Cubs Drop Contest at Diablo

Matt Cerda reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, but there just wasn't much other Cubs offense on display, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 3-1 in Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning. 

Three converted position players saw action on the mound for the Cubs today, and while RHP (ex-3B) Josh Lansford struggled with his control, 20-year old Dominican RHP (ex-SS) Gian Guzman and LHP (ex-OF) Ryan Sontag (2008 23rd round pick out of Arizona State) looked good, particularly Sontag, who worked quickly, fired strikes and punched out all four Angels batters he faced. 

Exclusively an outfielder in his college days at Arizona State and in his first season in pro ball at Boise last year (where he hit an anemic .218 with only five XBH), Sontag was a combination OF/LHP in high school (8-3 1.45 ERA), and he also pitched occasionally in his freshman year at Michigan State before transferring to ASU and moving the outfield full-time. So it's not like pitching is a foreign language for him.

But the crew-cut 5'10 200+ 23-year old Sontag hardly fits the classic image of a pitcher. A few stocky lefties have had successful big league pitching careers (1954 A. L. MVP Bobby Shantz was only 5'6 145!), but it is unsual to see a body-type like Sontag's throwing off a mound these days. 

Nevertheless, Sontag decided to give pitching a whirl in Minor League Camp this past March, and so far the results have been quite promising. He has pitched well in all of his EXST game outings so far, and he looks like he could advance rapidly through the system s a lefty reliever.   

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

1. Jose Valdez, CF:        1-3  (1B, BB, 5-3, K - 1 R)
2. Dwayne Kemp, 2B:     1-3  (SH, K, 2B, K)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1:      2-3  (2B, 1B, BB, F-8 - 1 RBI)
4. Chris Weimer, LF:       0-4  (FC, FC, K, K)
5. Juan Medina, 1B-C:    1-4  (GIDP, FC, 4-3, 1B)
6. Kevin Soto, RF            2-4  (2B, 1B, F-8, K - 1 CS)
7. Alvaro Sosa, C-1B:      2-4  (F-8, 1B, F-8, 1B)
8. George Matheus, 3B:   0-4 (E-5, GIDP, K, FC)
9. Robert Bautista, SS:    0-2  (BB, F-7, K)
10. Jose Made, DH #2:     0-2  (BB, 4-3, 4-3)

1. Tarlandus Mitchell -  1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
2. Josh Lansford -         1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Cedric Redmond -     2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/FO
4. Gian Guzman -          2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO
5. Ryan Sontag -           1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K


Alvaro Sosa - 1-2 CS

Juan Medina - 1-1 CS



CLINT HURDLE canned by the Rockies.

"The last straw for the Rockies was being swept at home in a three-game series by the Dodgers,..."

2-1 Cubs Win!
Angels of Death Dodgers do Not Sweep us at Home!
Lou's Job Saved!

Lou will quit on the team before getting fired. And also if they fire Lou, Hendry would have to go with him (not a horrible proposition). But I can't imagine anyone letting Hendry hire his 3rd manager.

What in the name of Dusty Baker does Hurdle getting fired have to do with Lou/Hendry?

Read the title of NAVIGATOR's post.

lou's already quit on 2 teams in a row before coming to the cubs...he seems a bit happy or content here, though...even with the talk of this being his "last job."

K-Fuk at third with no out, and he can't score??? That is pathetic!

The third base coach needs to be fired.

Anyone else notice O-Dawg's hitting .338 with 30 RBI in the 3-spot as a lefty second baseman that we could have signed in the offseason?

BUT JACE! Hendry had Fontenot, Theriot, and other Minor League bench players that he thinks can do just as good of a job.

See how spot-on he's been?

Yeah, I see how spot on he's been...

I brought up Hudson during the off season and somebody shot me down for some reason. I don't remember the details because I'm getting old and my brain is about half the size it was when I was 20.

Hudson has been a pretty shocking suprise and playing well over his head. He's in the 'coulda, shoulda' category just like Ibanez.

a lot of people were pimping for Hudson...he's had some injury issues and it seemed like they just got rid of DeRosa for the about the same amount money...but it sure looks like a bone-headed move right now.

