Five Cub Home Runs Doom A's

Tyler Colvin went 3-3 with two doubles and a solo HR, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd singled and homered, Sam Fuld blasted a two-run home run, Brad Snyder ripped a 450+ foot solo HR, Kosuke Fukudome doubled and singled, Starlin Castro tripled, and five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, as the Cubs drubbed the Oakland A's 9-3 in front of 7,496 fans at the 2010 Cubs Cactus League Opener at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & breezy Mesa this afternoon.


box score



RHP Randy Wells got the Cactus League Opening Day start for the Cubs, and worked two perfect innings (26 pitches - 17 strikes, 4/0 GO/FO), retiring four of the six hitters he faced on easy grounders while striking out the other two (Daric Barton and Gabe Gross).


Meanwhile, Derrek Lee followed yesterday's BP Home Run Derby show with a towering solo home run to left-centerfield off A's starter Trevor Cahill with two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning to put the Cubs on the board.


The Cubs added another run in the bottom of the second, as Marlon Byrd led-off with a line single to CF and Tyler Colvin laced a line-drive double (off a LHP) into the left-centerfield power alley. Mike Fontenot than hit a sac-fly to deep LF to score Byrd from third, although A's LF Rajai Davis threw Colvin out in a bang-bang play as Colvin tried to advance from 2nd to 3rd on the play. (A very questionable call by the 3rd base umpire)


LHP Sean Marshall followed Randy Wells to the mound, and was nearly as good as Wells. Marshall threw two hitless/shutout innings (24 pitches - 16 strikes, 3/2 GO/FO), allowing just a walk and a WP, while striking out one. Although he did not start the game, Marshall throwing two innings keeps him in-line for getting stretched-out enough during Spring Training to get a legitimate shot at the 5th starter's job or as Ted Lilly's temporary replacement, should the Cubs wish to go that route.


The Cubs added two more runs in the bottom of the 4th, as Byrd led-off the inning with a HR off A's reliever Clayton Mortensen just to the left of the center field Green Monster batter's eye, and Colvin followed with a rope-double over the right-fielder's head. Fontenot walked, and then Geovany Soto lined a single down the LF line, scoring Colvin. However, Fontenot was thrown out 7-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on the play.


RHP Mike Parisi (selected from the St Louis Cardinals in last December's Rule 5 Draft) worked the 5th and 6th innings, and did not pitch badly (24 pitches - 13 strikes, 4/0 GO/FO). He did allow a one-out Adam Rosales HR to LF in his first inning (the 5th), but struck out the last two men he faced in his second inning of work (top of the 6th). Like Marshall, throwing two innings in his first outing puts Parisi on track to compete for a job in the 2010 Cubs starting rotation, or he could claim a job in the bullpen if there is no room for him in the rotation.


While both were Rule 5 guys, Parisi is in a different situation than David Patton was this time last year. Patton was more of a long-term investment and was clearly not ready for MLB last season, while Parisi had two full years of AAA under his belt before blowing out his elbow and undergoing Tommy John Surgery post-2008. Parisi then missed most of the 2009 season while rehabbing from the TJS, before the Cards assigned him to the Surprise Rafters in the AFL in October, where he was one of the better starting pitchers in the AFL. So I doubt that the Cubs will try to finesse Parisi through the 2010 season as they did with Patton last year (like when Patton was placed on the DL and then sent to the minors on a 30-day rehab assignment to get work). Parisi might get a longer look in Spring Training than other pitchers who have options available, but he will have to make the Cubs Opening Day 12-man pitching staff by pitching well in Spring Training. If he gets clearly outpitched by others during the course of Spring Training, the Cubs will cut him with no second thoughts.


The Cubs added single runs in the 5th and 6th. Kosuke Fukudome grounded a single to deep short with one out in the 5th (Fukudome had doubled over the center-fielder's head in the the bottom of the 3rd), advanced to 3rd base on a Derrek Lee single to CF, and then scored when A's 3B Jake Fox air-mailed a throw over first-baseman Daric Barton's head after D-Lee fell down while rounding 1st base. Then in the bottom of the 6th, Colvin got his third extra-base hit of the day with a lead-off towering HR just to the right of the CF Batter's Eye off ex-Cub prospect LHP Jerry Blevins. So two of Colvin's three extra-base hits today were off LHPs (Cahill and Blevins).


