March 2013

It's 2013.
If you're a Cub Fan and you don't have a sense of humor, you're in the wrong line of work.

GO CUBS!!!

Scott Feldman threw five innings (65 pitches) of two-hit ball with seven strikeouts, but the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) edged the Daytona Cubs 2-1 on Field #3, and Rock Shoulders clubbed an opposite field HR over the left-centerfield fence, Willson Contreras drilled a triple, and Oliver Zapata followed with an RBI double to highlight a three-run 7th that helped the Kane County Cougars rally and take a 4-3 lead, but the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) pushed across a run in the top of the 9th to salvage a 4-4 tie, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 


Brett Jackson reached base three times on a single, a double, and a HBP, scored a run, and knocked in another, Logan Watkins belted a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a six-run 5th, and Chris Rusin threw six innings of three-hit ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and despite three hits by Rubi Silva and two each by Matt Szczur and Rafael Lopez, five pitchers combined to throw a ten-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) blanked the Tennessee Smokies 6-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Roni Torreyes knocked-in three runs with a bases-loaded triple, John Andreoli tripled and walked, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, Rafael Lopez reached base three times on a double, a single, and a walk, and scored three runs, and Alberto Cabrera tossed five innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts and four relievers threw four perfect innings, as the Tennessee Smokies blanked the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants AA affiliate) 9-0 on Field #2, and Brad Nelson, Edwin Maysonet, and Tim Torres smacked extra-base hits to highlight a four-run 2nd inning for the Cubs, while Johnny Monell and Hector Sanchez blasted home runs for the Grizzlies, as the Iowa Cubs and Fresno Grizzlies (Giants AAA affiliate) played to an 8-8 tie on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Ozzie Timmons smacked a two-out game-winning walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th to give the Cubs the victory in the last game played at HoHoKam Park before the stadium was to be demolished... 

The Cubs claimed 29-year old RHP Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays today

Moscoso had a fine rookie season for the Oakland Athletics in 2011, going 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, allowing just 102 hits in 128 IP, with a 38/74 BB/K. He was then traded to the Colorado Rockies along with LHP Josh Outman for OF Seth Smith in January 2012.

Moscoso had a horrible year in 2012, however (6.12 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 23 games and 50.0 IP for the Rockies, but with a very decent 2.70 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP away from Coors Field), and was demoted to AAA Colorado Springs, where he continued to struggle (6.13 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 18 games and 95.1 IP). 

He was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals last November, and then was claimed off waivers again (this time by Toronto) earlier this month. He was ineffective in five Spring Training outings for KC and TOR (12.86 ERA and 2.57 WHIP).

The Cubs probably noticed Moscoso while scouting eventual Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon, because Moscoso was Rondon's teammate on the Caracas club in the Venezuelan Winter League this past off-season, putting up a 3.10 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 29 IP (26 hits allowed and a 7/18 BB/K).  

Moscoso's 2012 troubles might be at least partly attributable to his being an extreme fly ball pitcher, probably not the best characteristic to have if you're playing half your games in the thin air of Denver or Colorado Springs. But even so, why would the Cubs claim Moscoso and waste a 40-man roster slot on a struggling 29-year old pitcher who is out of minor league options?

Well...

 

Brett Jackson singled twice, walked, scored a run, and drove-in another, and Zeke DeVoss smacked a solo HR, but it wasn't enough as the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) defeated the Daytona Cubs 5-3 on Field #3, and Oliver Zapata knocked-in three runs with two run-scoring triples, Yasiel Balaguert doubled twice, Carlos Penalver walked and tripled, scored two runs, and kocked-in one, and Gioskar Amaya singled, tripled, stole a base, scored a run, and collected an RBI, helping the Kane County Cougars beat the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) 6-3 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 


Spring training is about to wind down...thankfully...unbearable as it ends up being by the end, it was doubly so with the World Baseball Classic extension. The only real goal of spring training is to leave camp healthy and the Cubs failed at that much like they do at winning baseball games. As you can see, I expect little from the Cubs this season, which is rare from me, as I'm always overly optimistic this time of year. Maybe that's a good sign for the year, the biggest surprises come when you expect the least.