Long season though...

D'oh! I stand corrected at thinking Manny was being Manny.

Cubs Don't Lose!!!

If Lou were to quit - Trammel takes over. IMO, things would have to get really, really bad for Lou to resign. Hendry would just write off the rest of the year rather than fire him. Unless Crane-less Kenny forces him to.

lou seems content enough...dunno what the pen thinks of his over the years, but he doesn't seem to have lost control of his clubhouse.

Have you guys been seeing Lou's press conferences lately?
He's laughing and taking it one day at a time attitude.

That being said if the Cubs win WS I believe he will quit.

Personally, I think he's done regardless, after the '09 season.

Name the team with the best record in the AL right now without looking it up...

Red Sox or Tigers?

no and no, although both lead their divisions...


correct, I was suprised. Blue Jays in a 9-game death spiral. Bring on Halladay!

When you asked I knew it would not be the usual suspects, and I knew it was not anyone in the central because I saw the other day that Tigers only team over .500 in that division.

I'm betting on a sub .500 AL central division champ.

I'll say just .500, or one game over. Tigers still have decent pitching, IIRC.

More likely than not, Lou chooses not to re-sign the end of this year. It would depend on whether A) How the team finishes this year. B)If the ownership can persuade him to stay on.
C)How tired he gets. I distinctly remember the huge sigh he heaved when they clinched in 2008; that was a tired-looking man. If for some reason they win it all, he might just retire on top as well. I like Lou and hope he stays.
Go Cubs!

"...chooses not to re-sign"

Do you mean "resign" - or "Re-Sign", as in re-upping his deal?

he's signed through next season

Indeed he is, however, depending on how much of a toll this year zaps him for, I believe he'll just "call-it".

So it looks like the Hill pinch-hit mix-up was probably Hill's fault. They were trying to call him back but he stepped in the batter's box at which point he is in no matter what.

really? thought you had to be announced?

Lou clearly has no control over this team. If Ted Lilly calls the booth during a game, all bets are off.

I heard Neil Cotts approached Brenly on the team plane...and asked if he could fluff his pillow.

Neil has been seen hugging his bong recently.

The protocol is that the umpire looks over at the manager and the manager points to the hitter, at which point he is officially in the game, is written on the scorecard, and then announced. The batter usually waits on the circle until the ump looks over and the manager points and then the ump will motion him up to the plate. This time, for some reason, neither the umpire nor Hill was looking back at Lou for the OK. Koyie just sauntered up to the plate and the ump started writing his name down, and he was announced - all while Lou was yelling at both trying to get their attention.

The PA has nothing to do with it. The batter is officially in the game when one of two things happens, the manager tells the umpire (verbally or by pointing) that he is in, or, as happened in this case, the batter crosses the line into the batter's box. Once you cross the chalk you are in the game no matter what the manager is saying. So had Hill not stepped in the box, the umpire would have let Lou pull him back since Lou had not confirmed he was in.

In the end it seems to be partly Hill's fault for wondering up there like an idiot, but also partly Lou's fault for not making sure Hill knew he might not be the one going up.

sorry, I misinterpreted batter's box as on-deck circle the first time...obviously if he gets that far it makes sense.

Andres Blanco and the D:

Boy - I checked out a couple highlights from the last couple days:

Andres Blanco seems to be the most talented SS/2B of ANY of the current "scrappy" guys.As I have heard, wasn't he a #1 draft choice for the Royals a few years ago?

If he could only hit consistently! However, with Fontenot, Theriot, and Freel not being able to either, I'd just as soon have him saving runs.

I haven't seen Andy White play defense, but I can remember the reputation for his skee-ilz way back when he was playing with Iowa last year.

The strange thing is that he's surprisingly young-- only 25, which makes me hope that his much improved batting line this season is less of a fluke than it is a progression. The Royals called him up originally when he was 20 years old (for two years running, Blanco was one of their top 10 prospects).

Looking at Blanco's minor league numbers at baseball cube, he's played most of his games at SS and 2B, and only 2 at 3B.

