The EXST Cubs (Boise/Mesa) rallied with four runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat the EXST Angels 6-4 at Mesa's Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, in a game that featured the second rehab start for RHP Juan Mateo
Mateo, who has been on the Cubs 15-day DL with a sore shoulder since ST, increased his innings to three and his pitch count to 40+, as he threw 41 pitches (29 strikes, 4/2 GB/FB), with his fastball topping out at 92 MPH. He allowed three hits (one HR) and one run, but no walks, with three strikeouts, in his three innings of work.
As long as he does not having any significant negative physical symptoms in the aftermath of today's game, Mateo looks fit and ready to leave Mesa and continue his rehab (gradually increasing his pitch count) at Daytona or Tennessee, with a return to the Iowa starting rotation probably by no later than mid-June, possibly even earlier.
In today's game, the Cubs trailed the Angels 4-2 going into the bottom of the 8th, but rallied thanks to outstanding execution of offensive fundamentals. (The youngsters at EXST practice this stuff over and over, every day)
Carlos Perez worked a walk to lead-off the inning, and advanced to second when Andres Quezada was hit on the foot by a pitch. The tying runs were moved up to second and third thanks to a picture-perfect sac bunt by Gian Guzman, and Steve Clevenger followed with a line single to left, scoring Perez and sending Quezada to third. Mario Mercedes then came through with a game-tying sac fly to CF. Jesus Reyes followed with a walk, and after Clevenger and Reyes moved up on a wild pitch, Cesar Valentin singled through the middle of the diamond, scoring Clevenger and Reyes with the winning runs. It was a very exciting inning in what normally isn't an exciting environment, as the players on the Cub bench were up on their feet en masse
yelling and screaming.
Side-slingin' RHP Matt Maradeo (signed a year ago as a 2005 NDFA 5th year senior out of Kutztown) worked the 9th inning for the save, striking out the lead-off hitter, and getting a game-ending GIDP after allowing a one-out ground single. I guess I must have missed all of Maradeo's bad outings, because every time I see him throw, he works fast, he throws strikes, and it's either three up and three down, or six up and six down, or nine up and nine down with seven K's, or 1-2-3 strike out the side for the save.
In some EXST and Cubs minor league roster news, OF Jeff Culpepper
(who has been rehabbing at Fitch after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery) has left for Daytona. Also, Peoria OF D. J. Lewis
has been released. (Lewis got released to make room for a position player who is being demoted from Daytona to Peoria to make room for Culpepper, but unfortunately I don't know who that position player is at this point).
Here is the abridged box score (that means Cubs players only) from today's EXST Cubs game:
1. Nathan Samson, SS (0-2, HBP, SH)
2. Jovan Rosa, 3B (0-4, K)
3. Nelson Perez, LF (1-3, R, HBP)
4. Carlos Perez, DH-1 (0-3, R, BB)
5-A. Drew Rundle, CF (No AB)
5-B. Andres Quezada, CF (1-3, RBI, R, HBP)
6. Gian Guzman, DH-2 (1-3, 3B, SH, K)
7. Steve Clevenger, 1B (2-2, RBI, R, 2 HBP)
8. Mario Mercedes, C (1-3, SF-RBI)
9. Jesus Reyes, RF (0-3, R, BB, 2 K)
10. Cesar Valentin, 2B (2-2, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB, SB)
NOTE: Rundle left game after he became sick in the outfield in the top of the 1st inning (nothing serious, as he walked unaided to the clubhouse).
1. Juan Mateo - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
2. Audy Santana - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP
3. Donny Walters - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP
4. Matt Maradeo - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP
CATCHER: Mercedes 2-2 CS
ATTENDANCE - 5
Weather: Cloudless hot sunny morning with temp in the 90's.