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Robert Hernandez threw three hitless innings and Dwayne Kemp drove in three runs with a sac fly, a triple, and a home run, leading the EXST Cubs to a 9-4 victory over the EXST Giants in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.   

Veteran LHP Scott Eyre (on the 15-day DL with a sore elbow since 3/23) completed the Extended Spring Training (EXST) portion of his rehab this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, throwing one inning (18 pitches - 14 strikes) in the EXST Cubs 7-3 loss to the EXST A's.

Although Eyre did allow a run (a one-out broken bat single to center followed by an RBI double crushed off the centerfield "Green Monster"), he also struck out the side. His fast ball topped out at 91, and his slider was VERY sharp.

While Eyre was pitching, all of the young Cubs pitchers not scheduled to pitch today (who would normally sit in the grandstand and watch the game from there) crowded into the enclosed "bird cage" behind home plate to get a better look at a major league pitcher in action. They were pretty excited, especially since Eyre actually talked to them (unlike a certain now ex-Cubs pitcher who was rehabbing at Fitch Park for most of last season who shall remain nameless). .

RHP Chad Fox (elbow) completed the Fitch Park portion of his rehab on Saturday,moving his rehab to Daytona after proving he could throw two days in a row.

It's unkown for sure where exactly Eyre is headed to continue his rehab. The Cubs might want him to pitch in Florida (Daytona) where the weather is warmer than it is in Tennessee, Iowa, or Illinois, but they also might not want two rehabbing major league relievers at the same place at the same time. 

As is the custom when a Cubs player completes his rehab at Fitch Park and moves on, there were lots of handshakes and hugs as Eyre headed for the clubhouse. (I tried to give him a big hug, too, but I think he might have taken it the wrong way...) 

In addition to Eyre's final EXST outing, four other pitchers who are rehabbing also pitched today (and so naturally the Cubs team physician was in attendance).

As many of you probably know by now, Thursday is "Camp Day" at Extended Spring Training. This usually means an intrasquad game, and sometimes a pre-game "live" BP session or simulated game involving rehabbing pitchers.

And such was the case today.

Some of you might be happy to know this, but more might not be...

Scott Eyre, on the DL since the last week of Spring Training with a sore elbow, has progressed beyond just throwing side sessions in the bullpen. While the EXST Cubs were playing the EXST A's on Fitch Park Field #3, Eyre threw a 25-pitch "live" BP session on Field #2 to some of the Cub position players who were not in the starting lineup of the EXST game.

The normally light-hitting Jose Made drove in six runs with two RBI triples and a Grand Slam homer, and Chad Fox and five other pitchers combined to throw a two-hit shutout, as the EXST Cubs (Boise group) probably created an international incident, drubbing Team China 11-0 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning. 

While the more-advanced EXST Cubs (Boise group) were playing Team China on Field #3, the less-advanced EXST Cubs (AZL Mesa group) faced the EXST Giants on Field #2, and dropped a 4-3 decision in 11 innings.

It was not easy watching both games simultaneously, but I managed to do it without missing a pitch in either game, thanks in no small part to eleven cups of coffee, a bottle of amphetamines, and a strong bladder. 

Luke Sommer slammed an RBI triple to left-center to drive in the first run in the 4th, Josh Vitters lined a game-tying RBI single to right in the 6th and Nelson Perez hammered a game-winning bases-loaded triple down the right-field line in the 8th, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Angels 5-2 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.

Billy Petrick got the start for the EXST Cubs, throwing a shutout/hitless inning in what could be one of his final rehab outings before he is ready to join the AAA Iowa Cubs.

Although he struggled a bit with his command (16 pitches, only eight strikes), Petrick seemed to throw the ball with better velocity than he did his last time out on Thursday. 

Like the MLB regular season, there is a rhythm to Extended Spring Training.

Players get Sundays off, play games versus the EXST squads from other organizations on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and Thursday is "Camp Day." 

The Toronto Blue Jays have designated RHP Randy Wells for assignment.

Chad Fox continued his active rehab,,throwing 1.1 IP (four up, four down) in today's Extended Spring Training game versus the Brewers EXST team on Fitch Park Field #3.

Fox looked sharp, striking out the first two men he faced and getting the last two on 5-3 ground-outs.

The 37-year old right-hander was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs last January and received and NRI to Spring Training, but pitched in only one Cactus League game before being shut-down with a sore elbow. 

He had missed most of the previous two seasons after retiring in April 2006 with what he thought was an elbow problem that turned out be just scar tissue from a previous surgery.    

While there is clearly no room for him in the Cubs' bullpen (at this time), he is probably getting close to the point where he can be assigned to a full-season club, probably AAA Iowa. 

It's also possible that the Cubs have promised Fox that if he is not added to their 25-man roster by a certain date (like maybe May 1st or June 1st), that he will be free to make his own deal elsewhere (see Rod Beck circa 2003).   

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