Arizona Phil's Archives

Gloomy Skies Produce Sunny Result for Cubs at Riverview Park

LHP Jose Paulino tossed three innings of no-run/no-hit ball, Ho-Young Son belted an RBI triple, an RBI double, and a single, Tim Saunders reached base three times (a walk, an RBI single, and a triple) and scored two runs, Ricardo Marcano hammered a solo home run and an RBI single and scored twice, and Andrew Ely stroked an RBI double and a single, stole a base, and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Jordan Hankins has completed the Catcher Conversion Program course at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park and has been assigned to Hi-A Myrtle Beach. Hankins takes the place of C-1B Alberto Mineo, who moves down to Extended Spring Training from Myrtle Beach.

The left-handed swinging Hankins was drafted by the Cubs as an infielder in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) out of Austin Peay University, and after playing 3B-2B with the AZL Cubs and Boise his first year of pro ball, he received initial catcher training at Instructs post-2013, and then again at Minor League Camp in 2014. But he was moved back to 3B once the 2014 minor league regular season started, and was good enough to be selected to the Midwest League All-Star game as a third-baseman while assigned to Kane County (he hit 322/361/461 in 50 MWL games). That earned Hankins a June promotion to Daytona (he and a struggling Jeimer Candelario changed places), but he was unable to find the same success at Daytona that he had found at KC (218/323/318 in 33 games at Daytona). He got a second opportunity to try catching at Instructs last fall, continuing the process into this season, first at Minor League Camp, and then at Extended Spring Training.

The 23-year old Hankins has been the best hitter on the 2015 EXST Cubs squad, putting up a 462/481/654 line (plus an eight-game hitting streak) with three doubles and a triple, four RBI, five runs scored, and only one strikeout in nine Cactus League EXST games (27 PA), while simultaneously learning the finer points of the receiving arts. (He also hit two home runs in EXST intrasquad games). Hankins likely projects as an "offense-first" left-handed hitting 3B-2B-1B-C bench guy at the higher levels (sort of a left-handed hitting version of Ben Carhart), but adding catcher to his "tool box" should make him more valuable as he moves up through the pipeline.

Also, 24-year old RHP Jose Rosario underwent an elbow UCL transplant ("Tommy John surgery") last month and will miss the 2015 season. Rosario is the second Cub minor leaguer to undergo TJS since the start of Spring Training (catcher Will Remillard was other one).  

Born in New York City, Rosario was signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old international free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in April 2008. He was eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (so-called "six-year minor league free-agent") after the 2014 World Series, but he signed a 2015 minor league successor contract with the Cubs before being declared a free-agent. In 115 career minor league games 2008-14, Rosario has compiled a rather ugly 5.06 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, while allowing 489 hits (including 32 HR) and 192 walks in 437.2 IP, with 378 strikeouts.

Although he has plus-stuff, Rosario has been unable to harness it and has battled command issues throughout his career, He failed to reach AA in seven minor league seasons, and yet the Cubs saw enough in him to offer him a 2015 contract rather than allowing him to walk away as a free-agent. But he continued to struggle with his control at Minor League Camp this season, before being shut-down with a sore elbow the last week of Spring Training. Rosario is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA again post-2015, but since the TJS rehab process takes at least a year, I would not be surprised if he signs another minor league successor contract for 2016 so that he can continue his rehab with the same training staff.  

It wasn't a Cactus League EXST game, but the Cubs did play an EXST intrasquad game on Field #5 yesterday (Thursday). 29-year old veteran MLB and ex-Red Sox RHRP Daniel Bard threw an inning in the game, and while he continues to have difficulty throwing strikes (24 pitches - only 9 strikes, with one walk and two WP in the one IP), he did manage to retire the side without allowing a hit or a run. Known as a hard-throwing late-inning reliever, Bard didn't show it yesterday. His fastball consistently sat at 91-92 MPH, and touched 93 only once.

Cubs Minor League Infield Coordinator Jose Flores is at Extended Spring Training this week, working with the young Cub infielders on the finer points of infield play. (He also throws a mean BP).    

Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League EXST game (Cubs players only), followed by the box score from yesterday's EXST Cubs intrasquad game.