Here are the Cubs Minor League Camp rosters as of yesterday (3/26). 

Donald Lutz slugged a three-run home run to cap a nine-run 9th, as the Cincinnati Reds drubbed the Cubs 11-1 in Cactus League action this evening at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Matt Loosen retired the first ten men he faced and combined with three relievers to throw a four hitter and Jae-Hoon Ha reached base five times on two walks and three singles (including the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 9th), as the Tennessee Smokies edged the Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #2, and Barret Loux threw five shutout innings and Scott Hairston singled twice, walked, and smacked a solo HR, helping the Iowa Cubs defeat the Sacramento River Cats (A's AAA affiliate) 3-1 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 


Buster Posey and Joaquin Arias collected three hits a piece, as the Giants defeated the Cubs 9-3 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Pattrerson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Darnell McDonald singled twice, doubled, walked, scored twice, and knocked-in a run, Taiwan Easterling singled, doubled, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, drove-in two runs, and made two outstanding catches, Jeffrey Baez drove-in three runs with a two-run double and a bases-loaded HBP, and Dan Vogelbach crushed a tape-measure two-run home run, leading the Daytona Cubs to a 10-7 victory over the Bakerfield Blaze (Cincinnati Reds Hi-A affiliate) on Field #3, and Starling Peralta celebrated his return to the Cubs organization with 3.1 IP of one-hit shutout ball, Gioskar Amaya singled and tripled, and Dong-Yub Kim singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run, but it wasn't enough as Joe Hudson (Reds 2012 6th round draft pick - Notre Dame) slugged a HR over the LF fence and onto Center Street to lead the Dayton Dragons (Reds Low-A affiliate) to a 3-1 victory over the Kane County Cougars on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 


Scott Hairston blasted a tape-measure home run down the LF foul line and into the parking lot to cap a four-run 7th, and pinch-runner Shawon Dunston Jr scampered home with what proved to be the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 8th, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Los Angeles Angels 7-6 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ.


This story is already so old and stupid I apologize for putting it up.

Travis Wood threw five innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts, Steve Bruno singled and doubled, scored a run, and drove-in another, and Wes Darvill tripled, walked twice, drove-in a run, and scored a run, leading the Daytona Cubs to a 5-1 victory over the Modesto Nuts (Colorado Rockies Hi-A affiliate) on Field #3, and Gioskar Amaya singled, doubled, tripled, and scored three runs, Marco Hernandez drove-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, and Rony Rodriguez slugged a solo home run over the LF fence and onto Center Street, as the Kane County Cougars and the Asheville Tourists (Rockies Lo-A affiliate) played to a ten-inning 6-6 tie on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


If I could only draw one tenth as well as Tim Souers. I'd draw a Gi-normous Scoreboard in centerfield that shrouded the entire 44th ward in a shadow darker than a solar eclipse.

Holy Cow! The Scoreboard that Overshadowed the 44th Ward. I'm talkin' Godzilla's shadow over Tokyo.

This little Aldermanic war of words was in today's Sun-Times:


Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) has made a bold suggestion to the Cubs: replace the iconic landmarked center field scoreboard with a video scoreboard that would generate millions without blocking anybody’s view.

“Put it in center field. Make it as big as you want,”

Holy Mackerel. Mess with the landmark status scoreboard? Alderman Tunney, how soon you forget. You legislated so that should never happen (unless the gi-normous scoreboard is compatible with the historic character of the field).

Mor-on the zany alderman and his puffy chest lingo, after the jump...

