Smokies and I-Cubs Get Swept at Fitch Park

Sonny Gray and three relievers combined to throw a five-hitter as the Midland RiverHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-1 on Field #2, and Jonathon Mota ripped a two-run home run and Juan Apodaca had three hits, but it wasn’t enough as the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 9-5 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.  

RHP Matt Loosen was moved up to the Iowa squad from the Tennessee squad and made the start for the I-Cubs, and LHP Austin Kirk was moved up to the Tennessee squad from the Daytona squad and was the starting pitcher for the Smokies, and although they both pitched OK (not great), the two best outings of the day by Cubs pitchers were LHP Eric Jokisch (who led all Cubs minor league pitchers in wins last season), and Tennessee LHP Casey Harman.

Jokisch “piggy-backed” with Kirk and threw 4-2/3 innings of shutout ball, and Harman threw two perfect innings in relief after being transferred from the Tennessee squad to the Iowa squad mid-game (moving from the bullpen on Field #2 to the bullpen on Field #3) when Marcus Hatley and Kevin Rhoderick imploded and the I-Cubs ran out of available pitchers.

Hatley allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning (37 pitches – only 19 strikes), and Rhoderick labored through his one inning of work, throwing only 12 of his 30 pitches for strikes, and getting off on the wrong foot by walking the first three men he faced to load the bases with no outs.

Neither Cubs squad playing at Fitch Park today showed much offense, but even when there was a glimmer of a threat, the Cubs farmhands found a way to run themselves out of scoring opportunities with over-aggressive base-running, including two players thrown out trying to strech a single into a double (both out by a mile), another player trying to score from 2nd on a single to short CF (also out by a mile), and a couple of inopportune stolen base attempts that rsulted in "caught stealings" and took runners off base when they were most needed.

As usual, players and pitchers from the Boise/Mesa squad were dispersed among the four full-season squads who played games today (Peoria and Daytona played road games versus the A's "A" and Hi-A affiliates at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix), and several of the Boise/Mesa position players who did not travel to Papago Park saw game action for Iowa or Tennessee.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)


1a. Logan Watkins, SS: 0-2 (BB, E-6, K, R)
1b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-1 (2B)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 0-4 (K, E-5, F-8, K)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1: 2-3 (2B, L-1 DP, 1B, RBI)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-3 (K, F-7, 4-3)
5. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-3 (3-1, K, K)
6. Michael Burgess, DH #2: 0-3 (F-7, 1-3, F-8)
7. Michael Brenly, C: 1-3 (K, 1B, F-7)
8. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-3 (K, 3-U, K)
9. Taiwan Easterling, CF: 0-3 (6-3, F-7, K)
10. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-2 (1B, BB, 1-3)

1. Austin Kirk: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 41 pitches (24 strikes), 1/6 GO/FO
2. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 53 pitches (32 strikes), 6/5 GO/FO
3. Dan Berlind: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 39 pitches (25 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO

SS Carlos Penalver - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base)

Michael Brenly: 0-1 CS

Michael Brenly was thrown out 7-4 trying to stretch single into double leading off bottom of 5th
Matt Cerda was thrown out 7-4 trying to stretch single into double leading off bottom of 6th


1a. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, BB, R)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (K, E-5)
2. Jonathon Mota, SS: 1-5 (K, HR, 6-3, 5-3, K, R, 2 RBI)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-3 (4-3, P-5, 6-3)
3b. Leugim Barroso, 3B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, CS)
4a. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, R)
4b. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 0-1 (BB, K)
5. Marquez Smith, DH: 1-4 (BB, P-4, 2B, K, K)
6a. Juan Apodaca, C: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 1B, R)
6b. Luis Flores, C: 0-2 (F-9, P-4)
7. Nate Samson, 2B: 1-4 (6-4-3 DP, E-4, K, 1B, R, CS)
8. Delbis Arcila, LF: 1-4 (3-U, 1-3, 1B, K)
9. Oliver Zapata, RF-CF: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, K, 1B, SB)

1. Matt Loosen: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 55 pitches (41 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
2. Marcus Hatley: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 37 pitches (19 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 30 pitches (12 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
4. Alberto Cabrera: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (15 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 26 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
6. Tony Zych: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO


Juan Apodaca: 0-2 CS
Luis Flores: 1 PB

Marquez Smith was thrown out 8-2 trying to score from 2nd on base hit to CF with two outs in bottom of 5th


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s


Juan Apodaca?

Not familiar with him.

Tue, 03/27/2012 - 7:06pm — tim815

Juan Apodaca?

Not familiar with him.

TIM: Six-Year Minor League FA signed by the Cubs during the off-season.

Started his career in Dodgers organization, spent three seasons with Red Sox (finally getting to AAA), then was with Indians at AA last season.

Apodaca might start the season at AA Tennessee alternating behind the plate with Michael Brenly, at least until Luis Flores is reinstated from the Restricted List. Flores is serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance Suspension (he's got about 25 Southern League regular season days left to serve), but he is eligible to participate in Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training activities (in fact he played for Iowa today).

Thanx, as always.

Looks like he lost the ball in the sun. Never happened before in Arizona.

Watch closer, he grabs his jersey with glove then it gets stuck in glove.

