Angels Nip Cubs at Diablo Park

Xavier Batista and Blair Springfield each had two hits, a run scored, and an RBI, but the EXST Angels rallied for five runs in the bottom of the 8th to edge the EXST Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning.


Rebel Ridling (appendectomy with complications) once again was a DH, getting five Plate Appearances in the first seven innings. He roped a liner into the LF corner in his first AB (but only managed to get to 1st base), then was called out on strikes in his second PA, before grounding out three times in a row (1-3, 5-3, 5-3) to complete his day at the plate. While he seems to be swinging the bat OK, he also seems to be running a bit gingerly.


Ryan Dempster to the Bullpen?

This is just me speculating on what the Cubs will do on Saturday when Ted Lilly returns to the rotation. The most likely option is still either Tom Gorzelanny or Carlos Silva with odds favoring Gorzelanny heading to the pen as Lilly just replaces another lefty. And then either James Russell or Jeff Samardzija going back to Iowa, although someone in the pen still has a week to get their ticket punched.

Lou did not commit to it being Gorzelanny or Silva as of yesterday, even if that's the most likely scenario:

``I didn't say that. I never said that. You all [media] can say what you want. All I said basically is that somebody's got to leave the rotation to go into the bullpen. That's all I said.''

Lilly Pitches, Hits, and Runs in Sharp Performance at Peoria

Ted Lilly threw 87 pitches—61 for strikes—in a seven-inning stint at Peoria last night, in which he gave up just one run and three hits while fanning nine. The Chiefs beat the Burlington Bees, 2-1.

Lilly walked the first man he faced and gave up a triple to the third Burlington hitter. He was almost perfect after that.

Lilly, as quoted in the Peoria Journal Star...

“I struggled with (my command) at times, but for the most part I felt alright. I was mixing my changeup more than I have, so I was getting a feel for it tonight.”

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There's Ugly and Then There's Cub-Ugly: Mets 6, Cubs 1

Here's the ugly box score, and here are some details...

The good: Randy Wells allowed just one scratch run over six innings, yielding six singles and a couple walks while fanning five. At the plate, Wells delivered two singles of his own, one of which figured in the mini rally that netted the Cubs' only run of the game. Also, Marlon Byrd, moved up to the leadoff spot in Lou Piniella's new-look batting order against southpaws, collected three hits and the only Chicago RBI of the night.

The bad: Where to begin?

Giants Sweep Cubs in Split Squad Double-Bill at Fitch Park

The EXST Giants swept the EXST Cubs by the scores of 7-0 and 9-2 in a “Split Squad” doubleheader played at Fitch Park in Mesa this morning. The EXST Cubs are now 2-3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training games.


The games were played simultaneously, one game on Field #2 and the other on Field #3. Both games were abbreviated due to the squads having a limited number of pitchers available to throw in a game.


Rebel Ridling (appendectomy with complications) saw his first game action of the 2010 season today, getting four Plate Appearances in the game on Field #2. He hit the ball hard all four times, grounding out sharply 5-3 his first time up, flying out twice (F-8 and F-9) in his next two ABs, and then crushing a double off the fence in right-center in his 4th and final PA. The 23-year old 6'4 235+ Ridling (310/357/466 with 16 HR & 97 RBI, 34 doubles, and a league-leading 166 hits in 136 games at Peoria in 2009) will probably be at Fitch Park for about another week before joining the Daytona Cubs.


Ridling replaces Matt Spencer as the newest EXST “AB Hog,” as Spencer (broken toe) has completed his rehab and is en route to Daytona, where he will play until the Cubs can open up a roster slot for him at AA Tennessee. 


Francisco Guzman had the best day offensively, ripping an RBI triple to CF and beating out a routine ground ball to 2nd base for an infield single, while also scoring two runs. Otherwise, Cubs bats were quiet on both fields.


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


You Are Now Free to Vomit: Cubs End Homestand with Loss to (Gulp!) Astros

The Cubs squandered another superb start, this one by Ryan Dempster, and lost 3-2 to the Astros in 10 innings Sunday afternoon. To make matters worse, the bullpen culprits on this day were the Cubs' two relief studs so far this young season, Carlos Marmol, who surrendered the tying run in the 9th, and Sean Marshall, who took the loss after allowing a double by Jason Michaels and a sacrifice fly by Pedro Feliz in the 10th.

Spencer Hits Early and Often at Extended Spring Training

Xavier Batista and Blair Springfield drove-in two runs a piece in a four-run Cubs 2nd, and Matt Spencer whacked a home run over the RF fence leading-off the bottom of the 3rd, as the EXST Cubs held-on to defeat the EXST A's 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


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