Eloy Jimenez

Brett Vertigan laced an RBI double and an RBI single, Yairo Munoz ripped an RBI single and a double and scored a run, Joe Bennie drilled an RBI single and a double, and Dayton Alexander smacked a solo HR, as the Athletics drubbed the Cubs 10-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morining on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Eloy Jimenez clobbered a three-run home run, Manny Ramirez celebrated his Cub debut with a tape-measure solo HR, and Gleyber Torres belted an RBI double to account for the five Cub runs.

Signed by the Cubs as a minor league player-coach ten days ago, the 42-year old Ramirez saw his first game action of 2014 today, serving as a DH and hitting 2nd in each of the first four innings. Having last played in August 2013 with AAA Round Rock (Texas Rangers affiliate in the PCL) where he hit a lackluster 259/328/370 with three HR in 30 games, you would  think ManRam might be a bit rusty, but he did not appear to be today. The veteran slugger drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch his first time up, flied out to right-center in his second AB (a fly ball that was deep enough to allow a baserunner to advance from 2nd to 3rd after the catch), flied out to the 385 sign in LF his 3rd time up (A's left-fielder caught the ball with his back up against the wall), and blasted a 400+ foot HR (with an accompanying major league bat-flip) over the LF fence and out into the desert in his 4th and final PA in the top of the 4th inning.

Ryan Sweeney (on the Cubs 15-day DL after suffering a hamstring injury on May 2nd) also served as a DH in today's game and (like Manny) batted four times, once in each of the first four innings. He struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in the top of the 1st, drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch in the 2nd, and popped out (P-5, and P-6) in his final two AB. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

Gleyber Torres drilled four singles, stole a base, and scored three runs as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 5-4 on Whirlwind Field, and Fernery Ozuna (RBI single), Jordan Parr (two-run single), Jacob Mayers (two-run double), and Jose Herrera (RBI double) rapped run-scoring hits to highlight an eight-run 3rd and Eric Brooks and five relievers combined to toss a three-hitter, helping the D'backs throttle the Cubs 11-3 on Quail Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

This was the 8th multi-hit game for Torres and his second four-hit game, and he is now hitting 311/388/398 with four doubles and two triples, 14/18 BB/K, one HBP, and four SB (two CS and two PO) in 30 Cactus League EXST games (118 PA). He has committed 13 errors (11 fielding and two throwing) in his 30 games, however his errors tend to come in bunches and seem to result from carelessness, and then he'll play immaculate defense for several games in a row. He has also made a number of highlight-reel plays at SS, and his throws are always plus-strong & almost always accurate.

Eloy Jimenez returned to game action after a week's absence during which he was supposedly en route to the Cubs Dominican Academy. (He was a spectator at yesterday's game). Jimenez served as DH for Squad "B" (he has only played eight games in RF) and went 1-5 in the game on Whirlwind Field, collecting two RBI (one with a 1st inning single, and the other on a 4-3 GO in the 9th that ultimately proved to be the game-winner). While Jimenez is hitting a mediocre 236/266/348 (with 4/22 BB/K) in 25 Cactus Legue EXST games (94 PA), he is hitting a robust 333/355/567 with one HR, two doubles, and a triple, and ten RBI over his last eight games (31 PA) going back to 5/14, and he leads the EXST Cubs team in RBI with 18. (I know it's not a skill, but Jimenez does seem to have a knack for collecting RBI). Though I suspect they won't, I truly hope the Cubs will give Eloy a chance to remain in Mesa (with Gleyber Torres) and play for the AZL Cubs this summer. He does have defensive issues in RF and he did struggle offensively for a while (though certainly not lately), but so do a lot of players in the AZL.  

RHP Ben Wells (sent back to Extended Spring Training from Daytona a couple of weeks ago to try and "right the ship") made his 2014 Cactus League EXST game debut today and got rocked, allowing seven runs (all earned) on six hits (two doubles and four singles) and three walks in just 2.0 IP. Extended Spring Training is almost over, so it's difficult to predict what the Rx will be for Wells.   

