Almora, Soler, and Baez Shine under Arizona Sun
Albert Almora and Jorge Soler smacked back-to-back RBI doubles in the 3rd, Bijan Rademacher and Lance Rymel collected two hits and two RBI a piece, and Marco Hernandez belted a solo home run, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Rockies in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.
Then this afternoon, Cubs #1 prospect Javier Baez blasted a three-run home run (on a 3-0 pitch) over the LF wall and to the base of the fence adjacent to the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th, propelling the Mesa Solar Sox to an 8-3 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
In addition to his HR, Baez also flied out to deep RF in his first AB, was called out on strikes his second time up, and (after ripping his HR in his third PA), grounded out to SS in his fourth and final AB.
Baez played shortstop for the Solar Sox today and fielded a half-dozen chances, committing a throwing error on the first ball hit his way (a nice running short-hop stab and then an overthrow at 1st base allowing the batter to reach base safely). Baez also made a fine backhanded stop and long throw from the hole to retire a Desert Dog batter later in the game.
Rubi Silva played RF for Mesa and had two hits (a line-drive single to CF to lead of the bottom of the 1st, and an infield hit off the pitcher’s glove his third time up), and Nick Struck and Tony Zych both pitched an inning (Struck did allow a solo HR but struck out two, while Zych needed only ten pitches to retire the side in the 9th).
The Cubs Instructs squad has completed its 2012 season, and most of the players are returning home this afternoon and this evening.
Although the Cubs did play today, they canceled yesterday’s Instructs game versus the Athletics at Papago Park, and instead had a Camp Day at Fitch Park that featured skill tests in the style of the Olympic Games.
National flags representing the nationalities of the 44 players who are attending Cubs Instructs this year (USA, Canada, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, etc) were displayed on the outfield fence at Field #3, and the outfielders took turns trying to make the most accurate throw home from left field, catchers competed in trying to make the most accurate throw to 2nd base from home or to locate a wild pitch and make a throw home to the pitcher covering before the base runner could score from 3rd base, baserunners were timed running the bases, etc.
But the absolute highlight was a King Kong vs Godzilla “Home Run Derby” competition between Jorge Soler and Dan Vogelbach that completed the field activities (Soler won, with “We Are the Champions” blaring over the Fitch Park Field P. A. as he walked around the infield with arms raised in triumph). The team then adjourned to the clubhouse for a catered luncheon, followed by an “American Idol” competition between the more talented members of the team.
(Last Saturday afternoon the squad hiked “A” Mountain on the campus of Arizona State University, in what was yet another team-building effort by the new Cub Player Development staff headed by ex-Marlin coaches Brandon Hyde and Tim Cossins).
Here is the abridged box score from today’s Instructs game (Cubs players only)
1a. David Bote, SS: 0-3 (P-6, P-4, 4-3)
1b. Bijan Rademacher, PH-RF: 2-2 (2B, 1B, 2 RBI)
2a. Albert Almora, CF: 1-3 (5-3, 2B, E-3, 2 R, RBI)
2b. Shawon Dunston Jr, PH-CF: 0-2 (L-4, K)
3a. Jorge Soler, RF: 1-3 (K, 2B, P-3, RBI)
3b. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-2 (1B, HR, 2 R, RBI)
4a. Dan Vogelbach, DH #1: 1-4 (2B, 4-3, K, K)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 4th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
5a. Yasiel Balaguert, LF: 1-3 (K, 5-3, 2B, R)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-2 (F-9, F-7)
6a. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-3 (E-5, K, BB, 1B, 2 R)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
7a. Chadd Krist, C: 0-2 (F-8, 4-3)
7b. Lance Rymel, PH-C: 2-2 (1B, 1B, 2 RBI, PO)
7c. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
8a. Stephen Bruno, 2B: 0-3 (5-4 FC, F-9, F-9 SF, F-9, RBI)
8b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 3rd TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
9a. Ben Carhart, DH #2: 0-3 (F-9, 5-3, F-9)
9b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 3rd TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-1 (BB, 2B, R)
10b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 3rd TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10c. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-1 (K)
1. Juan Carlos Paniagua: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 40 pitches (25 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Ben Wells: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 29 pitches (22 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 39 pitches (24 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
4. Corbin Hoffner: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 45 pitches (26 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Ryan McNeil: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
2. C Lance Rymel- E-2 (throwing error allowed unearned run to score from 3rd base)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Chadd Krist: 1-2 CS, 1 PB
2. Lance Rymel: 0-1 CS, 1 PB, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s