Iowa Cubs Edge Tennessee Smokies at Fitch Park

Matt Spencer raked a two-run triple off the CF Batter’s Eye “Green Monster” to key a three-run 1st inning, and Robert Coello struck out six in three innings of work, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in a six-inning intra-organization game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.  

LHP Ryan Buchter, LHP Scott Maine, and RHP Chris Carpenter followed Coello to the mound. Buchter walked the first man he faced and then struck out the side in the 4th, Maine threw a 14-pitch 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout and two 6-3 GO in the 5th, and Carpenter allowed a run on two hits in the 6th.

RHP Rafael Dolis got the start for Tennessee and struggled through his three innings, allowing three first-inning runs on four hits (two singles, a double, and a triple), before throwing shutout ball in the 2nd and 3rd innings.

Shortstop Jonathan Mota made three outstanding defensive plays for Iowa in the 5th and 6th innings, saving at least one run. Mota is a versatile utility infielder who learned to catch at Extended Spring Training last year, but he has the defensive chops needed to play SS for an extended period at Iowa if necessary.

Frank Batista and Kevin Rhoderick threw an inning each for Tennessee, although both are assigned to the Daytona squad.

The Cubs have released a number of players from Minor League Camp over the past few days, including RHPs Steve Grife, Corey Martin, Mike Parisi, and Carlos Rojas, INF Jake McAloose, 1B-OF T. J. Baxter, and OF Cody Shields.

Here is today’s box scores:

FIELD #3 (Iowa Cubs vs Tennessee Smokies)

1. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-3 (K, K, 6-4 FC, RBI)
2. Logan Watkins, SS: 1-3 (1B+E9, K, 1-3, R)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-2 (F-8, K)
4. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-2 (2B, K, RBI)
5. Kyler Burke, DH #1: 0-2 (E6, K, SB)
6. Michael Brenly, C: 0-2 (K, 6-3)
7. Jae-Hoon Ha, RF: 0-2 (K, 6-3)
8. Jake Opitz, 2B: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, R)
9. David Macias, LF: 1-2 (K, 1B)
10. Junior Lake, DH #2: 0-2 (K, 6-4 FC)
X-1. Rafael Dolis, P 0-0 (BB)
NOTE: Dolis took an insert-AB leading off the top of the 4th

1a. Lou Montanez, CF: 1-2 (1B, L-7 DP)
1b. Smaily Borges, LF: 0-1 (K)
2a. D. J. Lemahieu, 3B: 1-1 (1B, R)
2b. Nate Samson, 3B: 1-2 (1B, F-8)
3a. Matt Spencer, RF: 1-1 (3B, R, 2 RBI)
3b. Jim Adduci, RF: 0-1 (P-5, BB)
4. Bryan Lahair, 1B: 1-3 (2B, F-8, K, RBI)
5. Ty Wright, LF-CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB)
6a. Blake Lalli, C: 0-1 (4-3)
6b. Steve Clevenger, C: 0-1 (4-3)
7a. Ryan Flaherty, 2B: 1-1 (1B, CS)
7b. Jonathan Mota, SS: 1-1 (2B)
8a. Marwin Gonzalez, SS: 0-1 (K)
8b. Marquez Smith, 2B: 0-1 (F-8)
9. Chris Robinson, DH: 1-2 (1B, L-5)
X-1. Austin Bibens-Dirkx, PH: 0-0 (1-4 SH, 1-4 SH)
NOTE: Bibens-Dirkx took two insert-ABs, one between Montanez and Lemahieu in the 1st inning, and another between Samson and Adduci in the 4th inning
X-2. J. R. Mathes, PH: 0-1 (K)
NOTE: Mathes took an insert-AB between Robinson and Montanez in the 3rd inning

1. Rafael Dolis: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 50 pitches (30 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
2. Jeffrey Beliveau: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 14 pitches (10 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO, 1/2 GO/FO
3. Frank Batista: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 22 pitches (10 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO

1. Robert Coello: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 55 pitches (37 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
2. Ryan Buchter: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 22 pitches (12 strikes)
3. Scott Maine: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches (10 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
4. Chris Carpenter: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 12 pitches (6 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO


Matt Spencer E-9 – fielding error allowed batter to advance an extra base on single
Marwin Gonzalez E-6 – fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely

Michael Brenly: 1-1 CS

Blake Lalli
: 0-1 CS, 1 PB


Cubs getting it done early, 3-0 through 2.

