Luis Mops the Flores at Fitch Park

Luis Flores drilled two doubles and scored two runs, leading one squad of EXST Cubs to a 3-0 shutout of the other squad of EXST Cubs in a six-inning Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.  

One of the better defensive catchers in the Cubs minor league system, Flores is on an injury rehab assignment at Fitch Park after suffering a conscussion at Minor League Camp last month, and he looks to be about ready to rejoin the Daytona Cubs whenever the Cubs decide to move him up. He certainly is a man among boys at Fitch Park.

Today’s intrasquad game featured the U. S. debut of five more Dominican pitchers who were called up to Fitch Park from the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica, including 20-year old 6’2 lanky LHP Willengton Cruz, 19-year old stocky RHP Rafael Diplan, 21-year old RHP Santo Rodriguez, 22-year old RHP Jean Sandoval, and 20-year old RHP Yilver Sanchez.

The five newbees join RHP Ramon Garcia, LHP Luis Villalba, and RHP Starling Peralta, INF Gregori Gonzalez, and OF Eduardo Gonzalez, who arrived last week, and catchers Johan DeJesus, Brian Inoa, and Hector Suarez who reported to Minor League Camp in March. Peralta, INF Gioskar Amaya, 3B-1B Wilson Contreras, SS Marco Hernandez, and OF Oliver Zapata are back at Fitch Park after making their U. S. debuts at AZ Instructs last year, while all of the others are making their U. S. debuts this year.

Peralta, W. Cruz, Y. Sanchez, Sandoval, and Villalba were the “Big 5” starting rotation for the Dominican Summer League Baseball City Division Champion DSL Cubs #1 last season (the 2010 DSL Cubs #1 had the best record of the 34 teams that play in the DSL, while DSL Cubs #2 AKA "Bad News Cubs" had the worst record), and of the five Dominican hurlers who threw today, W. Cruz really stood out. He has some nasty stuff.

Here is today’s abridged box score:

NOTE: Luis Flores was SQUAD “B” DH #1 and batted 1st in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings

1. Vismeldy Bieneme, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
2. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-2 (K, P-1)
3. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 1-2 (P-4, 1B)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, 1B: 0-2 (1-3, 5-3)
5. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-1 (K, BB, PO)
6. Johan DeJesus, C: 1-2 (1B, F-8)
7. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-2 (1-3, P-2)
8. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 1-2 (5-3, 1B)
9. Gregori Gonzalez, 2B: 0-2 (L-6, 6-4-3 DP)
10. Hector Suarez, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
11. Max Kwan, DH #3: 0-1 (F-9)

X. Luis Flores, DH #1: 2-3 (2B, 2B, K, 2 R)
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-2 (1B, 4-3, CS)
2. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-2 (1B, K, RBI)
3. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-1 (FC, BB, SB)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, SB)
5. Jesus Morelli, DH #2: 0-2 (K, L-4)
6. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-2 (5-3, F-8)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-1 (5-3 SH, F-8, RBI)
8. Dustin Harrington, 3B: 0-1 (5-3)
9. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-1 (L-7)

1. Santo Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 19 pitches (12 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Rafael Diplan: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 20 pitches (13 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Jean Sandoval: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (14 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO

1. Luis Liria: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 28 pitches (21 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
2. Willengton Cruz: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (12 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Yilver Sanchez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 PO, 22 pitches (13 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO


Johan DeJesus: 1-3 CS


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



Golden a steal. Good to see he's running.

Submitted by tim815 on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 3:16pm.
Golden a steal. Good to see he's running.


TIM: 6.4 on the Richter Scale, and part of downtown Mesa had to be evacuated.

AZ Phil, does Golden look any trimmer now than when he reported to camp a month ago?

Submitted by QuietMan on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 5:17pm.
AZ Phil, does Golden look any trimmer now than when he reported to camp a month ago?


Q-MAN: He appears to have lost some weight, but he needs to lose more.

Brian Schlitter has been returned to Cubs by commissioners office. Waiver claims voided because of past injury.

no, you pay for his surgery and rehab.

Submitted by Rob G. on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 3:30pm.
Brian Schlitter has been returned to Cubs by commissioners office. Waiver claims voided because of past injury.

no, you pay for his surgery and rehab.


ROB G: But on the bright side, now the Cubs can use Schlitter's roster slot for a post-season roster exemption.

I can see it now... Trey McNutt is added to the Cubs 2011 post-season roster, taking Sclitter's slot.... McNutt wins three games to help beat the Phillies (one of the two MLB clubs that claimed Schlitter off waivers) in the NLCS, and then wins two more games to beat the Yankees (the other MLB team that claimed Schlitter before the Phils got him) in the World Series.

Now THAT would be justice. THAT would be righteous. THAT would be very unlikely.