He gets it stucked enough it untucked his shirt.

/ cubbery

Yeah, you're right, that is pretty funny.

I was watching the clip at work in a small window with the sound off.

2 billion (!) doesn't even buy the land around the stadium.

Spartans will!

How has he looked defensively? What's your expectations offensively?


Tue, 03/27/2012 - 9:32pm — toonsterwu
How has he looked defensively? What's your expectations offensively?


TOONSTER: I've seen quite a bit of Carlos Penalver, last year at Instructs and this year at Minor League Camp.

He isn't the spectacular, acrobatic, sometimes out-of-control SS that is Arismendy Alcantara. He is a more traditional SS along the lines of an Elliot Soto. He certainly has the tools to play shortstop (range, arm, and DP turn), but for some reason he has been (and continues to be) VERY shaky defensively. Maybe he is trying to do too much, or maybe he is just plain nervous. (He's only 17). But whatever the cause, he doesn't play with the confidence of guys like Marco Hernandez or Gioskar Amaya (for example).

Offensively he has mostly an opposite-field stroke and he doesn't have HR power. He does have some speed, but he's not what I would call fast. So he's going to have to be a solid-plus defender to make it up the ladder.

Ninja on the radio

"Obviously the Cardinals won the World Series last year, but they're not the same team," Samardzija said. "Obviously Milwaukee lost a guy, could have lost two, but you know, hey lawyers ... having good lawyers helps out.

I am looking forward to AZ Phil doing his roster set ups for this season. He is usually spot on.

OF Jae-Hoon Ha (Tennessee), 2B Piere LePage and 1B Ryan Cuneo (Daytona), and OF Yasiel Balaguert (Peoria) are injured and may not be on their team's Opening Day Active List. That could save a job (at least temporarily) for Nelson Perez or Abner Abreu (who are "on the bubble"), and it could even mean a 1B or OF who is assigned to Boise/Mesa could get moved back up to the Peoria roster before the Chiefs leave Arizona. A lot also depends on whether Anthony Giansanti (Daytona) and/or Wilson Contreras (Peoria) are assigned to Extended Spring Training for a month or two to work on their catching skills, or if one or both will break camp with their teams.

While none of them deserve to go back to AA, I think it's plausible that guys like Rebel Ridling, Ty Wright, Jim Adduci, Nate Samson, Jonathon Mota, and/or Blake Lalli could end up back at Tennessee, at least until Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson get moved up to Chicago.

There also is the matter of the player-coach. The Cubs liike to assign one veteran player to each of their four full-season minor league affiliates to work as a player-coach, learning the ropes as a coach while staying in playing shape to be available to be activated for short periods of time to replace position-players who go on the 7-day DL. Player-coaches are put on the Disabled List when they are deactivated, so watch for guys who go on a minor league DL for no apparent reason. (How they get away with this, I have no idea).

At present, IF-OF Bobby Scales would appear to be the player-coach at Iowa, and perhaps C-1B Blake Lalli could be the player-coach at Tennessee. INF Jonathon Mota is another player who would fit that profile.

As the Cubs make their final roster cuts from big league camp, there should be considerable movement among position players from Iowa to Tennessee (but not much below Tennessee), and pitcher-movement from Iowa to Tennessee, Tennessee to Daytona, Daytona to Peoria, and Peoria to Boise/Mesa (Extended Spring Training).

A couple of minor league position players and several minor league pitchers are sure to get released by Sunday.

A number of pitchers are not going to be ready for the start of the season and will be remaining at EXST, including Justin Berg and John Gaub (Iowa), David Cales and Rob Whitenack (Tennessee), Yoannis Negrin and Zac Rosscup (Daytona), Dustin Fitzgerald, Cam Greathouse, Tarlandus Mitchell, and Starling Peralta (Peoria), and Ethan Elias, Arturo Maltos-Garcia, Dillon Maples, and Austin Urban (Boise/Mesa). NOTE: Whitenack (2011 TJS) is ahead of schedule and is throwing in ST games (one inning only), but he will be brought along slowly at EXST until he is able to throw more innings, more pitches-per-inning, and more pitches-per-outing.

Other pitchers will be at EXST either because there is no room for them at Peoria or Daytona (these pitchers will be kept ready and available to move up if a pitcher goes on the DL at Peoria or Daytona), or because they are not ready to pitch for a full-season team and are being prepped for Boise.

I thought I had heard that Mitchell and Greathouse might have been released.

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 6:57pm — tim815
Re: Smokies and I-Cubs Get Swept at Fitch Park
I thought I had heard that Mitchell and Greathouse might have been released.


TIM: Tarlandus Mitchell has disappeared and may have been released, although he was restricted to Limited Activity Only (probably due to an injury) as of last week.

I have been told that Cam Greathouse was given permission to report late, but I guess it's possible that he was released.


Goldstein tweet....

The Cubs released LHP Cam Greathouse, an 8th round pick in 2010.

Hi, is this info accurate? I understand that Yoannis Negrin has been playing with the Smokies during spring training, I know he was injured but he has recovered already. When are the official lists going to be released?

thank you in advance,


Recent comments

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  • Pitcher batting 9th.

  • i'm not ready for it to end.

    i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."

    i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.

  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.