AZL Giants Best AZL Cubs in Arizona League Opener

Leonardo Ochoa singled three times, walked, scored two runs, and drove-in another, leading the AZL Giants to an 8-5 victory over the AZL Cubs in Arizona League Opening Night action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.

box score

Eduardo Gonzalez and Dustin Geiger provided much of the AZL Cubs offense, with E. Gonzalez ripping three singles, and Dustin Geiger stroking a triple off the right-centerfield fence to lead off the bottom of the second and a ground-rule double that bounced over the left-centerfield fence with one out in the 4th. Geiger also flied out to the warning track in CF in the 7th. The 19-year old Geiger hit 244/312/358 with just one HR but with a team-leading nine doubles for the AZL Cubs last year after signing out of HS, but he started to show some improved HR power in the latter stages of Extended Spring Training last month, hitting a walk-off three-run HR in one game, and a grand slam in another.

20-year old 6'4 Dominican RHP Starling Peralta got the start for the AZL Cubs and gave up three runs in the top of the 1st inning after allowing three straight hits (a triple and two singles) to open the game, but then settled-down and retired seven of the next nine men he faced (including five strikeouts). He gave up another run in the top of the 4th after allowing a lead-off walk and two consecutive singles with no outs, but overall he pitched better than his final line might indicate, striking out seven in just four innings of work (58 pitches - 44 strikes, 3/0 GO/FO).

Knuckleballer Joe Zeller was supposed to "piggyback" with Peralta and throw multiple innings, but he lasted only 1.2 IP, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk. Only one of the runs was earned, however, thanks to a couple of passed balls (catcher Johan DeJesus had all kinds of trouble trying to snatch Zeller's knuckler) and a key two-out throwing error by first-baseman Brian Inoa (overthrew Zeller covering 1st base) that opened the floodgates and eventually led to three runs scoring.

The pitching highlight for the AZL Cubs was probably Cubs 2011 18th round draft pick James Pugliese (Mercer CC), who was making his pro debut. And the 18 year old 6'3 Pugliese had an eye-popping intro to pro ball, too, throwing two innings (30 pitches - 20 strikes), and allowing no runs, hits, or walks, while striking out four. Pugliese throws with a max effort over-the-top overhand style similar to Diamondbacks rookie RHP Josh Collmenter, pumping his two-seam fastball up into the 92-93 MPH range, with an OK breaking ball (breaks straight down) to complement it.

3B Garrett Buechele (SF 2011 14th round draft pick - U. of Oklahoma and the son of ex-Cub 3B Steve Buechele) made his pro debut for the AZL Giants, getting two hits, including a double.

The AZL Cubs are playing their AZL home games at HoHoKam Park through July 24th with a 7 PM local start time, and then will play the balance of their home games beginning on July 26th at Fitch Park with an 11 AM start time.

Although they are playing the first half of their home games at HoHoKam Park, the team is actually based at Fitch Park, and takes pre-game BP and fielding practice at Fitch. The boys are then driven by shuttle vans up Center Street to HoHoKam Park for the game. Last year, the team played all of their AZL home games at HoHoKam Park, and was actually physically based there, too, with meals catered by Boston Market. It seemed to work well, and the players enjoyed the big league locker room environment and playing all of their home games at a major league Spring Training stadium, and it's a bit puzzling as to why it was changed this year.

The Cubs have signed catcher Rafael Lopez (Florida State), and Lopez was in uniform tonight with the AZL Cubs, although he did not play in the game. The 23-year old Lopez was a 5th year college senior, and with the Seminoles having been eliminated by Texas A&M in their Super Regional last Monday, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Lopez would sign a pro contract, and soon (which he did). The Cubs have now signed 12 of their 50 picks from this month's Rule 4 Draft, and Lopez (their 16th round selection) is the highest one they have signed so far.

LHP Hunter Ackerman (Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick) is scheduled to start for the AZL Cubs Tuesday night versus the AZL Athletics at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix. Ackerman has struggled with his control throughout his short pro career, and was (somewhat surprisingly) left behind in Mesa when the Boise Hawks left for the Pacific Northwest last Tuesday.


Thanks for the AZ reports. Cub fans need something to look forward to.

Great news on Geiger and Pugliese. Sounds like Peralta did well, too. I didn't realize he was 6' 4 - is he skinny or a big body? Just wondering if he'll be able to add velocity if he has room to fill out.

Submitted by Jumbo on Tue, 06/21/2011 - 10:34am.
Great news on Geiger and Pugliese. Sounds like Peralta did well, too. I didn't realize he was 6' 4 - is he skinny or a big body? Just wondering if he'll be able to add velocity if he has room to fill out.


