Yes, We Have No Banana Break (Today)

As many of you know by now, Thursday is usually Camp Day at Cubs Extended Spring Training.

And so it was in fact today, as the EXST Cubs first had some fielding drills & took BP on Fitch Park Fields 1, 2, and 4, followed by a three-inning intrasquad game on Field #3 (and with no Banana Break in between, either!).

As is often the case in the somewhat more-informal EXST intrasquad games at Fitch Park, the pitchers throw for one squad or the other, but the position players rotate from the field to the bench each inning or half-inning (whatever), without regard to teams (squads) or batting order.

Also, innings are sometimes  terminated early if a pitcher reaches his pitch limit for that inning prior to three outs being recorded, and innings are sometimes extended if a pitcher gets three outs without getting anywhere close to his pitch limit for that inning (and if pitch counts ever become any more important than they already are, this may be the way baseball will be played someday).  

Here is today's abridged box score (such as it is):

Kevin Soto, CF: 2-2 (R, 2B, RBI)
Junior Lake, SS: 2-3
Carlos Perez, 1B: 0-1 (SF-RBI)
John Contreras, 3B: 0-2 
Starlin Castro, 2B: 1-2
Cesar Salazar, LF: 1-2 (SB, K)
George Matheus, SS: 0-1 (K)
Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 0-1 (SH)
Nelson Perez, CF: 0-2 (K)
Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-1
Marwin Gonzalez, RF: 1-1 (R, SB)
Kyler Burke, RF: 2-2 (2B, 3B, RBI, R)
Drew Rundle, LF: 0-2
Jose Made, 2B-SS: 0-2 (K)
Alvaro Sosa, C: 0-1 (CS)
Robinson Chirinos, C: 0-1
Josh Vitters, 3B: PLAYED DEFENSE ONLY - NO AB...
(and Roberto Sabates was the bullpen catcher - NO AB)


Rogelio Carmona
- 2.1 IP, 2 H. 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K  (1/4 GO/FO)
John Muller - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO)

Miguel Sierra - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K (4/3 GO/FO)

1. Bryan Jost, E3, missed catch on ground ball that went under his glove.
2. John Contreras, E5, overthrow at 1st base on infield hit with no outs that allowed runner to score from 2nd base. 

Robinson Chirinos: 1-2 CS
Alvaro Sosa: 0-1 CS

WEATHER: Hot with temperature in the 90's, calm winds, no clouds to be seen.

ATTENDANCE: 2 civilians, plus the University of Oklahoma Sooners baseball team that had a work-out on Field #1 during the Cubs intrasquad game, in preparation for their opening game in the NCAA Tempe Regional tomorrow afternoon at Packard Stadium versus Vanderbilt. (Arizona State plays Stony Brook in the other game) 


For Mike C, who can't have a 'discussion' without cursing and insulting the other person:

Paul Sullivan writes:

"Until the trade market heats up, Piniella has to cross his fingers and hope that Micah Hoffpauir is a quick learner at the age of 28, Jim Edmonds is not just a recycled star on his last legs, and Daryle Ward can get healthy enough so he doesn’t have to use two players (Ward and a pinch-runner) every time he pinch-hits. Fukudome is no home run hitter and is not the kind of run-producer needed in the No. 5 hole."

Fukudome is on pace for an incredibly unproductive year as a number 5 hitter, 6 home runs and 60 rbi's. But Mike C, the child he is, thinks that's the greatest run production in club history and that anyone else in the five hole would do worse. Just ask him, he'll be glad to call you a "fuck", "piece of shit", or tell you to "Shut the fuck up" because he can't tolerate other people's opinions, especially when his is so blatantly ignorant.

A little friendly advice Paul Noce. When trying to nail someone here don't use Paul Sullivan for your posse.

AZ PHIL, I perhaps missed some updates, but what is going on with Josh Vitters? Has he been hurt, is that why he is at EXST? How does he look so far?

I need some good Cub Farm System news, because alot of our top prospects are having so-so or worse years: Smardzija, Veal, Colvin, Thomas, Donaldson, Ceda, Pawelek....I don't think Ryan Harvey even counts as a prospect anymore. Our farm system is starting to look a little dry........

I would say that there are bright linings to the Colvin and Thomas clouds. Colvin has vastly increased his walk rate, so maybe the low average is due to him slowly learning some plate discipline, which he'll need. Also, though Thomas numbers no longer stand out, he's still hitting a bit after being promoted all the way to Daytona from Boise (where he spent the second half of last season). Donaldson and Samardzija on the other hand... what happened there? (Samninja, what is so hard about learning to throw a breaking ball when you obviously have the arm speed to do so?) Veal and Ceda are doing about what we should've expected, but of course I too am disappointed that neither one of them is breaking out or getting a whole lot better.

AZ Phil, I've seen you mention Carmona throws hard and can be wild. How hard does he throw? What other pitches does he have? Thanks.

