Archive

May 26th, 2014

May 24th

 

Johneshwy Fargas singled twice and drove-in the tying and winning runs with a two-run double as the Giants rallied to edge the Cubs 3-2 in 12 innings in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale AZ.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL retroactive to 5/6 - groin) started the game for the Cubs and threw one inning (12 pitches - 11 strikes), striking out three. One batter did reach base on a third strike WP, but Strop totally handcuffed the young Giants with his hard slider and mid-90's gas. He looks like he is ready to be reinstated from the DL and maybe provide some misery to big league hitters.    

The Cubs managed only four hits (three singles and a double) and struck out 13 times over the course of the 12 innings, although they did draw six walks.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Josh Davis (2013 NDFA - Belmont University) has been moved up to Daytona, and RHP Ben Wells has been sent to Extended Spring Training from Daytona. Davis began the season at Extended Spring Training, and then was moved up to Kane County on April 12th. He was sent back to EXST from KC on May 2nd.   

Also, LHP Michael Heesch (Cubs 2012 8th round draft pick - USCB) has been moved up to Kane County from Extended Spruing Training.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOSH DAVIS'S FOUR 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/9   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (23 strikes)
4/12 - AT KANE COUNTY thru 5/2
5/5   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (21 strikes)
5/13 - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 36 pitches (24 strikes)   
5/17 - INTRASQUAD GAME  
5/21 - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 34 pitches (22 strikes)  
TOTAL: 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 7 K, 2 GIDP, 10/6 GO/FO, 68% strikes, 2.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .289 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM MICHAEL HEESCH'S FIVE 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
5/9   - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 5 pitches (4 strikes)  
5/12 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
5/14 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R,0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (13 strikes)
5/17 - INTRASQUAD GAME
5/20 - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 3/1 GO/FO, 42 pitches (27 strikes)
5/23 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 11 pitches (10 strikes) 
TOTAL: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 5/4 GO/FO, 70% strikes, 0.00 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, .227 OppBA 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs player only):

May 23rd

Rashad Crawford belted an inside-the-park two-run home run (opposite-field line-drive smoked over the left-fielder's head) to highlight a three-run third, and the bullpen tossed 7.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, helping the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

The home run was Crawford's second in Cactus League EXST game action (his first HR was hit over the RF fence on Field #5 at Riverview Park on April 21st), so Crawford has now tied Erick Castillo for the team-lead in HR with two (six others--Tyler Alamo, Jeffrey Baez, Zak Blair, Kevin Brown, Varonex Cuevas, and Rony Rodriguez--have one HR a piece). And the Cubs (as a team) have hit seven of their ten home runs in their last five games.  

Five Cub "rehab" pitchers saw work in today's game (including four who threw in the intrasquad game last Saturday), so Rehab Pitching Coordinator Rick Tronerud and Rehab Athletic Trainer Chuck Baughman made the trip up to Salt River Fields from Riverview Park (they did not bring their golf cart, however).  

* Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick RHP Josh Conway (2012 pre-draft TJS & May 2013 elbow stress fracture) got the start and breezed through the bottom of the 1st inning (allowing just a two-out single) before surrendering a run on two hits (including an RBI triple) and a walk in the bottom of the 2nd. The 23-year old needed 37 pitches to get four outs. 

* Veteran NPB & MLB RH reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (May 2013 TJS) retired all three men he faced (K-swinging, F-8, 3-1), although he was continually shaking and stretching his arm during the outing. 

* 20-year old 2012 3rd round draft pick 6'3 RHP Ryan McNeil (May 2013 TJS) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance since April 15, 2013, and retired all five hitters he faced (F-8, 6-3, L-8, P-1, 3-U) on just 13 pitches (10 strikes), He looked very good in a two-inning stint in last Saturday's intrasquad game, too. For those of you who haven't seen McNeil this year, he is sporting the popular Jeff Samardzija look (they could be brothers).  

* 24-year old 6'5 240+ LHP Michael Heesch (Cubs 2012 8th round draft pick) had another fine outing (he's been throwing in Cactus League EXST games for about the last ten days, so he should be about ready to move up to the KC or Daytona bullpen), allowing a two-out single while striking out two (both swinging) and doing it all on just 11 pitches (10 for strikes), and lots of grunts.

