One Angel throws "live" BP, others drop "live" game

Kyler Burke lined a game-tying RBI single to CF with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, and Roberto Sabates followed with a line-drive game-winning RBI single to LF, as the EXST Cubs rallied to edge the EXST Angels 9-8 this morning in a "Rush Hour Special" (9 AM start) at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.

The Cubs won despite committing five errors, including two by pitcher Israel Camacaro on consecutive sacrifice bunt attempts in the top of the 9th inning (Camacaro also hit two Angels batters with pitches, including one on the neck just below the lower jaw), and one each by 3B Junior Lake (overthrow), SS Jose Made (bobble), and 3B Josh Vitters (overthrow). 

Vitters actually entered the game as a "defensive replacement" (he still has some pain when swinging the bat), and had a total of two chances at 3B, both ground balls.

He air-mailed the throw over the first-baseman's head for an error on the first one, and the second one almost turned out to be an error, too, except for an outstanding play by 1st baseman Drew Rundle, who caught the Vittersation while crossing the bag such that he had to drag his right foot over the base as he fell into foul territory. 

Vitters reminds me of another top Cubs 3rd base prospect from the recent past by the name of David Kelton. Like Vitters, Kelton also had a scatter-gun arm, the only difference being Vitters still might improve, while Kelton (I believe) is out of baseball.

That said, the Cubs really might want to start to think a little bit about moving Vitters to 1B or maybe RF (unless his arm becomes a hindrance in the outfield, too). The Cubs probably waited too long to move Kelton to another position, because by the time they did, his defensive problems had affected his hitting, too. Hopefully they won't make the same mistake with Vitters.  

On the offensive side of the ball, Kyler Burke, Junior Lake, and Jose Made had three hits a piece, and Lake also had three RBI. Additionally, Roberto Sabates had two RBI hits, and mighty mite Dwayne Kemp slammed two doubles off the LF fence (and both were near-home runs).     

While the EXST Cubs were playing the EXST Angels on Field #3, RHP Angel Guzman and ex-OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer were throwing "live" BP on Field #2 to some of the hitters who weren't in the EXST Cubs starting lineup (Nelson Perez, John Contreras, and Bryan Jost).

Guzman threw 20 pitches, once again hitting 94 MPH with his fastball. The main difference between this outing and the last one was that this time Guzman threw about 2/3 strikes (13 strikes and 7 balls), while last Monday he threw only 50% strikes.  

Although Luke Sommer was converted to pitcher just a couple of weeks ago, it's not like he hasn't done it before. Sommer was a two-way player (P-OF) in high school in Canby, Oregon, and so he already had a feel for pitching. He just hadn't done it in a while. (He played OF at the University of San Francisco and last year at AZL Cubs).

I guess Sommer would probably be best-described as a "soft-tossing lefty," but you can see he has a really nice curve ball (his slider sucks, though), he knows how to throw a change-up, and his fast ball has some sink to it. But it's still way too early to tell if he has what it takes to be a pitcher in pro ball.  

While Alvaro Sosa caught Guzman's "live" BP session, newly-minted catcher Robinson Chirinos (who was a utility infielder at AA Tennessee just a week ago) had the honor to catch Luke Sommer's first "live" BP. I'm sure it was a thrill for both of them, something they will not soon forget.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. George Matheus, DH #1: 1-3 (R, BB, HBP)
2. Kevin Soto, RF: 1-5 (R, SB, CS)
3. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 2-4 (R, 2 2B, HBP, CS)
4a. Kyler Burke, 1B-LF: 3-5 (RBI, 2 R, 3B, K)
4b. Nelson Perez, PR: 0-0 (R)
5. Roberto Sabates, DH #2: 2-5 (2 RBI, 2B, R, K)
6. Drew Rundle, LF-1B: 0-2: (R, BB, HBP, 2 K)
7a. Junior Lake, 3B: 3-4 (3 RBI, 2B)
7b. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-0
8. Carlos Perez, C: 0-3 (RBI-SF, K)
9. Jose Made, SS: 3-4 (R)
10. Cesar Salazar, CF: 1-3 (BB)

1. Julio Pena - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1/7 GO/FO)
2. Dionis Nunez - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP (1/2 GO/FO)
3. Jake Muyco - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP (3/2 GO/FO)
4. Israel Camacaro - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HBP, 1 WP (3/2 GO/FO)

1. Junior Lake (E5 overthrow to 1st base) 
2. Jose Made (E6 bobble at SS)
3. Josh Vitters (E5 overthrow to 1st base)
4. Israel Camacaro (E1 overthrow to 3rd base on sac bunt attempt)
5. Israel Camacaro (E1 overthrow to 1st base on sac bunt attempt)

Carlos Perez: 1-1 CS, and picked runner off third base 2-5. 