Oh, and do you think Hernandez will be up with Peoria soon now that his suspension is over?

Submitted by Raisin101 on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 8:27pm.

AZ Phil, I've seen you mention Carmona throws hard and can be wild. How hard does he throw? What other pitches does he have? Thanks.

Oh, and do you think Hernandez will be up with Peoria soon now that his suspension is over?


RAISIN: Other than Rafael Dolis (who was shut-down with a sore shoulder last month while rehabbing from 2007 TJS), there aren't any extreme hard throwers at EXST this year. Angel Guzman and Julio Pena throw 94, Rogelio Carmona and a few others can throw 93. Mark Pawelek has got his fastball velocity up to 92 and is throwing his hard slider again (he had been told by Cubs coaches not to throw it), and he has gone back to the release point & arm slot that worked really well for him in HS, even though Cubs coaches had him change to a more conventional motion & delivery after he signed in 2005 because they thought the way he was throwing (at that time) would eventually cause shoulder problems. Marcus Hatley doesn't throw real hard, but he has an outstanding cutter (sort of like Kevin Hart) and his stamina is good (he's a horse).

Carmona throws a fastball, slider, and an occasional change. The problem with Carmona is command and control, which is the problem with a lot of guys down here. Consistency from outing to outing is another problem. But when he's "on" his game, Carmona can rack up the K's. He throws hardest in his first inning or two (30 pitches) and then his velocity usually drops off, so he's probably more of a late-inning relief prospect than a future starter.

There also are a lot of pitchers at EXST who have one good pitch but no decent secondary stuff. Sort of like Jeff Samardzija throwing a plus power-sinker but everything else is sub-standard.

As for Robert Hernandez, I think it's just a matter of the Cubs waiting for a roster opening at Peoria. Last year, several pitchers went down with injuries at Peoria and Daytona in April and May, but there haven't been anywhere near as many injuries this year. Which is good for the pitchers at Peoria and Daytona, but not for Hernandez. But pitching-wise, Hernandez is clearly a man among boys at EXST.

When it gets to the end of EXST next Wednesday, I would expect Hernandez and Pawelek to move up to Peoria rather than go to Boise, with maybe Billy Muldowney and possibly Blake Parker moving up to Daytona, and/or maybe Alberto Cabrera, Kevin Kreier, and/or Audy Santana moving down to Boise. (That's presuming there aren't any injuries at Daytona or Peoria between now and then).

Thanks, AZ Phil. It appears Kreier is already coming back down from Peoria despite a couple good outings. Dae-Eun Rhee is off the Peoria DL and has been reinsted in the Peoria rotation.

Kreier and Marcus Hatley look like probable shoe-ins for Boise's rotation. What about Harol Tolentino? You haven't mentioned him much recently but I know he throws pretty hard and had a few chances at Boise and Peoria last season.

Submitted by Raisin101 on Fri, 05/30/2008 - 11:29am.

Thanks, AZ Phil. It appears Kreier is already coming back down from Peoria despite a couple good outings. Dae-Eun Rhee is off the Peoria DL and has been reinsted in the Peoria rotation.

Kreier and Marcus Hatley look like probable shoe-ins for Boise's rotation. What about Harol Tolentino? You haven't mentioned him much recently but I know he throws pretty hard and had a few chances at Boise and Peoria last season.


RAISIN: Harol Tolentino has been used mainly in one inning outings at the end of EXST games, so I would expect him to be either the co-closer with John Muller or #1 set-up guy at Boise.

Of course, a lot will depend on who the Cubs draft and sign next week, but AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW, I would expect the Boise 17-man (or 18-man) pitching staff will include:

1. Robert Hernandez (although I believe he will be at Peoria no later than 6-17-08)
2. Mark Pawelek (I believe he will be at Peoria by 6-17, too)
3. Ryan Acosta
4. Kevin Kreier
5. Marcus Hatley

John Muller
(likely primary closer or co-closer)
Harol Tolentino (probable #1 set-up guy or co-closer)
Arik Hempy (arm strength still a problem)
Jon Mueller (has completed rehab but has been pretty bad in recent outings)
Michael Bunton (only recently back active from sore shoulder, not yet 100%)
Jake Muyco (converted catcher)
Luke Sommer (converted OF, was a pitcher in HS)
Jose Pina (rehabbing from 2007 TJS - will pitch only when the time is right)
Chris Huseby (until he gets his mechanics straightened out, he'll probably work mainly in simulated games & bullpen sessions, and he possibly might get some garbage innings, too)

Recent comments

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  • 2nd in defensive WAR, NL.

    6th in NL in RBI

    Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.

    The E-Man 6 hours 1 min ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 7 hours 17 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 8 hours 40 sec ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 8 hours 1 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 8 hours 2 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 8 hours 6 min ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 8 hours 6 min ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 8 hours 34 min ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 9 hours 38 min ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 10 hours 44 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 11 hours 33 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 16 hours 3 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view