Crafty Chris Rusin worked seven strong innings under the weather, you might say, in pitching the Iowa Cubs to their second straight win over the Albuquerque Isotopes this afternoon at Principal Park. He wasn't sick. He just kept the ball down (to the tune of 11 ground outs) and out of the southerly jet stream blowing toward the fences as the I-Cubs notched consecutive W's for the first time in 2013.

Injury update: Steve Clevenger, who was going to get another start at 3B today, is instead on the sidelines with a strained oblique, suffered on the final, ugly swing in Saturday's loss. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

The Cubs will go shorthanded today, then fill Clevenger's roster spot Tuesday, when Darwin Barney returns from his brief rehab stay in Iowa. (Barney went 1-for-4 in the I-Cubs' win Saturday.)

As for this afternoon's game at Wrigley, the Cubs go for the split in the series finale against the World Champs. Lineups after the jump.

Jeffrey Baez rapped out four singles, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, and Trevor Gretzky, Luis Acosta, and Francisco Sanchez each hammered an RBI double, but the Giants rallied for three runs over the final two innings to defeat the Cubs 8-5 on Field #2, while on Field #3, Josh Conway tossed three shutout innings for the Cubs, but three Giants pitchers combined to throw a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts, Leonardo Fuentes smacked an RBI triple and Sam Eberle followed with an RBI double to spark a two-run 7th, and Rando Moreno clubbed a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a three run 8th, as the Giants blanked the Cubs 5-0 and swept the doubleheader, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

The position players were divided up according to where they are projected (as of right now) to be assigned in June, so the squad on Field #2 was essentially the AZL Cubs, and the squad on Field #3 was what will likely eventually be the Boise Hawks (again, at least as things stand right now)

The game on Field #2 was called in the middle of the 7th inning, and the game on Field #3 was called in the middle of the 8th inning.

Jorge Soler batted 3rd and played RF in the game on Field #3, going 0-3 with two ground outs and a called third strike.

David Bote started at 2B for the Cubs squad on Field #3, but was pulled from the game after the 5th inning when Manager Bobby Mitchell was notified that Bote was being promoted and needed to get to Sky Harbor Airport to catch a plane ASAP. As a result, 1B Jose Dore was moved over to 2B for the final three innings, the first time he has played the position in pro ball.

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

The bad news--or is it good news?--is that the Cubs' closer position is back up for grabs. Kyuji Fujikawa, tagged for 3 runs in yesterday's blown save, has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right forearm strain. Rafael Dolis is taking his roster spot. Per Toni Giannetti in the Sun-Times, the Cubs will resort to closer by committee. James Russell and Shawn Camp are Dale Sveum's likely finishers.

Saturday lineups after the jump.

Ian Stewart singled, doubled, drove-in a run, and scored another, Jacob Rogers singled twice and scored twice, Garrett Schlecht hammered an RBI double and walked, and Justin Marra ripped an RBI single, walked, and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 7-4 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.


Continuing his Extended Spring Training rehab assignment, Stewart played 3B for six innings and batted five times (once in each of the first five innings), going 2-5. He grounded out 3-U in his first AB, struck out swinging in his 2nd and 5th PA, roped a line-drive single to right in his 3rd AB, and crushed an RBI double into the RF corner his 4th time up. He didn't handle any chances at 3rd base, but he ran the bases at full tilt, showing no ill effects from the quad strain that sidelined him for most of MLB Spring Training.


The Defensive Play of the Game featured (once again) CF Rashad Crawford, who sprinted at full speed toward the infield and then made a diving catch in short center of what would otherwise have been a bloop single.


Slapped with a five-game suspension following an on-the-field incident in a game at Clearwater a couple of days ago, Daytona Cubs RF Jorge Soler is now at Fitch Park. He took BP on Field #1 with the recent-arrivals from the Dominican Academy (Acosta, Caro, K. Encarnacion, and F. Sanchez) during the EXST game. Whether he will remain in Mesa beyond the five-game FSL suspension remains to be seen...


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


Roni Torreyes singled twice, tripled, drove-in two runs, and scored another, Carlos Penalver singled twice, scored two runs, and stole a base, Jose Dore mashed a solo HR, and Paul Blackburn tossed three shutout innings, as the Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 5-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as an 11-inning affair, so that more innings would be available for the Cubs and D'backs pitchers who were scheduled to throw today.

