Cub Power and Wood Arm Fry Padres

Alfonso Soriano laced a two-out line-drive two-run double down the LF line and Dioner Navarro followed with a towering two-run HR over the RF bullpens to rally the Cubs to a 4-2 lead in the 6th, and then Jorge Soler slugged a solo home run to the top of the berm over the LF fence and Christian Villanueva drilled two-run HR over the left-center fence to key a five-run 8th, as the Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 9-3 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Paterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.

LHP Travis Wood contributed with both his arm and his bat, throwing four innings of one-hit shutout ball with six strikeouts, and roping a line-drive lead-off single and then scoring on the Soriano double to ignite the four-run 6th. On the negative side, Wood did walk three over the course of the 4.0 IP (63 pitches - 35 strikes).

box score

RHP Scott Feldman got the start for the Cubs and worked three innings (51 pitches - 33 strikes), allowing two runs on four hits (including a Mark Kotsay two-run line-drive double into the RF Corner) with three strikeouts. He was aided by two nearly identical outstanding defensive plays by SS Alberto Gonzalez, as the veteran utility infielder made two diving stops to his right and then righted himself and make a pinpoint throw to 1st base to retire the batters. Before you get too excited, Gonzalez also booted a routine grounder for an E-6 that should have been turned into a 6-4-3 DP.

In addition to Gonzalez's two highlight-reel stops & throws, catcher Dioner Navarro picked a runner off 2nd base and nailed another runner trying to steal 2nd.

Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs rallied for four runs off SD RHP Tim Stauffer.

Travis Wood ripped a line-drive single to left and David DeJewsus lined a single to RF to start the inning, Then with two outs, Alfonso Soriano laced a line-drive double into the LF corner to drive-in Wood and DeJesus, and Dioner Navarro followed immediately with his two-run HR over the bullpens in RF. 

The Cubs added some insurance, putting-up a five-spot in the 8th against Padres RHRP Dale Thayer.

Jorge Soler slugged a one-out solo HR to the top of the berm in left, and then Dave Sappelt lined a single into left-center and Logan Watkins walked. J. C. Boscan roped an opposite-field line-drive RBI single to RF to score Sappelt, and Steve Clavenger lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Watkins. Christian Villanueva then completed the Cubs scoring with a two-run HR over the left-centerfield fence, his team-leading third HR of the Spring.

Carlos Marmol and Michael Bowden followed Feldman and Wood to the mound, each throwing one inning. Marmol had an easy 1-2-3 8th (F-8, 4-3, 6-3), but Bowden allowed a run on two hits in the 9th (one a bloop double that fell between Sappelt, Villanueva, and Edwin Maysonet near the foul line in short left, and the other a line-drive RBI single that glanced off the glove of second-baseman Logan Watkins).



Today is the first day that Draft-Excluded players can be sent to the minors (a Draft-Excluded player is any player on a minor league reserve list eligible for selection in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft whose contract was selected & who was added to an MLB 40-man roster between last August 15th and the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft), and it's also the first day that a Rule 5 player can be sent to the minors (or reclaimed by the organization from which the player was drafted), so look for lots & lots of transaction activity around MLB today.   

BTW, the Cubs Draft-Excluded players are Chris Rusin, Trey McNutt, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, and Rob Whitenack, which is why McNutt, Villanueva, Watkins, and Whitenack have lasted in Big League Camp this long. (Rusin has pitched very well so far, so he could be one of the last cuts).  

Then next Friday is the last day that an injured player who did not accrue any MLB Service Time in 2012 can be sent to the minors, so Junior Lake (sore shoulder) has to be optioned by that date or else the Cubs would be stuck having to place him on their MLB DL (and pay him at the MLB rate) if he is not ready to play by MLB Opening Day.

Next Friday is also the deadline to release a player who is signed to a non-guaranteed contract and pay the player 1/6 of his 2013 salary as termination pay. (If a player signed to a non-guarateed contract is released 15 or fewer days prior to Opening Day, he gets 1/4 of his salary as termination pay). This would apply to Ian Stewart, who is signed to a $2M non-guaranteed contract. However. if an injured player is released he must be paid 100% of his salary, so the Cubs would have to wait until Stewart is cleared to play in a game (and probably not until he actually does play in a game) before they can release him (presuming they are inclined to do so). Which is why Stewart would be smart to string the injury out as long as possible, if he thinks he might be a release candidate.   

FanGraphs Top 100 prospects

Baez at 22; Soler 50; Almora 51

McNutt, Raley, Watkins, Whitenack, Struck and Cabrera sent at 53.

Alberto Cabrera was at Minor League Camp today, but the other five had not yet arrived.

Several pitchers threw "live" BP at Minor League Camp today, including Jose Arias, Paul Blackburn, Esmailin Caridad, Lendy Castillo, Corbin Hoffner, Pierce Johnson, Su-Min Jung, Austin Kirk, Ryan McNeil, A. J. Morris, Loiger Padron, Jasvir Rakkar, and Austin Urban.

