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)
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.