A's Rough Up Cubs Cuban Connection at Papago Park

Rob Whitenack (rehabbing from June 2011 TJS) threw two innings (27 pitches) of shutout ball with three strikeouts, but Cuban southpaws Gerardo Concepcion and Frank del Valle allowed a combined seven runs on 10 hits, five walks, a HBP, and two wild pitches over the next six innings, as the Athletics defeated the Cubs 7-4 in Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA “Connie Mack Field”) at the Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix, AZ.

After throwing three innings of shutout ball and looking like a major league veteran in his EXST debut last Monday versus the Brewers (when he threw 75% strikes and kept the opposing hitters off-balance by effectively mixing-up his pitches), Concepcion showed today what happens when he pitches from behind in the count and has to throw a fastball over the plate.

He had an excellent first inning of work, striking out the side (including the first two hitters on six pitches), but then began to pitch from behind starting with his second inning, eventually allowing six hits (including three wall-banger doubles), and even walking the bases loaded at one point.

Concepcion's strength is throwing strikes (especially "strike one") and then working the hitter, so when he struggles with his command (as he did in his later innings today) he can get nailed, and it isn't pretty.

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

1. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 1-4 (1B, 4-6 FC, F-9, L-4, SB)
2. Anthony Giansanti, DH #1: 0-4 (K, K, F-8, P-3)
3. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-3 (BB, K, 2B, 4-3)
4. Jeimer Candelario, 3B-DH: 1-3 (1-3, 2B, 5-3, R)
5. Xavier Batista RF-DH: 1-3 (F-8, 1B, L-3, RBI)
6. Wilson Contreras, DH-C: 1-3 (3-U, 5-4-3 DP, 2B, R)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 2-3 (1B, K, 2B, R)
8. Wilfredo Petit, C-DH: 0-2 (F-7, 6-3, BB)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (K, 4-3, 5-4 FC, R)
10. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 2-3 (1B, K, 1B, RBI)
11b. Delbis Arcila, RF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
12b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, 3-1)

1. Rob Whitenack: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 27 pitches (20 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
2. Gerardo Concepcion: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R (5 ER), 3 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 69 pitches (41 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Frank del Valle: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 77 pitches (36 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Roderik Pichardo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 17 pitches (10 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO

1. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (overthrow to 1st base on infield single allowed batter-runner to advance to 2nd base)
2. C Wilson Contreras - E-2 (errant pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed base-runner to advance to 2nd base)

1. Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS
2. Wilson Contreras 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)


WEATHER: Partly cloudy and VERY breezy with temperatures in the 60’s


Baez out. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

TIM: I believe today was a pre-scheduled "Camp Day" at Fitch Park for most of the guys who played yesterday (including Javier Baez).

Phil, two questions: (1) any chance you have seen or will get a chance to look out the manual the Cubs are giving each minor league player? (2) I personally don't mind a player like Baez showing what HS/College players around here call 'swag'. Do you think any of these 'incidents' would prevent Baez from moving up to Peoria, or will they just wait until June and send him to Boise?

Sat, 04/14/2012 - 5:47pm — George Altman

Phil, two questions: (1) any chance you have seen or will get a chance to look out the manual the Cubs are giving each minor league player? (2) I personally don't mind a player like Baez showing what HS/College players around here call 'swag'. Do you think any of these 'incidents' would prevent Baez from moving up to Peoria, or will they just wait until June and send him to Boise?


GEORGE A: The Cubs are guarding The Cubs' Way like it's a state secret, so I am not expecting to ever see a copy of it (at least until it's made into a feature film).

As for Javier Baez, I think the Cubs have planned all along to have him spend April and May at Extended Spring Training and then go to Boise. If that's the case, I don't know if the plan can be changed, or if it's written in stone, and I don't know how his on-field demeanor might affect the Cubs decision if the plan is subject to change.

The fact that he wasn't removed from the game after yesterday's verbal outburst could be a sign that they intend to let him be Javier Baez, but at the same time I'm sure they don't want him to develop into the next Carlos Zambrano or Milton Bradley, either.

Thanks, Phil. I'm sensing this administration has less urgency to aggressively advance high profile prospects which I'm OK with that.

I wonder if it's simply unique to this year. I don't recall theo or jed as xconservative in their previous stops. This, though, is such a clear rebuilding year.

I'm very intrigued as to what the draft will bring in.

The draft has always been a gold mine for Epstein, because he always ended up with the equivalent of 4 or 5 first round choices, because of the ability to pay large prices to lower round choices, as the Cubs did last year.

But the new labor agreement makes that extremely difficult to do, and Epstein is likely to end up with a draft that is more in line that of the rest of baseball.

That said, the number 8 choice should bring in a really good pitching prospect, and the two extra draft choices should also help a lot.

We draft sixth, but yeah. A large part of Theo's success is that he tends to figure out which hitters will be able to hit off-speed stuff before draft day. The Cubs usually wouldn't find out until their third year in the bigs.

well, b.wilson (SF) throwing 90mph lately makes more sense...torn elbow...fun.

Az Phil:

At the Cubs convention in January they had a "family" session with the Brenlys, the Dunstons and the Lockharts. Although Danny Lockhart seemed pretty quiet and mostly is a 2B prospect, I'm wondering what your thoughts are as to his "prospect" status after seeing him a few times now.


Sun, 04/15/2012 - 6:08am — Cubster

Az Phil:

At the Cubs convention in January they had a "family" session with the Brenlys, the Dunstons and the Lockharts. Although Danny Lockhart seemed pretty quiet and mostly is a 2B prospect, I'm wondering what your thoughts are as to his "prospect" status after seeing him a few times now.



CUBSTER: Danny Lockhart is a good defensive infielder with the versatility to play SS-2B-3B, a decent hitter but without much power, runs OK (though not particularly fast) and is a very good baserunner, and he's well-schooled in baseball fundamentals (bunting, situational hitting, turning the DP, etc).

I think he certainly will move up the pipeline, but his ceiling may be as a AAA or MLB utility infielder.


Byrd to Boston rumors pick up due to Ellsbury subluxing his shoulder (early estimate, out 6-8 weeks)

Wittenmeyer also says Sveum is considering using the LaRussa pitcher bats 8th gimmick. Seems doubtful as the Cubs don't even have one real leadoff man let alone two.

and the Cubs are looking for veteran relievers...

‘‘We worked to acquire starting pitching depth over the course of the winter, but we traded out of the bullpen,’’ Hoyer said, ‘‘so replenishing that depth is something we’re going to be looking to do throughout the summer.’’

Maybe they'll have to shop some starters to do so. Or shop your bats, then trade from the rotation when you realize you don't have bats. /fun

The RedSox designated Michael Bowden for assignment. I wonder if Theo & Co. would have an interest in bringing him over.

-michael boden + nate spears....wtf?

no cubs stuff in Cafardo's sunday baseball notes...but he went on a food tangent:


8. If you can afford a few calories, try the “Moby Dick’’ offered by the Lake County Captains of the Single A Midwest League for 20 bucks. It’s about 4,000 calories of five quarter-pound fish filets, eight slices of cheese, 6 ounces of clam strips, a third of a pound of french fries, and a cup of cole slaw topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and, of course, tartar sauce on a 15-inch hoagie roll. At least it’s healthy fish.

From the Bill Chuck files: “The Washington Nationals are offering the ‘StrasBurger’ - an all-beef burger (combination of ground brisket, chuck, and short ribs) served on a large bun with secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips, and weighing 8 pounds total.’’

if the Cubs go into that kind of promotion, I'd expect to see the Soto Brownies (instead of the hot chocolate and cookie vendors).

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.