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The Cubs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 10th to tie the score, but the winning run was left stranded at 3rd, as the White Sox and Cubs played to an 8-8 Selig Special at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in sunny and warm Mesa.

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Following the most-recent cuts from big league camp and reassignments (demotions and outright releases) at Minor League Camp, here are (best as I can determine) the current rosters at Fitch Park:  

Matt Murton doubled twice and Henry Blanco homerred, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Colorado Rockies 8-6 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in sunny Mesa. 

But the real story today was Rich Hill.

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In what was definitely his best performance of the Spring  Ryan Dempster threw 5 innings of one-hit shutout ball at Mesa's HoHoKam Park today, although the Cubs went on to lose the game to the Oakland A's by a score of 5-2.

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Coming back from an atrocious outing last week, Dempster was very sharp today, posting a line of no runs on one hit and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5.1 IP, throwing 78 pitches (46 strikes), with a 5/7 GB/FB.  

However, A's starter Joe Blanton was also on his game (six shutout innings), so the game stayed scoreless going into the bottom of the 7th inning. 

The Cubs struck first, as Derrek Lee lined an opposite-field home run into the right-field bullpen off A's reliever Andrew Brown to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Aramis Ramirez walked, and then Henry Blanco smoked a double into the left-center field alley, scoring Ramirez all the way from 1st.

Kevin Hart entered the game in the top of the 8th, a "back-to-back" outing following his strong inning of work yesterday. But Hart was terrible today, allowing a double, a single and two walks, before being relieved by Carlos Marmol, with the Cubs leading 2-1, one out, and the bases loaded. And Marmol was no relief, either. .

As has been the case in most of his appearances this Spring, Marmol could not find the plate, and was behind on every hitter. He displayed a lot of negative emotion on the mound, and looked to be very frustrated with himself.

Marmol walked the first batter he faced to force-in the tying run, and then gave up an RBI line single to right and a FC RBI, before finally retiring the side. Marmol allowed another run in the 9th after walking the lead-off hitter. 

The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th (single by Ramirez and walks to Fukudome and Blanco), but with the tying runs on base, Felix Pie flied out to deep right to end the game.    

Henry Blanco had a good day at the plate today, going 2-3 with an RBI double, a single, and and a walk, and he also threw out a runner trying to steal. Aramis Ramirez was also 2-3 with a walk and a run scored, and Ryan Theriot was 2-4 with a triple.

Other notable pitching performances by the Cubs today included:

Michael Wuertz (who gave up a double and a single in the top of the 6th after relieving Dempster, but no runs thanks to a strong throw by Kosuke Fukudome to cut down a runner at the plate to end the inning),

Sean Gallagher (who walked the bases loaded before being relieved with one out in the top of the 7th),

and 

Les Walrond (who somewhat surprisingly struck out two batters with the bases loaded in relief of Gallagher).

The Cubs will play the second half of their "Split Squad Wednesday" this evening versus the Giants in Scottsdale.

Casey McGehee bounced a PH GW RBI single between short and third, scoring Ronny Cedeno with the winning run in the bottom of the 9th, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Royals 6-5 at HoHoKam Park this afternoon.

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A day after he drove in the winning run with a PH single in the bottom of the 9th, Alex Cintron apparently escaped serious injury when he was struck in the face by a line-drive off the bat of Mark DeRosa while standing in the on deck circle in the bottom of the 6th inning of this afternoon's game between the Angels and the Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

Upon seeing what had happened, DeRosa jumped into the air and then went to his knees with his face buried briefly in his hands.

Cintron lay motionless on his stomach for a couple of minutes before finally rolling over and sitting up, and being helped to his feet by the Cubs training staff. He walked into the clubhouse under his own power, and DeRosa was able to resume his AB, relieved that his teammate was apparently not seriously injured.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the possible career-ending eye injury suffered by Cardinals outfielder Juan Encarnacion last year, an injury that occurred under almost identical circumstances (struck by line drive while standing in on-deck circle)..  

Alex Cintron laced a two-out bases-loaded PH GW single into right-field, scoring Matt Murton with the winning run, as the Cubs defeated the Padres 3-2 this afternoon at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

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Jack Cust hit a solo homer run and a two-run double, and Bobby Crosby slugged a three-run homer, leading the Oakland A’s to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs this afternoon at warm and sunny HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

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Not counting NRI RHP Mike Smith (who flunked his physical and got released the day the pitchers & catchers reported in February), the Cubs made their first roster cuts today, sending nine players to the minor league camp at Fitch Park.

Daryle Ward hit a PH two-run home run to cap a four-run 4th, as the Cubs defeated the Seattle Mariners 6-4 before a capacity crowd at HoHoKam Field in Mesa this afternoon. Ward was making his 2008 Cactus League debut, after being out of action the past couple of weeks with a sprained butt.

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