Sunday Brunch with Rich Hill and Jered Weaver at Fitch Park

It was caviar, champagne, wheat toast, and strawberry marmalade for breakfast, as the Iowa Cubs and Salt Lake Bees (LAA) met at Fitch Park Field #3 in what is the final ST game for both AAA clubs before they leave Arizona. A Throng of Three (including your ol' pal Arizona Phil, who had nothing better to do) was on hand when the first pitch was thrown at 9 AM (MST), with Rich Hill (CUBS) facing Jered Weaver (LAA). It was the final tune-up for Hill before his first scheduled start next Friday at Milwaukee, while Weaver is trying to increase his pitch count and innings while recovering from biceps tendinitis. First the Good News: Rich Hill pitched today. Now, the Bad News... While Jered Weaver (who is on the 15 day DL) threw his four innings and (about) sixty pitches as the Angels had hoped, Rich Hill lasted only one inning (13 pitches) before being shut-down with a recurrence of the left index-finger blister that his troubled him for about ten days. Hill told a fan as he was leaving the premises that he expects to make his scheduled start next Friday, but if I'm the Cubs, I'd have Wade Miller ready earlier than planned and/or Angel Guzman fully available, in case Hill either can't start, or can't pitch more than a couple of innings. Hill's one inning was a pretty good one, though, as he struck out the lead-off man on three pitches (called-strike fastball, foul, and called-strike curve), gave up a first-pitch ground single to center to the #2 hitter, got the #3 hitter on a second-pitch perfect DP grounder to short that was turned into just a 6-4 FC by a slight mix-up between the I-Cubs SS and 2B, and a seven-pitch AB to his final hitter that ended with a line-drive to right-center (and fine running catch by Felix Pie!) on a 3-2 pitch. Weaver had a good outing for Salt Lake, too, allowing just three hits, a lead-off single + stolen base in the 2nd inning by Felix Pie, and a triple by Angel Pagan and an RBI single by Eric Patterson to start the 4th, in his four innings, one run (earned), no walks, and four K. The Cubs almost scored a second run in the fourth, but E-Pat (who stole second and then third after his RBI single) was thrown out trying to score on a one-out Micah Hoffpauir pop fly to medium-deep LF. BTW, later in the game, Pagan had a double, and E-Pat drew a walk. Just back from Vegas (where he was one of several Cubs minor leaguers brought along to add additional roster depth), LHP Carmen Pignatiello worked three shutout innings, allowing two hits (both singles) and striking out two. Trying to get stretched-out so he can be a rotation starter at Iowa (if needed), LHP Les Walrond worked four innings and threw about 60-70 pitches. He had a terrible first inning (three runs on four hits), but then settled down and pitched shutout ball in his last three innings (6-7-8). RHP John Webb worked a 1-2-3 9th. It appears that the reason veteran AAA guys like John Webb, Ben Howard, and Hector Almonte are still around is because it's possible that Sean Marshall (still trying to increase his pitch count after suffering from a sore shoulder earlier in ST), Roberto Novoa (shoulder), and Ryan O'Maley (groin, I think) might start the season on the Iowa DL. But Mark Prior was on the Iowa Cubs bench today, like a good employee should be. Today's I-Cubs starting lineup and batting order went like this: 1. Angel Pagan, CF 2. Eric Patterson, 2B 3. Felix Pie, RF 4. Micah Hoffpauir, LF 5. Koyie Hill, C 6. Scott Moore, 3B 7. Casey McGehee, 1B 8. Carlos Rojas, SS 9. Rich Hill, P Midway through the game, Hoffpauir, McGehee, and Moore played "musical chairs," as Hoffpauir moved from LF to 1B, McGehee moved from 1B to 3B, and Moore moved from 3B to LF. While out in LF, Hoffpauir made a fine running back-handed catch in left-centerfield with his back to the infield. Angel Pagan also made a fine running catch in CF, while Felix Pie made two fine grabs in RF, one the running catch to end the 1st inning, and the other a shoe-string catch to end the 3rd. Mike Fontenot (2B-3B), Albenis Machado (SS-2B), Chris Walker (4th OF), and Geovany Soto (normally the #1 catcher) were on the Iowa bench, while OF Josh Kroeger (ex-AZ) has been demoted to AA Tennessee (where there is a shortage of outfielders due to Sam Fuld, Ryan Harvey, and Chris Amador all being on the DL at the same time). It would appear that OF Val Pascucci (ex-MON, who played in Japan in '05 and '06) and veteran MLB INF Tomas Perez (who was in the big league camp as an NRI) have been released. The Iowa Cubs open their 2007 season at Round Rock (HOU AAA) on Thursday night.


