Dodgers Can't Escape the Wrath of Hoff-POWER!

Micah Hoffpauir crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th, turning a two-run Cubs deficit into a two-run Cub lead, as the Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-3 in the Cactus League opener for both clubs at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona 

box score  

Today's game marked the Cactus League debut of the Los Angeles Dodgers, as Da Bums have moved their Spring Training and Minor League operations from their long-time Dodgertown digs in Vero Beach, Florida, to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. It was very strange to see the Cubs playing the Dodgers in Mesa, let me tell you.

There certainly was no problem with the 80 degree temperatures, but the smallish crowd (7,916) was disappointing. Back in the day, the Cubs Cactus League home opener was ALWAYS a sell-out. But those who were there got to sing "Happy Birthday" to a smiling Ron Santo, before watching the Cubs come from behind to win the game.  

Both clubs played a fair number of their regulars, but the Cubs gave the start to Jeff Samardzija, who is battling for the 5th spot in the rotation with Sean Marshall and a couple of others.

The Shark was not particularly sharp this afternoon, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits and two walks, with one strikeout and a GIDP over his two innings of work (35 pitches - 20 strikes - 3/2 GO/FO).

Samardzija was able to escape the 1st inning unscathed, before loading the bases with no outs in the top of the 2nd. He then got the 1-2-3 comebacker DP he needed and was poised to finish his outing without allowing a run, before #9 hitter Tony Abreu lined a single to CF to plate the first two Dodger runs.

Mitch Atkins followed Samardzija and had a so-so outing, allowing one run on a couple of singles and a stolen base in the top of the 3rd, before throwing a scoreless 4th. Overall, Atkins, went two innings (25 pitches - 16 strikes - 3/2 GO/FO), allowing just the one run on three hits, no walks, one K, and one GIDP. 

Five Cub pitchers then threw one shutout inning a piece, holding the Dodgers at bay. Of the five, Dominican RHP Esmailin Caridad was the most impressive, getting three easy ground outs on just ten pitches (seven strikes) in the top of the 6th. Rule 5 RHP David Patton (20 pitches - 14 strikes) surrendered a couple of singles in the 7th, but around that he threw some nasty breaking balls and showed a fastball with some pop, and NRI LHP Jason Waddell (20 pitches -  12 strikes) got a couple of punchouts while also allowing a walk in his one inning of work.   

RHP Jeff Stevens (one of the pitchers the Cubs acquired from the Indians for Mark DeRosa during the off-season) had a bit of roller-coaster ride in the 9th while going for the save, putting the tying runs on base on a single and a walk, before getting the final out on a long fly to the warning track in RF. He also got a strikeout along the way, and appeared to have some decent velocity on his fastball, although he did struggle a bit with his command

The Cubs offense was essentially All Hoffpauir, as the DH also plated the Cubs first run on a 4-6-3 DP grounder with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the 1st. Hoffpauir struck out with two on and two out in the 3rd, before smoking his bases loaded shot over the fence in right-center field off Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso in the bottom of the 5th.      

Otherwise, there wasn't a whole lot of offense. Hoffpauir's HR was the only extra base hit of the game for either team, and only Ryan Theriot and Dodger 1B James Loney had more than one hit (both went 2-3 with two singles). .   

The defensive play of the game definitely was CF Reed Johnson's diving catch in right-centerfield in the top of the 1st, saving what looked to be a certain double or triple. Johnson laid his body out to full length, before spearing the ball in his trusty mitt.

And catcher Koyie Hill threw a laser to cut down a potential base stealer in the top of the 5th, although he had some ugly swings in his two ABs (a strikeout-swinging and a feeble ground out).



1. I loved yelling Hoffpauir in a bad Scottish accent when he came to the plate in AA.

2. Thanks, as always for the re-cap 'Zona Phil.

3. I hope that Hill finds a way to contribute. I know that he will likely not make the 40 man (can't see a way he could save a Gabor injury), but he is a solid contributor. I like his grit, spunk, tenacity, and scrap.

4. I still miss Kerry Wood.

How has Mike Stanton been doing in camp so far? Also if Marshall does win the 5th starting job do you think they will break Mesa with only Cotts as a LOOGY or do one of the NRI guys have a chance to pitch themselves on to the roster?

Kerry Wood can't throw a baseball...back problems flaring up again


I am so jealous. After reading the first recap it makes me regret my decision not to go to Arizona for vacation.

How easy is it to get into see spring training games? That would be a pretty sweet vacation. Maybe '10 or '11.

