games he's looking sharp. his glovework is strongly improved so far. he's always been good at ranging on popups...now he's looking a lot better on stuff hit on the ground (so far).

he may never achieve a gold glove quality D, but as long as someone like rizzo is playing 1st with stellar range/defense, it can help bridge the gap on some of castro's throw accuracy at the very least.

as far as olt goes...he's not impressing anywhere except the power. his D is good, but not awesome. he can range/react a lot quicker than valbuena for sure...and his arm is more powerful. that said, even if he's "only" a .250/.330-ish type guy with 25+ HR power, that's still some good production at 3rd as long as the D remains steady. i'm ready to see him get more regular playing time. i see him as a similar batter to m.trumbo...which doesn't excite many people, but given that trumbo is a painfully slow + weak armed LF'r and olt is an adequate 3rd baseman, i can live with that kind of bat. that said, i expect a touch less power and a bit better average/ob% compared to trumbo even if it's not skewed too much in either direction on either point.

Offensively Olt reminds me of Ron Cey.

What has struck me about Olt so far are his opposite-field tendencies--and power.

I don't remember Cey that way. Mostly dead pull. It's hard to get a pitch you can pull out of good closers and setup men when it's late and close.

Baseball Reference/Retrosheet seems to back up my recollection of Cey: out of 233 home runs they have location info for, 186 were to left and 11 to left center (that's 85% to the left side).

Olt was trucking around the bases the other day, Cey was never that fast on a bike.

I totally see that, Rob. Cey had a similarly slashing, compact swing with very little uppercut. Also similar to Glenallen Hill. Different builds, all three of them, but similar approach through the ball, at least to my unskilled eyes.

Hopefully they can turn Olt into Skaggs like the Angels did with Trumbo.

We're not going to know what we have with Olt until he has a lot of consistent MLB PAs. The platoon thing is silly given the state of the franchise.

I was thinking the same thing about Castro. He seems like an actual big league shortstop this year. He's still not Omar Vizquel, but if he continues to improve like he has, who knows. I feel like I've been one of the more critical of Castro, but with his on-the-field improvement, I'll have to change my tune a bit.

JD/Len mentioned that tony campana hit for the cycle last night, campana style...GO 5, GO 6, GO 4, GO 3.

Gonzo/tribune piece quoting Theo on "we're taking the best player available in the draft, regardless of position" yada, yada... More depth than elite choices this year... Losing sucks...When losing stops sucking you'd better find another career...

Arrieta to get one more minor league start


Nice offense last night: Cubs won 9-2, Iowa won 10-3, and Daytona won 18-5. Bryant went 3-5 and is up to .311 BA now, with a 1.030 OPS.

Happy birthday, Wrigley Field... I'm sure the next 100 years will be better.

1 Hit? Bring in Travis Wood for a PH!

my god...bases loaded 0 out...

sure, a castro error helped do this...but p.strop walking 2 guys also helped do this.

strikeout...single up the middle HITS THE BAG AT 2ND AND DEFLECTS OFF IT...2 runs in...men on the corners.

that's just bad luck...straight up bad luck.

strikeout goldschmidt...strop pulled (31 pitches)...russell in...

russell gives up a single...tie game...omg...cubbery...dat cubbery...

russell out, grimm in...

no win for ninja...again...a multi-season occurrence at this point.

...and ARZ takes the lead on a triple and ruggs injures his leg...doesn't look good.

ARZ leads by 2...5 run, 3 reliever 9th...with a major injury along with it. neat.

I am sorry - YOU HAVE TO MAKE THAT PLAY! You cannot give 4/5 outs and expect to win in key situations. Yes, he walked a couple guys, but there were two outs that Castro just fucking blew.

Castro still is a work in progress as a Major League shortstop. I am hoping that Baez can take over his spot - but he seems to be a work in progress as well.

for all the praise baez occasionally gets as a SS, both his numbers and what he showed in spring action this year are a bit to be desired.

he's got 3 errors in 10 games in AAA so far this year...he does have 21 assists and 6 DP turned, though.

THe LOOGY who doesnt get lefties out.


He is another guy that I am sick of seeing in key spots. He pitched too many innings last year and this year not done well when called upon. This team is made up of way too many "last guys on the bench".

If you are going to have that - at least let them eliminate the sloppy play constantly.

this is what you all get for complimenting Castro on his defense

Please don't include me in said group.

Hey...his defense has been pretty damn good so far this season.
Ok...that sucked yesterday....but still

Odds on Ninja actually winning another game in a Cubs uniform?

a bit better than him actually wanting to sign a long term deal with the team unless they pay him out the ass or become competitive really quickly.

so far he's handled pitching well (even if not as an ace) and having the pen/bats let him down quite respectfully. given the youthful swagger he came in with after he was drafted...he "grew up" to be one hell of a respectful and professional ballplayer quite quickly.

pineda vs pine tar in a game vs BOS part 2 going on...he's got it all over his neck this time.

ump checking the ball. ump checking his neck.



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  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 9 hours 39 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 14 hours 57 min ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 14 hours 58 min ago view
  • And...now that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 15 hours 9 min ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 15 hours 11 min ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 15 hours 11 min ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 15 hours 18 min ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 15 hours 32 min ago view
  • fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle

    crunch 16 hours 5 min ago view
  • ...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.

    he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.

    ...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.

    crunch 16 hours 9 min ago view
  • his collapse started on august 21st this season...so it's a slight improvement.

    but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.

    crunch 16 hours 21 min ago view
  • I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.

    Jackstraw 16 hours 40 min ago view
  • The always combustible Jason Hammel

    jacos 17 hours 10 sec ago view
  • Hammel :(

    Charlie 17 hours 1 min ago view
  • That was fun.

    Charlie 20 hours 1 min ago view
  • "home field advantage through the playoffs?"

    Except for the away games.

    VirginiaPhil 20 hours 13 min ago view