Rich Hill Sharp in Final Spring Training Outing

While the rest of his teammates spent the weekend in Las Vegas before heading back to Chicago for Opening Day, Rich Hill remained in Arizona and made his final Spring Training tune-up start versus the Angels' Salt Lake AAA club at the Diablo Park minor league complex in Tempe this morning.

Hill struggled with his control a bit in the 1st and 3rd innings (he walked a batter to load the bases in the bottom of the 3rd and then hit a batter to force-in a run), but he also retired the side in order in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings, including the last eight men he faced.

With a mandate from Larry Rothschild to throw between 80 and 90 pitches, Hill ended up throwing exactly 80 pitches (22-14-23-10-11 in innings 1-2-3-4-5, including 50 strikes and 30 balls).

In his five innings of work, the left-hander allowed one run (earned) on three hits, with two walks, four strikeouts, and a HBP, with a 6/5 GB/FB. 

As for the game itself, the Iowa Cubs, playing their final Spring Training game before heading back east, defeated the Salt Lake Bees 6-3, as Micah Hoffpauir crushed a two-run tie-breaking HR over the right-centerfield fence to give the Cubs a lead they never relinquished.

Facing Angels top pitching prospect Nick Adenhart and four relievers, the I-Cubs banged-out 14 hits, as Hoffpauir went 2-5 with the two-run homer and two runs scored, Casey McGehee went 3-4 with a walk and three RBI on two doubles and a single, Jake Fox went 4-5 (all four singles) with two runs scored, 2B Eric Patterson went 2-4 with a walk, and RF Josh Kroeger went 3-5 with an RBI triple and a run scored.

On the negative side, CF Andres Torres went 0-5 with three K, SS Andres Blanco went 0-4 with two K and a GIDP, and catcher Koyie Hill went 0-3 with a K.  

The I-Cubs three lefty relievers followed Hill to the mound, with mixed results. While Neal Cotts and Geoff Jones each struck out the side in their one inning of work (and Cotts was especially impressive), Les Walrond gave up two runs on three hits, a walk, and HBP in his two innings, with the  second inning being the really bad one, after he had retired the side 1-2-3 in his first inning of work.

With Rich Hill having bumped him out of his scheduled start in the AAA game, LHP J. R. Mathes got the start for AA Tennessee on an adjacent field and had a solid outing, although I do not have the exact numbers since I was mainly watching Rich Hill and the I-Cubs. 

With Hill getting his final Spring Training start today, he appears to be on a schedule to start the fifth game of the season next Saturday afternoon versus the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.

Here is Rich Hill's abridged game log from today's game:

1st inning:
K (looking)

2nd inning:
K (swinging)
K (swinging)

3rd inning:
single (then stolen base)
single (runner on 2nd advances to 3rd)
HBP (forcing in a run)

4th inning
K (swinging)

5th inning:


Az. Phil, will Eric Patterson swing between 2b and the Of, or are the Cubs going to return him to 2b only?
Also, have the final minor lge rosters been finalized?

with news that Murton and Marshall are sent down, via Rotoworld.

here's the Cubs official press release on the final roster

I am relieved Lou came to his senses. I would rather have Piggy than Eyre now, anyway.

Thanks for the update, AZ PHIL.

For those of you who can grab today's NY Times, there is a special "Baseball 2008" pull-out. Page three is a full page piece on the Cubs: POISON IN THE IVY: As Jinx Turns 100, The Friendly Confines Are Getting Feisty.

It is a terrific read. Several mentions of the Zell saga, including something I did not know, being that Zell "...actually dislikes baseball. He never would have bought the Cubs if they didn't come with the Tribune. Its just another asset..." Jerry Reinsdorf

Thanks for mentioning that article, E-Man. I just found it online at:


Thanks for the link, Cubnut.

I found the piece really interesting.

Submitted by Hagsag on Sun, 03/30/2008 - 1:40pm.

Az. Phil, will Eric Patterson swing between 2b and the Of, or are the Cubs going to return him to 2b only?

Also, have the final minor lge rosters been finalized?


HAGSAG: Eric Patterson played 2B today, but I would think he will also play OF.

