Chiefs & D-Cubs Rally to Tie a Wrap on Minor League Camp

D. J. Fitzgerald singled, doubled, tripled, stole a base, scored one run, and knocked-in two more, and LHP Austin Kirk threw four shutout innings, as the Peoria Chiefs rallied to tie the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels Class “A” affiliate) 3-3 on Field #2, while next-door on Field #3 Michael Burgess clubbed a grand slam HR over the RF fence and Evan Crawford doubled, tripled, walked, stole a base, drove-in two runs, and scored another, as the Daytona Cubs rallied from an early 5-0 hole to tie the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Advanced “A” affiliate) 7-7, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training action at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ, this morning.

This was the “getaway day” game for both Daytona and Peoria, but since the Iowa Cubs will be remaining in Mesa for another day (they open the season Thursday at Round Rock, TX), I-Cubs catcher Welington Castillo stayed at Fitch Park and served as a DH for Daytona while his teammates traveled to Diablo Park in Tempe to face the Angels Salt Lake Bees AAA affiliate.

After a short intrasquad game on Field #1, several players from the Boise/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad (C Yaniel Cabezas, SS Wes Darvill, 3B Dustin Harrington, C Brian Inoa, and LF Blair Springfield) saw some late game action with Daytona in the game on Field #3. (Players from the Boise/Mesa Extended Spring Training group are often used as late inning replacements in Minor League Spring Training games).

Peoria OF Matt Szczur (who has been sidelined more than a week with a leg injury) was able to run the bases in a PFP & baserunning work-out with some of the pitchers from the Boise/Mesa squad on Field #4 prior to the intrasquad game on Field #1. It is unknown if Szczur will be cleared for game action by Opening Day next Thursday, or if he will begin the season on the Peoria 7-day DL and remain at Fitch Park for a few more days.

And OF Smaily Borges has been moved down to Peoria from Tennessee, probably to serve as a “Crash Davis”-type minor league mentor to RHP Juan Yasser Serrano and OF Rubi Silva (all three are Cuban defectors, but the 27-year old Borges is older than the others, and was brought to the U. S. by the Cubs a year earlier). It’s possible that Borges will eventually serve as a player-coach at Peoria (like 1B John Urick is at Daytona), although he is probably needed on the Chiefs active roster right now, at least until Szczur returns to game action.

In addition, RHP Alessandro Maestri and LHP Chris Siegfried have been released (both were with the Tennessee squad). Siegfried was the Cubs 11th round draft pick in 2007 out of the U. of Portland (where he was a teammate of current Iowa RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx), and Maestri was the first player signed by the Cubs out of the MLB European Academy (in January 2006). Despite getting released by the Cubs, the 25-year old Maestri could be the #1 starting pitcher for Team Italy in next year’s World Baseball Classic (he pitched for Team Italy in both the 2006 and 2009 WBC), presuming there is one.

The DAYTONA CUBS OPENING DAY ROSTER has been established; 

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS (13): * Jeffrey Beliveau, * Brent Ebinger, Ty'Relle Harris, Aaron Kurcz, Jordan Latham, * Jeff Lorick, Dae-Eun Rhee, Kevin Roderick, * Zac Rosscup, Ryan Searle, Nick Struck, Brett Wallach, and Rob Whitenack

CATCHERS (2): Michael Brenly and Chad Noble

INFIELDERS (6): * Justin Bour, * Matt Cerda, Junior Lake, # David Macias, * Jake Opitz, and * Logan Watkins,  

OUTFIELDERS (4): * Michael Burgess, Evan Crawford, Jae-Hoon Ha, and * Nelson Perez  

PLAYER-COACH (1): * John Urick (1B signed to a player contract, but is inactive unless needed and normally serves as 1st base coach)


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

FIELD #2 (CLASS “A” – Peoria Chiefs vs Cedar Rapids Kernels)

1. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 1-4 (P-5, 6-3, 6-3, 1B, R)
2. Rubi Silva, CF: 1-4 (5-3, K, 1-3, 1B)
3. D. J. Fitzgerald, LF: 3-4 (E-5, 3B, 1B, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SB, PO)
4. Richard Jones, 1B: 1-4 (1B, F-7, F-8, K, RBI)
5a. Ryan Cuneo, DH: 0-1 (F-7)
5b. Smaily Borges, PH-DH: 0-3 (F-9, 6-4 FC, K)
6. Anthony Giansanti, 3B: 2-4 (1B+E6, F-8, K, 1B)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-4 (K, L-5, E-5, 1B)
8. Sergio Burruel, C: 0-4 (5-3, K, 6-4-3 DP, 6-4-3 DP)
9. Elliot Soto, 2B: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, R)

1. Austin Kirk: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 56 pitches (38 strikes), 5/4 GO/FO
2. Eric Jokisch: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 34 pitches (21 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Bryce Shafer: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 26 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Yasser Serrano: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
5. Marcus Hatley: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 24 pitches (15 strikes)

1. CF Rubi Silva E-8 – dropped pop fly in CF allowing batter to reach base safely
2. C Sergio Burruel E-2 - dropped pop up in foul territory prolonging AB

Sergio Burruel: 1-1 CS, 1 E (see above)


FIELD #3 (CLASS “ADVANCED-A” – Daytona Cubs vs Inland Empire 66ers)

1a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-1 (K, BB, BB, R)
1b. David Macias, 2B: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, RBI)
2a. Matt Cerda, 3B: 0-3 (F-7, P-6, 4-6-3 DP)
2b. Dustin Harrington, 3B: 1-2 (1B, K)
3. Jae-Hoon Ha, DH #1: 0-4 (K, BB, F-9, 6-4-3 DP, 3-U, R)
4a. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-1 (K, BB, R)
4b. Jake Opitz, 1B: 0-2 (E-3, K, CS)
5. Welington Castillo, DH #2: 0-3 (BB, K, K, F-8)
6a. Michael Burgess, LF: 1-2 (K, HR, R, 4 RBI)
6b. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-2 (3-1, F-9)
7a. Michael Brenly, C: 0-1 (K, BB)
7b. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 1-1 (1B)
7c. Brian Inoa, C: 0-1 (F-7)
8. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-4 (K, K, K,, K+WP, R)
9a. Junior Lake, SS: 0-2 (6-3, 3-U)
9b. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-2 (K, E-6, R)
10. Evan Crawford, CF: 2-3 (6-3, BB, 2B, 3B, R, 2 RBI, SB)

1. Aaron Kurcz: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 67 pitches (45 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
2. Dae-Eun Rhee: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 48 pitches (34 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 10 pitches (4 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Jordan Latham: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches (9 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
5. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (10 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO

1. P Aaron Kurcz E-1 – errant pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runner at 2nd and runner at 1st to advance a base
2. SS Junior Lake E-6 – fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run
3. LF Blair Springfield E-7 – errant throw back into infield after single allowed runner who had stopped at 3rd to score and batter-runner to move-up to 2nd base

Brian Inoa: 1 PB



WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s


Thanks as always Phil. Does this mean that past 3rd round pick Dylan Johnston has finally bit the dust?

He was a 4th round pick and no, it means their experiment with trying to convert him to a pitcher failed; he’s on the DL again with a shoulder injury-> Elbow, shoulder, shoulder.

Nice to see Dae-Eun Rhee have a nice outing. He was in a few Cubs top ten prospects lists before TJ. I was just interested in how he's looked this spring? It would be awesome if he could regain his 2009 form. Thanks.

A groundout in the fourth gave the A's a 2-1 lead. Kurt Suzuki helped set up the run, reaching on a one-out double when Mariners left fielder Milton Bradley lost a fly ball in the sun.

