Opening Day!

With a slate of three games starting at 12:05pmCST (STL @ PIT), MLB has opted to open with a Sunday triple-header, which is much preferred over the Cubs opener tomorrow at 9:05pmCST. (Sorry, east coasters.)

Meanwhile, Hendricks makes his last ST start today at 2:05pmCST, which will be live streaming on MLB.TV.

Cubs Tie Bees While 66ers Blank Pelicans at Diablo

Matt Rose belted an RBI double, singled, and stole a base, Eloy Jimenez singled twice and scored a run, and Justin Steele and Kyle Twomey combined to toss a five-hitter for the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs), while Michael Pierson ripped an RBI single and walked and SP Joe Gatto fanned seven in 4.1 IP for the Burlington Bees (Lo-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels), as the Bees and Cubs played to a 1-1 tie on Field #4, and Trever Allen drove-in two runs with a SF and an RBI double and Jake Jewell and four relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout, as the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) blanked the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 3-0 on Field #7, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action this morning at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.  

It was a "bullpen day" for Myrtle Beach, as six Pelican relievers threw in the game on Field #7.  

Four position players (INF David Bote, C-1B Alberto Mineo, OF Kevonte Mitchell, and INF Sutton Whiting) were moved-up from the Eugene/Mesa group (Extended Spring Training) for the day, providing additional roster depth for the Pelicans and SB-Cubs. 

In Minor League Camp roster news, INF Danny Lockhart has been moved-down to Myrtle Beach from AA Tennessee. (Lockhart spent the 2015 season at Myrtle Beach). 

Cubs Minor League Camp Rosters
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart 
(both updated daily) 

Still waiting for final minor league roster cuts, moves, and adjustments, although several pitchers and position players presently on the Iowa, Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend active lists will likely be temporarily assigned to Eugene (AKA "Extended Spring Training") for a few days until further disposition can be determined. Last year, about a dozen pitchers and position players were left behind at EXST simply because there was no room for them on a full-season club's Opening Day roster, but the Cubs did not want to release them, either.     

Also, the Cubs will likely assign one position player (typically either a back-up catcher or multi-postional utility-type player) to each of the four full-season affiliates as a "player-coach," with the player inactive (usually by being placed on the club's 7-day DL with some vague soft-tissue injury) but staying in playing shape so that he can be activated in case another player goes on the DL. Last year, IF-OF Jonathan Mota (Iowa), C Tyler Pearson (Tennessee), C-1B Alberto Mineo (Myrtle Beach), and C Erick Castillo (South Bend) were the player-coaches for the four full-season teams, and RHP Jose Zapata (who was unable to pitch due to a broken neck suffered in a car crash post-2013) served as a player-coach (assistant pitching coach) with the short-season AZL Cubs.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played today at Diablo (Cubs players only): 

Eloy, Happ, Freitas, and Carhart Go Yard at Minor League Camp

Eloy Jimenez belted a two-run 1st inning home run, P. J. Higgins collected four hits (three singles and a triple), scored a run, and drove-in another, and SP Preston Morrison tossed five innings of shutout ball, leading the South Bend Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Field #4, and David Freitas clubbed a two-run 1st inning HR (his second round-tripper in two days) and Billy McKinney drilled a tie-breaking RBI single in the 6th, as the Tennessee Smokies edged the Iowa Cubs 3-2 on Field #6, in Minor League Camp game action Friday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Ian Happ smacked a solo HR for Myrtle Beach in a losing cause on Field #4, and Ben Carhart hammered a solo home run in a losing cause for Iowa on Field #6. (Carhart was temporarily moved-up to the Iowa squad from Tennessee because the three catchers assigned to Iowa are in Las Vegas with the parent club). 

The game on Field #6 was called after seven innings of play. 

There were a number of roster moves made at Minor League Camp prior to the two games, with the Opening Day rosters of the four full-season clubs (particularly regarding position players and starting pitchers) becoming a bit more clear. There are still a few more moves/cuts to be made, however, especially involving the AAA Iowa and Hi-A Myrtle Beach bullpens and the Iowa outfield, and it's always possible that some of the assignments could be changed at the last minute due to injuries or other factors.     

Cubs Minor League Camp Rosters
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart 
(both updated daily) 

Also, 18 players who are assigned to the Cubs Dominican Acdemy but who were not invited to Minor League Camp will be attending Extended Spring Training and will be arriving over the next several days. The first three (LHP Pablo Ochoa, LHP Eugenio Palma, and RHP Andri Rondon) arrived today. Ochoa and A. Rondon attended Instructs in Mesa last Fall, but Palma is making his U. S. debut. 

Here are the box scores from the two games: 

Lackey Sharp at Riverview

Eloy Jimenez knocked-in two runs with a 1st inning RBI double and a 9th inning RBI single, Andruw Monasterio ripped a single and an RBI double, scored a run, and stole a base, and Donnie Dewees tripled, walked, and scored, helping the South Bend Cubs edge the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5-4 on Field #4, and David Freitas singled twice, walked, and smacked a two-run HR, Matt Murton drilled a two-run double, singled twice, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored a run, Juan Carlos Perez tripled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, and Jeimer Candelario walked four times, leading the Iowa Cubs to an 8-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies on Field #6, in Minor League Camp doubleheader action Thursday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

RHSP John Lackey was left behind in Mesa when the Cubs departed for Las Vegas, and so he got the start for Iowa on Field #6. The big right-hander worked seven innings (100 pitches - 62 strikes), allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits (four singles and a double) and a walk, with eight strikeouts (five swinging), and a 7/5 GO/AO. At one point he retired eleven in a row.

