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AZL Cubs Check Out Small Ball Book at Sloan Park

Varonex Cuevas reached base four times (three singles and a walk), stole two bases, and scored a run, leading the AZL Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the AZL Angels in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cubs did most of their damage in the bottom of the 6th inning, using "small ball" to plate three runs and take a 4-1 lead.

Jose Paniagua led-off the inning by drawing a rare (for him) walk, and advanced to 2nd base on a Varonex Cuevas bunt single. Roberto Caro laid down the first of what would be eventually two sacrifice bunts for him in the game to advance the runners to 2nd & 3rd,  and then 18-year old AZL Cubs shortstop Andruw Monasterio looped a single into short right to score Paniagua and move Cuevas up to 3rd. Monasterio and Cuevas then pulled-off a picture-perfect double steal, with Monasterio breaking for 2nd base to draw a throw (he was safe at 2nd), while Cuevas waited to break for home until he saw the throw go through to 2nd. Monasterio took off for 3rd base on the very next pitch (and he would have had 3rd base stolen easily, too), but Tyler Payne rocketed a line drive just past Monasteriio's ear into LF, as Monasterio continued around 3rd base to score the third run of the inning. Payne was then picked-off 1st base by the Angels pitcher (Payne was frozen like a deer-in-headlights two steps from 1st base, and so he took off for 2nd, but the slow-footed catcher was out by a mile).   

LHP Manny Rondon got the start for the Cubs, facing his former AZL Angels teammates for the first time. (Rondon was acquired from the Angels in a trade for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month). And not too surprisingly he came out firing from the gitgo, working his fastball consistently at 94 MPH (he hadn't thrown harder than 91-93 in previous ouitings) and mixing it with a hard-breaking curve. Being a bit hyped-up, Rondon did have some command problems, issuing three walks and hitting a batter, but he also struck out four while allowing only one run on four hits (all singles) in 5.0 IP. Rondon threw 85 pitches (52 strikes) over his five innings of work, the most pitches I have ever seen a non-rehabbing pitcher throw in an AZL game. 

To the best of my knowledge, Rondon is only the second pitcher acquired in a trade by the Cubs who went directly from one AZL team to the AZL Cubs during the AZL season. The last one (and the only other one I can recall) was 19-year old fireballing 6'3 280+ RHP Jose Ceda, acquired from San Diego for veteran INF Todd Walker on July 31, 2006. Ceda moved from the AZL Padres to the AZL Cubs after the trade.

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

Sloppy Defense, Mental Mistakes, Walks, and Silent Bats Doom AZL Cubs at Sloan Park

Evan Marzilli (on AAA Reno 7-day DL) singled twice, walked, stole a base and scored a run, and four pitchers combined to hurl a five-hitter, as the AZL Diamondbacks defeated the AZL Cubs 5-1 in Arizona League action Wednesday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

LHSP Eric Jokisch (on Iowa 7-day DL with a strained oblique) made his first game appearance in almost two months, getting the start and throwing 2.1 IP (38 pitches - 24 strikes - 4/1 GO/FO, with one GIDP). He allowed three runs (all three runs were unearned) on three hits, a walk, and two WP, but he was the victim of bad infield defense (three errors) and a fly ball that was misplayed into a double. 

RHP Dylan Cease had his worst outing of the year, getting just two outs in the 5th before being relieved. (He was scheduled to work three innings). He allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits and two walks and a WP, and could not throw strikes (28 pitches - only 11 strikes). His fastball velocity was OK (94-97 MPH), but he was unable to command his pitches (fastball or curve). Cease might need an extra bullpen side-session or two before he gets into another game.    

LF Angelo Amendolare (Cubs 2015 27th round draft pick - Jacksonville U.) had a night to forget, misplaying a routine fly ball into a double in the 3rd inning, grounding into an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP in the 7th, and getting thrown out attempting to steal 2nd base with two outs in the bottom of the 9th with his team down 5-1. (For some unknown reason, Varonex Cuevas decided to steal third-base--and he just barely made it there safely--earlier in the inning). In Amendolare's defense (at least as far as the misplayed fly ball is concerned), he was a second-baseman in college, and may not have ever played LF before this past week. 