So THAT'S how the other half lives.....

April's Fools?!

Trans, check your e-mail. Urgent.


Phil: Tell Rich Hill to soak his fingers in pickle worked for Nolan Ryan, although I have no clue as to why. Must be that tough pickle skin or the garlic smell that kept the reporters away (so nobody bugged him about it).

why isn't EPat batting leadoff?

well, i posted this on the Heinie article, but now it seems relevant again:

also, i’m sure others, but not all, had likely caught this, but the cubs are *planning on* starting Z twice before miller starts once, using the off day tuesday to their advantage.

Cincy: Z, Lilly, Marquis

Milwaukee: Hill, Z (saturday, 4 days rest), then Miller

Houston: Lilly (opening day), Marquis, Hill

nicely done. let’s keep moving back the back end of the rotation through the season if possible.

hopefully this blister doesn't get in anyone's way....i hate ridiculous injuries.

good info, Thanks, GL

I've Got Blisters on my Fingers

t.walker added to the 25-man...e.durazo released...looks like t.walker is gonna play 1st for a while for oakland.

These recurring blister problems are troublesome. Hill is our #2, despite the money Lilly got. We desperately need a 100% healthy Rich Hill, please.

I wonder if it's the slider.

That Iowa team is going to be pretty tough, especially if Marshall gets healthy.

AZ Phil wrote: MLB INF Tomas Perez (who was in the big league camp as an NRI) have been released.

Actually, I heard he was traded to the Dodgers for "future considerations."

Rosenthal reporting that Z's agent is saying a deal is so close that both sides are "going to extend the deadline for an indefinite period of time."

Worth more than $80 mill. over 5 years, which "would be the largest ever awarded to a non-free agent starting pitcher, both in average salary and total dollars."

the Reds officially put Eric Milton on the 15 day DL (backdated to 3/23). He was supposed to start the thursday game 3 in the Cub series. Roto reporting that Matt Belisle is likely to start in Milton's place. Milton will be eligible to come off the DL in time to see the wind blowing out at Wrigley for the series starting 4/13...

Also the Reds released quasi-closer Dustin Hermanson. Hermanson was battling lumbar back problems all last yr with the WSux. Hermanson refused a minor league assignment with the Reds.

baseball :D

re #14:

"Rosenthal reporting that Z’s agent is saying a deal is so close that both sides are “going to extend the deadline for an indefinite period of time.”"

Once again Chadstrodamus strikes again:

"Chad — March 29, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

And let us not forget that nothing really happens the day the season starts. It’s not like he becomes a free agent. It’s a Zambrano imposed deadline, that’s all. I’m sure if they are very close to terms, he not going to stop a deal just cause it turned midnight on Sunday."

larussa sure as hell has a thing for the squeeze the past couple years.

didnt waste any time showing he's still a fan in 07.

Baseball makes me happy.

The real start of the Piniella era comes Monday, though Carlos Zambrano said it isn't all that different from the Dusty Baker era.

"The only difference is there are a few more rules," Zambrano said. "That's good. When you want to be a disciplined team, you have to have rules. I'm OK with that."

that was from today's tribune. what do you all think those new rules are?

The Mets offense is still good if anyone was worried. :)

Carpenter getting hammered?

Die Cards!!! Die!!

5-0 Mets, bottom of 4th

go go glavine!

after 4+ innings of play, I've surmised that the Cardinals are DONE!!!


but really Edmonds, Taguchi, Preston in the OF? Ugh...

Joe Morgan is a coward. He let Miller hang on a limb regarding LaRussa's arrest.

Joe Morgan also said Jose Valentin was the reason the Mets were good last year.

There are a group of guys who every year try to lobby that the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday should be a national holiday. My friends and I think that is the dumbest idea ever. HOWEVER, we are in agreement that tomorrow, the official opening day of baseball, should, in fact, be a national holiday. It's the national pastime, right?

Who's with me?

My wife and I always take Opening Day off.

And our outfield defense is supposed to be bad...

Seems like it's just So being So in left for the StL this evening.

nice job by the cards third base coach to send eckstein with 1 out, down by 4, and pujols batting next.....

ouch. he's out, pujols walks, rolen HBP, then molina bloops out to SS.

two observations:

1) i'll take mike quade's supposedly over-conservative third base coaching over a bonehead move like that any day
2) yadier molina is hitting #5 for the cards? this division is terrible

let's win it. period.

Glavine had nothing tonight. He wasn't that great.


THAT was a kickass double play...

cubster — April 1, 2007 @ 2:26 pm
why isn’t EPat batting leadoff?