Cubs & A's Fit to be Tied at Fitch Park

The Cubs and Athletics played to a 5-5 tie in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Frandy de la Rosa (two-run single) and Tyler Alamo (RBI single) drilled run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run third that gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead. Then after the A's took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a Miguel Mercedes solo home run, the Cubs came back and tied the game in the top of the ninth as pinch-hitter Tyler Pearson belted a two-out triple to right-center and scored on a game-tying Bryant Flete RBI single. The A's loaded the bases on two walks and a Cub error in the bottom of the 9th, but were unable to push across the winning run.  

Robert Garcia singled, doubled, and scored two runs for the Cubs.   

Cub pitchers allowed only four hits in the game (none until the fourth, and only one through six), but they also walked eight, hit a batter, and threw three wild pitches. Collectively, Cub pitchers threw only 53% strikes today. The two Cub catchers (Tyler Alamo and Jhonny Pereda) took a physical beating behind the plate, with numerous balls short-hopping them before hitting a collar-bone or a groin.  

Two veteran ex-MLB pitchers recently signed by the Cubs to minor league contracts saw action in today's game, as RHP Felipe Paulino (released by the Red Sox at the end of SpringTraining) and LHRP Daniel Schlereth (released by the Tigers last month) each worked an inning.  

The 6'3 260+ 31-year old Paulino came out like a house afire, striking out the first two men he faced (both swinging) on seven pitches before walking the next two hitters on 3-2 pitches, finally retiring the side on a pop-out to the first-baseman in foul territory. He cuts a rather large figure on the mound, with a physique similar to that of Jumbo Diaz or Jonathan Broxton. 

Originally signed by the Houston Astros as an International free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, Paulino has pitched in the big leagues with Houston, Colorado, Kansas City, and the White Sox. He underwent an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) post-2012 when he was with the Royals, and then missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury while a member of the White Sox. 

The 28-year old Schlereth worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 2nd (F-9, 4-3, P-4), but had command issues, going to a three-ball count on the first two hitters he faced and a two-ball count on the third hitter before retiring them. He needed 15 pitches to retire the side, but threw only seven strikes.

Schlereth was the 1st round pick (26th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, and was part of the Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Edwin Jackson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson/Phil Coke three-team mega-deal in December 2009, going to the Tigers with Scherzer, Coke and A. Jackson (Granderson went to the Yankees, and E. Jackson and Kennedy ended up in Arizona). 

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

Cubs Use Their Bats & Their Heads to Sweep D'backs

Adonis Paula ripped a two-run double and Tyler Alamo belted a two-out RBI double to highlight a three-run 1st, Oscar de la Cruz tossed three innings of shutout ball, and Tim Saunders drove-in the winning run by getting hit on the top of the helmet with a two-strike pitch with the bases loaded, the score tied, and two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Field #5, and Eloy Jimenez thumped a solo home run and an RBI triple, Yohan Matos belted a three-run inside-the-park HR, and Bryant Flete singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the D'backs 8-4 on Field #6, as the Cubs swept a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

Trevor Mitsui bashed a double and a two-run HR, Sergio Alcantara laced a single and a double and scored a run, Luis Veras singled, doubled, and scored two runs, and Didimo Bracho collected three singles for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause.   

LHP Patrick Corbin (on the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 60-day DL - 2014 TJS) got the start for the D'backs on Field #6 and hurled three innings of shutout ball, allowing two singles and no walks, while striking out five (four swinging), and a 2/1 GO/FO.    

The EXST Cubs returned to action today after a weekend of rain wiped out two games. 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHPs Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), Erling Moreno (2014 TJS), Jose Zapata (post-2013 cervical fracture), and Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) pitched in a five-inning "sim" game on Field #3. Cease and Moreno worked three innings (45 pitches each), Zapata pitched two innings (30 pitches), and Masek threw one inning (15 pitches).    

In roster news, 21-year old switch-hitting Dominican OF Robert Garcia has been added to the Cubs Extended Spring Training roster. Garcia signed with the Cubs in July 2013 and spent two seasons with the DSL Cubs, hitting 301/394/369 with 33 stolen bases (8 CS) in 77 games combined 2013-14.     

