Snakes Take Two Bites of the Apple at Fitch Park

17-year old Panamanian LHP Anfernee Benitez tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball with eight strikeouts, 16-year old Dominican SS Sergio Alcantara singled twice, tripled, and scored two runs, and Tyler Linton cracked a two-run double to cap a four run 8th inning rally, as the Diamondbacks outlasted the Cubs 8-6 on Field #4, and Wagner Mateo belted an RBI double to put the D'backs on the board in the top of the 1st, and Andrew Velasquez laced an RBI triple to plate the Diamondbacks final run in the top of the 4th, as the D'backs withstood a Cub rally in the bottom of the 9th (Cubs scored twice and left the bases loaded) and defeated the Cubs 5-3 on Field #2, sweeping a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.    

Jose Rosario got the start for the Cubs on Field #4 and had a rough 1st inning, surrendering four runs on four hits (three singles and a double) and a walk. But then he found his rhythm and retired 12 of the last 13 men he faced (five on strikes) before reaching his pre-planned pitch limit (67). 

Rony Rodriguez whacked a two-run HR in the bottom of the 5th and Justin Marra followed an inning later with a two-run double to help the Cubs tie the game on Field #4, and then the Cubs took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 7th, before the D'backs erupted  for four runs off reliever Chad Martin (capped by the Tyler Linton two-run two-bagger) in the top of the 8th. Martin had a really poor outing, allowing four runs on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple) in just two innngs of work 

Albert Almora was in the lineup on Field #4 and played CF for six innings, getting four AB and going 1-4. He struck out (swinging) twice against Anfernee Benitez, then he broke up the no-hitter by rifling a single off RHRP Bobby Hillier and past the D'backs third-baseman leading off the bottom of the 5th (before scoring on the Rony Rodriguez HR), and popped up to the second-baseman in short RF in his final PA (also versus Hillier).

Prior to the doubleheader, RHP Chang-Yong Lim (July 2012 TJS rehab) threw a 25-pitch "live" BP inning on Field #1, facing Jose Morales (strained hamstring rehab), Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra. The 36-year old side-armin' Korean and one-time closer for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (NPB) was signed by the Cubs post-2012, and has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past couple of months. Barring a medical setback, I would think he will probably see some EXST game action soon. (Fellow South Korean Dong-Yub Kim bowed to Lim in "we are not worthy" style as he passed behind the batting cage on Field #1 on his way to Field #4).   

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Bryant Flete has been moved down to the VSL Cubs. Flete had an interesting weekend, playing in the EXST game at Talking Stick last Friday, flying to Venezuela on Saturday, and then playing in the VSL Cubs inaugural yesterday morning (Flete hit lead-off and played SS for the VSL Cubs).  

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):   



FITCH PARK FIELD #2

SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Rashad Crawford, RF: 1-4 (1-3, 1B, F-7, HBP, K)
2. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-5 (6-3, P-3, 4-3, P-3, 4-3)
3. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-4 (K, F-8, 1B, P-3, R)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, 1B: 2-4 (K, P-3, 1B, 1B, R)
5. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, K, BB, R)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH: 2-4 (1B, K, K, 1B, RBI)
7. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-4 (K-DP, F-7, K, 1B)
8a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-1, F-8)
8b. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, RBI)
9. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-3 (6-3, F-7, 1-3, BB)

CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (27 strikes), 3/4 GO/FO
2. Jasvir Rakkar: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Mike Hamann: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (14 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO 
4. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 15 pitches (11 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO 

CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 1
SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS:
1. Erick Castillo: 1-2 CS
2. Alberto Mineo: 0-1 CS