RHP Scott Frazier (who has been unable to throw strikes going back to Minor League Camp) made his Cactus League EXST game debut as well, and threw a shutout inning with one strikeout, although he did walk two batters and threw two WP. There are some in the Cub organization who believe Frazier has the best (and nastiest) stuff in the system, but he just has all kinds of trouble finding the strike zone with it. He got by today, but just barely. Frazier would be the closer at Boise (heck, he'd probably be the closer at Daytona) if he could just throw strikes.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Alberto Mineo (a double and a run scored), Oliver Zapata (an RBI triple and a run scored), Jesse Hodges (an RBI double and a run scored), Kevin Brown (an RBI single and a run scored), and Rashad Crawford (RBI triple) sparked the Cubs to a four-run 2nd inning, Jeffrey Baez belted an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, and Erick Leal threw five innings of one-run ball, as the Cubs hammered the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Field #5, and Trey Masek and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Gleyber Torres singled twice, walked, and drove-in the game's only run, as the Cubs whitewashed the D'backs 1-0 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.     

In EXST Cubs roster news, RF Eloy Jimenez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs. 

The 17-year old Jimenez (last year's top-rated July 2 international free-agent) hit 238/270/357 in 24 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (89 PA), with 4/22 BB/K. one HR, five doubles, a triple, and a team-leading 16 RBI. He had a sore arm in Minor League Camp that limited him to DH duty-only until mid-April, and even then he only started eight EXST games in RF. No question his defense needs a lot of work.

But Jimenez caught fire at the plate on May 14th, hitting 360/385/640 over his final seven games (26 PA). He hit his only Cactus League EXST home run in what turned out to be his last EXST game (versus the Angels in Tempe this past Tuesday), when he drove-in four runs with a three-run HR and an RBI single.   

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):  

Raul Linares ripped a game-winning walk-off RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied from a four-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Jeffrey Baez singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, and Kevin Brown singled twice, walked, and scored two runs to help the Cubs take an early 4-0 lead, and Nataniel Delgado doubled twice and scored and Trevor Gretzky laced a two-run triple to aid the Angel comeback.  

The Angels collected six doubles and one triple among their nine hits.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - groin) continued his EXST rehab with a shutout inning (18 pitches - 10 strikes). Strop was not as sharp this morning in Tempe as he was on Saturday in Scottsdale, as he walked one and was behind in the count on just about every hitter, but he did not allow a hit, he struck out two, and he got the third out on a broken bat 5-3 GO. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

Jeffrey Baez (RBI triple and RBI FC) and Eloy Jimenez (RBI double and RBI single) collected two RBI a piece to help the Cubs take a 7-1 lead, but Fernery Ozuna drove-in four runs with two two-run singles (one in the 5th and the other with two outs in the bottom of the 7th) as the Diamondbacks rallied to tie the Cubs 7-7 on Jackrabbit Field, and Everett Williams belted an RBI triple, singled, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, and Mark Thomas drilled an RBI single, tripled, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the D'backs to a 7-4 victory on Whirlwind Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Rony Rodriguez (RBI single and a two run HR) knocked in three runs and Shamil Ubiera drilled an RBI double, singled, and scored a run in a losing cause for the Cubs on Whirlwind Field.

Both games were pre-planned as seven-inning contests.

In EXST Cubs roster news, outfielders Casper Wells (back spasms) and Justin Ruggiano (hamstring) have completed their EXST rehabs and have been moved-up to AAA Iowa (Wells has been reinstated from Iowa's 7-day DL, and Ruggiano remains on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL and is assigned to Iowa on a Minor League Rehab Assignment), and RHPs Zak Hermans and Corbin Hoffner have been moved-up to Kane County from EXST, replacing RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (7-day DL - shoulder) and LHP Nathan Dorris (moved up to Daytona) on the KC roster. 

Wells hit 182/345/273 in seven Cactus League EXST games (29 PA), with two doubles, five BB, a HBP, and three K, while Ruggiano hit 154/214/231 in four Cactus League EXST games (14 PA), with a double, a walk, and three K. Ruggiano also clubbed two ringing doubles and stole 3rd base in Saturday's intrasquad game. 

