Vitters' Stick Leads Cubs to Victory at Talking Stick

Josh Vitters singled twice and ripped an RBI double, Carlos Penalver doubled twice, scored a run, and knocked-in another, Trey Lang tossed three innings of no-run no-hit ball, and catcher Lance Rymel threw out five baseruners (four caught stealing and one picked-off), as the Cubs edged the Rockies 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Vitters was placed on the AAA Iowa Cubs DL with a back strain earlier this month, and before that he missed most of MLB Spring Training with a quad strain. He is presently on a rehab assignment with the EXST Cubs, and he played 1st base for five innings today and batted four times (once each in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings). All three of his hits were rockets, and even the F-7 out was a near HR. (He also played 3rd base in yesterday's intrasquad game -- see below).   

Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (broken hamate bone during Minor League Camp) has started taking pre-game BP with the other position players, so I would think he will probably be seeing some EXST game action very soon, and then perhaps get moved-up to Kane County sometime next month.

Here is the box score from today's game (Cubs players only):  

CUBS LINEUP:
X. Josh Vitters, 1B: 3-4 (1B, 1B, F-7, 2B, R, RBI)
NOTE: Vitters batted four times, hitting 2nd in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-4 (F-7, 1B, 1B, K)
1b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-1 (2B)
2a. David Bote, 2B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, 6-3)
2b. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-2 (F-7, 1B, RBI)
3a. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 0-2 (K, F-8, BB, R)
3b. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, 1-6-3 DP)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-4 (P-3, K, L-9, L-4)
5a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (2B, L-4, 1B, R)
5b. Brad Zapenas, 3B: 0-1 (K)
6a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 2-3 (F-8, 2B, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (5-3)
7a. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-1 (4-3, F-7 SF, BB, RBI)
7b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (K)
8. Lance Rymel, C: 1-4 (K, K, K, 1B, R)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Justin Marra, DH #2: 0-1 (F-8)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 36 pitches (23 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
2. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 38 pitches (20 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Anthony Prieto: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
4. Daniel Adrian: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 35 pitches (25 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 8 pitches (7 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO

CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 2B Danny Lockhart - E-4 (two-base throwing error trying to double runner off 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel: 4-4 CS, 1 PO

ATTENDANCE: 11

WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures in the 80's

NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game. but the Cubs did play a nine-inning intrasquad game yesterday (Thursday) at Fitch Park Field #4 (formerly known as "Field #3")

Veteran MLB RHP Guillermo Moscoso got the start for Squad "B" and he was absolutely dominating, throwing five innings (74 pitches) of two-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts. He was sent to Extended Spring Training (after being outrighted) to get stretched-out as a starting pitcher after getting almost no innings in MLB Spring Training games with KC and TOR. He could be headed to the Iowa Cubs starting rotation in the near-future.   

RHP Duane Underwood threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball for Squad "A," but he struggled with his command (46 pitches - only 22 strikes), walking three.  

Josh Vitters (on the Iowa DL with a back strain) saw his first game action in a couple of weeks, playing 3B for five innings and batting four times. He went 0-3 (6-3, P-4, 1-3) with a walk.  

Kevin Encarnacion tripled twice for Squad "A,", and Jeffrey Baez doubled and tripled for Squad "B." Both had an RBI.

Bryant Flete left the game after being struck above the right eye with a bad-hop single.

Three of the pitchers who arrived from the Dominican Academy after the start of Extended Spring Training pitched in the intrasquad game. 22-year old RHRP Juan Francisco was dialing it up to 97, but he had zero command of his secondary stuff (he was consistently bouncing his slider in front of the plate), 19-year old Dominican RHP Alexander Santana (who was at AZ Instructs post-2011) looked great, throwing two easy 1-2-3 innings with two strikeouts and four ground outs (he could be the ace of the AZL Cubs starting rotation). and 19-year old Venezuelan LHP Angel Mejias threw 1.1 IP with two strikeouts. 

6'6 230+ 24-year old ex-Diamondbacks minor league RHP Orbandy Rodriguez (formerly known as "Manuel Gil") and 17-year old Venezuelan LHP Carlos Rodriguez threw two innings a piece in a "sim" game on Field #3 (formerly Field #2) on Monday, so they will probably be getting into an EXST game pretty soon. I have not seen RHP Jorge Diaz or LHP Luis Villalba throw in a "sim" game yet (both were at Extended Spring Training last year), but they may have done so on a day when the EXST Cubs were on the road.    

