EXST Cubs Rally to Beat A's, Eyre Throws "Live" BP

Some of you might be happy to know this, but more might not be...

Scott Eyre, on the DL since the last week of Spring Training with a sore elbow, has progressed beyond just throwing side sessions in the bullpen. While the EXST Cubs were playing the EXST A's on Fitch Park Field #3, Eyre threw a 25-pitch "live" BP session on Field #2 to some of the Cub position players who were not in the starting lineup of the EXST game.

While we all know Eyre is not the pitcher he was three years ago, he did appear to throw the ball OK today, mixing a decent fastball with a "big league" slider the Cub youngsters will rarely see in Minor League Camp or Extended Spring Training. 

Eyre is at the point in his rehab where pitchers are just before the start of Spring Training games (throwing "live" BP), but since he's a relief pitcher who usually pitches only one inning, he probably could get himself ready to rejoin the Cubs after just a couple or three rehab game outings.

Of course, that would be dependent on whether or not he has any setbacks in his rehab. And if he does continue to progress without any setbacks, it still must be determined if his rehab game outings will be at Fitch Park (EXST) or will begin at a full season stop or stops (Peoria, Daytona, Tennessee, or Iowa) yet TBD. 

Eyre did say that his "live" BP session today "felt good," although he admitted that might have been due to the medication he's been taking.

In other injury news at EXST, RHP Alberto Alburquerque underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday, and RHP Rafael Dolis (2007 TJ surgery) has been shutdown after developing a sore shoulder. When Dolis will start throwing again is unknown.

On the bright side, Leon Johnson (finger) and Jeffrey Rea (sore arm) are about back to full strength, and both will likely be leaving Fitch Park for a full-season affiliate (probably Peoria) very soon. So if I'm Peoria 2B Nathan Samson (BA in the .130's), or 1B-OF Drew Rundle (3 for last 35 with 13 K), or LF Dylan Johnston (0 for last 15 with 11 K), I might start to worry just a bit.

The fact that Rundle had been demoted from Peoria to Boise-Mesa during Minor League Camp, only to get a last minute reprieve when Johnson got hurt just prior to the Chiefs leaving Arizona, might not be a good predictor for Rundle remaining at Peoria.  

And if the Peoria Chiefs ar looking for a first-baseman, Bryan Jost has been on a tear at EXST.

A 2007 draft-eligible sophomore picked in the 44th round out of the University of Minnesota and signed (he fell due to signability concerns) just before the August 15th deadline for signing Rule 4 draftees, Jost suffered a season-ending knee injury in the AZ Instructional League in October, and was limited to light activities at Minor League Camp in March (BP and fielding OK, but no sliding). But he's cleared for "full contact" now, and it looks like he's trying to make up for lost time, as he went 3-3 today with a single, a double, and a triple, as well as making a couple of nice scoops at first-base.    

Speaking of today's EXST game, the Cubs jumped out to a 6-0 lead, with starter Marcus Hatley throwing three shutout innings. But then the A's came back against the Cubs bullpen (F. Acosta, Carmona, and Rojas) to take a 7-6 lead in the 6th, before Nelson Perez hit a game-winning two-run HR 430+ feet over the CF fence in the bottom of the 8th. John Muller then pitched a shutout 9th for the save.

If a replacement pitcher is needed at Peoria or Daytona in the next few days or weeks, and it's not one of the rehab guys like Todd Blackford or Billy Muldowney, expect to see Hatley or Muller get the call. Both right-handers are throwing the ball VERY well right now.

Both Hatley and Muller are converted position players, Hatley having played OF at Palomar JC, and Muller shortstop at St. Thomas Aquinas College.  

The guy who hit the game-winning HR today (Nelson Perez) is an unsual case in the Cubs system, in that he was signed as a pitcher, but was converted to an outfielder.

Essentially, N. Perez is a left-handed hitting Ryan Harvey, an EXTREME first-ball fastball hitter with an aversion to breaking balls and change-ups, but with the power to hit a ball half-way to Apache Junction.

Also like Harvey, N. Perez has one of the top two outfield arms in the Cubs organization (11 outfield assists in just 2-1/2 months at AZL Mesa in 2007). He also bears an uncanny physical resemblance to a young Sammy Sosa.   

Like Felix Pie, Nelson Perez is another one of Alfonso Soriano's Dominican proteges. During Spring Training, Soriano befriended the youngster, giving him bats, gloves, shoes, and a case of batting gloves. 

