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Continuing his rehab from last September's Tommy John surgery, Angel Guzman threw 14 pitches (8 balls & 6 strikes) in an EXST Camp Day intrasquad game at Fitch Park this morning. 

Guzman had previously thrown a "simulated game" last Friday and a "live" BP session on Monday.   

Marcus Hatley retired the first 11 men he faced, Mark Pawelek threw 2.1 innings of shutout ball, and Dwayne Kemp belted his team-leading third home run, but the EXST A's rallied to defeat the EXST Cubs 7-5 in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

The EXST Angels collected 14 hits en route to a 7-2 victory over the EXST Cubs at the Angels Minor League Complex at Tempe Diablo Park this morning.

EXST Cubs 1B Matt Craig (leg) and 2B Jeffrey Rea (quad) continue to progress through their respective rehab assignments, getting four ABs a piece and playing defensively in the field for the entire game. Both appear ready to leave Arizona, with Craig headed back to AA Tennessee, and Rea likely going to Peoria. 

The EXST Cubs had a road game this morning, but Angel Guzman (September 2007 Tommy John surgery) and ex-catcher Jake Muyco (recently converted to pitcher) remained at Fitch Park, throwing "live" BP on Field #2 to three of the position players who did not make the trip (Bryan Jost, George Matheus, and Josh Vitters).  

When judging the performance of a prospect or minor league position player at the plate, player development people usually look most-closely at what the player has done over his last ten games rather than over the entire season, since the whole point of playing in the minor leagues is for a player to improve as the season progresses. (For starting pitchers, it's the last three starts, and for relievers, it's the last six outings).   

Here are the 20 hottest Cubs minor league position players at the plate over their last ten games (BA/OBP/SLG):

Marcus Hatley threw four shutout innings (thus becoming the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four), and George Matheus drove in two runs with a triple, scored the third run later that same inning, and made two outstanding defensive plays in the field, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Giants 3-1 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa. 

Prior to the EXST game, Chicago Cubs RHP Angel Guzman (on the 60-day DL after undergoing TJ surgery last September) continued his rehab, throwing a two-inning "simulated game" on Field #2.

Mark Pawelek threw three shutout innings, and the EXST Cubs strung together four consecutive two-out RBI hits in the top of the 7th inning, en route to a 4-1 victory over the EXST A's in a "Rush Hour Special" (9 AM start) at the Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix. 

Micah Hoffpauir completed his injury rehab today, driving in the EXST Cubs first run in a 9-7 victory over the EXST Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa, before heading back to Des Moines to rejoin the Iowa Cubs. . 

With Cubs Roving Minor League Infield Instructor Bobby Dickerson at Fitch Park this past week to help the young infielders improve their defensive technique, the EXST Cubs apparently decided to give Bobby D. an appropriate going away present by playing stellar defense that included a sharp 5-4-3 triple play in the top of the 7th, en route to a 5-2 victory over the EXST Mariners at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning. 

In addition, Iowa 1B Micah Hoffpauir (on the DL with a strained oblique since before PCL Opening Day) had such a great pre-game BP session hitting against Dickerson and Boise manager Tom Beyers on Field #1 that he was penciled into the starting lineup of the EXST game, and (hitting 3rd in both the 1st and 2nd innings) got two ABs, flying out 400 feet to the warning track in dead center in his first PA, and striking out on four pitches in his second AB. But he says he feels great and expects to be out of Fitch Park and on his way back to Des Moines to rejoin the I-CUBS ASAP.

Nelson Perez smashed a gargantuan three-run homer high over the RF fence with no outs in the bottom of the 4th and John Contreras followed with a two-run shot over the LF fence and onto 8th Street later that same inning, giving the EXST Cubs all the runs they needed en route to an 8-4 kreusening of the EXST Brewers this morning at Fitch Park Field #3. The win was dedicated to the Chicago Cubs, who dropped two out of three to the Milwaukee Brewers this week at Wrigley Field   

RHPs Billy Petrick (on the AAA Iowa DL with shoulder weakness) and Grant Johnson (on the AA Tennessee DL with a sprained elbow ligament) continued their rehab, each throwing one inning of shutout ball in today's game. Both appear to be fairly close to returning to their respective clubs. 

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