"The Yankees had him, he passed their physical, he went to camp with the Phillies, he passed theirs," Hendry said. "Basically the rules are that when you run [a player] through [waivers], you want him to be completely healthy. We''re happy to get him back, to be honest with you."

Randy Wells played catch today according to Muskrat.

Hopefully not with Castro

won 5-2 over Memphis. T. Diamond goes 6 IP, 7 K, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB

J. Gaub seems to be pitching decent enough to this point, 2 IP, 3 K today, 2.16 ERA overall


Rusin pitching

Watkins 2B, Cerda 3B, Ha CF, Bour DH, Castillo CF, Burgess RF, Opitz 1B, Lake SS, Macias LF, RHP Struck vs RHP Pettibone

Szczur CF, Silva RF, Rohan 1B, Borges DH, Gibbs C, Fitzgerald LF, Alcantara SS, Soto 3B, LePage 2B, Simpson RHP followed by LHP Eric Jokisch

"Gaub seems to be pitching decent enough . . ."

I know he has trouble with walks, but the funny thing is, Gaub's "decent enough" is 17.1 Ks per 9 innings, which is why the Cubs find it hard to say goodbye to him.

Re-edit: 15 K's in 8.1 innings after today.

Sam Fuld is just ridiculous.

Perhaps we should try to acquire Fuld straight up for Matt Garza.

with 2 outs, takes out Marshall to bring in Marmol to face the righty.

The day after not using Wood because we didn't have a lead...

You don't save a closer at home in extra innings, because you can never put him out there with a lead.

It's an interesting situation, because by the end of the tenth, the home team has used its closer and the road team has not. Advantage: visitor.


I think he means when you are in extra innings at home, you'll never have to 'close out' a game. So the question becomes: when and if do you use your closer.

nobody here was talking about saving a closer, okay well I wasn't. It worked and all but no reason to play matchups with Sean Marshall, he's perfectly damn good versus righties and Marmol is hardly automatic. Why risk bringing in Marmol and getting him on a wild day?

Not a day goes by in which I don't use wood.

(ok, month)

From one Joe to another, I appreciate your sense of humor.

Thank you!

Go Joe(s)!

fly fat ass, fly!!

Hey Phil, I'd love to hear your take on two young prospects, one of whom I know you've already written about a number of times. I wonder what you think of Jae-Hoon Ha so far, what his potential seems to be and what he'll need to do to continue to advance and eventually see the majors. I also wonder what you think of Arismendy Alcantara, a very young shortstop prospect I don't remember reading much of anything about.

I give the real Phil twelve hours and then I dive in.

My opinion of Alcantara is that he's hitting .194 and he dropped a popup yesterday that was costly for Simpson.

My opinion of Alcantara is that he's hitting .194 and he dropped a popup yesterday that was costly for Simpson.

I have heard that reading the box scores of 8 games is a perfect method determine how good a player is.

Submitted by Charlie on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 9:11pm.
Hey Phil, I'd love to hear your take on two young prospects, one of whom I know you've already written about a number of times. I wonder what you think of Jae-Hoon Ha so far, what his potential seems to be and what he'll need to do to continue to advance and eventually see the majors. I also wonder what you think of Arismendy Alcantara, a very young shortstop prospect I don't remember reading much of anything about.


CHARLIE: Arismendy Alcantara is an acrobatic and athletic shortstop with a plus-arm and plus-range. Although he has the versatility to play 2B and 3B, he is one of the few Cubs minor leaguers currently playing shortstop who actually projects to stay there. He also has above-average speed and above-average pop for a guy his size.

Alcantara was DSL Cubs #1 MVP in 2009 at age 17, when he hit 283/315/402 with 11 doubles, eight triples, and three HR in 65 games. I saw him quite a bit this time last year at Extended Spring Training, when he hit 197/266/299 with two doubles, two triples, two HR, 6/5 SB/CS, and 9/20 BB/K in 37 games (137 PA). Although he struggled at the plate at EXST (mainly because he kept trying to hit HR), he was assigned to Boise and ended up hitting 275/349/415 as an 18-year old surrounded by a lot of college draft picks.

He beat-out Elliot Soto and Wes Darvill for the Opening Day starting SS gig at Peoria with a strong 2011 Minor League Camp, but he has struggled so far with the Chiefs. Given his age (he turned 19 last October), he could end-up back at Boise once the short-season leagues begin play in June.

As for Jae-Hoon Ha, he was the last cut the last week of Minor League Camp from the AA Tennessee Smokies roster. I had him at #11 on my post-2010 Cubs Top 15 Prospects list (with an automatic move up to #8 after the Garza trade), but after seeing him in Minor League Camp, I would now rate him at #5.

