May 2014

Alberto Mineo (a double and a run scored), Oliver Zapata (an RBI triple and a run scored), Jesse Hodges (an RBI double and a run scored), Kevin Brown (an RBI single and a run scored), and Rashad Crawford (RBI triple) sparked the Cubs to a four-run 2nd inning, Jeffrey Baez belted an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, and Erick Leal threw five innings of one-run ball, as the Cubs hammered the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Field #5, and Trey Masek and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Gleyber Torres singled twice, walked, and drove-in the game's only run, as the Cubs whitewashed the D'backs 1-0 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.     

In EXST Cubs roster news, RF Eloy Jimenez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs. 

The 17-year old Jimenez (last year's top-rated July 2 international free-agent) hit 238/270/357 in 24 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (89 PA), with 4/22 BB/K. one HR, five doubles, a triple, and a team-leading 16 RBI. He had a sore arm in Minor League Camp that limited him to DH duty-only until mid-April, and even then he only started eight EXST games in RF. No question his defense needs a lot of work.

But Jimenez caught fire at the plate on May 14th, hitting 360/385/640 over his final seven games (26 PA). He hit his only Cactus League EXST home run in what turned out to be his last EXST game (versus the Angels in Tempe this past Tuesday), when he drove-in four runs with a three-run HR and an RBI single.   

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

Dillon Thomas blooped a two-out two-run double between three Cub defenders in short right-field in the top of the 5th as the Rockies edged the Cubs 3-2 on Field #5, and Denzel Richardson belted an RBI triple and a single and scored a run to help the Rockies rally from a 4-1 deficit to tie the Cubs 4-4 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Elliot Soto has completed his 50-game "Drug of Abuse" suspension and has been assigned to AA Tennessee. In 18 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (68 PA), Soto hit 333/397/417 with 6/9 BB/K, one double, two triples, 3 SB (0 CS), 12 RUNS, and 5 RBI, while playing outstanding defense at SS. 

Also, INF Giuseppe Papaccio has been sent back to Cubs Extended Spring Training from Daytona, and 1B Danny Canela has been sent to Cubs Extended Spring Training from Kane County. Both players were assigned to Squad "A" in the split squad doubleheader, with INF Varonex Cuevas and OF Shamil Ubiera moving from Squad "A" to Squad "B."    

And LHP Andin Diaz (hasn't pitched in a Cactus League EXST game since April 23rd) has been assigned to the DSL Cubs, who will begin their 2014 season tomorrow morning versus the DSL Marlins. The 21-year old Diaz spent the previous two seasons pitching in the DSL, but had his career sidetracked for a while by a 50-game PED suspension in August 2012 that carried over into 2013.

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

Arnaldo Calero (solo HR, two walks, and an HBP) reached base four times, Gleyber Torres (two walks and an RBI single), Bryant Flete (RBI triple, RBI double, and a single), and Tyler Alamo (RBI single, a walk, and an HBP) reached base three times a piece, and the foursome combined to collect five RBI and score five runs, leading the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix, AZ.

Seongmin Kim belted a bases-clearing three-run double for the A's. 

Tennessee Smokies RHP Matt Loosen (on the Restricted List since 5/22 and hasn't pitched since 5/17) got the start for the Cubs today and worked 3.2 IP (69 pitches), allowing three runs (all ER) on two hits and four walks. He retired 11 of the first 13 men he faced before running out of gas (temperature 100+) in the bottom of the 4th.

RHP Trey Lang (Cubs 2012 6th round draft pick - Gateway CC) walked four consecutive batters in the bottom of the 7th before being relieved. Lang has now appeared in 11 Cactus League EXST games so far in 2014... COMBINED LINE: 16.1 IP, 23 H, 18 R (17 ER), 21 BB, 16 K, 2 HBP, 8 WP, 314 pitches (49% strikes), 9.37 ERA, 2.69 WHIP, .338 OppBA. 

In 18 Cactus League EXST games (55 PA), Cubs infielder Bryant Flete is hitting a robust 372/491/442, with one double and one triple, 11/10 BB/K, 8 RUNS, 9 RBI, and two SB (two CS), and has committed four errors (two at SS and two at 2B). The 21-year old Venezuelan has played both 2B and SS at EXST (although 2B is his best position), and he presently leads the team in both AVG and OBP (minimum 48 PA to qualify). So don't be too surprised if Flete wins a spot on the Boise Hawks Opening Day roster, especially if the Cubs opt to keep 17-year old SS Gleyber Torres in Mesa (AZL Cubs) for the summer. 

