Tony Campana Helps Rally D'backs to Victory at HoHoKam Park

Ex-Cub Tony Campana laced a two-run pinch-hit double to cap a four-run 6th, and then tripled in the 8th, helping to rally the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

box score 

The Cubs scored twice in the bottom of the 1st inning off D'backs starter Trevor Cahill to take an early 2-0 lead.

David DeJesus worked a lead-off walk, and then Luis Valbuena grounded a single through the 3.5 hole into RF. Anthony Rizzo was up next, and he feathered a bloop double down the LF line to score DeJesus, as Valbuena advanced to third base. Alfonso Soriano hit a high-velocity screaming rope right at Arizona third-baseman Martin Prado for the first out of the inning, but Nate Schierholtz was able to loft a fly ball deep enough into CF to score Valbuena from third base with the second run of the inning (and what would prove to be the Cubs final run of the day).  

The Cubs offense was mostly quiet after the two-run 1st inning, although Jorge Soler (facing MLB LHRP Tony Sipp) did triple off the LF fence with two outs in the 8th.

Junior Lake came into the game in the top of the 6th and played CF, and he handled two chances with no difficulty. Lake got considerable playing time in both LF and CF in Winter Ball (Dominican Winter League) poat-2012, so this is not the first time he has played OF, but he had been playing 3B exclusively (in workouts and in games) since the start of big league camp last month.

As I have mentioned here before, Lake is not a good defensive shortstop, and he's even worse at 3rd base. But with his power, speed, and arm (he is rated as having the #1 arm among position players in the organization), either CF or RF would seem to be a logical fit. He struggles to hit RHP (because he is a really bad breaking ball hitter), but he handles LHP OK. I could see him eventually as an MLB RH platoon OF, although he needs at least a year of AAA to smooth out the rough edges (and he has two minor league options left, so there is no reason to rush him).    

Jeff Samardzija made his second Cactus League start of 2013, and went three innings (52 pitches - 29 strikes, 5/3 GO/FO) for the Cubs today, allowing one run on one hit, while issuing three walks and going 3-0 on a fourth hitter. He had only one strikeout.

Samardzija's command was off the entire outing, as he seemed perturbed either by the umpire's calls and/or catcher Welington Castillo's handling/framing of his pitches. The Shark set the Diamondbacks down 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the 1st (although Aaron Hill made the third out on a pop up on a 3-0 pitch), but he ran into trouble right from the outset in the 2nd, needing 28 pitches to get through the inning. Miguel Montero lined an opposite-field single to open the frame, and then Paul Goldschmidt and Eric Hinske drew walks to load the bases with no outs. At this point Samardzija found the good stuff and induced Mark Teahan to tap into a 4-6-3 DP (although Montero did score on the play), and then struck out Cliff Pennington (swinging) for the third out.

Brad Snyder led-off the top of the third with a walk (after starting the AB down 0-2), and then stole 2nd base. He advanced to 3rd on a ground out, but Samardzija retired the next two hitters and stranded the runner at third on a 1-3 comebacker to the mound ond a line-drive out to preserve the Cubs 2-1 advantage.

Michael Bowden (who must have thrown about 100 pitches warming up in the bullpen while Samardzija was laboring through the second and third innings) finally got into the game in the top of the 4th, and was not sharp (23 pitches - only 12 strikes). He retired the first man he faced on a ground out, before walkiing Goldschmidt and Hinske. Mark Teahan then ripped a line-drive RBI single to CF (misplayed for an error by David DeJesus), scoring Goldschmidt with the tying run, as Hinske and Teahan advanced an extra base on the DeJesus fumble. Luis Valbuena (playing shortstop today) then saved two runs with a spectacular diving catch that prevented a low line drive from going into CF for what surely would have been a two-run single.

No question Valbuena is one of the better utility infielders the Cubs have had in many years. I can think of more than a few Cubs teams in my life as a Cub fan (going back to 1960) that would have benefited from having a utility infielder like Valbuena on the roster.

Cory Wade worked a VERY impressive 1-2-3 seven-pitch 5th (and all seven pitches were strikes!), but Rafael Dolis imploded in the top of the 6th as he walked in two runs (28 pitches thrown - only 12 strikes).

