Cashner First Rehab Start Stillborn at Salt River Fields
Stephen Cardullo ripped a two-run walk-off double to cap a three-run 9th, as the EXST Diamondbacks rallied to edge the EXST Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Andrew Cashner was scheduled to make his first Extended Spring Training rehab start in today’s game at Talking Stick, but was scratched after warming in the bullpen before the game. Whether this latest setback will significantly delay his return to the mound is not clear at this time, but it certainly is not good news for Cashner or for the Cubs.
With Cashner unavailable, RHP Matt Loosen got the emergency start (he was supposed to “piggyback” with Cashner) and had another fine outing, working three shutout innings, and allowing three hits (two by Diamondbacks IF-OF Wille Bloomquist, who is at Extended Spring Training rehabbing from a hamstring injury) and no walks, while striking out three. RHPs Yao-Lin Wang and Jin-Young Kim followed Loosen and were just as good, as the three Cubs pitchers combined to shut-out the D’backs on six hits and one walk (and 11 strikeouts) through the first eight innings. But RHP Dustin Fitzgerald could not convert the save in the bottom of the 9th, allowing a lead-off four pitch walk, a single, a SH-FC, a WP, and the game-winning two-run double, all without retiring a batter.
The Cubs offense did score two runs, but should have had more. The Cubs loaded ther bases with one out in the top of the 1st but could only score one run (on a ground out), Wes Darvill led-off the top of the 2nd inning with a triple but did not score, and Pin-Chieh Chen led-off the top of the 3rd with a single, and after stealing 2nd base, was thrown-out at the plate trying to score from 2nd on a wild pitch... with no outs. The entire Cubs Player Development staff (Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas and all of the coordinators and instructors) is at Fitch Park this week, so hopefully they can address some of the mental mistakes the EXST Cubs have been making all too frequently lately, on the mound, on the bases, at the plate, and in the field. Cubbery must be nipped in the bud!
Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick Reggie Golden went hitless again today (with two strikeouts), and is now 0-20 (with eight strikeouts) since hitting a home run last Tuesday.
With CF Kyung-Min Na having been moved up to Peoria (after a brief emergency two-game stop this past weekend at AA Tennessee), Pin-Chieh Chen got a chance to play CF today. While Chen struggles defensively in the infield (especially when he played SS for a while last year, but even after moving to 2B), he looks perfectly at home in CF. With his speed and athleticism, playing CF and hitting lead-off could be his future full-time gig. Unfortunately, he is blocked by several more highly-regarded Cub prospects at that position (Na, Szczur, Silva, Ha, and B. Jackson).
And speaking of Peoria, yesterday’s Midwest League transactions listed 1B Ryan Cuneo as being assigned to Peoria from Extended Spring Training (with OF Rubi Silva moving up to Daytona from Peoria, and OF Jae-Hoon Ha getting promoted to AA Tennessee from Daytona), but Cuneo was in the EXST Cubs lineup today (he went 1-4). Perhaps the news of Cuneo’s promotion has not yet reached Mesa.
While rehabbin’ Willie Bloomquist was having a great time, going 3-4 with three singles and a walk in his five plate appearances for the EXST Diamondbacks, Iowa Cubs SS Augie Ojeda continued his rehab with the EXST Cubs, playing 2B for six innings and going 1-3 with a single (ending an 14 PA hitless streak) and two strikeouts (both swinging). So far in four Extended Spring Training games (16 PA), Ojeda has exactly one hit. Ojeda was heard to remark (joking, I think), “This is a tough league!”… WelI, maybe it is when you are Augie Ojeda.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 2-3 (BB, 1B, F-7, 3B, SB, 2 R)
2a. Augie Ojeda, 2B: 1-3 (K, 1B, K)
2b. Marco Hernandez, 2B: 0-0 (F-8 SF, RBI)
3. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 1-4 (1B, L-4, K, F-8)
4. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 1-4 (E-6, F-7, 6-3, 1B)
5. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-3 (5-3, HBP, 6-3, F-9, RBI)
6. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (P-2, K, K, 5-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-4 (3B, K, 6-3, K)
8. Jesus Morelli, DH: 0-3 (6-3, 4-6 FC, BB, 1-3)
9a. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (5-2 FC, K, F-9, CS)
9b. Gregori Gonzalez, LF: NO AB
1. Matt Loosen: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 40 pitches (32 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
2. Yao-Lin Wang: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 45 pitches (33 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
3. Jin-Young Kim: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Dustin Fitzgerald, 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 14 pitches (7 strikes)
Yaniel Cabezas: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.