* 18-year old RHP Jesus Castillo (the other pitcher acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with RHP Erick Leal in exchange for OF Tony Campana in February 2013) made his U. S. game debut and punched-out two in his one innng of work. Unlike Leal (a "curve-ball first" pitcher who uses his 88 MPH fastball to set-up his excellent breaking ball), Castillo has a "lively" fastball that rides 92-93 MPH and a decent change-up (especially for such a young guy) but no breaking ball. And, just like C. J. Edwards, Jose Paulino, and Hector Perez, Castillo is an all-legs "stringbean" (6'2 165). Castillo probably has a higher ceiling than fellow-Venezuelan Leal, but he is also clearly not anywhere near as polished, and so he will very likely be assigned to the AZL Cubs next month, while Leal will almost certainly be in the Boise starting rotation. 

With today's victory, the Cubs have won three in a row and are closing-in on the .500 mark (they are now 19-21-4 in 2014 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games).

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

May 21st

Zak Blair (single, walk, 3-run HR, three runs scored), Kevin Brown (single, walk, solo HR, three runs scored), and Erick Castillo (three singles and a solo HR) slugged back-to-back-to-back home runs to cap a six-run 2nd inning, Varonex Cuevas clubbed a two-run HR, singled, walked, and scored two runs, and Roney Alcala drilled a two-run double, as the Cubs decimated the Diamondbacks 15-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center in Mesa, AZ.  

Fernery Ozuna belted a solo HR, a triple, and a single, and Damion Smith slugged an RBI double, singled, walked, and stole two bases for the D'backs in a losing cause.

The Cubs came into game having homered only five times in their first 42 Cactus League EXST games (Tyler Alamo, Rashad Crawford, Erick Castillo, Jeffrey Baez, and Rony Rodriguez with one each), so hitting four dingers in one game was a bit of a surprise. (And Erick Castillo now leads the team in HR with two).   

In EXST Cubs roster news, 22-year old LHP Tyler Ihrig (Cubs 2013 23rd round draft pick - College of Marin) and 22-year old RHP Trevor Graham (Cubs 2013 13th round draft pick - Franklin Pierce University) have been promoted to Hi-A Daytona, replacing RHP Jose Rosario (assigned to Extended Spring Training) and RHP Zach Cates (placed on D-Cubs 7-day DL). Graham and Ihrig have been the two best starting pitchers so far at Extended Spring Training and the duo very likely would have been the Boise Hawks top two starters, too. Graham was scheduled to start today's game at Riverview Park and Ihrig was scheduled to start tomorrow, so the EXST Cubs pitching plans were thrown into disarray with the two promotions (although nobody is complaining).   

THE PITCHING LINES FROM TYLER IHRIG'S SEVEN 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/11 - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 40 pitches (25 strikes)  
4/16 - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (15 strikes) 
4/23 - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 51 pitches (32 strikes) 
4/29 - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 4/1 GO/FO, 38 pitches (26 strikes) 
5/5   - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 39 pitches (27 strikes) 
5/10 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 2/5 GO/FO, 53 pitches (39 strikes)  
5/16 - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 5/2 GO/FO, 61 pitches (41 strikes)
TOTAL: 21.0 IP, 16 H, 8 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 26 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 22/13 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 1.71 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .211 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM TREVOR GRAHAM'S FIVE 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/10 - INTRASQUAD GAME
4/15 - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 7/0 GO/FO, 43 pitches (26 strikes)  
4/21 - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 33 pitches (24 strikes)  
4/26 - INTRASQUAD GAME 
5/2   - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 65 pitches (36 strikes)   
5/8   - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 2/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (30 strikes) 
5/15 - 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 4/1 GO/FO, 68 pitches (45 strikes)
TOTAL: 17.0 IP, 14 H, 4 R (3 ER), 5 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 15/12 GO/FO, 62% strikes, 1.59 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, .226 OppBA   

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

May 20th

Gleyber Torres (three singles, a double, and a walk) and Shamil Ubiera (two singles, a triple, and a walk) combined to reach base nine times, collect six RBI, and score four runs, Tyler Alamo drilled an RBI double and an RBI single, and Jesse Hodges singled, tripled, scored two runs, and drove-in another, as the Cubs outlasted the Athletics 9-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Baseball Facility in Phoenix, AZ. 

In 23 Cactus League EXST games (91 PA), the 17-year old Torres is now hitting 291/378/392, with four doubles and two triples, 8 RBI, 8 runs scored, 9/17 BB/K, two HBP (and he tried to charge the mound on one of them), 2 SB (2 CS) and one PO, and ten errors (seven fielding and three throwing). 

