Ruggiano & Conway Return to Game Action at Riverview Park

Jesse Hodges reached base three times (two-run double, RBI single, and a walk) and drove-in three runs and Charcer Burks belted an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Wilin Rosario (on Colorado Rockies MLB 15-day DL - viral infection) served as a DH and singled twice and hammered an RBI double for the Rockies in a losing cause.

OF Justin Ruggiano (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since 4/24) returned to game action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the RF bullpen in the 9th inning of the Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary Game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23rd, serving as a DH and getting four Plate Appearances. Facing RHP Tony Bryant in all four of his AB, Ruggiano struck out (swinging) his first two times up in the bottom of the 1st and bottom of the 2nd (and looked bad in the process), but then he smacked a lead-off double off the CF fence in the bottom of the 3rd inning, before grounding out 6-3 in his final AB in the 4th. He was definitely not running at fuil-speed (he was removed for a "designated pinch-runner" after his double), but then he wasn't limping, either.

RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) saw his first game action in more than a year, getting the start for the Cubs and pitching one inning (17 pitches). His fastball was clocked at only 89-90 MPH (he was peaking at 94 last year), but his two-seamer had good sink and his hard-slider was dive-bombing the lower part of the strike zone. 

Conway underwent "Tommy John Surgery" (TJS) after suffering a torn UCL in a game against Liberty University prior to being drafted by the Cubs (a "2nd round talent" who supposedly fell to the 4th round only because of the TJS), and after spending the 2012 season on the 60-day DL he came back strong and was without question the most-impressive pitcher at Minor League Camp in 2013. He continued his outstanding work into Extended Spring Training, and he appeared to be about ready to join the Kane County or Daytona starting rotation (he had thrown 5.0 IP and 80 pitches in his previous start), when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury (described at the time as a stress fracture) while pitching in an EXST game at the Brewers Maryvale Baseball Complex on May 4, 2013 (see link). 

In EXST Cubs roster news, veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro has been moved up to AA Tennessee from Extended Spring Training, where he will replace RHP Ivan Pineyro (placed on Tennessee 7-day DL with a forearm strain) in the Smokies starting rotation. The 35-year old Pineiro was signed as a free-agent by the Cubs on March 30th, and has spent the last six weeks at Riverview Park getting "stretched-out" as a starting pitcher. (Prior to signing with the Cubs, Pineiro hadn't pitched since playing winter ball in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico last off-season). 

Although it was announced at the time the Cubs signed Pineiro that he would be at Extended Spring Training for "about ten days" and then be assigned to AAA Iowa, it soon became clear that that just wasn't going to happen. For one thing, Pineiro really hasn't pitched that well (see below), and secondly, with Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler, and Tsuyoshi Wada filling the five slots, there is just no room for him in the I-Cubs rotation.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S SIX 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
5/9   - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 12/2 GO/FO, 77 pitches (50 strikes)
 
TOTAL: 28.2 IP, 33 H, 19 R (17 ER), 7 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 4 WP, 1 PO, 5 GIDP, 44/15 GO/FO, 72% strikes, 5.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .289 OppBA

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


CUBS LINEUP
:
Xa. Justin Ruggiano, DH #1: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, 6-3)
NOTE: Ruggiano batted 3rd in the bottom of the 1st & 2nd innings and 1st in the bottom of the 3rd & 4th innings) 
Xb. Bryant Flete, DPR: NO AB (R)  
1a. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (6-3, F-7)
1b. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 0-2 (4-6-3 DP, L-6)
2a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (3-1, F-8)
2b. Charcer Burks, CF: 2-2 (3B, 2B, R, RBI)
3a. Oliver Zapata, LF: 1-2 (P-5, 2B, R)
3b. Shamil Ubiera, LF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH #2: 0-4 (5-3, E-5, K, K, R, SB)
5a. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 1-2 (2B, L-8, R)
5b. Zak Blair, 2B: 1-1 (1B, BB)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-3 (1-3 SH, 6-3, 6-U FC, K)
7, Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (2B, 1B, BB, L-9, 3 RBI, CS)
8a. Roney Alcala, 1B: 0-1 (3-1)
8b. Kevin Brown, 1B: 0-1 (BB, 3-U, R)  
9a. Mark Malave, C: 0-1 (5-3)
9b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (BB, K)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Josh Conway: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, ! K, 2/0 GO/FO, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
2. Michael Heesch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
3. Jose Paulino: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/5 GO/FO, 48 pitches (30 strikes)
4. Hector Perez: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (20 strikes)
5. Greyfer Eregua: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 18 pitches (15 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run) 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Mark Malave: 0-1 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 11

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's

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Comments

night 2 of y.molina vs his pitchers...

cubs benefit. top 1st runs rule. 1-0 cubs on a passed ball.

