Junior Lake Back in Action at Fitch Park

James Sneed roped a two-run single and Ryan Dalton followed with an RBI single to highlight a two-out three-run rally in the top of the 3rd inning, and Tyler DeLoach tossed 3.2 IP of one-hit shutout relief with seven strikeouts, helping the Angels defeat the Cubs 4-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.  

Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) saw his first game action since March 6th, playing 3rd base for five innings and getting five AB.

Lake batted once in each of the first five innings, going 1-3 with a single and two walks. He also was retired on a 1-3 comebacker to the mound and was called out on strikes. In addition, he was caught stealing after reaching base on the single. 
Ex-Minnesota Twins switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales also returned to action today after missing almost six weeks with a strained hamstring. He went 0-3, and knocked-in the Cubs lone run with a F-7 sacrifice fly.

The 30-year old Morales was signed as a minor league free-agent last month and reported to Extended Spring Training to get into playing shape, but promptly pulled a hammy in his very first EXST game on April 19th. He has been restricted to limited activity (essentially just BP and "sim" games) ever since. Once he is deemed ready to move up, he will likely be assigned to AAA Iowa. 

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

X. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-3 (BB, 1B, K, BB, 1-3, CS)
NOTE: Lake batted five times, hitting third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-4 (4-3, 3-U, K, 2B)
2a. Justin Marra, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K) 
2b. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-2 (K, K)
3a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-U, K)
3b. Rony Rodriguez, C: 0-2 (F-7, F-7)
4a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-2 (3B, BB, 1-3, R)
5. Jose Morales, DH #2: 0-3 (F-7 SF, F-8, K, K, RBI)
6. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-3 (2B, F-9, K)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, 6-3)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (P-3, L-4, K)
9. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (BB, BB, K, SB)

1. Paul Blackburn: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP, 1 PO, 67 pitches (41 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
2. Erick Leal: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 PO, 47 pitches (29 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO  
NOTE: Top of 7th inning was stopped with two outs when Leal reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
3. Carlos Martinez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 28 pitches (20 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO


Erick Castillo; 0-1 CS
Rony Rodriguez: 1-1 CS


WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperarures in the 90's  



Two of Chicago's favorite teams march on to the cup!

i.stewart 0-4, 3K...sigh.

...and b.jackson keeps slipping, himself, with a 0-3, 3K (1bb) night.

RHP Michael Bowden has cleared waivers and has been assigned outright to AAA Iewa. However, because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Bowden is an Article XX-D player and has the right to elect free-agency if outrighted. He can elect free-agency immediately, or he can defer free-agency until the close of the MLB regular season (and then he can file anytime beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th).   

Note that if Bowden elects free-agency immediately, his contract is voided and he receives no termination pay. If he accepts the Outright Assignment and defers free-agency, his contract would remain in force, but he would not be eligible to be a Article XX-D minor lerague free-agent if he is added back to an MLB  40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the 2013 MLB regular season.  

Because Bowden was not eligible for salary arbitration post-2012, he almost certainly has a split contract, meaning he receives one salary if he is on an MLB roster, and another lesser salary if he is on a minor league roster. So if he were to decline the Outright Assignment and elect free-ageny, he would be giving up what's left of his minor league split salary, probably about $150K. (Bowden's 2013 minor league split salary would be greater than the $80K minimum minor league split salary, because he spent about 2/3 of the 2012 season on an MLB 25-man roster, and a minor league split salary must be at least 60% of what the player was actually paid in salary the previoius season).

Bowden accepts outright assignment to Iowa.

Because he was a college senior with no eligibility left, RHP Austin Pentecost (Cubs 2012 29th round draft pick) was the one player selected by the Cubs in last June's First Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) who remained on the Cubs Negotiation List beyond last July's signing deadline. The Cubs had until midnight to sign Pentecost.  

Did the Cubs sign Pentecost?

Can't hurt getting the holy spirit on our side.

Ha! I saw what you did there....

HAGSAG: I was just mentioning that the Cubs had until midnight last night to sign Pentecost. He was the only 2012 Cubs draft pick the Cubs could have signed after the July 2012 signing deadline. As far as I know he isn't pitching in independent ball, so he may have just decided to pursue another career.   

Last July, six "Competitive Balance" Rule 4 Draft picks were awarded by lottery between the 1st and 2nd round, and six more were awarded by lottery between the 2nd and 3rd round. The lottery took place on the Monday following the Rule 4 Draft signing deadline. Only MLB clubs that receive revenue sharing and clubs from the ten smallest markets were be eligible to participate in the lottery for Competitive Balance picks.

Once awarded, these draft picks can be traded, but only during the MLB regular season, and the pick cannot be traded for cash unless it is a financial adjustment made to offset the salary of one or more of the players involved in the trade. Also, a Competitive Balance draft pick can be traded only once (only by the club that was awarded the pick), and a Competitive Balance Rule 4 Draft pick can be used only in the next Rule 4 Draft. There is no compensation if a player selected with a Competitive Balance draft pick does not sign.

Of the 12 Competitive Balance Draft Picks awarded last July, three have been traded (the Tigers and Marlins exchanged their picks as part of the Anibal Sanchez trade last July, and the Pirates traded their pick to the Marlins for 1B Gaby Sanchez last July), and one was forfeited (by Cleveland as the result of the Indians signing Article XX-B MLB FA OF Michael Bourn, who had received a Qualifying Offer from his previous club, the Braves).

