Szczur Triples Smokies to Victory
Matt Szczur tripled twice, scored twice and drove-in a run, Justin Bour had two hits and three RBI, and Matt Cerda reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, leading the Tennessee Smokies to a 6-4 victory over the Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) on Field #2, but the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) took advantage of seven walks and bested the Iowa Cubs 9-6 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
In addition to reaching base four times (in four plate appearances), Tennessee 3B Matt Cerda also committed three errors. So he had a full day.
Just moved up to the Tennessee squad from Daytona after two strong outings, LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke got the start for the Smokies, and allowed two runs on three hits (two singles and a double) and a walk in 2.1 IP.
After starring as a two-way player (LHP-RF) at Ooltewah HS and signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Vanderbilt University, Burke was signed by the San Diego Padres ($950K bonus) after they drafted him (as an outfielder) in the Supplemental 1st round of the June 2006 Rule 4 Draft (2006 35th overall pick). At the time, coaches and scouts who had seen Burke play were split as to whether he was a better pitcher or outfielder. (The University of Tennessee recruited him as a pitcher, Vanderbilt was going to let him do both).
After spending the last part of the 2006 season and the first part of the next season in "A" ball with San Diego, Burke was acquired by the Cubs in the Michael Barrett trade in July 2007. He struggled to establish himself as a prospect with the Cubs, until he had a breakout year in 2009 when he was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year after hitting 303/405/505 with 15 HR, 43 doubles, 14 stolen bases, and 14 outfield assists for Peoria. He could not sustain the success at Hi-A Daytona in 2010, however, hitting just .212. After he was unable to win a job at AA Tennessee in Minor League Camp last year, the Cubs approached him about trying pitching, and he agreed.
Burke spent two months at Extended Spring Training getting re-acclimated to the mound, and then was assigned to Boise the last two months pf the season. He attended the AZ Instructional League post-2011, and was the most-impressive pitcher on the Cub squad, showing a 94 MPH fastball, a plus-curve, and a solid change-up. (i had rated him as one of my in my Cubs Top 15 Prospects this past off-season).
The thing to keep in mind about Kyler Burke is that he will be an MLB Rule 55 Minor League free-agent (6YFA) after this season if the Cubs do not add him to their MLB 40-man roster by 5 PM (EDT) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2012 World Series.
So when the Cubs think about whether they should add Burke to their MLB 40-man roster post-2012, it's not a question of whether he is a candidate to be selected in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft (and that they might get him back if he were to get selected), but rather it's that he could walk away as a minor league free-agent three weeks before concerns about the Rule 5 Draft are normally addressed.
The Cubs Boise/Mesa squad (which will morph into the Cubs Extended Spring Training team next month) played a contest against the Langley Blaze (a Canadian junior amateur team, and baseball alma mater of Cub minor league INF Wes Darvill) on Fitch Park Field #1 while the other games were being played on the other two fields.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1. Zeke DeVoss, DH #1: 0-2 (HBP, 3-U, K, BB, 2 R, 2 SB)
2. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-3 (F-7, F-7, F-7, BB)
3a. Matt Szczur, CF: 2-3 (3B, 5-3, 3B, 2 R, RBI)
3b. Eliecer Bonne, CF: 0-1 (K)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-4 (5-3, 6-3, 1B, 1B, 3 RBI)
5. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-4 (K, K, K, K)
6. Junior Lake, SS: 0-4 (K, 6-3, K, P-4)
7a. Rafael Lopez, C: 1-3 (HR, K, K, R, RBI)
7b. Chad Noble, C: 0-1 (6-3)
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 2B, 1B, R)
9. John Andreoli, LF: 1-2 (3B, K, BB, BB, RBI)
10. Taiwan Easterling, DH #2: 0-4 (L-6, F-9, K, 1-4-3 DP)
1. Kyler Burke: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 42 pitches (26 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
2. Ty’Relle Harris: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 37 pitches (19 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Larry Suarez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 35 pitches (16 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
4. Frank Batista: 2.0, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 30 pitches (21 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
5. Tony Zych: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 3
1. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (two base throwing-error allowed batter reach 2nd base)
2. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base)
3. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (errant throw to 1st base on infield single allowed batter to reach 2nd base)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 0-1 CS
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Leugem Barroso, SS: 0-2 (6-3, K)
1b. Nate Samson, SS: 1-2 (E-3, 1B, R)
2. Jonathon Mota, 2B: 2-4 (E-4, 1B, 1B, P-6, R, RBI, CS)
3a. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-2 (F-7, K, HBP, R, SB)
3b. Abner Abreu, CF: 1-1 (1B, RBI, SB)
4a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-3 (2B, K, P-4, R, RBI)
4b. Marquez Smith, 3B: 0-0 (BB)
5. Ty Wright, LF: 1-4 (1B, K, 6-3, 6-4-3 DP, 2 RBI)
6. Michael Burgess, RF: 1-4 (6-3, 1B, K, K)
7a. Jason Jaramillo, C: 0-2 (F-7, 4-3)
7b. Mario Mercedes, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
8. Jake Opitz, 1B: 1-4 (3-U, 1B, P-6, K, R, SB)
9. Greg Rohan, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3, PO)
10a. Micah Gibbs, DH #2: 0-2 (4-3, K)
10b. Rebel Ridling, PH: 1-1 (1B, R)
1. Brian Schlitter: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 25 pitches (15 strikes)
2. Jeff Beliveau: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK, 32 pitches (20 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Alberto Cabrera: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 35 pitches (24 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
4. Casey Weathers: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 31 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Oswaldo Martinez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 26 pitches (15 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
6. James Pugliese: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 18 pitches (8 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
IOWA ERRORS: 1
1B Jake Opitz - E-3 (errant throw attempting to complete 3-1 putout allowed batter to reach base safely)
IOWA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Mario Mercedes: 2-2 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70’s
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.