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

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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.