OUTFIELD ASSIST: Kevin Soto, threw out runner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to RF.

WEATHER: Overcast with temperature around 70, breezy, and with rain imminent. (In fact the rain started about an hour after the game ended, and it's supposed to rain for about 36 hours, with snow expected on the Mogollon Rim between Flagstaff and Show Low).

ATTENDANCE: 4 (the crowd was probably kept down due to the threatening weather conditions).


Is that the rim on the Show Low cup? Sigh...anyhow...thanks for the updates!

Thanks as usual for the cool updates, Phil. What do you think the club's expectations are at this point for Guzman, realistically? Are they hoping he progresses quickly through the system this year, with a possible call - up by Sept.?

Thanks Phil, as always.
Why is Kyler Burke back at EXST? Last thing I knew, he was in Peoria...

Submitted by Dmac on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 4:32pm.

Thanks as usual for the cool updates, Phil.

What do you think the club's expectations are at this point for Guzman, realistically? Are they hoping he progresses quickly through the system this year, with a possible call - up by Sept.?


DMAC: I doubt that the Cubs have any preconceived expectations for Angel Guzman in 2008. However, he is six weks ahead of schedule in his rehab, he is throwing "pain free," and he's poppin' his fastball at 94 MPH, so don't blame the Cubs too much if they start to dream just a little bit about still another healthy, nasty, hard-throwing right-hander in their bullpen in 2008, if not sooner, then maybe later. (BTW, I think Guzman is more likely to work out of the bullpen if he comes back this season, but he could maybe be moved back to the starting rotation in ST 2009), 

At this point, as long as there are no medical setbacks, I believe Guzman will go on his 30-day minor league rehab at the end of EXST (June 4th is the last day), probably initially to Daytona. Then after the 30-days are up (around July 4th), and again, presuming there re no medical setbacks, the Cubs will probably activate Guzman from the 60-day DL and option him to Iowa. (As long as Gooz spends less than 90 days on an active regular season minor league or major league roster in 2008, his 4th minor league option year is preserved for 2009).

Then depending on how he is throwing at Iowa, the Cubs could wait to recall him until after rosters expand on September 1st, or they could recall him any time before that, too. But if they wait to recall Guzman until after September 1st and then they decide they want him to be available for the NLDS (if the Cubs make it that far), they would have to make sure somebody else is on the DL so that Guzman can replace the injured player (who does NOT have to be a pitcher, BTW) on the post-season roster.

Again, this is all a "best case scenario," but AS OF RIGHT NOW, things are going VERY well for Guzman at Fitch Park.

One other thing about Angel Guzman yoiu may or may not know...

Some MLB players who come to Fitch Park on rehab assignments are stuck-up and act like they are above it all. But Gooz hangs out with the young players (not just the Venezuelan or Latin players, either), and treats them with respect. He even sometimes cooks meals for them!

The young players assigned to EXST have to stay for the games, but MLB guys on rehab don't. They can go into the clubhouse and watch TV or take a nap or whatever.

But Guzman sometimes will stay and watch the game anyway, hanging out with the other pitchers, telling jokes, doing a virtual one-man show stand-up routine. He's like a Venezuelan Seinfeld.

Angel Guzman is one very nice man, a really, really good guy.

Submitted by Jace on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 4:54pm.

Thanks Phil, as always.

Why is Kyler Burke back at EXST? Last thing I knew, he was in Peoria...


JACE: Kyler Burke was in the midst of a 2-30 slump (.067) with 11 K when he was sent back to EXST.

Another factor involved with this move was that Peoria had four left-handed hitting outfielders (Burke, Dylan Johnston, Cliff Andersen, and Leon Johnson), and one of them had to be exchanged for the right-handed hitting LF Brandon Guyer (who got promoted to Peoria from EXST when Burke got demoted).

The Cubs maybe could have sent Leon Johnson down to EXST instead of Burke (because Johnson wasn't hitting either), but Johnson and Andersen are the only two guys at Peoria who can play CF.

