Cubs Sign Another Australian Pitcher

The Cubs have signed another Australian pitcher, and he has reported to Fitch Park.

18-year old 6'4 LHP Cody Hams is in the U. S. on a three-month visa, just as fellow Australian Ryan Searle was last year, and (like Searle last year) Hams will have to return to Australia at the conclusion of Extended Spring Training in June. He will then attend the MLB Australian Baseball Academy

While Searle bears a resemblance in style to Sean Gallagher, Hams is more like Rich Hill Redux, tall and lanky with the proverbial "stylish lefty" delivery.  

Searle is in the U. S. for the entire season this time around, which means he will (barring injury) be assigned to a short-season club (either the AZL Cubs or the Boise Hawks) in June, instead of returning Down Under.

With Searle and Hams at Fitch Park for the next couple of months, Cubs scout and Australian Baseball Academy instructor Larry Home is also present (Home is the Cubs "Go-To" guy in Australia). Home will return to Australia with Hams in time for the start of the 2008 Australian Baseball Academy.  

Meanwhile, the Cubs youngsters at Extended Spring Training played a final tune-up intrasquad game at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon, in preparation for the start of the EXST Cactus League season on Monday. 

At the plate, 3B John Contreras had a single, a double, and a triple, 1B Bryan Jost (finally cleared to play after rehabbing from 2007 season-ending knee surgery) had three hits, SS Junior Lake went 2-2 (including an RBI triple) with two walks, and DH (normally a catcher) Alvaro Sosa went 3-3. 

On the mound, Todd Blackford, Yohan Gonzalez, and Jeffry Antigua had (by far) the best outings of the ten pitchers who took the mound. Blackford is in the last stages of rehab after undergoing TJ surgery last May, and Gonzalez (big dude with a power arm) and Antigua (more of a "crafty" lefty with a plus-sinker and breaking ball and excellent control) appear to be the Cubs two best Latin pitching prospects at EXST in 2008. Both Gonzalez and Antigua are only 17 years old.   

Cubs 2007 #1 draft pick 3B Josh Vitters continues to look sluggish in all aspects of his game, although he had a decent final BP round (about ten swings) during pre-game BP. Then he proceded to bounce out weakly 6-3 and 4-3 and fly out to CF, before finally roping a line-drive RBI single. Then he grounded out weakly 6-3 again in his final AB. He also had a throwing error (he is wearing a pressure-sleeve on his right elbow). He appears to be pressing.  

Here is the abridged box score:

NOTE: Some innings were terminated early (less than three outs) if a pitcher reached his pitch limit for that inning, while other innings were extended beyond three outs if the pitcher needed to throw more pitches.

Also, sometimes a hitter was skipped if he was needed to warm-up a pitcher in bullpen.

In other words, it was kind of informal. But the rivalry was intense. (OK. There was no real rivalry... but the players had fun)   

LINEUPS:

SQUAD "A"
1. Jeffrey Rea, DH#1 - 2-4 (2B, R)
2. Jose Made, 2B - 2-3 (RBI, BB, SB)
3. Luke Sommer, RF - 0-3 (SF-RBI, GIDP)
4. John Contreras, 3B - 3-4 (2B, 3B, 2 R)
5. Brandon Guyer, DH#2 - 1-4 (R, K)
6. Kevin Soto, CF - 1-3 (RBI, R, SH, K)
7A. Carlos Perez, C - 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI)
7B. Roberto Sabates, C - 0-1
8. Junior Lake, SS - 2-2 (3B, RBI, 2 BB)
9. Luis Bautista, 1B - 0-4
10. Elvis Lara, LF - 2-3 (R)

SQUAD "B":
1. Leon Johnson, RF - 2-4 (2 R, BB, 2 K, SB)
2. Gian Guzman, 2B - 2-5 (3B, RBI, GIDP)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B - 1-5 (RBI)
4. Bryan Jost, 1B - 3-5 
5A. Tony Richie, C - 0-2
5B. Jose Guevara, C - 1-2 (R, SB)
6. Andres Quezada, CF - 2-5 (CS)
7. Dwayne Kemp, LF - 0-5 (K, GIDP)
8. Alvaro Sosa, DH - 3-3 (R)
9. Starlin Castro, SS  - 2-5 (RBI, R) 
 
PITCHERS:

SQUAD "A"
Yohan Gonzalez  - 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K 
Julio Pena - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K 
Jose Severino -  1.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Jeffry Antigua - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 GIDP 
Audy Santana - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K  

SQUAD "B"
Todd Blackford - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Dionis Nunez - 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K, WP
Carlos Rojas - 1.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K, WP
Miguel Sierra - 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP
Eduardo Figueroa - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K