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

Grimm Day for Cubs at Riverview Park

Nick Jones (ex-LHP) belted a two-run home run and Jordan Johnson and four relievers combined to toss a four-hitter, helping the Giants defeat the Cubs 4-1 on Field #6, and Bryant Flete doubled, singled, and scored a run, and five Cub relievers combined to hurl five innings of perfect baseball, as the Cubs and Giants played to a 2-2 tie on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader action this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

The game on Field #5 was called after seven innings with the score tied, and the game on Field #6 was called after 7-1/2 innings.   

Kevonte Mitchell tripled, singled, stole a base, and scored the lone Cub run on Field #6.

18-year old 6'6 RHP Austyn Willis (Cubs 2014 18th round draft pick - Barstow HS - Barstow, CA) got the start on Field #6 and threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball with four strikeouts, retiring Travis Ishikawa (on the Giants MLB 15-day DL with a lower back strain) three times (4-3 GO, K-swinging, and F-8 fly out). Willis has started three Cactus League EXST games, allowing one run on four hits (including a solo HR) and a walk with nine strikeouts in seven innings of work. He will very likely be in the Eugene starting rotation when the Northwest League season commences next month.  

RHRP Justin Grimm (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with a forearm strain retroactive to April 2nd) worked the top of the 4th inning on Field #6 and was dominating, striking out the side on 12 pitches. He looks to be in mid-season form. 

The Giants are unusual because they have two ex-LHP at Extended Spring Training being converted to position players (usually it's the other way around). Besides 6'6 first-baseman Nick Jones (who belted a tape measure two-run HR over the RF fence that provided the winning margin for the Giants on Field #6 this morning), outfielder Steven Neff drilled three hits (a single, a double, and a triple) in a game against the Cubs earlier this week in Scottsdale. 

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

Javy Baez Bats Eight Times in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Doubleheader

Justin Steele tossed three innings of one-hit shutout ball and Eloy Jimenez drove-in all three Cub runs with a two-run single and a sacrfice fly, as the Cubs and Giants played to a 3-3 tie on Field #1, and Dylan Davis belted a solo home run, a double, and an RBI single, and scored three runs, Steven Neff (ex-LHP) collected a single, a double, and a two-run triple, and Julio Pena slugged a solo home run, helping the Giants to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs on Field #2, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.. 

The game on Field #1 was called in the 8th inning with the score tied, and the game on Field #2 was called after six innings of play. 

Danny Gutierrez drilled three hits (two singles and a double) in the game on Field #2, but he also committed two errors in LF, one by having a line-drive clank off his glove for a two-base error, and the other when he allowed a bouncing single to hop past him for a three-base error (the batter was able to circle the bases and score)  

Javy Baez played in the game on Field #1, batting eight times (once in each inning), and playing second-base for four innings before moving over to shortstop. He went 1-7 for the day... #1) roped a line drive single to left on a 1-0 pitch in the top of the first inning before scoring the Cubs first run of the day on a sacrifice fly; #2) grounded out sharply 5-3 on an 0-1 pitch in the top of the second inning; #3) struck out swinging on a 1-2 breaking ball in the third; #4) reached base after being hit by a pitch (upper left arm) on an 0-1 count and then scored a run in the fourth; #5) struck out swinging on a 2-2 breaking ball in the fifth; #6) lined out to right on a 1-1 pitch in the top of the sixth; #7) reached base on a throwing error by the Giants shortstop on a 2-2 pitch in the seventh, and #8) struck out looking on a 2-2 breaking ball in the top of the eighth. He handled four chances in the field flawlessly. 

In three Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (15 Plate Appearances) since returning from Bereavement Leave, Baez is 3-14 with two singles and a double, six strikeouts (five swinging), no walks, and one HBP. 

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

Javy Baez Goes 2-5 as Cubs Rally to Edge Angels

Kevin Encarnacion (RBI triple), Tyler Alamo (RBI single), and Jenner Emeterio (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to a four-run seventh, as the Cubs rallied to overcome a 4-2 deficit and then hung-on to edge the Angels 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Jose Paniagua belted a solo home run and Carson Sands tossed three innings of shutout ball to aid the Cub cause, and Travis Adair doubled twice, walked, and scored two runs, and Trevor Gretzky knocked-in two runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly for the Angels. 

Javy Baez played second-base for five innings and batted five times for the Cubs. He struck out (swinging) on three pitches his first time up, laced a line-drive double into the LF corner on a 2-0 pitch and later scored in his second AB, struck out (looking) on three pitches his third time up, roped a line-drive single to center on an 0-1 pitch in his fouth Plate Appearance, and flied out to deep RF on a 3-0 pitch in his final AB. He handled four chances flawlessly in the field.  