...make that 2-0...castro triple

...make that 4-0...olt HR

Mike Oltimate Warrior #8

Oppo

Cubs hit for cycle in first
4-0

What's really cool is that now we get to see what creative way the Cubs can come up with to lose an early lead. They have a full book on how to lose games, and they're not afraid to use it.

Is there any way to back up time and get Olt out of the lineup tonight? He seems tired, or at the very least inexperienced.

He's batting fifth! Renteria learning as he goes maybe.

Amazing how runs come in bunches when you place hitters in order to succeed.

Uncanny. That said what's with Sureholds and Barney in the lineup. The bottom of that batting order is a wasteland.

3h HR j.lake.

7 hits, 7 runs...1 out in the top 2nd.

t.lyons is the sux tonight.

Cubs will need to reach down for something extra to lose this one, but I have faith they can still find a way.

Hahaha! Well truthfully the pitching can be okay sometimes ... but this is the Cardinals. We'll see. Scoring runs is usually the issue though ...

True, and the pitching held up fine, but I was expecting other shenanigans! Maybe a few gifts from Lake? Or maybe some other tomfoolery. It was just too many runs even for Cubbery

yahoo boxscore has T. Lyons pitching, think he died in 1986, at least this guy on the mound is pitching that way

rain allegedly on its way, Cubbery law says it hits before the 5th inning

That's not even funny!!! Ugh

This is rapidly becoming a team display of spite for Jeff Samardzija.

Well played sir.

I truly don't get people who don't like replay. The time taken is far less than all the time taken with just pitchers being slow and batters constantly calling time and it's a chance to actually reward players for their play and not screw them over for bad calls.

you'd think people that are obsessed with a season that takes 6 months to resolve itself would show a little patience. The whole thing already seems to be significantly better than the first couple of weeks.

...well...the 5th inning got interesting.

...and "old school mentality" stupidity takes over in the 6th.

t.wood (who hit 2 batters in the 5th) comes up and gets hit by the 1st pitch of the inning...putting the closest thing to an automatic out on base for 2-2, 1bb boni...who gets a single.

sac fly moves wood to 3rd...next sac fly scores wood...boni is still on 1st.

10-5 chc/stl

hey stl...you're down by 4 and both batters t.wood hit were not "messages" being sent. way to give away a run.

...and boni scores from 1st on a single by castro...dat speed tho.

11-5 chc/stl

that's 2 runs because STL has to retaliate. chances are pretty good t.wood would have been out 1 in that inning. bravo stl.

the cardinal way

barney with back to back 2-hit days...ha.

...and d.barney gets his 3rd hit of the game in the 9th.

he's raised his average 61 points in the past 2 days (5 for 9) to .188

...also boni with his 3rd 4-hit game of the season.

trade him asap!

Nobody is fooled.

except Ricky of course.

choate out...no pitcher up in the pen...POSITION PLAYER PITCHING ALERT.

...and d.descalso it is. spotted 2 outs and inheriting a man on 1st.

85 mph fastball.

m.olt pops out to LF. lulz.

brian wilson continues to have a hellish season...gives up 2 more runs tonight in 0.2ip...a 2-run HR to reed johnson (yes, reed johnson...his 1st HR since may 30th, 2013).

he makes 10m this year...player option for 9m next year.

10.32 era - 2.38 whip in 15 appearances

11.1ip 16h 11bb 14k 3hr...yow.

2.38 is good, what do yo... ohhh, that's his WHIP...

I'm guessing he's going to take his option for next year.

Can a boy dream?

July 2015

Almora 8
Casto 6
Baez 4
Rizzo 3
Bryant 9
Olt 5
Lake 7
Castillo 2
Your mom 1 (I know they need pitching)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX5tfRdkoY0

JACOS: You think Albert Almora will be ready for MLB by next summer? I'm thinking it will probably be more like 2016 or even 2017, and when he does arrive he will probably be hitting 8th for a while. 

I think it's more likely that Jorge Soler will be up by July 2015 and playing RF, with Kris Bryant in LF and maybe Junior Lake in CF. (In the case of Bryant, moving from 3B to LF is easier than moving from 3B to RF, because an ex-3B playing LF sees the ball off the bat the same way he did when playing 3B, it's just that he's playing a VERY deep 3B). 

