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The AZL Diamondbacks took advantage of four walks (including three bases-loaded walks that forced-in three runs) to plate seven runs in the 5th inning, and cruised to a 12-6 victory over the AZL Cubs Monday night at Cubs Park at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Gleyber Torres grounded out to end the game, but before that he reached base four consecutive times (single, walk, RBI single, and RBI triple) on the heels of last night's game at Salt River Fields when he reached base all six times he batted (two singles, two doubles, and two walks), for a total of ten consecutive Plate Appearances over the two games without being retired. 

2014 13th round draft pick Kevonte Mitchell (Kennett HS - Kennett, MO) continued his hot hitting, lacing three singles, while also stealing a base, scoring two runs, and collecting an RBI. He also made a fine running catch in CF. Torres, Mitchell, and Eloy Jimenez (who walked twice) are easily the top three position player prospects on the AZL Cubs right now (no others even close).  

Cubs top pitching prospect RHP C. J. Edwards (Tennessee 7-day DL - right shoulder inflamation) got the start for the Cubs (his second AZL rehab start) and worked 3.2 IP (62 pitches - 35 strikes), allowing one run on one hit and three walks with six strikeouts (four swinging and two looking) and a 4/1 GO/FO.

When looking ahead at the Cubs likely post-2014 MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), whether a player presently on the 40-man roster is eligible to be an MLB Article XX-B free-agent or will be eligible for Salary Arbitration, or whether a player presently on a Cubs minor league roster is eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2014 or is eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, will be determining factors. 

Players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) are placed on a club's Negotiation List.

Kevin Brown ripped an RBI triple and two singles and scored a run, Varonex Cuevas drilled a two-run triple and an RBI single, Jesse Hodges reached base four times (HBP, 2B, 2B, and BB), scored two runs, and drove-in another, Alberto Mineo collected three singles and scored a run, and five pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, as the Cubs overwhelmed the Angels 10-1 in Cactus League  Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #1 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

19-year old 6'2 Dominican stringbean LHP Jose Paulino was the most-impressive Cub hurler today, tossing four innings of one-hit shutout ball. If any of the Cubs teenaged Latin pitchers making their U. S. debut in 2014 make the Boise Opening Day roster, it would probably be Paulino. (I'm not counting RHSP Erick Leal because he was in the U. S. last year at AZL Cubs, and although RHRP Francisco Carrillo and LHRP Alberto Diaz will be making their U. S. debut this season, both pitchers are in their 20's).

Manny Ramirez served as a DH and batted five times in the game (once in each of the first five innings), going 1-5 with three ground outs, a fly out to RF, and a single off the LF wall (ManRam can still hit, but he just doesn't run as well as he once did).

Ryan Sweeney (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) played CF for five innings and batted four times, going 1-3 with a walk, a single and a run scored. Sweeney seems to be running just fine, so I would think he will probably get moved-up to AAA Iowa very soon to continue his rehab (just like Justin Ruggiano did a couple of weeks ago), before being reinstated from the DL sometime next week (barring any setbacks).  

RHRP Kyuiji Fujikawa (Cubs MLB 60-day DL - 2013 TJS rehab) threw an inning and allowed one run on a HBP and an RBI double. He did strike out two batters, however (both swinging). His rehab has gone kind of slow, but he really needs to get out of here ASAP, even if it's just a minor league rehab assignment at Kane County or Daytona.   

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Tim Saunders has been sent to Extended Spring Training from Daytona and he played 2B in today's game, so expect Saunders to be on the Boise Hawks Opening Day roster. RHP Trevor Graham also was returned to Extended Spring Training from Daytona, so he should join LHP Tyler Ihrig, RHP Erick Leal, and RHP Trevor Clifton (plus one more starter TBA, could be Jose Paulino) in the Boise starting rotation. And RHP Josh Davis has been moved up to Kane County from Extended Spring Training, in what will be his second tour with the Cougars this season. (Davis has logged some time with the Daytona Cubs in 2014, too).