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHPs Dylan Cease and Erling Moreno squared-off in a two inning intrasquad "sim" game on Field #4. Both pitchers are rehabbing from a 2014 elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John surgery). 

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

Javy Baez Back in Action at Extended Spring Training

Renato Nunez drilled an RBI double, walked twice, and scored a run, Iolana Akau ripped an RBI double and a single, Nate Freiman (on Oakland A's MLB 15-day DL with a lower back strain) reached base three times (walk, single, and HBP), and Matt Stalcup tossed four innings of shutout ball, leading the Athletics to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park in Mesa.

Frandy de la Rosa pulled a solo HR over the RF fence to account for the lone Cub run.  

Javy Baez was a DH and batted twice in the game, flying out to deep left-center his first time up, and striking out (swinging) on a 1-2 breaking ball his second time up. Baez is in the process of getting back into game shape at Extended Spring Training after missing the first two weeks of the regular season following the death of his sister.     

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, RHPs Jordan Brink, Jae-Hoon Ha (ex-OF), Scott Frazier, and Jose Zapata threw one inning a piece in a two-inning intrasquad "sim" game on Field #4. Baez "warmed-up" for the Cactus League EXST game by getting an AB in the "sim" game, rifling a double down the LF line off Brink. 

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

Rockies Belt Malave Offerings Around Salt River Fields & Beeler to I-Cubs

Cesar Galvez drilled a two-run double and singled, Luis Castro belted a solo home run and singled, Wesley Jones ripped two RBI singles, and Max George hammered an RBI triple, walked twice, and scored a run, as the Rockies cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Frandy de la Rosa doubled twice and scored two runs for the Cubs. 

RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave made his second Cactus League Extended Spring Training game appearance and his first start, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits (four singles, a double, and a home run) and a walk (and a WP) in just 1.1 IP.

Malave is one of three former position players being converted to pitcher by the Cubs at Extended Spring Training, with RHP (ex-OF) Jae-Hoon Ha and LHP (ex-OF) Ariel Ovando being the other two.

Ha has yet to pitch in a Cactus League EXST game, but he did throw in an intrasquad game a couple of days ago and allowed a run on three hits (all singles) with no walks or strikeouts in one inning of work, and Ovando (selected by the Cubs from the Houston Astros in the AAA Phase of the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft) has yet to throw in a game. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) has completed his Extended Spring Training work and has been assigned to the AAA Iowa Cubs on an Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. He did not pitch in any Cactus League MLB Spring Training games last month, and just recently began throwing in Cactus League Extended Spring Training games.

Beeler threw poorly in his first EXST game on 4/15, but his fastball velocity upticked to 94 MPH and touched 95 in his second EXST start last Monday as he got his pitch count up to near 70.

DALLAS BEELER - 2015 EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING GAMES:
1. WED 4/15: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 PO, 1/4 GO/FO, 61 pitches (39 strikes)
2. MON 4/20: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 6/5 GO/FO, 69 pitches (43 strikes)
TOTAL: 7.1 IP, 12 H, 6 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 PO, 7/9 GO/FO, 63% strikes, 7.36 ERA, 2.45 WHIP

Beeler will likely be optioned to Iowa when his rehab assignment is completed (which could be up to 30 days from now), but keeping him on the DL and sending him to Iowa on a Minor League Rehab Assignment rather than reinstating him from the DL now and optioning him to Iowa immediately will give the Cubs the option to transfer Beeler to the 60-day DL if a 40-man roster slot is needed sometime over the next 30 days.

Meanwhile, RHP Justin Grimm (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right forearm inflammation since April 2nd) threw two bullpen sessions this week, and so he will probably begin pitching in Extended Spring Training games early next week.

I saw RHP Neil Ramirez (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation since 4/16) playing catch on the Agility Field on Thursday, but he has not started throwing bullpens yet, so he is a few days behind Grimm. 

Because getting "stretched-out" and building up pitch counts isn't that important for relief pitchers, Grimm and Ramirez will not need a whole lot of rehab games to get back into MLB game shape. The main thing to be concerned about with Grimm and Ramirez are medical setbacks during the course of the rehab that could send the pitcher back to "square-one" (or worse).  