Urban threw the ball very well, and this was actually the first time I've ever seen him throw to hitters. He's been on the DL for his entire Cub career prior to this season with a back injury (he was drafted out of an Iowa JC in 2011 and got an "overslot" bonus to sign), and has yet to pitch in a game of any kind.  

And Dillon Maples is hurt again. It's either his elbow or his shoulder.

For all you Daury Torrez fans out there (and I know you are there), he has arrived, he is in uniform, and he has been assigned to the Daytona Squad (at least temporarily). Some of you may be aware that Torrez was the only Cub prospect rated in the Baseball America Top 20 DSL/VSL prospects list last month.

BTW, Torrez, RHP Erick Leal (acquired from AZ in the Tony Campana deal), and catcher Erick Castillo are the only DSL players in camp (so far) who have not previously been in the U. S. 

Venezuelan 3B (ex-C) Mark Malave is also in camp, but he was at Instructs post-2011 and at Extended Spring Training last year. (Malave is notewoirthy because he received a $1.6M signing bonus from the Cubs as a 16-year old in 2011).

And FWIW, Dan Vogelbach is assigned to the Kane County squad, and has been taking grounders at 3rd base.

Daury is the man or maybe the kid!

smell the desperation...

Yanks reaching out to Chipper Jones' agent and have asked about Derrek Lee.

Garza passed some tests, may start throwing on Wednesday and hoping to get at least one Cactus League start in...

Also called Rolen.

"Indians purchased the contract of LHP Rich Hill from Triple-A Columbus."

minor league contract hurdle passed...back in the bigs. scoreless 5.2ip with 8Ks so far this spring.

"Ian Stewart (quad) is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut on Thursday."

josh booty (ARZ) in a b-game vs live batters for the 1st time yesterday.

1ip 1h 2bb 0k...1wp 1pb...faced 6 batters, 2er (50/50 knuckle/fastball)

Jim D. steps into the booth for the 1st time as a cub...5 seconds later ninja gives up a homer to start the 5th.

welcome to the cubs.

Monday was a big day for Mark Grace. It's been one month since the former Cubs and D-backs first baseman began serving a four-month jail term after being charged with four counts of aggravated DUI last August.

He didn't exactly celebrate the milestone. Grace was busy throwing batting practice to some D-backs Minor Leaguers, which is part of his new gig. He is picked up by a driver at 6 a.m. every day and has to return by 6 p.m. each night, which he spends at Tent City.

A four-time Gold Glove first baseman, who starred for the Cubs from 1988-2000, Grace will be a hitting coach for the D-backs' Arizona Rookie League team this summer.

wow...they got him in tent city...harsh.

Gracie has the same bunk that was used by this fella in 2007...

He plays baseball all day then goes to a tent to sleep. Poor guy.

With the possibility of being raped in the pooper.

Italia goes up 4-0 in first over D.R. on a 3-run HR by some dude named Colabello. Rizzo walked and scored a run.

Colabello is a Massachusetts folk hero.

Rebuilding sucks.

i'm just glad most of the "trade pieces" they have i'm happy with...except s.feldman...i still don't get that signing.

Yeah, rebuilding is a necessary and expected evil, I'm just bitching.

i'm about sick of it...this is the last season i want to deal with it.

that said, there's not a lot on the expected FA market next, there's a chance that some of the more attractive options could be re-signed before this season ends. want to see a product worth watching next year...and the discussion not focusing on "i wonder what we'll get in trade after spring training and midseason with the current signings." almost every signing this year was followed by "he should be useful in june/july for trade bait."

So, basically, our front office had been foolhardy for most of the last 80 years. Not only aren't you willing to take two years of medicine to reduce the malady, you want to run back to the same habits that brought us here in the first place.


that's a bit extreme.

we got kids in the 2014/2015 pipeline...we got a major market team. this isn't KC/TB/etc.

nothing says that if you spend money you're automatically going to suffer on the farm. hell, look at the kids traded away during the hendry era...the cubs didn't lose many gems in order to take on helpful players or bloated trash. nothing (except a no-trade or a 10/5) says if you get a bunch of bloated payroll players you can't get rid of them (BOS and MIA recently).

it's not either/ can have both.

the team isn't competing this season and they signed e.jackson + fuji in preparation for something in the near future.

Sticking to my guns. This year will be less than what most fans would want. Next season will be better. And most cough medicine tastes horrible.

the jim hendry shit sandwich, almost as bad as the Jerry angelo double shit sandwich.

I'm with you, Crunch. I completely understand that rebuilding is necessary and often painful, but this team should be spending a helluva lot more than they are. There's no reason they can't put together a competitive team while developing talent.

This is probably my last summer living within earshot of Wrigley Field, and it fucking sucks that it's going to be another complete waste. I've lived in Wrigleyville for the past 10 years and was really hoping for one more good run before I have to move to the burbs. I know many have been waiting much, much longer, but it still blows that my last years in the city have been marred by unwatchable teams with sky-high ticket prices.

