Springfield & Burruel Lead Cubs to Victory
Sergio Burruel smacked a bases-loaded triple to put the Cubs on the board, and Blair Springfield reached base four times on two singles, a double, and a walk, drove-in two runs, and scored two more, leading the AZL Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the AZL Rangers in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.
Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick LHP Hunter Ackerman (Louisburg JC) made his pro debut, working one inning (nine pitches - seven strikes), allowing no runs on two singles, while striking out one. He should have been out of the inning after having faced just three hitters, but the Bieneme-Chen DP tandem was unable to make a clean-exchange on what should have been a routine inning-ending 6-4-3 GIDP, getting just the force at 2nd for the second out, and prolonging the inning. Ackerman then gave up another hit, before striking out the final hitter he faced.
The Cubs sent ten men to the plate and six of them scored in the bottom of the 2nd.
Jake McAloose reached base on an E-6 muffed grounder to lead-off the inning, and then Cody Shields reached on a bunt single and Anthony Giansanti drilled a single to left to load the bases with no outs. Xavier Batista struck out (looking), but Sergio Burruel (2009 19th round draft pick out of Trevor Browne HS - Phoenix, AZ) picked-up his teammate, ripping his bases-loaded triple into the right-center alley, giving the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish. Blair Springfield then got the first of his three hits and two RBI, driving a single past the shortstop and into LF, scoring Burruel. Vismeldy Bieneme lined a single down the LF line to advance Springfield to 2nd, and then Pin-Chieh Chen reached on an infield hit, as Springfield scored and Bieneme advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by the Rangers 2nd baseman, who was trying to throw the speedy Chen out at 1st (with the pitcher covering) after the batted ball deflected off the 1st baseman's glove. Ryan Cuneo capped the inning with an F-7 sac fly to the warning track in left-center, scoring Bieneme with the 6th and final run of the inning.
After struggling mightily throughout Minor League Camp, Extended Spring Training, and the first three weeks of AZL play, Blair Springfield had probably the best game of his pro career. He hit the ball hard to all fields, and showed patience at the plate, too, working deep into counts. For the first time since signing with the Cubs last Summer, the 19-year old Decatur, IL, native showed why the Cubs thought enough of him to make him a 7th round draft pick out of MacArthur HS. Now he just has to find a way to keep it up, because after having been moved to LF, he must hit to advance.
In what is the latest information regarding the Cubs future Spring Training plans, the powers that be in Naples, Fl, have (at least for the time-being) withdrawn their offer to be the Cubs new Spring Training hosts. Naples could revisit the matter if Mesa cannot get funding for a new Cubs Spring Training and Minor League campus, but as of now, it appears Mesa has won the game.
The City of Mesa has proposed relocating the Cubs to a still-secret location on the far east-side of town on open land owned by the City (perhaps as much as a square-mile) near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (ex-Williams Field AFB), but any site out there would be a good 15 miles east of downtown Mesa (albeit with good freeway access), and about 25 miles from the Spring Training stadium and Minor League camp of the next-closest MLB team (the Giants in Scottsdale or the Angels in Tempe).
But the newest site revealed to be under consideration is one just a half-mile southeast of Fitch Park (HoHoKam Park being a half-mile north of Fitch), at the S/E corner of University & Mesa Drive, just across the street from the former site of Rendezvous Park, the original Mesa Spring Training stadium used by the Cubs in the 1950's and 1960's (and by the Oakland A's in the 1970's). This site would also be just a half-mile north of the Main Street light-rail extention expected to be completed into downtown Mesa in the next few years. (The light-rail presently terminates on Main Street west of Dobson Road, about three miles short of the proposed downtown Spring Training stadium).
The Downtown University-Mesa Drive site would be for the Spring Training Stadium ("Wrigley Field West") only, with the Minor League HQ at Fitch Park to be retained and upgraded. Whether the Cubs would accept this plan is still to be determined, but a location in downtown Mesa would certainly be good for the Main Street Business District, and certainly a lot closer to where most of the fans who attend Spring Training games in Mesa are located.