Arizona Phil's Archives

Pierce Johnson Sharp at Sloan Park

RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL since May 5th retro to 5/3 with a lat strain) hurled three innings (30 pitches - 83% strikes) of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, Jose Paniagua belted an RBI double and two singles and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni hammered a triple and a single and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Rockies at Sloan Park, and LHSP Manny Rondon (acquired from LAA last July for C Rafael Lopez) tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts, Chris Pieters (ex-LHP) ripped two two-run doubles (four RBI total), and Andruw Monasterio drilled an RBI single, walked twice, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the Rockies 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Park Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ. 

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) slugged a solo HR for the Rockies at Sloan Park. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only) 

A's Feel the Payne as Cubs Score Late & Often

Tyler Payne belted a two-run double and scored in a three-run 6th and Aramis Ademan and Wladimir Galindo stroked two singles a piece and each scored a run in a three-run 7th, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Friday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Miguel Mercedes drilled two RBI singles to account for both of the A's runs. 

The game was called by mutual consent after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) saw his first game action of 2016 but had difficulty locating home plate (17 pitches - only 6 strikes), walking two while recording two outs (F-8 and 4-3) before being relieved. Leathersich was claimed off waivers from the Mets in November and then was non-tendered by the Cubs on December 2nd, before signing a 2016 minor league contract with the Cubs. Leathersich has been rehabbing at the Cubs UAPC at Riverview Park since February, and the Cubs hope he will be able to help the big club's bullpen sometime later in the year (once his rehab is complete).    

RHSP Jesus Camargo (2014 IFA - Mexico) also saw his first game action of 2016, relieving Leathersich and retiring all three hitters he faced on an F-7 and two strikeouts (both swinging). Camargo probably has the best change-up in the Cubs system and was the workhorse of the AZL Cubs starting rotation in 2015, and he would have been a strong contender for a starting gig at Eugene in 2016, too, if he had been able to compete with the others (Cease, Hudson, Paulino, Silverio, J. Castillo, Moreno, and M. Rondon) from the gitgo. Camargo still might eventually win a slot in the Eugene starting rotation, but time is short and he is far behind the other candidates. I would think he will probably begin the short-season back at AZL Cubs and work his innings and pitch count up to where it needs to be for a starting pitcher. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Pedro Araujo has been moved-up to South Bend (Araujo was one of the last three pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp).

Pedro Araujo combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/26): 
8 games
1.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .226 OppBA 
14.0 IP, 12 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 21 K, 9/11 GO/AO, 181 pitches (73% strikes), 12.9 PITCHES-PER-INNING

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

Beeler Back on Hill at Salt River Fields

Kevonte Mitchell (RBI single), Michael Foster (RBI double), and Vimael Machin (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits and RHP Jesus Castillo tossed four innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts, helping the Cubs edge the Diamondbacks 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Joel Novas belted an RBI triple and a double for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause. 

The game was called by mutual consent after7-1/2 innings of play. 

On the Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation, RHSP Dallas Beeler saw his first Cactus League EXST game action since being shut-down mid-AB in a rehab start at Riverview Park on April 30th. Beeler threw a 1-2-3 inning (14 pitches) with two strikeouts today, and is scheduled to make his next start (where the number of innings and pitches will be increased) early next week 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee DL since May 9th with right shoulder inflammation) threw a two-inning 40-pitch "live" BP session at Riverview Park and looked very good. Whether he will return directly to Tennessee or make a rehab start or two at EXST is TBD.

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Daniel Lewis has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach. Lewis was one of the last pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp, so it is not surpising that he got the call. Lewis served four years in the U. S. Air Force after graduating from high school, and was discovered by a Cubs scout pitching at Pensacola  JC in Florida in 2014. He's 25, but because of the years lost to military service he still has a "young arm" (he's only been pitching for two years). He throws hard (a 94-96 MPH fastball that touches 97 and a mid-80's slider), and is a fierce competitor.      

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

Hudson Stifles Giants, While Giants Hey! Hey! Cubs

LHSP Bryan Hudson hurled four innings of shutout ball and Edgar Rondon belted a two-run double, helping the Cubs defeat the Giants 3-1 on Field #2, and Cody Brickhouse drove-in four runs with a two-run double and a two-run single, John Riley knocked-in three runs with an RBI double, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly, and Robbie Garvey reached base four times (three singles and a walk), stole two bases, scored three runs, and drove-in another, as the Giants battered the Cubs 11-3 on Field #1, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action Wednesday morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.  

D. J. Wilson tripled, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #1.

The game on Field #1 was called by mutual consent after 6-1/2 innings of play, and the game on Field #2 was called after 7-1/2 innings. 

