Jesus Castillo

Camargo Sharp as AZL Cubs Defeat AZL Snakes

Andruw Monasterio drilled a two-run triple, walked twice, scored a run, and collected a third RBI on a bases-loaded walk, Wladimir Galindo belted a two-run double and knocked-in a third run with a sacrifice fly, Roberto Caro reached base on a bunt single, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and RHSP Jesus Camargo hurled five innings of three-hit one-run ball with no walks and a 11/1 GO/FO, helping the AZL Cubs defeat the AZL Diamondbaks 8-4 in AZL action last night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Chris Denorfia & Pierce Johnson Rehabbin' at Riverview

Marcos Derkes belted a bases-loaded triple and RHSP Taylor Black tossed three innings of no-hit ball, leading the Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

The Cubs Cactus League EXST record dropped to 16-15-5 with today's loss. 

Jose Paniagua drilled an RBI triple and a single and Ho-Young Son ripped an RBI double, singled, reached base on an HBP, and stole a base for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Son is now hitting a robust 417/520/561 (and the .417 batting average leads the EXST Cubs for players with at least one PA per Cactus League EXST game), with four doubles and a triple, five walks and four HBP (so he is the Anthony Rizzo of the EXST Cubs), only three strikeouts (none in his last 33 PA), and five SB (albeit with two CS and four PO) in 18 Cactus League EXST games (50 PA). He also leads the EXST Cubs in multi-hit games with six (Frandy de la Rosa and Kevonte Mitchell have five a piece), and he made just his second error of the Cactus League EXST season today. Son will very likely be the starting shortstop for the Eugene Emeralds once the Northwest League season begins play next month. 

OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day with a hamstring strain) was a DH in today;s game and batted four times, once in each of the first four innings.

He struck out (swinging) on three pitches his first time up (and looked bad doing it), then grounded out 6-3 on the first pitch he saw the second time up, walked on four pitches in his third AB, and roped a line-single to left on the first pitch of the AB in his fourth and final Plate Appearance.

Denorfia jogged to 1st base when he ran (that's called "fuck 90 when I'm rehabbing my hamstring"), and Kevonte Mitchell was inserted into the game as a Designated Pinch-Runner the two times Denorfia reached base. Mitchell took advantage of the two opportunities by stealing a base and scoring two runs (Herb Washington, eat your heart out!).

RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee DL with a lat strain) got the start on the mound for the Cubs today and looked a lot better today than he did in last Thursday's intrasquad game, working two innings of no-run/no hit ball (25 pitches - 19 strikes), and allowing just one baserunner (he hit the first man he faced) before easily retiring the last six in a row (4-3, P-4, K, K, F-8, 3-1).

His fastball velocity was better than last time, too, as he was working mostly at 92 MPH, and he touched 94 (the very first pitch of the game). He threw 12 consecutive strikes at the end of his outing (including all ten pitches he threw in the top of the 2nd), and was able to command all of his pitches (something he was not able to do last time out).

RHP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Tony Campana deal a couple of years ago) followed Johnson to the hill and had a very poor outing, allowing three runs on two walks and two hits (one of which was the Derkes bases-loaded triple) in just one-third of an inning.

Usually a starting pitcher, LHP Jose Paulino had his outing pushed-back to the middle innings to accomodate Johnson and Castillo, and although he did allow three runs (two earned) on three hits, four walks, an HBP, and a balk in 3.2 IP, he was throwing his two-seamer harder than usual, working at 91-93 and touching 94-95 while getting a ton of ground balls (8/0 GO).  

LHRP Andin Diaz had his fastball gas consistently up to 94-95 MPH over the last two innings of the game (no runs/no hits allowed) 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, RHP Marcelo Carreno (post-2013 right shoulder surgery) and RHRP Corbin Hoffner threw a one-inning "sim" game on Field #4. This was the first time Carreno (acquired as the PTBNL from the Tigers in the August 2012 deal that sent IF-OF Jeff Baker to Detroit) has faced hitters this year, while Hoffner is trying to perfect his new exteme sidearm (almost "submarine") delivery by getting extra work throwing against hitters on days he would normally just throw a bullpen side-session.  

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

Pelicans Don't Know the Way to Beat San Jose

Michael Santos tossed three innings of shutout ball and Rodney Price blasted a two run HR, as the Augusta GreenJackets (SF Giants Lo-A affiliate) edged the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 4-3 on Field #5, and Randy Ortiz and Steven Neff (ex-LHP) belted two run triples and Ryder Jones hammered a two-run double, leading the San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants Hi-A affiliate) to an 8-5 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Mesa Cubtown at Riverview Park.   

21-year old RHP James Norwood (Cubs 2014 7th round draft pick - Saint Louis University) got the start for South Bend and threw four innings of two-hit shutout ball, retiring the last eleven men he faced. Justin Marra drilled a two-run triple and a single for the South Bend squad, and Jacob Rogers drove-in three runs with an RBI double and two-run HR for the Myrtle Beach squad. 

Prior to the games on Fields 5 & 6, RHPs Austin Reed (2014 TJS) and Jesus Castillo squared-off in a two-inning "sim" game on Field #4. 

