Soler Back in Action at Salt River Fields

Oliver Zapata ripped a two-run triple and an RBI single, Adonis Paula singled, doubled, and scored two runs, Rashad Crawford reached base on a double, a walk, and an HBP, and scored three runs, and Trevor Clifton and Hector Perez threw three shutout innings a piece, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Diamondbacks on Jackrabbit Field, and Ryan Kinsella belted an RBI double and an RBI triple, helping the D'backs rally from a five-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 on Whirlwind Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Gleyber Torres collected three hits, stole a base, and scored two runs in a losing cause for Squad "A" on Whirlwind Field.

Jorge Soler saw his first game action in almost a month, serving as a DH for Squad "A." He had five Plate Appearances and went 1-4, driving-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, He also reached base on an error, grounded out 5-3, and struck out swinging.

Joel Pineiro got the start for Squad "A" and pitched five innings (60 pitches), surrendering four runs (two earned) on six hits (four singles, a double, and a triple), while allowing no walks and striking out seven. 

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)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes)  
TOTAL: 17.2 IP, 22 H, 15 R (13 ER), 4 BB, 16 K, 3 WP, 22/9 GO/FO, 74% strikes, 6.62 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
Today was Diamondbacks "Field Trip Day" at Salt River Fields for Maricopa County school children, hence the slightly larger-than normal attendance at the games. I guess it's never too early to get kids interested in Extended Spring Training. 

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


1. Gleyber Torres, SS: 3-5 (1B, 1B, 6-3, 1B, 6-3, 2 R, SB, CS)
2a. Kevin Brown: LF: 1-2 (HBP, 1B, K, BB, R)
2b. Zak Blair, PH-DH: 1-1 (1B)
3. Jorge Soler, DH #1: 1-4 (F-8 SF, 1B, 5-3, E-1, K, R, 2 RBI)
4a. Tyler Alamo, C: 0-1 (K, BB, R)
4b. Jeffrey Baez, PH-RF: 0-3 (K, L-6, P-4)
5. Varonex Cuevas: 2B: 0-3 (K, BB, 4-3, F-8, R, RBI)
6. Arnaldo Calero, RF-DH-LF: 0-3 (K, BB, K, F-9, RBI)
7. Roney Alcala, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, 4-3, K)
8. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, 1B, 3-1, HBP, 2 RBI)
9. Charcer Burks, CF: 0-4 (K, K, L-8, F-8)
10b. Justin Marra, C: 0-1 (K)

1. Joel Pineiro: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes)
2. Trey Lang: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO, 37 pitches (16 strikes)
3. Alberto Diaz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 13 pitches (7 strikes)
4. Yomar Morel: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 16 pitches (7 strikes)

3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach second base safely - eventually scored unearned run)

Justin Marra: 0-1 CS


1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 1-3 (HBP, BB, K+WP, K, 2B, 3 R, SB)
2. Oliver Zapata, LF: 2-4 (F-9, 3B, K, BB, 1B, 3 RBI)
3. Shamil Ubiera, DH: 0-4 (F-9 SF, 6-3, 3-U, 5-4 FC, 4-3, RBI, SB)
4. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 0-5 (K, 5-3, F-9, E-6, K)
5. Adonis Paula, 3B: 2-5 (1B, 2B, F-8,. K, F-8, 2 R)
6. Elliot Soto, SS: 0-3 (BB, 6-3, P-5, BB, F-9, R)
7. Matt Scioscia, 1B: 1-3 (BB, 6-3, 1B, K)
8. Mark Malave, C: 1-4 (6-4 FC, K, 4-6 FC, 1B, R, RBI)
9. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 1-4 (F-8, 1B, 6-4 FC, 6-3 DP, R)

1. Trevor Clifton: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/3 GO/FO, 43 pitches (28 strikes)   
2. Hector Perez: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO, 41 pitches (26 strikes)
3. Victor Salazar: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 1 K,  0/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (15 strikes)
4. Carlos Llano: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (19 strikes)



WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80's 


Ah, previous question answered. A Soler Sighting!

