Cubs Err on the Side of Defeat at HoHoKam

Anthony Rizzo and Blake Lalli hammered solo home runs, and Matt Garza threw four innings and allowed two runs, but the Giants took advantage of two costly Cub fielding errors and a 9th inning base-running gaffe to edge the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

NOTE: Scroll down for the updated CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (effective 3/16)

The Cubs scored the first run of the day in the bottom of the 2nd, when Anthony Rizzo clubbed an opposite-field lead-off home run over the left-centerfield fence (just to the left of the “Green Monster” Batter’s Eye) off Giants LHSP Eric Surkamp.

Meanwhile, Cub starter Matt Garza was breezing through the first three innings, before running into trouble in the top of the 4th. Melky Cabrera walked and Pablo Sandoval singled to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Garza then threw a ball in the dirt that was blocked nicely by catcher Steve Clevenger, but then Clevenger tried to pick-off Sandoval (who had strayed a bit off 1st base when the ball hit the dirt) and made a wild throw past 1st base and into RF, allowing Cabrera to score from 2nd and Sandoval to move up a base. Sandoval scored later in the inning on an Aubrey Huff RBI single.

LHP Chris Rusin threw two solid shutout & hitless innings (the 6th & 7th), allowing just a walk while striking out two (29 pitches – 18 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO). Rusin will probably be in competition with Jay Jackson for the honor of starting for the Iowa Cubs on PCL Opening Day.

The game remained a 2-1 battle going into the 8th, when Rule 5 RHP Lendy Castillo took the mound for the Cubs. Emmanuel Burriss led-off the inning with a single and immediately stole 2nd base (very bad throw by catcher Blake Lalli), but L. Castillo fanned Brett Pill and Eli Whiteside (both swinging) and got Tyler Graham to tap weakly to the mound. Unfortunately, Castillo (an ex-shortstop of all things) inexplicably tossed a rainbow far over the 1st baseman’s head for an error, allowing Graham to reach base safely and Burriss to score from 2nd.

But the Cubs weren’t finished.

Facing ex-Cub RHP Ramon Ortiz, Blake Lalli lofted a one-out solo moon-shot HR over the RF fence in the bottom of the 8th, and after Trever Miller had an easy top of the 9th, Joe Mather (representing the tying run) grounded a lead-off single down the LF line (an outstanding defensive play by SF LF Justin Christian kept Mather from taking 2nd). Brett Jackson then laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt to the third-baseman that should have advanced Mather into scoring position, but Mather saw that 3rd base was uncovered and tried to take the extra base on the bunt and get to 3rd base with one out. But SS Joaquin Arias outraced Mather to the bag, tagging him out after taking the throw (on the run) from 1B Brett Pill. (I guess this is why taking infield practice matters).

Joe Mather played 3B once again today (all nine innings this time), and handled two chances and a couple of throw-cuts flawlessly.

While the Cubs were playing the Giants at HoHoKam Park, Minor League Cactus League play got underway, with the Cubs minor leaguers (the Iowa and Tennessee squads) playing two games at Fitch Park. (Daytona and Peoria were on the road).

With yesterday’s roster cuts and the arrival of three more players (SS Luis Acosta, OF Jeffrey Baez, and INF Carlos Penalver) from the Dominican Academy, the Cubs Minor League Camp rosters were adjusted prior to the games.

Some of the moves (and corresponding changes) were made to cover for a couple of injuries on the Iowa squad, but what’s most notable in today’s roster transfers is that several of the Cubs young stud prospects who had been assigned to Boise/Mesa earlier in the week were back with the Peoria squad today. Also, LHP Gerardo Concepcion (the Cuban bonus baby signed by the Cubs earlier this month) was moved down to Hi-A Daytona from AA Tennessee.


* bats or throws left
# bats both

IOWA (39)

Frank Batista
Dallas Beeler
* Jeff Beliveau
Alberto Cabrera
Esmailin Caridad
Marco Carrillo
Hung-Wen Chen
* John Gaub
Marcus Hatley
Jordan Latham
Oswaldo Martinez
Trey McNutt
* Brooks Raley
Kevin Rhoderick
* Nate Robertson
* Ryan Rowland-Smith
Brian Schlitter
Ryan Searle
Nick Struck
Casey Weathers

