AZL Cubs Drop 2015 Opener at Sloan Park

RHSP Jonathan Perrin (Milwaukee Brewers 2015 27th round draft pick - Oklahoma State) tossed three innings of perfect baseball and combined with three relievers to hurl a six-hit shutout, and Tyrone Perry (Milwaukee Brewers 2015 14th round draft pick - Lakeland Senior HS - Lakeland, FL) drilled an RBI single, doubled, and walked and scored, as the AZL Brewers blanked the AZL Cubs 4-0 in AZL Opening Day action Saturday evening at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

2015 Eugene & AZL Cubs Opening Day Rosters (Updated 6/18)

The Eugene Emeralds (the Cubs affiliate in the SS-A Northwest League) begin play tonight at Everett (Seattle Mariners affiliate in NWL) with a four-game series that extends through Monday, and the AZL Cubs begin play Saturday night at Sloan Park in Mesa with a single game versus the AZL Brewers. After a day off on Sunday, the AZL Cubs will play four days in a row and then have a day off every 5th day for the balance of the AZL schedule (barring rain-out make-up games).  

Eugene has a 35-man reserve list limit and a 30-man active list limit, of which 25 players may be designated as "active" for each game, and 10 of the 25 players designated as active must be pitchers. In effect, this means that one starting pitcher and nine relief pitchers are active for each game, so Eugene will begin the season with a 14-man pitching staff (five starters and nine relievers) and 11 position players (three catchers, five infielders, and three outfieldes).

The AZL Cubs have a 35-man reserve list limit and a 35-man active list limit, of which 30 players may be designated as "active" for each game, and ten of the 30 players designated as active must be pitchers.

2015 Cubs draft picks who sign do not have to be added to a minor league reserve list for up to 15 days after signing, or until the player is placed on a minor league active list (whichever comes first). So at least five of the Cubs 2015 Draft picks (the more-advanced ones) will be assigned to Eugene as soon as they complete their orientation at the Cubs Training Complex (Under Armour Performance Center) at Riverview Park, at which point the Eugene 30-man active roster will be full. As more draft picks are gradually moved-up to Eugene, some of the players who were on the Eugene Opening Day roster could be either promoted to South Bend, sent back to the AZL Cubs in Mesa, or released. Other 2015 draft picks will begin their pro career with the AZL Cubs and remain in Mesa for the rest of the summer.

In AZL Cubs roster news, RHP Pedro Silverio and OF-1B (ex-LHP) Chris Pieters have been moved up to the AZL Cubs from the DSL Cubs, and RHPs Francisco Carrillo and John Michael Knighton were temporarily assigned to the AZL Cubs Reserve List, although they will remain with the South Bend Cubs. (Knighton was moved up to South Bend from Extended Spring Training last Sunday).

The 21-year old Silverio was signed by the Cubs as an 18-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, and he has been the ace of the 2015 DSL Cubs (so far), with a 0.00 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. He has allowed no runs, 11 hits, two walks, and an HBP, with 17 strikeouts, in 17 IP (three GS).

Pieters (signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old out of Curacao in 2011 - $350K bonus) is making the unusual conversion of LHP to outfielder in 2015, after posting an ugly 9.31 ERA and issuing 119 walks in 77.1 IP over three seasons 2012-14. The 20-year old has put up equally bizarre numbers as a position player, hitting 238/484/262 with only one XBH in 58 PA for the DSL Cubs this season, but he has drawn 16 walks and has eight stolen bases (1 CS) in just 15 games.

Here are the updated rosters for the two teams, plus the Mesa Pitchers Rehab Group:

Reds @ Cubs: DeSclafani vs. Lester (Game 61 Thread)

CIN (28-33): RHP Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 3.53)
CHC (33-27): LHP Jon Lester (4-5, 4.25)
First pitch: 7:08pmCT

Phillips 2b

Votto* 1b

Frazier 3b

Bruce* rf

Pena# c

Suarez ss

Negron lf

DeSclafani p

Hamilton# cf

 

Fowler# cf

Rizzo* 1b

Bryant 3b

Coghlan* lf

Castro ss

Baxter* rf

Ross c

Lester* p
Russell 2b

 

Lester was like a porta-potty after the Taste of Chicago his last time out, giving up 5 ER in 4.1 and losing against the Tigers. The Cubs won both of his starts this year against the Reds (in April), but he gave up 9 ER in 12 innings (6.75 ERA) and didn’t get either win. The Reds are 28-90 (.311) against him. Pena is 8-22 (.364). Lester has not won a game since May 16 (v. PIT).

