Lahair Club Not Just for Men

Bryan Lahair cranked a three-run homer to tie the game and then later doubled and scored, leading the Cubs to an 11-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Cactus League action at sunnny and warm Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon, in what was the first-ever appearance by the Reds at HoHoKam Park. (The Reds relocated their Spring Training camp from Sarasota, FL to Goodyear, AZ this year).


 


box score


Battling for a spot in the Cubs starting rotation, lefty Sean Marshall did nothing to hurt his chances, throwing three very solid innings (49 pitches - 33 strikes, 4/3 GO/FO). He allowed just a solo HR to Reds third-baseman Juan Francisco (a LH hitter, BTW) and a single to Wladimir Balentien. He struck out two (Jay Bruce and Paul Janish), and didn't walk anybody. Marshall threw strikes and got outs.


Meanwhile, Reds starter Homer Bailey shut out the Cubs through the first two innings, before the Cubs broke-through with a single run in the bottom of the 3rd. James Adduci sliced a double into the LF corner (he had three hits today, for a total of five over the last two games), advanced to third on a Starlin Castro ground out (three ground outs for Castro today), and scored when Darwin Barney grounded a single into RF that scooted just beyond the reach of Reds second-baseman Brandon Phillips.


Adduci has been working with new Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on elevating his swing such that he might perhaps hit some HR (Adduci is a big guy, and looks like a 25+ HR hitter, except he hits mostly singles). But while he hasn't hit a HR yet, the extra work in the batting cage seems to have helped Adduci's overall approach to hitting. He has suddenly turned into an aggressive, ferocious hitter the last few days, after struggling at the plate early in camp. With his ability to play all three OF positions (and 1B), and with his plus-speed (he runs VERY well for a big guy, with 35 SB last year at AA Tennessee), he might actually be in the mix for the 4th OF gig, especially if Sam Fuld continues to struggle at the plate, and if the Cubs want Tyler Colvin and Brad Snyder to play every day at AAA. Piniella seems to really like Adduci. (BTW, Adduci's dad played in the big leagues with STL, MIL, and PHI back in the 1980's).


2009 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the year (and NRI RHP) Casey Coleman entered the game in the top of the 4th, and really struggled with his control throughout his two innings of work (39 pitches - just 18 strikes, including a 25-pitch 4th inning where he threw just nine strikes). Coleman also struggled with his control in his last outing, and that's no way for a young pitcher to make a favorable impression on a manager who hates walks as much as Lou Piniella does.


Coleman walked Brandon Phillips leading off the 4th inning, before surrendering a long HR over the left-centerfield fence to Juan Francisco (the husky third-baseman's second round-tripper of the day), and then escaped what could have been a much-worse inning when Yonder Alonso hit a rope-liner right at shortstop Starlin Castro, allowing the Cubs to double Wladimir Balentien (who had walked with one out) off 1st base (Balentien was running on a 3-2 pitch). Then with one out in the 5th, Paul Janish homered over the LF fence, giving the Reds a 4-1 lead.


But that was the last time the Cubs trailed, as they rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the 5th, scoring all of the runs on one swing of the bat, the Bryan Lahir game-tying three-run tater off Reds RHP Micah Owings that the powerful ex-Mariners 1st baseman ripped over the RF fence with two outs, following an Adduci single and a Barney walk.


With Micah Hoffpauir having had a terrible Spring at the plate so far, Lahair may be passing Hoffpauir on the depth chart behind Derrek Lee. Barring an injury to D-Lee, neither Hoffpauir nor Lahair are going to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, but Lahair might get the call over Hoffpauir later in the season (like maybe on September 1st, when rosters expand) if the Cubs wish to add a LH power-hitting 1B at that time.