Bryan Hudson combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/25): 
6 games
2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
20.0 IP, 17 H, 7 R (6 ER), 5 BB, 19 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 25/8 GO/AO, 290 pitches (62% strikes), 14.5 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only): 

Cub Power on Display in Maryvale

Jose Paniagua belted a solo home run, singled twice, walked, and scored three runs, Isaac Paredes doubled twice, singled, drove-in two runs, and scored three more, Marcus Mastrobuoni belted an RBI triple and a single, walked, and scored three runs, Yeiler Peguero drilled an RBI single and a two-run double, Vimael Machin collected three singles, a walk, and an RBI, Roberto Garcia ripped two doubles, scored a run, and drove-in another, and four pitchers combined to fan 17 opposing batters, helping the Cubs demolish the Brewers 15-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Nicolas Pierre (RBI triple), Gilbert Lara (RBI double), and Yeraldy Martinez (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 3rd that gave the Brew Crew a short-lived 4-1 lead, before the Cubs scored the final 14 runs of the game.  

Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

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

All That Jazz at Talking Stick

Jazz Chisholm (2015 IFA - Bahamas - $200K bonus) drilled two triples and an RBI single and scored a run and RHSP Pierce Romero tossed three innings of shutout ball, as the Diamondbacks edged the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Saturday morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled twice, walked, and scored a run and Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause. 

Mitchell also turned-in the Defensive Play of the Game, an inning-ending run-saving diving catch on the warning track in right-centerfield in the top of the 3rd. He also started an 8-6-2 relay that cut-down a runner at home who was attempting to score from 2nd base on a double off the CF Batter's Eye (the runner went back to 2nd base to tag up before realizing that the ball was carrying over Mitchell's head, thanks to a nice catch-fake by one-time HS hoops star Mitchell). 

On the negative side, Mitchell was thrown out 7-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a line-drive single to LF with two outs in the top of the 1st, thus making the third out of the inning at 3rd base.

So I guess you have to take the good with the bad.  

EXST Cubs RBI leader Isaac Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) started his second consecutive game at 3B (he also played there in the intrasquad game on Thursday). It's very likely that he will eventually move to 3B (one scout who has been following the EXST Cubs projects Paredes as a catcher!), so the process to move him from SS to 3B may already have started. Paredes (who just turned 17 in February) is a VERY slow runner, but he has plus-HR & XBH power, he doesn't strike out a lot for a power-hitter (10% K-rate), and he has soft hands and a strong arm at SS (committing only one error so far in 15 Cactus League EXST games).   

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

Angel Five-Run 3rd Sinks Cubs at Riverview

Alexis Rivera hammered a two-run home run to key a five-run 3rd inning that turned a 4-2 deficit into a 7-4 lead, and the Angels held-on to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

17-year old SS Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) ripped a double and a bases-loaded bases-clearing three-run triple, 17-year old 2B Yonathan Perlaza (2015 IFA - Venezuela - $1M bonus) drilled an RBI triple and a single, walked, and scored a run, and 19-year old CF D. J. Wilson (Cubs 2015 4th round draft pick - Canton South HS - Canton, OH) singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Ademan also made a nice play in the field on an L-6 that he turned into an inning-ending DP in the top of the 1st. (This was Ademan's first Cactus League EXST game action since April 16th, although he did play in yesterday's intrasquad game). 


RHSP Pedro Silverio got the start for the Cubs and threw ten straight balls to start the game, before settling down and retiring eight of the last nine men he faced (K, L-6 DP, 6-3, BB, K, F-7, K, F-9, 4-3). 

Recently signed RHRP Nick Sarianides (ex-AZ) was the victim of the five-run explosion in the top of the 3rd, allowing all five runs on two hits (including the Rivera HR), two walks, a HBP, and two WP (he threw only 39% srikes and he could not complete the inning). The strikeout and save leader in the California League in 2015, Sarianides was released by the D'backs earlier this month because he could not throw strikes at AA Mobile. He posted a 1-2-3 nine-pitch inning in his first EXST outing on Tuesday. 

RF Michael Foster fouled a ball off his left ankle mid-AB in the bottom of the 7th and had to be carted off the field (Yohan Matos finished the AB), the third Cub outfielder to leave a game due to a leg, ankle, or foot injury in three days (Jose Gonzalez and Robert Garcia were injured in Wednesday's SS-DH versus the Rockies).  

Prior to the game on Field #5, RHSP Aaron Brooks (March 2016 hip contusion) and LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) threw "live" BP on Field #6 (one inning - 25 pitches each), so if there are no medical setbacks, both pitchers should be ready for Cactus League EXST or intrasquad game action within a week or so. This was Leathersich's first time throwing from a mound on a field since his TJS, but Brooks threw in an intrasquad game at Riverview on April 26th (he was shut-down after just two innings, and he hadn't thrown on a field since). 

