Vitters Back in Game Action at Instructs
Xavier Batista smashed a solo HR and threw a runner out at the plate, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Angels in AZ Instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this afternoon.
Josh Vitters got into his first game action since suffering a broken hand after being hit by a pitch in a Southern League game on July 25th, going 1-3 and playing 3B for the first five innings. He stroked a fly ball near-HR that bounced off the warning track and up & over the fence in left-center for a book-rule double in his first AB, before striking out (swinging) in his other two Plate Appearances. He also made the defensive play of the game, a sprawling catch of a foul pop up down the LF line followed by a perfect throw to 2nd base to double-up a base-runner trying to advance after the catch. (Vitters will be continuing his rehab with the Cubs AZ Instructional League team until the start of the AFL season on October 12th).
Cubs 2010 7th round pick RHP Ben Wells (Bryant HS - Bryant, AR) made his pro debut in today’s game, throwing one shutout inning (10 pitches – six strikes). He gave up a lead-off 400-ft+ double off the CF batter’s eye, but then got the next hitter to line into a DP, before striking out the third and final hitter of the inning with a couple of nasty sliders. Wells is a big kid (6’3 240+) and will have to watch his weight. He looks like an offensive lineman, and he just turned 18 three weeks ago!
18-year old Korean Bonus Baby Jin-Yeong Kim had a far rockier outing today than he did in his pro debut last week, allowing two runs on five hits (four singles and a triple) in three innings of work. He did throw strikes, however (he has yet to walk a batter in five professional innings), and he did not crumble or melt when the Angels threatened to score.
A bus-load of students from the MLB Scouting Academy attended the game, and they were all over the park, with their clipboards, stopwatches, and radar guns. It was kind of oddly coincidental that they should be at Diablo Park today, since Angels Scouting Director Eddie Bane and several Angels scouts were reportedly fired this week.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-4 (L-6, K, E4, 4-3, R)
2. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-1 (E1, BB, BB, BB, R)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-3 (2B, K, K, R)
3b. Chad Noble, PH: 0-1 (6-4 FC)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, 3-6 FC, F-8, 2 RBI)
5. Micah Gibbs, DH-C: 0-2 (L-8, HBP, BB, 4-3)
6. Dustin Geiger, DH-3B: 0-3 (L-6, F-7, K, BB)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 2-4 (HR, F-8, F-8, 1B, RBI, R)
8. Sergio Burruel, C-DH: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, 5-3, L-8 DP)
9. Chris Huseby, LF: 1-3 (K, F-9, 1B, HBP)
10. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-4 (1-U, 1B, K, 4-3, R)
1. Matt Loosen: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 35 pitches (23 strikes), 3/5 GO/FO
2. Ben Wells: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (6 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Jin-Yeong Kim: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 49 pitches (33 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
4. Austin Reed: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 22 Pitches (15 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
RF Xavier Batista: threw out baserunner 9-2 trying to score from 3rd base on fly out to RF
ATTENDANCE: 65 (including 40+ from MLB Scouting Academy)
WEATHER: Sunny & very hot, with 100+ degree temps
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.