Cubs Sign Another Australian Pitcher
The Cubs have signed another Australian pitcher, and he has reported to Fitch Park.
18-year old 6'4 LHP Cody Hams is in the U. S. on a three-month visa, just as fellow Australian Ryan Searle was last year, and (like Searle last year) Hams will have to return to Australia at the conclusion of Extended Spring Training in June. He will then attend the MLB Australian Baseball Academy
While Searle bears a resemblance in style to Sean Gallagher, Hams is more like Rich Hill Redux, tall and lanky with the proverbial "stylish lefty" delivery.
Searle is in the U. S. for the entire season this time around, which means he will (barring injury) be assigned to a short-season club (either the AZL Cubs or the Boise Hawks) in June, instead of returning Down Under.
With Searle and Hams at Fitch Park for the next couple of months, Cubs scout and Australian Baseball Academy instructor Larry Home is also present (Home is the Cubs "Go-To" guy in Australia). Home will return to Australia with Hams in time for the start of the 2008 Australian Baseball Academy.
Meanwhile, the Cubs youngsters at Extended Spring Training played a final tune-up intrasquad game at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon, in preparation for the start of the EXST Cactus League season on Monday.
At the plate, 3B John Contreras had a single, a double, and a triple, 1B Bryan Jost (finally cleared to play after rehabbing from 2007 season-ending knee surgery) had three hits, SS Junior Lake went 2-2 (including an RBI triple) with two walks, and DH (normally a catcher) Alvaro Sosa went 3-3.
On the mound, Todd Blackford, Yohan Gonzalez, and Jeffry Antigua had (by far) the best outings of the ten pitchers who took the mound. Blackford is in the last stages of rehab after undergoing TJ surgery last May, and Gonzalez (big dude with a power arm) and Antigua (more of a "crafty" lefty with a plus-sinker and breaking ball and excellent control) appear to be the Cubs two best Latin pitching prospects at EXST in 2008. Both Gonzalez and Antigua are only 17 years old.
Cubs 2007 #1 draft pick 3B Josh Vitters continues to look sluggish in all aspects of his game, although he had a decent final BP round (about ten swings) during pre-game BP. Then he proceded to bounce out weakly 6-3 and 4-3 and fly out to CF, before finally roping a line-drive RBI single. Then he grounded out weakly 6-3 again in his final AB. He also had a throwing error (he is wearing a pressure-sleeve on his right elbow). He appears to be pressing.
Here is the abridged box score:
NOTE: Some innings were terminated early (less than three outs) if a pitcher reached his pitch limit for that inning, while other innings were extended beyond three outs if the pitcher needed to throw more pitches.
Also, sometimes a hitter was skipped if he was needed to warm-up a pitcher in bullpen.
In other words, it was kind of informal. But the rivalry was intense. (OK. There was no real rivalry... but the players had fun)
1. Jeffrey Rea, DH#1 - 2-4 (2B, R)
2. Jose Made, 2B - 2-3 (RBI, BB, SB)
3. Luke Sommer, RF - 0-3 (SF-RBI, GIDP)
4. John Contreras, 3B - 3-4 (2B, 3B, 2 R)
5. Brandon Guyer, DH#2 - 1-4 (R, K)
6. Kevin Soto, CF - 1-3 (RBI, R, SH, K)
7A. Carlos Perez, C - 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI)
7B. Roberto Sabates, C - 0-1
8. Junior Lake, SS - 2-2 (3B, RBI, 2 BB)
9. Luis Bautista, 1B - 0-4
10. Elvis Lara, LF - 2-3 (R)
1. Leon Johnson, RF - 2-4 (2 R, BB, 2 K, SB)
2. Gian Guzman, 2B - 2-5 (3B, RBI, GIDP)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B - 1-5 (RBI)
4. Bryan Jost, 1B - 3-5
5A. Tony Richie, C - 0-2
5B. Jose Guevara, C - 1-2 (R, SB)
6. Andres Quezada, CF - 2-5 (CS)
7. Dwayne Kemp, LF - 0-5 (K, GIDP)
8. Alvaro Sosa, DH - 3-3 (R)
9. Starlin Castro, SS - 2-5 (RBI, R)
Yohan Gonzalez - 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Julio Pena - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Jose Severino - 1.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Jeffry Antigua - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 GIDP
Audy Santana - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Todd Blackford - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Dionis Nunez - 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K, WP
Carlos Rojas - 1.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K, WP
Miguel Sierra - 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP
Eduardo Figueroa - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K
Guevara - 0-1 CS, 1 PB
Sabates - 1-3 CS
ATTENDANCE: 5 or 6 (I lost count, and some fans left early to beat the traffic out of the parking lot)
WEATHER: It was sunny, warm and VERY breezy. "How breezy," you say? Well, in the bottom of the 4th inning a "dust devil" (F-0 tornado vortex) passed through Fitch Park and sent dust, lawn chairs, BP screens, tarps, and Dwayne Kemp flying willy-willy (that's Australian for "dust devil") all over the yard.
And with Jeffry Antigua, Kitt Kopach, and Oswaldo Martinez back on the field for the morning work-out (and Kopach and Martinez are still restricted to limited physical activity), here is the most latest up-to-date Cubs EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING roster:
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Jeffry Antigua
Todd Blackford (had TJ surgery last May)
* Michael Bunton (limited physical activity- injury)
Rafael Dolis (limited physical activity - surgery rehab)
Chad Fox (elbow rehab)
Angel Guzman (limited physical activity - TJ surgery rehab)
* Cody Hams
* Arik Hempy
Jim Henderson (limited physical activity – injury)
Robert Hernandez (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Grant Johnson (limited physical activity – sprained elbow ligament)
Kitt Kopach (limited physical activity - shoulder surgery rehab)
Oswaldo Martinez (limited physical activity - injured)
Scott Meyer (limited physical activity - injury)
Jon Mueller (limited physical activity – injury)
Billy Muldowney (had TJ surgery last July)
Billy Petrick (has had a problem with weakness in shoulder)
Jose Pina (limited physical activity – injury)
Carlos E. Rojas
Larry Suarez (limited physical activity – injury)
Scott Taylor (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Tony Richie (sustained a rib cage injury in Minor League Camp)
* Alvaro Sosa
Luis Bautista (1B-C)
Starlin Castro (SS)
John Contreras (3B)
Gian Guzman (SS-2B-3B)
Dwayne Kemp (2B-OF)
* Bryan Jost (1B)
Junior Lake (SS)
Elvis Lara (2B-OF)
Jose Made (2B-OF)
* Jeffrey Rea (2B-OF - had unknown-type injury in Minor League Camp)
Josh Vitters (3B)
Brandon Guyer (limited physical activity – shoulder surgery rehab)
* Leon Johnson (sustained finger injury in Minor League Camp)
# Andres Quezada
* Nelson Perez (limited physical activity – unknown-type injury)
* Luke Sommer
EXACT WHEREBOUTS STILL UNKNOWN (by me):
Alberto Alburquerque, P (was demoted to EXST at end of Minor League Camp)
Rafael Cova, P (has yet to report - is supposedly having visa problems in Venezuela)
* Jeff Culpepper, OF (was in Minor League Camp - limited activity only)
* Clark Hardman, OF (was with PEORIA group first week of Minor League Camp)
* Mark Pawelek, P (was demoted to EXST at end of Minor League Camp)
* Marc Sawyer, 1B (did not report to Minor League Camp)
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.