May 2011

Dustin Geiger slugged a grand slam HR to cap a five-run 2nd inning as one squad of EXST Cubs drilled one squad of EXST Rockies 10-4 on Red Mountain Field, but the other squad of Rockies pounded out 17 hits (including three triples, two doubles, and a three-run HR) and thumped the other squad of Cubs 12-1 on Dust Storm Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training Memorial Day doubleheader played this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale, AZ.

J. C. Rodriguez knocked-in six runs with an RBI single, a two-run double, and a three-run home run, leading the EXST Angels to a 10-2 thrashing of the EXST Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.


The game was extended an extra couple of innings so that all of the pitchers who were due to throw today could get their scheduled work.


The EXST Cubs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the EXST Diamondbacks 6-6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.


The Cubs did have a chance to win the game, but Reggie Golden popped out to the first-baseman to end the bottom of the 9th, leaving the potential winning run stranded at 3rd base.


Tennessee OF (and Cubs 2009 1st round draft pick and #1 position player prospect) Brett Jackson saw his first game action since going on the Smokies DL with a finger injury on May 12th, getting four plate appearances as a DH, one in each of the first four innings.


Yaniel Cabezas had four hits (three doubles and a single), scored three runs, and drove-in two more, Jesus Morelli drove-in four runs with two singles and a home run, and four pitchers combined to strike out 14, as a split squad of EXST Cubs drubbed the EXST Angels 13-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #2 in Mesa.


On an injury rehab assignment in Mesa, AZ, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto went hitless in five plate appearances this morning in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played at Fitch Park.

Soto, who was seeing his first game action in two weeks after suffering a groin strain in a game on May 10th, was the starting catcher and got five at bats in the game played on Field #2 (there was another game played simultaneously on Field #3), batting third in each of the first five innings. He looked a bit rusty at the plate, bouncing out 5-3 in the 1st inning, popping out to the first-baseman in foul territory in the 2nd, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 3rd, getting called out on strikes in the 4th, and striking out swinging in the bottom of the 5th. Also two Rockies base-runners stole 2nd base while Soto was behind the plate.

As far as the games were concerned, one squad of EXST Cubs and one squad of EXST Rockies played to a 1-1 tie on Field #2, while the other squad of Rockies defeated the other squad of Cubs 5-2 on Field #3.

The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.

Matt Garza heads to the DL for a "bone contusion" just above the elbow and his 25 man roster replacement, Lou Montanez finally winds up in the Cub starting lineup with a memorable night. As you recall, Montanez was the Cubs 2000 first round amateur draft pick  (3rd pick overall) as a high school SS and after a stay in Cubville East (the Orioles System), he now resurfaces with the Cubs in RF. Getting back to Garza, let me think out loud with you readers about what seems to be the problem.

From TCR's last thread:

Let me stipulate that I AM NOT A DOCTOR (but I play one on tv)...so my opinions are just based on long miserable experience with the Cubs.

Garza's injury is being reported as a "bone contusion." Correct me if wrong but in my experience that's the same as saying he has a bone fracture except the fracture has no deliniation. Also, it's in his elbow so that implies that it involves cartilage as well as bone. This doesn't sound like something that heals in a week. Contusions often take longer than outright fractures to get better.
If the Cubs bring him back after missing one more start...look out.

In Garza's situation, using the term "bone contusion" is clearly an MRI diagnosis. I do have some issues with using this term here and (hopefully) I can provide some clarifications of muddy concepts being bandied about.

 I love my headline (nope, I'm not going there, so shame on you) but you need to read on for some Serious Splainin' Lucy.


The EXST Athletics banged-out four doubles, a triple, and a home run, and coasted to a 7-1 victory over the EXST Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


 

So, this thing Mike Quade did during game #2 of the Cubs/Red Sox series.
The beanball "two to one" thing with the fingers, gesturing across the diamond - did you see that?
Kinda bothersome.

Brian Inoa hit for the cycle and Dustin Geiger ripped two RBI doubles, leading a split squad of EXST Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the EXST Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.