IT's only at Hohokam that I ever had a problem getting tickets, but I am a general admission type of fan. I like to do the beach blanket in the outfield, which you can do at a lot of parks around Phoenix.

If you and your significant others are baseball fans, it's just a great vacation. With not too much effort you can watch 10 to 12 games in a week and watch the NCAA tournament games at a nice open air bar during the evenings.

Thanks A-Phil. Besides Ronny's birthday and Micah's slam, the broadcast team seemed pretty unexcited and kept mentioning the L-o-n-g spring training. Santo seemed like he wanted to dis the WBC since it makes ST too long and team chemistry is going to have to be plugged in later. With the disappointing end to Fukudome's season, Ron was raising his eyebrows a little over K-Fu's not being with the Cubs. Pat Hughes danced around it almost as though it is in WGN's contract to mention the WBC under Selig's orders. Should be interesting to see who has stamina this year, and if Lou will actually do what he threatens to do, that is rest his players regularly. Wish Micah could play 3rd also. Kudos to Soto for opening camp here. Here's hoping Lou and Jim have a close eye on how he is used in WBC games. Kudos to Marmol for staying close to Rothschild and his bread and butter. I hope the WBC flops, or from now on they play it in January during the college season with unpaid kids. Have a special draft (like you fantasy folks) in February at the end of the WBC for team Cuba and help the defectors sign contracts.

Anyways, maybe the WBC should make a good new thread here. I haven't heard much howling - is it a good thing (I vote no)or is there just too much risk involved (yes)? Discuss...

I'm not sure about the point of the WBC? Is it to rally international interest in baseball? Provide extra pre-season revenue to MLB? Increase fan diversity?

I don't think you can measure the success unless you know what the heck Bud was thinking when it was conceived.

Personally, I don't really care either way. I have only slightly more interest in WBC games than I do spring training games. Sure guys can get injured in WBC games, but they can get injured in ST games, too. I'm not totally convinced it's that big of a deal.

And I've said before that Fuku's performance last year was almost exactly what was expected (at least what I expected), and this year I expect him to perform better. Fuku will be fine, imo.

One caveat to my comments on Fuku:

The Cubs overpaid for him.

I commented on the WBC a few threads ago and met some resistance. It's all well and good but the timing is awful, and it's really just an exhibition series. I said before, if Selig really wants a bonafide World Baseball Tournament, they should go World Cup and shut down for a year, each country could send its roster on the road for a 40- or 60-game exhibition season (or however long), then close with the tournament. Then you might see real team play from players really dedicated to the cause and the tournament might gain some integrity.

I'm not sure that US baseball fans are going to wave flags over "their" team's games. When it's over their city's players return and all the national pride vaporizes here. Maybe it's a bigger source of entertainment and bragging rights in Venezuela or the DR, and perhaps Selig's goal is to enhance that international involvement, but here in the United States I believe it will be a yawn.

For so many reasons, the majority of which relate to finances, setting up a true tournament will never happen. If I owned a major league franchise and my players were invited to a March tournament and I'm getting ready for a championship season, I'd disallow all of my guys from joining up. There can be very very little to gain, much more to lose.

it helps things that the WBC falls a few weeks after the carribean world series.

MLB has done a crap job selling this to americans, but i dunno if that's even MLB's intention as much as it is showcasing the game internationally.

In short, the problem is that people in Turkey have never heard of Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols but they own David Beckham and Ronaldihno jerseys.

You can't build a city without laying the foundation for the first building. The goal is to turn baseball from the world's third most popular game into the world's most popular game, and generate more revenue for the MLB owners and the players.

As long as any one team isn't unfairly singled out for participation in the Classic - I don't see how the 'championshi season' is even impacted.

Submitted by Hawkeye on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 10:38pm.

I hope that Hill finds a way to contribute. I know that he will likely not make the 40 man (can't see a way he could save a Gabor injury), but he is a solid contributor. I like his grit, spunk, tenacity, and scrap.

. =====================================

HAWKEYE: Forced to choose between Paul Bako and Koyie Hill as the Cubs back-up catcher, no question I would go with K. Hill. The only thing Bako has over Hill is that Bako has more MLB experience and is a slightly better hitter, but K. Hill has more power, a far superior throwing arm, and the versatility to play 3B and 1B (he played 3B in college at Wichita State and he has played 1B in the minors). K. Hill is also more familiar with the current Cubs pitching staff, especially the guys who were at Iowa the last couple of years. And K. Hill is a switch-hitter.

