Cubs & Giants Kiss Their Sisters at Fitch Park

Seven Cub pitchers combined to throw a five-hitter, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants played to a 1-1 12-inning tie before a Memorial Day Weekend packed house at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Skies remained overcast and game-time temperatures were in the low 80's after an all-night rain Thursday into Friday, as the two teams took the field for an early (9 AM) first-pitch.   

2008 17h round draft pick RHP Jon Nagel got the start for the Cubs and threw three perfect innings. An EXTREME ground ball pitcher (and a good ol' country boy from the Ozarks), Nagel (as usual) pounded the bottom of the strike zone with a hard sinker, getting most-all of the opposition hitters to either strike out, or chop the ball into the ground in front of home plate.

Now 22, Nagel (6'4 230+) was drafted by the Cubs despite undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament transplant surgery prior to last June's draft, and it looks like the Cubs made an astute selection. He spent last summer rehabbing at Fitch Park before finally making his on-field debut this season, and he looks like he could pitch at Peoria right now. He has all the ear-marks of a rotation horse.  .

Recently demoted RHP Josh Whitlock (2008 26th round pick out of U. of West Virginia) threw two inings of shutout ball in relief of Nagel, and looked much better than he did last Monday when he made his first appearance for the EXST Cubs after getting sent down from Peoria a week ago. 

20-year old Venezuelan RHP Robert Hernandez (at Fitch Park rehabing from a spriained ankle suffered the last week of Minor League Camp) also threw two innings of shutout ball this morning, and appears ready to move up and out of Fitch Park whenever there is a roster opening at Daytona or Peoria. He has pitched very well every time out (so far). Hernandez went 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) at Peoria in 2008, after missing the first two months of the season while serving a 50-game PED suspension. 

21-year old LHP Melvin Vasquez (signed last August by Cubs chief Dominican scout Jose Serra) worked the next two innings, and although he blew the save by allowing a single and an RBI double in the top off the 9th, the little lefty also struck out four. 

20-year olld lanky Dominican RHP George Pineda, LHP Ryan Sontag (2008 23rd round pick out of Arizona State who is being converted from OF to pitcher at EXST), and 18-year old Australian RHP Adam Spencer each threw one inning of shutout, hitless ball in the extra frames.

While the Cubs pitchers were shutting down the Giants, the Cubs bats were mostly silent, the only run scoring in the bottom of the 3rd when 18-year old Korean bonus baby Hak-Ju Lee lined a single into right-center after speedy (but normally light-hitting) Robert Bautista laced a two-out triple into the RF corner. The Cubs might have scored more runs in the inning, but lumbering Jericho Jones was thrown out trying to stretch a sure-thing double into a highly-speculative AIG triple after smashing a near-HR off the "green monster" batter's eye in dead CF.  

Hak-Ju Lee, who had been limited to DH duty while rehabbing from 2008 Tommy John surgery, played shortstop for five innings today, and handled five chances hit his way seemlessly, making strong throws to 1st base each time. He showed no ill effects from the TJS.   

While Lee played only five innings, other Cubs position players moved around the field like a game of musical chairs throughout the contest, allowing several players to get PT at more than one position.   

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Marco Carrillo has been assigned to Daytona after completing his rehab at Fitch Park.

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

1a. Hak-Ju Lee, SS:  1-2 (4-3, 1B - 1 RBI)
1b. Jose Guevara, C:  0-2  (BB, K, K)
2. Jose Valdez, CF-DH-RF:  2-4  (1B, 4-3, 4-3, 1B - 1 SB, 1 CS, 1 PO)
3a. Matt Cerda, C-2B:  1-3  (1B, K, F-9)
3b. Logan Watkins, 2B:  0-1  (K)
4. Sean Hoorelbeke, LF-DH-1B:  0-4  (F-8, 5-3, K, K)
5. Jae-Hoon Ha, RF-CF-DH:  0-4  (4-3, 1-3, F-8, K)
6. Chris Weimer, DH-1B-LF:  0-4  (4-3, F-8, 5-3, L-7)
7. Kevin Soto, DH-RF-CF:  0-4  (6-3, 5-3, F-7, K)
8. George Matheus, 2B-3B:  0-4  (F-8, 6-3, 4-3, K)
9a. Jericho Jones, 1B-LF-DH:  2-4  (2B, K, 6-3, 1B)
9b. Jose Made, PR:  0-0 
10. Robert Bautista, 3B-SS: 1-4  (3B, 4-3, K, 6-4 FC - 1 R)

1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 6/1 GO/FO
2. Josh Whitlock - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Robert Hernandez - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/4 GO/FO
4. Melvin Vasquez - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 2/0 GO/FO
5. George Pineda - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO
6. Ryan Sontag - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO
7. Adam Spencer - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO


Jose Guevara - 1 PB



I sthere ay realistic chance we could get DeRosa back? I'm not kidding. It's not even his (righty-bad) bat, it;s the clubhouse atmosphere which seems morguelike. Bad trades Hendry. Miles? really?

it;s the clubhouse atmosphere which seems morguelike

How do you know what the atmosphere is in the clubhouse?

How did Hak-Ju Lee move when he was playing short? Does he look like a guy who can stay there?