Javier Baez, 3 run HR in 1st.

3-2 Iowa after 2 innings.

I've got my "Waiting for Baez" T-shirt.

4-pitch BB for Baez in 2nd AB

Cubster, you have impeccable taste in t-shirts.

another BB for Baez in 3rd AB, Lars Anderson hit a HR as well

The Jewel of the Hendry Farm System

Hah. What a wiener.

Corey Black goes 6 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 ER, 3 H for the win.

Blackburn goes 5 IP (6 inning game for some reason), 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

AZ, you got a nice mention by John Arguello in Chicago Now.

CJ Edwards video interview about his shoulder symptoms and MRI experience (for smokies radio)

A couple of the latest mock drafts. The first one has brief snipit on the players.

still early, but Caliis saying Cubs would likely go top 4 pitchers (Rodon, Hoffman, Aiken, Kolek)...if they surprise with a bat maybe Alex Jackson (HS C/OF)

Internets rumors have Jason McLeod just loving Alex Jackson. I understand that hitters tend to be safer bets. But I really want them to go with pitching here.

get the player they feel is the best, too many variables in baseball to try and ever draft for need.

I think I like Aiken and Rodon but we'll know more when the draft gets closer, seems everyone has Kolek going to the Marlins. Hoffmann and Beede I could understand the hesitation. And Rodon has some issues as well that could be worrisome especially with his pitch counts. You can find a lot of upside arms in rounds 2-10 and get enough depth in the system you can start trading for the Archie Bradley's of the world.

Here are EXST updates on the Cubs top two international signings from 2013: 

In 12 Cactus League EXST games (44 PA), 17-year old RF Eloy Jimenez is hitting 175/227/225. He has 10 K in his 44 PA. Although he only has seven hits (five singles and two doubles), he has made the hits count as he leads the team in RBI with seven. Jimenez had a sore arm at Minor League Camp and so he could only DH for several weeks, but he is now back playing RF again. As long as he does not go into a prolonged "0-fer" slump, Jimenez probably stands a decent chance to remain in Mesa and play for the AZL Cubs this summer.

In 11 Cactus League EXST games (41 PA), 17-year old SS Gleyber Torres is hitting 342/390/500, with 3 SB (2 CS). He is second on the team in BAvg (behind only Roney Alcala), leads the team in triples, and has not struck out over his last 26 PA. He has committed five errors (including one three-error game). Because he has played as well as he has and because there is no other SS blocking him, I would say Torres (right now) has a good chance to make the Boise Opening Day roster.

A couple of other noteworthy EXST performance among the position players:

2013 VSL Batting Champion 1B Roney Alcala is hitting 433/452/667 for the EXST Cubs, and besides leading the team in BAvg he also leads the team in doubles with five (plus one triple) in just 31 PA. Since there is no other 1B blocking him, I would say the 20-year old Alcala also stands a very good chance to "jump" over AZL Cubs and go directly to Boise.

And 20-year old OF Jeffrey Baez (who played at AZL Cubs last season) is hitting 314/400/372 over 40 PA, and leads the team in walks with five and in stolen bases with ten (0 CS) in just ten games. Baez is built like an NFL linebacker, but he has plus-speed (like Brian Uhrlacher had as a young player). Baez plays both RF and CF (he has a RF arm and the speed and range to play CF). Although he did not show HR power last season in the AZL (he hit only one) and although he has yet to homer in a Cactus League EXST game this season, Baez did tie for the team lead in HR at EXST last season with four.     

Just read the article about Villanueva returning to the rotation, and I like the guy more. He comes off as very forthcoming and doesn't rely too much on cliches--he seems clear-sighted.

I'm still not a fan of his mustache, though.

But does he have a decent eephus pitch?

Hah... guess he does. Click

7:30 EST first pitch...tarp off the field for a while...players warming up, etc.

iowa postponed, btw.

Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.