AZL Cubs third-baseman Carlos Jimenez committed two more errors in the game (this time they were both throwing errors), for a total of four errors in two nights (his two errors Tuesday night were both fielding errors). 

Cubs Take Two from D'backs at Talking Stick

P. J. Higgins belted a two-run HR, a double, and a single, Roberto Caro reached base six times (a double, an RBI single, three walks, and an E-6), stole a base, and scored a run, Andruw Monasterio singled twice, walked, and scored three runs, and Enrique de los Rios tossed 4.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, as the AZL Cubs pounded the AZL Diamondbacks 12-1 in the completion of a game suspended on July 5th, and Angelo Amendolare doubled, singled, and drove-in two runs and Jose Paniagua clubbed a two-run home run to lead the AZL Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the AZL Diamondbacks in the regularly-scheduled game that followed, in Arizona League action Tuesday night on Whilrlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Sciottsdale, AZ. 

The Cubs - Diamonbacks AZL game on July 5th at Whirlwind Field was suspended in the top of the 1st inning with one out and the Cubs leaduing 3-0 due to a medical enmergency. A person attending the game suffered a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest, and the game was halted while the Cubs & D'backs trainers performed emergency CPR until Salt River Fire Dept paramedics arrived. Unfortunately, the person could not be resuscitated, and so AZL Cubs Manager Carmelo Martinez, AZL Diamondbacks Manager Mike Benjamin, and the two umpires met at home plate and decided it would be best to just suspend the game and send everybody home. The players, managers, coaches, umpires, scouts, and many of the spectators who were there that night knew the person who very suddenly passed away in front of their eyes, and so it really wasn't possible to continue playing the game that night. 

Even the completion of the suspended game once it got going again last night was further delayed another 25 minutes in the fourth inning after the home plate umpire took a foul tip off his mask and had to leave the game with concussion symptoms. So while the players, managers and coaches were basically just standing around, the base umpire hurried back to his car to retrieve his home plate umpire gear, and then he disappeared into the Diamondbacks clubhouse to change into the outfit (which took even more time), after-which he umpired the game by himself (from behind home plate) for the final five innings (and nobody gave him any shit, either). .   

Here is the abridged box score from the suspended game from July 5th that was completed last night (Cubs players only) 

Brewers Whitewash Cubs at Sloan Park

Trent Clark (Brewers 2015 1st round draft pick - Richland HS - North Richland Hills, TX) tripled and scored, walked twice, stole two bases, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and RHSP Miguel Diaz and three relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout, as the AZL Brewers blanked the AZL Cubs 4-0 in Arizona League action Sunday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

Javy Baez (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL - broken left ring finger) continued his AZL rehab, playing shortstop for seven innings and batting three times: 

Baez Helps AZL Cubs Drub-Blank the Brew Crew

Javy Baez doubled, singled, walked, reached base on an HBP, and scored two runs, Roberrt Garcia singled twice, walked twice, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Carlos Sepulveda knocked-in four runs with a pair of two-run singles, and RHSP Austyn Willis hurled five innings of two-hit shutout ball and combined with three relievers to toss a five-hit shutout with eleven strikeouts, as the AZL Cubs whitewashed the AZL Brewers 11-0 in Arizona League action Saturday night at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, AZ. 

Baez (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL - broken left ring finger) continued his AZL Cubs rehab, serving as the DH and batting five times: 

Baez Keeps on Rehabbin', but AZL Cubs Rally Falls Short at Fitch Park

Shane Conlon belted an RBI double and an RBI single and scored a run, and Mike Martin singled twice, reached base on an HBP, and scored two runs, helping the AZL Athletics edge the AZL Cubs 5-4 in Arizona League action Friday night at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.  

Baez Is Back, But Sox Edge Cubs at Sloan Park

Jake Fincher drilled two singles and a triple and scored two runs (including what proved to be the game-winning run in the top of the 9th), as the AZL White Sox rallied for two runs (both unearned) in the 8th and one in the 9th to edge the AZL Cubs 4-3 in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Javy Baez (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL - broken finger) saw his first game action since June 7th, playing shortstop for five innings and getting three AB.

