March 2012

Dee Gordon smacked a two-run triple to spark a three-run 7th, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-3 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternnon in sunny Mesa, AZ.  


Gordon is the son of former MLB RHP (and one-time Cub closer) "Flash" Gordon.


NOTE: UPDATED MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS IN COMMENTS SECTION


vs. Stephen Strasburg

  • *David DeJesus, RF
  • Darwin Barney, 2B
  • Starlin Castro, SS
  • *Bryan LaHair, 1B
  • Alfonso Soriano, LF
  • *Ian Stewart, 3B
  • Marlon Byrd, CF
  • Geovany Soto, C
  • Ryan Dempster, P

I already hate Sveum. Although Barney is smacking the ball in spring training, I suppose riding out the hot streak isn't that awful. Of course so has Soto lately and they're burying him 8th again.

The more things change something something....

I can see the Simpsons animating this one (with a guest appearance from heaven by Ricardo Montalbán).

byline, Nick Cough-fart-doo and Kent Brockman:

The Red Sox announced the completion of the Theo Epstein compensation package today.  The Cubs will receive as their PTBNL, the bone spur from Chris Carpenter's elbow in a jar of formaldehyde.

Would the Red Sox really refer one of their newest hurlers to (video link) Dr. Nick?

On a more serious note, it's not a good spring to be named Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals ace pitcher has a significant pinched nerve somewhere between his neck and pitching shoulder that has caused some weakness and discomfort. According to the St. Louis media his timetable to return to the Cardinals rotation isn't certain.

News broke out of Red Sox camp yesterday as fans were wondering why "the other Carp" had only thrown 2 innings all spring.  Former Cub, Chris Carpenter tweeted:

“Headed into surgery tomorrow with Dr Andrews to remove a bone spur in my elbow,’’  “Stayin positive and prepared to work harder than ever to come back as soon as I can this season.’’

I'm Spur-ed on to write just a little more, after the break...


Update: (Thursday noon, CST), per a Carrie Muskat tweet:

RedSox send 1B Jair Bogaerts to Cubs to complete compensation deal for Theo. Batted .288 in Dominican Summer League. He's 19.

In what was one of the better performances by a Cubs starting pitcher at HoHoKam Park in quite some time, Jeff Samardzija showed Top-of-the-Rotation stuff while throwing six innings of shutout ball (67 pitches - 43 strikes), allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five. Three relievers followed with three more shutout innings, as the Cubs blanked the Cleveland Indians 2-0 in Cactus League action this afternoon in Mesa, AZ.  

Seriously, can't believe how fabulous the weather's been.

My bi-yearly self-indulgent post on my fantasy draft. Mock away...

Sonny Gray and three relievers combined to throw a five-hitter as the Midland RiverHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-1 on Field #2, and Jonathon Mota ripped a two-run home run and Juan Apodaca had three hits, but it wasn’t enough as the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 9-5 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Paul Maholm and three relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout, as a split squad oif Cubs blanked the San Diego Padres 2-0 this afternoon in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, AZ


Greg Rohan singled, doubled, clubbed a three-run homer, and walked with the bases loaded, leading the Daytona Cubs to a 10-6 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #3, and Wes Darvill smacked an RBI triple to give the Chiefs the lead and then scored on a Sergio Burruel RBI single to key a two-run 4th, as Peoria defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Angels “A” affiliate) 4-2 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


Named the Cubs Opening Day starter last week by Manager Dale Sveum, veteran RHP Ryan Dempster made the short trip to Fitch Park (instead of the long bus ride to Goodyear) and got the start for Daytona.


He was supposed to throw six innings or 90 pitches (whichever came first).


If you're a modern, savvy human, then you gotta keep up with the times.
That means always getting the latest and newest stuff.

Matt Szczur tripled twice, scored twice and drove-in a run, Justin Bour had two hits and three RBI, and Matt Cerda reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, leading the Tennessee Smokies to a 6-4 victory over the Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) on Field #2, but the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) took advantage of seven walks and bested the Iowa Cubs 9-6 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


Ronald Torreyes had four hits and Ryan Cuneo drove-in five runs with a three-run home run and a two-run single, leading the Daytona Cubs to a 10-3 victory over the San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants Hi-A affiliate) on Field #3, and Cubs 2011 1st round draft pick Javier Baez smacked an opposite-field solo HR over the RF fence and onto 8th Street in the 3rd and ripped a line-drive double off the CF “Green Monster” Batter’s Eye to key a two-run 9th, as the Peoria Chiefs rallied for four runs over the final two innings to tie the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants “A” affiliate) 6-6 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

While most of the Cubs MLB squad had the day off, LHP Paul Maholm threw five innings (71 pitches – 48 strikes) for the Daytona Cubs at Fitch Park. Maholm allowed one run on two hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts, and 6/1 GO/FO. Maholm is a bit behind the other Cubs starting pitchers, having missed about a week of workouts last month while dealing with the flu, but today’s outing should get him to where he needs to be.

Ryan Dempster allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings of work (72 pitches - 50 strikes, 5/8 GO/FO, 3 K), but the Texas Rangers rallied for two in the 8th off Lendy Castillo and two more in the 9th off Alberto Cabrera (two-run HR by 23-year old Cuban defector Leonys Martin) to defeat a Cubs split squad 6-2 in Spring Training Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Paterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cool & sunny Mesa, AZ.


Bryan LaHair singled, doubled, and tripled, scored two runs, and knocked-in two more, and Nate Samson had two hits, drove-in three runs and scored another, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough, as the Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels AA affiliate) took advantage of six errors to defeat the Tennessee Smokies 7-3 on Field #2, and the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 13-8 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Jordan Danks smacked a solo HR over the RF fence to break a 5-5 tie in the top of the 10th, and the White Sox scored another unearned run later in the inning, en route to a 7-5 extra inning victory over a Cubs split-squad in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cold, blustery, and rainy Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Dan Vogelbach and Dustin Geiger slugged back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, and the Chiefs had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with no outs in the bottom of the 9th but could not score, as the South Bend Silver Hawks (Diamondbacks Full-Season Class-A affiliate) rode a two-run Jimmy Comerota triple and took advantage of four errors, holding-on to edge Peoria 6-5 on Field #2, while over on Field #3, Ryan Cuneo crashed a three-run home run in the 3rd to stake the Cubs to an early 4-1 lead, but the Visalia Rawhide (D’backs Advanced Class-A affiliate) rallied for two runs in the 8th and three more in the 9th to defeat Daytona 7-5, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

After the season of the Bear
There are Hawks games and Bulls games to spare
But you can't wait for the day
When you hear Pat Hughes say,
"Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air"

(Sorry if I got a little deep there.)

Happy St. Pat's, everyone!

Anthony Rizzo and Blake Lalli hammered solo home runs, and Matt Garza threw four innings and allowed two runs, but the Giants took advantage of two costly Cub fielding errors and a 9th inning base-running gaffe to edge the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

NOTE: Scroll down for the updated CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (effective 3/16)

Paul Goldschmidt blasted a grand slam home run, Henry Blanco and Alfredo Marte slugged solo shots, and Ian Kennedy threw four shutout innings, as the Arizona Diamondbacks coasted to an 12-2 victory over a split squad of Cubs in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Back when Chris Carpenter was announced as being sent over to the Boston Red Sox for Theo Epstein, I mentioned that the deal still can't properly be evaluated because there were still 2 players to be named later involved. There was some talk that it was just a logistic move, that the Red Sox had to send a player  to the Cubs besides an executive and the two players would be non-news. Well that turned out to be B.S. Today the Cubs announced they're sending RHP Aaron Kurcz to the Red Sox and we still don't know who the Cubs are getting. Temples were built in less time.

As for Kurcz, he's hardly a nobody, a matter of fact I was going to put him around #15 on my prospect list I was hoping to get out for Monday. He was a teammate of Bryce Harper at College of Southern Nevada, but beyond that coincidence, he's a 21-year old power righty reliever with a 9.9 whiff rate to go with a 3.7 BB/9 ratio. He might not be the quality of Chris Carpenter, but certainly not someone to just dismiss.

As the baseball world turns...

George Kotarras drove-in five runs with bases-loaded doubles in consecutive innings, as the Milwaukee Brewers hammered the Cubs 10-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Anthony Rizzo crushed a tape-measure two run home run, Chris Volstad and Jay Jackson combined to throw six innings of five-hit one-run ball, and the Cubs withstood a late San Francisco rally, edging the Giants 5-4 in Cactus League action at warm & sunny Scottsdale Stadium this afternoon.

Joe Mather blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 7th to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 Cubs lead, and Blake Lalli smashed a solo HR over the RF bullpens in the 8th to provide an insurance run, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 8-6 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


The game featured a pre-game fly-over by a World War II vintage B-17 bomber (“Sentimental Journey”) that is based at Falcon Field in Mesa.


NOTE: Scroll down for the updated MINOR LEAGUE CAMP rosters (effective today 3/12).