That leaves eight Competitive Balance picks available to be traded (KC, AZ, BAL and CIN between the 1st & 2nd rounds, and SD, COL, OAK, and MIL between the 2nd & 3rd rounds):

34. KC
35. MIA (from PIT) - cannot be traded again
36. AZ
37. BAL
38. CIN
39. DET (from MIA) - cannot be traded again 

69. SD
70. COL
71. OAK
72. MIL
73. MIA (from DET) - cannot be traded again
NOTE CLE pick was forfeited, and all picks below were moved up one slot

I doubt there is much of a trade market for either Scott Hairston or Cody Ransom, but I suspect Jae-Hoon Ha and Donnie Murphy respectively could replace those guys today and the Cubs would not be any worse off. If you can even get a couple deep prospects for those guys, it's worth setting them out during the yard sale.

T Wood! Who needs a DH.

Braves DFA 25-year old 3B-men Juan Francisco...good pop, lots of K's, not a lot of walks.

sounds like our man

He can reach his full potential here, just like Ian Stewart has.

88 pitches for t.wood...at least he has a 5 run lead to pad it, i guess.

Wood does seem to be on a rather odd short leash for most of his starts.

I take that back, it looks like he is averaging around 100+ per start.


Jim Deshaze today did a Travis Wood, Mike Hampton comp. Then Len asked if the Rockies were still paying Hampton.

Chicago's public school system not as good as Denver's

Mike Hampton comp
my favorite Mike Hampton game...


Mine too. Only playoff series win for the last 105 years. =/

Sweet Jesus, please, no more 2003 reminiscences. 1969: Broke my teenage heart. (Sabermatricians say Adolfo Phillips not so bad...} 1984: Garvey, damn you. 1989: First basemen... 1998: Maybe... Then came 2003, with the long-term, home-grown, starting rotation...I will never forget the Lazy-Boy I sat in to watch that game... Sammy floats a single to right...five outs away...oh my God...I am a Cub fan. "Hi, Cub Fan," say the other folks in the group at the Alano Club...

how much longer can they keep z.rosscup down in AA? he turns 25 in less than 2 weeks, so he's already "too old" for AA as it is.

1.2ip 0h 0bb 2k tonight

22.2ip 11h 8bb 35k - 1.19era

i.stewart didn't play tonight... b.jackson went 0-3, 1k in AAA.

almost 2am central and KC/STL is still in a rain delay rather...unreal. (multiple edits follow)

the grounds crew keeps coming out to clean/dump the tarp into the drainage in LF.

tarp is off and it looks like they might be getting ready to start it back up sometime soon.

...cards GM is out on the field with the umps...looks like he might be trying a power play. if the game gets called, the score reverts back to the inning before (where STL was leading) and therefore they would win. this might be interesting.

"Any suspended game not completed prior to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season shall become a called game, as follows:

If such game has progressed far enough to become a regulation game, and one team is ahead, the team that is ahead shall be declared the winner (unless the game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead, in which case the score upon the completion of the last full inning shall stand for purposes of this Rule 4.12(b)(4));"

lulz...KC players are helping the STL grounds crew apply diamond dry on the field...carry bags out, dumping them, raking...they are determined to make this game happen.

fan pic - http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BLk5t2HCAAEdnK9.jpg

the crowd is so thin now that KC players are on the field hurling baseballs into the stands at every KC fan they see. they're handing out autographs, seeds, and gum, too. this whole scene is kinda lulz.

...and it's raining again...almost all of the KC team is standing on the field...STL dugout is 1/2 empty...both managers are going back/forth with the umps (and each other). matheny is not a happy camper over all of this. royals announcers are calling out the STL grounds crew on the air, implying they were stalling.

STL players out on the field playing catch...seems like they know this is "gonna happen" even though the GM of the cards is on the phone (on the side of the field) bitching to someone about something (most likely field conditions). there is more diamond dry on that field than i have ever seen in my life on a playing field. matheny is visibly not wanting this game to continue, hitting the umps up again.

...and here comes molina in gear behind home plate and joe kelly is warming up...time to get this game back on.

4hr 32m hour rain delay.

there's so few fans left that everyone in the place has been moved to the first couple of rows behind the dugouts so the cleaning crew can do their work. there's literally about 40-60 fans left.

...and after all of that it takes less than 15 minutes for KC to win it.

btw, this umpire crew works the cubs game 10 hours from now @wrigley.

Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet:

No. 9 Pierce Johnson, rhp, Cubs
Team: low Class A Kane County (Midwest)
Age: 22
Why He’s Here: 1-1, 1.46, 2 GS, 12 1/3 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 15 SO

The Scoop: If you’re looking for a strong candidate for a midseason promotion, Johnson fits the bill. The 43rd overall pick in last year’s draft, he has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his 10 starts in low Class A. The 22-year-old has the advanced stuff and could’ve started the year in high Class A, and now he’s surged into second in the Midwest League strikeout race with 60 in 53 innings.

Not so hot sheet:

Jeimer Candelario, 3b, Cubs: The 19-year-old hitting machine ranks second in the Midwest League with 17 doubles, though he endured a rough week with low Class A Kane County, going 2-for-23 (.087) at the dish with two walks (one intentional) and four strikeouts.


I saw Pierce Johnson pitch last Wednesday night at the Quad Cities. He had dominating stuff, though I couldn't give you any velocity readings, as the stadium radar gun wasn't working that evening. Only gave up one run, a home run in the bottom of the 6th. He looked real good and really in control.

Rays call up Chris Archer N Jeff Beliveau in time for the Stanley Cup semi finals. Archer starts Saturday vs Tribe

While I still support the rebuilding plans, winning teams are more fun to watch.

Ryan Acosta was suspended 50 games for violating the minor league baseball drug policy.
Acosta tested positive for an amphetamine. The 24-year-old right-hander owns a 4.75 ERA over parts of seven seasons in the minors, mostly in a relief role. He was given his release by the Dodgers earlier this week.

Rotoworld bit.

5 wins in a row...hell yeah.

7 games away from .500...wtf?

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.