Miguel Montero led-off the 6th with an easy grounder to Javier Baez, but the young shortstop made an atrocious overthrow nowhere near 1st base, allowing Montero to reach on an E-6. A. J. Pollock then lined a single to left to move Montero up to 2nd, and after Mark Teahan flied out, Dolis completely lost the strike zone, walking Hinske, Pennington, and Snyder in quick succession to force in two runs. Blake Parker relieved Dolis, and PH Tony Campana immediately ripped a two-run double into the RF corner to score Hinske and Pennington, and send Snyder to third. You had to see it to believe it, but Campana was rounding 2nd base when Snyder was only half way to 3rd and Pennington was only half-way home (both runners had tagged up in case the ball was caught).  

Campana tripled (there was nobody on base in front of him, so he didn't have to stop at 2nd base) in the 8th.

I know a lot of Cubs fans did not like having Tony Campana on the roster, and there probably was no place for him on the Cubs 2013 Opening Day 25-man roster because both CF and RF will have platoons (although circumstances might change later in 2013 or in 2014), but the Cubs did NOT have to DFA a player (who turned out to be Campana) to make room on the 40-man roster for free-agent OF Scott Hairston. RHP Arodys Vizcaino (2012 TJS rehab) could have been placed on the 60-day DL at the start of Spring Training to make room on the 40 for Hairston.

As it was, Campana was Designated for Assignment to clear the roster spot for Hairston, and the Cubs did eventually trade Campana to Arizona for two (possibly) promising 17-year old Venezuelan pitchers, But that trade was made just shortly before the deadline when the Cubs would have had to place Campana on Outright Assignment Waivers (the Cubs had ten days to either trade, release, or outright Campana to the minors once he was Designated for Assignment, but because it takes two days to get a player through waivers, the Cubs had to place Campana on Outright Assignment Waivers no later than 2 PM Eastern on the 8th day, and he could not have been traded once he was placed on Outright Waivers).  

So did the Cubs play it smart when they DFA'd Campana when they did, or would it have been better to place Vizcaino on the 60-day DL and hold onto Campana a while longer (even if he started the 2012 season at AAA Iowa) to see if he might fit on the Cubs 25-man roster later, or at least wait and see if he might net more return in a trade when the Cubs would not be under pressure to trade him immediately for whatever they can get? Were the two pitchers acquired for Campana a reasonable return in terms of value? Or was it just another case of the front office undervaluing players developed by the previous regime, as was the case when they lost Ryan Flaherty to the Orioles in the December 2011 Rule 5 Draft, or when they traded Tyler Colvin and D. J. LeMahieu to the Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers at about the same time? 



campy's one of those guys who's "sneaky-valuable" to a team looking to compete. he can sub late game and go 1st to 3rd or score from 2nd on a single that leaves the infield...he can play CF...he can steal bases almost unchallenged.

it's a shame he's not good at bunting and Ks a lot, though...even if he got a full season of ABs it seems he'll never be a juan pierre.

to a team where a few wins could mean the playoffs or going home, he's a hell of a 4th/5th OF option (especially late in the game). to a team that's not in that position he's expendable.

Mascot with a mitt, see Fuld,Sam.

fuld wishes he could run like does pretty much any player who uses the speed game.

campy isn't just fast...he's lightning. he's not just likely to go 1st/3rd or 2nd/home on a single to the OF...he's pretty much expected to, and succeed in doing it. when campy attempts to steal a base you pretty much expect him to get it done, not 75/25 or 80/'s closer to 100% expectation.

still...this kind of skill is generally only useful as a notable weapon to teams that expect to compete...or are in the playoffs.

and you can't steal first

Apropos of nothing, MLB has an article up entitled: "Harper's maturation continues to attract attention."

Try to guess how I initially misread that.

"Harper's mastication"? He makes noise when he chews?

Strike one. Good guess, though.

When I skimmed over the headline, I immediately thought "Harper's menstruation attracts attention...well, I bet it would."

I like that even better than what I was thinking (and it wasn't "mastication").

It's not quite "A-Rod goes deep, Wang hurt", but these headlines don't always get past the editors.

where's the upvote system when you really need it? :/

Castro did get an MRI but he is still ok.

re "no reason to rush [Lake]":

Experience-wise, Lake is getting a little long in the tooth. Like Vitters, he is beginning his seventh year as a pro (if you count DOSL, which Baseball Reference seems to). Not many players in their 8th year establish themselves as ML rookies.