Rule 5 RHP Mike Parisi pitched the 6th and 7th for the Cubs, and was a perfect six up/six down (L-9, Ks, F-9, P-3, 3-U, and 6-3, on 21 pitches - 16 strikes), probably further solidifying his spot in the Cubs bullpen. Being a Rule 5 player, the Cubs are going to give Parisi a longer look than they might give to another pitcher who isn't subject to getting reclaimed by his former team (in this case, the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals), but he still has to perform well in Spring Training outings if he wants to make the Cubs 25-man roster. And so far, he has performed very well indeed.


While Parisi was holding-off the Reds, the Cubs scored five runs off Reds NRI RHRP Jon Adkins, and then two more off LOOGY Pedro Viola.


Chad Tracy led-off the Cubs 6th with a line-single to left-center, and then Alfonso Soriano pulled a line-drive double into the LF corner (Sori's second hit of the game). For some reason (brain fart, perhaps?), temporary 3rd base coach Ryne Sandberg (Mike Quade was with the split squad in Las Vegas) inexplicably decided to send Tracy home. But Tracy was obviously a dead duck, so much so that he turned around half-way home and tried to get back to 3rd base, where he was tagged out for the 1st out of the inning. But DH Bobby Scales picked-up Tracy (and Sandberg), following the gaffe with an RBI double, a sharply hit grounder down the 1st base line and into the RF corner that scored PR Ty Wright (up from Minor League Camp) from 2nd base with the go-ahead run. Koyie Hill followed with a line single to right, advancing Scales to 3rd, and then after Adduci struck out swinging, Hak-Ju Lee (also up from Minor League Camp) lined a two-run double into the LF corner, scoring Scales and Hill (and the speedy HJ Lee was standing on 2nd base before K. Hill even hit 3rd!). While Starlin Castro may be the Cubs top position-player prospect going into the 2010 season, Hak-Ju Lee (rated the #1 prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America in 2009) is not far behind. Lee sprays line-drives from foul line to foul line.


Now up 7-4, the Cubs added four more in the 7th. Lahair almost decapitated Reds first-baseman Miguel Cairo with a lead-off low-flying line-drive double smoked down the first-base line, advanced to 3rd base on a Tyler Colvin single to left-center, and, after Chad Tracy struck out looking against Reds lefty reliever Pedro Viola (who had just entered the game), scored on a Ty Wright line-drive single to LF. Bobby Scales then hit into a FC (advancing Colvin to third), and Colvin and Scales both scored on a double off the top of the LF fence (a near HR) by catcher Chris Robinson. (With Uncle Lou having seen Robinson actually get a key two-out RBI extra-base hit, the Cubs might be more-willing to call-up Robinson if Geovany Soto or K. Hill get hurt, something they were not willing to do last year when Soto went on the DL in August). Adduci then plated Robinson with an RBI single to right to complete the Cubs scoring for the day.


RHRP Jeff Stevens (in contention for a job in the Cubs bullpen, but having a bad Spring) worked the 8th inning for the Cubs (18 pitches - 11 strikes, 1/2 GO/FO), allowing just a one-out double to NRI OF Josh Anderson (an outstanding diving-try near-miss by LF Ty Wright), but no runs.


RHP Esmailin Caridad worked an easy 1-2-3 16-pitch 9th (Kc, 5-3, F-8) to finish-off the Redlegs and send Cub fans home happy.


Besides Lahair's big day (he also made an outstanding catch in foul territory, reaching into the stands to grab a pop up), James Adduci and Tyler Colvin had three hits a piece, and Darwin Barney reached base three times on two singles and a walk. Barney also made a sterling defensive play in the top of the 2nd, ranging far to his left, diving to make the stop, and then nailing the base-runner at 2nd base with a throw from his knees.


While one Cubs squad trounced the Reds in Mesa, the other squad was in Las Vegas, edging the White Sox 8-7. Ryan Dempster threw three innings of one-hit ball in the hitter's paradise known as "Cashman Field," allowing just one unearned run, walking none, while striking out two.


Cubs-Sox box score


The Cubs play the Angels tomorrow afternoon in Tempe.