Oops let me retry. I'm not even drunk yet. Is there any realistic chance we could get Derosa? I plan on being drunk, drunker if the Cubs blow this game. Actually who am I kidding? Drunker if they actually win. F-this losing crap.Fixed.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 3:21pm.
How did Hak-Ju Lee move when he was playing short? Does he look like a guy who can stay there?


REAL NEAL: Hak-Ju Lee moved very well at SS today. He showed good range on the balls that were hit his way, although he didn't have to turn a DP or go out into the OF for a pop up. He has grown maybe an inch and put on some weight since last October (what with the TJS, he probably had a lot of time available to spend in the weight room), so it's possible he could conceivably outgrow SS at some point, since he's only 18. But so far he looks like he can stay at SS.

With his frame, it looks like he could develop power at some point in the future as he matures. He is pulling the ball a lot more and hitting the ball harder this year than he did when I saw him at Instructs last Fall (when he was mainly an opposite-field slap hitter). He has plus-speed, too, and he is a good baserunner and base stealer.

Matt Cerda is another young guy who is pulling the ball fairly regularly, and he hits the ball VERY hard and could develop some HR pop if he starts to elevate his swing a bit. He set a HR record in HS (albeit with an aluminum bat). He just needs to find a position, because I don't think the Cubs are sold on him as a catcher, and he has shown some signs of having latent Steve Sax Disease when he plays 2B (he played SS in HS). So he could end up in a corner OF spot eventually if he doesn't make it at catcher, but if that happens, he will definitely have to hit home runs. Cerda really can work the count, and he isn't afraid to hit with two strikes and/or take a walk. Hitting-wise, he reminds me more and more of a young Brian Giles.

Logan Watkins is the one who looks like a true second-baseman to me. He is very athletic and has a strong arm, but he throws with an almost Nomar-ish sidearm slot that probably would befit a 2B more than a SS. While he handles himself OK at SS when he plays there, he's just probably better-suited to be a second-baseman.

And I like Dwayne Kemps's athleticism and energy more as a utility infielder than as an everyday second-baseman. He's out with a quad injury this week, but the Cubs started playing him at SS and 3B the week before he got hurt, and he handled himself OK at all three positions (2B-SS-3B). And he can play LF (and probably CF), too, so he projects as an offensive-first super-sub with good speed, and he has plus-power for a little guy. He's another one who looks like he has spent some time in the weight room.

As for Robert Bautista, he physically resembles Junior Lake, runs like Junior Lake, and plays shortstop like Junior Lake, but he hits like Veronica Lake.

Awesome reports, thanks. I would be really great if the Cubs could develop some all-star quality position players, in addition to their $150 million payroll.

I have to wonder if Cerda will ever develop that sort of power needed to play corner OF, though. He's really small, isn't he? Is the 5'9" I see him listed at accurate? Even Giles is listed at 5'10".

Wow ! A crowd of 21 fans today ! It must've had something to do with the cooldown in temperatures the last two days.Jericho Jones double off the centerfield green monster on field #3 would've been a homerun in any minor league ball park.I bet he's tired of hitting the ball off the walls & fences at Fitch.He may seem like he's "lumbering" when he's running the bases but he is actually covering a lot of real estate with each "lumbering" stride.I think the coaches purposely try to stretch the defenses and are sending the runners to force throwing errors.

Theriot, Fukudome, Bradley, Lee, Hoffpauir, Soto, Fontenot, Scales, Wells


Gwynn Jr., E. Gonzalez, A. Gonzalez, Hairston, Giles, Kouzmanoff, Hundley, Burke, Geer

at least they finally get a shitty pitcher...

Is Sca!es really a better option than Miles or Freel?

Sca!es is quickly going to become Neif!. Neif!'s good month gave him playing time with the Cubs for two (?) years. Sca!es good first week is going to give him way too much playing time this year.

Scales is Neifi? He's been in one game this month he hasn't been on base and his May OPS is .934.

Neifi's career OPS was .672.

Making statements on small statistical samples would have doomed Ryne Sandberg.

Can we wait till Scales' OPS touches, oh, .800 or so before making Neifi comparisons?

Making statements on small statistical samples would have doomed Ryne Sandberg.

When Bobby Scales becomes a highly touted 22-year old prospect, then you can start making Sandberg comparisons. Further... you are the one making the statement on a small sample size, not me. If I were making a statement on a small sample size, I would be praising the guy. Instead I am looking at his very large sample size of 11 minor league seasons of mediocre numbers.

My point is that Neifi had a great month or so, and it "earned" him way too much playing time. And I am hoping that the same thing doesn't happen with Scales.

Lou and Ryno probably are coming to realize that goose is cooked. Unfortunately when they look in the yard the only other fowl available are Miles and Freel.

cubs were in the dugout wearing rally caps in the top 2nd...pretty much everyone inside out and worn "cap-bill mohawk" style.

dlee hits a homer to lead off the 2nd and the dugout turns into 8 year olds.

i would be all for freel starting five six in a row at third
lets see if he has anything left.


rough week...

Actual phone conversation with my not very knowledgeable significant other from about 36 seconds ago:

Her: "Did the Cubs play today?"
Me: "Yes"
Her: "Did they win?"
Me: "No"
Her: "Wow. Again? They aren't winning very much right now. When does Harden pitch? He's good, right?"
Me: "You better find somewhere else to sleep tonight."

Anyone seen Nomar play this year? I imagine he can be had for a marginal prospect.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners.

    Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant

  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer