Buck Stops Here

Travis Buck homered to key a three-run 9th, as an Oakland A's split squad defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & breezy Mesa, Arizona, this afternoon.


 


box score


Carlos Zambrano got the start for the Cubs and went 6+ innings (85 pitches - 54 strikes), allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits, one walk, and a HBP, while striking out six (3/9 GO/FO).


The A's scored one run in the top of the 1st when Coco Crisp led-off with an infield single into the hole between 2nd & 3rd (as shortstop Ryan Theriot "showed-off" his below-average arm), ex-Cub Eric Patterson walked, and Eric Chavez reached base on a FC. with Crisp advancing to 3rd. Kevin Kouzmanoff then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Crisp (although Kosuke Fukudome's throw from RF beat Crisp to the plate, and it looked like Crisp was tagged out by catcher Geovany Soto).


The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd against A's starter LHP Dallas Braden, when Marlon Byrd led-off with a HR to the base of the scoreboard beyond the LF fence. Alfonso Soriano then hammered a double into the right-centerfield alley, and Jeff Baker roped a double of the LF fence to score Soriano. But that's all the Cubs could get in the inning, as Geovany Soto, Carlos Zambrano, and Ryan Theriot grounded out, leaving Baker stranded in scoring position.


Going into the 4th inning, Zambrano had retired nine of ten batters, and he should have retired the lead-off hitter in the 4th, too, except a back-pedaling Ryan Theriot dropped a pop-up in short left (a play Alfonso Soriano should have made), allowing the hitter (Kevin Kouzmanoff) to reach 2nd base on the E-6. Travis Buck followed with an RBI single (unearned run), but then Zambrano followed the Buck hit by retiring the next nine men in a row.


The Cubs threatened to score in the bottom of the 6th, as Derrek Lee walked and Aramis Ramirez lined a single with no outs. But then Marlon Byrd hit into a 5-4 FC, And Alfonso Soriano banged into an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP, leaving D-Lee stranded at 3rd.


Zambrano went back to the mound to start the 7th, but was removed after hitting the lead-off hitter with a pitch. Rookie LHP James Russell then entered the game and retired three in a row (F-7, Kc, and 4-3).


Jeff Samardzija threw a scoreless 8th (14 pitches - only 5 strikes), walking one, and having a lot of difficulty throwing strikes (as he has pretty much all Spring). But somehow he managed to get outs (5-3, P-4, F-9) despite pitching from behind in the count against every hitter he faced.


The Cubs threatened again in the bottom of the 8th, as Kosuke Fukudome roped a lead-off double into the right-field corner against A's LHRP Brad Kilby. Micah Hoffpauir walked, and Sam Fuld dropped a picture-perfect 5-4 sacrifice bunt, putting runners at 2nd & 3rd with one out. With a left-hander on the mound, Manager Lou Piniella chose to play the game like it mattered, and sent Kevin Millar up to the plate to pinch-hit for Chad Tracy. With the infield pulled-in for a play at the plate, Millar hit a pop-up into short CF that looked like it might fall in front of the centerfielder, when shortstop Cliff Pennington made a fine running catch, and threw out Fukudome trying to score from 3rd.


Carlos Marmol came into the game in the top of the 9th with the score tied 2-2, and immediately surrendered a home run over the right-field fence to Travis Buck, before hitting Michael Taylor with a pitch. Then with Taylor on the move, Landon Powell lined a single to right, sending Taylor to 3rd. Marmol then got what appeared to be a DP ground-ball to 2nd baseman Jeff Baker, except the transfer between Baker and shortstop Andres Blanco did not go smoothly, and Cliff Pennington reached base, with Taylor scoring from 3rd. After Pennington stole 2nd base, Shane Peterson lined an RBI single to score Penington from 2nd, and that was that for Marmol (16 pitches - 9 strikes, allowing three runs on three hits, a HBP and a HR).


RHP Justin Berg was brought in to "mop up," and got a "strike 'em out/throw 'em out" to end the inning.