Miguel Montero served as Lackey's catcher, and went 0-3 at the plate (a FO, an inning-ending GIDP, and a K-swinging on what was a nine-pitch AB) and 0-3 CS (with one throwing error), but he did pick a runner off 2nd base.  

Billy McKinney hammered a double and a triple in a losing cause for Tennessee.

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng had a rough outing for the Smokies on Field #6, allowing ten hits (including two triples and a double) and four walks in 4.1 IP. 

The game on Field #4 was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work. 

Because the MLB Cubs took a number of minor leaguers with them to Vegas, several players were temporariliy moved-up from a lower level group to augment the rosters of the four squads playing at Riverview.

Here are the box scores from the two games: 

2016 Cubs Minor League Camp Rosters (Updated)

4/4 UPDATE: RHP Andury Acevedo, C-1B Taylor Davis, INF Ryan Dent, and RHP Starling Peralta to AA Tennessee from AAA Iowa, RHP Cole Brocker and OF-1B Kelly Dugan to EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING from AA Tennessee, RHP James Norwood and RHP Michael Wagner to South Bend from Myrtle Beach, RHP Pedro Araujo, RHP Jared Cheek, RHP Kyle Miller, LHP Jose Paulino, LHP Tyler Peitzmeier, and RHP Alexander Santana to EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING from South Bend, C Erick Castillo to Myrtle Beach from EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING, and 3B Adonis Paula to South Bend from, EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING.

Also, SS Aramis Ademan, OF Jose Gonzalez, SS Rafael Narea, SS Yonathan Perlaza, OF Ruben Reyes, OF Abraham Rodriguez, and OF Jonathan Sierra have arrived at Minor League Camp from the Cubs Dominican Academy. 

4/3 UPDATE: 
OF Bijan Rademacher moves-down from AAA Iowa to AA Tennessee, and 3B Jesse Hodges, RHRP Daniel Lewis, RHP Tommy Nance, RHSP Jeremy Null, and C Tyler Pearson move-down from Myrtle Beach to EXST. NOTE: Tyler Pearson and Alberto Mineo MIGHT serve as player-coaches (Pearson with Tennesse and Mineo with South Bend - TBA).  

Also, 2B Jhonny Bethencourt, RHP Hector Garcia, RHP Jose Leidenz, 3B Rafael Mejia, and SS Yeiler Peguero have arrived at Minor League Camp from the Cubs Dominican Academy.   

4/1 UPDATE
: 18 players who are assigned to the Cubs Dominican Academy but who were not invited to Minor League Camp will be attending Extended Spring Training and will be arriving over the next several days. The first three (LHP Pablo Ochoa, LHP Eugenio Palma, and RHP Andri Rondon) arrived today. Ochoa and A. Rondon attended Instructs in Mesa last Fall, but Palma is making his U. S. debut.

3/31 UPDATE
The Cubs released ten players from Minor League Camp yesterday, including two one-time 5th round draft picks:  

Kalish Pinch Shot Perfect Elixir for I-Cubs at Fitch

Ryan Kalish launched a lead-off moon-shot pinch-hit home run over the right-centerfield fence and Bijan Rademacher and Willson Contreras contributed RBI singles later in the inning, as the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) scored three in the 8th to break a 1-1 tie and went on to defeat the Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics AAA affiliate) 4-2 on Field #4, and RHSP Daniel Mengden hurled five innings of one-hit shutout ball with seven strikeouts, Bret Vertigan tripled, singled, walked, and scored three runs, and James Harris drove-in three runs with an RBI double and a two-run single, helping the Midland Rockhounds (A's AA affiliate) blank the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 6-0 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Tuesday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Willson Contreras collected three hits, scored a run, knocked-in a run, and stole a base, Albert Almora Jr singled, doubled, and walked, and SP Drew Rucinski retired 12 of the first 14 men he faced for the I-Cubs on Field #4. 

The game on Field #4 was called after 8-1/2 innings of play.

RHSP Brad Markey had a rough outing for Tennessee on Field #3, allowing five runs on seven hits (five singles, a double, and a triple) and two walks (and no strikeouts) in 4.1 IP. 

The Smokies were playing short-handed (four of their guys were assigned to the MLB game at Sloan Park), so four players (OF Luis Ayala, SS Andruw Monasterio, 1B Jose Paniagua, and 2B Edgar Rondon) were moved-up to the Tennessee squad for the day from Eugene/Mesa (the Extended Spring Training group).  

Ex-Cub LHP Felix Doubront (currently the Oakland A's #5 starter) came down to Fitch Park from HoHoKam and got the start for Nashville. He worked 3.2 IP and did not allow a run, but he surrendered three hits and three walks along the way, and he needed 81 pitches (of which only 54% were strikes) to record the eleven outs.    

John Arguello (Cubs Den) was at Riverview Park for the Lo-A/Hi-A games, and he has game notes and some great pics from there: 

link 

And here are the abridged box scores from the AA/AAA games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only): 

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  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 55 min 10 sec ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 27 min ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 5 hours 45 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 5 hours 51 min ago view
  • "Pitching prospects not looking so hot"

    That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 53 min ago view
  • Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 13 min ago view
  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 16 hours 54 min ago view
  • How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.

    billybucks 16 hours 58 min ago view
  • Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.

    2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.

    Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.

    billybucks 17 hours 46 min ago view