Justin Hilt and Wagner Mateo homered for the Diamondbacks.


The game was extended an extra inning to allow all of the pitchers who were due to throw today to get their scheduled work.


What are we to make of Randy Wells' rehab start this afternoon at a very blustery Principal Park in Des Moines? He was flashing mixed signals.


The booming home run he gave up in the top of the first on which Iowa cf Lou Montanez did not budge was understandable. The batter who struck it was hitting .377 and the wind was blowing out so briskly that the flag pole the ball flew beyond was wobbling visibly.


Wells was workmanlike in the first two frames, requiring 15 pitches in each of them. In the 3rd he seemed to find a groove when he threw only six pitches, all of them strikes. The middle batter in that inning fanned on three pitches. On his way to the dugout to lead off the bottom of the 3rd Wells stopped to chat with the plate ump. There hadn't been any debate about the strike zone; indeed, Wells was clearly in a good mood and smiling. He was still grinning when he trotted back after grounding out. Then he came out for the 4th and proceeded to throw almost as many pitches [32] as he'd thrown prior to that point [36]. He failed to retire any of the first five hitters and only escaped even deeper wounds when the opposing pitcher graciously drilled a dp grounder on the first pitch thrown to him with the bases loaded and still nobody out.


All 68 of Wells' pitches clocked between 80-88, despite that he was quoted in the local gazette this morning to the effect that he was planning to "amp it up" this time out, whatever that meant.


So it's unclear what exactly was accomplished today. The arm wasn't even stretched out much if the plan is to bring Wells back next time through the rotation. I did not see any Chicago brass in the section where they usually sit when in town, so whatever call they make on Wells after this outing will probably be based on debriefings of manager Bill Dancy, pitching coach Mike Mason and Wells himself.


As for the other 2010 Chicago Cub in the lineup, Tyler Colvin finished a wind-blown homer shy of the cycle. I missed his ninth inning triple off a rightie, but saw his first four at-bats, all of which came against a pair of lefties.


In the 1st he fanned on three pitches. In the 3rd he grounded the first pitch through the hole in the right side with Montanez on base. In the 5th he popped to cf on the third pitch after a swinging strike on #1 and taking #2 for a ball. So at that point he had seen seven pitches in three ab's. In the 7th he blooped a soft-serve double the other way on a full count; pitch #7. Hopefully his over-anxiousness has started to subside. My other observation about him was that he didn't look very big in the upper body and shoulders. Didn't he report to camp looking like Charles Atlas in 2010? Now he looks like somebody let the air out of him, although he ran well on his double, when going first to third on a single and, presumably, on the triple that I missed.


Side note: This was the 12th time already that the I-Cubs' pitchers have surrendered in the double digits. Last year that happened 12 times all year. And it's not even hot yet in many of the Pacific Clout League branch cities

 

It is SO nice to do something clownish about the other team for a change, and it happened to the almost first-place Boston Red Sox.

Dong-Yub Kim and Brandon May smacked back-to-back two out RBI doubles to key a two-run 1st inning that propelled one squad of EXST Cubs to a 5-2 victory over one squad of EXST Rockies on Red Mountain Field, while Yao-Lin Wang, Jin-Young Kim, and Starling Peralta combined to throw a three-hit shutout as the other squad of Cubs blanked the other squad of Rockies 3-0 on Dust Storm Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader action at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale this morning.


The games were played simultaneously, and both games were seven-inning affairs.


Tennessee Smokies OF Ty Wright (DL rehab assignment) had three hits (two singles and a double) in his first game action since suffering a sprained ankle in a Southern League game on April 17th, but the EXST Giants swept a doubleheader from the EXST Cubs by scores of 7-5 and 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.


Scott Kazmir and Alexander Burkard combined to throw a four-hit shutout, leading the EXST Angels to an 8-0 whitewashing of an EXST Cubs split squad in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this morning.


