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Yesterday was the last Cubs EXST game for two visitors from another country, two aspiring baseball players who have been working out with the Cubs Extended Spring Training contingent at Fitch Park in Mesa the past couple of weeks. The National Baseball Team of the Peoples Republic of China arrived at Scottsdale Community College for Spring Training last month, led by head coach (and ex-Cub manager) Jim Lefebvre and pitching coach (and ex-MLB LHP) Bruce Hurst. They played games against various minor league ST squads and college teams in Arizona, before having their team split up and sent to various MLB EXST camps, with the team's players (and Chinese translators) assigned to the MLB clubs who expressed an interest in the program. The Cubs EXST contingent at Fitch Park was lucky enough to get two of China's better players, outfielder Qi Ze (pronounced "Chee") and catcher Hao Guo-chen (they call him "How").
UPDATE: A Cubs press release says he experienced shoulder discomfort and will see Dr. Yocum within the next few days. (Rob G.) It was Almost Cy Young 2003 versus Hopefully Cy Young 2013, as Mark Prior faced-off against Chris Huseby in an EXST intrasquad game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona.
MLB will be observing the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers this coming Sunday, a debut that broke the so-called "color-barrier" that had unofficially prohibited blacks from playing Major League Baseball (MLB) for some 60+ years. A number of MLB players will be wearing number 42 in memory of Jackie, and there will be ceremonies at MLB ball parks. Along with the anniversary celebration, you will probably be reading and hearing comments about MLB's apparent failure to carry-on and fulfill the legacy of Jackie Robinson. And while there does indeed appear to be a growing disinterest in baseball (in general) and MLB (in particular) among younger African-Americans (especially devotees of hip hop and the culture that has flowered with it over the last 15 years or so), is this disconnect with the younger members of Black America really baseball’s fault, or is it mostly beyond baseball’s control?
UPDATED: APRIL 3 Here is the 2007 Opening Day Organizational Depth Chart for the Chicago Cubs and their four "full season" minor league clubs, Iowa (AAA), Tennessee (AA), Daytona (A+), and Peoria (A):
It was caviar, champagne, wheat toast, and strawberry marmalade for breakfast, as the Iowa Cubs and Salt Lake Bees (LAA) met at Fitch Park Field #3 in what is the final ST game for both AAA clubs before they leave Arizona. A Throng of Three (including your ol' pal Arizona Phil, who had nothing better to do) was on hand when the first pitch was thrown at 9 AM (MST), with Rich Hill (CUBS) facing Jered Weaver (LAA). It was the final tune-up for Hill before his first scheduled start next Friday at Milwaukee, while Weaver is trying to increase his pitch count and innings while recovering from biceps tendinitis. First the Good News: Rich Hill pitched today. Now, the Bad News...
For the second time this Spring, Micah Hoffpauir stroked a game-winning HR, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 before an all-time single-game Cactus League record crowd of 12,917 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon. box score
Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez homered, and Mark Prior got his final 2007 ST start before being optioned to AAA Iowa, as the Cubs and Rockies battled to a ten-inning 4-4 tie in front of a capacity crowd of 12,716 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park today in Mesa. box score
With both teams probably "out of pitchers," and with a tie game looming, Ronny Cedeno lofted a two-out three-run walk-off home run off the scoreboard in left field, giving the Cubs a hard-fought 13-10 ten-inning victory over the Kansas City Royals in front of 10,886 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score
Mark Prior gets his final ST start tomorrow, facing the Colorado Rockies at HoHoKam Park. But with Wade Miller's outstanding outing at Scottsdale Stadium last Saturday (5 IP, three hits, no runs, no walks, and four strikeouts), it appears that Miller has all but nailed-down the 5th spot in the Cubs starting rotation.
Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez each had three hits and two RBI, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Tempe's Diablo Stadium today. box score


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