Here is today's abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):

LINEUP:
1. Leon Johnson, CF-LF: 1-2 (2B, 2-3 SH, BB + CS, K-s)
2. Jeffrey Rea, 2B: 1-2 (BB, FC-RBI, BB + CS, BUNT 1B +R)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-2 (6-4-3 GIDP, P-6)
3b. John Contreras, 3B: 0-1 (K-s, 3-4 SH)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-4 (1-3, 4-3, K-c, HR-2 RBI)
5. Carlos Perez, C: 0-4 (4-3, F-8, 6-3, 6-3)
6a. Brandon Guyer, DH #1: 0-1 (6-3, BB + R)
6b. Roberto Sabates, PH-DH #2: 0-2 (4-3, 5-3)
7a. Elvis Lara, LF: 1-3 (F-8, 3B-RBI + R, 4-3)
7b. Andres Quezada, CF: 0-0
8. Bryan Jost, 1B: 3-3 (2B + R, 3B-RBI + R, 1B)
9. Gian Guzman, SS: 2-2 (1B-RBI + R, F-7 SF-RBI, 1B)
10. Starlin Castro, DH #2: 0-3 (E-4 + R, 5-3, K-c)

PITCHERS:
1. Marcus Hatley - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K (2/2 GB/FB)
2. Francisco Acosta - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 WP
3. Rogelio Carmona - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK 
4. Carlos Rojas - 0.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP  
5. Eduardo Figueroa, - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
6. John Muller - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K

FIELDING: No errors!

OUTFIELD ASSIST: L. Johnson (8-6 out at 2B)

CATCHERS:
C. Perez: 1-3 CS
 
WEATHER: Warm & VERY breezy (25 MPH out to CF)
ATTENDANCE: 7


 

Comments

7 at the game today? Sounds like the crowds are starting to build on ya Phil.

phil was "down" when it was real and underground...now the crowds are twice the size and it's getting worse than the bleachers at wrigley.

bet he misses the good ol' days when he could park 3 spaces closer to the field.

heck, soon the line for the bathroom will be...well...one will exist.

AZP
I live in South Bend and plan on attending the series versus the Peoria Chiefs that goes from Friday, May 2 through Sunday. I'll try to ask you a day or two ahead of the series, but I would love to hear any tips on players to watch for, etc. I'm going to try to get behind the Chiefs dugout and take some pictures, keep score, eat nachos and drink like 10 beers/game. Thanks in advance for your help

You want a tip? How about taking your pictures before drinking the ten beers. :)

those new NFL and Pontiac ads on the right sidebar payout quite nicely for each click; although each IP address is limited to 5...you know, if you want to support the site. :)

Actually, that Pontiac is pretty cool. Take the flash tour.

Does that count as my April pledge drive donation?

Does that count as my April pledge drive donation?

Come on now, we know TV pays big bucks...plus the bonus money you put away from your playing days.

 

Any sightings of Angel Guzman? What's the status on his rehab?

Thanks, Phil!

My wife bought the excuse. I'm in the clear. Yes, it was only 10 bones, but boy do I feel better.

Holy crap, I forgot all about Scott Eyre.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

I have a feeling some TCR readers will disagree...

there's some extraordinarily intelligent commentary under that trib blog post. Sheesh.

The offense continues to carry the pitching (even with Sori out, Aram underperforming, Pie struggling, etc.). Top 5 in MLB in runs scored and Top 10 in home runs.

Lets get that pitching in shape!

Does anyone know what time the extended spring training actitivites start? I'd like to add to the group of seven watching.

Submitted by Raisin101 on Wed, 04/16/2008 - 10:19pm.

 Any sightings of Angel Guzman? What's the status on his rehab? Thanks, Phil!

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

RAISIN: I see Angel Guzman almost every day. He often sits with the other pitchers in the bleachers and watches the EXST games (the minor leaguers HAVE to be there, but "veteran" guys like Guzman, Eyre, Fox, Petrick, Henderson, and G. Johnson can stay in the clubhouse if they prefer).

Gooz is really funny and animated, likes to tell funny stories (in Spanish). He's like a "big brother" to the EXST Venezuelan kids (like Suarez, Figueroa, Rojas, Soto, and Guevara). And he participates in Pitchers Fielding Practice (PFP) and he does his running with the other rehabbing pitchers.