Ramirez Heats Up & Olt Has Active Day at Riverview Park

Ricardo Marcano (RBI single) and Varonex Cuevas (two-run single) drilled run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run 4th, as the Eugene Emeralds rallied to edge the Mesa Cubs 3-2 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after 5-1/2 innings of play. It was supposed to be a seven-inning affair, but one of the pitchers scheduled to throw in the game (RHRP John Michael Knighton) was called up to South Bend during the game, so the contest had to be truncated.   

Knighton (known as "Bama" to his teammates) was the most-consistent Cub reliever at Extended Spring Training. He features a "natural" upper-80's cutter and a curve, and he threw the highest-percentager of strikes (67%) of any EXST Cubs pitcher who worked more than six innings in Cactus League EXST games:

JOHN MICHAEL KNIGHTON - Age 21 - 2014 17th round draft pick (Central Alabama CC)
2.93 ERA - 0.91 WHIP - .228 OppBA
15.1 IP, 13 H, 8 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 17/16 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 13.0 PITCHES-PER-INNING
NO ERRORS
11 GAMES

RHRP Neil Ramirez (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation) continued his EXST rehab, making his second appearance on the mound in three days, and Mike Olt (on Cubs 60-day DL - fractured right wrist) made his second rehab start in three days.  

Ramirez entered the game in the top of the 4th inning, with one out and a runner at 2nd base. He faced three hitters, striking out Mike Olt (looking) on a 3-2 pitch, before issuing a walk to Jhonny Pereda on a 3-1 pitch and striking out Carlos Jimenez (swinging) on three pitches.  

In 1.1 IP in two Cubs EXST intrasquad games (today and Friday), Ramirez has allowed no runs, two hits and a walk, and struck out four. 

Olt moved back & forth between the two teams, serving as a DH for the Mesa Cubs and playing third-base for Eugene.

He began the game as the Mesa DH, drawing a walk in the top of the 1st, before advancing to 2nd base on a WP and scoring on a Carlos Sepulveda RBI single to right. He batted in the bottom of the 1st inning for Eugene, reaching base on a two-out HBP. He then played third-base for two innings (top of the 2nd & top of the 3rd) for Eugene, before once again serving as a DH for Mesa in the top of the 4th (when he struck out looking against Neil Ramirez). He batted for Eugene again in the bottom of the 4th (line-drive single to right-center, then scored later in the inning on the Varonex Cuevas two-run single), before returning to the field and playing third-base again for two more innings (top of the 5th & top of the 6th). He handled two grounders flawlessly at third, turning both into 5-3 outs.    

After the game, Olt high-fived himself for doing his part to help Eugene rally to win the game, and cursed himself for not doing enough to prevent the Mesa Cubs from losing.   

Here is the abridged box score from today's game: 

Late Rally Helps Emeralds Sparkle at Riverview

Kevonte Mitchell smashed a solo HR to lead-off the inning and Frandy de la Rosa belted a two-run triple and scored on a WP to highlight a four-run 8th, as the Eugene Emeralds rallied to defeat the Mesa Cubs 5-3 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Eloy Jimenez reached base four times (two singles and two walks) for Eugene, Yohan Matos slugged a solo HR and singled twice for the Mesa Cubs, and the two starting pitchers (LHP Justin Steele and RHP Oscar de la Cruz) combined to hurl six innings of shutout ball.

Mesa Cubs LF Jose Paniagua left the game after being hit on the helmet by a Daniel Bard fastball in the top of the 4th. (Bard was pulled out of the game after throwing only eight pitches).

Mike Olt (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - broken right wrist) took pre-game BP but did not play in the game.

In EXST Cubs roster news, OF Shawon Dunston (on Myrtle Beach 7-day since April 23rd with a right shoulder injury) has completed his rehab and has returned to the Pelicans, and C-1B Alberto Mineo has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach.

Mineo will be inactive at MB (technically he's on the Eugene Reserve List) and will serve as a bullpen catcher for the Pelicans, but he can be activated if necessary.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game, followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster: 

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