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A's Trounce Cubs at Fitch Park

Jhonny Rodriguez (RBI single), Eric Marinez (two-run double), Jesus Lage (two-run double), Steven Pallares (RBI double), Carlos Hiciano (RBI single), Javier Godard (RBI triple), and Luis Barrera (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight an 18-hit attack, helping the Athletics bash the Cubs 11-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Kevonte Mitchell belted a two-run home run and Vimael Machin drilled an RBI triple to highlight a three-run first inning for the Cubs, but that was all the scoring the Cubs could muster. 

RHSP Aaron Brooks (On Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) continued his EXST rehab, starting the game and working 2.2 IP (54 pitches). He allowed three runs on six hits (four singles, two doubles, and a triple), did not issue any walks, and struck out three (all three swinging) with a 2/2 GO/AO. 

The game was called by mutual consent after eight innings of play. 

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

Shelby Miller a Mystery to Cubs Hitters

RHSP Shelby Miller (on Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 15-day DL retro to May 25th with a sprained/bruised right index finger) hurled five innings of shutout ball and Max Brown (RBI double) and Gerard Hernandez (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits to highlight a two-run first inning, as the Diamondbacks made the two runs stand and edged the Cubs 2-1 at Sloan Park, and Joey Armstrong laced a two-run single to cap a three-run second-inning and Marcus Wilson walked twice, singled, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the D'backs over the Cubs 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

With local Phoenix TV crews recording every pitch, Miller breezed-through his five innings (55 pitches), allowing just three singles and no walks, with two strikeouts and an 8/5 GO/AO.

D. J. Wilson belted an RBI double and a single and Wladimir Galindo singled twice and drove-in a run for the Cubs in a losing cause on Field #1.

RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) and LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) continued their EXST rehab, working in the game played at Sloan Park. 

Tseng started the game and worked four innings (48 pitches - 73% strikes) and allowed two runs on four hits (three singles and a double), but he struck out five, did not issue any walks, and he retired the last eight hitters he faced (K, 4-3, 4-3, 3-1, K, L-9. K, 6-3). 

Leathersich followed Tseng to the hill and worked a 1-2-3 5th inning (4-3, F-9, K). While he's still in "rehab mode," Leathersich is increasing his velocity & command with each EXST outing, and he could ultimately replace Clayton Richard as the Cubs second LHRP option (perhaps sooner rather than later).    

In EXST Cubs roster news, SS Ho-Young Son (2014 IFA - South Korea) is being converted to pitcher, but he is not ready to throw in games yet (just bullpen side-sessions and PFP drills so far). The 21-year old Son hit just 238/310/295 in 65 career minor league games (AZL Cubs & Eugene) 2014-15, but he has a rifle for an arm.   

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

Galindo Three-run Blast Highlights Cubs Sweep over Giants

Wladimir Galindo belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Chris Pieters rifled a two-run double, and Andry Rondon and four relievers combined to toss a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Giants 7-0 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, and RHSP Pedro Silverio hurled five innings of three-hit/one-run ball with no walks & eight strikeouts and Roberto Caro drilled three singles, as the Cubs edged the Giants 4-3 at Sloan Park, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

The game on Field #1 was called after seven innings of play, and the game at Sloan Park was called after 6-1/2 innings. 

The EXST Cubs record now stands at 32-16-6. 

With today's outing, Silverio becomes the second Eugene starting pitcher to go five innings (Jesus Castillo was the first, hurling five innings yesterday).  

In EXST Cubs roster news, LHSP Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) has been assigned to Extended Spring Training after struggling at South Bend (6.17 ERA - 1.94 WHIP - .308 OppBA - 45 H - 23/37 BB/K in 35 IP - nine GS). Steele will likely be a starting pitcher at Eugene (NWL season begins on June 16th), joining some combination of Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Manny Rondon in the Emeralds rotation (if there isn't room for all of them in the starting rotation, one or two may end up as "piggy-back" relievers). 