Here is what I wrote about Jae-Hoon Ha last fall in my Top 15 Prospects post (and I wouldn't change anything):

AZ PHIL: Ha was a catcher in HS, but was moved to the outfield after he signed with the Cubs in 2008 ($225K bonus). Then the Cubs moved him back to catcher at Instructs post-2009 and the experiment continued at Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training (EXST) 2010, but it just didn’t work. Ha was moved back to OF and was promoted to Peoria at mid-season 2010 after hitting 350/376/575 at EXST. Moving from behind the plate to the outfield was like getting out of jail for Ha, as the Korean teenager hit 317/334/468 for the Chiefs while playing a stellar RF. He has a plus-arm and plus-bat speed with HR power, he has above-average speed and is a good base stealer, and (like Brett Jackson and Brandon Guyer) he plays an athletic outfield with absolutely no fear. He was moved to CF at Instructs post-2010 and made several outstanding catches as he displayed the range and defensive skills necessary to man the position. One area of concern with Ha is a tendency to double-clutch throws from the outfield (he had the same problem as a catcher), and the other is that he is a “hacker“ (a hyper-aggressive hitter who rarely walks). Ha will probably play CF at Daytona in 2011 and hit somewhere in the middle of the D-Cubs order.

Thanks, Phil! Great info, as always.

The Nov. 20 game was such a financial and marketing success that Cubs and Northwestern officials have talked about putting an annual Wrigley Field game on the calendar, sources told the Tribune.

But that won't happen until the Cubs renovate their ballpark. Once it secures funding, the team hopes to create space for a regulation 100-yard field by manipulating walls in at least one dugout area.

The field could meet regulations if the Cubs knock down the wall by the third-base dugout and shift the field 10 feet to the west.

I'd rather see the Cubs play Northwestern in a yearly hybrid basefootball game...

"Ground ball up the middle for Koyie Hill, oh, he's nailed by a linebacker!"

The Cubs have really suffered by having Koyie Hill on the roster so far.

He's been in three games. In one of them, he pinch hit in the 9th inning of a game they were losing 11-2. The other two, he started and they won, including a road game against Arizona where his batterymate was a pitcher they called up from Iowa when Wells went down.

What a loser!

Read post #33.

Also Hill won the Cashner start, which had nothing to do with Wells going down and Cashner's xFIP for the game was 4.18, so not only does he add 5 MPH's to catcher's fastballs (by calling more fastballs), he also helps the pitcher get the ball hit right at players.

He's also made an error, allowed a 100% success rate by opposing base runners while slugging .125, so based on your own logic (post #30), he should be released or sent down.

He started for Cashner and Coleman, the two inexperienced guys. It was Cashner's first ML start. That's Hill's job, not hitting. Any fool can see that he can't hit.

He can't play defense either.

Starlin Castro!

Thanks PHIL as always.

Can someone please remind me why Sammy Fuld, as a lefty, was not allowed to compete for a job against the likes of Reed "I'm Done" Johnson, and Fernando "Pinch Runner Only" Perez?

Was him being "thrown in" to the Garza the key to the deal happening as Bruce Levine stated on his show (as Carl Crawford left)?

I mean if Garza was a #1 I'd be ok with it. But 5 guys, most of whom will be major leaguers to varying degrees, plus one potential impact pitcher?

Who is this Jim Hendry guy anyway?

I agree with you it was a weird trade, but I disagree with the hand wringing. Matt Garza is a very good pitcher and is almost ace quality.

I agree that Garza has ace-like stuff at times. But I don't think his production over his career made him almost ace quality...if he had the same production and was 31, he wouldn't be nearly as valuable. Garza's value, IMO, is based on a projection of future ace performance, based on his stuff and his development over the last few years.

I do agree with you that this is a good trade for a team that was a good starting pitcher away from being a WS contender. Unfortunately, the trade was made by the Cubs.

One update on my dislike for the trade: Other than Fuld, nobody is performing overly well. Guyer has fallen from a good start to .267/.327/.422 in avg/obp/slg with 14 K in 45 AB. Chirinos is 4 for 35 with 10 K. Archer is 0-1 with a 4.15, with 11 hits and 6 BB (and 7 K) in 8.2 ip. Lee is doing well, but he has only played in 2 games (3 for 7, with a BB, K, and SB).

At least with respect to Guyer and Chirinos, it is possible that Hendry traded them at the height of their value. Of course, it is April 19th, so judging any stats right now as long term projections is rather short-sighted.

Yeah, you are probably right about that. Still, I would say, despite being 0-2 6.27, that Garza has probably been the Cubs best starter- right up there with Z -so far this season. Why? Because:

Exhibit A:
25 strikeouts in just under 19 IP

Exhibit B:

When opposing batters aren't striking out against him, they are hitting .474 BABIP... which is just ridiculous. Higher than even Starlin Castro's or Sam Fuld's BABIP this year.