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Comments

Nice writeup as always Phil.

On Adducci, it seems to me like a bad idea to skip a level and try to re-work your hitting approach simultaneously. Have you gotten a chance to see him play some CF? I'd probably prefer him being on the ML roster over Colvin, because I think that will tend to retard both their development, but Colvin's probably got a little higher ceiling right now.

Now that Colvin has put on 25lbs of muscle this offseason, I'd like to see him play every day at Iowa and see if he can hit for more power. He also has to stay healthy.

I would think Nady's not being able to play defense is the final nail in the coffin for Hoffpauir making the team.

That leaves Fuld, Colvin, Adduci, and Snyder. Can Synder play CF?

Submitted by Paul Noce on Sat, 03/13/2010 - 9:30pm.
Now that Colvin has put on 25lbs of muscle this offseason, I'd like to see him play every day at Iowa and see if he can hit for more power. He also has to stay healthy.

I would think Nady's not being able to play defense is the final nail in the coffin for Hoffpauir making the team.

That leaves Fuld, Colvin, Adduci, and Snyder. Can Synder play CF?

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

PAUL N: Brad Snyder can play CF, although RF is definitely his best position because of his plus-arm (which of course also is useful in CF and LF).

The problem with Snyder is that he might be the type of player who needs to play every day (or at least in a platoon) to stay sharp at the plate. And I'm not sure he would get enough ABs as a 4th OF.

Another problem with adding Snyder to the 25-man roster (and 40-man roster) is that he is out of minor league options, so if the Cubs want to send him to the minors because they need his roster slot, he could get claimed off waivers. And even if he makes it through waivers without being claimed, he would have the right to be a FA if he gets outrighted, because he has been outrighted previously in his career.

Same goes for Bryan Lahair, BTW.

Now, that doesn't mean the Cubs can't or shouldn't add Snyder to the 25-man roster. It just means if they do, they should plan on keeping him in the big leagues for a while, because they won't be able to send him back & forth to the minors on the Chicago-Des Moines Shuttle, as they could with Fuld, Colvin, Adduci, and Hoffpauir (all of whom have options left).

Submitted by The Real Neal on Sat, 03/13/2010 - 9:11pm.
Nice writeup as always Phil.

On Adducci, it seems to me like a bad idea to skip a level and try to re-work your hitting approach simultaneously. Have you gotten a chance to see him play some CF? I'd probably prefer him being on the ML roster over Colvin, because I think that will tend to retard both their development, but Colvin's probably got a little higher ceiling right now.

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

NEAL: James Adduci has played mostly CF the last couple of years at Daytona and Tennessee, but he does play RF fairly often, too.

I saw Adduci play CF in Minor League Camp at Fitch Park in 2008 and 2009, and he covered plenty of ground. He has a decent arm with a quick release, and good defensive instincts.

He's a good 1st baseman, too.

BTW, for those of you who don't know this or don't remember, the Cubs got Adduci from the Florida Marlins in September 2006 as the replacement player for LHP Zach McCormack, who was returned to the Marlins as "damaged goods." (McCormack had been acquired along with RHP Lincoln Holdzkom for Todd Wellemeyer earlier in the year).

Adduci was playing only 1B at the time he came to the Cubs because he had suffered a knee injury and then a hand injury earlier in the year and was unable to play OF, but the Cubs moved him back to corner OF in 2007. He didn't begin to play CF semi-regularly until 2008.

Cool, thanks. If he does turn out to be a 5th outfielder and 1st base backup, a 25th man- that's not too bad an outcome. I have a feeling that a lot of our minor league outfielders are going to get a shot at some point this year.

Thanks AZ

Excellent write up

-and even better headline! lol!

Nady will start the year on the DL. I think if Colvin continues his success, he has a real good chance to make the opening day roster.

nady DL what?

