Justin Ruggiano

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):  

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):

Bryant Flete reached base four times (two singles and two walks), knocked-in two runs, and scored another, and Casper Wells singled twice, walked, drove-in two runs, and scored another, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Nataniel Delgado (2012 NDFA - Dominican Republic - $280K bonus) clubbed a three-run home run to account for three of the four Angels runs.  

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs 15-day DL - hamstring) continued his EXST rehab, serving as a DH and batting three times. He laced a line-drive single to center and then later scored in the bottom of the 1st inning, grounded out 6-3 in his second AB, and flied out to the warning track in dead CF his last time up.  

Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) also continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for seven innings and reaching base in all three of his Plate Appearances (the aforementioned two singles and a walk). He was due to hit a fourth time in the bottom of the 8th, but he had already departed for the clubhouse by that time. He looks to be 100%, and so he may be rejoining Iowa very soon.  

RHP C. J. Edwards (AA Tennessee 7-day DL - shoulder fatigue) is at Riverview Park while awaiting the results of his latest MRI. He can participate in PFP drills, but he is not yet cleared to resume throwing.  

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

Jesse Hodges reached base three times (two-run double, RBI single, and a walk) and drove-in three runs and Charcer Burks belted an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Wilin Rosario (on Colorado Rockies MLB 15-day DL - viral infection) served as a DH and singled twice and hammered an RBI double for the Rockies in a losing cause.

OF Justin Ruggiano (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since 4/24) returned to game action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the RF bullpen in the 9th inning of the Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary Game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23rd, serving as a DH and getting four Plate Appearances. Facing RHP Tony Bryant in all four of his AB, Ruggiano struck out (swinging) his first two times up in the bottom of the 1st and bottom of the 2nd (and looked bad in the process), but then he smacked a lead-off double off the CF fence in the bottom of the 3rd inning, before grounding out 6-3 in his final AB in the 4th. He was definitely not running at fuil-speed (he was removed for a "designated pinch-runner" after his double), but then he wasn't limping, either.

RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) saw his first game action in more than a year, getting the start for the Cubs and pitching one inning (17 pitches). His fastball was clocked at only 89-90 MPH (he was peaking at 94 last year), but his two-seamer had good sink and his hard-slider was dive-bombing the lower part of the strike zone. 

Conway underwent "Tommy John Surgery" (TJS) after suffering a torn UCL in a game against Liberty University prior to being drafted by the Cubs (a "2nd round talent" who supposedly fell to the 4th round only because of the TJS), and after spending the 2012 season on the 60-day DL he came back strong and was without question the most-impressive pitcher at Minor League Camp in 2013. He continued his outstanding work into Extended Spring Training, and he appeared to be about ready to join the Kane County or Daytona starting rotation (he had thrown 5.0 IP and 80 pitches in his previous start), when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury (described at the time as a stress fracture) while pitching in an EXST game at the Brewers Maryvale Baseball Complex on May 4, 2013 (see link). 

In EXST Cubs roster news, veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro has been moved up to AA Tennessee from Extended Spring Training, where he will replace RHP Ivan Pineyro (placed on Tennessee 7-day DL with a forearm strain) in the Smokies starting rotation. The 35-year old Pineiro was signed as a free-agent by the Cubs on March 30th, and has spent the last six weeks at Riverview Park getting "stretched-out" as a starting pitcher. (Prior to signing with the Cubs, Pineiro hadn't pitched since playing winter ball in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico last off-season). 

Although it was announced at the time the Cubs signed Pineiro that he would be at Extended Spring Training for "about ten days" and then be assigned to AAA Iowa, it soon became clear that that just wasn't going to happen. For one thing, Pineiro really hasn't pitched that well (see below), and secondly, with Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler, and Tsuyoshi Wada filling the five slots, there is just no room for him in the I-Cubs rotation.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S SIX 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
5/9   - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 12/2 GO/FO, 77 pitches (50 strikes)
 
TOTAL: 28.2 IP, 33 H, 19 R (17 ER), 7 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 4 WP, 1 PO, 5 GIDP, 44/15 GO/FO, 72% strikes, 5.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .289 OppBA

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

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