A's Extenze Rally to Defeat Cubs at Fitch Park

Marcus Hatley retired the first 11 men he faced, Mark Pawelek threw 2.1 innings of shutout ball, and Dwayne Kemp belted his team-leading third home run, but the EXST A's rallied to defeat the EXST Cubs 7-5 in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

The Cubs got on the scoreboard right away in the bottom of the first, as Cesar Salazar and Gian Guzman hit back-to-back singles, putting the Cubs in business with runners at 1st and 3rd and nobody out. Matt Craig followed with an F-8 sac fly to score Salazar.

Guzman then stole two bases (second and third), before scoring on a one-out RBI ground out. The Cubs added a third run in the bottom of the 3rd on a lead-off solo HR by Kemp that was hit over the LF fence and onto 8th Street. (For a guy who is maybe 5'6, Kemp is built like a Muscle Beach body builder).

Meanwhile, Hatley was mowing down the A's, striking out five and pitching perfect baseball into the 4th inning. But with two outs and nobody on base, the A's strung together two singles and a two-run triple (a line drive that was misplayed by Cesar Salazar, who is a butcher in CF, BTW) to get to within one run at 3-2.

The Cubs added another run in the 5th on a lead-off double off the LF fence by Junior Lake, a sac bunt, and a wild pitch that plated Lake with the Cubs 4th run of the day.

But RHP Jon Mueller (who has been rehabbing at Fitch Park since the start of minor league camp in March) surrenderd two hard-hit doubles and three-run HR (the fourth HR he has allowed in his last four outings) in the top of the 7th, as the A's took a 5-4 lead. (Pitching like has has been lately, Mule might not ever get out of Fitch Park!).

The Cubs came back in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game at 5, as Guyer worked a lead-off walk, advanced to 2nd on a sac bunt, and scored on a two-out RBI single lined to left by Salazar. 

But then the A's scored two in the 9th off reliever Rogelio Carmona, capitalizing on a single, a FC sac bunt, two walks, and a sac fly. 

The Cubs then went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, Jeffrey Rea (quad) and Matt Craig (bruised thigh) played in today's EXST game, both at the plate and in the field (Rea at 2B and Craig at 3B). Then Craig left to rejoin AA Tennessee after the game (actually he left amidst the usual hugs & kisses after the 6th inning). 

Rea will apparently be remaining on his rehab assignment at Fitch Park a while longer.

And RHP Kevin Kreier (who has thrown the ball very well in his last three outings) has been promoted to Peoria, but based on the way they pitched today and in their recent outings, Marcus Hatley and Mark Pawelek could be following Kreier to Peoria very soon. While Kreier has looked good lately, Hatley and Pawelek have been every bit as good, if not better.   

Here is today's EXST Cubs abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1. Cesar Salazar, CF: 2-4 (RBI, R)
2. Gian Guzman, SS-3B: 1-3 (R, BB, K, 2 SB)
3a. Matt Craig, 3B: 0-1 (RBI, SF, BB, K, SB)
3b. George Matheus, SS: 0-1
4a. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-1 (RBI, BB)
4b. Kevin Soto, RF: 1-2 (SB)
5. Carlos Perez, 1B: 0-3 (BB)
6. Jeffrey Rea, 2B: 0-4 (2 K)
7. Junior Lake, DH #1: 1-3 (2B, R, 2 K)
8. Brandon Guyer, DH #2: 0-1 (R, BB, SH, K)
9. Dwayne Kemp, LF: 1-2 (HR, RBI, R, SH, K)
10. Roberto Sabates, C: 0-3 (K)

1. Marcus Hatley - 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K (2/4 GO/FO)
2. Mark Pawelek - 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (1/2 GO/FO)
3. Jon Mueller - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR (1/3 GO/FO)
4. Rogelio Carmona - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K
5. John Muller - 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

Gian Guzman, E-5 missed catch

Roberto Sabates - 0-1 CS

WEATHER: Game-time temperature around 80, mostly cloudy, and far less breezy than it was yesterday



Ahhh.. scenery is improving around here. I feel better already

I was pretty excited when I saw Kreier mentioned as one of the starters at the Chiefs' web site.