JUMBO: Starling Peralta definitely has room to fill-out. He also has a nice, easy delivery, where the ball gets on the batter faster than expected.

Peralta looked good in AZ Instructs last fall, and at Extended Spring Training this year, too, so it's no surprise that he is the #1 starter with the AZL Cubs. He just as easily could have gone to Boise with LHP Willengton Cruz (the other impressive ex-DSL starter), but they can't send all of the stretched-out guys to the NWL or there wouldn't be any left to start for the AZL Cubs.

Thanks, AZPhil, as always. To take this a bit further, what do Cruz and Peralta throw? I ask this mainly because Cruz had a very good debut last night for Boise and I want to know if he is just a "crafty" lefty or if his stuff is legit.

Submitted by Hrubes20 on Tue, 06/21/2011 - 2:34pm.
Thanks, AZPhil, as always. To take this a bit further, what do Cruz and Peralta throw? I ask this mainly because Cruz had a very good debut last night for Boise and I want to know if he is just a "crafty" lefty or if his stuff is legit.


HRUBES: Willengton Cruz throws a fastball in the low 90's but with lots of movement, and a sharp-breaking slurve(?). He has really nasty stuff. I can see him being an MLB LOOGY at the very least, but he also has the stamina to be a starter as he moves up through the system.

BTW, W. Cruz is a lanky kid, tall & thin, with loose arms, and he is what I would call a bit "effectively wild." I wouldn't want to hit against him, and I hit RH.

Starling Peralta also throws his fastball in the low 90's, but he has the potential to gain MPH as he matures (as does W. Cruz). He also has a promising breaking ball and change-up. He would project as a starter. Peralta's problem last night was that he actually threw too many strikes. He didn't really try and work the hitters like he will once he gains more experience.

Thanks again.

From the middle of the article.

"Honestly, I don't know if that place can survive for five years," said one of those baseball people. "The infrastructure is in brutal shape."

Asked if Wrigley was even a candidate for a Fenway-style renovation, the same source replied: "To be honest? I'd have to say no way."

someone needs to put a wrecking ball through the crap shack.

it's a great looking neighborhood park...from the outside.

When was the last time you saw a game at Wrigley?


So what are you basing your opinion on? Your thoughts from 1998 extrapolated to 2011? The media?

seeing it then and seeing it on tv/pics from the outside.

...from the inside, both what ive been shown/seen and told. there's no room on the inside of that building. even old office space has been re-purposed for facilities and space has been pushed to the max.

and let's not talk about the bathrooms...

See, there's where your 1998 views are definitely outdated. The bathrooms, while still not resembling your favorite spa, have been improved.

I'm not suggesting it's in tremendous shape, and I'm not a structural engineer. But based on what I've seen, the doomsday scenario seems a bit much.


yeah, im not trying to be doomsday about it...i've just never liked the space except for the leg room as a fan.

i'm also sick of the not-too-public bitching from players about everything from the cramped facilities, the bullpen seating, excessive day games, and the hallway sized clubhouse.

They recently converted a room in the clubhouse into a players-only lounge. They certainly like to hide out in there, so it must be fairly nice.

there's only so much lipstick you can slap on that pig.

many NCAA programs have better clubhouses and facilities (this isn't even a slight exageration...there's spring training complexes with better facilities than wrigley). it's just so small and cramped and because of how they've had to work with the's scattered.



virgina caviliers

ball state


...and that don't get into workout/training/cages/dining/etc. facilities

I agree with Crunch the place could best be rennovated with 100# of C4 and 400 50 Yd 'Bomber' truck loads. I was there in 2010 Vs. LA and toured the Cubs offices on business in 2007.

They need to build a new park like Miller Park out of that neighborhood. It was great in its day....let's move on.

I understand the sentimental aspect... I get that. But the place is falling apart. It's time to move on. Also, if the neighborhood doesn't agree to more night games, then I would relocate, too. Fuck 'em.

That's the thing, it's not "falling apart." It's an old building but it'll be viable for many years.

What's a "Fenway-style" renovation?

Thanks. Cubs have already done some of those things, and besides the left field bleachers getting new concrete, it sounds all cosmetic to me (rather than structural).

I assume the question was basically "Can Wrigley be renovated?" (Fenway-style) or does it just need to be demolished and re-built.

unless they want to build a 2-3 story addition all that's left to build or renovate is underground. they've pushed that ancient building to the max.

you could strike the word 'Wrigley' & plug in 'the team'

The Cubs could finance the new grandstands (all that needs to be fixed IMHO) by selling pieces of the old stadium to fans. Who wouldn't want a patio made of Wrigley concrete or some old seats or a part of the locker room? They could make a fortune selling that crap.