Juan Apodaca
# Micah Gibbs
# Jason Jaramillo
Mario Mercedes

# David Macias
Jonathon Mota
* Jake Opitz
Greg Rohan
Nate Samson
Marquez Smith
Josh Vitters

Abner Abreu
* Michael Burgess
Evan Crawford
Jae-Hoon Ha
Ty Wright


* Jeffry Antigua
Dan Berlind
* Brent Ebinger
Ricardo Estevez (see NOTE)
* Casey Harman
Ty’Relle Harris
* Eric Jokisch
Matt Loosen
* Andrew McKirahan
Yoannis Negrin
Juan Serrano
* Matt Spencer (ex-OF)
Larry Suarez
Tony Zych
NOTE: Ricardo Estevez is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities

Luis Flores (see NOTE)
* Rafael Lopez
Nate Maldonado (player-coach)
Chad Noble
NOTE: Luis Flores is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities

* Justin Bour
* Matt Cerda
# Zeke DeVoss
* Richard Jones
Junior Lake
Pierre LePage
Rafael Valdes
* Logan Watkins

John Andreoli
Eliecer Bonne
Taiwan Easterling
Matt Szczur


* Kyler Burke (ex-OF)
Zach Cates
* Gerardo Concepcion
Eduardo Figueroa
Dustin Fitzgerald
P. J. Francescon
Su-Min Jung
* Austin Kirk
Luis Liria
* Jeff Lorick
A. J. Morris
Starling Peralta
Jose Rosario
* Zac Rosscup
Bryce Shafer
Hayden Simpson
Brett Wallach

* Sergio Burruel
Taylor Davis
Anthony Giansanti (ex-OF)

# Arismendy Alcantara
Xavier Batista
* Wes Darvill
Dustin Harrington
Paul Hoilman
* Rubi Silva
Elliot Soto
Ronald Torreyes

* Pin-Chieh Chen
Reggie Golden
* Ben Klafczynski
Mayke Reyes
Blair Springfield


* Hunter Ackerman
Jose Arias
* Willengton Cruz
Ramon Garcia
Ryan Hartman
Michael Jensen
Pete Levitt
Carlos Martinez
Hector Mayora
* Sheldon McDonald
Tarlandus Mitchell
Roderik Pichardo
* Brian Smith
Charles Thomas (ex3B)
Yao-Lin Wang
Ben Wells
Joe Zeller

Wilson Contreras (ex-3B)
# Wilfredo Petit
Neftali Rosario

Gioskar Amaya
Javier Baez
# Jeimer Candelario
Dustin Geiger
# Marco Hernandez
* Danny Lockhart
# Rock Shoulders
* Dan Vogelbach

Yasiel Balaguert
* Shawon Dunston, Jr
* Eduardo Gonzalez
Trey Martin
# Oliver Zapata


Ian Dickson
David Henrie
Jin-Young Kim
Felix Pena
James Pugliese
Austin Reed
Colin Richardson
Tayler Scott
Scott Weismann

* Justin Marra
* Alberto Mineo

Luis Acosta
Ryan Durrence
# Brian Inoa
Carlos Penalver
Kenny Socorro
Brad Zapenas

* Delbis Arcila
Jeffrey Baez
Dong-Yub Kim
* Garrett Schlecht (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)

Gregori Gonzalez, IF-OF (?)
Yohan Gonzalez, P (?)
* Cam Greathouse, P (supposedly will report to EXST)
Alvido Jimenez, P (?)
Arturo Maltos-Garcia, P (2011 TJS rehab)
Amaury Paulino, P (?)
* Nelson Perez, OF


I am glad to see that some of the young Latinos ( Penalver, Acosta, and Baez) are now in camp. Anybody else on board that I didnt see?

Sat, 03/17/2012 - 4:38am — Hagsag New
Re: Cubs Err on the Side of Defeat at HoHoKam
I am glad to see that some of the young Latinos ( Penalver, Acosta, and Baez) are now in camp. Anybody else on board that I didnt see?


HAGSAG: Not that I know of.

Baez, Penalver, and Acosta just arrived, and I'm sure there will be a few others arriving later.

Az Phil: Have you watched Hayden Simpson this spring? Is he still a lost little puppy?

Sat, 03/17/2012 - 4:52am — Cubster New
Re: Cubs Err on the Side of Defeat at HoHoKam
Az Phil: Have you watched Hayden Simpson this spring? Is he still a lost little puppy?


CUBSTER: I saw Simpson throw a 25-pitch "live" BP session at Fitch Park Field #2 early one morning last week, and he looked OK (at least he didn't appear to be holding anything back).

And he remains with the Daytons squad (for now), which is a good sign. For example, it would be a bad sign if he were to get moved down to Boise/Mesa.

Rotoworld blurb says he's the favorite for starting LF job at the moment for Indians.

Nice header...

Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

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  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

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  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.