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

April Showers Bring 9th Inning Luck to Brew Crew

Carlos Belonis drilled a one-out game-tying RBI double and Milan Post followed with a game-winning walk-off sacrifice fly, as the Brewers rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, AZ.      

Carlos Jimenez belted a two-out RBI double in the top of the 8th to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead, as the game was scoreless through seven innings of play. 

RHP Joshua Torres got the start for the Brew Crew and tossed four innings of shutout ball, and five Cubs pitchers had pieced-together a combined two-hit shutout through eight innings, before the 9th inning revoltin' development.    

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Ben Wells has been moved up to Hi-A Myrtle Beach. 

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

Cubs Turn Rockies to Stone at Riverview

Carlos Sepulveda tripled and singled and scored two runs, Roney Alcala belted an RBI double, singled, and scored a run, Miguel Rico drilled a two-run double, and five pitchers combined to toss a four-hitter, helping the Cubs to a 6-4 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Denzel Richardson and Jordan Ribera stroked solo home runs to account for two of the Rockies four runs.  

The Cubs had several baserunning gaffes in the game. Slow-footed catcher Tyler Pearson was gunned-down 7-4 trying to stretch a single into a double with no outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Kevin Encarnacion was doubled-up at 1st base on a pop out to the second-baseman in the bottom of the 6th (Rockies shortstop faked like he was fielding a ground ball and Encarnacion fell for it), and Roney Alcala was called out on an appeal play at 3rd base in the bottom of the 7th inning when the home plate umpire ruled that Alcala had left 3rd too early on what should have been a sacrifice fly (it was really obvious, too), taking what should have been a third RBI away from Miguel Rico. 

So I guess we might see a special emphasis on baserunning drills tomorrow. 

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

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Recent comments

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  • who's this guy being all reasonable and stuff?

    pick someone on the board who's literally worse than hitler and start screaming about it. cubs 2016!

  • It's not pathetic -- it's what we've been waiting for!

  • Yikes -- I was off the site for a short while and it blew up.

    Gentlemen -- it is apparent that Lester has a weakness in his game. Everybody knows about it. He has, apparently, tried to work on it, but without success. Fortunately, he is talented enough that he is able to largely overcome his shortcoming.

    I am amazed that other teams don't try to bunt on him, but, as has been said, bunting is not a skill many players have.

  • Interesting that Hendricks is going tomorrow -- so, he wasn't really "skipped", just moved back a few days so Jake and Lester could deal against the Pirates. I'm OK with that.

  • PHIL: Thanks for your updates.

    One thing that we are seeing come to bear is that Theo's obvious strategy has been to stockpile young, power arms in the lower levels while owning bats that are much nearer to MLB ready - then, buying the arms the org needs in order to be highly competitive.

  • It's fun to watch the cards shit the bed anytime of the year

  • I really thought he would be the one getting the call-up. This must be a favor to the player from Theo.

  • I'm already scoreboard watching and it's only the start of May. How pathetic is that?

  • Glad to see Hudson having another good outing. He is so impressive for an 18/yo. Surprised to see Shane V. still there. I thought he would be gone this week. I can picture today. Thanks Phil!

  • stats don't lie. *nods*

  • 2016 Cubs are 0-1 on day after Trans recaps, 20-5 in other games. I enjoy his recaps, but there is a price to pay.

  • He's the Albert Pujols of recaps and has gotten a huge contract based on past performance. He doesn't need to do anything the rest of his days and he'll still get love.

  • I thought he was one-and-done on recaps?

    Didn't he get Optioned?

  • Link?

    /I keed

  • Thank you very much for such a robust response. So hard to get anything on these guys that it's nice to hear from someone who has actually seen them. Great to hear about Paredes, I have pretty high hopes for this group of IFAs.

    How impressed are you with these guys and size? I know they're pretty large prospects, especially for their ages. I consider size a plus at this stage - IIRC Amaya is the only one below 6'2"? IIRC Kwon had some baby fat on him it, Sierra's traditionally considered projectable as he's all arms and legs, Paredes has that Peralta build at SS....

  • Godzilla won in the Japanese version, Kong swam off in the American one. At least I think that's how it went....Rematch in 2020, possibly!