So, I don't mean to bicker senselessly about the degree to which Garza does not suck, but I do think it's fair to say Garza has 'looked good' this year the way he is spotting his fastballs & sliders and it's fair to say opposing batters might have been really lucky so far.

Exhibit C LD% 34.5%
Exhibit D HR/FB 0.00%

A lot of that high BABIP was due to just throwing fat pitches to the Pirates who smacked them into line drives, instead of taking him out of the park.

"Was him being "thrown in" to the Garza the key to the deal happening as Bruce Levine stated on his show"

so far, everyone in the trade has been rumored as being key at one point or another. =p

chin was the rumored "must-have-key-super-star-piece"...when it first went down it was (obviously) archer...the only person who hasn't had a turn yet is chicken pox kid.

Actually, that was the one thing they were really looking for, a shorstop of the future - Prufor was the target from the Rangers.

fwiw, Fuld was on XM this morning and the GM there told him (and very well could have been blowing smoke up his ass) that he had been trying to acquire him for awhile.

Fuld - unlike Theriot for example - had nothing but good things to say about the Cubs organization, but is obviously happy that he's somewhere that he can get some playing time.

Mike Wellman has been hawking Fuld's wares for a while, and should be the least surprised of any of us to see Fuld succeeding somewhere else. Here are a couple of examples from MW's posts last season. The first is from a 6/25 piece entitled "The I [for Invisible] Cub."

Maybe Jim Hendry just came to Des Moines to escape the heat of the Chicago media. Maybe he dropped in to chat behind closed doors with the trim and ambitious Ryne Sandberg, though if/when Chicago comes calling Ryno back, the call probably won't come in the person of Hendry. In any case, big Jim's reason for being here almost certainly isn't to get a closer look at Sam Fuld, the scrappy leadoff hitter and center fielder. Hendry's mind is made up about Fuld, I imagine, which is tough luck for Sam.

He'd run into, if not through, a brick wall for the chance to stick in the big leagues. The problem is he's about the same height as Hack Wilson [listed at 5' 10" which means Eddie Gaedel wasn't a dwarf after all] without the pipes and the power.

Two nights ago he ended consecutive innings by throwing a tagging runner out at the plate and making a circus catch. Both times he trotted in to standing ovations.

Last night he went 4-4. Did you see that, Jim?

Plus he's smart. The guy holds an economics degree from Stanford. Maybe he could help the front office out with some payroll reduction strategies and cost-benefit analyses.

I want there to be a spot for players like Fuld. He plays at full tilt, like a winner. He's Fukudome without the bloated contract and personal hitting coach in many respects, except that he would have been hustling on the bobbled grounder that Kosuke trotted out yesterday.

Any team can use what Fuld supplies. Especially the one that flew over Des Moines on its way from Seattle to Chicago last night.

This one is dated 7/22:

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you watch Sam Fuld on a regular basis you'd want him on your side. Tuesday night he had two doubles in game one of a twinbill. In game two he homered before making spectacular catches for the first and third outs in the 7th and last inning to nail down the I-Cubs' sweep. His sidekick is Darwin Barney who is very near the PCL lead in both hits and at-bats and has nudged his BA just north of .300 again. Fuld is the much faster of the pair. The other night Barney stole 2nd when he, or Sandberg, picked a good off-speed pitch to run on, and got up and kept right on going to 3rd before another pitch was thrown when he noticed the 3rd baseman was playing back and the pitcher wasn't paying him any attention whatsoever. But then he was thrown out at home after tagging up on a fly ball to fairly deep CF. He wasn't dogging it and I can't believe he was winded after his dashes around the middle bases. I know they both project as bench players but a good bench is a good thing. My guess is that both of them are Sandberg's type of player and would have a spot on a roster he put together in Chicago next year...

I just thought the timing was odd. The Cubs keep Fuld for six years until he's 29, and then when they've let Nady go to open up a roster spot for an outfielder, and when they need a leadoff hitter, that's when they let him go. In the Cubs' defense, they were counting on Brett Jackson, and, shorter term, Perez (not so defensible).

or Colvin

Maybe the Cubs were counting on the walls at Wrigley to continue to be made out of brick?

anyway, he'd have maybe 11 AB's with the Cubs if he managed to make the team out of spring training, which probably wouldn't have happened since they probably wanted a RH bat. He'd also probably be on the DL cause brick walls and disregard for injury don't go well together.

He is damn fun to watch in the field though.

Like an episode of Jackass

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 33 min 24 sec ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 35 min 58 sec ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 45 min 49 sec ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 6 hours 13 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 6 hours 14 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 15 hours 56 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 18 hours 53 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 19 hours 6 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 19 hours 15 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 19 hours 20 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 19 hours 38 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 20 hours 15 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 20 hours 32 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 20 hours 34 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 20 hours 52 min ago view