Alfonso Soriano slugged a two-run home run into the parking lot to cap a three-run 1st inning, Darwin Barney clubbed a solo HR to the base of the scoreboard in the 2nd inning, and Cub pitchers retired 19 of the last 21 men they faced, as the Cubs edged the Rangers 5-4 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Facing a mostly MLB lineup, LHP Chris Rusin got the start for the Cubs and worked five innings (87 pitches - 59 strikes), allowing four runs on seven hits (six singles and a double), no walks, and four strikeouts, with a 5/5 GO/FO. After surrendering four runs on six hits through the first two innings, Rusin retired ten of the last 11 men he faced, striking out three of the last four.   


Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, and Blake Parker each threw one inning in relief, and combined to throw four innings of one-hit shutout ball with one walk and three strikeouts,


Bruce Chen was torched for five home runs (two by Javier Baez and one each by David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano, and Alberto Gonzalez) over five innings, as the Cubs cruised to an 8-3 vistory over the Kansas City Royals in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Baez took Chen deep with a solo HR onto the berm beyond the LF fence with two outs in the 1st, and then again with another solo HR (this one a Monster Jam) over the scoreboard and into the parking lot with two outs in the 5th, and has now hit four home runs in his last five plate appearances (he hit home runs in his final two PA versus Team Japan yesterday, including a walk-off two-run HR in the 9th).


Javier Baez homered in consecutive at bats, crushing a solo home run in the 7th and a walk-off two-run bomb in the 9th, helping to rally the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over Team Japan this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ. 


Team Japan is in Phoenix preparing for the World Baseball Classic Championship Round that will be played in San Francisco next week.


Kane County with a collective D'oh...
Albert Almora tweets he sustained a broken hamate bone in the distal wrist today.

Not a good day! Broke my Hamate bone!


Sun-Times scribe Gordon Wittenmeyer writes that the injury occurred while swinging a bat and Almora will get surgery on this injury.

...he broke the hamate bone, pre­sumably in his left hand. It’s a fairly common injury in hitters’ bottom hand. Almora broke the bone swinging a bat and will require minor surgery. The Cubs said he will need three-to-four weeks before resuming baseball activity. Almora is projected to open the season at Class A Kane County, and he’ll begin on the disabled list. He should return to game action in late May.

The hamate is a small bone in the distal or 2nd row of wrist bones just below the 4th/5th metacarpal (ring and little finger side hand bones). The bone has an unusual shape with a hook configuration. The fracture occurs most commonly in the connection between the base of the bone and the hook. Conventional wrist X-Rays often do not show this fracture but a specific additional view that is tangential to the wrist (carpal canal view) will show the fracture. Thus, it can be easily missed if not seen by a physician who is familiar with this injury and requests this additional view. If it's still in question, Computerized (CT) Imaging or MRI Imaging will confirm this fracture. Often hook of the hamate fractures do not heal  with rest and immobilization and so it's now common for athletes to get iinitial surgical treatment with excision of the hook fragment. Giants 3B Pablo (Big Panda) Sandoval, Rockie SS Troy Tulowitzki, Oriole OF Nick Markakis, Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia and Phillie OF Domonic Brown are recent players with hamate fractures and their stories are attached to the links I included. This injury is not nearly as serious as the distal radius wrist fracture that Derrek Lee sustained (back in 2006) because it's more distal in the palm and not as likely to impact wrist movement. Hook of the hamate fractures create issues with grip tenderness such as holding a bat but usually does not diminish bat speed. So if all goes well, Albert Almora should be able to return to hitting activity in about 6 weeks.

There IS a lot written about hamate fractures in baseball players, so here are a few links to the anatomy, imaging and treatment..after the jump.

Troy Tulowitzki drove-in both Colorado runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly, and Jorge de la Rosa and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout, as the Rockies blanked the Cubs 2-0 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Here are the Cubs Minor League Camp rosters as of today (3/12).


There has been some player movement in both directions (mainly downward) over the past couple of days.


Rock Shoulders homered, singled and walked, and Garrett Schlecht ripped a two-out two-run double and walked, in a Minor League Camp intra-squad game played this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.