Meanwhile, Torres is hitting a very respectable 272/374/359 in 27 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (108 PA), with 13/20 BB/K, four doubles, two triples, two SB (two CS and two  PO), 12 RUNS, and 10 RBI, but he has committed 11 errors. 

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

Raul Linares ripped a game-winning walk-off RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied from a four-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Jeffrey Baez singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, and Kevin Brown singled twice, walked, and scored two runs to help the Cubs take an early 4-0 lead, and Nataniel Delgado doubled twice and scored and Trevor Gretzky laced a two-run triple to aid the Angel comeback.  

The Angels collected six doubles and one triple among their nine hits.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - groin) continued his EXST rehab with a shutout inning (18 pitches - 10 strikes). Strop was not as sharp this morning in Tempe as he was on Saturday in Scottsdale, as he walked one and was behind in the count on just about every hitter, but he did not allow a hit, he struck out two, and he got the third out on a broken bat 5-3 GO. 

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

Shilo McCall drilled a two-run single and a solo home run and scored twice, Jonah Arenado ripped an RBI single and two doubles and scored a run, Carlos Valdez singled twice, doubled, and scored three runs, Tyler Hollick smacked an RBI double, singled, walked, and scored a run, Julio Pena doubled twice and singled, and John Riley hammered a solo HR, as the Giants pounded out 19 hits (including seven doubles and two home runs) en route to a 10-5 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Memorial Day action on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Jeffrey Baez and Varonex Cuevas belted solo home runs for the Cubs.

The EXST Cubs hit only three HR over their first 37 Cactus League games, but they have hit nine HR over their last nine Cactus League Extended Spring Training games.

2014 EXST CUBS HOME RUNS (thru 5/26 - 46 games): 12
Jeffrey Baez - 2
Erick Castillo - 2
Rashad Crawford - 2
Varonex Cuevas - 2
Tyler Alamo - 1
Zak Blair - 1
Kevin Brown - 1
Rony Rodriguez - 1 

RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL - 2013 TJS rehab) started the game for the Cubs and threw a 14-pitch 1-2-3 1st inning (F-8, 6-3, K-looking). Fujikawa has thrown three times in the last six days, working one inning each time (40 pitches total - 23 strikes - 58% K), and he has retired all nine men he has faced in those 3.0 IP (4-3, F-9, P-3, K, F-8, 3-1, F-8, 6-3, K).  

RHP Erick Leal had his second consecutive poor outing, allowing seven runs (all earned) on 11 hits (including four doubles and two HR) and a walk in 5.0 IP (71 pitches). Over his last two games (8.0 IP - 141 pitches) Leal has allowed 13 runs (12 ER), 15 hits, and five walks.

 

Johneshwy Fargas singled twice and drove-in the tying and winning runs with a two-run double as the Giants rallied to edge the Cubs 3-2 in 12 innings in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale AZ.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL retroactive to 5/6 - groin) started the game for the Cubs and threw one inning (12 pitches - 11 strikes), striking out three. One batter did reach base on a third strike WP, but Strop totally handcuffed the young Giants with his hard slider and mid-90's gas. He looks like he is ready to be reinstated from the DL and maybe provide some misery to big league hitters.    

The Cubs managed only four hits (three singles and a double) and struck out 13 times over the course of the 12 innings, although they did draw six walks.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Josh Davis (2013 NDFA - Belmont University) has been moved up to Daytona, and RHP Ben Wells has been sent to Extended Spring Training from Daytona. Davis began the season at Extended Spring Training, and then was moved up to Kane County on April 12th. He was sent back to EXST from KC on May 2nd.   

Also, LHP Michael Heesch (Cubs 2012 8th round draft pick - USCB) has been moved up to Kane County from Extended Spruing Training.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOSH DAVIS'S FOUR 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/9   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (23 strikes)
4/12 - AT KANE COUNTY thru 5/2
5/5   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (21 strikes)
5/13 - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 36 pitches (24 strikes)   
5/17 - INTRASQUAD GAME  
5/21 - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 34 pitches (22 strikes)  
TOTAL: 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 7 K, 2 GIDP, 10/6 GO/FO, 68% strikes, 2.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .289 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM MICHAEL HEESCH'S FIVE 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
5/9   - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 5 pitches (4 strikes)  
5/12 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
5/14 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R,0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (13 strikes)
5/17 - INTRASQUAD GAME
5/20 - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 3/1 GO/FO, 42 pitches (27 strikes)
5/23 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 11 pitches (10 strikes) 
TOTAL: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 5/4 GO/FO, 70% strikes, 0.00 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, .227 OppBA 