CUBSTER: Eric Patterson usually hit second behind Chris Walker at AA last year, and even though E-Pat is at his best when he hits lead-off, with Alfonso Soriano probably hitting lead-off for the next eight years, Patterson's future will likely be as a #2 hitter (presuming he remains with the Cubs).

BTW, in case anyone is wondering how it is that Felix Pie hit 3rd but also led-off the second inning, Weaver (who is rehabbing from biceps tedinitis) reached his per-inning pitch limit in the bottom of the first after only two batters (a six-pitch AB by Pagan and a nine-pitch AB by E-Pat).

I can only hope this is the lineup they trot out against Hill and Lilly...

Yadier batting 5th
Preston/So in the OF
Kennedy who can't hit lefties at 2b

"Joe Morgan also said Jose Valentin was the reason the Mets were good last year." -RobG

Don't knock Valentin! He's my fantasy sleeper for 2007. Joe Morgan knows what he's talking about.

The Cards 3B coach is a disciple of Wavin' Wendell

"Alfonso Soriano probably hitting lead-off for the next eight years"

I don't think so. Probably 4 or 5. By 36, he's going to be more Andre Dawson than Rickey Henderson.

So Taguchi's excuse was that he was breaking in a new Freddie Bynum autographed model A2000 glove.

[...] AZ Phil at The Cub Reporter caught the Iowa Cubs final tune-up against the Anaheim Angels AAA team on Sunday.  Among his notes was this I-Cubs lineup, which settles a discussion that Mike and I had a week ago. Today’s I-Cubs starting lineup and batting order went like this: [...]

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  • Kershaw, Fernandez and Syndergaard are your current leaders and all will be pitching meaningful games down the stretch that could make or break them. Hendricks will not be and his saber-numbers aren't anywhere close to those 3 and he'd split votes with Arrieta and Lester whom all are basically neck-and-neck for  WAR and FIP. If Kershaw pitches like just okay Kershaw in September he deserves to win in a landslide. Voters are pretty much saber-inclined now so it would take a crazy shutout streak or something for Hendricks to jump in the picture.

    Rob G. 50 min 6 sec ago view
  • AZ PHIL: With starters the likes of Edwin Jackson, even Chris Rusin or Michael Bowden could look good on their staff. At best, he is a #5-6. But as always, LH are at a premium.

    The E-Man 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • Sure we would all want consistency. He is not even 24, has played 5 (!) positions this year. Can you imagine what is in his head? He was only a part-time player at 2 spots last year. And THEN think about hitting?? Cut him some slack...You sure are picky lately. First wishing #6 NL RBI guy Russell have a better average, and now an "unncessarily fancy pick". Geez tough crowd!

    The E-Man 2 hours 24 min ago view
  • it's going to be hard to take down scherzer.

    kershaw is supposedly coming back soon, though he'll probably need a good amount of deep innings to match up with scherzer...probably too late at this point. tanner roark, bumgarner, and hendricks are probably going to steal some votes along with kershaw.

    crunch 2 hours 52 min ago view
  • I absolutely love Javy's game, and I love the way Maddon changed the perception of him as a ballplayer, but I really wish he would just make the routine plays routinely. On the ground ball in the 9th, he made an unnecessarily fancy pick. He made the play, but tried the same thing last night and made an error.

    billybucks 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • How many wins does Kyle need for serious Cy Young consideration? Would 17 be enough if he leads the league in ERA? My goodness, what a season -- makes a Dartmouth alum proud.

    billybucks 3 hours 16 min ago view
  • jacos 3 hours 19 min ago view
  • hendricks WHIP drops to 0.98 over 159 innings after throwing 7ip 3h 1bb 4k, 0r/er

    ERA down to 2.09 on the season.

    crazy good.

    crunch 3 hours 41 min ago view
  • I am pretty well fed up with the majority of home plate umps. Just terrible inconsistencies.

    The E-Man 3 hours 44 min ago view
  • Oh shit forgot about that
    Shark and Sczur right?

    jacos 3 hours 59 min ago view
  • Yes, football player?- check.

    The E-Man 4 hours 6 min ago view
  • jacos 4 hours 20 min ago view
  • If it was 2006 Hendry would be there w a Bible and a contract

    jacos 6 hours 52 min ago view
  • he subscribes to my twitter, he's beyond TCR. #yolo #swag

    crunch 7 hours 30 min ago view
  • Whoops. Maddon must have been reading TCR (for his daily crunch) and got confused.

    CTSteve 7 hours 32 min ago view
  • kuhl is a righty, not a lefty.

    i think maddon might think kuhl is a lefty, too. i wonder what the reasoning is for baez leading off vs a rightie.

    crunch 8 hours 13 min ago view