Carpenter Gets Rehab Start at Extended Spring Training

The Cubs managed only six hits while committing six errors in the field, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 4-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Considered by most observers to be the Cubs #3 best pitching prospect coming into the season, RHP Chris Carpenter made his first appearance of the year after nursing a sore shoulder throughout Minor League Camp and after starting the 2010 regular season on the AA Tennessee Smokies 7-day DL. Carpenter was the Cubs 3rd round pick in 2008 out of Kent State, and went a combined 6-7 with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP and 52/118 BB/K in 130.2 IP at Peoria/Daytona/Tennessee in 2009.

Carpenter got through the top of the 1st inning, stranding a runner at 3rd by getting a strikeout (swinging) and a 5-3 ground out to end the inning. But the Angels scored in the top of the 2nd, thanks to a lead-off triple and a one-out RBI single. Carpenter was pulled after getting a strikeout for the 2nd out of the inning. For the day, Carpenter threw 36 pitches (23 strikes) in 1.2 IP, allowing just the one run (and it was earned) on three hits (two singles and a triple), with three strikeouts (one swinging and two looking) and no walks. Carpenter did throw a Wild Pitch, and he also committed a throwing error while trying to pick a runner of 1st base.

AA Tennessee 1B-OF Matt Spencer (at Extended Spring Training while rehabbing from a broken toe suffered in Minor League Camp last month) got nine ABs in today’s game, leading off each inning. He reached base twice, once on a double leading off the bottom of the 2nd inning (and he eventually scored what would be the Cubs only run of the day), and on a walk leading off the bottom of the 8th. When a player gets this many plate appearances in one game, it usually means he is nearing the end of his rehab assignment, so expect to see Spencer back in the Tennessee Smokies lineup very soon.

In addition to Carpenter getting into his first game of the season, 20-year old 6’4 260+ Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez saw his first Extended Spring Training game action today, as did 19-year old 6’6 Taiwanese RHP Tzu-An Wang. Suarez relieved Carpenter and allowed one hit but no runs, and after retiring the side 1-2-3 on just 10 pitches in his first inning of work, Wang allowed two unearned runs on two hits and a walk in his second inning. (NOTE: There is another pitcher from Taiwan named Yao-Lin Wang at Cubs Extended Spring Training, but it’s easy to tell the difference between the two Wangs because while Tzu-An is a lanky 6’6, Yao-Lin is a stocky 6’0).

It had to be discouraging for the Cubs coaches to watch the players get only six hits (including just one XBH) while committing six errors one day after “Camp Day,” when hitting and fielding are practiced and drilled for several hours.

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP David Patton completed his rehab assignment and was assigned to Daytona (and in fact he got into last night’s D-Cubs game), and RHP Chris Huseby (the Cubs 2006 10th round pick who got “1st round money” to give up his scholarship at Auburn) has arrived at Extended Spring Training from Daytona after struggling with his control. He had a similar problem in 2008 (17 walks in just 15 IP at Mesa), but it appeared that he had overcome it after allowing only 10 walks in 54 IP (while striking out 73 and saving 18 games) at Peoria last season.

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

NOTE: DH #1 Matt Spencer led-off all nine innings, getting nine plate appearances total in the game.

X. Matt Spencer, DH #1: 1-8 (F-9, 2B, 1-6-3, K, F-7, 4-3, 4-3, BB, F-8, R)
1. Francisco Guzman, CF: 1-3 (4-3, 1B, K, CS)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-3 (F-9, F-7, P-6)
3. D. J. Fitzgerald, RF: 0-3 (K, K, K)
4. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 2-3 (1B, P-5, 1B)
5. Brandon May, 3B: 1-3 (1B, F-8, K, RBI)
6a. Jonathan Mota, C: 0-2 (L-5, 5-3)
6b. Carlos Romero, C: 0-1 (6-3)
7. Jae-Hoon Ha, DH #2: 0-2 (L-6, F-8)
8. Cody Shields, LF: 1-2 (P-4, 1B, SB)
9. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-1 (6-3, BB)

1. Chris Carpenter – 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GO/FO, 36 pitches (23 strikes)
2. Larry Suarez – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 10 pitches (8 strikes)
3. Carlos Rojas – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (12 strikes)
4. Tzu-An Wang – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GO/FO, 27 pitches (16 strikes)
5. Rogelio Carmona – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 17 pitches (12 strikes)
6. Danny Keefe – 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R 0 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 31 pitches (21 strikes)

P Chris Carpenter E-1 (errant throw attempting to pick runner off 1st base with one out in the top of the 1st inning allowed runner to advance to 2nd base – did not score)
2B Wes Darvill E-4 (throwing error with no outs in the top of the 3rd inning allowed batter to reach 1st base – did not score)
CF Francisco Guzman E-8 (fielding error on line single to CF with runner on 1st base and no outs in the top of the 4th allowed batter to advance to 2nd base and runner on 1st base to score an unearned run)
2B Wes Darvill E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base with one in the 6th - eventually scored unearned run)
C Carlos Romero E-2 (Catcher’s Interference allowed batter to reach base with two outs in the top of the 7th – did not score)
P Danny Keefe E-1 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base with two outs in the top of the 8th – did not score)

Carlos Romero: 1 E (see above)

RF D. J. Fitzgerald threw out runner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on ground single to RF with two outs in the top of the 3rd


WEATHER: Overcast with temperatures in the 70’s


I would actually pay money for him to have a better career than his namesake.

Az Phil, glad to see Carpenter back on the mound. Did he look sound? Also , how about our boy Larry Suarez? Has Huseby reverted back to a wildman again?

Submitted by Hagsag on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 4:45pm.
Az Phil, glad to see Carpenter back on the mound. Did he look sound? Also , how about our boy Larry Suarez? Has Huseby reverted back to a wildman again?