This sounds fine to me. Let Blanco be the defensive player he is, and play him every now and then when Riot needs a break.

I imagine if he can hit about on par with M!les (which shouldn't be too unreasonable), Blanco (along with either Scales or Freel) makes M!les and his 4.9 million dollar contract redundant. Hopefully somebody else will need him and we can turn him into another Chris Robinson or something.

"I imagine if he can hit about on par with M!les"

Umm, Sam Zell could probably hit on a par with Miles.

They finally won one without scoring 4...about time.

The probably could have easily scored at least 4 with just a little bit of clutch hitting, which this team is abismally bad at.

Anyway one win at a time keep plugging away until Ramirez comes back.

I heard Lou is going to give Soriano a few days off to rest his knee, so we could see Fox play LF over the weekend?

I'll be happy with a split this weekend, but its easier said than done.

I'd just as soon have him saving runs.
what I find interesting about Andy White is that he's a "switch-hitter" that only bats lefty. Hence he's fitting the 2009 Cubs profile of getting left handed.

that is all.

someone in parachat said that len was saying he had surgery on one of his shoulders (right I believe) in the offseason and it's easier to swing from the left side. So we replaced one sore-armed infielder (Miles) with another one that can only bat lefty with a slew of lefties slated against us.

Outstanding planning by the Cubs.

I think when you have to go to plan C and D in Scales and Blanco you can't really be picky about what side of the plate they hit from. Were one injury away from seeing Nate Spears on this team.

and somebody shot me down for some reason
old and blue and wounded? that's getting to the very heart of the 2009 Cubs.

except during the playoffs...

2nd best record over the last 5 years against teams with a .600 winning percentage when they played them.

not sure this is 3/44 but it was in today's StL Post-Dispatch regarding the Cardinals interest in several third basemen, including this on DeRosa. Note writer Bernie M. says the Cubs are also interested:

- DeRosa: He’s more affordable for payroll puproses than Atkins, Beltre or Mora. DeRosa isn’t the smoothest at 3B, but can hold his own. He can also play 2B, SS, 1B, LF, RF. That versatility is ideal for manager Tony La Russa’s lineup concoctions. The Cardinals are poor against LH pitchers and DeRosa could help remedy that. In his career, he’s a .303 hitter against LH, with a .373 OBP and a .481 slugging percentage. Great guy in the clubhouse. Loved playing in the National League. Is Mitchell Boggs enough to land DeRosa? The Cubs, Mets and Brewers are said to be interested in acquiring DeRosa.

Yea, apparently Glaus isn't even close to coming back and he was supposed to be their 2nd-half boost.

If DeRosa ends up a Cardinal I will be fucking sick.

What do you think Cleveland wants for him? Couldn't we just offer Stevens, Gaub, and Archer?

And throw in M!les? :)

Or maybe Neal Cotts?

Does Cleveland have a need for Jake Fox?

Cleveland reportedly wants ready pitching. Some say a starter and a reliever.

One thing to keep in mind is that Cleveland isn't exactly out of it yet. Their chances are remote, but if some things fall their way, there's a chance.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to add a pen arm to see if they can get it going. Failing that, then they might sell around the deadline. Short of it is, I wouldn't expect a move on DeRosa anytime soon.

Some Indians fans suggest that they want a ready 3/4 starter. Much as I like DeRosa, I just don't see how he would net that, even if he has an outside chance at being Type A. A potential 3/4 starter? Sure, I could see that.

I imagine a couple B-/C+ level arms in the upper levels would get them intrigued. Perhaps a Randy Wells and Kevin Hart (assuming Hart rebounds and Wells continues his surprisingly strong performance). It might be some different combination, but basically 2 arms on that level. I wouldn't go all out for DeRosa - he would fill a need at 2nd and a backup 3rd baseman, but I don't think that need is worth overpaying for unless something else happens to our team.

Little blurb on the Cubs 2008 top three draftees over at BP:

I'm still not completely sold that Cashner is a starter, but I was fairly high on last year's pitching heavy draft, and so far, it looks solid. Overall, our pitching depth is improving a lot. Shafer was a "hope he gets healthy pick", but Carpenter was a good gamble at that point. Hope his control can improve. Would like to see him at Daytona soon - not much else he can do at Peoria.

