Chad Fox Sighting at Fitch
Chad Fox threw a 25-pitch "live" BP session and the recently suspended Robert Hernandez threw a 50-pitch simulated game, as the Cubs Extended Spring Training team (EXST) had a full-squad work-out at Fitch Park this morning.
Hernandez, who would have been in the Peoria Chiefs starting rotation if he hadn't gotten himself suspended for testing positive for steroids, has joined fellow minor league RHP Scott Taylor (also suspended 50 games for testing positive for a prohibited substance) at Fitch Park, preparing themselves for when the suspensions are over.
As for Fox, he looked OK, especially the last five or six pitches he threw. Some of you may remember that Fox was signed to a minor league contract during the off-season, and received an NRI to big league camp with the Cubs. But he was shut-down after only one ST game appearance early in the Cactus League season, and (until today) I hadn't seen him since.
Fox and Hernandez threw on Field #4, pitching to the most-advanced hitters available at EXST (Tony Richie, Jeffrey Rea, Leon Johnson, and Brandon Guyer), with veteran minor league pitching coach Rick Tronerud supervising.
Angel Guzman is apparently throwing only "side sessions" (bullpen sessions) so far, and I'm not sure how far he has gotten in that endeavor, but he is definitely not as far along as Chad Fox at the moment.
There are several players I expected to see today who were not present, including LHP Mark Pawelek and RHP Alberto Alburquerque (both were assigned to EXST at the very end of Minor League Camp). One of the two may have been promoted to Peoria to replace Hernandez, but then where's the other one? Also, I did not see Scott Eyre, although he supposedly is at Fitch Park rehabbing from a sore elbow.
Additionally, three position players who were injured towards the end of Minor League Camp and were assigned to EXST to rehab (L. Johnson, Rea, and Richie) have apparently been cleared for duty, and now it's just a matter of time before they are game-ready, but even after they are 100%, there needs to be an open slot somewhere on one of the full-season teams before they can get their Letter of Transit and escape Casablanca.
Here are the 55 players who were physically present at Fitch Park today for the full-squad EXST work-out:
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Todd Blackford (had TJ surgery last May)
* Michael Bunton (limited physical activity- injury)
Rafael Dolis (limited physical activity - surgery rehab)
Chad Fox (elbow rehab)
Angel Guzman (limited physical activity - TJ surgery rehab)
* Arik Hempy
Jim Henderson (limited physical activity – injury)
Robert Hernandez (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Grant Johnson (limited physical activity – sprained elbow ligament)
Jon Mueller (limited physical activity – injury)
Billy Muldowney (had TJ surgery last July)
Billy Petrick (has had a problem with weakness in shoulder)
Jose Pina (limited physical activity – injury)
Carlos E. Rojas
Larry Suarez (limited physical activity – injury)
Scott Taylor (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Tony Richie (sustained a rib cage injury in Minor League Camp)
* Alvaro Sosa
Luis Bautista (1B-C)
Starlin Castro (SS)
John Contreras (3B)
Gian Guzman (SS)
# Dwayne Kemp (2B)
* Bryan Jost (1B)
Junior Lake (SS)
Elvis Lara (2B)
# Jose Made (2B-OF)
* Jeffrey Rea (2B-OF - had unknown-type injury in Minor League Camp)
Josh Vitters (3B)
Brandon Guyer (limited physical activity – surgery rehab)
* Leon Johnson (sustained finger injury in Minor League Camp)
# Andres Quezada
* Nelson Perez (limited physical activity – unknown-type injury)
* Luke Sommer
EXACT WHEREBOUTS UNKNOWN (by me):
Alberto Alburquerque, P (was demoted to EXST at end of Minor League Camp)
* Jeffry Antigua, P (was with BOISE/MESA group in Minor League Camp)
Cory Bailey, P (was with IOWA group in Minor League Camp)
Rafael Cova, P (has yet to report - is supposedly having visa problems in Venezuela)
* Jeff Culpepper, OF (was in Minor League Camp - limited activity only)
* Clark Hardman, OF (was with PEORIA group first week of Minor League Camp)
Kitt Kopach, P (was in Minor League Camp – limited activity only)
Oswaldo Martinez, P (was in Minor League Camp – limited activity only)
* Mark Pawelek, P (was demoted to EXST at end of Minor League Camp)
* Marc Sawyer, 1B (did not report to Minor League Camp))
I strongley suspect Bailey got released at the end of ST, and Culpepper and/or Kopach may have been released or possibly retired after failing to come back from major injuries. I'm sure we'll find out eventually.
With the status of Bailey still TBD, here are the 26 Cubs minor leaguers who were definitely released during Minor League Camp (March 1st through March 31st):
Luis Astorga, LHP
Matt Canepa, C
Alex Cintron, INF (had NRI to big league camp - has since signed with BAL)
Miguel Cuevas, RHP
Brian Dopirak, 1B (has since signed minor league deal with TOR)
Derrick Ellison, LHP
Yuri Higgins, RHP
Matt Hudgins, C
Scott Koerber, LHP
Tim Layden, LHP
Brian Leclerc, OF
Simon Lee, RHP
Matt Maradeo, RHP
Andrew McCormick, RHP
Billy Mottram, 3B
Ryan O'Malley, LHP
Taylor Parker, LHP
Hernan Ramos, RHP
Jesus Reyes, OF
Alan Rick, C-1B
Chris Rivera, RHP
Carlos R. Rojas, SS (has since signed minor league deal with BAL)
Joel Santo, RHP (has since signed minor league deal with HOU)
Shingo Takatsu, RHP (had NRI to big league camp)
Chris Walker, OF
Chi-Hsiang Wen, OF
trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.
eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.
we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).
As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.
I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.
Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.
Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!
What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.
Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...
Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.
Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.
I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.
Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?
Maybe the three-headed dragon?
Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth
Three amigos time?
he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.