If Nady can't throw it might be tough to keep him on the 25 man once the 5th starter is needed. I wouldn't be opposed to giving him some DL time if that's what it takes to fill out the bench, as long as they're not making room for Millar. Maybe they can start the year with an 11 man pitching staff and keep a 6 man bench, but even if they do that they'll have to find someone to platoon with Fukudome, essentially replacing Nady on the bench while he's limited to RHPH duties.

Lineup (8):
Theriot
The Fook
Lee
Ram
Byrd
Alf
Font
Soto

Bench (6):
Hill
Baker
Nady
Fuld/Colvin/Aducci
Tracy
RH Hitting RF??

Rotation (4):
Z
Demp
Wells
Marshall/Gorz/Silva/Smardjz

Pen (7):
Marmol
Grabes
Caridad
Parisi
Gorz
Silva
Samardzija

When Lilly gets back from DL, someone from the bench has to go. If Nady could at least get it to the cut off man we'd have this whole thing figured out, except for the pen sucking so bad.

EDIT
I was just assuming a platoon for Fook and thought I'd look up some basic numbers.

KFuk Platoon Splits from baseball reference

2008 vs RH: .742 OPS, .292 BABIP
2009 vs RH: .828, .318
Career: .789, .306

2008 vs LH: .725, .337
2009 vs LH: .531, .229
Career: .667, .309

I would think a 5 man bench would be:

Hill
Nady
Outfielder
Baker
Tracy

If a lefty is starting they can have Baker and Nady in the lineup, and with a righty starting they can use Fontenot and Fukudome, and in each case Lou has other two, plus Tracy to pinch hit. Tracy backs up 1st and 3rd, Baker can also play 3rd, Fontenot backs up short, and you have one 4th outfielder, like Fuld or Colvin capable of playing all 3 positions adequately. Late in the game you pull Nady and Soriano to have a solid defensive outfield.

If they go with a 6-man bench they could keep either Blanco, for a true backup shortstop and a great defensive replacement for both 2B and SS late in the game, or Millar who would play the same role as Tracy only from the right side - a veteran pinch hitter and backup at 1B and 3B. I would think they would pick either of those two over Hoffpauir since he hits from the same side as Tracy.

BUT, if Nady has to start on the DL, then this complicates things. A 5-man bench would be Hill, Baker, 4th Outfielder, same as above, but then they would need another outfielder. Perhaps this would be Hoffpauir since he can play OF as well as 1B. But then would the team keep Tracy when he hits from the same side? They might pick Millar over Tracy to give themselves a right handed bat off the bench. A 6-man bench without Nady could of course keep all 3 of those guys, but that is also a bit redundant and I would see Lou taking Blanco over one of them.

Alternatively, they could decide to keep two of the young outfielders, in addition to Hill, Baker, and Tracy, or for a 6-man in addition to Hill, Baker, Tracy, and Millar.

I wonder if Phil can tell us when to start expecting cuts from the big league camp? I would think they need to get some guys out of there so they can give these possible bench guys more of a look. For instance, Millar has played only 1B so far, and Tracy mostly 3B with just 3 innings at 1B. I would think they would want to see if both of them can field both 1B and 3B well. I would also think they would want to continue to give Fontenot a look at SS to really see if they can go without Blanco. And of course the young guys need to keep being given a shot in the OF. For instance, we know what Fuld can do, but he is hitting just .125 with no walks in 16 ABs so far. Colvin and Adduci are really out-hitting him at this point.

Keep in mind Fountainout can backup Aramis at third base. I think Tracy really has to show he's a offensive upgrade over Hoffpauir and Fontenot to make the team.

My assumption has been that Millar is just Nady to the DL insurance, though Nady could probably play 1st base with his arm in it's present condition as well as Millar.

I find it highly unlikely that Hoffpauir makes the team if they go with a 5-man bench. They won't go into the season with Hoffpauir, Nady, Fuld/Colvin, Baker, Hill, which seems like what you are proposing. That would leave Fontenot, Baker, Theriot, Ramirez to cover 2B, 3B, and SS. Lou won't do that. You pinch hit for one guy or double switch and then you are severely restricted for the rest of the game, not to mention if someone is just day to day for some little injury (read Ramirez). Hoffpauir not being able to play third hurts his chances considerably.

