Daryle Ward Completes the Fitch Park Phase of His Rehab
Daryle Ward went 2-3 and scored a run, and Sean Hoorelbeke and Dwayne Kemp drove in two runs a piece with RBI doubles, as the AZL Cubs and AZL Angels played to a 5-5 tie at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in what was a final tune-up for AZL Opening Day on Sunday.
Ward, who played 1B and hit 3rd in the order, left the game amidst the usual handshakes, hugs, and kisses that accompany a "rehabber" leaving for the airport in the middle of a game. Whether DW will end up in Iowa or Tennessee is apparently still TBD. But if all goes well at who knows where, Ward is supposed to rejoin the Cubs next week In Chicago.
In AZL Cubs roster news, RHP (ex-OF) Andres Quezada has been sent to DSL Cubs #1, as another player selected in the Rule 4 Draft has signed and reported to Fitch Park. This keeps the AZL Cubs roster at 37 (must be down to 35 by Opening Day on Sunday).
RHP Toby Matchulat (11th round pick out of Wabash Valley CC) walked from the clubhouse to the bench (imagine the ending of Pride of the Yankees, but in reverse) and introduced himself to the coaches and manager in the top of the 6th, just about the same time Daryle Ward said his good-byes, Matchulat was then told to put on his spikes and go have a game of catch with DH TeWayne Willis on Field #2 (and welcome to the Cubs, Toby!).
Matchulat joins 3rd round pick RHP Chris Carpenter (Kent State), 4th round pick C Matt Cerda, 5th round pick RHP Justin Bristow (East Carolina), and 18th round pick LHP Jeffrey Beliveau (Florida Atlantic) among the newest arrivals at Fitch Park.
4th round pick Cerda played SS in high school, but the Cubs envision him as a catcher. The youngster hasn't caught since his days on the Oceanside, CA Little League team that advanced to the LLWS in Williamsport in 2001, but he is being tutored one-on-one by AZL Cubs coach-mentor Danny Fatheree, who was Kerry Wood's catcher in HS before embarking on a lengthy minor league career in the Astros organization.
So far, the Cubs have signed 27 of their 51 2008 draft picks, including 18 of their first 21. The only three still unsigned from among the top 21 selections are RHPs Andrew Cashner (1st round pick out of TCU), Aaron Shafer (2nd round pick out of Wichita State), and Alex Wilson (10th round pick out of Texas A&M).
Cashner and Shafer appear to be fairly locked-into their slot by what players selected above them and below them have already received, so Cashner should expect about a $1.5M bonus, and Shafer should probably expect somewhere around $630K.
If they want more than that, the haggling could go to the August 15th signing deadline, but if the Cubs are unable to sign the players, they will receive a compensation pick in the 2009 Rule 4 Draft (2009 #20 overall if they don't sign Cashner, and/or 2009 #66 overall if they can't sign Shafer). So the Cubs are really under no pressure to sign either of the two.
As for 10th rounder Alex Wilson, that's a bit more complicated.
The right-hander had "Tommy John" surgery last year after suffering a torn elbow ligament while pitching in the Cape Cod League, and he missed the 2008 regular season at A&M (after transferring from Winthrop). However,he reportedly threw 94 MPH in a "showcase" bullpen session prior to the draft. The Cubs plan on scouting him this summer while he pitches in a summer collegiate league before deciding whether to offer him the above-slot bonus he supposedly wants to turn pro. (He was considered a very highly-regarded pitching prospect prior to his elbow injury)
As for the AZL Cubs, the first game is Sunday, and the boys get tomorrow (Saturday) off before embarking on the 2009 campaign,
To get down to the 35 player AZL roster limit, it's possible that Robinson Chirinos will be assigned to a full-season team as a C-IF-OF "super-sub" (he probably exceeds the age and pro experience limits for the AZL), and catcher Jose Guevara (still rehabbing from a broken thumb on his non-throwing hand) could start the eeason on the DL, although that is unknown at this time.
And here is the box score from today's AZL "pre-season" game (Cubs players only, natch)...
1. Kurt Calvert, LF: 2-3 (RBI)
2a. Kevin Soto, CF: 1-3 (K, PO)
2b. Nelson Perez, PH: 0-1
3a. Daryle Ward, 1B: 2-3 (R)
3b. Robinson Chirinos, PH: 0-1 (K)
4. Jericho Jones, RF: 2-3 (R, BB)
5a. Sean Hoorelbeke, DH #1: 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI)
5b. Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-0 (SH)
6. Junior Lake, 3B-SS: 1-4 (R, K)
7. TeWayne Willis, DH #2-CF: 3-4 (R, SB)
8a. George Matheus, SS: 0-1 (SH)
8b. John Contreras, 3B: 0-2 (K)
9a. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-2 (2B, 2 RBI, R, SB)
9b. Starlin Castro, 2B: 0-2 (K)
10a. Alvaro Sosa, C: 0-1 (SF-RBI)
10b. Roberto Sabates, C: 0-2
1. Dionis Nunez - 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP (5/4 GO/FO)
2. Julio Pena - 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2/5 GO/FO)
3. Luke Sommer - 1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K (2/3 GO/FO)
4. Rogelio Carmona - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (3/1 GO/FO)
1. Alvaro Sosa, E-2, overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt allowed base-runner to take 3rd.
2. Junior Lake, E-6, muffed grounder allowing batter to reach base.
Alvaro Sosa: 0-1 CS
Kurt Calvert, 7-2, threw out runner trying to score from 2nd base on two-out single to LF
1st base; Ryan Acosta
2nd base; Kitt Kopach (called balls & strikes from behind the pitcher's mound)
3rd base; Chris Huseby
NOTE: The game was put together at the last minute, so no "regular" umpires were available.
WEATHER: Hot & cloudless with temperature in the high 90's en route to 110+ (see yesterday and the day before and the day before that...)
ATTENDANCE: 3 (the Usual Suspects)