THE PITCHING LINES FROM ZAK HERMANS' EIGHT 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/9  -  1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 20 pitches (12 strikes)
4/11 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4/15 - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 2/2 GO/FO, 25 pitches (14 strikes)
4/18 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
4/24 - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO, 32 pitches (22 strikes)
4/29 - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/4 GO/FO, 43 pitches (28 strikes)
5/5  -  3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 1 PO, 3/2 GO/FO, 46 pitches (30 strikes) 
5/13 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (18 strikes)  
TOTAL: 16.0 IP, 11 H, 4 R (4 ER), 5 BB, 13 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 GIDP, 18/15 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .196 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM CORBIN HOFFNER'S EIGHT 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/14 - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 41 pitches (27 strikes) 
4/18 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4/21 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 9 pitches (6 strikes) 
4/26 - INTRASQUAD GAME  
4/29 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes) 
5/3   - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (12 strikes) 
5/7   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 4/1 GO/FO, 19 pitches (15 strikes) 
5/10 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 22 pitches (16 strikes)
5/16 - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 6/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (20 strikes)
TOTAL: 14.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 25/9 GO/FO, 73% strikes, 1.26 ERA, 0.42 WHIP, .109 OppBA  

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):  

Eloy Jimenez belted an RBI triple and Rony Rodriguez and Justin Marra drilled RBI singles to highlight a three-run 1st inning, Oliver Zapata, doubled, singled, and walked, and Erick Castillo smacked a pinch-hit solo home run, helping the Cubs defeat the Giants 5-3 on Field #5, and Kevin Brown tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Roney Alcala (RBI ground out & a two-run single) and Arnaldo Calero (two run-scoring doubles) drove-in three runs a piece as the Cubs rallied from a four-run deficit to tie the Giants 6-6 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Ryan Jones slugged a two-run HR, doubled and scored, and singled for the Giants on Field #6.

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST game rehabs, with Ruggiano playing RF with Squad "B" on Field #5 and Wells playing RF with Squad "A" on Field #6.

Ruggiano played RF for four innings and then moved to DH for one more inning, getting three Plate Appearances in the game. He struck out (swinging) in his first AB, drew a walk his second time up and then (apparently feeling a bit frisky) was thrown-out trying to steal, and he flied out to right in his third PA. He also commited an error, dropping a line-drive that was hit right at him (eventually leading to an unearned run scoring).  

Wells played RF for eight innings and went 1-3, with a pop out to 1st, a bloop double (he later scored), a line-out to CF, and a walk.    

Meanwhile, C-1B-3B Mark Malave is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting only RH (and actually has been for a while). Malave drives the ball with more authority RH. and from what I've seen so far, he does not appear to be adversely affected hitting RH versus RHP.

Last year OF Rashad Crawford gave up switch-hitting, opting to hit only LH (to take better advantage of his plus-speed), and that move has worked out well for him. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Elliot Soto tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Eloy Jimenez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, leading the Cubs to a 9-5 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ. 

Raul Linares reached base four times (RBI triple, two singles, and a walk) for the Angels.

In 18 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (72 PA), Eloy Jimenez is hitting 221/250/279, with a team-leading nine RBI, plus four doubles and 3/19 BB/K. He has yet to homer in a Cactus League EXST game, although he has in Intrasquad games. 

Unlike the other top international prospect signed by the Cubs in 2013 (SS Gleyber Torres), Jimenez has no chance to make the Boise Hawks Opening Day roster, but he does stand a good chance to be in the AZL Cubs Opening Day lineup next month. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

Jorge Ortega tossed six shutout innings, Tucker Neuhaus (Brewers 2013 Supplemental 2nd round draft pick - Wharton HS - Tampa, FL) drilled two RBI doubles, singled, and scored a run, Edgardo Rivera reached base four times (a single and three walks), stole a base, and scored three runs, and Luis Aviles smacked a three-run home run, as the Brewers outlasted the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Jeffrey Baez walked twice, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run and Eloy Jimenez singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs. In 17 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (67 PA), Baez is hitting 345/433/500, with two doubles, two triples, one HR, 5 RBI, 8 RUNS, 9/8 BB/K, and 12 SB (0 CS), and he leads the team in OBP, SLG, SB, BB, and RUNS, is second only to the departed Matt Scioscia in AVG (Scioscia hit 348 in 26 PA), and is one of only three EXST Cubs players to hit a HR (Tyler Alamo and Rashad Crawford are the other two).    