I'm just waiting for the Cubs to make Kyler Burke a pitcher (he was a very highly-regarded LHP in HS, and some MLB scouts even liked him better as a pitcher).

Thanks again for the extended update, Phil - Guzman sounds a little like Fergie Jenkins regarding his general attitude and comportment.

"Some MLB players who come to Fitch Park on rehab assignments are stuck-up and act like they are above it all."

You wouldn't be referring to a specific former Cub who specialized in towel drills, would you?

"You wouldn't be referring to a specific former Cub who specialized in towel drills, would you?"


Well played.

FYI, Kelton last appeared for the 2006 Richmond Braves batting .216 w/ 54K's in 48G...

David Kelton was named Head Varsity Baseball Coach for the Springwood Wildcats on November 17, 2006. David recently retired from the Atlanta Braves organization after spending the 2006 season in Richmond.

AZ Phil, I was just wondering if Ryan Searle was still in Mesa. I was perusing the MLB Australia Academy Program web site and I noticed that Searle was listed on the Academy roster (along with guys we knew would be there - Cody Hams, Adam Spencer and Hak-ju Lee).

Az Phil, Who do you think are the top prospects still left at Fitch?

From KnoxNews

"The Smokies ran themselves out of a run in the eighth. Camp and SAM FULD singled with one out and Colvin drew a walk from reliever Luis Valdez to fill the bases.

Right fielder Perry snared Craig's sinking liner while sliding on his belly. Camp prepared to tag but FULD inexplicably sped by him and was automatically out.

Instead of tying the game, the Smokies (16-31) lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games."

Mind you, that was the only time Sam (.038 BA) has been on base this year in 26 PA's.

Possibly 3/44, but The Big Lead had a funny article today about Dusty trying to ruin Edinson Volquez's arm, and also making more racist(?)/stereotypical remarks.

Great catch. Dusty and Marge Schott would have been fabulous together in Cincinnati.

Well, maybe not...

Hmm, seems like bonfires are a natural for a team called the Smokies, but

It's hard to imagine how our AA franchise filled with AAA vets the likes of Matt Craig, Jake Fox and Sam Fuld and top draft picks Tyler Colvin, Ryan Harvey, Jeff Samardzija and Donald Veal could be this (16-32) bad.

For the third time, I don't understand why the record of our AA affiliate matters at all.

What concerns me is that Harvey, Fox, and Colvin are playing poorly. Samardzija can't get anybody out. Veal's still walking 4.5 batters per 9. Roquet has a 5.84.

I think you'd still be bitching if the team was 16-32, but those guys were actually playing well.

right, sure, whatever


Submitted by Raisin101 on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 7:54pm.

AZ Phil, I was just wondering if Ryan Searle was still in Mesa. I was perusing the MLB Australia Academy Program web site and I noticed that Searle was listed on the Academy roster (along with guys we knew would be there - Cody Hams, Adam Spencer and Hak-ju Lee).


RAISIN: Yes, Ryan Searle returned to Australia on Wednesday with Cody Hams and both will be attending the MLB Australian Baseball Academy (along with RHP Adam Spencer and Korean SS Hak-ju Lee). Both Searle and Hams were at the ABA last year, too. Searle, Hams, and Spencer will be working with Cubs Scout and ABA Pitching Coach Larry Home.

The original plan was for Searle to spend the 2008 season in the U. S. (AZL Cubs), but the plan was changed at the last minute. What I'm not sure about is if Searle might be returning to the U. S. later in the season (perhaps Instructs), because he does have a visa that would allow him to do that.

As for Hak-ju Lee, he will be attending the ABA for only the first two weeks. His father will be traveling to Australia with him from South Korea and will remain in Australia while his son is there. The Cubs Korean trainer-intern (Jay) at EXST who was orginally hired to work with Dae-Eun Rhee at Fitch Park will be going to Australia for the two weeks that Hak-ju is there. Lee wil then return to South Korea, and will report to Minor League Camp at Fitch Park next March. There is no plan for Lee to attend Instructs in October.