I'll take the train in with you when you move out to the burbs.

Not so bad.

I just moved to Naperville after a decade in wrigleyville. I'll be driving in this year, the train takes too long.

Also, if anyone wants tickets, let me know. They are often available for dirt cheap. It took me three years to finally get seats where I can see the whole scoreboard.

I know we keep repeating ourselves here on both sides of this argument, but it's not as simple as spending money and competing. Obviously you need to not commit to bad contracts which run a couple years longer than optimal, a lot of teams will do this to get prime talent for a title run. When rebuilding that is suicide. Also you can't sign anyone who costs you a draft pick. Some prime talent will not come to your org because they know you are not gonna compete at an elite level for a couple years. Also it IS possible that winning 79 games or 83 games is counterproductive especially if it costs a lot of money just to be competitive. It seems clear that they are upgrading tons of aspects of the structural integrity of the whole Cubs organization, stockpiling some amazing talent in lower minors, already in many people's eyes have a top 10 farm system... Etc. I just think it is not as easy as saying 'they should be doing this and that.'

It's important to home-grow talent, I get that. When you're picking up mid-pile free agents, you're just getting a guy some other team didn't feel like re-signing. And the top talent, if you feel like trying to outbid the Yanks, will cost you oodles and will probably not pay off in the long run.

I didn't want any of the top FA's this year.

i understand them walking away from a.sanchez, but i was thrilled to see they were in the hunt for him.

i'm a little disappointed that it seems m.garza wants to test the FA market vs getting locked up in a $13-15m a year multi-year deal. given what a.sanchez got, garza should get $15m+ if he's the pitcher he has been for the past many years.

Rizzo 0/3 with a a BB, K and run through 7.2 IP, just popped up off Casilla to leadoff 8th inning and Italia down one.

Has anyone used unblock or unotelly with MLB.TV? I'm interested to know if it works or not and if you are happy with the service. I'm not located in Canada, so I'm not sure if that matters in regards to unotelly.

And there's always the risk that MLB breaks it somehow mid-season, so I would want to go with the month-to-month subscription.

Recent comments

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  • So many memories from this game -- Javy's HR, Grimm's Ks, Soler's throw, Schwarber's ridiculous bomb, Strop overcoming his demons, Lackey screaming at himself after giving up the hit to Hammel....just awesome stuff.

  • dodgers win...1 more game of pitcher use on the mets and dodgers (degrom + greenkey)

  • maddon is easily one of the best managers out there, that's why he's getting paid huge for someone that doesn't have to rent/own in NYC/LA.

    for the most part there's 2-3-5 of guys on that level, and 25-28 other teams trying to find a guy who's capable. they can also go out of favor rather quickly (m.sciossa recently). last year's NL MOY didn't make it a full year into 2015 before getting fired.

    no matter how one feels about how it could have been done cheaper with less commitment, we only know how this way is working out. it's been awesome so far.

  • Agree. It could not be more perfect that we beat the Cardinals in this ascendant season of all seasons, and in the first postseason series we ever saw them in.

  • I think all we can say is, "Okay, let's go on to the next series and see what happens." And how indescribably awesome is it to be able to say that on this date in this year.

  • Thanks, O&B. So funny about our age. Let's just say- I have always wondered why Durocher didn't give Hundley a few days off when he had Gene Oliver and John Boccabella on the bench.

  • Strop K'ing Peralta to start the 8th, given their history -- what a fantastic moment! And Javy bouncing back -- big time -- form yesterday's games.

    Contributions from literally everyone in this series -- Soler and Schwarber were off the charts -- Miggy's pick-off was awesome.

    This team is just so much damn fun.

  • Wish I knew how to post a pic. Both CUBSTER & I in attendance. I finally feel like some demons have been vanquished, and there is some magic here.

    Joe Maddon is far and away the best manager I have seen work for my team.

  • pretty much this. also, a magician.

  • Madden brought it in some lions and sharks to Wrigley Field and let them eat people

  • What did I miss?

  • I think Strop deserves a very special mention. He had so many struggles against the Cardinals but pitched two successful and very high pressure innings the last two games against them and looked nasty doing so.

  • How about this, the Cubs are 10-1 over the last 3 weeks.

  • I was thinking about it earlier that the Cubs are 101-66 and the Cards 101-65...but, does anyone outside of the two of us ever calculate records including post season? Don't think I've seen that ever before.

  • With today's victory,  the Cubs are just 1/2 game behind (0.5 GB) the Cardinals for the best record in MLB in 2015. 

    If they win the LCS and the World Series and go no worse than 8-4 in the process, the Cubs will be World Champions AND they will have the best record in MLB in 2015 (CUBS 109-70 .6089 versus STL 101-65 .6084). 

  • Well, I can say this...Cardinals fans certainly hate the Cubs right now...about as much as Pirates fans.

    Our bullpen was friggin brilliant this series...even if their ERA doesn't look good.