NRI LHP J. R. Mathes labored through the 7th and 8th (40 pitches - 22 strikes, 2/2 GO/FO), allowing one run in the 7th on a HBP, single, BB and SF, and then another in the 8th when Chris Carter crushed a one-out solo HR off the roof of the Dos Gringos taco stand in deep left-center. Mathes is eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent (so called "six-year minor league free-agent") post-2010, so despite having some decent years in AAA over the past couple of years, his days as a member of the Cubs organization are probably numbered. 


The Cubs completed their scoring in the bottom of the 7th, as Brad Snyder absolutely pulverized a gargantuan 450+ foot HR beyond the two bullpens in RF leading off the inning, Chad Tracy lined a one-out single to LF, and Sam Fuld yanked a two-run HR over the RF fence into the A's bullpen. All three 7th inning hits (including both HR) were by LH hitters off a LHP (Brad Kilby).


RHP Esmailin Caridad had a rocking-chair easy 1-2-3 9th (14 pitches - 9 strikes, 1/2 GO/FO).


The Cubs defensive play of the day was an over-the-shoulder catch by second-baseman Andres Blanco in short RF while running with his back to the infield. (It was very windy today).   


19-year old Starlin Castro entered the game at shortstop for the Cubs in the 5th, and made two routine plays in the field. He flied out F-9 and popped-out P-4 in his first two PAs, before crushing a two-out triple off the right-centerfield fence in the 8th, although he was left stranded at 3rd base when Brad Snyder struck out (swinging) on three pitches to end the inning. 


Carlos  Zambrano is scheduled to get his first Cactus League start tomorrow afternoon, when the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks at HoHoKam Park.

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Comments

Not much point in reading the Chicago papers or Cubs.com if you can get reports from Arizona Phil

AZ Phil, if the Cubs are worried about Nady's ability to play the OF, who has the best shot at claiming a spot on the bench: Fuld, Snyder, or Colvin?

Does Snyder have any chance at playing in the majors this year, or is he too blocked by OFs Fuld and Colvin and left-handed bats Tracy and Hoffpauir? I like the guy's defense and power potential. He looks to me like has the potential to be a fringe starter, making up for marginal contact with decent patience and power. What's your take on him this year?

Submitted by Charlie on Thu, 03/04/2010 - 8:25pm.
AZ Phil, if the Cubs are worried about Nady's ability to play the OF, who has the best shot at claiming a spot on the bench: Fuld, Snyder, or Colvin?

Does Snyder have any chance at playing in the majors this year, or is he too blocked by OFs Fuld and Colvin and left-handed bats Tracy and Hoffpauir? I like the guy's defense and power potential. He looks to me like has the potential to be a fringe starter, making up for marginal contact with decent patience and power. What's your take on him this year?

===============================================

CHARLIE: I think the Cubs are worried about Nady's ability to play OF in 2010 (especially RF, where longer throws across the infield are required). Watching Nady match D-Lee tater-for-tater in Wednesday's "Home Run Derby" at HoHoKam makes it pretty obvious that Nady can hit and hit with plus-power. He should be a DH right now, although he probably could play 1B. (Jeff Bagwell played 1B with a a bum shoulder for years).

Nady was signed primarily to platoon with Fukudome in RF and provide insurance in case Soriano or D-Lee goes down with an injury. And while signing such a player made a lot of sense, Nady might not have been the best choice if he can't throw. It's possible that if Nady's elbow doesn't improve the Cubs will trade him to an A. L. club after 6/15 (when his automatic "no trade" expires) so that he can be a DH. Because the TJS is not impeding his ability to hit one bit.

Sam Fuld has the inside track to win the "4th OF" job because he is a plus-defender capable of playing all three OF positions, because he has the speed to pinch-run, because he has the offensive skills necessary to get a spot start in LF, CF, or RF, or PH (especially leading-off an inning, because he is a VERY patient hitter), and because he would be the best candidate to replace Sori in LF in the late innings when the Cubs are trying to protect a lead. Fuld also hits LHP almost as well as he hits RHP, and probably has the baseball maturity necessary to stay sharp even when he doesn't get a lot of ABs in games. The big negative with Fuld is that he is injury-prone.