Brett Vertigan laced an RBI double and an RBI single, Yairo Munoz ripped an RBI single and a double and scored a run, Joe Bennie drilled an RBI single and a double, and Dayton Alexander smacked a solo HR, as the Athletics drubbed the Cubs 10-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morining on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Eloy Jimenez clobbered a three-run home run, Manny Ramirez celebrated his Cub debut with a tape-measure solo HR, and Gleyber Torres belted an RBI double to account for the five Cub runs.

Signed by the Cubs as a minor league player-coach ten days ago, the 42-year old Ramirez saw his first game action of 2014 today, serving as a DH and hitting 2nd in each of the first four innings. Having last played in August 2013 with AAA Round Rock (Texas Rangers affiliate in the PCL) where he hit a lackluster 259/328/370 with three HR in 30 games, you would  think ManRam might be a bit rusty, but he did not appear to be today. The veteran slugger drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch his first time up, flied out to right-center in his second AB (a fly ball that was deep enough to allow a baserunner to advance from 2nd to 3rd after the catch), flied out to the 385 sign in LF his 3rd time up (A's left-fielder caught the ball with his back up against the wall), and blasted a 400+ foot HR (with an accompanying major league bat-flip) over the LF fence and out into the desert in his 4th and final PA in the top of the 4th inning.

Ryan Sweeney (on the Cubs 15-day DL after suffering a hamstring injury on May 2nd) also served as a DH in today's game and (like Manny) batted four times, once in each of the first four innings. He struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in the top of the 1st, drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch in the 2nd, and popped out (P-5, and P-6) in his final two AB. 

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

Gleyber Torres drilled four singles, stole a base, and scored three runs as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 5-4 on Whirlwind Field, and Fernery Ozuna (RBI single), Jordan Parr (two-run single), Jacob Mayers (two-run double), and Jose Herrera (RBI double) rapped run-scoring hits to highlight an eight-run 3rd and Eric Brooks and five relievers combined to toss a three-hitter, helping the D'backs throttle the Cubs 11-3 on Quail Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

This was the 8th multi-hit game for Torres and his second four-hit game, and he is now hitting 311/388/398 with four doubles and two triples, 14/18 BB/K, one HBP, and four SB (two CS and two PO) in 30 Cactus League EXST games (118 PA). He has committed 13 errors (11 fielding and two throwing) in his 30 games, however his errors tend to come in bunches and seem to result from carelessness, and then he'll play immaculate defense for several games in a row. He has also made a number of highlight-reel plays at SS, and his throws are always plus-strong & almost always accurate.

Eloy Jimenez returned to game action after a week's absence during which he was supposedly en route to the Cubs Dominican Academy. (He was a spectator at yesterday's game). Jimenez served as DH for Squad "B" (he has only played eight games in RF) and went 1-5 in the game on Whirlwind Field, collecting two RBI (one with a 1st inning single, and the other on a 4-3 GO in the 9th that ultimately proved to be the game-winner). While Jimenez is hitting a mediocre 236/266/348 (with 4/22 BB/K) in 25 Cactus Legue EXST games (94 PA), he is hitting a robust 333/355/567 with one HR, two doubles, and a triple, and ten RBI over his last eight games (31 PA) going back to 5/14, and he leads the EXST Cubs team in RBI with 18. (I know it's not a skill, but Jimenez does seem to have a knack for collecting RBI). Though I suspect they won't, I truly hope the Cubs will give Eloy a chance to remain in Mesa (with Gleyber Torres) and play for the AZL Cubs this summer. He does have defensive issues in RF and he did struggle offensively for a while (though certainly not lately), but so do a lot of players in the AZL.  

RHP Ben Wells (sent back to Extended Spring Training from Daytona a couple of weeks ago to try and "right the ship") made his 2014 Cactus League EXST game debut today and got rocked, allowing seven runs (all earned) on six hits (two doubles and four singles) and three walks in just 2.0 IP. Extended Spring Training is almost over, so it's difficult to predict what the Rx will be for Wells.   

