Hernandez Free at Last, Niko Knocks a Nookie
With VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita and about a dozen Cubs scouts in attendance, LHP Mark Pawelek threw three shutout innings of one-hit ball and Las Vegas Durango HS SS Niko Vasquez crushed a two-run homer onto 8th Street, leading the EXST Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the EXST A's at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
With a bevy of Cubs scouts hanging on their every movement, Cubs Extended Spring Training coaches worked-out Brookswood Senior School (Langley, B. C.) and Canadian Junior National Team 3B Brett Lawrie (rated pre-draft #37 by Baseball America) and Vasquez (rated #65 pre-draft by BA) in pre-game infield practice on Field #1 and then BP on Field #2, in preparation for this Thursday's Rule 4 Draft. Lawrie and Vasquez both showed a quick bat with plus-HR power in their BP sessions. Both are right-handed hitters.
While Lawrie and Vasquez have signed National Letters of Intent with big-time college baseball programs (Lawrie with Arizona State and Vasquez with Oregon State), both are considered "signable." And based on where they are rated by Baseball America, I would think the Cubs are looking at Lawrie for maybe their Supplemental 1st round pick (#41 overall, compensation for losing Jason Kendall to the Brewers), and Vasquez perhaps with their 2nd round selection (#65 overall).
Naturally, the Cubs are almost certainly looking at other players, too, especially some of the better college pitchers and position players who may be playing in NCAA Regionals as we speak, but the fact that Lawrie and Vasquez were invited to Fitch Park for a pre-draft work-out--and the fact that Vasquez actually played in an EXST game--makes it appear that the Cubs are fairly serious about both youngsters.
In EXST roster news, RHP Robert Hernandez has finally played his "Get Out of Jail - Free!" card and is headed for Peoria. Hernandez had been at EXST at Fitch Park for the past two months while serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for steroids just prior to Opening Day. He has been pitching great in EXST games, and so it was only a matter of time before he was back in the Peoria starting rotation. And he did nothing to discount his rating as one of the Cubs top pitching prospects while he was at EXST, either.
Headed the exact opposite direction from Hernandez is fellow-Venezuelan RHP Eduardo Figueroa, who received an unsatisfactory grade and has been sent back to the Cubs Venezuelan Baseball Academy. However, I suspect the 19-year old "Figgy" (as he was known at EXST) will actually be diverted to one of the two Cubs teams in the Dominican Summer League (DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)...
1. Cesar Salazar, CF: 2-4 (2B, K)
2. Marwin Gonzalez, DH #1: 1-4 (R, K)
3a. SLOT SKIPPED 1st TIME THROUGH ORDER
3b. Niko Vasquez, PH: 1-1 (HR - 2 RBI)
3c. SLOT SKIPPED AFTER PH BY VASQUEZ
4. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-1 (R, 3 BB, K, SB, PO)
5. Nelson Perez, LF: 1-3 (3B. RBI, BB, K, SB)
6. Drew Rundle, RF: 0-4 (2 K)
7. Bryan Jost, 1B 0-4 (3 K)
8. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 0-4 (2 K)
9. Alvaro Sosa, C: 0-3
10a. Niko Vasquez, SS: 0-1
10b. SLOT SKIPPED AFTER 1st AB BY VASQUEZ (see 3b)
11. Jose Made, DH-SS: 2-3 (2B, K, SB)
1. Mark Pawelek - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP (57 pitches - 33 strikes, 5/3 GO/FO)
2. Israel Camacaro - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP
3. John Muller - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
4. Yohan Gonzalez - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, (3/3 GO/FO)
1. Niko Vasquez, E-6, overthrow at 1st base
2. Jose Made, E-6, overthrow at 1st base
Alvaro Sosa, 0-2 CS and one PB
WEATHER: Temperature in the 80's, clear skies, light breeze
ATTENDANCE: 19 (plus about a dozen Cubs scouts and executives)
2008 CUBS EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING ROSTER (as of 5/30)
50 PLAYERS (38 ACTIVE)
36 ACTIVE ROSTER
2 ACTIVE REHAB
12 INJURY REHAB OR DISABLED LIST OR UNKNOWN
* throws or bats left
# bats both
PITCHERS (28 TOTAL – 20 ACTIVE):
Ryan Acosta (UNKNOWN – LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Alberto Alburquerque (2008 SHOULDER SURGERY REHAB – LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Jeffry Antigua
* Michael Bunton
Rafael Dolis (2007 TJS SURGERY REHAB - LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Angel Guzman (2007 TJS SURGERY - ACTIVE REHAB)
* Arik Hempy
Kitt Kopach (2007 SHOULDER SURGERY REHAB - LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Oswaldo Martinez (2007 TJS REHAB - LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Mark Pawelek
Jose Pina (2007 TJS - ACTIVE REHAB)
Andres Quezada (UNKNOWN - LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Cedric Redmond (LABRUM INJURY REHAB - LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Larry Suarez (2008 TJS REHAB – LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Luke Sommer
CATCHERS (5 TOTAL – 4 ACTIVE):
Jose Guevara (HAND INJURY – LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
# Alvaro Sosa
INFIELDERS (10 TOTAL – 9 ACTIVE):
# Marwin Gonzalez
* Bryan Jost
* Jeffrey Rea (QUAD INJURY REHAB – BP ONLY)
OUTFIELDERS (7 TOTAL – 5 ACTIVE):
* Kyler Burke
* Jeff Culpepper (SHOULDER INJURY – LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Clark Hardman (UNKOWN - LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Nelson Perez
* Drew Rundle
# Cesar Salazar
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.