Also, RHRP P. J. Francescon has completed his 50-game "Drug of Abuse" suspension and has been reinstated from the Restricted List. He celebrated his freedom by working two perfect innings on Field #1. Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last season, and it's probably just a matter of time before he's back in the Smokies bullpen.

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

Pierce Johnson Continues Rehab at Riverview Park

Gerard Hernandez belted an RBI triple and an RBI single and scored two runs, Ramon Hernandez tripled twice, scored a run, and drove-in two more, and Jazz Chisholm drilled an RBI single and an RBI double, leading the Diamondbacks to an 11-6 victory over the Cubs on Field #1, and Wladimir Galindo singled and tripled, reached base on an HBP, and scored both Cub runs, as the Cubs and D'backs played to a 2-2 tie on Field #2, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Jose Paniagua went 4-4 (all four hits were singles) and drove-in two runs and Isaac Paredes doubled, singled, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause on Field #1. 

RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL since May 5th--retro to May 3rd--with a lat strain) got the start on Field #1 and did not fare well, allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits (including a triple and a double) and three walks in 3.1 IP (61 pitches). He did strike out five, however. One more EXST rehab start in which he pitches five innings and gets his pitch count up to 75-80, and Johnson should be ready to return to the I-Cubs starting rotation.   

RHSP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from Arizona in the Tony Campana trade in February 2013) had a far better outing on Field #2 than did Johnson on Field #1, working five innings (71 pitches) and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out four and did not issue any walks, although he did hit a batter. So Castillo becomes the first of the Eugene starters to go five innings (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, and Jose Paulino fell short earlier in the week, with Pedro Silverio and Manny Rondon yet to try). Castillo got through the first four innings on only 44 pitches while facing just ten batters, but he needed 27 pitches to get through the 5th (just barely), successfully working out of a runners at 2nd & 3rd and no outs jam (with Enrique de los Rios warmed-up & ready to go in the pen).   

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

Lew Wolff Tough Host at Fitch Park

Javier Godard doubled, singled twice, scored twice, and drove-in the winning run with a squeeze bunt, as the Athletics rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 8th and hung-on to edge the Cubs 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cub cause was aided by Vimael Machin (drilled two singles and a triple, scored a run, and knocked-in another), Rafael Mejia (belted an RBI double, singled, walked, and stole a base), and Michael Foster (singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored a run, drove-in a run, and threw out an A's hitter 7-4 trying to stretch a single into a double), but the bullpen could not hold the lead for the second day in a row. 

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

Brooks Looking Good at Diablo

Sam McDonnell drilled two RBI singles including one that drove-in the tying run, as the Angels rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to upend the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, AZ. 

Rafael Mejia belted a two-run double and a single, scored a run, and knocked-in a third run with a 6-3 GO and Alberto Mineo tripled, walked twice, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made a rehab start for the Cubs and tossed three shutout innings (32 pitches), allowing a lead-off single in the bottom of the 1st (erased on a CS) before easily retiring the next eight in a row (3-U, K, K, L-8, P-3, 4-3, 1-3, K). A healthy Brooks (and hopefully a healthy Pierce Johnson and a healthy Dallas Beeler) should help upgrade the Iowa starting rotation once the trio have completed their rehab work at EXST within the next week or two.

LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) continued his EXST game rehab work, following Brooks to the hill and hurling a scoreless inning (1B, K, F-7, 6-3). The ex-NYM lefthander who was claimed by the Cubs off waivers last November looked a lot better today than he did in his first rehab outing last week, needing 15 pitches (11 strikes) to record three outs. (He struggled to throw strikes and could not complete his assigned inning in his previous outing). The Cubs are hoping Leathersich can rehab successfully from the TJS and offer some lefty relief help down the stretch drive, and today's outing certainly provides some reason for optimism.

