Cubs Drop Angels at Fitch Park

Logan Watkins had three hits and scored twice, leading the EXST Cubs to an 8-3 victory over the EXST Angels in a pre-planned ten-inning Extended Spring Training game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.

Now 19, Watkins was the Cubs 21st round pick in the 2008 draft out of Goddard HS (Goddard, KS), where he starred on both the football team (played QB) and baseball team (played SS), and the Cubs were able to convince him to give up his baseball scholarship to Wichita State only because they offered him "3rd round money" to turn pro. 

While the left-handed hitting and right-handed throwing Watkins has played SS, 2B, LF, and CF since signing with the Cubs, he appears to be the protypical second-baseman, with a strong and accurate arm, but with an almost sidearm arm slot, perfect for slinging the ball to 1st base while straddling 2nd base as the middle-man in a DP.     

The extra inning was added to the game to allow Cubs and Angels pitchers to get extra work, since weekly EXST "Camp Day" intrasquad games are no longer being scheduled.

Also, it turns out Iowa Cubs RHP Justin Berg (on the DL with a right shoulder strain since mid-April) did not leave town yesterday. He is still at EXST, rehabbing his shoulder, and in fact he pitched another inning today (24 pitches), as a follow-up to his one-inning (16 pitches) of work at Papago Park in Phoenix on Thursday. Berg got ground balls with his hard-sinker again today (per usual), but his command was off, resulting in him allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning (and the inning was terminated with only two outs when Berg reached his proscribed pitch count). 

While the Cubs were battling the Angels on Field #3, RHPs Carlos Rojas and Julio Castillo faced-off in a two-inning simulated game on Field #2, facing Jose Valdez, Sean Williams, Jesus Morelli, and Jericho Jones,

Castillo (AKA "Animal") is from the back jungles of the Dominican Republic (near the border with Haiti), and he is a legend among Cubs minor leaguers as the guy who captured a wild desert rat at the Padres minor league facility in Peoria, Arizona, a couple of years ago, and then kept the rodent as a pet for the summer while he pitched for the AZL Cubs.

Presently on the Restricted List while awaiting final disposition of criminal charges filed against him in Ohio as the result of throwing a baseball at a fan during a brawl in Dayton last August while a member of the Peoria Chiefs. Castillo is one of the hardest throwers in the Cubs system (with a fastball that routinely clocks at 95+), so the Cubs are not necessarily in a hurry to discharge Animal from the organization. He has the type of power stuff (fastball & slider) that could make him a potential big-time set-up man or closer someday (that is, as long as he isn't otherwise occupied serving a lengthy term--and throwing the 9th inning--at the Ohio State Penitentiary). 

The only other item of note is that C-3B-1B-DH John Contreras is missing from camp, perhaps because he has moved up to Peoria, which has only one healthy catcher available on its roster (that one being Michael Brenly). Contreras is already 23, and he was converted to catcher this season (he still plays 3B and 1B, too, however) after leading the AZL in home runs in 2008. So he would seem to be the type of player (probably too old for Boise, but needs an opportunity to play at a higher level) who would get the call as a mid-season injury replacement in Peoria or Daytona. (Daytona catcher Robinson Chirinos has a broken hand, and so Luis Flores has been moved up from Peoria to Daytona).   

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)...

1. Hak-Ju Lee, DH #1: 1-5 (1B, L-4, 4-3, F-7 DP, K - 1 R, 1 SB)
2. Matt Cerda, C-DH: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 2B, E-3 - 1 R)
3. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-4 (6-3, E-6, 6-3, K)
4. Chris Weimer, 1B: 0-4 (L-8, P-1, L-6, K)
5. Sean Hoorelbeke, LF: 2-3 (6-3, HBP, 1B, 1B - 2 R)
6. Jose Guevara, DH-C: 0-2 (5-3, K, BB, BB - 1 R)
7. Logan Watkins, SS: 3-4 (2B, 1B, 1B, 4-3 - 2 R)
8. Kevin Soto, RF: 2-3 (6-3, 1B, HBP, 1B - 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB)
9. Robert Bautista, 3B: 0-4 (1-3, K, 4-3, K - 1 RBI)
10. Jose Made, 2B: 0-3 (1-3, E-4, BB, 1-3)

1. Justin Berg - 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GO/FO, 24 pitches (16 strikes)
2. Miguel Sierra - 3.0 IP, 4 H,1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 5/3 GO/FO
3. Toby Matchulat - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1/2 GO/FO
4. Su-Min Jung - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 3/3 GO/FO
5. Manolin DeLeon - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO

1. Matt Cerda - 0-2 CS, 1 PB
2. Jose Guevara - 1-2 CS


The Orioles' are playing a ridiculous amount of ex-Cubs tonight. Look at the lineup: Rich Hill pitching, Felix Pie in center, Cesar Izturis at short, and, of course, Brian Roberts at second.