Is it just me, or do you follow non-Cubs teams more than you follow the Cubs?

Not that I want to defend Bradley's defense or his concentration... you made it sound like MB did something boneheaded but in reality it was a tough sun field and Ryan Langerhans also lost one in the sun later in the game that was even more costly (in the 7th that lead to 4 runs, Bradleys lead only to one run).

Milton Bradley lost a ball in the bright sky in the fourth inning to give Kurt Suzuki a double that led to one run and Ryan Langerhans did the same on a two-base hit by Coco Crisp in the seventh that ignited a four-run outburst against rookie reliever Josh Lueke that broke the game open.

and here's a link that works...

or as Harry Caray said: "Aw, how could he (Jorge Orta) lose the ball in the sun, he's from Mexico."

That was Rey Sanchez Harry said that about. Playing SS the year Dunston left.

HC might have used a variation on that line more than once but it's all over the internets that he said it regarding Orta while broadcasting for the WSux.

Rey Sanchez is from Puerto Rico, although I think the HC reference may have just said "how can a Latin ballplayer lose a ball in the sun? Dunno, can't fine a soundbite on it. Here's a link that says the Rey Sanchez quote is a bit different:

I remember Sanchez more for getting a high infield pop fly hit to him and Harry Caray saying, "He's never missed one of these in his life," only for Sanchez to drop the ball and Steve Stone saying, "He just did!"

and the Jorge Orta links...

and a Northside Lounge thread that discusses both the Orta and Sanchez references as being different.

What happen to Luis Flores?? Released???

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • there's nothing like crapping out of the playoffs with a strong/young cheap team after pinching pennies for years then having theo talk about having to be creative with money to make things work for 2016...but hey, baseball isn't baseball without a farmer's market and beer garden plaza with ice rinks.

    they can do both...then again, if you want to look at it from a business point of view, they don't have to do both because the team is expected to be competitive and the merch+tickets+eyes-on-team are going to be at a peak unless they fail badly.

  • Really ?

    They are trying to bring the facility to the 20th century.
    I think they know what they are doing.

  • With the Cubs adding Pierce Johnson to their roster and not exposing/losing him to the Rule 5 Draft keeps the trade ancestry tree alive that started in 1999 with Tom Gordon and undrafted Adam Morrissey and includes 17 players, the trade tree progressed to involve the Hee Sop Choi for Derrek Lee deal and the famous Aramis Ramirez/Kenny Lofton deal..Pierce Johnson is the compensation pick for Aramis Ramirez in 2012

  • Well played.

  • Yeah, the Rex brothers, Tyrannosaurus and Oedipus

  • When I first saw the Tweet, I thought there were two guys. Happy Thanksgiving gang! And TheoJed!

  • They can use another Brother

  • Cubs acquired Rex Brothers. Awesome fit for this team. Wander Cabrera going to COL.

  • "MLB announces #Cubs Minor League RHP Tanner Griggs receives 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for amphetamine"

    2014 12th rounder...

    it's hard to know who to blame...on one hand he's a baseball player, on the other he sells cars in the offseason...either job leads to amphetamine abuse. =p

  • Thanks PHIL! I thought only the Cubs had control until the last day of the MLB 2015 Season.

  • that's awesome...makes me look forward to hearing theo talk some more about how the team needs to be creative with finances because money is tight.


  • See What The Cubs Are Building This Off-Season For Wrigley Plaza, Clubhouse

  • CUBBIES-4-EVER: It's not unusual for a PTBNL to be chosen after the Rule 5 Draft from the list of Rule 5 eligible players who were not selected. That way, a club gets a player they like (perhaps somebody like OF Jeffrey Baez) without the cumbersome Rule 5 roster restrictions that go with a Rule 5 Draft pick.

  • Clayton Richard is absolutely, positively NOT a free-agent. He is under club control through the 2016 season. 

  • Haren was 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA with the Cubs. Seems like he worked out just as expected.