Kazmir has been on the Los Angeles Angels 15-DL with "back tightness" since April 9th, but he sure looked healthy today, throwing 6.2 IP of one-hit shutout ball (102 pitches – 62 strikes, 10/6 GO/FO), and not allowing his first hit until there was one out in the top of the 6th inning (opposite-field double lined into the RF corner by Dustin Geiger). Kazmir walked three and struck out three during the course of his outing, inducing one GIDP. Kazmir consistently threw his fastball at 91-92 MPH, and kept the Cubs youngsters off-balance with an assortment of change-ups and breaking balls.


Jesus Morelli reached base five times on a double, three singles, and a walk, scored twice, and drove-in a run, and Larry Suarez came out of the bullpen to throw 3.1 IP of one hit ball with seven strikeouts, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Athletics 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix.

Jesus Morelli lined an RBI single to left to knock-in the tying run and Johan DeJesus roped a two-run double off the LF fence to plate the go-ahead runs, as a split squad of EXST Cubs rallied with five runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat the EXST Angels 6-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The Cubs have optioned Tyler Colvin and Marcus Mateo to Triple A and called up lefty Scott Maine and speedster Tony Campana.

Maine was sporting a 2.84 ERA in Iowa, striking out 21 in 19 IP, while walking just 8. Hard to imagine he'll be any worse than what he is replacing.

Campana was sporting a good luck line of 342/383/442 in Iowa earning his promotion. I wish him well, but he'll be hard pressed to find enogh playing time and such good luck in the majors(.423 BABIP in Iowa this season). He does bring speed with him, being successful in 8 of 9 stolen base attempts this year and 144/186 for his minor league career (77.2%). Of course, Yadier Molina wasn't playing in those leagues during the same time, so he probably won't see that success translate either.

Colvin did need to start getting some regular at-bats, although it's hard to figure out why he can't get them over Fukudome, Byrd or Soriano. For a team that already hits plenty of singles without walking much and in desperate need of some power, Colvin seemed closer to a cure than Campana, but neither will be effective without regular use.

It's also of note, as mentioned in the comments, that the Cubs are about to begin interleague play at American League parks starting off at Boston this Friday. Barring injury, Colvin cannot be recalled now for 10 days, leaving the Cubs DH options Reed Johnson, Castillo, DeWitt, Campana and Baker or more likely one of those play the field while the likes of Ramirez, Soriano and so forth get a defensive rest day. It's foresight like that keeps a century-plus losing streak alive.

Anyway, the appropriate deck chairs have been moved on this Titanic. May the disaster continue...

Stephen Cardullo ripped a two-run walk-off double to cap a three-run 9th, as the EXST Diamondbacks rallied to edge the EXST Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ.


Andrew Cashner was scheduled to make his first Extended Spring Training rehab start in today’s game at Talking Stick, but was scratched after warming in the bullpen before the game. Whether this latest setback will significantly delay his return to the mound is not clear at this time, but it certainly is not good news for Cashner or for the Cubs.

From an interview given to Ed Sherman posted on Chicago Business:

I can't stand it when I hear someone say they can't afford to go to a game. It might be hard to get tickets for a Yankees or Sox game, but there's no reason why they can't afford to go to another game. We want to get more fans in the park.

Let me respond in kind...FUCK YOU!!!!

They called the sunday (almost) finale of the Giants series early enough that a fan from Kenosha driving to Wrigley didn't have to get much past the Illinois border before turning around and calling a sports talk show to say thanks for the game cancellation update. Postponing the game early was the right thing to do. Playing last night in similar weather was not. I guess a national Fox broadcast causes funny decisions to be made.

Today's rainout has been rescheduled as a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday, June 28th. It's a quirky schedule that has the Giants coming to Wrigley Field twice this year otherwise they would have lost a scheduled day off to make up this game.

I need to vent some frustration and reflect on the week just past...

Diomendes Lopez slugged a three-run home run to cap a four-run 7th inning, and the EXST A’s cruised to an 8-2 victory over the EXST Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

Oakland closer Andrew Bailey (15-day DL - forearm strain) started the game for the EXST A’s, working 1.1 IP (18 pitches), and allowing one run (earned) on two hits, with no walks and no strikeouts. Although he did not record any strikeouts, his fastball was topping out at 94 MPH.

