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