Pie is on his last legs. He'll probably get released, the Cubs can pick him up again, and he can become the Carlos Beltran we all knew he could be.

Rich Hill update:

Single to Choo, Bloomquist 463 DP, Butler K (17 pitches). Wicked curve for the K. Looked like the good Rich Hill again.

Rich Hill's night is over, leaving the game with a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Runners on 1st and 2nd.

line: 5.2 IP, 7H, 2R/ER, 2BB, 6K. No sign of the yips. Nice curve, just as I remember but he was hittable.

Dear Small Sample Size: I'd say it was a nice first outing.

I'm happy for Rich. I hope he does well. I don't like to see anyone go out of the game due to Steve Blass disease.

One of those walks was intentional. Maybe we can get Felix Pie back as the PTBN for Hill.

I would hope not, before this pitiful meltdown Gregg had only given up 3 ER in 10.1 innings going back to April 22nd and after giving up 1 ER on May 1st had gone 6 games without giving up anything.

I say he's still got alot of rope until he loses the closer job.

He's got an okay splitter but other than that he's not exactly mesmerizing. If he doesn't work out Lou will work Guzman into the set up role and move Marmol in as closer, assuming Guzman keeps pitching well of course.

Briefly a Cub, Mariner Garrett Olson has given up two 2-run HR's (Bay, Varitek) in his first two innings. Boston ahead 4-0 in Seattle.

AZ, your reports lately are getting lame. NO attendance figures, and I think this is the second time in a row.

I had a third grade teacher, named Mrs. Patton, who slapped your hands with a ruler when you fucked up like that.

I hope Rob G. is taking note of these deficiencies.

Dude, and have a Shiner Bock for me too!


ps...I noticed the missing attendance numbers as well, just sayin. Maybe Carlos Marmol should be writing up these reports from Fitch Park.

Hey, AZ, Hak-Ju Lee?

Isn't he the shortstop I queried about a few days ago? He got a few ABs today?

Edinson Volquez leaves Reds/Pads game with back spasms.

Begin Volquez-Prior over usage comparisons.

...and David Weathers walked in the tying run in the 8th

now 5-5 into bottom 12.

Padres won this game in 16 innings. Nick Hundley walk off. Volquez left with back problems as well as Votto leaving with 'dizzyness'.

Tomorrow its Arroyo vs Peavy...Reds could be looking at being swept after sweeping the Dbacks.

Dusty uses Owings for 6 innings (81 pitches) on 3 days rest (he pitched tuesday), never goes to Cordero or tomorrow's starter Arroyo (just call someone up for a spot start tomorrow, Nick Massett has to go on the DL anyway).


That's always been his thing. He did that to Harang last year in the 18 inning marathon on two days rest. Not trying to be a Dusty hater because it's the tragically hip thing to do, but his pitching decisions in LONG extra inning games have always been puzzling, to say the least.

No need to scoreboard watch on the Reds. I've been assured by expert sources that they're no good.

Vitters went 3/4 with his 4th HR yesterday and is hitting .342/.376/.496 now, sadly his strike zone judgement is typical of Cubs prospects (3 BB's to 17 K's). Ryan Butcher, who seems to be Peoria's closer has a 0.59 ERA and 22 K's in 15.1 innings. He's also had 8 BB's.

Starlin Castro (SS) got 4 hits for Daytona to raise his BA to .292, which is pretty nice for that league.

TN got rained out.

Fox went 3/4 with a double to get his BA up to a cool .429 as the I Cubs got pummelled by the Salt Lake Prohibitionists.

