Lew Wolff Knows Cubs CAN Go Home Again

Robero Caro (opposite-field line-drive RBI double into left-centerfield alley), Kevonte Mitchell (two-out RBI single chopped over 3rd baseman's head and into LF), Bryant Flete (two-out RBI bloop double that fell between three defenders in short rightfield), Eloy Jimenez (two-out RBI ground single pulled through the 5.5 hole), and Tyler Alamo (two-out two-run double off CF "Batter's Eye") collected run-scoring hits in a seven-run top of the 7th, as the Cubs rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Athletics 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Center Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Jhonny Rodriguez drove-in three of the A's runs, with a two-run HR in the bottom of the 1st inning and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 3rd.

The Defensive Play of the Game was (once again) turned-in by speedy Cubs outfielder Roberto Caro, who made a spectacular sliding catch along the right-field line and into foul territory to end the bottom of the 7th inning.  

This was the first visit by the Cubs Extended Spring Training contingent to their former minor league HQ at Fitch Park, which is now home to the A's minor leagues. The clubhouse and batting cages have been expanded (and look great), and new bullpens have been added to the four fields.  

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

Cubs Sweep Giants & Beeler Continues Rehab at Riverview Park

Roney Alcala (RBI single), Jhonny Pereda (RBI double), and Jose Paniagua (RBI double) drilled run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run 2nd inning and Jose Paulino and three relievers combined to hurl a two-hitter, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Giants on Field #5, and Jordan Hankins ripped a double and an RBI single and Frandy de la Rosa doubled, singled, and scored a run, as the Cubs edged the Giants 3-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.   

The Cubs scored three runs on six hits (four singles, a double, and a triple), two walks, and a HBP off veteran RHP Kevin Correia in four innings on Field #6.  

On the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, RHP Dallas Beeler got a rehab start for the Cubs on Field #6, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits and two walks in 4.1 IP (69 pitches). He struck out two (both swinging) with a 6/5 GO/FO.

Beeler looked better today than he did in his first EXST rehab start versus the Rockies at Salt River Fields last Wednesday when he allowed four runs on eight hits (five singles, a double, a triple, and a two-run home run) in just three innings of work (61 pitches), retiring the first seven Giants he faced (K, 4-3, F-7, 3-1, 5-3, F-9, P-6) before allowing a walk and a single in the top of the 3rd, and two singles, a double, and a walk in the top of the 4th. His fastball velocity sat consistently at 93-94 MPH and topped out at 95, but he had trouble commanding his secondary stuff (breaking ball and change-up) the second time through the batting order.

It is unknown at this time if Beeler will get another rehab start in Arizona, or if he will make his next start at AAA Iowa.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Cubs 2013 15th round draft pick RHRP Michael Wagner has been moved up to AAA Iowa. Wagner was the closer at the University of San Diego prior to getting drafted and signing with the Cubs in 2013, and he was a teammate of Kris Bryant at USD.

Also, 20-year old Dominican RHP Santiago Rodriguez and 17-year old Venezuelan switch-hitting SS Andruw Monasterio have been added to the Cubs Extended Spring Training roster. Rodriguez was at Instructs last fall, while Monasterio will be making his U. S. debut. 

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only) 

Touki & Company Easily Handle Cubs at Riverview

Diamondbacks starting pitchers Touki Toussaint (Arizona 2014 1st round draft pick) and Carlos Hernandez combined to toss six innings of two-hit shutout ball, Gerard Hernandez drove-in three runs with an RBI double, a solo HR, and an RBI GO, and Ismael Pena clubbed a triple and a single, helping the D'backs sweep a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The Diamondbacks won the game played on Field #1 by a score of 4-2, and they won the game played on Field #2 by a score of 9-2.  

Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, walked, stole two bases, and scored a run, and Ricardo Marcano ripped a two-run triple for the Cubs in a losing cause on Field #1, and RHP Hector Perez was rocked to the tune of seven runs on eight hits (including five doubles) and a walk in just 1.2 IP on Field #2.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, catcher Taylor Teagarden (was on Iowa Cubs 7-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) has completed his Extended Spring Training rehab and has rejoined the I-Cubs. 

In addition, RHRP David Garner (Cubs 2013 7th round draft pick - Michigan State) was moved-up to Lo-A South Bend after the game. Although he struggled a bit with his control today, Garner struck out the side 1-2-3 last Wednesday versus the Rockies and likewise in an intrasquad game before that, and was clearly throwing the best among the more-experienced pitchers left behind at Extended Spring Training.  