After hitting 297/367/446 with 42 doubles, four triples, eight HR, and 97 RBI, 89 runs scored, 27 SB (14 CS), and a 43/83 BB/K in 134 games (569 PA) in the DSL 2012-13, the 21-year old Ubiera is now hitting 328/355/517 with seven doubles, two triples, a 3/5 BB/K, 1 SB (0 CS), 3 GIDP, and a team-leading 12 RBI in 18 Cactus League EXST games (62 PA). He has played all three OF positions for the EXST Cubs, and has commited two errors (both in LF) and he has one outfield assist (while playing RF).     

RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (on the Cubs 60-day DL - 2013 TJS) saw his first Cactus League EXST game action since April 14th (when he walked off the mound at Riverview Park in the middle of an AB after thowing 17 pitches), retiring all three batters he faced (4-3, F-9, P-3) on just 12 pitches. Fujikawa is eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day DL today, but he will require additional rehab work before he is ready to rejoin the Cubs (and that's presuming there are no further setbacks along the way).

Cubs 2013 5th round draft pick RHP Trey Masek (on Kane County 7-day DL) saw his first Cactus League EXST game action of 2014, but he was not as sharp as Fujikawa, surrendering a solo HR to the first batter he faced before walking two of the next three hitters. Masek was unable to complete his inning (21 pitches - only 9 strikes), and was relieved with two outs and a runner on 1st (the other baserunner had already been erased on a CS).       

RHP Erick Leal had a terrible outing, allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits and four walks in three innings of work (and the 71 pitches he logged in only 3.0 IP is not a typo). He struck out only one, and that was the last batter he faced.

RHP Trevor Graham was relaxing in a chair, charting the game from behind home plate, when he was called up to Daytona in the middle of the 7th inning. He was driven back to Riverview Park by the Strength & Conditioning coach so that he could catch a plane at Sky Harbor Airport ASAP.

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

May 19th

Jeffrey Baez (RBI triple and RBI FC) and Eloy Jimenez (RBI double and RBI single) collected two RBI a piece to help the Cubs take a 7-1 lead, but Fernery Ozuna drove-in four runs with two two-run singles (one in the 5th and the other with two outs in the bottom of the 7th) as the Diamondbacks rallied to tie the Cubs 7-7 on Jackrabbit Field, and Everett Williams belted an RBI triple, singled, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, and Mark Thomas drilled an RBI single, tripled, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the D'backs to a 7-4 victory on Whirlwind Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Rony Rodriguez (RBI single and a two run HR) knocked in three runs and Shamil Ubiera drilled an RBI double, singled, and scored a run in a losing cause for the Cubs on Whirlwind Field.

Both games were pre-planned as seven-inning contests.

In EXST Cubs roster news, outfielders Casper Wells (back spasms) and Justin Ruggiano (hamstring) have completed their EXST rehabs and have been moved-up to AAA Iowa (Wells has been reinstated from Iowa's 7-day DL, and Ruggiano remains on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL and is assigned to Iowa on a Minor League Rehab Assignment), and RHPs Zak Hermans and Corbin Hoffner have been moved-up to Kane County from EXST, replacing RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (7-day DL - shoulder) and LHP Nathan Dorris (moved up to Daytona) on the KC roster. 

Wells hit 182/345/273 in seven Cactus League EXST games (29 PA), with two doubles, five BB, a HBP, and three K, while Ruggiano hit 154/214/231 in four Cactus League EXST games (14 PA), with a double, a walk, and three K. Ruggiano also clubbed two ringing doubles and stole 3rd base in Saturday's intrasquad game. 

THE PITCHING LINES FROM ZAK HERMANS' EIGHT 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/9  -  1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 20 pitches (12 strikes)
4/11 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4/15 - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 2/2 GO/FO, 25 pitches (14 strikes)
4/18 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
4/24 - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO, 32 pitches (22 strikes)
4/29 - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/4 GO/FO, 43 pitches (28 strikes)
5/5  -  3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 1 PO, 3/2 GO/FO, 46 pitches (30 strikes) 
5/13 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (18 strikes)  
TOTAL: 16.0 IP, 11 H, 4 R (4 ER), 5 BB, 13 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 GIDP, 18/15 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .196 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM CORBIN HOFFNER'S EIGHT 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/14 - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 41 pitches (27 strikes) 
4/18 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4/21 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 9 pitches (6 strikes) 
4/26 - INTRASQUAD GAME  
4/29 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes) 
5/3   - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (12 strikes) 
5/7   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 4/1 GO/FO, 19 pitches (15 strikes) 
5/10 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 22 pitches (16 strikes)
5/16 - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 6/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (20 strikes)
TOTAL: 14.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 25/9 GO/FO, 73% strikes, 1.26 ERA, 0.42 WHIP, .109 OppBA  