FITCH PARK FIELD #4

CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Albert Almora, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, P-4)
NOTE: Almora batted four times, leading off the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th innings
1. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 4-3, 1B, RBI)
2. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, F-7, 1B, HBP, R)
3. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, P-6, R)
4a. Rony Rodriguez, C: 1-2 (5-3, HR, R, 2 RBI)
4b. Justin Marra, C: 1-2 (2B, K, 2 RBI)
5. Jose Dore, LF-RF: 0-3 (K, HBP, K, K)
6. Kevin Encarnacion, RF-CF: 1-3 (BB, L-9, 1B, F-7, R)
7. Xavier Batista, DH: 0-3 (5-4 FC, F-7, BB, K, R)
8. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-4 (6-3, K, K, K)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (F-8, P-5)

CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Jose Rosario: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 67 pitches (40 strikes), 4/5 GO/FO
NOTE: Top of the 5th inning was stopped with two outs when Rosario reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
2. Daury Torrez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO  
3. Chad Martin: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 34 pitches (26 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO

CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE

CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:  
Rony Rodriguez: 0-1 CS

ATTENDANCE: 12

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+ 

NOTE
: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play a seven-inning intrasquad game yesterday (Monday) at Fitch Park.

LHP Kyler Burke (strained oblique rehab) got the start for Squad "A" and went 5.1 IP (79 pitches), allowing one run (it was unearned) on three hits (two singles and a triple) and a walk. He struck out four, with a 7/1 GO/FO. Burke should be ready to move up to (presumably) either Daytona or Tennessee.

Jacob Rogers and Yasiel Balaguert were the offensive stars of the game. Rogers belted two doubles (including a two-run double high off the CF "Batter's Eye") and a two-run HR and drove-in four runs for Squad "A," and Balaguert collected a single, a double, and a triple, drove-in two runs, and scored one for Squad "B."

Albert Almora played CF for five innings for Squad "A" and batted four times, going 1-4. He grounded out 4-3 in his first AB, chopped a single over the third-baseman's head his second time up, grounded out 6-3 in his third PA, and flied out F-9 in his final AB.

Rashad Crawford batted once in each of the first three innings for Squad "B," to practice hitting LH against a LHP (Kyler Burke). Formerly a switch-hitter, Crawford is trying to learn to hit LH (only) to take better advantage of his blazing speed. He isn't a very good hitter to begin with (he's hitting 094/216/186 with 13 K in 37 PA in 14 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games), so it's not like he's giving up much by hitting LH versus LHPs.

The game was halted by the coaches briefly in the top of the 6th so that Frandy de la Rosa could run around the bases three times, after he neglected to run out an infield pop up.

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

SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-3 (F-7, 4-3, K)
NOTE: Crawford batted three times, leading off the top of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings
1. Carlos Penalver, SS-DH: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-7)
2. Yasiel Balaguert, LF-DH: 3-3 (3B, 1B, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
3. Reggie Golden, DH-LF: 0-3 (E-6, 4-3, K)
4. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-2 (1B, 1-3, BB, SB, CS)
5. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-2 (3-U, K, BB)
6. Lance Rymel, C: 0-3 (5-3, F-7, K)
7. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (BB, F-9, BB, CS)
8. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 0-3 (K, P-5, K)
9. Brad Zapenas, DH-SS: 0-1 (K, HBP, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-0 (BB, R)

SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Albert Almora, CF: 1-4 (4-3, 1B, 6-3, F-8)
NOTE: Almora batted four times, leading off the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, DH-CF: 1-2 (F-9, 1B, BB, R, SB)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3 DP, E-4, R)
3. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, 2 R)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 3-3 (2B, HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI)
5. Jose Dore, DH #2: 0-2 (K, BB, K)
6. Justin Marra, C: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, RBI)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (BB, F-8, L-7)
8. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (BB, 6-3, K, SB)
9. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-2 (K, E-3, R)

SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 60 pitches (34 strikes) 3/1 GO/FO
2. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 39 pitches (24 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of the 4th inning was stopped with two outs when C. Martinez reached his pre-planned max pitch-limit for the game
3. Orbandy Rodriguez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO

SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 79 pitches (52 strikes), 7/1 GO/FO
2. Jorge Diaz: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 15 pitches (8 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. Juan Francisco: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 pitches (8 strikes)

SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 3
1. C Lance Rymel - E-2 (overthrow on SB attempt allowed runner to score)
2. 1B Trevor Gretzky - E-3 (three-base fielding error allowed batter to reach 3rd base safely and runner from 1st to score)
3. 2B Frandy de la Rosa - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)

SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 1
SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)

SQUAD "B" CATCHER DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel: 0-2 CS, 1 PO, 1 E (see above)

SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Justin Marra: 2-3 CS

SQUAD "B" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Garrett Schlecht - batter (Justin Marra) was thrown out 9-6 trying to stretch single into double


 

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Comments

Villanueva punching his ticket to the bullpen tonight.

...and continuing it into the 3rd.

...and the 5th.

cargo has a 5/5 night...2hr, 2 singles, double

day-yam.

also, s.camp missing with a 78mph changeup is a dangerous thing...for cubs fans.

...on the cubs side, d.barney goes 3/4 with a HR and a double...raising his avg to .186

"Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday that Arodys Vizcaino (elbow) is a couple weeks away from appearing in a game."

neat.

scott baker is jelly.

Is there any news on Scott Baker's progress? I know hindsight is 20/20 but I never understood the Scott Baker signing. Why pay 5.5 million to a pitcher on a 1 year deal who at best won't return to form until after the trade deadline? It doesn't make sense for a rebuiling team without a club option for next year. I don't think this year's contract leads to any better deal next year. Do you really think his agent is going to let him take $5.5 million less from the Cubs than another team next year because they were nice.... How does this payoff?

up until he had a couple of bumps in the road he was expected to be ready by april/may.

he was ahead of schedule at one point where they were talking about him being ready for opening day, but probably not ready to throw 100+ pitches until a few weeks into the season.

As I recall, this deal greases the wheels for perhaps a favorable one again next year. If the guy doesn't retire, that is.

So I went to see the Kane County Cougars host, ironically, the Peoria Chiefs. Haven't been there since 1999 to see the Lansing Lugnuts with Choi, Zambrano, and Patterson. Corey looked like the second coming of Lou Brock that night, sigh. Last few years, I've been going to Beloit when the Chiefs were in town against the Snappers , and enjoyed the old-school ambience. KC is more of a Chuck E Cheese vibe, constant kid buzz even on a slow night. But the best draft beer selection I've ever seen in a ballpark and good Bobak's sausage. Randall Road less scenic than Kishwaukee Valley Road, though. (I live far Northwest.)

Cougars scored early, but looked bad late against a couple of Chief relievers who turn out to have some pretty impressive numbers. Damn Cardinals. Shaky defense didn't help stop Chiefs from putting it away later. Observations:

Bijan Rademacher is ready for Daytona, and it would be no surprise if he gets moved up when Almora arrives at KC. Good defense and speed, hits the ball hard, good eye. No home run power yet, so I guess he profiles as a backup.

Wilson Contreras was a pleasant surprise. He's a lean, athletic catcher, made a nice pickup and throw on a swinging bunt and hit a home run to center.

Jeimer Candelario has little range at third base.

Rock Shoulders is a big fellow, but appears to have the athleticism to play left field. Smoked a double to left-center.

Dan Vogelbach's body language told me he was unhappy with his approach--swinging at pitches he should have taken and taking ones he should have hit. Still reached the warning track against an early crosswind even though he didn't get it all. Quick bat. Trying hard defensively at first--you could see him concentrating on timing his flips to the pitcher covering--but a work in progress.

Phillies talking a minor league chance on Zambrano.

What's the over under on days in the organization?

Dear Phillies,

If for some unimaginable reason Carlos Zambrano doesn't work out for you, we'll trade you a starter.

Sincerely,
Cubs

Taking a minor league chance on a guy that used to be the Cub's ace...

