Rock Shoulders the Load at Fitch Park
Rock Shoulders ripped a two-run double, walked twice, and scored a run, Trey Martin drilled a two-run single, and Danny Lockhart laced an RBI triple, leading the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
Micah Gibbs continued his rehab assignment, catching for the first seven innings and then switching to DH. He got six Plate Appearances today, and although he went hitless, he walked and scored three times. He also stole a base.
Gibbs is just 1-11 in his three EXST games, but with six walks and four runs scored, and only one strikeout (looking).
While the Cubs were playing the Diamondbacks on Field #3, Amaury Paulino, Justin Berg, David Henrie, and Ryan Rowland-Smith squared-off in a four-inning "sim" game on Field #2, facing EXST Cubs position players who weren't in the starting lineup on Field #3. Berg is rehabbing from September 2011 TJS, and Rowland-Smith was placed on the Iowa DL with a back strain about three weeks ago.
In EXST Cubs roster news, 2B Gioskar Amaya has been temporarily moved up to AAA Iowa to provide some bench depth while the I-Cubs are on their PCL “California Swing,” and as the world waits to find out what will happen with Blake DeWitt.
DeWitt was Designated for Assignment a week ago yesterday, and so the Cubs have until Wednesday 5/16 to either trade him, release him, or send him to the minors by outright or optional assignment. (NOTE: DeWitt can refuse an Outright Assignment and elect to be a FA immediately, but he can't refuse an Optional Assignmment).
The 19-year old Amaya was hitting 245/359/321 with two doubles and a triple, nine runs scored, three RBI, two stolen bases, and 10/13 BB/K in 19 EXST games (64 PA) prior to his promotion to Iowa. Although he played 2B-SS-3B his first two seasons in pro ball (2010-11) and at Minor League Camp this past March, he has settled-in at 2B and in the #2 spot in the batting order at EXST. Finally allowed to play just one position, he has begun to show some improvement defensively, and he has also shown a good eye and outstanding patience at the plate (he is tied with Anthony Giansanti for the team-lead in walks). Obviously the Cubs felt Amaya had the maturity to handle a promotion to AAA, albeit just for a couple or three days.
Here is the abridged box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):
X. Micah Gibbs, C-DH: 0-3 (BB, BB, K, 6-3 DP, BB, F-8, 3 R, SB)
NOTE: Gibbs batted six times - once in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, LF: 0-3 (P-3, 3-1, K)
1b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-1 (F-9)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF-LF: 1-3 (1B, BB, F-9, E-5, 2 R)
3. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 2B, 4-3, BB, R, 2 RBI)
4. Ryan Durrence, DH #1: 1-4 (P-6, K, 1B, K, R)
5a. Trey Martin, CF: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, F-9, 2 RBI)
5b. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
6a. Danny Lockhart, SS: 1-3 (E-6, E-6, 3B, RBI)
6b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (1-3)
7. Brian Inoa, 2B: 0-3 (6-4 FC, L-8, 3-U)
8. Jair Bogaerts, 3B: 0-3 (F-8, F-7, P-4)
9. Garrett Schlecht, DH #2: 0-2 (6-3, F-8, BB)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-1 (P-3)
1. Starling Peralta: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP, 58 pitches (36 strikes), 3/5 GO/FO
2. Tayler Scott: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 1 PO, 24 pitches (20 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Felix Pena: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 27 pitches (16 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
4. Pete Levitt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: NONE
WEATHER: Sunny & VERY breezy with temperatures in the 90’s
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.