The Cubs got the tying run to plate in the bottom of the 9th against RHRP Fernando Hernandez, as Jeff Baker drew a one-out walk and advanced to 2nd base when Andres Blanco lined an 0-2 pitch into left-field for a single. But with Tyler Colvin on deck, Chris Robinson grounded weakly into a 1-6-3 DP to end the game with a whimper.


The Cubs host the San Diego Padres at HoHoKam Park tomorrow.

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Comments

Wasn't Lilly's minor league start pushed up to today?

Has anyone heard how it went?

Never mind, I found something.

"“Lilly threw good,” Piniella said. “Two innings, he didn’t throw any curve balls at all, just straight fastballs and change-ups. He got the side out in the second, 1-2-3. We couldn’t have expected any better; it was a good performance.”

Lilly threw 31 pitches in his outing. The Cubs are hoping he’ll return to the rotation by mid-to-late April."

Andres Blanco, Tyler Colvin, Sam Fuld, Micah Hoffpauir, and Kevin Millar are competing for one roster spot.

If Millar makes the 25-man roster, the Cubs will need three slots on the 40-man roster (for Chad Tracy, James Russell, and Kevin Millar).

One would probably be Andres Blanco's, because if Blanco doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster (and if he doesn't get placed on the DL), he will have to get either traded or outrighted to the minors (he out of minor league options), presuming he doesn't get claimed off waivers.

And if he is outrighted, he would have the right to be a free-agent immediately (with no termination pay), or accept the outright assignment and defer the right to be a FA until the end of the MLB regular season (and then the Cubs would have until the end of the MLB regular season to add him back to their 40-man roster).

Also, Mike Parisi has very likely been placed on waivers already, but if he was placed on waivers today (Friday), he will not "clear" until 1 PM Sunday. (Weekends are considered MLB "business days" during Spring Training). If Parisi gets claimed by another MLB club, that club assumes the Rule 5 obligations and the Cubs get $25,000 (the waiver price for Rule 5 players).

If Parisi is not claimed off waivers by another MLB club, he is automatically offered back to the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cardinals have two days to decide whether they want him back. If the Cards do reclaim him, Parisi is automatically outrighted to AAA Memphis (the AAA club from which he was drafted) and the Cubs get $25,000.

But because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Parisi (like Blanco) would have the right to decline the outright assignment and become a free-agent immediately (with no termination pay), or he could accept the outright assignment and defer his right to be a FA until the end of the MLB regular season (and then the Cardinals would have until the end of the MLB regular seasson to add Parisi to their 40-man roster).

If the Cardinals decline to reclaim Parisi, the Cubs keep him and they can either option him or outright him to the minors, but (again) if he gets outrighted, he can be a FA immediately (with no termination pay) or defer the right to be a FA until the end of the MLB regular season (with the Cubs having to option to add him back to their 40-man roster anytime up until the end of the MLB regular season).

The Cubs presently have one opening on their 40-man roster, so if they add James Russell, Chad Tracy, and Kevin Millar to the 40-man roster (and 25-man Opening Day roster), they will either outright Blanco to the minors (or trade him), and they would get another slot on the 40 by outrighting Parisi to AAA Iowa (if he isn't claimed off waivers by another MLB club or reclaimed by STL). And then they could wait until later in the season to move Angel Guzman from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL (if they need another slot at some point).

And since he will miss the entire 2010 season, Guzman would also provide the Cubs with a post-season roster exemption (should the Cubs make it that far). And then Gozman will almost certainly get non-tendred on 12/12, but will be offered a low-price minor league contract so that he can continue his rehab at Fitch Park in 2011.

So you believe Tracy has already made the team? I can't make a case for any of those guys making the team except Fuld. If Byrd has to leave a game, Sori/Fuku/(Millar/Nady/Tracy) might be the worst outfield ever.

I think either Fuld or Blanco needs to make the roster. I'd be okay with Blanco taking Jeff Baker's spot on the roster so that they can carry both Fuld and Blanco, unless the Cubs know something about Baker that I don't (they probably do).

