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: [...]

Recent comments

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  • Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners.

    Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant

  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer