Cuban Defector Makes U. S. Debut at Fitch Park

Jae-Hoon Ha went 4-4 with two triples, a double, and a single, scored three runs, and drove-in two more, Jesus Morelli reached base four times on a single, a double, a triple, and a walk, scored twice, and knocked-in three, and George Matheus had two singles, a double, and two RBI, but it was left to Wes Darvill to drive-in the winning run as the youngster bounced a single through a drawn-in infield with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th, rallying one squad of Cubs to an 8-7 victory over one squad of the Giants on Field #3, while over on Field #2, Alvaro Ramirez doubled and tripled, drove-in one run, and scored another, Chris Huseby doubled, walked and scored a run, and Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits, a run scored, and an RBI, but the other squad of Giants clubbed five triples, a double, and a home run, and took advantage of two costly Rafael Disla errors to score four unearned runs, en route to an 8-4 victory over the other squad of Cubs, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants split a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa.

21-year old RHP Juan Yasser Serrano made his debut with the Cubs on Field #3, tossing a 13-pitch, ten strike, 1-2-3 inning (4-3, 4-3, and 5-3). Serrano is the Cuban Defector who was signed by the Cubs for a reported $250K bonus this past March, and he appears to be a polished hurler who should advance quickly through the system. I would think he will probably get assigned initially to Daytona (fellow Cuban Defector OF Smaily Borges is already there), once he has gets his arm strength up to where it needs to be. Serrano is not a big guy (maybe 6’1), and he has a solid (almost stocky) build.  

On the injury rehab front, AA Tennessee LHP Casey Lambert (2009 TJS) made his second EXST game appearance, and pitched a scoreless inning (21 pitches – 13 strikes), allowing a walk while striking out one. He still looks a bit rusty, but at least he has been able to stay on his rehab schedule without incurring any setbacks.

Tennessee OF Brandon Guyer played in the game on Field #3, but was limited to playing defense only (he played LF for the entire game and threw out a runner at the plate). His left (non-throwing) elbow is wrapped, so I would guess he has some type of injury that doesn’t affect him when he catches or throws a ball, but does preclude him from swinging the bat.

Here are today’s abridged box scores (Cubs players only):


1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 2-4 (1-3, 1B, 1B+E9, K, R, RBI)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 1-4 (1B, 5-3, E-4, 4-3)
3. Sergio Burruel, C: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, RBI)
4. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-3 (K, 2B, F-8, R)
5. Alvaro Ramirez, RF: 2-3 (4-3, 3B, 2B, R, RBI)
6. Cody Shields, LF: 0-2 (P-5, BB, K)
7. Rafael Disla, 3B: 0-2 (F-7, F-7 SF, K, RBI)
8. Chris Huseby, DH #1: 1-2 (2B, 6-3, BB, R)
9. Blair Springfield, DH #2: 0-3 (K, K, K)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-3 (4-3, 5-3, 6-3)

1. Casey Lambert – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
2. Frank Batista – 2.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 41 pitches (28 strikes)
3. Tzu-An Wang - 2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 5/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (23 strikes)
4. Alvido Jimenez - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 8 pitches (7 strikes)

1. SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely – did not score)
2. 3B Rafael Disla E-5 (two-out two-base throwing error at 1st base allowed batter to reach reach 2nd base, runner on 1st base to advance to 3rd, and runner on 2nd base to score, eventually resulting in three unearned runs scoring)
3. 3B Rafael Disla E-5 (two-out fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and runner on 3rd base to score unearned run)

Sergio Burruel: 1-2 CS


1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 1-3 (1B, K, BB, 6-3, 2 R, SB)
2. Jae-Hoon Ha, DH #1: 4-4 (1B, 3B, 2B, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI)
3. Jesus Morelli, RF: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 3B, BB, R, 3 RBI)
4. Brandon May, DH #2: 0-3 (K, 4-3, K, BB)
5. Runey Davis, CF: 1-4 (4-3, K, 1B, L-4 DP, 2 RBI, SB, CS)
6. George Matheus, 3B: 3-4 (4-3, 2B, 1B, 1B, R)
7. Albert Hernandez, 1B: 0-4 (1-3, 6-3, 5-3, P-1)
8b. Bobby Wagner, PH: 0-0 (BB)
9. Carlos Romero, C: 0-3 (6-3, P-4, 6-3, HBP)
10. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-2 (BB, F-7, BB, 1B, R, RBI, CS)

1. Juan Yasser Serrano – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
2. Eduardo Figueroa – 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 3/2 GO/FO, 48 pitches (28 strikes)
3. Rogelio Carmona – 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER) 2 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 20 pitches (10 strikes)
4. Drew Rundle - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 10 pitches (5 strikes)
5. Alvaro Sosa – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 6 pitches (4 strikes)

1. C Carlos Romero E-2 (dropped pop-up in foul territory – batter was eventually retired 5-3)
2. C Carlos Romero E-2 ("Catcher’s Interference" allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
3. CF Runey Davis E-8 (dropped pop fly in CF allowing batter to reach 2nd base – did not score)

Carlos Romero: 1-1 CS, 2 PB, 2 E (see above)

LF Brandon Guyer threw out a baserunner at the plate (7-2) who was trying to score from 2nd base on a line single to LF.


WEATHER: Sunny, cloudless, and breezy, with temperatures in the 80’s


about time juan yessir pepper made it up.

...juan yessir pepper, on a stick:

Iincluding some topical border humor)

i hate Fox so much...

stupid NYY@NYM...

i have a question. how much longer do the cubs stick with Ramirez and Lee. This is both of their last years (i think). But how much longer do we let them just completely suck the life out of the offense? It's almost June. They've both had plenty of time to snap out of it. I think we'd be far better off with our minor league players at this point. They wouldn't even have to tear it up to do better than these 2 clowns.

(I don't really want to give up on either of these guys but isn't it high time we said enough is enough?)

another 100ab's or so and aram might be moved to the 6 slot.

0 for 4 with 4 Ks...yow.

unreal season so far.

Golden Sombrero.

If he was in AZ he would be arrested.

nah...he's got his papers.

15.75 million of them.

Arizona Phil thanks for your comments on my last post. Ha seems to have the most advanced bat of all the Koreans in extended spring but isnt he the guy they're trying a catcher and he cant catch a cold? He also has been a little injury-prone since joining the Cubs. Any word on Huseby? Is he making the move to a position player or are they just giving him a mental break from his troubles on the mound? It's really too bad after the great year last year. Huseby is listed at 6-7, are his problems mechanical with a lot of moving parts or mental? Whatever the case is I wish him the best.

Submitted by The Stick on Sat, 05/22/2010 - 7:46pm.
Arizona Phil thanks for your comments on my last post. Ha seems to have the most advanced bat of all the Koreans in extended spring but isnt he the guy they're trying a catcher and he cant catch a cold? He also has been a little injury-prone since joining the Cubs. Any word on Huseby? Is he making the move to a position player or are they just giving him a mental break from his troubles on the mound? It's really too bad after the great year last year. Huseby is listed at 6-7, are his problems mechanical with a lot of moving parts or mental? Whatever the case is I wish him the best.


STICK: Jae-Hoon Ha was very impressive at the plate and in RF in Minor League Camp 2009, but then he injured his wrist and played less than 100% for the rest of the 2009 season (EXST and Boise). Then the Cubs decided to move him back behind the plate (he was a catcher in HS) at Instructs last September, and continued with the experiment/conversion at Minor League Camp in March and then more-recently at Extended Spring Training. And as I have mentioned here previously, despite playing the position in HS, Ha just did not look comfortable behind the plate. If it's possible to look miserable playing baseball, Ha looked that way as a catcher.

He hasn't been used as a catcher for about two weeks now (he doesn't even warm-up pitchers in the bullpen), so I suspect the Cubs are leaning toward moving him back to OF. Ha has above-average speed and above-average power, and I have seen him make athletic plays in RF. Today, he looked like somebody who just got a reprieve and was let out of jail.

Jae-Hoon Ha is now hitting 394/432/667, and I believe if the Cubs just forget about making him a catcher, that he can develop into a decent RF prospect (although he can play all three OF positions, so he could morph into a valuable RH 4th-OF type).

I don't know what the Cubs intentions are with Chris Huseby. He has been taking a lot of extra BP over the past ten days, trying to catch up with the other position players, and he shows HR power in BP. That said, it is possible that using Huseby as a DH is just a way to help him forget about his problems on the mound, with the idea that he will be a pitcher again somewhere down the line when the time is right. But I can tell you that he looks MUCH happier and relaxed as a hitter than he ever did on the mound.

The funny thing is, there are actually quite a few pitchers in pro ball who were true two-way players in HS and/or college (Brooks Raley and Jay Jackson, for example), but I don't recall ever reading anything about Huseby's skills as a hitter prior to the 2006 draft.

Tyler Colvin sucks.

No kidding. Jeez.

Castro IBB to get to Dlee.


not that it will matter, but Cards looked like they lost 2 pitchers to the DL in Penny and Lohse.

Nice win tonight from someone who didn't watch one second of the game. Theriot is back to being an efficient basestealer, 8/9 in SB's this year.

Looks like midnight may have struck for Marlon Byrd though....2 for his last 20.

Ramirez is broke, should DL him for his thumb and see what they can do to fix whatever it is that is broken.

Agreed. Fontenot has proven he deserves a little playing time anyway. And is Chad Tracy still hitting .600 at AAA? Not that I'm suggesting they can approximate what we expected from Aramis, but they can do better than what he's doing now.

Add Soto to the "turning into a pumpkin" list --
0 for his last 13, down around .280.

Ram and Lee combined 0-for-10. Yikes.

I'm less worried about Soto. He's been prone to especially useless but not especially long slumps since we saw him in the majors. Remember the 10 Ks in a row?

Soto is 3 for the last two weeks ( 3/34 .088 .262 .088 .350 ) with 8 walks!

I think Lou's bizarre backloaded batting order is to blame. The league just started pitching around Soto to get to the pitcher when he was pounding the ball earlier in the year.

Yea... I heard that you can tell a lot from 13 at bats.

I really hope the cubs if they are in it or not look to trade a outfielder
i think trading Fukadome should be attempted he is the only starter in outfield who could be traded.Colvin needs to play.

The problem with Fukudome is he's a $6 millon outfielder on a $13 million contract.

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.