DEFENSE:

ERRORS:
Castro (fielding)
Vitters (throwing) 
Severino (throwing)
 
CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Guevara - 0-1 CS, 1 PB
Sabates - 1-3 CS

ATTENDANCE: 5 or 6 (I lost count, and some fans left early to beat the traffic out of the parking lot)

WEATHER: It was sunny, warm and VERY breezy. "How breezy," you say? Well, in the bottom of the 4th inning a "dust devil" (F-0 tornado vortex) passed through Fitch Park and sent dust, lawn chairs, BP screens, tarps, and Dwayne Kemp flying willy-willy (that's Australian for "dust devil") all over the yard. 

And with Jeffry Antigua, Kitt Kopach, and Oswaldo Martinez back on the field for the morning work-out (and Kopach and Martinez are still restricted to limited physical activity), here is the most latest up-to-date Cubs EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING roster:

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS:
Francisco Acosta
* Jeffry Antigua
Todd Blackford (had TJ surgery last May)
* Michael Bunton (limited physical activity- injury)
Rogelio Carmona
Rafael Dolis (limited physical activity - surgery rehab)
Eduardo Figueroa
Chad Fox (elbow rehab)
Yohan Gonzalez
Angel Guzman (limited physical activity - TJ surgery rehab)
* Cody Hams
Marcus Hatley
* Arik Hempy
Jim Henderson (limited physical activity – injury)
Robert Hernandez (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Chris Huseby
Grant Johnson (limited physical activity – sprained elbow ligament)
Kitt Kopach (limited physical activity - shoulder surgery rehab)
Kevin Kreier
Oswaldo Martinez (limited physical activity - injured)
Scott Meyer (limited physical activity - injury)
Jon Mueller (limited physical activity – injury)
Billy Muldowney (had TJ surgery last July)
John Muller
Dionis Nunez
Julio Pena
Billy Petrick (has had a problem with weakness in shoulder)
Jose Pina (limited physical activity – injury)
Cedric Redmond
Carlos E. Rojas
Audy Santana
Ryan Searle
Jose Severino
Miguel Sierra
Larry Suarez (limited physical activity – injury)
Scott Taylor (serving 50-game prohibited substance suspension)
Harol Tolentino

CATCHERS:
Carlos Guevara
Carlos Perez
Tony Richie (sustained a rib cage injury in Minor League Camp)
Roberto Sabates
* Alvaro Sosa

INFIELDERS:
Luis Bautista (1B-C)
Starlin Castro (SS)
John Contreras (3B)
Gian Guzman (SS-2B-3B) 
Dwayne Kemp (2B-OF)
* Bryan Jost (1B)
Junior Lake (SS)
Elvis Lara (2B-OF) 
Jose Made (2B-OF)
* Jeffrey Rea (2B-OF - had unknown-type injury in Minor League Camp)
Josh Vitters (3B)

OUTFIELDERS:
Brandon Guyer (limited physical activity – shoulder surgery rehab)
* Leon Johnson (sustained finger injury in Minor League Camp)
# Andres Quezada
* Nelson Perez (limited physical activity – unknown-type injury)
Kevin Soto
* Luke Sommer

EXACT WHEREBOUTS STILL UNKNOWN (by me):
Alberto Alburquerque, P (was demoted to EXST at end of 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)
* Mark Pawelek, P (was demoted to EXST at end of Minor League Camp)
* Marc Sawyer, 1B (did not report to Minor League Camp)

Comments

Phil,

Do you know yet who was sent up to Peoria to replace Hernandez?

Submitted by brett on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 6:49pm.

Phil, Do you know yet who was sent up to Peoria to replace Hernandez?

================================

BRETT: I don't know, but I do know the only two pitchers missing from EXST who are supposed to be there are Alberto Alburquerque and Mark Pawelek.

Since Alburquerque and Pawelek were the last two pitchers cut from the Peoria roster prior to Opening Day, either of them could be Hernandez's replacement (probably more-likely Alburquerque). But then I would wonder if it's Alburquerque, why isn't Pawelek at EXST? (Or vice-versa). 

I am glad Mr. Antigua has been found. Now, where the hell is Pawelek and Alburquerque?

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 1 hour 4 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 10 hours 45 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 13 hours 43 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 13 hours 55 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 14 hours 4 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 14 hours 9 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 14 hours 28 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 15 hours 4 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 15 hours 22 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 15 hours 23 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 15 hours 41 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 15 hours 49 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 16 hours 44 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 17 hours 2 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 17 hours 6 min ago view