Angel Guzman Throws Simulated Game at Fitch Park
Marcus Hatley threw four shutout innings (thus becoming the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four), and George Matheus drove in two runs with a triple, scored the third run later that same inning, and made two outstanding defensive plays in the field, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Giants 3-1 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
Prior to the EXST game, Chicago Cubs RHP Angel Guzman (on the 60-day DL after undergoing TJ surgery last September) continued his rehab, throwing a two-inning "simulated game" on Field #2.
Facing six of the position players not in the EXST Cubs starting lineup (Brandon Guyer, Bryan Jost, Josh Vitters, John Contreras, Gian Guzman, and Dwayne Kemp), Gooz threw two innings, with 15 pitches each inning (30 pitches total). As far as I could tell, his velocity was good, but he was off with his control, throwing only about 50% of his pitches for strikes.
Barring any setbacks, Guzman should be on target for EXST game action sometime next week, with a 30-day (maximum) minor league rehab assignment to begin sometime after that. The Cubs will probably not want to send him out on the minor league rehab until August, though, so they can seemlessly recall him from the rehab and activate him from the DL when rosters expand on September 1st.
Ex-catcher Jake Muyco (converted to pitcher a couple of weeks ago) and newly-arrived Venezuelan RHP Israel Camacaro were the "opposing" pitchers in the simulated game on Field #2, each throwing one inning (20 pitches each). Muyco was pumping his fastball over the plate for strike after strike, but (not unexpectedtly) he tended to bounce his breaking balls and left his off-speed pitches up in the strike zone a bit too much.
In EXST roster news, the Cubs have decided to convert still another position player to pitcher. This week's victim is OF Luke Sommer, the Cubs 2007 30th round draft pick out of the University of San Francisco. Sommer does have experience as a pitcher, as he was a combination LHP-OF in high school before being converted to a full-time outfielder at USF.
Like fellow ex-outfielder Andres Quezada (who was converted to pitcher a few days ago), Sommer was probably a potential candidate for release at the end of Extended Spring Training, so having the chance to try his hand at pitching (again) is probably an attractive alternative to unemployment.
Rehabbin' 2B-OF Jeffrey Rea (quad) and 1B Matt Craig (leg) played in today's EXST game, and Rea even played defensively at 2B (Craig was a DH). This would tend to indicate that barring any further medical setbacks, the two players should be moving out of Fitch Park within a few days (possibly as soon as early next week, but of course that's still TBD), with Craig rejoining AA Tennessee (where he is presently on the DL), and Rea likely to be assigned to Peoria (where he will probably be Ryne Sandberg's everyday 2B and #2 hitter).
Here is today's abridged EXST box score (Cubs players only):
1. Cesar Salazar, CF: 1-4 (RBI, SB)
2a. Jeffrey Rea, 2B: 1-3 (2B)
2b. Gian Guzman, 2B: 1-1
3. Matt Craig DH #1: 0-4 (3 K)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-4 (K)
5. Luis Bautista, 1B: 0-4
6. Drew Rundle, LF: 0-4 (2 K, GIDP)
7. Junior Lake, 3B: 0-3 (K)
8. Alvaro Sosa, C: 0-2 (R, BB, K)
9. Starlin Castro, DH #2: 1-2 (R, BB)
10. George Matheus, SS: 2-3 (3B, 2 RBI, R)
1. Kevin Kreier - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K (5/0 GO/FO)
2. Marcus Hatley - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (6/5 GO/FO)
3. Harol Tolentino - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (1/3 GO/FO)
CATCHERS DEFENSE: Alvaro Sosa: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: Partly cloudly and not as hot as yesterday
ATTENDANCE: 10 (We tend to see significantly larger crowds on Fridays and Saturdays than we do on the other days of the week)
NOTE: The Cubs travel to the Peoria Sports Complex tomorrow for a game with Team China, as Jim Lefebvre's club continues to prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (BTW, that's Peoria, Arizona, not Peoria, Illinois). What's significant about the Peoria Sports Complex is that, unlike the Papago Sports Complex where the EXST Cubs played the EXST A's yesterday, the Peoria Sports Complex is not the site of a former WWII POW camp.