1-2-3 for Garza in first

BB by Fukudome, 2B by Castro, sac fly Byrd, double Aramis for first 2 runs

couple runners got on in the 2nd but Garza escaped

another run in 3rd on a Fukudome sac fly after Barney single and Hill BB.

3rd inning for Garza

single to RF, bunt single by Pierre, 4-6-3 DP, K's Dunn

4th inning for Garza:

almost a repeat

BB, single, 6-4-3 DP (nice turn by Barney), single by AJ to score a run, pop-out to Barney

Vizquel launches a 2-run HR in the 5th.

Garza seems to be pitching inside a lot today.

If this guy doesn't at least have a 4ish ERA this year, I am really going to lose it.

Thanks for the report. I like the name Smaily Borges because it reminds me of Smokey Burgess. I hope he doesn't look like Smokey Burgess.

Haha... Soriano wouldn't have scored on that if it weren't for Barney wanting to occupy third base on that triple. Man, it's good to watch some baseball.

Barney for ROY!!!

Looper is bad.

Russell is bad.


Just a bunch of middle-suck.

bob b. describing bird explosions #1

I'm likin' me some Welly Castillo!

DeWitt officially a backup for now, Barney and Baker to split 2b.


Doesn't seem to make much sense to me, but it's a Cubs management decision, so that's par for the course.

Why not let Moore rot on the bench and hope that DeWitt can get it going with regular at bats in AAA?

Cubs have to add Matt Szczur to their 40 man roster this coming offseason or expose him to the rule 5 draft.

Submitted by QuietMan on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 7:56pm.
Cubs have to add Matt Szczur to their 40 man roster this coming offseason or expose him to the rule 5 draft.


Q-MAN: And if Matt Szczur is indeed added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2011 (as would seem a near-certainty at this point), he will get four minor league options 2012-15, as long as the 4th and final one is used prior to completing five "full seasons."

Just so I have this straight, that is pending his not playing above A Ball in 2011, no?

Phil will know better, but I believe that Peoria counts as a full season team, while Mesa and Boise do not. So if he plays the year at Peoria this year, it counts.

Dolis had played at A Daytona before getting put on the 40 Man. He received a 4th Option.

Submitted by tim815 on Fri, 03/25/2011 - 7:18am.
Just so I have this straight, that is pending his not playing above A Ball in 2011, no?

Submitted by DavidP on Fri, 03/25/2011 - 10:05am.
Phil will know better, but I believe that Peoria counts as a full season team, while Mesa and Boise do not. So if he plays the year at Peoria this year, it counts.


TIM & DAVID P: Peoria, Daytona, Tennessee, and Iowa are considered "full season" minor league teams, while Boise, AZL Cubs (Mesa), and the two DSL Cubs teams are not.

A "full season" is defined as spending at least 90 days on the Active List (regular season roster) of an MLB or full-season minor league team, or at least 60 days on the Active List of an MLB or full-season minor league team followed by a stint on the Disabled List of an MLB or full-season minor league team where the combined time equals at least 90 days.

For example, Rafael Dolis gets a 4th minor league option (as of right now) because while he did use an option last season, he has accrued only two "full seasons" (2009 at Daytona and 2010 at Daytona and Tennessee), which means the earliest he can accrue five full seasons is after the 2013 season (the 4th option is good for the entire season even if the player accrues enough time to hit five full seasons before the end of that season), so he was optioned in 2010 (option #1), he has been optioned this year (option #2), and he can be optioned to the minors in 2012 (option #3) and 2013 (option #4). But if he spends the 2013 season (for example) on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster and does not use an option that year, then the 4th option would not be available in 2014 because he would have already accrued five "full seasons" before he had a chance to use the 4th option.