I find it funny how a review of 3 picks from our draft doesn't somehow include Jay Jackson in there. As impressive as Carpenter has been in Peoria, Jackson's been that much more impressive and has arguably a better one-two punch than Carpenter.

Worse than I previously thought:

Dave Van Dyck gives us the stat that taking away A-Ram's excellent clutch hitting, the team's BA with RISP is .228


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  • Boras is 63, maybe he'll be retired or dead by the time Bryant, Russell, Almora, Albertos all hit free agency. Doubt he will be before Jake hits there though.

    cubbies.4ever 1 hour 50 min ago view
  • Interesting choices when guys get healthy.

    LaStella, Fowler & Soler replace Coghlan, Almora and Sczcur? I assume they don't want Almora to sit.

    Despite MIggy's demise, I assume they keep him around to mentor Contreras?

    billybucks 3 hours 4 min ago view
  • I believe Willson now has more CS than MIggy. The kid has an arm. Also, Russell is amazingly good on those plays at 2nd.

    billybucks 4 hours 15 min ago view
  • oh yeah...thanks joe/billy.

    poor outing, still got the win, go cubs.

    crunch 4 hours 53 min ago view
  • Although it felt like it, Jake didn't lose to them -- he got the W. (Assuming you are referring to Monday's game)

    billybucks 6 hours 34 min ago view
  • Arrieta didn't lose to the Reds. He got the win -- he just didn't pitch like we expect him to.

    JoePepitone 6 hours 35 min ago view
  • almora's 1st HR!

    crunch 6 hours 42 min ago view
  • it's not like this CIN team is lost-cause horrible, but aside from defense and power this is a truly horrible team.

    kinda crazy arrieta lost to them and yesterday's game had to go 15 innings for the cubs win.

    crunch 6 hours 58 min ago view
  • It looked like Hamilton got screened by Duvall and that Duvall just barely deflected the ball off of his glove--redirecting it slightly without taking away much of its momentum.

    At least it didn't turn into a Schwarber/Fowler situation. Hamilton and Duvall are both pretty important youngish players for the Reds.

    Charlie 7 hours 6 min ago view
  • he walked off the field on his own. aside from a concussion watch and some attention to his leg/knee that buckled a bit under him, the biggest thing hurt was probably his pride after the ball knocked off his skull.

    crunch 7 hours 25 min ago view
  • After last night, an inside-the-park HR seems kind of run-of-the-mill somehow.

    Sounds bad for Hamilton. Hope he's okay--listening on the radio.

    Brick 7 hours 42 min ago view
  • SHOW ME THE MONEY:  Jose Albertos has signed with Mega-Agent Scott Boras.

    Albertos has already received his signing bonus and won't see any additional significant money until he reaches the big leagues,  so this is a long-term investment for the Boras Corporation.  

    Arizona Phil 7 hours 48 min ago view
  • I am glad Joe is managing this team and not Old and Blue!

    Hagsag 10 hours 10 min ago view
  • Baez had Maddon's ass last night. I didn't hear the reason for taking Contreras out last night but whatever game management thingy it was, you don't take out your second hottest hitter. Or is he third? Anyway, you don't take him out. The guy can probably play anywhere in the field, anyway. Did anybody see that nice catch in left he made? I don't think he got a late start on that, just tracked it damn well for a catcher.

    Old and Blue 12 hours 6 min ago view
  • Per Fangraphs...

    Bryant took over NL lead in WAR after yesterday's effort. 3.9. Rizzo's at 2.8 and 8th in the league. Rizzo actually with better offensive numbers (161 wRC+ versus 146 for Bryant), but Bryant gets a good bump because of defense and position(s) played.

    Fowler with a 2.8 WAR as well (9th), Zobrist with a 2.7 (14th).

    M. Carpenter leads NL with 163 wRC+ just ahead of Rizzo who is 2nd.

    Rob G. 18 hours 8 min ago view
  • Amen

    jacos 19 hours 46 min ago view