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):
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)
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)
C. Perez: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: Warm & VERY breezy (25 MPH out to CF)
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.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
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.
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.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
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.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.