Here is the box score frrom yesterday's intrasquad game:

CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-4 (K, F-8, 1-3, 4-3)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, K, R, 2 RBI)
3a. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
3b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 2-2 (3B, 3B, RBI)
4. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-3 (K, K, F-8, BB)
5. Jacob Rogers, 1B:  0-4 (L-8, K, F-7, K)
6a. Jose Dore, LF: 1-3 (2B, K, 3-U)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
7a. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-1 (K)
7b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (1B, P-4, F-9, SB, PO)
8a. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (6-3)
8b. Justin Marra, C: 2-2 (1B, 2B, R)
9a. Neftali Rosario, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, PH: 0-1 (K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Rony Rodriguez, DH #2: 0-1 (BB, 1-3, R)

CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP
X. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, P-4, BB, 1-3)
NOTE: Vitters batted four times, hitting 2nd in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1a. Rashad Carwford, CF: 1-2 (K, BB, 1B)
1b. Brad Zapenas, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
2a. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-3 (1-3, 3-1, 3-1)
2b. Lance Rymel, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
3a. Wilfredo Petit, C-DH: 0-2 (E-6, BB, 6-3)
3b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (4-3)
4. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-2 (BB, P-2, F-7)
5. Carlos Escobar, DH-C-DH: 0-2 (P-3, 5-3 DP, BB, R)
6. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 2-3 (2B, K, 3B, RBI)
7. David Bote, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-7, CS)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (BB, 1-3)
9a. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-2 (K, F-7)
9b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Garrett Schlecht, DH #2: 0-1 (K)

CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Dayan Diaz: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (23 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of 2nd inning was stopped with two outs when Diaz reached his pre-planned max pitch limit
2. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (22 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP,  29 pitches (14 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
4. Alexander Santana: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO

CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Guillermo Moscoso: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 1 PO, 74 pitches (46 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Hunter Ackerman: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Angel Mejias: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 26 pitches (13 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Francisco: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO 

CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 1
SS Bryant Flete - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)

CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: NONE

CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Alberto Mineo: 1-1 CS

CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS

CUBS SQUAD "A" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
1. LF Jose Dore - threw out batter (David Bote) 7-4 trying to stretch single into double
2. CF Shawon Dunston Jr - threw out baserunner (Mark Malave) trying to score from 2nd base on single 

 

 

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Comments

Tony Four-Sacks with a 2-run HR in the first off LeBlanc.

make that a 2nd 2-run HR on the night.

.193 with 8HR...carlos pena approves.

and another 2-run HR for Tony Four-Sacks...

impressive, most impressive

no one seems to be calling feldman out for not touching the rubber before delivering the ball. on many pitches you can see a clear line of soil between his shoe and the rubber...he's not even making casual side-contact with the rubber.

also, the ump has a crazy big zone for both pitchers tonight.

ILB Jon Bostic from Florida is the 2nd round pick

Love, absolutely love this pick. You know who Bostic reminds me of? Lance Briggs. Now, that said, he really might be a better fit outside, but we needed youth and athleticism at LB.

I had mixed feelings about our first pick. I like Kyle Long a ton (people forget how coveted he was out of HS as a OL prospect, before deciding to pursue baseball). I think he can play guard, I think he can play tackle. But ... you move Carimi inside, sign decent veterans in Slauson/Britton, add Bushrod outside, and still have Jon Scott as a swing tackle. Now, that said, Britton never panned out the way some hoped, and Slauson is at best a stopgap, so you needed more OL at some point. Still ... first? Particularly when there were other needs. IAt some point, you need to add CB youth. Maybe you get lucky in the 4th/5th and find someone.

All that said, we did need more OL talent. I think the Long pick is as much a signal to the interior players (namely, Carimi, as the veterans are clear stopgaps) as it is to J'Marcus Webb. If Webb doesn't step it up at RT, it isn't hard to imagine Kyle Long getting a shot to be the RT of the future.

