B-Jax, Watkins, and Rusin Lead Cubs to Victory at Fitch Park

Brett Jackson reached base three times on a single, a double, and a HBP, scored a run, and knocked in another, Logan Watkins belted a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a six-run 5th, and Chris Rusin threw six innings of three-hit ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and despite three hits by Rubi Silva and two each by Matt Szczur and Rafael Lopez, five pitchers combined to throw a ten-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) blanked the Tennessee Smokies 6-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Getting ready for the PCL season, starting pitcher Chris Rusin was in the I-Cubs lineup and got three ABs, ripping an RBI single through the box in the 4th, and then walking and scoring in the six-run 5th. (Rusin was a DH at the U. of Kentucky on days he wasn't pitching).

"Super-sub" Jonathon Mota played seven innings at 3rd base for Tennessee on Field #2, before moving over to Field #3 and playing two innings at 2nd base for Iowa. It would appear that Mota (who can play any position on the field) might be employed as a player-coach at either Tennessee or Iowa, going on the DL and coaching 1st base when he is not needed (he had TJS in 2012, so the DL excuse will probably be shoulder-related), and then getting reinstated whenever a warm position-player body is needed.

Several players from the Boise/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training) saw action in the later innings of the two games, including Reggie Golden, Xavier Batista, Trevor Gretzky, Garrett Schlecht, Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):


1, Matt Szczur, LF-DH: 2-4 (1B, 6-4 FC, 1B, F-8)
2. Anthony Giansanti, 2B: 0-4 (K, F-8, F-9, 6-3)
3. Rubi Silva, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 2B, 1-3, CS, PO)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, K, K, K)
5. Christian Villanueva, DH-3B: 0-4 (K, P-3, K, L-8)
6. Rafael Lopez, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K, 2B)
7. Johermyn Chavez, RF: 1-4 (K, F-7, 2B, F-8)
8a. Jonathon Mota, 3B: 0-3 (K, F-7, K)
8b. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Elliot Soto, SS: 2-3 (1B, F-9, 1B)

1. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 87 pitches (60 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. A. J. Morris: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Ryan Searle: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO

1. C Rafael Lopez - E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
2. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
3. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (fielding error allowed unearned run to score)

Rafael Lopez: 1-3 CS, 1 E (see above)


1a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (BB, 3-U, K, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
1b. Jonathon Mota, PH-2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-4 (L-8, 1B, 2B, 5-3, HBP, R, RBI)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-5 (K, 1B, 6-3, K, K)
4. Brad Nelson, 1B: 1-3 (2B, F-8 SF, BB, K, K, R, 2 RBI)
5a. Darnell McDonald, LF: 0-1 (F-8, BB)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, PH-LF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, R, RBI)
6a. Brian Bogusevic, RF: 1-3 (4-3, P-2, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Garrett Schlecht, PH-DH: 0-1 (K)
6c. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
7a. Luis Flores, C: 1-4 (F-7, 2B, F-8, 5-3, R)
7b. Lance Rymel, C: NO AB
8. Tim Torres, SS: 1-3 (3B, 4-3, BB, K, R)
9a. Chris Rusin, P-DH: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, BB, R, RBI)
9b. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-0 (HBP)

1. Chris Rusin: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 85 pitches (55 strikes), 9/3 GO/FO
2. Esmailin Caridad: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 33 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Rafael Dolis: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes)

1. P Chris Rusin - E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 3B Josh Vitters - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. P Rafael Dolis - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd)


WEATHER: Mostly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80's



Golden in Mesa? Zowie?

-edit- oops, already covered.

"Padres released OF Kyung-Min Na."

half of the rizzo/cubs trade...a very minor half.

Brett Jackson has looked very good at the plate since coming back from his shoulder injury a few days ago.

He hit three more rockets today. And no strikeouts. 

FWIW, if the Cubs wait until at least June 12th to recall Jackson, he can't be a FA until post-2019. (The Cubs had a similar situation with Anthony Rizzo last season). 

Sounds like they should wait that long anyway, just to keep him comfortable with the new approach he's said to be using at the plate. I've always in my own mind compared him as a prospect to C Pat. C Pat seemed to have absolutely no baseball instincts, but raw talent. B Jackson in my mind has very good baseball instincts out there and I really hope he has turned it around. But I'm also in the mode of, let's see how he does after a sustained number of at bats.

The big league club and organization actually has enough OFs, so it's the best-case scenario on how to handle Jackson this year. If he's thriving, no need to rush him before June. If he's adapting, maybe he'll be ready to come up for good in September. If he's stinking, they can just release him or trade him for spare parts after the season.

Minor League Camp is mostly about downward roster movement, but there were a couple of promotions at Minor League Cap today:

Anthony Giansanti (who can play RF-LF-3B-2B-1B-C) was moved up to Tennessee from Daytona, and C Luis Flores was moved up to Iowa from Tennessee. 

Also, 1B Justin Bour, OF Johermyn Chavez, C Jair Fernandez, and OF-IF Rubi Silva were moved down to Tennessee from Iowa, and SS Javier Baez, 1B-3B Dustin Geiger, and OF Jorge Soler were moved down to Daytona from Tennessee.



Looking at the Iowa pitching staff, there are a bunch of AAAA pitchers that will have to be sorted out real soon. Also, not one loogy in that bullpen group.

Happy Opening Day 2013

Remember Cubs fans, it could always be worse.

Nick Cafardo reviews the NL: Nats, Reds, Giants as first place teams. NL Central has Reds, Brewers, Cards, Pirates, Cubs.
His Boston bias isn't showing in the AL East prediction (except for picking the Yankees 5th)...Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees. Other AL 1st place teams: Tigers and Angels.

5. Chicago

The rebuilding continues. The Cubs may be able to sell off Alfonso Soriano, Matt Garza (on DL), and closer Carlos Marmol. Some of the future — 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Welington Castillo, 2B Darwin Barney, and SS Starlin Castro — is present, as is some of the pitching, with Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, and Travis Wood. The next wave of prospects is about a year or two away.

Chemistry rating: 4 — Good vibe for a transitional team.

per Trib/Sully...

The Cubs won't decide until Monday whether to put second baseman Darwin Barney on the 15-day disabled list.

Alberto Gonzalez, the last infielder sent down to minor league camp, will likely replaced Barney on the roster if Barney is unable to play for an extended period. Brent Lillibridge will start at second on Monday.

The Cubs are also expected to announce Hisanori Takahashi's contract has been purchased, leaving the left-hander as the final addition to the bullpen.


Robinson Crusoe DFA'd by Rays.

...somewhere, Jim Hendry smiles over his plate of pasta.

S.Baker to the 60-day DL...see you in very late May or early June, guy.

doh...and sigh...


"If Florida Gulf Coast's Chris Sale had dropped to the 15th spot, the Cubs would have selected him. But after the White Sox claimed Sale at No. 12, the Cubs selected Simpson, who had agreed to a pre-draft deal."

That draft was odd. Sale clearly was the best bargain and the quickest to the majors. Harper was the obvious #1 pick, Manny Machado was #3. The Cubs now have the #6 pick in that draft in Barret Loux. It's not like there were prospects that have gotten to the majors quickly after the Cubs pick. Not defending Simpson, which was one of those picks that everyone else but the Cubs considered a huge reach. Some bad Cubbery there too since Mononucleosis is one of those illnesses that leaves some residual for a long time. Zack Lee was at the bottom of that 2010 draft (now with Red Sox from Dodgers but was discussed in last years negotiations with LA regarding Dempster).


He would be a perfect cub pitcher, especially with the arm surgery he will be having.

Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.


    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.