It appears that the Cubs will have to decide by March 20th whether to keep Bako or release him and pay him only 25% of his salary (about $180K). Presuming both stay healthy, K. Hill just needs to show he is Bako's approximate equal as a hitter (and we're talking only about a .225 BA here) to win the job.

BTW, K. Hill is already on the 40-man roster. He is out of options, however, so if he clears Outright Waivers (and I doubt that he would get claimed, but you never know), he has the option be a free-agent if the Cubs outright him to the minors. I would bet that he would accept the outright assignment, though, and defer his right to be a FA until after the conclusion of the regular season, rather than take the free-agency immediately, since it's unlikely he could make more money elsewhere, and there's a good chance that he could get a call-up to Chicago sometime during the season (9/1 at the latest).

I'm rooting for Hill as well. The familiarity with the staff that went through Iowa is a huge plus, but more to the point his working relationship with Soto is the trump card. It takes a while to learn to be a number 1 big league catcher and to have that support for Soto is one of those advantages you don't see on the stat sheet.

Submitted by Ryno on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 10:00am.

I'm not sure about the point of the WBC? Is it to rally international interest in baseball? Provide extra pre-season revenue to MLB? Increase fan diversity?


RYNO: If there HAS to be a WBC, it should be played in November. There is really no "good time" to play it, but November is the lesser of the evils.

Also, the one thing I do like about the Cubs vis-a-vis the WBC this time around is that it can't hurt Fukudome to spend most of Spring Training with Team Japan. It could get him into a positive groove at the plate that might carry him through the season.

He is what he is... he came from a Japanese league, probably not used to playing 162 games every year, probably had a swing that worked that he never had to significantly adjust, never needed to hit a Ben Sheets curveball...

He'll adjust and he'll be fine.

Hope your hunch is right, but that's all it is .. hope. Kosuke showed negative-ability to adjust last year. The longer season had nothing to do with it. He was done by the All-Star break.

I had a big response typed up and Internet Explorer froze up. I think we previously discussed this, but IE sucks.

So a succinct synopsis, all imo:

WBC is bad for Fukudome. Inferior pitching yields bad habits.

Agree, November is only logical time for WBC. Cut to 8 teams, play over a two week span, expand rosters. Day-night double header US vs. DR? I'd cancel most plans to watch that.

"Inferior pitching yields bad habits."

that's what the first 2-3 weeks of US spring training is all about anyway.

besides US-team-based pitchers being notoriously not ready "out of the box" i doubt he's missing much in arizona right now except bonding with teammates and possible future teammates.

Submitted by Chifan on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 11:34pm.

How has Mike Stanton been doing in camp so far? Also if Marshall does win the 5th starting job do you think they will break Mesa with only Cotts as a LOOGY or do one of the NRI guys have a chance to pitch themselves on to the roster?


CHIFAN: I really can't tell you much about Mike Stanton so far. He was able to throw at Fitch Park OK (he didn't kill anybody, and he finished his 25-pitch "live" BP outing without having to be carried off the field), but how he performs in ST games will determine whether he has a shot at making the Opening Day 25-man roster.

I think Piniella probably would prefer to have two lefties in the bullpen, and if Sean Marshall is a rotation starter, then Uncle Lou probably will look long & hard at Stanton, Edward Campusano, and Jason Waddell (the in-house options), before asking Hendry to try and acquire a second lefty via a trade.

BTW, Will Ohman is still available as a FA, not that the Cubs have an interest in signing him (he probably wants a multi-year deal at about $4M per season). But he is still out there. So are Joe Beimel and Dennys Reyes.

Edward Campusano is one of those names I see a bit, but I don't really know much about. What sort of stuff does he bring, and how's his command? Thanks Phil.

i doubt he's missing much in arizona right now except bonding with teammates and possible future teammates.
So Taguchi and Ken Kadokura seen at karaoke bar singing "So Lonely"

Now no-one's knocked upon my door
For a thousand years, or more
All made up and nowhere to go
Welcome to this one man show...

except they enunciate it as sro ronrey

Submitted by Charlie on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 11:14am.

Edward Campusano is one of those names I see a bit, but I don't really know much about. What sort of stuff does he bring, and how's his command? Thanks Phil


CHARLIE: Edward Campusano originally signed with the Cubs way back in 2001. He's is tall & lanky (6'4 - 175) with long arms. He throws all hard stuff, and his best pitch is a four-seam fastball (I think it's a cutter). He kind of slings the ball, almost sidearm, but not quite Clay Rapada.

