Volstad Goes Four at Fitch & Castro Leads Cubs to Victory at HoHoKam

Chris Volstad threw four innings (67 pitches), allowing two runs (only one earned) on six hits (all singles), with no walks and eight strikeouts, and Jeffrey Baez singled twice, tripled, drove-in a run, and stole a base, in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Despite allowing six hits, Volstad had a very impressive outing, throwing strikes and getting lots of ground balls (4/0 GO/FO and five ground ball singles).

Later in the day and a half-mile up Center Street, Iowa Cubs LHP Travis Wood threw six solid innings of one-run ball (76 pitches – 49 strikes), Starlin Castro hammered a 1st inning two-run home run off the scoreboard, Alfredo Amezaga clubbed a solo HR, and Joe Mather laced an RBI double into the LF corner and scored on a Darwin Barney RBI single, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in what was the Cubs’ final Cactus League Spring Training game of 2012.

Rafael Dolis labored through his one inning of relief, walking two and allowing a two-out RBI double, but Shawn Camp pitched the 9th and notched the save in typical Shawn Camp fashion, allowing a hard-hit single through the box to open the inning, before inducing a 6-4-3 DP grounder, and getting the final out of the game on a check-swing strike three.

Because a half-dozen EXST Cubs position players were at the MLB game, the intrasquad game did not have enough players to stock two full lineups, so Rock Shoulders was the DH for both squads, and players from Squad “B” rotated defensively at 3B for Squad “A.”.

Here is the abridged box score from the intrasquad game at Fitch Park:

NOTE: Rock Shoulders was DH for both teams and had five PA (total), and SQUAD “B” players rotated defensively at 3B for SQUAD “A”

1. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 1-4 (K, 1B, 3-U, BB, K, SB)
2. Brian Inoa, 2B: 0-5 (K, 4-6 FC, K, F-8, F-8, 2 SB)
3. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-4 (K, K, 3B, K, R)
4. Anthony Giansanti, C: 1-3 (1B, K, BB, K, R)
5. Rock Shoulders, DH: 1-4 (FC, 1B, 3-6-1 DP, K, R)
6. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-3 (3-6 DP, 1B, BB, 1-3)
7. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, K, 3B, RBI, SB)
8. Luis Acosta, SS: 0-4 (K, K, 6-3, K)
NOTE: Jair Bogaerts played 3B for SQUAD “A” in bottom of 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th innings, Danny Lockhart played 3B for SQUAD “A” in bottom of 2nd and 6th innings, and Carlos Penalver played 3B for SQUAD “A” in bottom of 4th inning

1. Danny Lockhart, SS: 0-3 (1-3, BB, K, K)
2. Carlos Penalver, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 5-3 SH, BB, L-8, 1B, R, SB)
3. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-2 (BB, BB, 1B, BB, 4-3, R, SB)
4. Ryan Cuneo, LF: 2-5 (E-4, P-4, 4-3, 1B, 3B, R, RBI, SB)
5. Delbis Arcila, RF: 1-4 (BB, K, 3B, 4-3, 6-3, RBI)
6. Garrett Schlecht, CF: 2-5 (1B, K, K, F-7, 2B)
7. Jair Bogaerts, 3B: 2-3 (1B, 6-3, 1B)
9b. Rock Shoulders, DH: 0-1 (K)

1. Zach Cates: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 5 BB, 3 K, 73 pitches (36 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
2. Alberto Cabrera: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 15 pitches (8 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. Jin-Young Kim: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 19 pitches (12 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Sheldon McDonald: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (15 strikes), 1/0 G)/FO

1. Chris Volstad: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 8 K, 1 GIDP, 67 pitches (49 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
2. David Henrie: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 24 pitches (11 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
3. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (6 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Felix Pena: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
5. Ian Dickson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 22 pitches (14 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO

Anthony Giansanti: 0-3 CS

Yaniel Cabezas: 0-4 CS

2B Brian Inoa - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)

2B Carlos Penalver - E-4 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70’s


Contrary to what you see in the Twitter traffic between Garrett Schlecht and Trevor Gretzky on the right side-bar, Gretzky actually grounded into a DP and singled against Volstad.

Volstad did strike out Dong-Yub Kim and Luis Acosta twice, but he didn't strike out anybody three times today.

Sergio Burruel is listed as one of the catchers in Daytona, but no Micah Gibbs .

Phil, have you heard why Cabrera is still at Fitch?

Vogelbomb with 3 walks and a single.

the mancrush continues...

Someone needs to inform Theo that the Cubs Way Manual needs to include: Hat Trick=someone strikes out 3x, Golden Sombrero=striking out 4x. I am proud member of both prestigious clubs.


And is it true the Cubs just finished spring training with a winning record? Pennant, here we come!

Time to shop Marmol to BoSox?

Andrew Bailey injured. BoSox front office whines about the trade, demands additional compensation in 3, 2, 1....

Casey Weathers says go for it.

the Muskat article on Epstein from yesterday's interview:

"Our progress as an organization is not going to be linear," Epstein said. "It's important to focus on what we're doing internally and understand that everything outside is really -- no offense -- is just noise. Whether it comes from [the media] or even comes from some fans, who are deservedly upset at a given point, it's really just noise. If we let it affect our decision making, shame on us."

If you see Epstein wearing headphones, now you know why.

He said that because he grew up in Boston, he understood the Red Sox's distractions before he took over as the general manager prior to the 2003 season.

"I think that was part of the Red Sox problem for many, many decades -- focusing too much on the next day's sports section and what people thought," he said, "and focusing a little too much on the Yankees and other factors and not on just building something and keeping everybody's internal focus on progress and building. We're not going to be deaf to the concerns of fans and what's going on around the [Cubs]. We'll recognize that, with respect to the media, it's just noise and we'll focus on what we're trying to do despite the occasional cacophony.

"Now," he added to the writers, "it's your job to make it hard for us."


Bruce Levine's chat from yesterday.


Az Phil,
It looks like all of the Cuban players have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. What are you thoughts on this interesting development?

We will find out if Team Theo considers 'assigned to XST' a sentence or a challenge. If few (2011 HS signees/Cuban imports) move up, they're really working on the 'teaminess' of the organization. If upgrades are relatively quick, they just weren't ready.

Silva's still at A+, unless I missed something. And ... pretty sure Bonne is as well (or at least, they were listed there, at last check).

Concepcion/Martinez/Balaguert in XST don't bother me because of their youth. Cabeza can't hit, although it wouldn't surprise me if they sent him there primarily to work with the young arms and help them adjust.

The surprising assignments are Del Valle and Serrano, if they were sent to XST. I guess Del Valle is young enough that they could send him down there for more development, but I wonder about that one. Going to be curious to see what the reason was. Serrano's at the point where if they want to send him down to mentor kids ... okay. He's 24 and hasn't shown to be much.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 6:37am — Hagsag

Az Phil,
It looks like all of the Cuban players have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. What are you thoughts on this interesting development?


HAGSAG: I don't know why most of the Cubans were left behind. Barroro didn't play yesterday even though the intrasquad game needed a 3B.

Balaguert is inactive with an injury and Cabezas is also slowed by an injury (he can catch but can't hit), and Concepcion is just being brought along slowly. Negrin and Del Valle both started Minor League Camp restricted to Limited Activity Only and they may not be deemed ready to start the season on full-season active lists, but I don't know what happened with Barroso and Serrano.

It's possible that one or two (like maybe Barroso and Serrano) could be loaned to teams in the Mexican League, where they would get more-regular playing time than might be the case at Daytona. The Cubs sold Oswaldo Martinez to the Mexico City Red Devils a couple of weeks ago, so additional transactions with Mexican League teams wouldn't surprise me.

i know it's mostly for "show" but it's common to designate the Mexican League as a AAA-caliber league because of all the washed up AAAA/"retired" types.

to me it's a bit more like AA-ish talent...not as bad as cuba, but the level of competition (especially pitching) is kinda weak.

speaking of the Mexico City RD's...they got a 300+lb 6'4" (more like 6'2") 1st baseman named japhet amador...the funny thing is he still lists in media guides as 215-220lbs. he's gaining a little "maybe someone should sign him" talk from people looking at numbers without knowing he's about 80lbs heavier than his list weight.


Wed, 04/04/2012 - 1:35pm — crunch

i know it's mostly for "show" but it's common to designate the Mexican League as a AAA-caliber league because of all the washed up AAAA/"retired" types.


CRUNCH: Because the Mexican League is an "affiliated league," Mexican League players are eligible for selection
in the Rule 5 Draft. But because it is officially classified as a AAA league, its players are only eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft ($50,000 draft price and the player must be kept on the drafting club's MLB 25-man roster for a year).

So while everybody knows that the Mexican League is really equivalent to Hi-A (like the Cubs Daytona affiliate), it is officially classified as AAA to prevent its players from being selected in one of the minor league phases of the Rule 5 Draft (draft price $12,000 in AAA Phase and $4,000 in AA Phase, with no roster restrictions for players selected in the minor league phases).

Cubans left at Fitch: Gerardo Concepcion (Lhp), Juan Serrano (Rhp), Yoannis Negrin (Rhp ), Frank del Valle (Lhp), Carlos Martinez (Rhp), Yaniel Cabezas (Inj. C ), Leugim Barroso (IF), Yaseil Balaguert ( Inj. OF ). Ricardo Estevez ( Rhp, Susp. ).
Looks like the only Cuban assigned was Eleicer Bonne,OF, and Rubi Slive 2b/Of to Daytona.

Expect Frankie de la Cruz to get outrighted to Iowa (which he can refuse) and both Marcos Mateo AND Gerardo Concepcion to be placed on the 60-day DL to open up three more slots on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster.

It would not cost the Cubs any extra payroll to put Concepcion on the MLB 60-day DL because he already has a contract with a set salary, and this would allow him to spend a month working his way into shape at Extended Spring Training followed by a 30-day minor league "rehab" assignment at Daytona. By that time, the Cubs should have another opening on their 40-man roster.

The only negative from the Cubs POV is that Concepcion would accrue about 50 days of MLB Service Time while on the 60-day DL before being reinstated and optioned to the minors. .

PHIL: From this I am understanding that "Disabled List", is a somewhat loosely-interpreted rule?

That is, how is "out of shape" disabled according to MLB in Concepcion's case?

Just wondering about the DL.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 9:41am — The E-Man New
Re: Volstad Goes Four at Fitch & Castro Leads Cubs to ...
PHIL: From this I am understanding that "Disabled List", is a somewhat loosely-interpreted rule?

That is, how is "out of shape" disabled according to MLB in Concepcion's case?

Just wondering about the DL.


E-MAN: They call it an "arm strength" issue , but pitchers do get placed on the DL when they are not in shape to pitch.

That said, Gerardo Concepcion just thrw 3.1 IP (38 pitches) at Fitch Park today.

Tweets...from Sullivan and Dierkes
Lopez, Castillo, and Camp in the clubhouse. Corpas not there. Also from Tim Dierkes, the Cubs have claimed 2b Luis Valbuena from Toronto.

one of the worst middle IF's around. awesome.

at least he's got a little pop in his bat...then again so does dewitt.

How dare you question Theo.

Recent comments

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  • La Stella (3B) batting fifth. Could be the La Stella game.

  • [Drafts plans for CTSteve idol.]

  • Pitcher batting 9th. Bryant in left, Schwarber in right.

  • 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