Agree on the Long pick - might have been a reach but I really like his game. You can dream on him being an LT but definitely think he could play LG or RT at a high level.

I thought Briggs too when I saw Bostic. He can run a bit faster though. Not seeing the OLB for him, I think he's a better fit inside.

On my phone I get team stream/bleacher report which is really not a very good app so I obviously haven't done my app homework regarding sports, but they had two reports on Bostic. One said he had lots of speed and wouldn't just be a two down LB and the other said he didn't have great speed and relied on a physical game and would be primarily a two down LB. Oh well. I don't know enough about college football to have an opinion. About either pick, really.

All I know is that I wanted the Bears to address the O Line and linebacker position in the draft. Or maybe defensive line @ my mantra you can never have too many good linemen. I'm really glad that Emery has taken the O Line seriously this year - he didn't last year, not really, and I wonder if Trestman, on coming in said, "hey, look, you're gonna kill Cutler and throw away his final season here if you don't clean up the O Line". If he said that, I already like him.

A lot of people thought Emery was reaching but he at least recognized the areas of need. I agree with you on CB - need to get some young help there. It's also encouraging that you like Bostic so much. It does sound like at a bare minimum he'll be good on the outside. And from what I've read, he really fits the Chicago linebacker mold - he seems to enjoy fighting with offensive linemen.

He's a fast and athletic guy (fastest time of middle LBs) who needs work on instincts and getting to the ball handler.

It's interesting because I think both players can be good but both are more long term projects and not year one difference makers imo. I don't think our team is currently good enough to compete for the SB and so I'm wondering if they're really looking more at a short term rebuild despite their words to the contrary.

My guess is that Emery and Co. are viewing the roster as one that doesn't have a lot of holes, and as such, he's going for upside. Pre-draft, I was fine with the options at OL. I figured we could get decent interior guard play from Carimi/Slauson/Britton etceteras. I was fine with the LB options, as James Anderson and DJ Williams looked to be decent stopgaps. This isn't to say our options at those positions were great, but we had decent enough options there. If Long and Bostic get on the field in base packages in Year 1, then that's a testament to them.

That said, I'm befuddled at the lack of a CB pick. Their 5th round pick is about to come up, but this late in the juncture, you are just hoping for luck. I guess, with the way they aggressively attacked OL this year, CB may be the focus next year, but ... would've been nice to get a young body in. I like Khaseem Greene, but I didn't see the need to draft both Greene and Bostic. Guess the CB value was that much lower than Greene's in the 4th.

On paper, I like how this roster looks. I don't love Bushrod, but Kromer believes in him, and on paper, Bushrod/Webb should be our best tackle combination since ... what the Tait days? The skill talent looks solid, and on paper, probably a good fit for Trestman's system. We finally got a decent-solid TE, someone who offers good all-around ability. Defensively, assuming Melton continues to develop, the front four should be solid, and the LB's should be more rangy than before. If I have a concern, it's at CB. That said, I think this is a team that can compete for the playoffs in the NFC, and if a lot of things go right, perhaps do more. A long way to go.

That said, one thing that hasn't been talked about as much is that this is a huge year for Jay Cutler. Emery's basically saying to him - no more excuses. It's his contract year. I'm a big Jay Cutler fan, and now, he has, on paper, an improved OL, and if Jeffry develops at WR, his most talented WR crew, and a TE weapon.

Imo it's difficult to overrate how bad our o-line has been. Cutler (and Forte) made them seem even better then they looked with his scrambling ability and ability to make something out of nothing. They couldn't even block on max protect. It was an atrocious line and anything will be an improvement. Cutler has already proven himself way too often and I'm sort of tired of hearing that this has to be the year he proves himself and I don't think what they have gotten is that much of an improvement.

Imo this is the year for the line (and coaches) to prove to Cutler they know what they're doing.

The first and second round picks were puzzling. In the first I would have selected any of the three guys that were picked directly after the Bears. Second round I would have taken the LB from K. State instead. I don't know why they always insist on taking project players instead of guy that could contribute right away. The previous regime was guilty of this too. Meh, Go Cubs.

I've been a fan of Cutler since his college days. Thought it wasn't even close that he was the best QB in his draft class. I agree the supporting cast has been bad, and the skill talent hasn't been that good (while Cutler can be blamed for some of the interceptions, too often, it was a poor route by Earl Bennett or Johnny Knox or someone, or a WR not coming back for ball).