Jeffrey Baez smacked a three-run home run onto 8th Street, Danny Lockhart singled twice and drove-in three runs, and Ryan McNeil (Cubs 2012 3rd round draft pick) threw three innings of shutout ball with four strikeouts, leading the Cubs to a 12-7 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.


Ian Stewart continued his Extended Spring Training rehab assignment, batting five times (once in each of the first five innings) and going 1-4, reaching base on an RBI single and an HBP. He also flied out, lined out, and grounded out.


Rockies hitters rapped out six extra-base hits (a double, three triples, and two HR) and five Rockies pitchers combined to toss a six-hit shutout with twelve strikeouts, as the Cubs were whitewashed 9-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 


Rehabbing from a strained quad suffered in an intrasquad game in February, Ian Stewart played 3B for five innings and batted six times (once in each of the first six innings), going 0-6 with three strikeouts (all three swinging), two fly outs, and a line-drive out, leaving seven baserunners stranded (four in scoring position).


Long time, no post.

 

While the I-Cubs are opening the season in Albuquerque and getting the Isotopes off and running, finishing touches are being put on their headquarters here in Des Moines. Yesterday was Open House and a parking lot full of fans came to walk the warning track and tour the remodeled clubhouses. Too bad Chicago and their Cubs don’t get along as cozily as Des Moines does with ours. The city helped rebuild the ballpark back in the 1990’s, replaced the playing field not long ago and kicked in on this latest project too, despite that we can’t keep the libraries open a rightful amount of hours.

I have come to hate the Tomahawk Chop and accompanying crowd hum as much as anything about the Cardinals, Brewers, or White Sox. Go, Cubs, go, dammit!

Cubs lineup v. Tim Hudson (3 ER, 6H over 4.1 v. Phillies on 4/1, ND): DeJesus 8, Castro 6, Rizzo 3, Soriano 7, Schierholtz 9, Navarro 2, Valbuena 5, Gonzalez 4, Samardzija 1

Braves lineup v. Jeff Samardzija (0 ER, 2 H, 9 K, 0 BB over 8 IP v. Pirates on 4/1, WIN): BJ Upton 8, Heyward 9, Justin Upton 7, Gattis 2, Uggla 4, Francisco 5, C. Johnson 3, Pena 6, Hudson 1

Also, the Braves have placed Freddie Freeman on the 15-Day DL with a strained right oblique--Len Kasper called that one when it happened last night--and his roster spot is being assumed by Blake DeWitt.

Provide your own punch line.

 

2013 Chicago Cubs Minor League Camp drew to a close this morning, as the Iowa Cubs completed their final Spring Training work-out before flying to Albuquerque this afternnon. They willl open their PCL season versus the Isotopes Thursday night.


Brooks Raley threw six innings of three-hit one-run ball and Reggie Golden belted a two-run double, as the Boise/Mesa Cubs (Extended Spring Training) edged the Iowa Cubs 2-1 in an intrasquad game this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ. 


The Internet ate my homework...let's try that again.

Game 1: Cubs @ Pirates 12:35 PM CST

vs. AJ Burnett

2012: 3.51 ERA/3.52 FIP

vs. Jeff Samardzija

2012: 3.81 ERA/3.55 FIP

*D. DeJesus, CF S. Marte, LF
S. Castro, SS * G. Jones, RF
*A. Rizzo, 1B A. McCutchen, CF
A. Soriano, LF *P. Alvarez, 3B
*N. Schierholtz, RF G. Sanchez, 1B
W. Castillo, C #N. Walker, 2B
*L. Valbuena, 3B R. Martin, C
B. Lillibridge, 2B C. Barmes, SS
J. Samardzija, P A.J. Burnett, SP

The weather is around 40 degrees in Pittsburgh and all the MLB Network cutaways to the park show it snowing. Yet, the weather forecast says it should pass by game time, although I imagine a delay is possibility. If the game does get in, join me(and hopefully others)in Parachat to pass the time.

Before the game, Darwin Barney was indeed placed on the disabled list and he'll join Matt Garza, Ian Stewart, Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino to start the season. Alberto Gonzalez will get the active roster spot and pitcher Robert Whitenack was the 40-man casualty as he was DFA'd. Doubtful in my opinion that he'll get claimed by anyone unless the Astros are feeling frisky.

It's 2013.
If you're a Cub Fan and you don't have a sense of humor, you're in the wrong line of work.

GO CUBS!!!

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