BTW, Jorge Soler will get a 4th minor league option in 2015 but then he will be out of options in 2016, so the Cubs can't take their time with him (as they can with Baez, Bryant, and Almora). Soler needs to move through the system at a steady pace and be MLB ready absolutely no later than 2016. The Cubs cannot afford to have his progress derailed by another injury, otherwise it will be another Wily Mo Pena situation (out of minor league options before he is MLB ready). Also keep in mind Soler will be making $2M in 2015, $3M in 2016 and 2017, and $4M in 2018, 2019, and 2020, with a player option to opt out if he is eligible for salary arbitration (because he will be out of options in 2016, he will be eligible for salary arbitration no later than post-2018).

And if the Cubs stay 100% "in house" as far as position players are concerned, their future lineup will be very RH, which actually would be good for Anthony Rizzo because the Cubs will likely see a steady diet of of RHSP. I believe having a lineup that is "too right-handed" is better than having one that is "too left-handed" (the 1984 & 2008 Cubs being a couple of good examples), since generally speaking RH hitters have less-difficulty hitting RHP than LH hitters do hitting LHP. A RH-heavy lineup would also mean the Cubs would want to carry at least three or maybe even four LH hitting or switch-hitting back-up guys on the bench.

Dont forget Alcantara.

AZ Phil-
As always I bow to you.
You are probably right about Almora not being ready.

Someone is going to be moved for pitching though, be it Olt, Soler or Almora.

Olt on bench tonight

Barney, Shitholts and Valbuana in.

So Barney has better chance then Olt?

Got it.

Q: So Barney has better chance than ________?

A: No.

see the scary part is Ricky might think his "pacing" of Olt is working and helping Olt with his 'success'. its like a self perpetuating delusion. if Valbuena is so damn good against Wainwright that he has to be in the game (and Olt of course has never faced him) then get the other bozos a seat on the bench. Got something against scoring runs Ricky Happyass?

The last thing we want to do is have Olt get exposure to top-notch MLB pitching. We should send him to Kane County to get some reps in. What the hell.

Mr Happy is insane

Reminds me of when DLee hurt his wrist and Dusty replaced him essentially with Neifi Perez by moving Todd Walker to 1B and Neifi to 2B.

Ah, that was a good year. 2006.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2415904

Espn-"or use veteran utility player John Mabry"

Pick your poison.

Hendry could have called up...(thinking) oh yeah Hendry had no prospects.

You know, the Cubs might do just fine tonight, but I have no desire to watch Valbuena, Barney, and Shierholtz in the same lineup. Going up to Beloit anyway to see Kane County play the Snappers in the old-school austere ballpark they have there. Plus it's $1.50 Leinie night and dollar hot dog night. Gonna be a wee bit chilly, though. Daury Torrez is scheduled to pitch. I'll see if I can give a Will Remillard/Yasiel Balaguert report tomorrow. Go 2018.

" Plus it's $1.50 Leinie night and dollar hot dog night"

Heaven

Yeah, living in Massachusetts now, I really miss Wisconsin. Sigh. And that ballpark is simple, but seems like what minor league baseball should be like.

Here's my report, as promised: Remillard smoked a double and looked good defensively behind the plate. Penalver is at least as skinny as Alcantara was when he was in A ball, but is a graceful shortstop. Torrez looks like Carlos Marmol, but has a nice clean delivery and good stuff. He's auditioning for Samardzija's gig, pitching six scoreless innings but getting a ND due to bullpen implosion. Shawon Dunston wraps the bat so far back over his left shoulder and back that it looks like he's swatting flies on his T11 vertebra. A good game, well-played, Cougars couldn't quite pull it out in the ninth.

My $9 box seat put me in the second row, and I had three little 12-oz Leinenkugel Canoe Paddlers, three hot dogs (small, old-fashioned franks, and they had sauerkraut on the condiment table) and a small popcorn (hey, I was hungry) for, wait for it, a total of $8.50. Plus free parking, and you got to walk past the Park District softball game on the way to the ballpark. Attendance was something like 490. It was College Night--get in for a buck with a college ID-- so the place was infested with Beloit College kids who mostly watched the game as a break from their smartphones. Cheap beer night and college night together? They should have given out a free fake ID for the first 100 admissions... Anyway, great place to watch a game-- when the chatty girls in front of us were quiet, you could hear outfielders call for the ball.

Bully report! Capital!
(Channeling my inner Teddy Roosevelt)

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