With Garner gone, I would think Michael Wagner (who had a strong two-inning outing today) will probably be the next EXST Cubs RHRP to move-up to a full-season affiliate. Prior to getting drafted and signing with the Cubs in 2013 (he was the Cubs 15th round pick that year) , Wagner was the closer at the University of San Diego, and was a college teammate of Kris Bryant. 

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):

Sands & Steele Help Cubs Polish-Off Giants in Scottsdale

LHP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick) and three relievers combined to toss a three-hitter, Carlos Sepulveda singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Eloy Jimenez (RBI single) and Adonis Paula (two-run single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 4th inning, as the Cubs cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Giants on Field #1, and Kevin Encarnacion drilled three singles, drove-in two runs, stole a base, and scored a run, Jordan Hankins hammered an RBI double and a single and scored a run, and Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick) and four relievers combined to hurl a three-hitter, as the Cubs edged the Giants 5-4 on Field #2, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Chase Compton belted a two-run triple and then scored on a wild pitch to account for three of the Giants runs on Field #2. 

The defensive play of the day was a run-saving sliding catch by Cubs CF Roberto Caro in right-centerfield in the game on Field #2. 

Iowa Cubs catcher Taylor Teagarden (on the I-Cubs 7-day DL with a sore shoulder) continued his EXST rehab, catching seven innings and batting four times in the game on Field #1. He went 2-4 with a double and a single at the plate, scored one run but was also thrown-out on the bases trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a two-out single, and made a terrible short-hop throw on a stolen base attempt that resulted in an error. Teagarden went 4-4 (three singles and a two-run home run) versus the Rockies on Wednesday, and then he had two more hits in an intrasquad game yesterday. His throwing has been poor, however (not just today, but every day so far).  

Ho-Young Son walked twice and was picked-off 1st base again, the third time he has been picked-off 1st base in two EXST games.       

The game on Field #1 was called after eight innings, and the game on Field #2 was called with two outs in the top of the 8th 

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

The promise of Kris Bryant has finally arrived.

You've already heard this news, and even though it's only April I cannot help but walk around in a constant state of FREAKING OUT THAT KRIS BRYANT WILL BE PLAYING FOR THE FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS TODAY.
I get coffee at the same place downstairs almost every day and almost every day it's the same woman who rings me up with a, "Just coffee today?"
And today I got to say, "No. It's not just coffee today. Because also today, KRIS BRYANT WILL BE PLAYING AT WRIGLEY FIELD FOR THE FIRST PLACE CHICAGO CUBS."

Cubs Celebrate Teagarden Party at Salt River Fields

Taylor Teagarden drilled three singles and slammed a two-run home run, Eloy Jimenez ripped an RBI double and an RBI triple and scored a run, Tyler Alamo doubled, singled, walked, scored three runs, and knocked-in another, and Adonis Paula singled, tripled, walked, and drove-in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 13-7 drubbing of the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Josh Fuentes slugged a two-run HR and Ryan Stephens hammered a two-run triple for the Rockies in a losing cause.

The Cubs belted out 22 hits today (including five doubles, four triples, and a HR), and with a 4-4 day, Taylor Teagarden was the leading trouble maker. On the Iowa Cubs 7-day DL rehabbing a sore shoulder, Teagarden batted once each inning in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, and was the Cubs catcher for the first four innings. If today was any indication of his present state of rehabilitation, he will likely be rejoining the Iowa Cubs sooner rather later.

RHP Dallas Beeler (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) got the start for the Cubs, making his first game appearance of the 2015 season. But things did not go well for the big right-hander, as he allowed four runs (all earned) on eight hits (five singles, a double, a triple, and a two-run home run) in just three innings of work (61 pitches - 39 strikes). On the positive side, he did not issue any walks, and he struck out three (one swinging and two looking). There is a spot waiting for Beeler in the I-Cubs starting rotation, but he may need a bit more work (like getting his pitch count up to about 80) before he is ready to be reinstated from the DL.  

RHRP Austin Reed (on the Hi-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-day DL - 2014 TJS rehab) also saw his first game action of 2015 and his first game action since undergoing elbow UCL transplant surgery last year, throwing one inning (18 pitches) and allowing one run on two hits (a double and a single) and a WP. He struck out one (looking).

The best pitching outing of the day by a Cub hurler was turned-in by RHP David Garner, who struck out the side in the 7th (two swinging and one looking). Garner also struck out the side 1-2-3 in an intrasquad game last week, so he may be the first call-up to a full-season affiliate when the need arises.  

Cubs SS Ho-Young Son had an odd day, singling twice, but then getting immediately picked-off 1st base both times (once by the pitcher and once by the catcher).

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

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