EXST Cubs Fall to Angels at Fitch Park

The EXST Angels scored three runs in the top of the 6th to break a 1-1 tie, and went on to defeat the EXST Cubs 4-2 at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

RHP Robert Hernandez got the start for the Cubs and worked four innings, allowing only one unearned run on one hit, while walking one and striking out three. Hernandez completed his 50 game suspension this past Sunday, and so he can be assigned back to Peoria at any time.

Ex-OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer (2007 30th round pick out of the University of San Francisco) got into his first professional game action as a pitcher today, working one shutout inning (one K). As I've mentioned before, Sommer was a P-OF in high school, so for him it's just a matter of getting acclimated back to pitching. He has a nice curve & sinker combo, and he also has very good command of his pitches.

LHP Michael Bunton (2007 26th round pick out of the College of Charleston) got into his first game action of 2008 after being sidelined for the last couple of months with a sore shoulder (no surgery, just rest). The left-hander worked one shutout inning, issuing a lead-off walk, followed by a 4-6-3 GIDP and a strikeout. He looked OK, considering his long lay-off. 
   
On offense, the Cubs missed two golden scoring opportunities, one in the 2nd inning when Kyler Burke was picked off 3rd base with one out, and another in the bottom of the 5th when Drew Rundle struck out with a runner on 3rd and one out (Rundle also struck out with a runner on 3rd and no outs in the 8th, but the runner eventually scored on an error).  And Nelson Perez was called out on strikes three times.

Prior to the game, RHPs Chris Huseby and Jake Muyco pitched a two-inning simulated game on Field #2. Muyco looked fine, but Huseby continues to struggle with his control, throwing only six of his 30 pitches for strikes (and some of the balls missed the strike zone by three feet). New catcher (ex-infielder) Robinson Chirinos got quite a work-out! Huseby is scheduled to pitch in an EXST game on Saturday after a bullpen side session on Thursday.

In EXST news, 2B-SS Starlin Castro has returned to action after missing several days with a finger injury, 2B Jeffrey Rea (quad) is taking BP but can't run or play defense, and 3B Josh Vitters (tendinitis in his hand) is only able to take infield practice right now (no BP). 

Also, Angel Guzman, Mark Pawelek, John Muller, and Rogelio Carmona threw a four-inning simulated game yesterday (Memorial Day) on Fitch Park Field #2, as the Phoenix area was still drying out from the weekend rain that caused Cubs EXST games to be canceled on Friday and Saturday. Guzman threw one inning (20 pitches), and Pawelek went four innings (60 pitches).  

A "simulated game" is where a pitcher throws a fixed number of pitches (usually 15-20) in a given "inning," and the hitter remains at the plate until he either strikes out, walks, or puts the ball in play. Ideally, at least two hitters participate (preferably one left-handed hitter and one right-handed hitter), but there are almost always four to six hitters involved (and all of them hit for both "teams").  

There are no hits or runs, and no baserunners (unless the coaches want the pitcher to pitch with men on base). There is a catcher, but infielders and outfielders are not necessary, except a couple or three off-duty pitchers to shag fly balls and return the balls back to the infield. The inning is terminated as soon as the pitcher reaches his pre-planned pitch limit for that inning.

If a pitcher is to throw more than one inning (as Pawelek did yesterday), he returns to the bench while the other pitcher throws his inning, just as he would in a "real" game. And the pitcher does NOT throw from behind a portable screen, as he might do in a "live" BP session.

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

LINEUP:
1. Cesar Salazar, LF: 0-4 (K)
2a. Alvaro Sosa, DH #1: 0-3 (K)
2b. Jose Made, PH: 0-1
3. Robinson Chirinos, DH #2: 1-4
4. Nelson Perez, CF: 1-4 (3 K)
5. Carlos Perez, C: 2-4 (R) 
6. Kyler Burke, RF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, PO)
7. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-2 (R, 3B, BB)
8. Drew Rundle, 1B: 0-2 (RBI-SF, 2 K)
9. George Matheus, SS: 0-3 (RBI)
10a. Starlin Castro, 2B: 0-2 (2 K)
10b. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 0-1 (K)

PITCHERS:
1. Robert Hernandez - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP (6/3 GO/FO)
2. Luke Sommer - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2/0 GO/FO)
3. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP (0/2 GO/FO)
4. Michael Bunton - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP
5. Israel Camacaro - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (3/0 GO/FO)

ERROR (1): 
Robert Hernandez, E-1, overthrew 1st baseman on sac bunt attempt, allowing runner to score from 2nd base

WEATHER: Clear skies, temperature in the 80's, light breeze from the south.

ATTENDANCE: 20

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Comments

Thanks for the report, AZ Phil.

I don't remember having seen Ryan Harvey's name in any recent box scores. I believe he was demoted to Daytona, correct? What's he doing down there, working on his off-speed stuff on the side? Because that would probably be fantastic. Did I read on here that Kyler Burke may make the switch to the mound eventually? Harvey makes more sense right now, I guess, because he never has done much with the bat except occasionally hit the ball really, really far, but it seems like Burke might be going down that same path.

Thanks for the report, AZ Phil. I don't remember having seen Ryan Harvey's name in any recent box scores. I believe he was demoted to Daytona, correct? What's he doing down there, working on his off-speed stuff on the side? Because that would probably be fantastic. Did I read on here that Kyler Burke may make the switch to the mound eventually? Harvey makes more sense right now, I guess, because he never has done much with the bat except occasionally hit the ball really, really far, but it seems like Burke might be going down that same path.

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CHARLIE: There hasn't been any talk or scuttlebutt about the Cubs converting Kyle Burke or Ryan Harvey to pitcher, but there seldom is any advance notice about this type of thing. One day the guy is a position player, the next day he's a pitcher. Even the other pitchers usually don't know about it right away!

I did wonder aloud last week when Burke was demoted from Peoria to Fitch Park about how long it would be before he was turned into a pitcher, because he was a highly-regarded LHP prospect (as well as a power-hiting OF) in HS, and he seems to be struggling as a hitter.

The one thing to keep in mind about turning Harvey and/or Burke (or any other position player) into a pitcher is that the Cubs NEVER move a position player to pitcher if the player doesn't agree with the move. I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that the Cubs have quietly approached Harvey and Burke about making the move to pitcher. And if that has indeed happened, both players must have (up to now, so far anyway) declined the suggestion.

But I do believe both Harvey and Burke really should seriously consider it.

It's very possible that the Cubs demoting Harvey from Tennessee to Daytona and Burke from Peoria to EXST could have been meant as a motivation to get one or both to seriously consider making the move to pitcher.

Thanks, Phil. Seems like the move from position player to pitcher can revitalize floundering careers, on occasion. I'm beginning to hope Harvey decides to try out the mound, because I've lost hope that he'll figure the game out as a hitter.

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