Submitted by John Beasley on Fri, 03/26/2010 - 8:08pm.
So you believe Tracy has already made the team?

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JOHN B: Yes. Tracy was told a week ago to to find a place to live in Chicago, which doesn't positively guarantee anything, but it almost does.

How the hell do you find out all of this stuff when no one else is reporting it? It's amazing.

You should remember that AZ PHIL really is ObiWan Konobi.

Did you forget this?

Are you sure they didn't say: "You should try to get one of the rooftop apartments, cuz that's the ONLY way you're seeing the inside of Wrigley"? or "The Commute to Iowa is REALLY pretty".

This team as configured is one of, if not the slowest in the NL. Without Fuld or Blanco, it really is fully a one-dimensional club.

Millar does jack for me. I just don't get it.

Like I said last thread, if they need a "jokester", just play Seinfeld or Chapelle in the locker room or something.

Carlos Marmol came into the game in the top of the 9th with the score tied 2-2, and immediately surrendered a home run over the right-field fence to Travis Buck, before hitting Michael Taylor with a pitch. Then with Taylor on the move, Landon Powell lined a single to right, sending Taylor to 3rd. Marmol then got what appeared to be a DP ground-ball to 2nd baseman Jeff Baker, except the transfer between Baker and shortstop Andres Blanco did not go smoothly, and Cliff Pennington reached base, with Taylor scoring from 3rd. After Pennington stole 2nd base, Shane Peterson lined an RBI single to score Penington from 2nd, and that was that for Marmol (16 pitches - 9 strikes, allowing three runs on three hits, a HBP and a HR).

Meh, I'd rather watch the GOP go on a filibuster bender than watch Marmol blow a game.

it's okay, it wasn't a save situation.

It's OK it's spring training.

My grandmother used to babysit this kid who hadn't started walking. One day he stood up, then fell immediately down to his bottom. He proceeded to stand up and fall down to his bottom again... and again. He repeated it for a couple of hours. He turned out to be a great athlete who never fell down while running or playing any sports. I can only assume that Marmol was doing the same thing today.

it was truly ugly. he didn't have control of anything he threw today. the homer he gave up was a huge smash. the HBP was ugly wild and up/inside. it was so wild there wasn't even a suspicion of it being purposeful even though it came after a homer that gave up the lead.

really really horrible stuff today.

also, the baker/blanco exchange (or the entire play, really) didn't seem that bad. pennington just hauled ass to 1st. there wasn't any fumbling or wasted motion from the looks of it.

There was a bit of a bobble by Baker.

This team as configured is one of, if not the slowest in the NL. Without Fuld or Blanco, it really is fully a one-dimensional club.

Millar does jack for me. I just don't get it.

Like I said last thread, if they need a "jokester", just play Seinfeld or Chapelle in the locker room or something.

I think it's entirely possible that the Cubs will add Kevin Millar to the 40-man roster prior to Opening Day, and then he will suddenly incur some type of vague, mysterious injury or illness that will justify the Cubs putting him on the 15-day DL. That way, he can travel with the team and provide entertainment for his teammates in the clubhouse and on the bench, collect $700K or so in salary, and be available to be reactivated later in the season (September 1st at the latest).

The Cubs do this all the time with their full-season minor league teams, carrying one or two extra position players with each team throughout the season, players who are initially placed on the DL, and then get reactivated to replace an injured position player (they have a 7-day DL in the minors), and then get placed back on the DL again when the injured player is reinstated.

It helps if the player has some type of pre-existing chronic condition (Derrek Lee's neck problem is a good one, because it's actually legitimate), but if he doesn't have one, they'll make something up.

I can't imagine that flying on a major league team. Millar may enjoy being a jokester but I doubt he does at the expense of being a ballplayer. I'd imagine there'd be protests from other teams and perhaps from within the organization itself.

Phil, have you heard or seen the extent of Chris Carpenters injury?

