A VogelBomb and a VogelDub Lead Cubs to Victory
Dan Vogelbach blasted a 415-foot+ two-run home run over the right-centerfield fence in the bottom of the 4th and an RBI double off the LF fence in the bottom of the 6th (he also stole a base), and Lendy Castillo and four relievers combined to throw a two-hitter, as the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Padres 4-2 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
The game was delayed due to weather (lightning in area) for about 30 minutes with two outs in bottom of the 4th.
RHP Lendy Castillo got the start for the AZL Cubs, making his first game appearance since being placed on the Cubs MLB 15-day Disabled List with a groin injury on May 16th (retroactive to May 12th).
He looked very good tonight (in fact it's hard to believe he even had an injury...), throwing a 94 MPH fastball and a plus-slider while allowing two baserunners (a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch in the top of the 1st, and a bloop single that fell in front of RF Garrett Schlecht in the 2nd) but no runs in two innings of work (34 pitches - 24 strikes). He struck out one with a 4/1 GO/FO.
Because he is a Rule 5 player (he was selected in Major League Phase of the December 2011 Rule 5 Draft), Castillo must spend the entire 2012 season on the Cubs Active List (25-man roster) and/or MLB 15-day or 60-day Disabled List, with at least 90 days spent on the Active List. If he does not spend at least 90 days on the Cubs Active List this season, he remains a Rule 5 player going into the 2013 season (until he accrues the 90 days he needs).
If the Cubs wish to send Castillo to the minors before the Rule 5 restrictions are removed, Outright Assignment Waivers (which are irrevocable) must be secured AND the Philadelphia Phillies (the organization from which he was drafted) must decline to re-claim him.
It appears that the Cubs do not wish to take that chance.
By placing Castillo on the 15-day DL on May 16th (retro to May 12th), the Cubs are now in a position to fairly easily satisfy Castillo's Rule 5 requirements by the end of the 2012 season.
Castillo accrued 38 days on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster (Active List) prior to May 12th, so he needs to spend 52 more days on the 25-man roster to reach the required 90 days.
The Cubs have sent Castillo to the minors on a 30-day rehab assignment (pitchers get a maximum of 30 days, position players only get 20), meaning the rehab assignment started today (Wednesday 7/11) and will conclude no later than Thursday August 9th. (NOTE: Castillo does NOT have to be reactivated when he completes his rehab assignment).
During the 30 day rehab assignment, Castillo can be assigned to any of the Cubs minor league affiliates, so although he began his rehab in Mesa with the AZL Cubs, he will likely spend most of what remains of the 30 days at Hi-A Daytona and/or AA Tennessee. In fact, he can be moved from affiliate-to-affiliate (as the Cubs see fit).
Once he completes his minor league rehab assignment (and I would think the Cubs will want him to take the full 30 days, to give him as much minor league work as possible), the Cubs will probably activate him from the DL, and as long as they do so no later than August 13th, and as long as he remains on the 25-man roster (Active List) through to the conclusion of the 2012 MLB regular season, he will accrue the required 90 days.
Two Cubs 2012 draft picks made their pro debut tonight, both of them pitchers.
20-year old RHP Trey Lang (6th round pick out of Gateway CC in Phoenix) threw a 14-pitch 1-2-3 3rd inning, and he is quite a presence on the mound (6'3 225+).
Lang was a star outfielder at Skyline HS in Mesa and set various HR and slugging records there, before enrolling as a two-way player (OF/RHP) at Northern Illinois University as a Freshman in 2010. He only lasted one year at NIU (as his weight ballooned to 250+) before transferring back home to GCC, where he was the Geckos' RF and closer this past season.
The Cubs drafted him as a pitcher (he would have transferred to the U. of New Mexico if he hadn't signed with the Cubs), and you can see the potential he has as a late-inning reliever. He throws unmitigated gas. He just needs to keep the weight off.
18-year old RHP Corbin Hoffner (14th round pick out of St. Petersburg JC) also made his pro debut tonight, and he also threw a 1-2-3 inning (the top of the 4th), striking out two of the three men he faced. Hoffner is bigger than Lang (6'5 235) and has plus-velocity on his fastball, too, although he doesn't throw quite as hard as Lang.
The best outing of the night, however, was turned-in by RHP David Henrie, who threw four perfect innings (12 up/12 down) in frames 5-6-7-8.
The 6'5 Henrie was signed by the Cubs as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) last summer, but unlike most NDFA, Henrie was NOT a college senior signed right after the draft for maybe an $800 bonus to provide experience and organizational depth at Mesa or Boise.
Rather, Henrie was a JUCO player (Trinidad State JC) who was "bird-dogged" by the Cubs for two months last summer while he pitched for the Arvada Colts in the Rocky Mountain Baseball League (a collegiate "wood bat" league), and then he signed at the August 15th deadline, receiving a substantial bonus (rare for a NDFA).
Henrie made his pro debut with the Cubs in the AZ Instructional League last September, and then he spent two months at Extended Spring Training (EXST) prior to the start of the AZL. He was not impressive at either Instructs or EXST (7.89 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 21.2 IP combined between the two), but he has shown occasional flashes of brilliance in the AZL, and could be in-line for a promotion to Boise.
Shawon Dunston Jr was sent down to the AZL Cubs from Boise during the All-Star Break, and he played CF and went 0-4 (two ground outs, a fly out, and a strike out-swinging) tonight. He looked a little bit frustrated after the strikeout. Dunston was hitting just 185/254/323 in 19 NWL games at Boise prior to the demotion.
Meanwhile, Dan Vogelbach broke a 3-24 slump with his HR and double tonight. It was his 4th HR and 8th double in just 15 AZL games, and he is now tied for third in the AZL in doubles, and tied for fourth in the league in HR.
Apparently feeling a bit frisky after his RBI double, Vogelbach stole a base (a daring theft of 3rd!) with two outs in the bottom of the 6th.
2B Danny Lockhart reached base all four times he batted, on two singles, a double, and a walk, and he also stole a base (3rd base with two outs, just like Vogelbach).