Tyler Colvin has far better power & slugging potential than Fuld, and while he can play LF or CF, Colvin just isn't the defensive player that Fuld is (although Colvin does have the athleticism to make an occasional spectacular catch) and he probably doesn't have the arm to play RF. Colvin runs well, but not as well as Fuld, and so he isn't really a PR type, either. The best thing about Colvin (version 2010) is that he has bulked-up and looks like he might be morphing into a 30+ HR guy. He had the best week of BP of any player at Fitch Park (he destroyed Jeff Stevens), and carried that over into his first ST game with three XBH (two versus LHP). Personaly, I think Colvin will get traded someplace where he can play every day (or at least in a platoon situation), but I guess he could end up in CF with the Cubs in 2012 (when Kosuke is gone and if Byrd is moved to RF), or maybe even in 2011 IF he batters AAA pitching in 2010 AND somehow Byrd ends up platooning in RF with Fukudome.

Brad Snyder has one of the top three OF arms in the Cubs organization (Kyler Burke and Nelson Perez own the other two), has big-time HR power, runs well for a big guy (like an NFL TE), and he can play all three OF positions. But his big problem is strikeouts. He swings & misses a LOT. While he has plus-power, he is not a good hitter. So I doubt that he would make a good PH. His swing is just too long. Ideally, Snyder would make it to MLB as a platoon-RF, but that job isn't open with the Cubs unless Fukudome gets hurt. Snyder also might have a shot as the 4th OF if Fuld gets hurt (which is Fuld's history, BTW) and if Colvin gets traded.

I do not understand why Brad Snyder re-signed with the Cubs (he was a minor league FA post-2009). He would have a better shot of getting to the big leagues with another organization.

Thanks Phil!

This makes a lot of sense to me:

Ideally, Snyder would make it to MLB as a platoon-RF . . . I do not understand why Brad Snyder re-signed with the Cubs. He would have had a better shot of getting to the big leagues with another organization.

I'm weird enough to kind of wish that the Cubs hadn't signed Byrd just so that bargain guys like Fuld, Snyder and Hoffpauir could get a chance. I guess I just really want the Cubs to get lucky on a cheap, young player. Even though they are in a much more secure position playing Byrd. Dumb like that. Maybe sentimental would be a more accurate word.

fwiw, Cubs knew Nady needed some more time with his elbow when it came to throwing when they signed him.

They said he'd take it easy during spring training and probably wouldn't play much outfield until May.

They just went through it with Colvin, so I'm sure they have a good grasp on a reasonable timetable (granted this is Nady's 2nd surgery).

"I do not understand why Brad Snyder re-signed with the Cubs (he was a minor league FA post-2009)."

Maybe he took a look at their starting outfielders. Looks to me like an opportunity for Snyder, Colvin, Jackson, Burke, Guyer, etc., maybe even Campana.

I'm starting to like Byrd, though. Again yesterday he spoke to Randy Wells between innings about tipping his changeup. Makes you wonder about all those people on the Cub payroll who haven't been spotting this sort of thing.

Also, thanks for the great recap. And thanks to Rob for the play-by-play in the previous thread.

Baseball is back! Sort of.

Thanks PHIL for the eye-witness.
Indeed, I wish to echo Charlie's question - What is your projection for Snyder making the team as the "25th man"? I do not recall if Brad Snyder has one Option left...

Will this hinge on Fontenot's play (as in, if Fonty under-performs,could he get released)? Or, are the last bench spots a "playoff" between Tracy and Fontenot? I guess you can see a theme here: Fontenot will be on a short leash if he does not get it together this spring one would have to assume.

Submitted by The E-Man on Thu, 03/04/2010 - 9:01pm.
Thanks PHIL for the eye-witness.
Indeed, I wish to echo Charlie's question - What is your projection for Snyder making the team as the "25th man"? I do not recall if Brad Snyder has one Option left...

Will this hinge on Fontenot's play (as in, if Fonty under-performs,could he get released)? Or, are the last bench spots a "playoff" between Tracy and Fontenot? I guess you can see a theme here: Fontenot will be on a short leash if he does not get it together this spring one would have to assume.

===========================================

E-MAN: Right now I doubt that Brad Snyder has much of a chance of making the Cubs Opening Day roster. He would have a much better chance if Fukudome or Fuld get hurt during ST, but once Snyder is put on the 25-man roster (and 40-man roster), it will be difficult for the Cubs to send him back to Iowa because he is out of minor league options.

That's why short-term injury replacements are usually guys who can be sent back-and-forth to AAA (on the "Des Moines-Chicago Shuttle") as needed, and that means a player who has a minor league option available (like Tyler Colvin, for example) is the one who would be more-likely to get the recall if and when a Cubs outfielder goes on the DL. That said, I doubt that Snyder being out of options would keep the Cubs from adding Snyder to the 25 (and 40) as an injury replacement, as long as the injured player is expected to remain out of action for an extended period of time.

