Roll It!

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

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.   



Sarge Fleita? The Big Toe of Extended Spring Training!

To paraphrase John Winger:

An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Fleita is always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sarg Fleita

AZ Phil: Thank you for all your insight -- I have read this site for a long time (though I just registered today to ask a question) and your insight always gives me a better perspective on the Cubs minor leagues.

Quick Question: Baseball America reported that the Cubs signed Hak Ju Lee, a SS from Korea and the MLB approved the contract just last week. Is this the same SS discussed before who is going to the Australian baseball camp? If so, why did it take so long for MLB to approve the contract?

Also, more open ended question: As opposed to international signees, fans are aware of many of the Rule 4 draft players, as they are covered more closely and typically play in the US minor league system. Of the foreign players you have seen this year, did any one (or hopefully more) stand out as being players who will become top prospects in the next few years?

Thank you again for all your insight.

AZ Phil: how is the conversion of Jake Muyco going (from catcher to pitcher). Particularly in terms of how many pitches he's working on and his control to this point. Does he have to potential to be Marmol-lite?

great report Phil...thanks as always.

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!"


ozzie guillen approves.

btw...this is the kind of crap you put kids through in the minors (imo) so you dont have to do as much of it in the majors. its great its being done by a figurehead that the kids dont have to live/work with everyday that carries an aura of respect, too.

if you have to do this crap in the majors with too much of your team you either got piss poor personnel development in the minors (see: TB and CIN where for years all they've cared about is play, not the humans behind it all suddenly discovering a world of fame, money, and the majority of the rest of the club who are weighing various levels of competitiveness vs. their peers in order to succeed.) or you're a team that buys other team's problems like the yanks.

no, you're never gonna get a full team of "together" guys, though teams like CLE and COL try, but these guys in the low levels need to be experienced with someone who's their superior screaming stuff at them that they not only don't question, but accept it and move on.

Sounds pretty Orneri to me...


Start the f***ing game already. I'm tired from last night.


wait til saturday...that one is a 10:40est start.

So move out here to CA and watch it a normal time.


actually, i wish i could afford it. well, i could but i'd never be able to have the type of property i want without a huge commute. sigh.

go cubs. ...and enjoy your 11am day games.

AZ Phil: is it realistic to expect that Angel Guzman will be ready to help the team after the all star break or by August 1st? Thanks.

Submitted by Timmer on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 7:37pm.

AZ Phil: is it realistic to expect that Angel Guzman will be ready to help the team after the all star break or by August 1st? Thanks.


TIMMER: Provided there are no medical setbacks, I would expect Guzman to begin a 30-day rehab this month, and then get optioned to AAA in July. What happens after that is TBD.

Submitted by Cubster on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 4:37pm.

AZ Phil: how is the conversion of Jake Muyco going (from catcher to pitcher). Particularly in terms of how many pitches he's working on and his control to this point. Does he have to potential to be Marmol-lite?


CUBSTER: Jake Muyco had an excellent outing yesterday (Wednesday), and he is really starting to throw with confidence. He had good velocity and command of his fastball, and he was finally able to throw his change-up for strikes and got some snap on his breaking ball. He pitches VERY quickly and aggressively.

Of the three position players recently moved to pitcher, Muyco has a plus-fastball but occasionally struggles with his other pitches, Luke Sommer (who was a pitcher in HS) has a plus-curve and very good control but his fastball is a little short, and Andres Quezada just threw his first "live" BP yesterday (Wednesday).

While Quezada has apparently had some difficulty making the adjustement to throwing off a mound, Muyco and Sommer are progressing well and both should be able to pitch at Boise right away.

Recent comments

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  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer

  • Hahahahaha

  • -0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...

    -3 WAR projected over the course of a season.

    the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.


  • Rockies sign Brian Schlitter to a minor league contract. Good luck in Coors Field. Enough said.

  • i'll take him over frandy since it's unlikely he'll progress as a SS (and 2nd isn't looking much better).

    i hope patton's delivery deception skills play well in the bigs over time. cubs need pitching options that are MLB-ready and dude fits the bill for a MLB/AAA mix...both needed.

  • I'm not saying he's great, but can we agree on the word "decent"? Became a pro at 23, called up at 26; nothing wrong with that trajectory, he hasn't been knocking around. Even in the majors his SO9 is 9.7. In the minors it's 12.2, so he's always missed bats, and without being a wild man: his walks are low. He cost the Cubs an unheralded A-ball middle infielder and a roster spot.