AZL Angels Rally to Edge AZL Cubs at Sloan Park

Jahmal Jones crushed a three-run HR and Chad Hinshaw drilled an RBI double and a single, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, as the AZL Angels rallied for a run in the 7th and a run in the 8th to edge the AZL Cubs 5-4 in Arizona League action last night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Rosscup Strikes Fear into the Hearts of A's at Sloan Park

Shane Conlon drilled two singles and a double, reached base on an HBP, scored two runs, and drove-in three more, leading the AZL Athletics to a 10-2 drubbing of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action Saturday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The final two innings were played in a light drizzle.  

Yohan Matos ended a 1-25 skid by lining a bases-loaded opposite-field two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to account for the two Cub runs and avert what otherwise would have been a shutout.  

LHP Manny Rondon (acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month) got the start for the AZL Cubs and was terrible, allowing seven runs (six earned) on five hits and three walks and a WP in just 1.1 IP, including a 30-pitch 2nd inning in which he retired only one batter. 

LHRP Zac Rosscup (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation since June 17th) made his second AZL appearance of the week and was brilliant, working one inning (16 pitches - 12 strikes) and striking out the side, with a virtually unhittable mixture of 94 MPH fastball and hard-breaking slider. The young A's hitters looked totally befuddled trying to deal with Rosscup's plus-stuff.  

20-year old RHP M. T. Minacci (Cubs 2015 33rd round draft pick - Powermill Training Academy) worked a 1-2-3 7th inning (6-3, F-7, 4-3). Minacci was a teammate of Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick LHP Carson Sands at North Florida Christian HS in Tallahassee, and was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) but did not sign,. He chose instead to enroll at Florida State, but then transferred to Chipola College after only one semester at FSU, before joining Powermill last year. Minacci was working primarily with his fastball (90-92 MPH) Saturday night, with an  occasional slider and change-up mixed-in.   

In AZL Cubs roster news, LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (Cubs 2015 9th round draft pick - Cal State Fullerton) has been moved up to Eugene, and LHP Heath Dwyer (2015 NDFA - Virginia Commonwealth) has been moved down to AZL Cubs from Eugene. Dwyer pitched the 9th inning for the AZL Cubs in Saturday night's game, and was tagged for two runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple). Dwyer is a soft-tossing lefty who features a mid-80's fastball, a curve, and a plus-change up, but his smoke & mirrors stuff didn't fool the A's hitters. 

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

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  • Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.

    jacos 10 min 23 sec ago view
  • j.buchanan going friday...should be...baseball...or something like it.

    crunch 17 min 50 sec ago view
  • Wow. I didn't know they could do that.

    Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.

    billybucks 34 min 13 sec ago view
  • Game is officially called...also officially a tie.

    Stats count, no make-up date of course.

     

    Rob G. 36 min ago view
  • Yeah -- seeing the weather -- I hope KB and Rizz are inside, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate.

    billybucks 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • rain delay...thanks obama.

    crunch 2 hours 46 sec ago view
  • Thanks again Phil. We actually were in Mesa and drove around. Hopefully, I am back for some Fall League. If not I have all of spring training (like the smart people who move here!)

    rvimpeny 3 hours 4 min ago view
  • What Rob G said.  I can't speak for Piittsburgh, but the other end of the state has had absolute crap weather for two days. Perfect day to take it easy.

    Transmission 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • tarp came off 10 minutes ago...let's do this.

    crunch 3 hours 22 min ago view
  • He will not pitch another game for Cubs

    /Unless injury in playoffs

    jacos 3 hours 38 min ago view
  • ~fart~

    jacos 3 hours 39 min ago view
  • Today is bullpen day

    jacos 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • 10/450 if they win WS

    jacos 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Even though Hammel is missing start, don't assume he'll not be on #Cubs postseason roster. Maddon says elbow problem isn't that bad

    Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Maddon on #Cubs postseason rotation: "I don't want to announce anything. We haven't talked to anybody yet"

    Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Maddon hopes Soler can take BP in Cincy, play in sim game Tue. "All of that should give us some kind of indication of where he's at"

    crunch 3 hours 57 min ago view
  • tarp on the field 40 minutes before gametime...meh.

    crunch 4 hours 40 sec ago view
  • travel day + rain in Pittsburgh. Why risk injury?

    Rob G. 4 hours 4 min ago view