Jay (the Korean trainer-intern) was not needed at Peoria because the Cubs signed 25-year old Korean OF Min Kyu Sung in December, and Sung was assigned to Peoria during Minor League Camp to be Rhee's mentor-translator and also to serve as an assistant coach to Ryne Sandberg. (Besides Sung at Peoria, others who are serving as coaches while signed to 2008 minor league player contracts include Issmael Salas at Tennessee, Leonel Perez at Daytona, and Danny Fatheree at Fitch Park).

The Cubs Taiwanese trainer-intern who has been at Fitch Park for the last three months left for Peoria earlier this week, where he will be working with RHP Hung-Wen Chen. He was hired to work with Chen in Spring Training, but Chen was only there for a couple of days after arriving in the U. S. from the Chinese Taipei Olympic Camp, before moving to Peoria. (Chen was supposed to stay at EXST for a while and then move up to Peoria, but he was in such great shape when he arrived at Fitch Park in March that the Cubs decided he could report to Peoria immediately).  

Submitted by Hagsag on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 7:10am.

Az Phil,

Who do you think are the top prospects still left at Fitch? Thanks.


HAGSAG: I would say the Top 10 Prospects presently at Cubs EXST are:


1. Josh Vitters, 3B(?)

2. Carlos Perez, C
3. Junior Lake, SS-3B
4. Nelson Perez, RF
5. Dwayne Kemp, 2B-LF


1. Robert Hernandez, RHSP
2. Mark Pawelek, LHSP
3. Marcus Hatley, RHSP
4. Miguel Sierra, RHSP
5. Rogelio Carmona, RHRP

If we really want to test Felix Pie's "knack" for playing for championship teams, they should have demoted him to AA.

This is not out of the realm of possibility.


Paul Sullivan wrote this ( column today suggesting that SEAN MARSHALL was likely replacing SEAN GALLAGHER in the rotation but (not surprisingly) he seems to be completely unaware that MARSHALL was pulled in the 4th inning yesterday because he suffered a HAMSTRING INJURY.

At any rate, Marshall is going to be examined today.

1- this news is a few days old about marshall/gallagher replacement

2- is there anything cubs related you actually like...or just the bad news...or just blowing up non-news into bad news?

read almost every post above by you for sample of what everyone else here sees out of you. all we see is bitching, "i told you so", and "everything sucks and here's why and if you counter me you're a moron".

have fun, dude.

The return of ST?

to be fair, his point in the post i replied to is valid...its just the scope of the total posts combined.

the "marshall plan" was tipped a few days ago.

Post redacted.

No, it is not.

I was a day earlier than the SunTimes....

Marshall set back by hamstring pull
Injury at Iowa derails Piniella's plan to add left-hander to staff

May 24, 2008

BY GORDON WITTENMYER [email protected]
PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' left-handed pitching problems took another hit with the news that Sean Marshall pulled a hamstring during a rough outing for Class AAA Iowa on Thursday night.

Club officials say they expect Marshall to miss at least one start. This comes less than a week after demoted starter Rich Hill went on the seven-day disabled list at Iowa with back spasms.

You are an unbelievable fuck crunch.

"For the third time, I don't understand why the record of our AA affiliate matters at all."

I'd say it's more like the umpteenth time that we've been dragged into discussing this nonsensical ranting about minor league team records. If you're so hell - bent on jawing ad nauseum forever more about this subject that's apparently fascinating only to you, how about some relevant facts to prove your point? Facts such as:

- stats displaying each minor league team's W/L records (this would include each MLB franchise) each year, and how many players from each team that were summarily promoted to the next level of ability;

- percentages of those players that were ultimately promoted to the big league club;

- length of service in the major leagues for each of those players, coupled with their lifetime stats.

I'm not a stat guy by any means, but a layman could at least make an attempt at proving your contention with something approaching these numbers, so I'd suggest you get right to it - or else put a sock in it.

How about you do all that research and get off my back?

pretty sure he is on navigator/cwtp's back, not your back, wes.

Fair enough. However, if that's case, then he shouldn't quote me at the top of his post, and then proceed to refer to "you" throughout the entire thing.

How on earth did you misconstrue that I was referring to you, Wes? I've already had this discussion with the aforementioned commenter last week. Calm down, please.

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  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 59 min 12 sec ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 31 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 41 min ago view
  • 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 5 hours 24 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 10 hours 9 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

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

    Eric S 19 hours 52 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 22 hours 50 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 23 hours 2 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 23 hours 11 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 23 hours 16 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 23 hours 34 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 1 day 11 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 1 day 28 min ago view