Campusano was an All-Star closer at Peoria in 2006 (he threw 19+ consecutive scoreless innings at one point, and had a 1.21 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with 21 SAVES in just half a season) before getting a mid-season promotion to AA Tennessee, where he continued to pitch well as the primary set-up guy and occasional closer (1.75 ERA and 1.17 WHIP).

But the Cubs (somewhat surprisingly) did not add Campusano to their 40-man roster after that season, and he was selected by Milwaukee in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December 2006 ,and then was immediately traded to Detroit in a pre-arranged deal. And Campusano was enough of a prospect that Baseball America rated him as the Tigers 17th best prospect pre-2007 (which is pretty unusual for a Rule 5 pick).

Campusano pitched great in Spring Training 2007, and actually had made the Tigers 2007 Opening Day 25-man roster, before getting shut-down at the very end of March with a sore elbow that eventually resulted in his having Tommy John surgery in April. (Campusano had also missed considerable time with with an elbow injury that did not require surgery while at Peoria in 2005). He spent the entire 2007 season on the Tigers MLB DL (so Campusano has accrued one year of MLB service time), before the Cubs got him back via the MLB Rule 6 return process (the Cubs paid the Tigers $25,000) when Detroit tried to outright him to the minors in October 2007.

Campusano did get an NRI to big league camp with the Cubs last year, but did not pitch well. I guess he was probably rusty after the year lay-off. He was initially assigned to AA Tennessee on Opening Day, where he struggled (6.34 ERA and 1.57 WHIP, with 29 BB in just under 50 IP), before being demoted to Daytona, where he pitched much better (0.59 ERA and 0.85 WHIP). He also spent about a month on the DL with a sore shoulder, and he was at Fitch Park for about three weeks on a rehab assignment. Even with his struggles, Campusano held left-handed hitters to a .174 OBA at Tennessee and Daytona (combined) n 2008. So he fits the profile of a true LOOGY. He's death on left-handed hitters.

If he's 100% back to where he was in Spring Training 2007 (and that's a big IF), Campusano certainly has the potential to be an MLB lefty reliever. It will be interesting to see how he looks in Cactus League games. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to get a clear read on a LOOGY during ST because he's not being used the way he will be used during the regular season. He might face several right-handed hitters and get shelled, but then what is the significance of that if his primary job is to get left-handed hitters out?   

Campusano does have a shot (albeit probably a long-shot) to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, but otherwise he should at least be the #1 lefty reliever at Iowa, with the possibility of a call-up to Chicago sometime during the 2009 season if he pitches well at AAA. Or he could just as easily get released if he doesn't pitch well.  

Campusano can be a Rule 55 Minor League Free-Agent (so-called "Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent") after the 2009 season if he is not added to an MLB 40-man roster by the end of the World Series. He's also not a young guy (he will turn 27 in July), and he has yet to pitch even one inning at AAA, much less at the MLB level. .

sro ronrey
by the porice

The Phillies yesterday said they would advance Scott Eyre an undisclosed amount of his $2 million salary in order to tide him over until his Stanford account becomes available, according to the Associated Press.

“I’ll pay [the Phillies] back whenever I can. I invested in [the Houston-based Stanford Financial Group] three years ago [and] thought it was too good to be true — and it was,” he told the Associated Press yesterday evening.

What sucks is, there are people who invested with that [expletive deleted] Robert Allen Stanford’s group,” Mr. Eyre added. “He’s a billionaire. Does he really need to do a scam to make more money?”

Well, you're a millionaire speed junkie. Talk about a scam. Do you really need America to bail out your risky "too good to be true" investments?!

Umm... where does it say anything in that article about bailing anybody out?

And if you don't understand the difference between fraud and risky investments, I am not really sure what to tell you.

The lack of empathy I've seen from some people during this downturn towards those that have fallen on hard times is really astounding to me.

Moreover, Scott Eyre takes Ritalin for ADHD. Calling him a speed junkie is really a little much. It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and call that diagnosis nonsense. People have derided the existence of psychological disabilities since they first started being diagnosed. It goes hand in hand with a general lack of empathy towards other people's struggles.

I guess this is BluewaterBoats/CWTP/Navigator talking so I shouldn't be that surprised.

don't ever go to vegas...your heart would bleed for those gamblers.

being in the tech industry and watching what happened in the late 90s/early 00s i would not trust my money (and havent) with ANYONE who even suggested "RedHat" or "VA Lixux" to anyone. i made my mother leave her investment "advisor" when that asshat tried to stick her with 1/4 of her portfolio on RedHat when it was topping 150 a share.

if i'm giving my money to someone you can be sure i'm going in it knowing HOW it's supposed to work.

might as well be in vegas otherwise.

and since when are the Phillies "America"? Private organization spending their money. Not the government spending mine.