The minor league rosters have been nearly finalized, but there may be some additional moves made prior to minor league opening day at the end of the week.

The Cubs minor league rosters I listed here at TCR a couple of days ago are fairly close to final. The only difference for Iowa is that Tony Richie and Sam Fuld are injured and may start the season on the DL, and I have no idea where Carlos Rojas went, but he's nowhere to be seen. He may have gotten released.

Ryan O'Malley defintely got released (Iowa is going with Cotts, Walrond, and Jones as the lefties in their pen), and Matt Avery was with the AA squad today at Tempe, so he likely was demoted from Iowa to Tennessee. Also, Chris Shaver (who had shoulder surgery last June) appears "good to go" as one of the three lefties in the Tennessee bullpen (the others being Edward Campusano and Darin Downs).

And Justin Berg worked out of the Tennessee bullpen again today (he might end up being the closer at AA), so apparently it will be Jeff Samardzija, Donald Veal, Mitch Atkins, Tanner Watson, and either Gregory Reinhard or Jesse Estrada as the starters at AA, and Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher, Mark Holliman, J. R. Mathes, and either Juan Mateo or Cory Bailey the starters at AAA Iowa.

All of this is subject to change, of course.

Thanks so much Phil. You are the man.

thanks for the report...

I think Hill starts the fourth game of the year versus the Astros on Friday though.

For all of you Iowa Cubs fans, this was the I-Cubs starting lineup today:

1. Eric Patterson, 2B
2. Andres Torres, CF
3. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
4. Jake Fox, LF
5. Josh Kroeger, RF
6. Casey McGehee, 3B
7. Koyie Hill, C
8. Andres Blanco, SS
9. Rich Hill, P


J. D. Closser, C
Luis Figueroa, INF
Bobby Scales, IF-OF

ABSENT (injured):
Sam Fuld, OF
Tony Richie, C

Carlos Rojas, INF (may have been released)

wow...O's release jay "where's my 12 million dollars" gibbons.

Trib today

100 years, 100 Cub questions

Some interesting, some not so much

mike piazza, jeff weaver, freddy garcia, preston wilson, kenny lofton...cirillo, alfonseca, bonds, sosa...neifi f'n perez...

not advocating signing a single one of these guys...just interesting names. some are injured, some are old, and some are a combo (like the unnamed d.miller).

mike piazza goes out with a will clark-like whimper after a career of being a leader...

someone will probably sign freddy garcia again unless he's just "done" in 09+...

Click here, bitches. It's a webcam inside Wrigley Field.

that's cool.

the bottom (base navigation) image is old, but the camera feed, itself, seems to be real-time.

Quick question: Where does Chad Fox fall in all these roster moves. Is he just at extended spring training or does he also need to be carried on a team's disabled list?

Yeah. I'm actually watching two field workers add dry dirt to the second base area of the IF.

Check out the new bullpen seats.

I wouldn't want to be sitting there when Wood warms up and one gets away.

I'm glad Hendry didn't just give Murton away for a bag of balls although I know it sucks for Murton. Still there should be a lot of prospect talent to pull off a needed trade before July 31st and if Soriano goes down, there's an immediate answer 2 hours away.

AZ Phil, thanks for the Fuld, Ascanio going to start the season on the MLB DL or the AAA DL?

murton deserves to play and is MLB ready...but it's either 4th OF'r or LF ready no matter the team.

i'd be interested to see if he gets time at 1st while in AAA or at least fields a bit there in practice...that is if the cubs/murton still have a relationship beyond the next week+.

his D is weak, his arm is average/below-average at best...he's got power to both fields, but no one's ready to call him a 30-homer guy (some question whether he's even a 20-homer guy).

someone should want him and could find a place for him. hopefully hendry will hold out for something worth getting in return.

It will be hard with Hoffpauir there to get any game time.

Its a shame, Murton should get a DH job in AL.