That said, the big thing is, this is his contract year. It's hard to say that the current OL isn't much of an improvement. Bushrod has at least shown that he's a solid NFL starting left tackle. That was our biggest problem in recent years. The talent level at guard/RT was never that horrendous, but without a solid LT, you end up having to max protect, or have TE's/RB's chip, which diminishes the potential of the pass game (or you "Martz" it, and don't chip, and get your QB killed). Is Bushrod a stud? Probably not. Could Webb, with more time, have developed into Bushrod-ish? Perhaps, but Bushrod is an upgrade now. Webb, physically, is a good fit at RT. We still have a concern in the middle, but I understand them wanting a veteran presence in Garza there.

One thing to be said is that this is probably the best offensive system for Cutler's skillset. It should run fairly similar to what the Shanahan's did in Denver.

We drafted an OT? Odd. A bit over-kill on Emery's part. Granted, it's the 5th round, but very curious that they didn't see value anywhere else, ranging from RB, to QB, to C, to CB, to DL. Not the biggest deal, but a bit odd.

Tony Four Sacks-#8

Holy shit those were bombs

I hope you won't be offended if I just go with T4S#8 from my mobile device.

That second one was a sight to behold. It was a batting practice pitch - a change up that just sort of floated in without any movement, and Rizzo made the guy pay.

Twitter win for Matt Garza!

------

5h

Maybe they can actually teach him how to field RT : Great to see Matt Garza talking PFP's with the Smokies pitchers

-----

I appreciate your support, but lets keep your snide comments quiet! Way to be a supportive fan!

...and in typical al yellon style he gets banned apologized to.

Anibel Sanchez
8 ip 17 k's

nice

a.rizzo and d.barney both make it to .200 BA tonight.

these AAA teams are awesome to play against.

k.gregg coming in for the save...so much lulz.

2 GAME WINNING STREAK!

STANLEY CUP!

Yeah, buddy!!

Hi AZ Phil,

What's the story on Orbandy Rodriguez (formerly known as "Manuel Gil")? He sure sounds interesting, if for no other reason, just for his size.

Also, is Daury Torrez still hurt? I remember you listing him in the list of those rehabbing earlier in the spring.

RAISIN: Daury Torrez and Erick Leal were the only two pitchers from the Dominican Acdemy who were invited to make their U. S. debut at Minor League Camp in March (the others reported after the start of Extended Spring Training a couple of weeks ago). And while Leal (acquired from Arizona in the Tony Campa trade) is progressing nicely and has pitched in EXST games, Torrez was shut-down at the end of Minor League Camp and has yet to pitch in an EXST game. But it doesn't look like the problem is too serious because he is playing catch, he's participating in PFPs, and he's shagging balls during BP. BTW, Ryan McNeil was shut-down after his last outing (a week ago Monday), and (like Torrez) he is participating fully in all drills with the other pitchers. 


If everybody is healthy, I would think the AZL Cubs starting rotation would probably be Torrez, Santana, Leal, C. Rodriguez, and A. Mejias.


As for Orbandy Rodriguez, all I have been able to find out is that he signed with the Diamondbacks as (supposed) 16-year old "Manuel Gil" in January 2008 and then he pitched for the DSL Diamondbacks in 2008-09 (where he was a teammate of Juan Carlos Paniagua, who was known at the time as "Juan Callado"). Gil (Rodriguez) suffered a stress fracture in his elbow in 2009 and was released by the D'backs in 2010. I don't know if he was released because of the elbow injury, or because of the identity issue, or both. The Cubs signed him after giving him a try-out at DSL Instructs last November. So (apparently) he hasn't pitched anywhere since 2009. When he became Orbandy Rodriguez and changed his DOB to 9-29-1988 (meaning he was actually 19 when he signed with Arizona in 2008) I don't know. but whoever he is and no matter how old he is, he is one huge dude. 

Thanks!!

Jim Bowden's survey of GMs ranks Jason McLeod second as most likely to be the next up-and-coming GM in baseball.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/04/gm-notes-zdu...

Edit: I misread this post and totally forgot who McLeod was.

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