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)
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.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.
I meant December.