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)
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.