RHP Scott Frazier (who has been unable to throw strikes going back to Minor League Camp) made his Cactus League EXST game debut as well, and threw a shutout inning with one strikeout, although he did walk two batters and threw two WP. There are some in the Cub organization who believe Frazier has the best (and nastiest) stuff in the system, but he just has all kinds of trouble finding the strike zone with it. He got by today, but just barely. Frazier would be the closer at Boise (heck, he'd probably be the closer at Daytona) if he could just throw strikes.  

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

RHP Pierce Johnson (AA Tennessee 7-day DL - calf - hadn't thrown in a game since May 19th), RHP Kyuji Fujikawa (Cubs MLB 60-day DL - 2013 TJS - hadn't thrown in a Cactus League EXST game since last Monday), and LHP Zac Rosscup (Cubs 15-day DL - shoulder - hadn't thrown in a game since May 9th) combined to toss 3.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball and Danny Canela belted a double and a triple for the Cubs, and LHP Jonah Wesely threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts for the Angels, as the two teams played to a 2-2 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

42-year old OF Manny Ramirez (signed by the Cubs last week to be a player-coach at AAA Iowa) has arrived at Riverview Park to get into playing shape, and so security has been increased. There was a definite uptick in attendance today (most-likely related to Manny's expected arrival), although ManRam did not play in the EXST game.

17-year old OF Eloy Jimenez was at Riverview Park today, too, watching the game from the bleachers (he hasn't played in a game since last Tuesday). Whether his trip to the DSL has been indefinitely postponed or just temporarily delayed remains to be seen. It would be nice if Eloy could play in at least one or two more Cactus League EXST games, though, since he leads the EXST Cubs in RBI and is (was) in the middle of a hot streak (hitting 360/385/640 since May 14th). 

LHP Andin Diaz (who was assigned to the DSL Cubs last Friday) was not present at Riverview today and presumably has reported to the DSL Cubs, although (who knows?) maybe he'll pop up again, too.

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

Up until last year, MLB First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) slots could not be traded.

A club could lose a draft slot for signing a Type "A" Article XX-B free-agent (and it still can, although now they are called "Qualified Players"), or could gain a pick or picks if the club offered salary arbitration to one of its own Type "A" or Type "B" Article XX-B MLB free-agents and then the player signed with another club (and it still can receive one "compensation pick" between the 1st and 2nd rounds for losing a player to free-agency, as long as the player spent the entire previous season with that club AND the club offers the Article XX-B free-agent a one-year contract with a salary at least as much as the average salary of the top 125 salaries in MLB the previous season AND then the player subsequently signs with another club prior to the Rule 4 Draft).

But Rule 4 Draft slots could not be traded under any circumstances.  

However, the MLB Rule 4 Draft Competitive Balance Lottery (CBL) was established per the 2012-16 CBA, and these draft slots CAN BE TRADED.

Alberto Mineo (a double and a run scored), Oliver Zapata (an RBI triple and a run scored), Jesse Hodges (an RBI double and a run scored), Kevin Brown (an RBI single and a run scored), and Rashad Crawford (RBI triple) sparked the Cubs to a four-run 2nd inning, Jeffrey Baez belted an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, and Erick Leal threw five innings of one-run ball, as the Cubs hammered the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Field #5, and Trey Masek and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Gleyber Torres singled twice, walked, and drove-in the game's only run, as the Cubs whitewashed the D'backs 1-0 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.     

In EXST Cubs roster news, RF Eloy Jimenez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs. 

The 17-year old Jimenez (last year's top-rated July 2 international free-agent) hit 238/270/357 in 24 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (89 PA), with 4/22 BB/K. one HR, five doubles, a triple, and a team-leading 16 RBI. He had a sore arm in Minor League Camp that limited him to DH duty-only until mid-April, and even then he only started eight EXST games in RF. No question his defense needs a lot of work.

But Jimenez caught fire at the plate on May 14th, hitting 360/385/640 over his final seven games (26 PA). He hit his only Cactus League EXST home run in what turned out to be his last EXST game (versus the Angels in Tempe this past Tuesday), when he drove-in four runs with a three-run HR and an RBI single.   

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):  

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