So in that sense, this is a now-or-never year for Lake and Vitters. Both should have a sense of urgency about doing well at Iowa early and getting promotions. From the Cubs' point of view, the window for these two players is closing but before it does, they will be given an opportunity to succeed.

CM updates health of Castro & Stewart...

Garza will start season on DL, most likely not available until May. Baker available mid to late April.

Samardzjia will be Opening Day starter.

Ninja, Edwin, Feldman, Wood, Villanueva to start season I guess.

Feel the excitement...

"Matt Garza (lat strain) said he's shooting to return in the second week of April."

via brooce levine's twitter...

we'll see how that optimism goes...

AZ Phil: If Villanueva starts the season in the rotation, who now in your opinion has the best shot to make the bullpen as the 7th guy?

JOHN B: As things stand right now, I believe Marmol-Fujikawa-Russell-Camp-Bowden-Takahashi-Rondon will be the Cubs bullpen if Feldman, Wood, and Villanueva are all in the starting rotation at the start of the season.

I suspect Hisanori Takahashi and Brent Lillibridge will be added to the 40-man roster prior to Opening Day, and to make room for them Ian Stewart will get released and Arodys Vizcaino will be placed on the 60-day DL.

I also think that if Stewart is released and Luis Valbuena is the starting 3B, that Steve Clevenger will make the Opening Day roster as the #3 C-1B-3B-2B-LH PH.

good ol' barry least he still doesn't have to deal with being frozen out of the cubs player interviews after accusing Zambrano of intentionally tanking games out of the pen so he could move back to the rotation.

he didn't make many friends with his aram-slamming, either (lazy/selfish/terrible player/etc)...which he even kept up after he started to play for MIL.

Yankees announcers/fans are so spoiled...

ST game...Yanks announcers...

"Ryan Dempster on the mound today, a great 4-5 rotation slot type of pitcher."

ah, the joys of a 1/5 billion dollar payroll team.

And that was just the problem with the Cubs, wasn't it? Their top starters were only "meh" on other teams.

i think about 20+ teams would have r.dempster as a 3-slot-quality starter at worst...more than a few he'd be the #2 starter.

it was just "really?" hearing the yanks announcers proclaim dumpster was a solid 4-5 slot rotation starter.

Speaking of Dempster as a 4-5 starter...per rotoworld:

(Ranger's 5th starter, Martin) Perez was injured (broken forearm) on a comebacker in just his second appearance of spring training and is now set to open the season on the disabled list. With Perez sidelined, Kyle McClellan, Randy Wells, and Robbie Ross are the leading candidates to win the final spot in the Opening Day rotation.

Randy Wells, now that's a 5-6 starter.

" few he'd be the #2 starter"

Including the Yankees

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  • I thought the same. It'd be great luck to face these non-contenders after the trade deadline.

    Charlie 1 hour 13 sec ago view
  • ...why isn't j.lucroy playing for TEX yet?


    2r HR on a 12-pitch AB.

    crunch 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • nathan to join the cubs tomorrow.

    crunch 2 hours 8 min ago view
  • Wow in deed.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 12 min ago view
  • FOX Sports @MLBONFOX
    Chris Sale was scratched from tonight's scheduled start due to a clubhouse incident before the game

    he was sent home by the team, too. the wsox released a press statement and everything. they stated it was non-physical in nature.

    crunch 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • He was scratched from his start today. No reason given.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 22 min ago view
  • At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.

    johann 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.

    he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.

    crunch 5 hours 21 min ago view
  • Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?

    "The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."

    John Beasley 5 hours 34 min ago view
  • Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.

    Charlie 6 hours 5 min ago view
  • seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.

    crunch 6 hours 20 min ago view
  • I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.

    Charlie 10 hours 14 min ago view
  • I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.

    Charlie 10 hours 19 min ago view
  • Cardinals, stop that. Right now.

    billybucks 11 hours 12 min ago view
  • In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.

    John Beasley 12 hours 15 min ago view
  • vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.

    while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.

    crunch 20 hours 42 min ago view