Johnson -CF
Castro -SS
Baker -DH
Ramirez -3B
Soto -C
Soriano -LF
Pena -1B
Montanez -RF
Lemahieu -2B

Pierre -LF
Vizquel -2B
Quentin -RF
Konerko -1B
Dunn -DH
Ramirez -SS
Pierzynski -C
Rios -CF
Morel -3B

sad...but might as well...especially with dewitt slumping again.

shame byrd isn't around for this interleague b/s.

Odd - baker DH'ing and Soriano in LF?

baker is probably the better guy, but since soriano has to play the position 140+ games a year (ideally) he probably shouldn't DH the whole interleague part of the schedule...unfortunately. heh.

I really think this Montanez kid has a chance to break out.

Is he your pick to click?...MLB EI has Sox announcers and I am somewhat ill.

Mute until something interesting happens is the only reasonable alternative.

WGN game if you get WGN...

Anyone going to be in parachat tonight?

i am, off/on

The Cubs have plans to build a building in the "triangle" section of grounds that now contains the player and VIP parking lot. The building would be connected to the park by a tunnel, and would even contain room for a new clubhouse and workout room, as well as a new restaurant and retail stores. It has been held up for several years because the Daley administration would not grant a deviation to the zoning code.

Moving the facilities to this building would also allow for complete overhaul of restrooms, as well as the concession areas.

Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, Florida: Although deep draft watchers are familiar with the power-hitting, beefy (6-0, 240) Vogelbach, more casual fans may have overlooked him. He's rated just 109th on the Baseball America list, but some observers believe that a team with multiple picks (who could that be?) will take him in the supplemental round or even in the bottom of the first round, due to his enormous power and strong plate discipline.


I'll bet someone reaches for Vogelbach
Just a hunch led by the desire of people to, in my mind, reach for 1B.

by IHateSouthBend on Jun 6, 2011 3:25 PM EDT reply


Mike McDade lite?

by hrv2010 on Jun 6, 2011 5:30 PM EDT reply

better plate discipline than mcdade

by John Sickels on Jun 6, 2011 5:31 PM EDT up reply


bah! is not loading video for me tonight...the bastards.

Sure having a lot of trouble getting that tarp down...

If anyone hears when they expect to be back on (if they do) please post it.

The "Sodfather" told Dan Rohn that he thinks they'll be going again at about 10 pm central.


Tarp is off the field. Len says another 15 - 20 minutes until play resumes.


Back on. I hear that parachat is an excellent venue for making fun of Smarj's facial hair. And whatever the frakk that mascot thingy was.

Recent comments

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  • Yeah Schwarber would have still gone out I think. Fowler's was aided but hey if the wind is blowing out nothing wrong with just trying to get the ball in the air.

  • Schwarber's was hit hard, into cross wind

    Fowler's was straight up, heyward followed it until it went out

  • Mama Schwarber wants to have a word with you.

  • Mrs Fowler would like a word with you.

  • It seems to be blowing a bit out to right but far less than yesterday and much cooler so shouldn't be too much of an effect.

    Only one of our hrs last night was out because of the wind though I think.

  • Which direction is wind blowing today? With Lackey a groundball pitcher, it might help Cubs if it is blowing in today and a 2-1 game instead of a 10-6 game.

  • I have convinced myself that Hammel's second half struggles were due to minor injuries and fatigue so with the extra rest he is going to be lights out.

  • Benji Molina is out of lineup

  • Yes. Unfortunately, as many of us, I have seen this movie before. Do not care for Hammel, and unlike other managers Joe will pull the plug quickly at least. I hope before things were to get out of hand.

    Many of us are like "abused spouses" or whatever - with this Cubs stuff. You get hurt so many times, the trust rapidly erodes.

    If the Cubs can get to Lackey early, its gonna be a big key to a W or L.

  • No idea what will happen. The Cards are the Cards and they have come back from 2-1 holes twice in the last 4 years, so I don't see them in panic mode at all. If anything, I expect the Cubs to be pressing more than the Cards today.

    I want the Cubs to win because it would be great for the city, and great for the fans. But more than anything, I want the Cubs to win so I can see this team play for at least one more week this year. Never enjoyed watching a team more than this year.

  • Just to remember how far we have come: last year's opening day lineup was Bonifacio, Lake, Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Castillo, Schierholz, Barney, and Samardzija. It's been a fun ride this year!

  • BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.  

  • Yep

  • AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?

  • Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?

  • CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!