I would say Chad Tracy has a good chance to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster if Aramis Ramirez or Derrek Lee get hurt in ST, or if Xavier Nady starts the season on the DL, or if Lou decides to go with just one middle-infield back-up (which would probably be Andres Blanco rather than Mike Fontenot, partly because Blanco is a "true" SS, and partly because Blanco is out of options while Fontenot has one left).

I also suspect that Tracy probably has a deal in place where he has the option to opt-out of his minor league contract if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster. I doubt that he would accept an assignment to Iowa, although I guess he might be willing to go to AAA for a while, at least until he gets an MLB deal elsewhere (as Rod Beck did a few years ago), and to do that he would have to have the option to get his release whenever he wants it. That would put some pressure on the Cubs if Tracy has a good ST, because Tracy is one of the best LHPH in baseball, and is capable of playing 3B or 1B if something happens to A-Ram or D-Lee. And Tracy's knee is (apparently) finally healthy (he had micro-fracture surgery a couple of years ago).

here's a weird one regarding wells...

http://m.mlb.com/chc/news/article/20100304868...

---

"I kind of botched the eye chart, not giving it a whole-hearted effort at 7 in the morning," Wells said. "I went to the eye doctor and she recommended I try the prescription out and immediately I saw results from reading and labels were brighter and signs on the road and I can see farther. It's not like I couldn't see the strike zone and I needed glasses."

Is he near-sighted or far-sighted? Wells didn't know. His vision, he said, is 20-30. Catcher Geovany Soto didn't tape his fingers to help Wells see the signs. The pitcher did order some prescription sports glasses and they have yet to arrive.

"It's just an experiment to see if it helps," Wells said. "If I keep throwing innings like I did today, there's no need for them."

That's exactly how Piniella feels.

"I told him, 'Before you put the glasses on, let's try it without,'" Piniella said.

"I'm not going to wear them until I throw a couple bullpens and see if it helps," Wells said. "I can see fine. ... It's helped me with my day-to-day stuff. I never realized I had a vision problem. Like reading those signs [across the clubhouse], I can read them but when I put the glasses on, it's brighter and more bold. It's just an idea that maybe they'll help me pitching."

Better vision might be a safety concern--could be easier to see and react to comebackers.

It looks like the Cubs aren't the only team where the primary eye test consists only of reading an eye chart.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/2...

It's starting to dawn on people that maybe, just maybe, the Ricketts might be terrible owners. Even the dimbulb that burns in Phil Rogers' head has lit up...

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/03/...

Over-paying for middle relievers is hardly the sign of a good owner. I'm sure if the Cubs are in contention and they need a reliever, they'll get one.

Seems a little early to pass that kind of judgment.

Not for NAVIGATOR. Where there is any neg. angle, it seems you'll find NAVIGATOR

that's some interesting commentary on what was actually written...kinda

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Friday that he's not expecting right-hander Angel Guzman to be ready for the start of the season. Source: Gordon Wittenmyer on Twitter

"Guzman was recovering from left knee surgery when he began to experience soreness in his right shoulder at the start of spring training on Feb. 17."

is mark prior's dad his dad or something? arm of gold, genetics of tin.

I know it's Spring Training and all...but the Bears just signed Chester Taylor, RB from the Vikings. Bascally, with the lockout, it's a 1-year $7million deal.

Good start to the offseason.

Julius Peppers, Bears Finalize 6-Year Deal

http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/The_Trenches...

Outstanding!

There's a bears blog

http://thebeartruth.net

Thanks Rob!! Just thought that maybe more people were reading this one, given the time of year.

there are more visitors here, but I'm trying to build that one up and having comments and an active community would help that.

it was more of a reminder than anything....

Z went 2 scoreless innings, Casey Coleman pitching now

S. Castro, Baker, Colvin, Millar, Snyder, Vitters, B. Jackson, Hill is the starting lineup

Colvin with a 2b his first at-bat, B. Jackson walked and that's been it.

5 scoreless between Z, Coleman and Stevens so far...

muskat tweet:

Brett Jackson with an rbi Triple in bottom of 5th

Jeff Stevens struckout the side in the top of 5th.

http://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat

from cco: Cubs get 4 runs in 5th on 5 hits AGAINST AARON HEILMAN

including Jackson's triple, and hits from Colvin and Castro

"CS: Millar (1, 2nd base by Haren/Snyder)."

bwahahahaha!

fire lou!!!

wait...i mean...bwhahahahah.

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