Hi Phil, what's your take on the potential of Jacob Rodgers and 3b Hodges? They caught my eye when I was there in April. Thanks. Bob

BOB: Jacob Rogers has plus HR power and he takes a lot of walks, so in that sense he is a lot like Paul Hoilman. Meaning Rogers should be the starting 1B at Boise in 2013, and he would have a good shot to be the starting 1B at KC next season. He could keep moving up gradually behind Vogelbach and Shoulders, but ultimately he's blocked by Rizzo.   

Jesse Hodges starred for the Canadian Junior National team last sumer in South Korea, and he was signed by the Cubs as a NDFA in September. However, he would not have been eligible to sign at that time if he had enrolled in college (he had signed a NLI with Grayson JC). It's unusual when a HS kid who wasn't drafted suddenly emerges AFTER the draft and becomes a hot item, but that's what happened with Hodges. He is presently battling Mark Malave for the starting 3B gig at Boise, and Hodges (right now) has the edge as far as defensive skill (he made an unbelievable back-hand stop and throw last week) and game power are concerned. However, Malave got a $1.6M bonus, so that automatically buys him some slack with the organization.   

"In 26 games with High-A Daytona this season, Soler is hitting .281/.369/.542 with five homers, 14 RBI, 19 runs and three steals in four attempts. His 13 walks in 111 plate appearances is an encouraging sign, as he totaled just 12 free passes in 149 PAs at two lower levels last season."

http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/cubs-talk/soler-nam...

While I think it is premature, what do we think would trigger a move up to West Tenn?

http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/05/11/chicago-c...

matt szcuzur and jae hoon ha are blocking him and doing well...effectively right now even though neither are expected to be impact players (or even a solid starter option) compared to soler.

either can/do play CF as well as RF, too...and it seems both are being groomed for super-utility-OF roles while getting the play time and ABs to keep their outside chance of starting roles alive.

BOB R: Though not a hard & fast rule, the minor league all-star games are often the point in the season when promotions are made. So since the FSL All-Star game is June 15th, I would say sometime very soon after that date is when Soler will get promoted to AA Tennessee (presuming nothing bad happens in the meantime).  

Other factors influencing promotions and general minor league roster movement are the First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) and the conclusion of Extended Spring Training (both coming June 6-8), and the beginning of the "short seasons" (Boise on June 14th, and AZL Cubs on June 20th). It is at this point when there is roster pressure from below (as opposed to Spring Training in March when roster movement is mostly all downward) as players at Extended Spring Training and newly-signed draft picks must be assigned to minor league affilates, and there are only 70 slots available (combined) at Boise and AZL Cubs. So some of the players have to move up to Kane County or Daytona (or get released), and that causes corresponding roster moves at Tennessee and Iowa too. 

So probably sometime during the week of June 16-22 would be a likely time for Soler to get promoted to Tennessee. 

Thanks guys, and Crunch it seems to me that the only thing that "blocks" Soler is doing what is best for Soler. Any other player that gets in the way of that will find another roll in the organization.

That's the problem Vogelberg and Shoulders found all the rolls

;-)

There is an abundance of rolls now that hendry is gone.

D'oh!

Dough? Yeah, you kneed good dough to make rolls.

soler is a lot more important than szcuzur and ha...no doubt.

one of them has to move to AAA to play RF/CF to open up a slot for soler in AA, though.

right now b.jackson, d.sappelt, and b.bogusevic are hogging the OF slots in AAA.

if r.sweeney doesn't start hitting that could be figured out rather soon with sappelt coming back up, b.jackson getting called back up, or bogs (who's been playing all 3 OF slots) being added to the 40-man and opening up a place for szcuzr/ha to move up and open up RF for soler in AA (both szcuzr and ha are better used in CF).

soler is hands down the most important player out of everyone mentioned...especially given his contract/pay. i doubt he'll be blocked if/when he starts mastering A ball to the point it's a joke...something will be forced to happen.

val returns...

DeJesus CF Castro SS Rizzo 1B Soriano LF Schierholtz RF Valbuena 3B Navarro C Barney 2B Samardzija P

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