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)
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.