HAGSAG: Carpenter looked VERY good in the 1st inning, but he seemed to hit a wall in the top of the 2nd.

Suarez pitched OK, except he was pulled after throwing only 10 pitches. I was expecting him to go maybe three innings.

As to what happened to Huseby, I don't know. Hopefully it won't be 2008 again.

Nice to see our Pacific Rim scouting department bringing in more players. I got to watch a game in Taiwan once, and the baseball was pretty good, I'd say maybe AA talent but major league polished, and there were a couple of guys who "looked" like major leaguers. Chia Chia was one them, can't remember the other guy - a reliever. has a bit of USA oriented baseball news if anyone is curious.

Here's a blurb on the signing of Yao-Lin

I read this morning that the Angels Mike Napoli is unhappy with his playing time and the Angels may be interested in moving him. I can't claim to know much about Napoli other than that he appears to be a hit first/defense second kind of catcher. But it got me thinking about Geovany Soto and his future with the Cubs.

As I recall, Soto had a less than stellar minor league career, but it was good enough to get him some ABs in the big leagues. He impressed and got the starting job in 2008. A very good 2008 then lead to a crappy 2009, leading some people to question who the real Soto is. So far in 2010, it's looking like the 2009 version of Geo is the real Soto (although it is still very early).

So my question is, what is Soto's future with the Cubs? Should they be looking for an alternative? How long do the Cubs string him along until they finally cut bait?

Soto won the PCL MVP the year before he won the NL RoY, he's got a .430 OBP, I don't think I'd want to trade him for Mike Napoli.

Soto's actually hitting the ball very well and taking a ton of walks. His line drive % is 35.7 right now, but his BABIP is .231. That's bad luck in a small sample size. Is he going to continue to hit line drives 35% of the time? No. But he's not going to continue to hit the ball right at people for his whole career either.

You can attribute most of Soto's 2009 to a couple of things: 1. A dropoff in power (perhaps due to the hand injury and the extra weight?), which is illustrated by his lower HR/Fly Ball rate, down from 14.7 to to 10.3%.
2. And bad luck. His line drive rate dropped only from 21.0% to 18.1%, so, yeah, you'd expect a slightly lower BABIP, but his BABIP actually dropped from .332 to .243. That's a .089 difference. His K% actually went down in 2009 and his BB% went up slightly.

We haven't really established a career average BABIP for Soto because his 2007 was clearly very high and only 60 plate appearances and he 2009 was clearly very low. At .332 it seems fair to say that his 2008 was somewhat lucky, but not off the charts lucky.

Soto is not likely to hit for high batting averages based on his current numbers--his 2008 average of .285 will likely be near the best of his career--but his plate discipline and power might improve a bit with experience. A catcher who is likely to put up a .270/.370/.470 line is hardly expendable, even if he's a below average throw 'em out guy (also, people raved about his receiving skills in 2008, as I recall).

Charlie -- That was great info. Thanks!

Some more info: Soto is hitting .273 .448 .455 going into this at bat in the bottom of the 9th.

I'm not a fan of offense-type catchers.

Yeah, that Joe Mauer guy is a real dog.

I would make an exception for Joe Mauer.

same lineup as yesterday, took Lou two weeks to break the Colvin will get 2 starts rule.

I had the same reaction to seeing the final score.

kid with dlee has awesome hair.

They look really bored. Especially Soto.

Soriano is on his iPhone, probably trying to figure out why he isn't at the club.

against Brewers if he comes out of Monday's start healthy...

I'll be 8th row behind home plate and will wear any TCR swag you provide. I also promise to wear it if I ever do a perp walk.

Hahahaha ..."if", hahahaha!

Oz dealing early on. Could be a long day.

Any day rooting for the Cubs could be a long day.

A spot on roster may of just opened for Lilly ,Gorzalany out of game
got hit in the shoulder.

Amazing fact: Oswald vs. Reds 23-1

bruised shoulder, doesn't sound serious

he is scheduled to pitch Thursday

soriano's 3rd error of the one didn't lead to runs at least.

He's clearly psyching himself out now. He knows he sucks which makes him suck more.

Marhsall continues to channel Vida Blue. 12K's in 7 innings now.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Nah, I'll probably just contemplate how they should've done a Padres-style all-in plan.

  • of course not. maybe go ice skating and think about it a while. make advanced reservations at the hotel they're starting construction on. check new releases for possible entertainment from the movie screens they want installed. think about renting an office in the new office spaces. write a letter to the cubs requesting your favorite beer be added to the beer garden. lobby your favorite band to play the outdoor venue.

    ...and in between that maybe they can find $40-50m to invest in the product that all of this revolves around.

  • let's not get caught up on phrasing for a setup and lose the gist of the post. i don't care what one wants to call the playoff exit.

    -crapping out
    +they lost their playoff attempt

    there. now we can focus on something other than not liking the tone of a line that's setting up a point.

  • I didn't like the entire post, if that helps.

  • Making the NLCS with a young team = "crapping out of the playoffs with a young team."

  • I'm guessing 3/30 and all the two foot long hot dogs you can eat didn't work

  • Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

  • Shit.

    Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

  • Damn wanted Zimmermann

  • Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

  • in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market.

    given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...

  • Zimmermann 5/$110m with Tigers. Youch.

    And the updated predications page:

  • Cubs 3B Christian Villanueva (who is out of minor league options) is hitting 358/464/500 for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and is leading the LMP in OBP, is second in BAvg and walks, is seventh in SLG, and is tied for 8th in HR. He also has struck out only 16 times in 175 PA. 

  • CTSteve, thanks for spelling Zimmermann correctly. We don't need another first baseman.

  • The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely.

    If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

  • The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?