You know, the truth is, Zell really could have slammed the doors shut on spending for the team. True, he probably wouldn't be safe anywhere in Chicago if he did, but he could have. I actually feel a little better that's Zell's behavior is just because he doesn't like baseball. As for long range health of the franchise, I think Zell is a smaller issue than the fact that WGN doesn't carry as many games to a national audience as it once did. I'm more interested in the future of that partnership than anything Sam Zell does, especially considering Zell didn't end up putting the kbosh on spending.

imo, so far zell's been a decent steward to cubs/cubs-fans so far it seems...unless anyone's upset about the possible selling of naming rights.

given his reputation it seems the cubs are being well taken care of.

of course, the cubs are only a small chunk of the tribune and putting an extra 5-10-20m into the team might be pocket change compared to the ticket price hike, the new seats, the possible improved value of a "winning" team, etc etc etc might be safe/sane management for someone looking to sell the team vs. the investment into it.

it's a little hard to handicap all these variable from the outside looking in...

Bullshit, in my humble opinion. Zell is a suit; His interest is in making money. If keeping the Cub's roster stocked so the team is worth more makes good business sense, then that's what Zell will do.

well yeah...that's what i was trying to say in the 3rd paragraph.

no matter the motivation it seems the cubs have what they need to compete from a guy known for being the "guy in the middle who's a dickhead before he sells it off to the new saviors" doing all the stuff that needs to be done in businesses, but don't want the PR hit behind it for the new owners.

he could have gone in a lot of directions with the cubs and given his track record i'll take this present outcome. that said, i say this being one of those people who could care less whether the place they play is Wrigley Field or Viagra Field.


So... I hope the Cub's interests and Zell's interests continue to be the same. The sooner the club's sale is resolved, the better.


im ready for the transfer into a true caretaker rather than a caretaker who's "doing good".

The Cubs' interests and Zell's are not the same at all. Obviously, you're right, the sooner the better. My point original point was that it could have been a lot worse. I suspect Zell is a pretty good businessman, and that's why he let the salaries keep expanding. From a biz perspective, it wouldn't be a good idea to let the Cubs franchise die on the vine and become, say, the Florida Marlins. But believe it or not, not all rich guys are good business people. I doubt I'm enlightening you much there, just saying.

Ken Rosenthal on Murton:

it's a bit longer but here is an excerpt:

The Cubs, knowing that Murton would get regular playing time with another club, want at least one quality prospect — preferably a pitcher in return.

"I think they are going to hold him for a period of time," says one general manager who is interested in Murton. "The price is way too high as of now."

The Padres and Rays are among the clubs pursuing Murton, but two or three other teams also have shown interest, major-league sources say. The Rays claimed outfielder Nathan Haynes off waivers from the Angels on Friday, but continue to explore potential upgrades.

Scouts describe Murton as a "tweener" — an outfielder who lacks the defensive skill to play center and the power necessary for a corner. Braves left fielder Matt Diaz, a similar type, is approaching everyday status due to his .320 career batting average.

Ravech and Kruk pick the Cubs (over the Tigers and Indians, respectively) to win it. Eric Young picks the Red Sox (over the Braves) and Phillips picks the Tigers (over the Mets).

Gammons- Braves vs Indians
Phillips- Tigers vs Mets
Eric Young- Braves vs Red Sox
Karl Ravech- Cubs vs Detroit
Kruk- Cubs vs Indians.

Ravech and Kruk have Cubs winning it all.

Am I missing something on the Braves?

Braves @ Nats tonight but both teams travel to play again tomorrow?

Pirates @ Braves and Nats @ Phils

that's just dumb...

Bud Selig?

Too early for scoreboard watching?

It's never too early for scoreboard watching.

Will Ohman warming up for Atl.


Joe Morgan just announced that Ernie Banks invited him to the unveiling of his statue tomorrow. Yech.

picks Lee as the MVP after picking the Cubs to win it all. We're sunk.

Fun ending to the game, tho.

AZ Phil, Peoria's roster is out:

I was wondering if you knew why Huseby didn't make the team? Is he hurt?

Is he good enough to trade Lee? And if he is, isn't now the time?

I am sure the typical Cubs fan will say, "But Lee is a God." But I say, he seems a bit on the downside, and so I ask AZ how good Hoffpower really is. I saw Hoffpower do a nice pick with Marmol, so, ummm, I'm just asking the real expert.