According to Street&Smiths Sports Business Journal -

"Chicago Cubs buyer Tom Ricketts is close to lining up three banks to arrange the $450 million financing necessary to complete his acquisition of the team, financial sources said, positioning him to clear a substantial hurdle in the long-running sale of the club"

Good to see our bank bailout money helping multi-millionaires buy baseball teams.

This thing is looking like a train wreck. I'll go out on a limb and say in 5 years Tom Ricketts will either A. not be owner or B. be in the process of selling the team.

Via Rotoworld, the Cards will trot out Carpenter on Wednesday against the Cubs.

okay, it's Brian Moehler but he's crushed two of them today...

Z's rehab start: 3.2 IP 4 Runs 5 Hits 3 BB and 67 pitches

but he seems to be healthy.

Who cares about his pitching line, did he hit a home run?


I wonder if Daytona is going to have Z stick around for tomorrows game to maybe PH.

What personal ritual did Rich Hill pick up from Ryan Dempster?

Hot shit all over his balls pregame?

Oh, Ryan Dempster, not Roger Clemens.

Flamingo sprints in the outfield?

Another day, another HR for Vitters.

To go with 2 doubles. I imagine the rival managers will start petitioning the Midwest League Commisioner to force-promote Vitters shortly.

Az. Phil, how close to playing in the field is Hak-Ju Lee? Also, is Dae Eun Rhee making progress in his Rehab? Thanks.

And, also, isn't Lee the given name rather than the family name? Which would mean the "last name" is Hak-Ju? So if AZ Phil was Asian he'd be Phil AZ? Am I wrong about this?

WSCR 670 reporting that the Tribune is reporting that "the Chicago Cubs sale is nearing completion".

...For what it's worth.

Of course, it's been nearing completion for over a year now.

In other news, the blades of grass in my lawn are slowly getting longer.

Here's the exciting news:


Sports Business Journal reports today that Tom Ricketts has lined up three banks -- JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America -- to arrange the $450 million in financing needed to close the Ricketts family's $900 million acquisition of the Cubs.

The magazine said the deal could be done by this week

This is a bit confusing. Shouldn't one of the criteria to be a buyer of the Cubs been, you know, having the money or financing available? Would Cuban be looking to sell preferred stock and getting loans from poorly run financial institutions?

Hope he got fixed-rate. I heard those variable-rate things are trash.

EXCEPT that Paul Sullivan misquotes the article. IT DOES NOT SAY he's lined up three banks. If you want to know what the article actually says, see post #22 above.

I should explain that the Sports Business Journal article I quoted yesterday is the same one Sullivan thinks is new today, Monday. Yesterday it required a subscription to read it, today it's free.

Telander writes this today

Theriot -- not a huge guy at 5-11, 180 pounds -- has seen 10 of his last 14 hits go for extra bases (four doubles, a triple and five home runs) and is second on the Cubs with 66 total bases (behind Alfonso Soriano).

Two days ago, all that sudden power got me to thinking: Theriot had one home run last season, just seven in his career, and he has five already this year?

You hate to do it, but what else can a skeptic think when numbers abruptly burgeon in this era of A-Fraud and Manny and major-league head-in-the-sand-ism?

Performance-enhancing drugs.

Now I know it's hard for a crackhead like Telander to remember all the way back to the 2006 season, but Ryan Theriot put up even more impressive numbers that year with the same number of at bats.

Clearly this jerk is just drumming up some press. Small sample size, adjusted swing. Oh, and people can get better at things they do a lot. Who knew?

I thought his initial point, that the steroid era has made our first reaction suspicion, was a good one. But he should have acknowledged that was only an unfounded and easily refuted first reaction, particularly in the Theriot case.

Doesn't Albert Pujols actually make a better foundation for his argument? I mean, there is a guy against whom we have absolutely no evidence, yet his performance (and I suppose his somewhat amorphous bald head) has been reason enough to suspect him of using PEDs. There's your article, A-hole.

"I'm just hanging out, trying to sell newspapers."

Going a bit braindead today, so was wondering if someone could remind me what happened to Carlos Perez again.

WSCR Reporting = Edward R. Murrow

"A beam of accuracy in a sea of dreck reporting" lol

"So, Antonio, how DID you get that sixth finger? Were you born like that, or...?"

- Jesse Rodgers, WSCR

Was Antonio's mom was Polly Dactia?

I always love a good polydactyly joke!

Recent comments

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  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).

  • I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.