Chad Fox Rehab Full Speed Ahead
Chad Fox continued his active rehab,,throwing 1.1 IP (four up, four down) in today's Extended Spring Training game versus the Brewers EXST team on Fitch Park Field #3.
Fox looked sharp, striking out the first two men he faced and getting the last two on 5-3 ground-outs.
The 37-year old right-hander was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs last January and received and NRI to Spring Training, but pitched in only one Cactus League game before being shut-down with a sore elbow.
He had missed most of the previous two seasons after retiring in April 2006 with what he thought was an elbow problem that turned out be just scar tissue from a previous surgery.
While there is clearly no room for him in the Cubs' bullpen (at this time), he is probably getting close to the point where he can be assigned to a full-season club, probably AAA Iowa.
It's also possible that the Cubs have promised Fox that if he is not added to their 25-man roster by a certain date (like maybe May 1st or June 1st), that he will be free to make his own deal elsewhere (see Rod Beck circa 2003).
While Fox was impressive in his outing, the five pitchers who followed Fox to the hill for the EXST Cubs today did not fare as well, as the EXST Brewers drubbed the Cubs 11-5. The youngsters either got hammered and/or could not throw strikes.
On offense, Dominican third-baseman John Contreras continued his hot hitting, going 2-2 with a 420-foot two-run home run over the CF fence in the 6th and a lead-off double roped down the left-field line in the 9th. Contreras has the same body type as Mike Lowell (for example), a thick lower body combined with powerful forearms.
The home run by Contreras was the third four-bagger hammered by a Cubs player in the EXST Cubs first three games, as Josh Vitters hit one over the LF fence and onto the street on Monday, and Roberto Sabates homered down the LF line versus the EXST Giants at Scottsdale yesterday.
Here are a couple of Cubs EXST roster updates:
RHP Audy Santana has been promoted from EXST to Peoria replacing the suspended Robert Hernandez, and LHP Mark Pawelek (who was missing from Fitch Park last week) is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
Also, promising young RHPs Larry Suarez (shoulder) and Oswaldo Martinez (elbow) threw bullpen sessions today as they attempt to return to action.
Here is today's Cubs EXST abridged box score:
1. Leon Johnson, DH #1: 0-4 (6-3, 4-3 RBI, P-6, 4-6-3 GIDP)
2. Gian Guzman, SS: 1-4 (4-3, 2-3, 2B RBI + R, 6-3)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-2 (L-5, 4-3)
3b. John Contreras, 3B: 2-2 (2-RUN HR, 2B + R)
4. Luke Sommer, RF-LF: 1-4 (4-3, K-S, 2B, L-9)
5. Brandon Guyer, DH #2: 0-4 (P-6, P-6, 6-3, F-8)
6. Andres Quezada, CF: 1-3 (BB, 6-3, F-7, 1B-RBI)
7a. Kevin Soto, LF: 1-2 (1B, L-8)
7b. Nelson Perez, RF 0-2 (F-7, K-S)
8a. Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-2 (K-S, 4-3)
8b. Alvaro Sosa, 1B: 0-1 (P-6)
9. Jose Made, 2B: 1-2 (1B + SB + R, 4-3, BB)
10a. Carlos Guevara, C: 0-1 (6-3)
10b. Carlos Perez, C: 0-0 (HBP + R, BB)
ERRORS: Contreras - 2 (one throwing, one dropped throw)
OF ASSIST - Sommer (at 3rd base from LF)
C. Perez: 2-2 CS
1. Chad Fox - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (15 pitches - 10 strikes)
2. Jose Severino - 2.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP
3. Yohan Gonzalez - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K
4. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K
5. Carlos Rojas - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4R, 2 BB, 0 K
6. Miguel Sierra - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K
WEATHER: Overcast and unseasonably cold and windy (sweater weather!)
ATTENDANCE: Two (me & some other guy)
TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.
Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?
Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.
Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.
Not 2nd to last but Cubs are definitely bottom of the pack in the 2nd half in oWAR and wRC+. #1 in dWAR though which is certainly a good sign for the playoffs.
I was going to say that you wouldn't want Heyward to achieve Soriano's OBP--.317 with the Cubs--but now I see that he's already done that. Pitchers have lost their fear of him.
Oh, well, at least Chapman seems to be as good as advertised.
Thanks to E-man and Quiet Man for the link on Chapman in a previous post. It's funny because I never really noticed Chapman's delivery until I saw him doing it in a blue uniform. Two saves in a Cubs uniform already. I hope they don't need him today, despite that smooth delivery.
Cubs are middle of the pack in average, 5th in OPS, 2nd in walks, 4th in runs scored in MLB. Their runs scored ranks 17th in the MLB in July.
Boston, leading everything, continues to rake in July.
Lester has given up one run or fewer in 11 starts this year. So I'd answer yes. Three of his last four starts were duds, yes. Not worried about him at all. Arrieta is concerning, to be sure. I look it at as, what he was doing was historic, so the regression was bound to happen. He showed in his start against the Mets that he's still capable, and I'd bet on him regaining his form.
marlins getting a.cashner and c.rea from SD
This is not an attack...But In what stat are the Cubs second from last in MLB, in hitting? I don't see this.
How odd the stats:
Cubs 1st in pitching in MLB
2nd to last in hitting.
In May they were 1st in both.
trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.
eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.
we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).
As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.
I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.
Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.
Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!
What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.
Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...