After watching the EXST Giants score four runs in the top of the 7th inning (last inning) to take an 8-7 lead, Dustin Geiger slugged a two-out three-run game-winning walk-off HR in the bottom of the 7th to give the EXST Cubs a 10-8 victory over the Giants on Field #3 and a split in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


The Giants edged the Cubs 2-1 in the game that was played on Field #2. Both games were seven-inning affairs.

Ryan Cuneo homered and doubled (and just missed another HR when a long fly hooked foul at the last second), Pin Chieh Chen had three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), and Randy Wells saw his first game action since April 4th, but the EXST Angels got hits when they counted and induced three rally-killing double-plays, edging a split squad of EXST Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The game was extended an extra inning to allow all of the Angels and Cubs pitchers due to throw today to get their scheduled work.


The EXST Angels banged-out 13 hits including four doubles and two triples en route to an 8-4 victory over the EXST Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park in Tempe.


Reggie Golden smacked a solo HR and Matt Loosen threw four innings of one-run ball as the EXST Cubs and EXST Rockies played to a 4-4 tie on Red Mountain Field, and Rockies RHP Aaron Cook (60 day DL - broken ring finger on pitching hand) threw 2.2 IP (35 pitches) of one-hit shutout ball with no walks and three strikeouts, leading the other squad of EXST Rockies to a 7-2 victory over the other squad of EXST Cubs on Dust Storm Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played simultaneously on adjacent fields this morning at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.


Both games were pre-scheduled as seven-inning affairs, but the game on Red Mountain Field was extended an extra half-inning to allow all of the Rockies pitchers who were due to throw today to get their scheduled work.


retreadsThings are really humming down at the old retread factory!


Todd Wellemeyer returned to the scene of former mediocrity and made one more lackluster start here for old times’ sake on May 5. The next day he reported that he was right on schedule as he rehabbed a sore hip en route back to the big leagues but that was apparently a smoke screen. The day after that he decided to call it a career. Today his spot on the ever fluid roster was taken by Doug Davis who is old enough to run for president should he too decide to shift gears after he makes his I-Cub debut when the team hits the road tomorrow night at Colorado Springs. Good luck in the rarified air of the PCL, Doug. If things don’t go well remember that Iowa’s precinct caucuses are mere months away and there is no clear frontrunner yet among righties. Without knowing much about where you stand when not on the mound, I’m not sure how well a southpaw might do here right now.  


Homestand #2 wound up this afternoon with Ramon Ortiz getting cuffed up to the tune of 13 hits in six IP - so much for what I said last week about his serviceability.


Also, in case you missed it but do care, as I did and do, Max Ramirez was released last week.


It’s starting to look like there’s a detour on I-80 between Iowa and Chicago that routes through Tennessee. Des Moines is about 150 miles closer as the crow drives, but I’m not sure you can get there from here if you’re a ballplayer in the Cubs’ organization this year.


Random bits: 1] Keith Moreland’s honeymoon is over. If he has a spare personality back home in Texas I suggest he have it shipped it to him ASAP. 2] Project ≤ three million update = 32K on Mother’s Day vs. a division rival? Plenty of tickets still available for upcoming Cardinal series? I’m taking the under…


 

Swami Murph will predict tomorrow that Todd Wellemeyer will retire!

OK, so it's just a tired old radio bit. Still, like a bad penny (I said BAD not Brad), Former 1969 Left field Bleacher Bums  mad Bugler (maybe it was a Coronet?),  Mike Murphy has returned to the Chicago airwaves on Sundays at 9AM. He's got a new gig with his old sidekick, Fred Huebner, on ESPN - 1000 (listen live link). ESPN has more WSCR refugees than the Orioles have ex-Cubs...although not by much (Orioles lineup today featured Jake Fox, Felix Pie, Ceasar Izturis, Kevin Gregg and DLee, not to mention almost Cub Brian Roberts).

