CHC (27-24): RHP Jake Arrieta (4-4, 3.18)
Eloy Jimenez (two-run double), Tyler Alamo (RBI double), and Ricardo Marcano (RBI single) stroked consecutive running-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 6th, and LHSP Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) tossed 5.1 IP of one-run ball (11/2 GO/FO), leading the Eugene Emeralds to a 4-1 victory over the Mesa Cubs in Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
RHP Jacob Turner (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL- right flexor strain) started the game for Mesa and threw 3.2 IP of shutout ball (56 pitches), allowing four hits (all singles) and two walks, with two strikeouts and a 3/4 GO/FO. This will almost certainly be Turner's last EXST rehab outing before he departs for one of the Cubs full-season minor league affiliates, where he will continue his rehab under Article XIX-C.
Turner's fastball velocity sat at 91-92 MPH through his first two innings of work, but then it spiked to 93-94 over his final two frames. He had some command issues at times with his cutter, but his breaking ball was very sharp.
OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs 15-day DL - hamstring strain) has definitely completed the Arizona portion of his rehab and is en route to AA Tennessee, where he will spend the weekend facing more advanced pitching than he saw at EXST. Then he will (presumably) re- join the Cubs in Detroit on Tuesday.
Originally, Denorfia was supposed to remain at Extend0ed Spring Training through Saturday and then spend the first-half of next week at Tennessee, but the timetable was pushed-up when he got back into playing shape sooner than was expected. In six Cactus League EXST games (24 PA), Denorfia hit 400/500/550, reaching base 12 times in the six games (five singles, three doubles, and four walks). He also struck out five times in the 24 Plate Appearances.
Prior to the intrasquad game, RHRP Neil Ramirez (on Cubs 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation), RHRP Anthony Carter (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL), and LHSP Rob Zastryzny (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL - foot injury) squared-off in a two-inining "sim" game on Field #5. Ramirez threw two innings (25 pitches - 15 in the first inning, then ten in the second), and Carter and Zastryzny threw one inning a piece (15 pitches each).
Here is the abridged box score from today's intrasquad game, followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster:
Miguel Mercedes belted a two-run home run and Vicmal de la Cruz singled, doubled, and scored two runs, as the Athletics edged the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Adonis Paula slugged a solo HR and Frandy de la Rosa singled and tripled for the Cubs in a losing cause.
In EXST roster news, IF-OF Varonex Cuevas has been moved-up to AAA Iowa. The 22-year old switch-hitting super-sub was hitting only 204/235/327 with one HR and three doubles, four RBI, six runs scored, two walks, 14 strikeouts, and no SB (two CS), in 18 Cactus League EXST games (51 PA) this season, but he has been hot lately, putting up a 353/421/588 line over his last six Cactus League EXST games (19 PA). He has played 2B-3B-SS-LF at EXST.
Cuevas was signed by the Cubs as an 18-year old out of the Dominican Republic in May 2011, and spent his first three seasons with the DSL Cubs (240/344/304 in 163 DSL games 2011-13) before arriving in the U. S. last season. He hit 288/416/493 in 24 Cactus League EXST games (89 PA) last season before being assigned to Boise, where he struggled (hitting just 118/211/235 in 12 NWL games). He then was moved down to the AZL Cubs, where he hit 318/368/466.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
CHC (27-23): LHP Jon Lester (4-3, 3.30)
MIA (21-32): RHP Dan Haren (5-2, 3.03)
Jhonny Pereda roped an RBI single, doubled, and walked, Roney Alcala doubled twice and drove-in a run, and LHSP Jose Paulino hurled five innings of shutout ball with an 11/0 GO/FO and combined with three relievers to toss a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Angels 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 at Diablo Park in Tempe, AZ.
Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with a strained hamstring) continued his EXST rehab today, playing left field for all nine innings and getting four AB. He drilled line-drive singles in each of his first two PA, then walked his third time up, and flied out to the warning track in left in his fourth and final AB, Denorfia was running the bases at full-tilt and he made a nice running catch in left (although he had to wait until Jose Paulino left the game to do it, because Paulino was a "ground-ball machine" today).
The plan at present is for Denorfia to remain at Extended Spring Training through Saturday, but actually he looks to be 100% right now.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
CHC (27-22): RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 3.76)
There have been a lot of opinions on the floor and ceiling for Jorge Soler since he started his career. Most agreed that he had a solid floor, but opinions on the ceiling varied and he was even described as “possibly the best in the organization, might be better than Bryant.” I think it’s safe to say that’s not going to be the case. (If it is, he’s got some catching up to do this year already.) With most players you could easily pull up some players for comparison, but Cuban players generally have different developmental paths than most major leaguers do.
Soler has passed the 300 PA mark, so it’s typically safe to say a lot of his numbers are stabilizing to some point. He’s been heating up lately so maybe he’d fare better if I waited a couple more weeks, 300 is a nice round number. We can thus take some similar Cuban players over their first 300 PA--I actually used their first 72 games, in most cases about the same--and see how they worked out. Obviously there are some apples to oranges, especially considering the advanced age of players like Jose Abreu, but these are the 12 other significant Cuban players still in the league compared against Soler. The left side of the chart is their career numbers (thus far) and the right side is how they fared after their first 72 games, ranked by their OPS after those 72 games.
Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - strained hamstring) belted an RBI double, walked, and scored a run and Shawon Dunston Jr (on Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-day DL - right shoulder injury) doubled, stole two bases, and scored a run for the Cubs, and Jesus Lopez drilled a two-run single, doubled, and walked and Vicmal de la Cruz singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Athletics, as the Cubs and A's played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
The game was called after eight innings of play.
RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee7-day DL with a lat strain) continued his EXST rehab, working three innings (37 pitches) for the Cubs and allowing two runs on four hits (two doubles and two singles) and no walks, with three strikeouts (all three swinging) and a 4/2 GO/FO. Johnson had excellent command today and threw a high percentage of strikes (71%). His fastball velocity sat consistenty at 92 MPH (max), with only an occasional drop-off to 91.
18-year old Colombian RHP Erling Moreno (2014 TJS) made his second game appearance in a week. The 6'3 righthander allowed two hits (a single and a double) in 1.2 IP, and successfully escaped a "runner at 3rd and out out" situation. Moreno's fastball velocity sat at 89-90 (down a couple of MPH from last week), but he displayed outstanding command of all of his pitches, most noteworthy an advanced change-up (unusual for an 18-year old)
Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS) also made his second game appearance in a week (he faced the A's at Fitch Park last Monday), but he did not fare as well as Moreno. While he only allowed one run, he also allowed six of the ten batters he faced to reach base (three singles and three walks, plus a WP) in just 1.1 IP. Cease's fastball velocity was at 95-97 MPH in both innings, down a couple of ticks from his outing last week when he touched 99.
Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHP Marcelo Carreno (post-2013 shoulder surgery) and RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) squared-off in a two-iining "sim" game on Field #3.
Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League EXST game (Cubs players only):
CHC (26-22): RHP Jason Hammel (3-2, 2.98)
KC (29-18): RHP Yordano Ventura (3-4, 4.64)