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST rehab assignments in today's game, going a collective 0-8.

Ruggiano popped-out to short and flied out three times (including two near-HR hit to the warning track, one in left and the other in right-center), and Wells tapped back to the pitcher on a check-swing, popped out to the shortstop, lined-out to CF, and reached base on an E-5 (dropped infield pop fly).   

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

Raul Linares rifled a single through the box to drive-in the tying run from 3rd base with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied for two runs in their final AB to tie the Cubs 3-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez singled twice and collected an RBI and Varonex Cuevas ripped an RBI triple and scored a run for the Cubs.

Casper Wells (Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for five innings and batting once in each of the first five innings. He went 0-5, getting called out on strikes in both the 1st and 2nd innings (in both cases strike three was a knee-buckling curve thrown by Angels 2013 3rd round draft pick RHP Keynan Middleton), before grounding out 5-3 in the 3rd, and flying out in the 4th and 5th innings. 

After LHP Michael Heesch (Daytona 7-day DL) made his 2014 game debut with a 1-2-3 five-pitch bottom of the 1st inning (6-3, F-9, P-4), veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro took the hill and threw the next six innings (77 pitches) for the Cubs, allowing one run on six hits (four singles and two doubles) and a walk, with five strikeouts. Pineiro also induced three inning-ending double plays, as he really had the sinker working today (12/2 GO/FO).   

There was a somewhat larger crowd than normal at today's game, although some of the fans were clearly there to watch Angels OF Josh Hamilton (15-day DL - torn ligament in thumb) run the bases and field fly balls and grounders on an adjacent field. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

Roney Alcala singled, doubled, and tripled, drove-in two runs, and scored another, Gleyber Torres reached base three times on a triple, a single, and an HBP, and scored a run, Zak Blair ripped an RBI single and an RBI triple, and LHSP Jose Paulino tossed three innings of no run/no hit ball, leading the Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Giants on Field #6, and Craig Massoni singled and scored in the 7th and clubbed a two-run home run in the 8th as the Giants rallied for four runs over the final three innings to beat the Cubs 4-2 on Field #5, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

RHP Zak Hermans threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball and Eloy Jimenez knocked-in both Cub runs (RBI double in the 1st and RBI single in the 6th) in a losing cause on Field #5. 

Roney Alcala singled twice, doubled, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Antonio Valerio singled twice, doubled, and collected two RBI, as the Cubs rallied for three runs in the 9th and defeated the Angels 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Rony Rodriguez and Eloy Jimenez belted back-to-back RBI doubles, Ricardo Marcano followed with an RBI single, and Tyler Alamo capped the inning with a two-run home run over the LF fence, as the Cubs plated five runs in the 5th en route to a 7-3 victory over the Diamondbacks on Field #5, and Cesar Carrasco doubled twice and reached base on an error and scored three runs, and Dane McFarland and Sergio Alcantara laced two RBI singles a piece to drive-in a combined four runs, as the D'backs defeated the Cubs 5-1 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Dayton Alexander knocked-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, leading the Athletics to a 7-3 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Park Baseball Facility in Phoenix, AZ. 

Eloy Jimenez drove-in two of the three Cub runs with a sharply-hit RBI ground single through the 5.5 hole with two outs in the 1st inning and a two-out bases loaded walk on a 3-2 pitch in the 5th.

The Cub offense collected more walks (8) than hits (3) in the game, while Cub pitchers surrendered more walks (8) than hits (6).   

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw today could get their work.

In EXST Cubs roster news, AAA Iowa OF Jae-Hoon Ha (post-2013 broken wrist) has completed his EXST rehab and has rejoined the I-Cubs, and INF Giuseppe Papaccio has been moved up to AA Tennessee.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

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