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


Castro (fielding)
Vitters (throwing) 
Severino (throwing)
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

Francisco Acosta
* Jeffry Antigua
Todd Blackford (had TJ surgery last May)
* Michael Bunton (limited physical activity- injury)
Rogelio Carmona
Rafael Dolis (limited physical activity - surgery rehab)
Eduardo Figueroa
Chad Fox (elbow rehab)
Yohan Gonzalez
Angel Guzman (limited physical activity - TJ surgery rehab)
* Cody Hams
Marcus Hatley
* Arik Hempy
Jim Henderson (limited physical activity – injury)
Robert Hernandez (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Chris Huseby
Grant Johnson (limited physical activity – sprained elbow ligament)
Kitt Kopach (limited physical activity - shoulder surgery rehab)
Kevin Kreier
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)
John Muller
Dionis Nunez
Julio Pena
Billy Petrick (has had a problem with weakness in shoulder)
Jose Pina (limited physical activity – injury)
Cedric Redmond
Carlos E. Rojas
Audy Santana
Ryan Searle
Jose Severino
Miguel Sierra
Larry Suarez (limited physical activity – injury)
Scott Taylor (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Harol Tolentino

Carlos Guevara
Carlos Perez
Tony Richie (sustained a rib cage injury in Minor League Camp)
Roberto Sabates
* 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)
Kevin Soto
* Luke Sommer

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)



Do you know yet who was sent up to Peoria to replace Hernandez?

Submitted by brett on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 6:49pm.

Phil, Do you know yet who was sent up to Peoria to replace Hernandez?


BRETT: I don't know, but I do know the only two pitchers missing from EXST who are supposed to be there are Alberto Alburquerque and Mark Pawelek.

Since Alburquerque and Pawelek were the last two pitchers cut from the Peoria roster prior to Opening Day, either of them could be Hernandez's replacement (probably more-likely Alburquerque). But then I would wonder if it's Alburquerque, why isn't Pawelek at EXST? (Or vice-versa). 

I am glad Mr. Antigua has been found. Now, where the hell is Pawelek and Alburquerque?

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.