Hoff-POWER! Completes Rehab, Is Iowa Bound
Micah Hoffpauir completed his injury rehab today, driving in the EXST Cubs first run in a 9-7 victory over the EXST Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa, before heading back to Des Moines to rejoin the Iowa Cubs. .
The 28-year old Hoffpauir, who has been on the I-Cubs DL since suffering a strained oblique just prior to Opening Day, was one of the Cubs top hitters in Spring Training, leading the team in several offensive categories and impressing Cubs manager Lou Piniella with both his stick and his glove.
In other EXST roster news, three pitchers who had been at Fitch Park rehabbing from injuries or physical problems over the past month moved up to full season clubs this past weekend.
RHPs Billy Petrick (shoulder stiffness) and Grant Johnson (sprained elbow ligament) have been assigned to Daytona, and RHP Jim Henderson (sore back) has been assigned to AA Tennessee. Petrick is still on the Iowa DL, so he will likely eventually end up at Iowa.
In addition, 2007 24th round draft pick RHP Scott Meyer (Lamar) has been released. Meyer is the 6th player drafted and signed by the Cubs last June to get cut. Given his D-1 college experience, Meyer should be able to hook-up with an independent league team if he wishes to continue his baseball career, as many ex-Cubs minor leaguers have done previous.
The Cubs will also be converting still another position player to pitcher at Fitch Park, as 22-year old switch-hitting Dominican OF Andres Quezada will be trading his bat for a change-up and breaking ball.
Quezada was always a little short on hitting, but he was a very good defensive outfielder with a plus-arm. We'll have to see how he makes the transition to throwing off a mound. (I suspect the Cubs probably told him: "You have two choices, Q... you can become a pitcher, or you can go home").
Also, 17-year old Korean bonus baby SS Hak-Ju Lee (who has been compared by one Cubs scout to a young Derek Jeter) will be reporting to the MLB Australian Baseball Academy next month, along with LHP Cody Hams (who will be leaving Fitch Park on May 21st) and recently-signed RHP Adam Spencer (who is still in high school in Australia).
It is not yet clear if Lee will be attending the AZ Instructional League in September (as fellow Korean Dae-Eun Rhee did last year), or if he will make his U. S. debut next March at Minor Leagie Camp at Fitch Park. But he will definitely NOT be playing for the AZL Cubs at Fitch Park this Summer
In injury news, 2007 #1 draft pick Josh Vitters (who just returned to Fitch Park from Peoria) and EXST Cubs 4th-string catcher Jose Guevara are sidelined with hand injuries, while 2B Jeffrey Rea (quad) and LF Brandon Guyer (fractured elbow) are improving albeit still restricted to BP only at this time.
As for today's game, once again Micah Hoffpauir played a "compressed" game, playing 1st base in the field and batting 3rd in each of the first three innings, before saying "adios" and heading for the Fitch Park clubhouse.
In Hoffpauir's first AB, the strapping Texan flew out to the warning track in RF, followed by a 6-3 ground out in the bottom of the 2nd, and then a ground RBI single back up through the middle in his 3rd AB in the 3rd inning.
SS Junior Lake had a big day at the plate, going 4-5 with three RBI (Lake is one of the Cubs top position player prospects at EXST), and RHP Julio Pena (who started the game for the EXST Cubs) threw three shutout innings and was VERY sharp, striking out four without allowing a walk.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only). And remember, Micah Hoffpauir batted third in each of the first three innings, and then left the game...
1. Kevin Soto, LF: 1-4 (3B, R, BB, CS)
2. Drew Rundle, CF: 2-4 (3B, RBI, 2 R, HBP)
3a. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B: 0-1 (F-9)
3b. NONE - SKIPPED
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-5 (2 R, 2 K)
5a. Luis Bautista, C: 2-3 (K)
5b. Alvaro Sosa, C: 1-2 (K)
6a. NONE - SKIPPED
6b. Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-3 (R, BB, K)
7. Junior Lake, SS: 4-5 (2B, 3 RBI)
8a. Micah Hoffpauir, DH #1: 0-1 (6-3 GO)
8b. NONE - SKIPPED
9, John Contreras, 3B: 2-5 (2 R)
10. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-4 (3B, R)
11a. Micah Hoffpauir, DH #2: 1-1 (RBI SINGLE)
11b. NONE - SKIPPED
12.Carlos Perez, DH #3: 0-4 (RBI, GIDP)
1. Julio Pena - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 GIDP (3/2 GO/FO)
2. Dionis Nunez - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/7 GO/FO)
3. John Muller - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2/4 GO/FO)
4. Kevin Kreier - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
ERROR (1): Kemp (bobble)
CATCHERS DEFENSE: Sosa 1-1 CS
WEATHER: High in low 80's and breezy
KILLER BEE UPDATE: The African (killer) bee hive in the tree adjacent to Field #3 has been removed by an exterminator, but there were a few stragglers who apparently didn't get the memo who were buzzing the general area in search of (what used to be) their home. Very sad. A stinger is a terrible thing to waste.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.
I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.
Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.
The Cubs are stronger defensively than most of the teams they play. In order to capitalize on that, they have to a) put the ball in play and b) run the bases aggressively.
That said, Cabrera has a strong, accurate arm, as witnessed by his 97 outfield assists over 12 seasons--mostly left field but also a lot of center. Bryant is rarely thrown out, but I guess you have to know who's throwing the ball.
On the other hand, Pries won his first start for Iowa, only giving up two HRs in the process. This trade has got some legs yet!
KB now with 0 RBI in his last 10 games and 1 in his last 15, despite having 19 hits in his last 15 games and raising his batting average from .278 to .286 over that span.
Maybe have Zobrist hit 2 and KB hit 4?
Also -- no HR in the last 15 games -- time for a bunch. Starting tomorrow.
Down a run. Fowler on first. Nobody out. KB singles to left, Fowler makes it to third, perfect throw from Cabrera nails KB trying to stretch for 2nd.
So, instead of 1st & 3rd and no out, you have 3rd with one out. It was a perfect throw, but why take the chance with 3-4-5 hitters coming up?
Must be a Cub thing - our lefties can;t get lefties out.
Splitting hairs, but Jake's pitch was poor execution, while KB's play was a poor decision (and the 2nd time he got thrown out trying to stretch in the game). Poor execution happens. Poor decisions are preventable. Speaking of poor decisions -- Baez's steal of 3rd made absolutely no sense.
Didn't Jake cost them the game with a pitch to Frazier?
Missed the play w/Bryant. What happened?
Not a good decision by Bryant in the 9th. That may have cost them the game.