This happened with Angel Guzman a few years ago. Because he had lost a couple or three seasons to injury earlier in his career, he was in line for a 4th minor league option, but he accrued five "full seasons" (just barely) before he could use it. That's because he spent 60 days on the Active Lists of the Iowa Cubs and Chicago Cubs in 2007 prior to being placed on the Cubs 15-day DL on June 2, and then he spent the rest of the season on the DL. So he accrued his 5th "full season" in 2007, such that he did not have his 4th minor league option available in 2008. So he never used his 4th option.

Or if Starlin Castro or Andrew Cashner had been optioned back to the minors last year and used an option, they still would have had three minor league options left coming into this season because both had accrued only one "full season" through the 2009 season, and the earliest either could have accrued five "full seasons" would be after the 2013 season. But because both Castro and Cashner spent the rest of the 2010 season with the Cubs after being brought up from the minors and were not optioned to the minors, the 4th minor league option is no longer available forv either player because both players have now accrued two "full seasons" and they will run out of time before they would (theoretically) have a chance to use a 4th option.

What will happen with Matt Szczur is yet TBD, but if he spends the 2011 season at Peoria (or part of the year at Peoria, and part of the year at Daytona), he will accrue his first "full season" this year, and then if he is added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2011, he will have four minor league options available (2012-15) until he has accrued a total of five "full seasons," and the earliest that can happen is the 2015 season. So the 4th option needs to be used prior to 2016. That is, unless he ends up back with a short-season team this season before he accrues 90 days on the Active List at Peoria, or if he gets injured and spends a season on the DL sometime in the next four or five years, that could delay the deadline to use the 4th option until 2017 (or even beyond that if he misses more than one season with injuries).

A good way to think about it is that ALL players initially get four minor league options, but the 4th option can't be used if the player has accrued five "full seasons" before he uses the 4th option. And since most players have already accrued at least two "full seasons" before they are added to a 40-man roster and use their first option, very few players ever get a chance to use the 4th option. But it's actually potentially available for all players, depending on how the player's career develops. Losing a season or two to injury (like TJS) is the most common way it usually happens. Angel Guzman's byzantine career is probably the text-book example, if MLB wants to teach the 4th Minor League Option Rule (and all of its potential complications) to MLB GMs.

And here's another one.

Let's say a couple of Cubs outfielders get hurt and the Cubs bring up Brett Jackson for a month sometime this season, and then option him to the minors, he would get a 4th minor league option because he has accrued only one "full season" through the 2010 season.

Thanks for taking the time to explain that. You are an absolutely wonderful resource.

Well, he looked pretty good against AAA pitchers in the couple of ST at bats I saw... hopefully he'll make AA by the end of the year and it won't seem so boneheaded.

Szczur officially signed his new contract on March 18. After consulting the commissioner's office, the Cubs determined that the cleanest way to alter Szczur's bonus amount was to first release and then re-sign him to a new minor league deal. By signing him to a second contract, however, the Cubs triggered a provision that will make Szczur eligible for December's major league Rule 5 draft—but only if he's not a member of Chicago's 40-man roster.

that was the cleanest way?

Cleaner than not overpaying him 8x's what anyone else would?

If Szczur was declared a free agent tomorrow he would have no trouble getting a $1 million contract and probably much more than that. You're becoming Trilloesque in your absurdity.


The Real Neal called someone absurd...and I agreed.

Irony just came in its pants.


And ick.

Recent comments

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  • i'm not ready for it to end.

    i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."

    i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.

  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.

  • evidently i was busy burying context and meaning.

    i was excited about this playoff season kicking up in the drama of that environment, but it was stated insanely muddled.