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):  

May 18th

May 16th

Eloy Jimenez belted an RBI triple and Rony Rodriguez and Justin Marra drilled RBI singles to highlight a three-run 1st inning, Oliver Zapata, doubled, singled, and walked, and Erick Castillo smacked a pinch-hit solo home run, helping the Cubs defeat the Giants 5-3 on Field #5, and Kevin Brown tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Roney Alcala (RBI ground out & a two-run single) and Arnaldo Calero (two run-scoring doubles) drove-in three runs a piece as the Cubs rallied from a four-run deficit to tie the Giants 6-6 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Ryan Jones slugged a two-run HR, doubled and scored, and singled for the Giants on Field #6.

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST game rehabs, with Ruggiano playing RF with Squad "B" on Field #5 and Wells playing RF with Squad "A" on Field #6.

Ruggiano played RF for four innings and then moved to DH for one more inning, getting three Plate Appearances in the game. He struck out (swinging) in his first AB, drew a walk his second time up and then (apparently feeling a bit frisky) was thrown-out trying to steal, and he flied out to right in his third PA. He also commited an error, dropping a line-drive that was hit right at him (eventually leading to an unearned run scoring).  

Wells played RF for eight innings and went 1-3, with a pop out to 1st, a bloop double (he later scored), a line-out to CF, and a walk.    

Meanwhile, C-1B-3B Mark Malave is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting only RH (and actually has been for a while). Malave drives the ball with more authority RH. and from what I've seen so far, he does not appear to be adversely affected hitting RH versus RHP.

Last year OF Rashad Crawford gave up switch-hitting, opting to hit only LH (to take better advantage of his plus-speed), and that move has worked out well for him. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

May 15th

Elliot Soto tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Eloy Jimenez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, leading the Cubs to a 9-5 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ. 

Raul Linares reached base four times (RBI triple, two singles, and a walk) for the Angels.

In 18 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (72 PA), Eloy Jimenez is hitting 221/250/279, with a team-leading nine RBI, plus four doubles and 3/19 BB/K. He has yet to homer in a Cactus League EXST game, although he has in Intrasquad games. 

Unlike the other top international prospect signed by the Cubs in 2013 (SS Gleyber Torres), Jimenez has no chance to make the Boise Hawks Opening Day roster, but he does stand a good chance to be in the AZL Cubs Opening Day lineup next month. 

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

May 14th

Jorge Ortega tossed six shutout innings, Tucker Neuhaus (Brewers 2013 Supplemental 2nd round draft pick - Wharton HS - Tampa, FL) drilled two RBI doubles, singled, and scored a run, Edgardo Rivera reached base four times (a single and three walks), stole a base, and scored three runs, and Luis Aviles smacked a three-run home run, as the Brewers outlasted the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Jeffrey Baez walked twice, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run and Eloy Jimenez singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs. In 17 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (67 PA), Baez is hitting 345/433/500, with two doubles, two triples, one HR, 5 RBI, 8 RUNS, 9/8 BB/K, and 12 SB (0 CS), and he leads the team in OBP, SLG, SB, BB, and RUNS, is second only to the departed Matt Scioscia in AVG (Scioscia hit 348 in 26 PA), and is one of only three EXST Cubs players to hit a HR (Tyler Alamo and Rashad Crawford are the other two).    

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST rehab assignments in today's game, going a collective 0-8.

Ruggiano popped-out to short and flied out three times (including two near-HR hit to the warning track, one in left and the other in right-center), and Wells tapped back to the pitcher on a check-swing, popped out to the shortstop, lined-out to CF, and reached base on an E-5 (dropped infield pop fly).   

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

Timing has never been kind to the Cubs, and this "Party of the Century" is really, really unfortunate.

May 13th

Bryant Flete reached base four times (two singles and two walks), knocked-in two runs, and scored another, and Casper Wells singled twice, walked, drove-in two runs, and scored another, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Nataniel Delgado (2012 NDFA - Dominican Republic - $280K bonus) clubbed a three-run home run to account for three of the four Angels runs.  

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs 15-day DL - hamstring) continued his EXST rehab, serving as a DH and batting three times. He laced a line-drive single to center and then later scored in the bottom of the 1st inning, grounded out 6-3 in his second AB, and flied out to the warning track in dead CF his last time up.  

Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) also continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for seven innings and reaching base in all three of his Plate Appearances (the aforementioned two singles and a walk). He was due to hit a fourth time in the bottom of the 8th, but he had already departed for the clubhouse by that time. He looks to be 100%, and so he may be rejoining Iowa very soon.  

RHP C. J. Edwards (AA Tennessee 7-day DL - shoulder fatigue) is at Riverview Park while awaiting the results of his latest MRI. He can participate in PFP drills, but he is not yet cleared to resume throwing.  

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

May 12th

Jesse Hodges reached base three times (two-run double, RBI single, and a walk) and drove-in three runs and Charcer Burks belted an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Wilin Rosario (on Colorado Rockies MLB 15-day DL - viral infection) served as a DH and singled twice and hammered an RBI double for the Rockies in a losing cause.

OF Justin Ruggiano (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since 4/24) returned to game action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the RF bullpen in the 9th inning of the Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary Game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23rd, serving as a DH and getting four Plate Appearances. Facing RHP Tony Bryant in all four of his AB, Ruggiano struck out (swinging) his first two times up in the bottom of the 1st and bottom of the 2nd (and looked bad in the process), but then he smacked a lead-off double off the CF fence in the bottom of the 3rd inning, before grounding out 6-3 in his final AB in the 4th. He was definitely not running at fuil-speed (he was removed for a "designated pinch-runner" after his double), but then he wasn't limping, either.

RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) saw his first game action in more than a year, getting the start for the Cubs and pitching one inning (17 pitches). His fastball was clocked at only 89-90 MPH (he was peaking at 94 last year), but his two-seamer had good sink and his hard-slider was dive-bombing the lower part of the strike zone. 

Conway underwent "Tommy John Surgery" (TJS) after suffering a torn UCL in a game against Liberty University prior to being drafted by the Cubs (a "2nd round talent" who supposedly fell to the 4th round only because of the TJS), and after spending the 2012 season on the 60-day DL he came back strong and was without question the most-impressive pitcher at Minor League Camp in 2013. He continued his outstanding work into Extended Spring Training, and he appeared to be about ready to join the Kane County or Daytona starting rotation (he had thrown 5.0 IP and 80 pitches in his previous start), when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury (described at the time as a stress fracture) while pitching in an EXST game at the Brewers Maryvale Baseball Complex on May 4, 2013 (see link). 

In EXST Cubs roster news, veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro has been moved up to AA Tennessee from Extended Spring Training, where he will replace RHP Ivan Pineyro (placed on Tennessee 7-day DL with a forearm strain) in the Smokies starting rotation. The 35-year old Pineiro was signed as a free-agent by the Cubs on March 30th, and has spent the last six weeks at Riverview Park getting "stretched-out" as a starting pitcher. (Prior to signing with the Cubs, Pineiro hadn't pitched since playing winter ball in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico last off-season). 

Although it was announced at the time the Cubs signed Pineiro that he would be at Extended Spring Training for "about ten days" and then be assigned to AAA Iowa, it soon became clear that that just wasn't going to happen. For one thing, Pineiro really hasn't pitched that well (see below), and secondly, with Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler, and Tsuyoshi Wada filling the five slots, there is just no room for him in the I-Cubs rotation.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S SIX 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
5/9   - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 12/2 GO/FO, 77 pitches (50 strikes)
 
TOTAL: 28.2 IP, 33 H, 19 R (17 ER), 7 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 4 WP, 1 PO, 5 GIDP, 44/15 GO/FO, 72% strikes, 5.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .289 OppBA

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

May 11th

 

The VSL Cubs begin their 68-game 2014 season tomorrow morning with a game against the VSL Phillies.

May 10th

Jeffrey Baez led-off the game with a home run and then laced an RBI single and stole a base in his next AB, Jesse Hodges belted an RBI triple and scored a run, Gleyber Torres singled twice, knocked-in two runs, and scored another, and Tyler Ihrig fired four innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts and combined with three relievers to help the Cubs whitewash the Giants 6-0 on Field #2, and Craig Massoni drove-in three runs with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly and Carlos Valdez hammered a solo home run, leading the Giants to a 6-1 victory on Field #1, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.  

Slick-fielding AA Tennessee shortstop Elliot Soto (at Extended Spring Training while serving a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension) reached base four times (three singles and a walk) and stole a base in a losing cause on Field #1. 

OF Casper Wells (on AAA Iowa Cubs 7-day DL - back spasms) continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for six innings and getting three Plate Appearances (he was in the clean-up slot in the batting order on Field #2 and he batted only when his spot in the order was due to hit). Wells walked twice and grounded out 6-3.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

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