That was the first time I'd seen Jeff Beliveau pitch.
Len and Bob made a big deal about this little pause Beliveau employs right when he rears back to throw.
(In the illustration I say "windup", but he was throwing from the set position.)
I didn't think much about it.
But then he proceeded to strike out all 3 Dodgers he faced, and two more the next inning.
With Garza not looking so hot (dry AZ air?) the Cub bats getting just 5 hits and no runs, Beliveau was the most exciting thing about Sunday's zero to five loss.

 

So, single game tickets went on sale yesterday (yawn), a couple of weeks later than what had been the norm for many years. I used to go at it on Day One via phone and computer both, from the opening bell until whenever I finally broke down the door to the virtual waiting room. Usually that was mid-afternoon and by then the pickings were slim for whatever prime games hadn’t already sold out.

Yesterday it was mid-afternoon before I even recalled that the ticket windows were open. Then I tapped into the Cub website for the sake of both old times and curiosity.

NRI RHP Marco Carrillo was one of four non-roster players cut from the Cubs 2012 MLB Spring Training roster today (RHP Trey McNutt, INF Jonathon Mota, and OF Jae-Hoon Ha were the others), and the Mexican right-hander arrived at Fitch Park Minor League Camp this morning just in time for Pitchers Fielding Practice.

Carrillo got into one Cactus League game, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning.

Dustin Ackley smashed a three-run home run to cap a four-run 5th inning, and Guillermo Quiroz cracked a two-run HR to finish the scoring in the 9th, as the Seattle Mariners drubbed the Cubs 10-3 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cool & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Alfonso Soriano homered twice and Brett Jackson whacked a three-run home run, leading the Cubs to an 11-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm, sunny, and windy (sometimes VERY windy) Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Yordy Cabrera hit Tony Zych’s first pitch over the LF fence for what turned-out to be the game-winning run, as the Oakland A’s rallied from a five-run deficit to edge the Cubs 8-7 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & cloudy Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Brandon Allen drove-in seven runs with a grand slam home run, a two-run double, and an RBI ground out, leading the Oakland A’s to a hard-fought 12-10 victory over the Cubs in Opening Day Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Saturday's weekly "Talking Baseball" show on ESPN 1000 radio, hosted by Bruce Levine and Fred Hubner wrapped up with a Q&A session with Theo Epstein. Bruce Levine asked Theo up front if he wanted to talk about playing electric guitar or baseball, ...and baseball it was. A summary was posted in the CCO but as it turns out I had a recording of the program and was able to get together several complete quotes from Theo on multiple topics, including:

• Dale Sveum's camp, the bunting contest and the 9am meeting  with a daily player "roast." (I doubt the roast would have gone over well in the Milton Bradley era)

• Lineup construction (after Hubner wanted Theo's opinion of Soriano leading off):

"Lineups are overblown to begin with. As long as you adhere to some basic lineup construction principles, it's really hard to screw up a lineup and also hard to get too great of an advantage out of it."

• On acquiring starting pitching depth:

"Frankly, going forward looking at the next several years, we don't have a lot of starting pitching coming up in the upper levels of the farm system and we didn't have a lot of starting pitching under control on the big league team."

• Samardjiza's opportunity to start:

"A quality starter is more valuable even than a quality closer, which is significantly more valuable than a setup guy or a middle man"

• Talent acquisition and the new scouting and player development manuals

• Matt Garza and any contract negotiations

• Hitting, Ted Williams and the number one foundational principle of hitting

• Theo's best organizational surprise upon coming to the Cubs, the Dominican Academy

the full quotes, after the jump...

Joe Mather clubbed a three-run home run, Brett Jackson slugged his second home run in two days, and Jay Jackson threw three perfect innings, as two squads of Cubs played to a 3-3 tie in a five-inning intrasquad game played under sunny skies this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Matt Szczur drove-in six runs with a two-run double and a grand slam home run, Brett Jackson slugged a solo home run, ripped an RBI double, walked twice, and scored three runs, and Tony Campana singled and scored in all three of his at bats, stole a base, and drove-in a run, leading one squad of Cubs to a 10-4 victory over another squad of Cubs in an intrasquad game played at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny, blustery, and cool Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

The game was a pre-planned six-inning affair.

It certainly has been a rather drama free first week of camp, which doesn't give me much to react to...but I'll do my best.

- A Dave Kaplan tweet says Dale Sveum would bat Starlin Casto third if the season started today. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with that leading to Darwin Barney probably batting second. Hopefully the front office can talk some sense into him or he'll set a record for losing the benefit of the doubt by fans like me rather quickly. If that is the case, I presume the lineup could look like this against righties: DeJesus, Barney (gag), Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Stewart, Byrd, Soto.

I'd prefer Castro batting second, but if Sveum insists on him batting third, I'd rather see: DeJesus, Byrd, Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Stewart, Soto, Barney.

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