Murph will host a regular show every Sunday from 9-1, bringing his 20 plus years of radio presence, dating back to the WLS "Fan Talk" days ("just fans talking to fans"). "Never been in a locker room Murph", he was never was afraid to read the tough questions from his yellow pad to Cub GM Jim Hendry or replay some of the great play-by-play calls from Jack Brickhouse or reminisce about his playing prowess in 16-inch softball with Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

...more after the jump

Marco Hernandez, Jesus Morelli, and Yaniel Cabezas ripped run-scoring triples to highlight a seven-run 6th, as the EXST Cubs rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to defeat the EXST Athletics 9-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


Not that it happens all the time, but whenever a Cub or couple Cubs somehow make the cover of Sports Illustrated, I feel compelled to visually even out the jinx.

Reggie Golden had three hits, scored a run, and knocked-in another, and LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke threw a 1-2-3 inning in his debut as a pitcher, as a split-squad of EXST Cubs played the EXST Rockies to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The game was stopped after eight innings with the score tied at six when both teams ran out of available pitchers. (The Cubs and Rockies played a doubleheader at Fitch Park yeterday, and the Cubs were playing a split-squad DH today).


According to the Cubs' media guide, Todd Wellemeyer was the NL Pitcher-of-the-Month in May of 2008 for the St. Louis Cardinals. This afternoon in Des Moines he wasn't up to being the Iowa Cubs' pitcher-of-the-day as he labored through three & two thirds innings of a reclamation project that may or may not wind up with him back in the big leagues.


Wellemeyer offered about six dozen pitches, about half of them strikes. A greater portion than that looked and clocked like breaking balls despite that his spotted fastball was ringing up in the low 90's. Maybe those were what he was determined to work on. He gave up eight hits and four runs while both walking and fanning a couple. Both walks came in the fourth when his body language appeared to go from indifferent to frustrated or tired.


Not having paid much attention to him since he left the Cub organization, I'd forgotten how raw-boned Wellemeyer looks. He's listed at 6'2" and 215, but he looks bigger than that; very wide across the shoulders. His windup is full and lengthy with lots of moving parts. I leave it to the anatomists to decide if that makes rehab of a hip injury more complicated. Welington Castillo caught him today, my first chance to see him behind the plate since he joined the club, and he had no chance to throw out either of the base thieves who ran on him. It's fair to say that Wellemeyer is not here to work on holding runners close. By the way, I looked around to see if Jim Hendry was on hand to scout Wellemeyer but did not see him.


Wellemeyer told the local paper last night that he's been measured for the World Series ring he's owed for his contribution to last year's San Francisco Giants. He's just waiting for it to catch up to him for presentation. Based on what I saw today, if I were him I wouldn't have it shipped to Chicago.


Ramon Ortiz, on the other hand, has been looking serviceable. Not Gorzellanyesque, mind you, but serviceable.

Francisco Sosa slugged a two-run HR onto Center Street and his teammates rapped out ten singles, seven doubles, and two triples, as the EXST Rockies took both games of a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader from the EXST Cubs by scores of 4-2 and 11-2 this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields and were scheduled as seven-inning affairs, but the game on Field #2 was extended an extra inning to allow Cubs and Rockies pitchers to get their scheduled work.


With his team down 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the 8th, Ryan Ortiz ripped a two-run HR over the LF fence to give the EXST Athletics the lead and eventually the victory, as the EXST Cubs were edged 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix.  


Reggie Golden blasted a 400-ft+ three-run home run over the left-centerfield fence and Dong-Yub Kim cracked at two-run shot over the LF fence to lead the EXST Cubs to a 9-3 victory over the EXST Diamondbacks this morning at Fitch Park Field #2 in Mesa.


 

After finishing this drawing yesterday, I realized that the historical significance of this matchup might not only be lost on some of you, but not interesting and perhaps in bad taste to most of you as well.
So, uh, lets just talk about the fabulous entertainment our favorite team gave us last night.

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