Submitted by Hagsag on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 8:23am.
Phil, have you heard or seen the extent of Chris Carpenters injury?

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

HAGSAG: I don't know what's wrong with Carpenter

On Bruuuuuce's show this am, he was told Toronto wanted Cashner in any deal. The Cubs said no way as they believe, "...he will be an impact player in the league..."

He also said the team was about "500k light on signing Capps and a mill light on Park."

It is astounding to me, that if true, two experienced bullpen arms were not signed when the team already has $135MM tied up.

Oh you Cubbies...

I for one applaud the Cubs for not overspending on either, I wish they showed the same restraint on Grabow.

I still think it's not unlikely that the Cubs will bring recently-released Mike MacDougal in for a look next week (on a minor league contract with MacDougal getting an opt-out if he doesn't make the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster), and if that happens, they could pitch him in games on MON-WED-FRI or TUE-THU-SAT, before they make a final decision on the makeup of the pen.

MacDougal went to high school in Mesa (at Mesa HS), so he probably wouldn't have a problem coming into HoHoKam for a three-game tryout.

While MacDougal definitely has his warts (walks), he did convert 20-21 save opps with Washington in 2009 and he doesn't give up many XBH.

The Cubs are looking for a set-up guy (preferrably a RHP) with MLB closer experience, and MacDougal is that. And unlike Jason Frasor, at least MacDougal wouldn't cost the Cubs any players.

MacDougal signed a minor league deal with the Nationals the other day - according to Rotoworld.

Bruce Levine says the Rangers are scouting Andres Blanco.

Submitted by QuietMan on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 9:15am.
MacDougal signed a minor league deal with the Nationals the other day - according to Rotoworld.

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

QUIET MAN: I missed that. Thanks for the info.

You're still the best Phil. You were just too busy giving us your excellent reports from Mesa.

I believe David Weathers is still out there without a job. I think he is still serviceable.

- sigh -

I suppose...

He was mediocre with his one year with the Cubs.

And, he has been very consistent in this quality in recent years.

All this angst is caused by Marmol blowing the game yesterday?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 9:32am.
All this angst is caused by Marmol blowing the game yesterday?

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

REAL NEAL: No. Discussions about acquiring a pitcher with reasonably significant MLB closer experience who can be a primary 8th inning set-up guy and who can also close on days Marmol is unavailable, or if Marmol gets hurt, or if Marmol suddenly implodes, didn't just start after Marmol's struggles yesterday or because he has given up home runs two games in a row. These discussions go back to before the start of Spring Training.

Exactly. Excellent point which I had mentioned a couple days ago as well.

These discussions I have understood, have been going on since December.

It appears as if the "kids" in the pen have very good arms, but the "old man" at 25 is the Wide-Out. Experience + some talent goes a long way in a bullpen. If we have a "Marmol Situation", what then?

Submitted by Hagsag on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 9:20am.
I believe David Weathers is still out there without a job. I think he is still serviceable.

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

HAGSAG: Texas Rangers RHRP Chris Ray is a fornmer closer (33 saves in 2006 with BAL) who had TJS in 2007 and then was really bad his first year back last year, but he has had a very good Spring so far with the Rangers. I don't know if Texas would trade Ray straight-up for Andres Blanco (presuming the Rangers are indeed interested in acquiring Blanco), but Blanco and a young pitcher for Ray might work.

That seems like a much better low-risk high reward trade (depending on what sort of young pitcher they would want back) than the Colvin + a pitcher for Frasor rumors that were going around here. I know very little about Ray, though.

I would think that Micah Hoffpauir could get moved shortly. Not sure Texas would have an interest in him though.

on Bruce Levine's show, he interviewed Hendry who said Jaramillo has been working on stuff with Hoffpauir and they consider that any improvements coming from that are a work in progress.

Not sure what that says about Hoffpauir's spring or his near term fate though...other than giving me the impression that he'll be in roster insurance in Iowa, since he's got an option left.

lineup per Muskat...

ineup for Saturday: RF Colvin, 2B Baker, 1B Lee, 3B Ramirez, CF Byrd, LF Millar, C Soto, SS Blanco, P Silva. Nady to play OF Sunday

showcasing Blanco to scouts or does he have a chance?