Among Cubs 40-man roster pitchers who are on the DL, LHRP Zac Rosscup has had season-ending left shoulder-surgery, RHRP Andury Acevedo has had season-ending knee surgery (torn ACL), and RHSP Dallas Beeler (right shoulder inflammation) was shut-down mid-AB while throwing in a Cactus League EXST game on April 30th, and he hasn't pitched since. RHSP Pierce Johnson (lat strain) is at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa, but he is not throwing "live" yet. And I have not seen Joe Nathan. 

RHSP Stephen Fife (oblique strain) is not on the Cubs 40-man roster but he was an NRI to Spring Training, and he has completed his EXST rehab assignment (he threw 81 pitches in a Cactus League EXST game on Wednesday) and he will be re-joining the Iowa Cubs when they return home on Monday. 

RHRP Aaron Crow (April 2015 TJS) is also not on the Cubs 40-man roster but (like Fife) he was an NRI to Spring Training, and he was active and pitching in Cactus League EXST games regularly (one inning every two or three days) up until ten days ago (5/10), when he was shut-down while warming up to come into a game versus the Giants in Scottsdale, and he hasn't pitched since.

And as I've mentioned here before, but in case you missed it, LHRP Manny Parra (another NRI to Cubs MLB Spring Training) had TJS last month and is out for the year. 

John Arguello has notes from the game at Cubs Den: 

link 

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

Cubs Sweep Rockies as Fife Completes Rehab

Kevonte Mitchell doubled, walked twice, and drove-in a run and Erling Moreno and two relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the Rockies 3-0 on Field #4, and Chris Pieters singled, tripled and scored a run, Alex Bautista singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked-in another, and Eric Gonzalez smacked a solo home run, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) belted a two-run HR for the Rockies in a losing cause on Field #5. 

The game on Field #4 was called by mutual consent after seven innings of play, and the game on Field #5 was called by mutual-consent after six innings of play. 

Speedy waterbug Edgar Rondon laid-down a picture-perfect two-out squeeze-bunt hit to get the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning on Field #4, after practicing his bunting in pre-game BP. (I guess that's why they say "practice makes perfect"). 

Cubs outfielders Jose Gonzalez (knee or ankle injury after tripping over 1st base on two-run RBI single on Field #5) and Robert Garcia (hit on foot by pitch on Field #4) left their games with injuries. 

RHSP Stephen Fife (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL with strained oblique since 4/15) made his final EXST rehab start, working four innings (81 pitches - 69% strikes). He was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits (four singles, a triple, and the Castellanos two-run bomb). He also hit a batter, threw a WP, and struck out six, with a 3/3 GO/AO. His next start will likely be for the I-Cubs next Monday or Tuesday, but don't be surprised if he gets released sooner rather later.    

RHRP Nick Sarianides made his Cubs debut, throwing a 1-2-3 inning (F-8, P-2, K). The 26-year old Sarianides was released by the Diamondbacks earlier this month after struggling to throw strikes at AA Mobile, but he led the Hi-A California League (an extreme hitters league) in both saves and strikeouts last season after being acquired by the D'backs from Tres Rivieres (Cam-Am League) in 2014. He was mentioned by Baseball America prior to last December's Rule 5 Draft as a likely candidate to get selected, although he was not. Sarianides features a 91-92 MPH fastball and a dive-bomb change-up (which is his strikeout pitch). He probably won't be at EXST very long, because he was in "game shape" when the Cubs signed him. He looked very good today.   

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only): 

Paredes Saves the Day at Riverview

Isaac Paredes rifled a two-run single into LF with two outs in the bottom of the 9th as the Cubs rallied to tie the Diamondbacks 2-2 on Field #4, and LHSP Jose Paulino and four relievers combined to toss a two-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the D'backs 2-0 on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The 17-year old Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) is hitting 306/390/583 (7% BB-rate / 10% K-rate) in 13 games (41 PA), and leads the EXST Cubs in RBI with 14 (in just 13 games) and is second in HR with two (Jose Paniagua has four). He has made one error (it was a fielding error) in 13 games played at SS.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):  

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 9 min 35 sec ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 10 min 36 sec ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 9 hours 51 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 12 hours 49 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 13 hours 1 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 13 hours 10 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 13 hours 16 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 13 hours 34 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 14 hours 10 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 14 hours 28 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 14 hours 30 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 14 hours 48 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 14 hours 55 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 15 hours 51 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 16 hours 8 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 16 hours 13 min ago view