6'8 LHP Bryan Hudson (Cubs 2015 3rd round draft pick - Alton HS - Alton, IL) got "piggy-back" duty today, following Brooks and Leathersich to the mound. Like Dylan Cease yesterday, Hudson was supposed to stretch-out a bit today and throw five innings and/or about 75 pitches (whichever came first), but he hit 71 pitches after only 2.0 IP, and so I guess he'll have to try and make it through five innings next time out. The 19-year old lefthander allowed three runs on six hits (two doubles and four singles) and four walks (and a WP) and was lucky to surrender only three runs given the ten baserunners he allowed, but he benefited from four well-timed strikeouts (his stuff wasn't all bad, he just couldn't command it) and an Angel batter thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. This was definitely Hudson's worst outing as a pro.  

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

Cubs, D'backs, and Giants Play Three-Way in Mesa

Kevin Zamudio slugged a solo hone run to put the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd, Luis Ayala belted a two-out two-run triple in the bottom of the 7th to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead, and Dylan Cease fired 4.2 IP (71 pitches) of one-hit ball with six strikeouts, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, and Zach Bowers blasted a solo HR, singled twice, reached base on an HBP, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, and SP Jeff Burke and five relievers combined to toss a five-hitter, leading the Giants to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs at Sloan Park, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Memorial Day split squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

Cease was cruising along about to complete five innings of shutout ball, but he hit a batter and walked the next two hitters on nine pitches with two outs in the top of the 5th, and then reliever Tommy Nance immediately gave up a two-run double that scored two inherited runners (both runs charged to Cease).  

Pedro Marquez drilled a two-run double, singled, and walked for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause in the game on Field #1. Ex-Cub RHP Jeferson Mejia (one of two pitchers sent to the Diamondbacks in the Miguel Montero trade in December 2014) was the starting pitcher for the D'backs and worked five innings, allowing two runs on three hits (including the Zamudio HR) and four walks, with two strikeouts, 1 GIDP, and 4/6 GO/AO,  

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL since May 9th with right shoulder inflammation) and RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) worked in the game versus the Giants at Sloan Park. Both were hit fairly hard (Tseng surrendered four well-struck hits in 2.2 IP including three singles and a double plus a HBP, and Beeler gave-up four hits including the Bowers HR in just two innings of work). 

The game with Diamondbacks on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex was called by mutual-consent after 7-1/2 innings of play. This was supposed to have been a split-squad doubleheader versus the Giants (only), but the D'backs and Giants play each other in a split-squad doubleheader tomorrow, and while the Giants don't have enough pitchers available to play two doubleheaders in a row, the Diamondbacks do (sort of). So the D'backs sent a squad of players to Mesa to play the Cubs "B" squad, and left a second squad back home at Salt River Fields to play their regularly scheduled Cactus League EXST game against the A's, but they only brought enough pitchers to Mesa to play seven innings.  

The following position-players have been sent from Extended Spring Training to the Cubs Dominican Academy and will be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2: SS Aramis Ademan, C Miguel Amaya, SS Christopher Morel, INF Rafael Narea, 2B Yonathan Perlaza, OF Abraham Rodriguez, and OF Jonathan Sierra. Three or four pitchers who have been at EXST will also be assigned to the DSL, presumably including some combination of RHP (ex-INF) Francisco Garay, RHP (ex-OF) Wander Feliz, and LHP Eugenio Palma. It is possible that there will be some additional roster adjustments made prior to the start of the DSL season on Saturday, so all assignments are subject to change depending on the needs of the organization. I can't even absolutely, positively confirm that the players named above have actually physically left Arizona yet, but I would say there is a good chance that they have.    

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

Pierce Johnson Sharp at Sloan Park

RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL since May 5th retro to 5/3 with a lat strain) hurled three innings (30 pitches - 83% strikes) of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, Jose Paniagua belted an RBI double and two singles and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni hammered a triple and a single and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Rockies at Sloan Park, and LHSP Manny Rondon (acquired from LAA last July for C Rafael Lopez) tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts, Chris Pieters (ex-LHP) ripped two two-run doubles (four RBI total), and Andruw Monasterio drilled an RBI single, walked twice, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the Rockies 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Park Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ. 

