Nelson Perez went 2-3 with a triple, an RBI, a walk, and two runs scored and 17-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua pitched four strong innings, leading the EXST Cubs to a 9-4 sinking of the EXST Mariners in a Beat-the-Heat "Rush Hour Special" (9 AM start) at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
This was the final game of Extended Spring Training, although Cubs players who were assigned to EXST will reconvene at Fitch Park next week along with high school, JC, and college players selected and subsequently signed by the Cubs out of this week's Rule 4 Draft, plus any Non-Drafted Free-agents (NDFA) the Cubs might sign in the days after the draft.
Then it's up to Cubs VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita to decide who goes to Boise, and who stays at Fitch Park (AZL Cubs). And Oneri will not have a lot of time decide, either, because the Boise squad will leave for Idaho a week from tomorrow.
Simultaneous to the EXST game on Field #3, Angel Guzman (rehabbing at Fitch Park after undergoing "Tommy John" elbow surgery last September) and Manolin DeLeon (RHP recently arrived from the Cubs Dominican Academy) squared-off in a two-inning (30 pitches for each pitcher, 15 pitches per inning) "simulated game" on Field #2, facing several players (John Contreras, Bryan Jost, Junior Lake, Jose Made, George Matheus, Jeffrey Rea, and Cesar Salazar) who were not in the starting lineup in the EXST game.
Guzman was very sharp, throwing 94 MPH fastballs, nasty curves, and a first-class change-up to the tune of 22 strikes and only eight balls in his two innings of work. With EXST now over, Guzman could go out on a 30-day MLB DL rehab assignment to perhaps someplace like Daytona very soon
DeLeon, who was a very recent addition to the EXST Cubs roster, is basically in game shape, having spent the past month at the Cubs Dominican Academy preparing for the Dominican Summer League season. The 21-year old DeLeon was the DSL Cubs co-closer in 2007, and he could very well be a co-closer (with Rogelio Carmona and/or Israel Camacaro) for the AZL Cubs in 2008.
After the simulated game, ex-OF (now RHP) Andres Quezada threw his first "live" BP session on Field #2. Quezada is still a ways behind the other two recently converted position players, ex-C (now RHP) Jake Muyco and ex-OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer, but at least "Q" is finally getting some work against "live" hitters.
Oneri Fleita was in attendance at Fitch Park again today, sitting high atop the tower between the four fields, from where he could simultaneously watch both the "sim game" on Field #2 and the EXST game on Field #3. And he certainly made his presence known, too!
In true Larry Himes fashion, Oneri went ballistic not once but twice, the first time when he noticed 2B Jeffrey Rea (who is at Fitch Park rehabbing from a quad strain) hitting in the simulated game while dressed only in a t-shirt and shorts (not an unusual outfit for an "off-field" workout at EXST, BTW, especially for a rehab guy who is only cleared to take BP).
ONERI: (yelling at Rea): "Where's your fucking uniform?! You think you're a coach? This isn't Mississippi State! Get the hell off the field!"
At first I don't think Rea knew that Oneri was yelling at him (in particular). He just stood there behind the batting cage, leaning on his bat and talking to the other hitters. I think that's what really got Oneri mad, because that's when he mentioned "Mississippi State" (Rea played college ball at MSU).
See, Rea is a nice kid, but he is very quiet and serious. I've never seen him joke around with the other players, and he really seems to study the game closely when he sits on the bench. You could see he was embarrassed and a bit puzzled by Fleita's rant as he trotted to the clubhouse.
And then in the bottom of the 1st inning of the EXST game on Field #3, Josh Vitters scored standing up on a two-out RBI single to LF by Carlos Perez, but Vitters just barely beat the throw to the plate and almost got knocked off his feet, failing to slide because on-deck hitter Kyler Burke didn't get into position near home plate to coach the runner. So Vitters scores and gets a high-five from Burke, and then Burke ambles up to the plate for his AB.
ONERI: (yelling at Boise manager Tom Beyers, who was the EXST game manager today): "Get a fucking pinch-hitter up there, Tommy! If he can't coach the runner, he can't play! The runner can't score standing up like that! That's how guys get hurt!"
And so Kyler Burke gets this classic "WTF?" look on his face, and walks slowly back to the bench with his head down, as Junior Lake has to hurriedly run over to Field #3 from Field #2 (where he was hitting in the sim game) to pinch-hit for Burke. (Lake had a "WTF?" look on his face, too).
I think the f-bombs yelled at the top of his lungs are what really put it over the top, especially since the Cubs players at Extended Spring Training are continually being told to maintain a "professional demeanor" at all times.
Here is today's EXST Cubs abridged box score (Cubs players only)...
1a. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-3 (3B, R, 2 K)
1b. Jose Made, 2B: 0-1 (K)
2. Starlin Castro, SS: 1-3 (RBI, R, BB)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-1 (2 R, BB, HBP)
3b. John Contreras, 3B: 1-1
4. Nelson Perez, LF: 2-3 (3B, RBI, 2 R, BB, K)
5. Carlos Perez, DH-C: 1-3 (RBI, BB)
6a. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-0
6b. Junior Lake, PH: 0-1
6c. Cesar Salazar, RF: 1-3 (RBI, 2 R, SB)
7. Robinson Chirinos, C-DH: 2-4 (2B, RBI, R, SB)
8a. Drew Rundle, 1B: 1-3 (3B, RBI)
8b. Bryan Jost, 1B: 1-1 (2B)
9. Kevin Soto, CF: 0-4 (K)
10. Marwin Gonzalez, DH #2: 0-4
1. Jeffry Antigua - 4.0 IP, 3 H. 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1 PO (7/2 GO/FO)
2. Israel Camacaro - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP
3. Jake Muyco - 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (4/2 GO/FO)
4. Arik Hempy - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K
ERRORS - 4
1. Robinson Chirinos, E-2, made errant throw to 1st base on swinging bunt roller in front of home plate.
2. Josh Vitters, E-5, bounced throw past 1st baseman with two outs and runner at 2nd base, allowing runner to score.
3. Jose Made, E-4, missed catch on what should have been an easy 6-4-3 game ending DP, all runners safe.
4. Starlin Castro, E-6, on very next play after Made's error, Castro missed catch on what should have been at least a 3-6 FC at 2nd base.
Kevin Soto threw out runner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to CF.
Temperature in the 80's, partly cloudy and breezy.