The Cubs are already going with 3 unproven players in the field. No way that trading DLee to free up room for Hoffpauir is even an option.

BTW, as an old and blue sort of dude, I have to say that I am officially a fan of Henry White.

Well, the new 'wonder' field drainage system gets its first test. I'm watching the live cams both outside and inside now. Thanks Carlosrubi.

It looks like the infield tarp is now sponsored by "Van Kampen Investments."

Also looks like Sullivan, Kasper and Roan are filming some segment near the Cubs dugout.

This camera is pretty cool. Thanks Carlos.

Are we going to have a thread with all our win projections or should we just post them whenever before Opening Day?

is the game calleD? strong thunderstorms this afternoon?
sure would like to know now so I can salvage my day

According to WGN it's suppose to clear up, with a chance of a storm in afternoon.

If that doesn't hit, it's clear until tonight.

Here's a really good radar weather link for the Chicago area. I'd swear that the line of rain approaching has the shape of a blue-green umbrella (9:12 am). Rorschach test anyone?

Looks like Pac-Man getting ready to swallow the city to me.

Here's a link. Maps in motion are wonderful. Load this and hit play. This will give you a bit of an idea of the direction this stuff is moving. At the moment, it looks like Chicago will get hit by the bottom of that system.
chicago map in motion

Ernie Banks statue unveiling is starting on WGN-TV (in the rain). Also a webcast on

Thanks for the heads up on the Banks ceremony Cubster. I had forgotten about it and would have been pissed at myself if I hadn't read your post.

I think the statue looks great!

As far as the ceremony itself goes, nothing makes a great statue unveiling like the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Ronnie Woo Woo.

the radar you reference, joshb, is not encouraging as of this moment.

It appears as if about near game time there is a solid system of heavy rain.

I am glad CUBSTER is covered!

OPENING DAY! SO EXCITED! Let's hope the weather holds up.


very nice touch having Hank Aaron there.

anyone catch Crane Kenney's first mention of Aaron as "the man most Americans recognize as the home run leader" (before his 2nd Aaron introduction when he actually introduced him to speak)


Interesting -- who would he introduce as the "recognized" single-seaon HR leader? Maris?

It's raining like Hell out here in the Western Suburbs. Things don't look that great to get much of this game in. I see there is a small window between two storm fronts on the radar, but I don't know how long it will last. It doesn't look very big.

That's what she said.

It's bigger than she thought. Len just said the rain-free window is projected to be from 2-6pm Chicago time. Game won't start before 2pm.

Submitted by Hook on Sun, 03/30/2008 - 4:28pm.

Quick question:

Where does Chad Fox fall in all these roster moves. Is he just at extended spring training or does he also need to be carried on a team's disabled list?


HOOK: Unless he quits or gets released, Chad Fox will be assigned to the Pitchers Rehab Group at Fitch Park (EXST).

Because he signed a minor league contract, he does not need to be placed on the Cubs MLB DL.

Submitted by Raisin101 on Sun, 03/30/2008 - 11:46pm.

AZ Phil, Peoria's roster is out. I was wondering if you knew why Huseby didn't make the team? Is he hurt?


RAISIN: Arik Hempy (Daytona) and Chris Huseby (Peoria) were both left behind at Fitch Park when their clubs left town yesterday. Since EXST hasn't started yet, I can't tell you for sure whether they are injured or got demoted, although in Hempy's case he's almost certainly injured, because I doubt VERY much that he would have been demoted from the Daytona starting rotation to EXST at the end of ST.

In Huseby's case, he could be hurt or he could have been demoted to the Fitch Park Daytona-Peoria Replacement Cadre. He has the type of delivery that can get out of whack in a hurry.

There were several demotions involving pitchers at the very end of Minor League Camp: Matt Avery and Rocky Roquet were demoted from AAA Iowa to AA Tennessee, Darin Downs went from Tennessee to Daytona, Marcos Mateo (Juan's cousin) was demoted from Daytona to Peoria, and Alberto Alburquerque, Marcus Hatley, Scott Meyer, and Mark Pawelek were sent to EXST from Peoria. 

Recent comments

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  • 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

  • Hahahahaha