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) slugged a solo HR for the Rockies at Sloan Park. 

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

A's Feel the Payne as Cubs Score Late & Often

Tyler Payne belted a two-run double and scored in a three-run 6th and Aramis Ademan and Wladimir Galindo stroked two singles a piece and each scored a run in a three-run 7th, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Friday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Miguel Mercedes drilled two RBI singles to account for both of the A's runs. 

The game was called by mutual consent after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) saw his first game action of 2016 but had difficulty locating home plate (17 pitches - only 6 strikes), walking two while recording two outs (F-8 and 4-3) before being relieved. Leathersich was claimed off waivers from the Mets in November and then was non-tendered by the Cubs on December 2nd, before signing a 2016 minor league contract with the Cubs. Leathersich has been rehabbing at the Cubs UAPC at Riverview Park since February, and the Cubs hope he will be able to help the big club's bullpen sometime later in the year (once his rehab is complete).    

RHSP Jesus Camargo (2014 IFA - Mexico) also saw his first game action of 2016, relieving Leathersich and retiring all three hitters he faced on an F-7 and two strikeouts (both swinging). Camargo probably has the best change-up in the Cubs system and was the workhorse of the AZL Cubs starting rotation in 2015, and he would have been a strong contender for a starting gig at Eugene in 2016, too, if he had been able to compete with the others (Cease, Hudson, Paulino, Silverio, J. Castillo, Moreno, and M. Rondon) from the gitgo. Camargo still might eventually win a slot in the Eugene starting rotation, but time is short and he is far behind the other candidates. I would think he will probably begin the short-season back at AZL Cubs and work his innings and pitch count up to where it needs to be for a starting pitcher. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Pedro Araujo has been moved-up to South Bend (Araujo was one of the last three pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp).

Pedro Araujo combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/26): 
8 games
1.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .226 OppBA 
14.0 IP, 12 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 21 K, 9/11 GO/AO, 181 pitches (73% strikes), 12.9 PITCHES-PER-INNING

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

Beeler Back on Hill at Salt River Fields

Kevonte Mitchell (RBI single), Michael Foster (RBI double), and Vimael Machin (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits and RHP Jesus Castillo tossed four innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts, helping the Cubs edge the Diamondbacks 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Joel Novas belted an RBI triple and a double for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause. 

The game was called by mutual consent after7-1/2 innings of play. 

On the Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation, RHSP Dallas Beeler saw his first Cactus League EXST game action since being shut-down mid-AB in a rehab start at Riverview Park on April 30th. Beeler threw a 1-2-3 inning (14 pitches) with two strikeouts today, and is scheduled to make his next start (where the number of innings and pitches will be increased) early next week 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee DL since May 9th with right shoulder inflammation) threw a two-inning 40-pitch "live" BP session at Riverview Park and looked very good. Whether he will return directly to Tennessee or make a rehab start or two at EXST is TBD.

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Daniel Lewis has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach. Lewis was one of the last pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp, so it is not surpising that he got the call. Lewis served four years in the U. S. Air Force after graduating from high school, and was discovered by a Cubs scout pitching at Pensacola  JC in Florida in 2014. He's 25, but because of the years lost to military service he still has a "young arm" (he's only been pitching for two years). He throws hard (a 94-96 MPH fastball that touches 97 and a mid-80's slider), and is a fierce competitor.      

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

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  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 3 hours 57 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 4 hours 39 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 4 hours 50 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 4 hours 57 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 5 hours 46 sec ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 5 hours 11 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 5 hours 17 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 5 hours 33 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 5 hours 34 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 8 hours 25 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 10 hours 57 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 11 hours 30 min ago view
  • If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.

    If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.

    Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.

    chitownmvp01 11 hours 32 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 13 hours 29 min ago view
  • I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

    JoePepitone 15 hours 48 min ago view
  • Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.

    billybucks 16 hours 44 min ago view