Because the Cubs had a day off from their MLB Cactus League schedule, Carlos Villanueva and Scott Baker traveled a half-mile down Center Street to Fitch Park and were the starting pitchers in the game. Villanueva threw three shutout innings (46 pitches - 29 strikes) and struck out five, and Baker allowed one run on four hits (the Shoulders HR the only run) in his three innings of work (36 pitches - 25 strikes).


Baker threw strikes but didn't fool the kids, however this was just his first actual game action (not including "sim" games) since having Tommy John Surgery on his elbow last April.   


Barret Loux (who is technically still on the Cubs MLB Spring Training roster) made the trip to Fitch with Villanueva and Baker and threw a couple of innings, although he was not effective, allowing three runs on five hits and a HBP in 2.0 IP.


Rob Whitenack (optioned to AA Tennessee yesterday) had control issues in his two innings of work (31 pitches - only 14 strikes, with three walks). He also allowed two hits and commited a throwing error on a pick-off attempt.


William Hill (2012 NDFA - Chicago State) and Bobby Buckner (2012 NDFA Texas A&M - Corpus Cristi) played in the game. Hill is the grandson of Cub great Billy Williams, and Buckner is the son of ex-Cub (and current Boise Hitting Coach) Bill Buckner.


Here is the unofficial box score:


Alfonso Soriano laced a two-out line-drive two-run double down the LF line and Dioner Navarro followed with a towering two-run HR over the RF bullpens to rally the Cubs to a 4-2 lead in the 6th, and then Jorge Soler slugged a solo home run to the top of the berm over the LF fence and Christian Villanueva drilled two-run HR over the left-center fence to key a five-run 8th, as the Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 9-3 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Paterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


LHP Travis Wood contributed with both his arm and his bat, throwing four innings of one-hit shutout ball with six strikeouts, and roping a line-drive lead-off single and then scoring on the Soriano double to ignite the four-run 6th. On the negative side, Wood did walk three over the course of the 4.0 IP (63 pitches - 35 strikes).


Cedric Hunter smacked a three-run home run to cap a five-run 6th, and Zach McAlister threw four shutout innings, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 9-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League action this afternoon at cold & dreary Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


Javier Baez produced both of the Cub runs with a two-run HR just to the left of the CF Batter's Eye ("Green Monster") with no outs in the top of the 1st. Baez also fisted an opposite-field bloop single into right-center in his second AB.


David DeJesus collected two hits, including a lead-off bounding double down the RF line off LHP David Huff that preceded Baez's HR in the 1st. (DeJesus hit only 149/289/149 with no extra-base hits in 113 PA vs LHP in 2012, so it's big news anytime he does anything against a lefty).


Paul Konerko drilled two solo home runs, and Adam Dunn slugged a two-run home run off the White Sox team bus parked next to the Budweiser Party Pavillion beyond the RF fence, as the White Sox defeated the Cubs 8-3 this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park, in what is the Cactus League version of the Crosstown Classic.

Nick Swisher singled twice, homered, and drove-in four runs, Lonnie Chisenhall singled, doubled, and homered, and collected three RBI, Drew Stubbs singled and tripled and drove-in three runs, and Mark Reynolds homered and doubled and knocked-in two runs, leading a 20-hit attack as the Cleveland Indians scalped the Cubs 13-5 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Meaa, AZ.


Taylor Green singled, doubled, drove-in a run, and scored another, Carlos Gomez crushed a tape-measure home run, and Marco Estrada tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball and combined with five relievers to throw a two-hitter, as the Milwaukee Brewers edged a Cubs split squad 4-3 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ 


Javier Baez drove-in all three Cubs runs with a two-run HR and a bases-loaded walk.


Ex-Cub Tony Campana laced a two-run pinch-hit double to cap a four-run 6th, and then tripled in the 8th, helping to rally the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.


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