Millar has played 3 games in the OF since 2005, and they haven't tried him there at all this spring, so I find him replacing Nady if Nady goes on the DL to be unlikely. If you mean replace his RH bat with Millar, then yes, but then they have to take someone off elsewhere to add another OF. Because I also don't think Lou will go into the season with only 4 people on the roster who can play OF.

Also, Hoffpauir so far is hitting .133/.235/.200, while Tracy is .333/.429 /.333, so right now Tracy has the edge, especially since he can play third, and has experience staying sharp pinch-hitting, while Hoffpauir has options and struggled off the bench last year in limited playing time.

You've got Fukudome and Soriano who've got experience in center field and Hoffpauir and Baker with experience in the OF corners, so it would actually be Fuld/Colvin that get cut at the expense of Blanco in my suggestion.

You've got 6 guys to "play" the outfield, 3 third basemen, 3 nominal SS's, 4 2nd basemen and 4 first basemen in that scenario. You don't have a really solid CF defensive backup, though.

And yeah, I think Millar is only there to play experienced RH PH if Nady can't go at the start of the year.

Submitted by WISCGRAD on Sun, 03/14/2010 - 8:05am.
.

I wonder if Phil can tell us when to start expecting cuts from the big league camp? I would think they need to get some guys out of there so they can give these possible bench guys more of a look.

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

WISCGRAD: I expect a "batch" cut on Monday or Tuesday, where as many as 12-15 players could get optioned or returned to Minor League Camp all at once.

Minor Leaguers just began "live" BP yesterday, and I believe there will be intrasquad games on Wednesday and/or Thursday, with Minor League Spring training games commencing next Thursday or Friday. Also, the Cubs have their mid-ST off day on Wednesday, and they usually like to make the batch cut prior to that day.

So there wasn't any point in making cuts prior to this week because the players at Minor League Camp were at the point where the Cubs were at toward the end of February.

Also, Draft-Excluded playerzs (that is, players added to the 40-man roster anytime after August 15th of the previous season) cannot be optioned to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

If I had to guess, I would expect the following players to get cut this week:

Pitchers Mitch Atkins, Rafael Dolis, Marcos Mateo, David Patton, and Blake Parker, and catcher Welington Castillo get optioned to the minors, and pitchers Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Jeff Kennard, J. R. Mathes, and Vince Perkins, catchers Steve Clevenger and Blake Lalli, infielders Matt Camp and Josh Vitters, and outfielder Brett Jackson get sent to Minor League Camp for reassignment.

Something like that.

Players who are sent to Minor League Camp can continue to play in MLB Cactus League games. It's just that their belongings get moved from HoHoKam Park to Fitch Park.

And occasionally a player who is optioned to the minors during Spring Training gets recalled before Opening Day. That happened with Joe Borowski a few years ago, when Antonio Alfonseca got hurt the last week of ST. If that happens, the player does not officially spend any time on optiional assignment. A player begins to "officially" spend time on optional assignment beginning on MLB Opening Day (which this year is Sunday 4/3).

One other thing to keep in mind about roster movement is that players cannot be placed on the 15-day DL until nine days prior to the start of the MLB regular season (which this year is Friday, March 26). Also, DL stints cannot be backdated any further back than that date, and cannot be backdated further back than the day after the player being placed on the 15-day DL last played in a Grapefruit League or Cactus League game (minor league ST ganmes don't count).

Players can be placed on the 60-day DL anytinme after the start of Spring Training, BUT, to place a player on the 60-day DL, a club's 40-man roster has to be full, AND, the player has to be replaced on the 40-man roster by another player. So unless the Cubs add two players to the 40-man roster sometime between today and March 26th, Andres Blanco, Jeff Gray, Angel Guzman, and Ted Lilly cannot be placed on the DL until March 26, and the earliest a player who is placed on the 15-day DL on 3/26 can be reactivated is Saturday 4/10.

