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

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.