If Baker doesn't get himself settled at the plate (the announcing crew talked about him struggling with the mechanical adjustments he and Jaramillo have been working on), Blanco may turn out to be more valuable than him as a 2nd basemen (not even considering that Blanco can play SS and Baker can't). But that doesn't mean management will see it that way.

LINEUP CHANGE PENDING!

http://twitter.com/cst_cubs/status/11159071016

Andres Blanco to Rangers for PTBNL

good.

I guess Darwin Barney moves up a bit on the depth chart. That should be okay.

Muskat tweet confirms it.

#Cubs have traded infielder Andres Blanco to #Rangers for player to be named or cash considerations. That could open spot for Millar, Tracy

Sure, why keep a guy that can field and play baseball when you have Fontenot who can hit a home run every once in a while and otherwise play mediocre baseball?

s.castro can do what blanco can do, most likely.

it's not like if riot gets injured they're gonna hand the job to fontenot and stick baker at 2nd for a few weeks.

fontenot chilling at SS for a few innings or a rest game every once in a while doesn't scare me too much, honestly.

Ryno -- I think you and I have the same somewhat irrational love for Blanco. Maybe we place too much value on his fielding, but I was cheering for him to make the team. I suppose being traded is the best thing for him if he wasn't going to make the Cubs and he is out of minor league options.

I think you are correct on all counts.

almost game time...2 cubs games live on TV 2 days in a row.

yeah, it's spring!

Cubs radio pregame notes with Judd Sirott

...said the Blanco deal is for ptbnl and cash, not sure what script he's reading from.

Oswalt back to Houston for MD exam for pulled hamstring

s.castro is "the guy" anyway...the AAA/AAAA injury replacement...the guy who is waiting for theriot/fontenot to fail or get injured.

blanco was just some low-end insurance. good insurance, but even with his best upside he's kinda bland, imo.

Castro comes up if they need a starter most likely. But Darwin Barney comes up if they want a true middle infielder on the bench.

i'm sure he could slug in the .300s like blanco.

guy is nice D, but he's got no bat.

revised lineup:

Colvin, Baker, DLee, ARam, Byrd, Millar, Soto, Fontenot (SS), Silva

On WGN telecast, Len said Parisi was outrighted to AAA Iowa. Not sure if that means the Cardinals passed on taking him back though.

Fontenot not exactly Ozzie Smith in the top of the first.

bwhaha...fonenot starts his SS "career" by making the cubs 27th error of the spring.

...yeah, 27.

and Fontenot promptly boots a really really easy one (paraphrasing Hendry)

Bench: Hill, Baker, Nady, 2 of Tracy, Millar, Colvin, Fuld, Hoffpauir?

with Tracy likely already in, still don't see a spot for Millar.

makes a leaping catch

I have only seen the error on the first gb of the day. And, he could not get a runner on another gb from the hole. Two plays that "a good ss" makes.

Millar wearing white shoes.

Great, we now have an older and worse playing version of Nick Swisher.

We could've had Nick Swisher last offseason. Damn Yankees.

no parachat?

Just saw Santo signing autographs from the booth.

Cubs nees to do what Beach Boys did to their dad, Murray Wilson. He produced their first couple of albums and then Brian took over but Murray was such a pain in the ass they gave him a control panel in the studio that was not connected to anything.

Just put Ron in a booth with nothing plugged in.

Santo is a lot of fun to listen to. I would hate to see him go.

can the cubs D get any worse or more slack than this spring?

Wait til summer.
Won't have to worry too much this fall.

BIlly Williams hitting coach?

Rogers Hornsby.

He's f'ning old.

That was my reaction to the Hornsby reference too.

Byrd reaches on an E-6, nailed in the face on a pick-off throw, staying in.

Big old goose egg on the side of his head.

Easter comes early for Marlon?

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