First cuts were announced today, and Arizona Phil was 9-for-9:

"Mitch Atkins was optioned to Triple-A Iowa and David Patton, whom the Cubs acquired in December 2008 in the Rule 5 Draft, was optioned to Double-A Tennessee. Both are right-handed pitchers.

[Brett] Jackson, [Josh] Vitters, catchers Steve Clevenger and Blake Lalli, infielder Matt Camp, and pitchers Jeff Kennard and Vince Perkins all were assigned to the Minor League camp."

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

Az Phil, have you had a chance to observe the minor lge groupings at Fitch yet?

I know it's just spring training, but:

"Reds first-baseman Miguel Cairo"

Oh, Dusty, I miss you so...

Someone asked if it was a maple bat that almost took out David Price the other day.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe seems to think it was:

"After David Price was nearly impaled, can we agree that maple bats aren’t a good idea?"

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/article...

He also thinks Kerry Wood "also is drawing interest from his former team, the Cubs."

"Hey Cleveland, want to pay Kerry Wood to pitch for us this year?"

"No"

"well have a good day...."

He forgot to say please. That's the problem right there.

Actually... there is a way this could work out which isn't far fetched. Wood, in his desire to return to the Cubs and play for a team that is nominally in contention, defers a lot of his salary so the Cubs could squeeze him in at maybe $3 million on this year's contract. I would guess that jersey sales would tend to defer some of those deferred costs, too.

Wishful thinking on my part, I know, but not total fantasy land stuff.

Crane Kenney (too lazy to verify the spelling this afternoon) mentioned he reads BCB but I hope he reads AZ Phil's posts, too. He'll learn more about the Cubs reading one post than he could possibly imagine.

As long as he doesn't start believing the crap that Yellon spews about baseball strategy, he'll probably be OK.

How dare you!?

You're banned.

Colvin is the MLB ST hits leaders.

...After seeing the next 20, I'm less excited.

I sure hope they don't trade him for rental, though.

No chat room?

showing all the abilities to throw that Ronny Cedeno did

~ducks~

Castro hurts his leg on what should have been the game-ending double play(tripped over himself a bit on a hard hit ball up the middle), staying in though

He played the ball decent, considering.

What I believe will determine the final 25 man roster is Hendry and Pinella's uncertain future with the Cubs beyond the 2010 season. The logical question is: Are these Cubs realistic contenders for a 2010 pennant?

If yes, then of course they take a veteran bench (Hill, Nady, Baker, Tracy, and Fuld) and trade for Frasor. It appears Baseball Prospectus and other number-crunching groups don't believe they are with 79 to 82 win projections. I tend to side with them and don't see Frasor (or even Kerry Wood) as difference makers. And with the payroll already near the maximum, it's hard to see a trade or acquisition they could make that would put this team over the top.

Logically, they should accept that and determine in 2010 if players like Castro, Colvin, Cashner, Samardzija, and Gaub can make significant contributions and can demonstrate skills that would identify them as future MLB players. Again, since that's not in Hendry and Pinella's best interests AND since the Ricketts family give every appearance of focusing on other areas of Cubs business in 2010...........HELLO, 3rd or 4th place.

I'm sorry bro, but I'll have to respectfully disagree with you. Good & bad luck in this game can be worth anywhere from 10-12 wins a season and this team has a good enough core to contend. If you have the potential to contend, you don't exactly write off the team before the first game is played. Though, I do agree with your assessment of the veteran backups the team picked up... it makes them more "injury-proof" and not very necessary if they fall out of contention.

BP believes a lot of crazy crap. The NYY were finishing 3rd behind the first place TB Rays last I checked.

Their projections seem to heavily punish anyone over the age of 32 regardless of their game shape or ability. Meh...

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