I've been thinking about the WBC and the reason why Baseball has gotten a foothold in some parts of the world and not in others. One idea that occurred to me--and I haven't really thought this through so if it sounds totally ridiculous, forgive me--is that baseball gains popularity in areas with an affinity towards tradition. Japan and Korea are both places that culturally are steeped in tradition. Latin America is very traditional as well. I think the traditionalism that's present throughout all aspects of the game might be a connecting factor.

I guess the question I'm really asking is anthropological. How do you think places outside the United States perceive baseball? What's baseball's image in places that don't have a lot of exposure to it? Do people who know of it but don't follow it in these places in which it hasn't really taken hold have an opinion about baseball? What do you suppose it is?

japan and latin america have baseball as a tradition dating back to the very early 1900s...hell, ive seen pictures of a very early baseball game in japan dated to the 1890s era (you should see the ump).

europe is going to be a hard sell. western asia, too...

it's not an easy pick-up have to have a small army of like-minded people around to plug into. to be a pro you gotta find these people early in your life, generally.

I happen to enjoy the WBC. I think that the only problem with this is the time needed for it to develop. I can't remember where I heard it (I believe it was someone on Mike and Mike Tuesday), but this should have started 30-40 years ago.

The best comparrison to this event, would be the World Cup. Having been on a soccer fit over the past two months, it was interesting to read up on the history of the event. While it is THE sporting event world wide, it took a long time for it to catch on, but it did. As time has gone on, the tournament has grown with the introduction of qualifying as well as the increase of teams involved (in my short lifetime alone the field for the finals has increased from 24 teams in 1982- no more than 16 teams were involved prior to then, to the 2010 games where 32 will again compete).

Over time this thing will catch on, but it is going to take other countries to make it happen. England is one off the top of my head, but I believe Germany, Israel, and some others are one the verge of joining the fray. There are reports that for the 2013 games that MLB is looking into inputing a qualifying round.

Lastly, it's funny that if Bud is forcing WBC into the broadcasts that the broadcasters should at least get the information right. Somewhere in the game yesturday, Ron or Pat said that the next one would be in 2 years. From here on out the WBC will be every 4 years (the 2009 was done three years from the last one so that it would not coincide with the World Cup Final.

WBC is fine with me, competitive baseball in March.

The injury risk is no different than a spring training game. A guy getting hurt playing in that exhibition versus Cactus League exhibition, exactly what is the difference?

I just figure the competitive juices would be flowing in a WBC game more than a ST tilt, where a guy might be concentrating more in getting the kinks out and working on some things than winning a game. Sometimes that drive motivates a player to take more than a few chances. Whether that translates to a higher risk of injury, I can't say, but I'd think a pitcher might want to try to throw through some pain in a WBC game as opposed to facing the Colorado bench warmers, for example.

From's Spring Blog:

"Manager Davey Johnson had a material reason for hoping Alex Rodriguez would be on his U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic: Madonna.

The New York Yankees star played for the United States at the inaugural tournament three years ago, but chose to be with the Dominican Republic for this year's event.

"The only thing is I was upset about, Alex not, you know, being on my club," Johnson said Thursday, "I'm Madonna's fan. I was hoping she'd show up."

Rodriguez and Madonna were linked in tabloid reports last year as being very friendly.

The U.S. team opens March 7 against Canada. The Dominicans begin the same day against the Netherlands."


So Davey Johnson is gay?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • What a weird day.  Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer, but then Scully and, on a much more modest level, Ross....

    Transmission 2 min 14 sec ago view
  • d.ross gets his 2nd standing O on the night (last home game of the season)...hits HR #10...curtain call. baseball.

    crunch 4 min 42 sec ago view
  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 3 hours 49 min ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 50 min ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • What a loss to baseball, which I'm sure pales in comparison to the personal loss to his loved ones.

    Charlie 5 hours 58 min ago view
  • Somehow I am sensing alcohol was involved. The highest number of boating accidents by a wide margin...

    The E-Man 6 hours 42 min ago view
  • crunch 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • Reports this morning that Marlins' pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident - just horrible news.

    Eric S 12 hours 16 min ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 1 day 31 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 1 day 6 hours ago view