Today was "getaway day" for the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team, and when I say "getaway" day," I don't mean an overnight trip to Tucson. I mean the end of the line, far as we go, everybody off the train.
Many of the Cubs players had mid-afternoon flights scheduled out of Sky Harbor Airport, so the start time for the final game was moved up to 9 AM. So naturally, it's 9 AM, the umpires have arrived, the Cubs are loose, but there's no opponent. No Giants. Apparently they weren't aware of the game time change.
So while the Cubs players and coaches anxiously waited for the Giants to show up, one of the umpires put on a baseball glove and played catch with one of the Cubs players, while CF Jonathan Wyatt
gave unsolicited pitching tips to LHP Chris Siegfried
(not sure Siggy was paying much attention, though).
But eventually the Giants did arrive (about 30 minutes late), and so the two teams decided to play only seven innings or until noon, whichever came first.
and Donnie Veal
were orginally supposed to pitch two innings each, but with the game cut-back to seven innings, all Cubs pitchers scheduled to throw today were limited to just one inning.
Siegfried continues to shine, as he appears poised to move from the bullpen to the starting rotation next season, probably at Peoria. It might have seemed like a questionable pick at the time (he was a walk-on at the University of Portland and his college numbers weren't pretty), by I believe the Cubs made an astute choice by selecting Siegfried in the 11th round of this past June's draft. He is an advanced pitcher with quality stuff.
But Donnie Veal
was "Bad Donald" today, struggling to throw his fastball for strikes. After it looked like he might not ever get out of the 2nd inning (and remember, several Cubs players had planes to catch), pitching coach Tom Pratt (he be the father of ex-Cubs pitcher Andy Pratt) signaled to catcher Carlos Perez
to have Veal throw only curve balls, and just like that, Veal got himself out of the inning.
RHP Ryan Acosta
(son of the late former Cubs pitching coach Oscar Acosta) gave up back-to-back doubles with two outs in the third, but he has an arsenal of three pitches, and he throws them all for strikes. He seems like a natural. The Rabbit may be raw, but he has a lot of potential as a rotation starter. Physically, he resembles a young Greg Maddux.
RHP Marcus Hatley
is another former two-way player (RF/RHP at Palomar JC) who was converted to full-time pitcher after signing with the Cubs as a DNF this past May, and he had a much better outing today than he did on Wednesday when he gave up eight runs on eight hits in just two innings of work against the White Sox. Hat looks like he may have played some basketball and/or football somewhere in the past. He's a big dude.
RHP Yuri Higgins
is still another former two-position player (CF/RHP at South Florida) who has been converted to full-time pitcher by the Cubs (he actually reported to the AZL Cubs this past June with a broken left wrist suffered while attempting to make a diving catch in CF in a USF game). He's diminutive for a pitcher (5'8), but he throws gas and has a pretty decent breaking ball to go with it.
RHP Marcos Mateo
was acquired from CIN as the PTBNL in the Buck Coats
deal, and he is the cousin of Cubs RHP Juan Mateo
. Marcos throws a nice heavy-sinker, hard-slider combo that tends to work best out of the bullpen. He will likely be a member of the potentially awesome Daytona Cubs pen in 2008, probably along with Jose Ceda
, Casey Lambert
, Alessandro Maestri
, Jeremy Papelbon
, Matt Maradeo
, and Jayson Ruhlman
RHP Hernan Ramos
is from Venezuela via Ellsworth CC in Iowa (like Iowa's Indian Hills CC, Ellsworth recruits players from all over the world), and was signed as a NDFA just before the August 15th deadline. If he had not signed with the Cubs, Ramos would have transferred to Wayne State.
Offensively, the Cubs didn't do much today. Lots of antsy "I-wanna-get-outta-here" first-pitch swings. SS Darwin Barney
was 3-3 (including two infield singles), and scored the only Cub run on a WP.
CF Jonathan Wyatt
made an outstanding running catch in deep left-center-field (and it wasn't his only outstanding defensive play at instructs, either, which is why it's easy to see how it was he won a Rawlings Gold Glove his senior year at Georgia).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Leon Johnson
, LF (0-3)
2. Darwin Barney
, DH #1 (3-3, R)
3. Jonathan Wyatt
, CF (1-3, SB)
4. Ty Wright
, DH #2 (0-3)
5A. Carlos Perez
, C (0-2, K)
5B. Steve Clevenger
, C (1-2, 2B)
6. Marwin Gonzalez
, SS (0-3)
7. Jovan Rosa
, 3B (1-3, K)
8. Gian Guzman
, 2B (1-2, 2B)
9. Drew Rundle
, RF (1-2)
10. Mark Reed
, 1B (0-2, GIDP)
NOTE: Clevenger was permitted to take an extra AB between Johnson and Barney in the bottom of the 6th.
1. Chris Siegfried
: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (14 pitches)
2. Donnie Veal
: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K (22 pitches)
3. Ryan Acosta
: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K (14 pitches)
4. Marcus Hatley
: 1.0 IP, 1 H 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (27 pitches)
5. Yuri Higgins
: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (20 pitches)
6. Marcos Mateo
: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (8 pitches)
7. Hernan Ramos
: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (9 pitches)
: 0-2 CS
: 8 (including former Cubs GM Ed Lynch, who turned around at one point and saw Ryne Sandberg standing behind him, exclaiming "Hey, look who's here!").