I haven't seen him pitch yet (meaning "live" BP or simulated game), although he is probably throwing occasional limited (test) side sessions in the throwing pit, as is the case with Kitt Kopach (shoulder surgery rehab), Larry Suarez (sore shoulder) and Oswaldo Martinez (2007 TJ surgery rehab).

Given that he had TJ surgery in September, I would think Guzman will probably not be ready for rehab game action until sometime in June. He is definitely not yet in "Active Rehab" status, that's for sure.

Best case is Guzman back and very close to 100% in September, providing another power arm in the Cubs bullpen (hopefully) into the post-season. But that's ONLY if everything goes OK in his rehab and presuming he doesn't go down with some other injury while rehabbing (as happened with Dolis on Tuesday).

Submitted by azcubsfan on Thu, 04/17/2008 - 7:09am.

Does anyone know what time the extended spring training actitivites start? I'd like to add to the group of seven watching

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

AZCUBSFAN: The daily workouts at Fitch Park usually start around 8:00-8:30, and EXST games are played on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and they start at 10:00 on Saturdays and 10:30 on the other days (or sometimes earlier or later, depending on whenever the umpires arrive).

There are no concessions, no scorecards or rosters, no public address announcer, no throwing out the first pitch, no National Anthem, no music, no grooming of the field after the 5th inning, no 7th inning stretch.... Just your basic baseball game, but with a ten-man batting order (two DHs).

On the days when EXST games are played (Mon-Tue-Wed and Fri-Sat) the EXST Cubs are home half the time and are on the road half the time, and when they are on the road they usually play at either Scottsdale Chaparral Park (Giants) at Hayden & Indian Bend, the Tempe Diablo Park Complex (Angels) at 48th Street & Alameda, or the Phoenix Papago Park Complex (A's) at 64th Street & McDowell, although they occasionally (rarely) will make a trip to Maryvale (51st Avenue & Indian School), Peoria (83rd Avenue & Bell), or Surprise (147th Avenue & Bell). The EXST Cubs NEVER go to Tucson. But even when the Cubs have a road game, about half the squad remains at Fitch Park for BP and fielding practice that will usually run until about 11:00.

Thursday (today) is "Camp Day," and that means the entire EXST Cubs squad is at  Fitch Park. There is a teaching workout (with instruction) and then usually an intrasquad game, but the game can start at anytime, sometimes as early as 9:00 or 9:30, or as late as 11:00 or 11:30, and, depending on how many pitchers need work, the intrasquad game could be as short as three or four innings or as long as nine or ten innings.

Sunday is the EXST Cubs day off.

BTW, the average salary for players at EXST (as well as Boise/Mesa) is about $200 per week ($800 per month) over five months (April through August), and all players not on the 40-man roster at Minor League Camp get only a $120 weekly Spring Training allowance during March (40-man roster guys and NRIs at big league camp get a $1,000+ allowance per week during ST) .

 

Phil, I see Randy Wells is now listed on the Iowa Cubs roster under the category of "reserved". Does hat mean that the Cubs have now reaquired him? Thanks.

Submitted by Hagsag on Thu, 04/17/2008 - 9:23am. Phil, I see Randy Wells is now listed on the Iowa Cubs roster under the category of "reserved". Does hat mean that the Cubs have now reaquired him? Thanks.

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

HAGSAG: If Randy Wells is listed on the Iowa Cubs roster as "reserved," that would mean he has been reclaimed by Iowa and is on the I-Cubs 38-man "reserve list." (Remember, when a Rule 5 player is reclaimed by his original organization, he is automatically outrighted to the AAA club roster from which he was drafted).

But since he hasn't pitched for about two weeks, he probably won't be activated until he gets back into throwing shape. He might possibly do that by throwing "live" BP and/or a simulated game at Iowa, or he could get assigned to EXST at Fitch Park for a few days.

Glad to see Mr Wells is back for the Cubs sake.

Recent comments

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 35 min 33 sec ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 5 hours 20 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 5 hours 21 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 15 hours 3 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 18 hours 55 sec 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 18 hours 13 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 18 hours 22 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 18 hours 27 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 18 hours 45 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 19 hours 22 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 19 hours 39 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 19 hours 41 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 19 hours 59 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 20 hours 6 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 21 hours 2 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 21 hours 19 min ago view