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

Rockies Shad Have Known Better Than to Play So Shallow

Rashad Crawford belted an inside-the-park two-run home run (opposite-field line-drive smoked over the left-fielder's head) to highlight a three-run third, and the bullpen tossed 7.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, helping the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

The home run was Crawford's second in Cactus League EXST game action (his first HR was hit over the RF fence on Field #5 at Riverview Park on April 21st), so Crawford has now tied Erick Castillo for the team-lead in HR with two (six others--Tyler Alamo, Jeffrey Baez, Zak Blair, Kevin Brown, Varonex Cuevas, and Rony Rodriguez--have one HR a piece). And the Cubs (as a team) have hit seven of their ten home runs in their last five games.  

Five Cub "rehab" pitchers saw work in today's game (including four who threw in the intrasquad game last Saturday), so Rehab Pitching Coordinator Rick Tronerud and Rehab Athletic Trainer Chuck Baughman made the trip up to Salt River Fields from Riverview Park (they did not bring their golf cart, however).  

* Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick RHP Josh Conway (2012 pre-draft TJS & May 2013 elbow stress fracture) got the start and breezed through the bottom of the 1st inning (allowing just a two-out single) before surrendering a run on two hits (including an RBI triple) and a walk in the bottom of the 2nd. The 23-year old needed 37 pitches to get four outs. 

* Veteran NPB & MLB RH reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (May 2013 TJS) retired all three men he faced (K-swinging, F-8, 3-1), although he was continually shaking and stretching his arm during the outing. 

* 20-year old 2012 3rd round draft pick 6'3 RHP Ryan McNeil (May 2013 TJS) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance since April 15, 2013, and retired all five hitters he faced (F-8, 6-3, L-8, P-1, 3-U) on just 13 pitches (10 strikes), He looked very good in a two-inning stint in last Saturday's intrasquad game, too. For those of you who haven't seen McNeil this year, he is sporting the popular Jeff Samardzija look (they could be brothers).  

* 24-year old 6'5 240+ LHP Michael Heesch (Cubs 2012 8th round draft pick) had another fine outing (he's been throwing in Cactus League EXST games for about the last ten days, so he should be about ready to move up to the KC or Daytona bullpen), allowing a two-out single while striking out two (both swinging) and doing it all on just 11 pitches (10 for strikes), and lots of grunts.

* 18-year old RHP Jesus Castillo (the other pitcher acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with RHP Erick Leal in exchange for OF Tony Campana in February 2013) made his U. S. game debut and punched-out two in his one innng of work. Unlike Leal (a "curve-ball first" pitcher who uses his 88 MPH fastball to set-up his excellent breaking ball), Castillo has a "lively" fastball that rides 92-93 MPH and a decent change-up (especially for such a young guy) but no breaking ball. And, just like C. J. Edwards, Jose Paulino, and Hector Perez, Castillo is an all-legs "stringbean" (6'2 165). Castillo probably has a higher ceiling than fellow-Venezuelan Leal, but he is also clearly not anywhere near as polished, and so he will very likely be assigned to the AZL Cubs next month, while Leal will almost certainly be in the Boise starting rotation. 

With today's victory, the Cubs have won three in a row and are closing-in on the .500 mark (they are now 19-21-4 in 2014 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games).

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

A's Rally Hangs Loss on Cubs at Riverview Park

Gabriel Sanchez belted a bases-clearing three-run double to cap a four-run 7th inning, and Justin Higley singled twice, stole two bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, as the Athletics rallied to defeat the Cubs 5-2 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 had three hits and Varonex Cuevas smacked a triple and an RBI single for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab) is still at Extended Spring Training, and (just like yesterday) he played RF for all nine innings in today's game. He had four Plate Appearances in the game, hitting a check-swing dribbler back to the pitcher on a 3-0 pitch in his first AB in the bottom of the 1st inning, walked on four pitches in the 4th, grounded out 5-3 in the 7th, and (representing the tying run) lined-out to right with runners on 1st & 2nd and out out in the 9th.  

Veteran MLB OF Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL) returned to game action today after missing about six weeks with knee and back issues. He batted five times in the game--once in each of the first five innings, going 1-4 with two infield pop outs, two fly outs (one of which was a run-producing sacrifice fly), and a line-drive single. For a player who has missed as much time as he has, he showed plus bat-speed and really nailed the ball with authority in three of his five AB, and showed good speed on the bases, too.

Wells was an NRI outfielder at Cubs MLB Spring Training, and probably would have been the Opening Day RF at Iowa if he hadn't started the season on the DL. He also probably would have been the logical candidate to replace Justin Ruggiano when Ruggiano went on the DL with his hamstring injury last month, because Ruggiano and Wells are very similar-type players. 

RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) and RHP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from Arizona in the Tony Campana deal) were scheduled to throw "live" BP on Field #5 prior to the game on Field #6. Both pitchers warmed up in the Field #5 bullpen, and while Castillo did throw his two "innings" (40 pitches total - 20 pitches in each inning), Fujikawa returned to the clubhouse after completing his warm-ups and did not throw BP.   

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

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