I'm guessing Alberto Cabrera staying in Peoria is pretty dependent on his start with the Chiefs today.

Any thoughts on Salazar? He's one of the recently added guys at Fitch, correct?

Phil, any ideas or guesses on who the Cubs might be interested in with the 19th pick in next month's draft? Are there any players who might fall to the Cubs' slot because they're Boras clients? Thanks.

Submitted by Raisin101 on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 4:46pm.

I was pretty excited when I saw Kreier mentioned as one of the starters at the Chiefs' web site.

I'm guessing Alberto Cabrera staying in Peoria is pretty dependent on his start with the Chiefs today.

Any thoughts on Salazar? He's one of the recently added guys at Fitch, correct?


RAISIN: Cesar Salazar is one of three Venezuelans who arrived at Fitch Park from the Cubs Venezuelan Baseball Academy a couple of weeks ago. (RHP Israel Camacaro and SS George Matheus are the other two). All three came to Arizona together on the same flight. Catcher Jose Bracho and RHP Gregorio Rodriguez were supposed to come to EXST too, but for some reason they did not come with the other three. I don't know whether Bracho and Rodriguez will be coming to Fitch Park or not.

As for Salazar, he is a 23 year old switch-hitter, and I believe he was once property of the Giants(?), although I don't think he ever played in the U. S. (I could be wrong)

Although he is a pretty good offensive player/lead-off hitter (he does this thing where he runs forward like he's going to drag bunt and then he slaps the ball hard to the opposite field like Ichiro does), he is one lousy defender in CF.

He generally sort of tries to surround fly balls by running in circles until the ball comes down (hopefully somewhere near where he ends up), and he can't track line drives at all.

To paraphrase what Dennis Lamp once said about Luis Polonia...

With Cesar Salazar, it's a Catch-22... hit him a hundred fly balls, and he'll catch 22.

In summary, being that he's 23 he better start moving quickly up the ladder. But the way he plays defense, that might be problematic. Maybe he can improve his play in in CF. For his sake, he'd better. We'll see.

Submitted by Timmer on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 5:42pm.

Phil, any ideas or guesses on who the Cubs might be interested in with the 19th pick in next month's draft?

Are there any players who might fall to the Cubs' slot because they're Boras clients?



TIMMER: Last year, 22 of Tim Wilken's first 24 picks were college players. I believe that had something to do with the change in Rule 4 that eliminates the opportunity to Draft & Follow a HS player if he goes to a JC, and the fact that the Cubs drafted several high risk/high reward high school players in 2006 (Huseby, Rundle, Andersen, Kreier, Samson, and Rosa) who were likely to advance relatively slowly, plus the increased emphasis on signing inexperienced players out of Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Europe.

But I don't know what the plan is this year. Maybe it will be just like last year (heavy emphasis on college players), or maybe it will be more like 2006 (taking risks on high school kids).

But if I had to guess (and obviously I don't know which players will be selected before the Cubs get to make their selection), I would say the Cubs will most-likely select a college pitcher (more likely an advanced power closer than a rotation starter) or college position player (high-quality hitter or highly-rated shortstop).

Somebody like maybe (listed alphabetically):

Gordon Beckham, SS (Georgia)
Andrew Cashner, RHP-CLOSER (TCU)
Ike Davis, 1B-RF (Arizona State)
Joshua Fields, RHP-CLOSER (Georgia)
Reese Havens, SS (South Carolina)
Ryan Perry, RHP-CLOSER (Arizona)
Brett Wallace, 1B-3B (Arizona State)

As I mentioned here the other day, Cashner was selected by the Cubs out of Angelina JC in the 29th round of last year's draft, but opted to transfer to TCU instead of sign with the Cubs. So we know they liked him last year, and they probably like him even more now. Too bad they couldn't sign him as a Draft & Follow.

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