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

Rashad Crawford belted an inside-the-park two-run home run (opposite-field line-drive smoked over the left-fielder's head) to highlight a three-run third, and the bullpen tossed 7.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, helping the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

The home run was Crawford's second in Cactus League EXST game action (his first HR was hit over the RF fence on Field #5 at Riverview Park on April 21st), so Crawford has now tied Erick Castillo for the team-lead in HR with two (six others--Tyler Alamo, Jeffrey Baez, Zak Blair, Kevin Brown, Varonex Cuevas, and Rony Rodriguez--have one HR a piece). And the Cubs (as a team) have hit seven of their ten home runs in their last five games.  

Five Cub "rehab" pitchers saw work in today's game (including four who threw in the intrasquad game last Saturday), so Rehab Pitching Coordinator Rick Tronerud and Rehab Athletic Trainer Chuck Baughman made the trip up to Salt River Fields from Riverview Park (they did not bring their golf cart, however).  

* Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick RHP Josh Conway (2012 pre-draft TJS & May 2013 elbow stress fracture) got the start and breezed through the bottom of the 1st inning (allowing just a two-out single) before surrendering a run on two hits (including an RBI triple) and a walk in the bottom of the 2nd. The 23-year old needed 37 pitches to get four outs. 

* Veteran NPB & MLB RH reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (May 2013 TJS) retired all three men he faced (K-swinging, F-8, 3-1), although he was continually shaking and stretching his arm during the outing. 

* 20-year old 2012 3rd round draft pick 6'3 RHP Ryan McNeil (May 2013 TJS) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance since April 15, 2013, and retired all five hitters he faced (F-8, 6-3, L-8, P-1, 3-U) on just 13 pitches (10 strikes), He looked very good in a two-inning stint in last Saturday's intrasquad game, too. For those of you who haven't seen McNeil this year, he is sporting the popular Jeff Samardzija look (they could be brothers).  

* 24-year old 6'5 240+ LHP Michael Heesch (Cubs 2012 8th round draft pick) had another fine outing (he's been throwing in Cactus League EXST games for about the last ten days, so he should be about ready to move up to the KC or Daytona bullpen), allowing a two-out single while striking out two (both swinging) and doing it all on just 11 pitches (10 for strikes), and lots of grunts.

* 18-year old RHP Jesus Castillo (the other pitcher acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with RHP Erick Leal in exchange for OF Tony Campana in February 2013) made his U. S. game debut and punched-out two in his one innng of work. Unlike Leal (a "curve-ball first" pitcher who uses his 88 MPH fastball to set-up his excellent breaking ball), Castillo has a "lively" fastball that rides 92-93 MPH and a decent change-up (especially for such a young guy) but no breaking ball. And, just like C. J. Edwards, Jose Paulino, and Hector Perez, Castillo is an all-legs "stringbean" (6'2 165). Castillo probably has a higher ceiling than fellow-Venezuelan Leal, but he is also clearly not anywhere near as polished, and so he will very likely be assigned to the AZL Cubs next month, while Leal will almost certainly be in the Boise starting rotation. 

With today's victory, the Cubs have won three in a row and are closing-in on the .500 mark (they are now 19-21-4 in 2014 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games).

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

Zak Blair (single, walk, 3-run HR, three runs scored), Kevin Brown (single, walk, solo HR, three runs scored), and Erick Castillo (three singles and a solo HR) slugged back-to-back-to-back home runs to cap a six-run 2nd inning, Varonex Cuevas clubbed a two-run HR, singled, walked, and scored two runs, and Roney Alcala drilled a two-run double, as the Cubs decimated the Diamondbacks 15-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center in Mesa, AZ.  

Fernery Ozuna belted a solo HR, a triple, and a single, and Damion Smith slugged an RBI double, singled, walked, and stole two bases for the D'backs in a losing cause.

The Cubs came into game having homered only five times in their first 42 Cactus League EXST games (Tyler Alamo, Rashad Crawford, Erick Castillo, Jeffrey Baez, and Rony Rodriguez with one each), so hitting four dingers in one game was a bit of a surprise. (And Erick Castillo now leads the team in HR with two).   

In EXST Cubs roster news, 22-year old LHP Tyler Ihrig (Cubs 2013 23rd round draft pick - College of Marin) and 22-year old RHP Trevor Graham (Cubs 2013 13th round draft pick - Franklin Pierce University) have been promoted to Hi-A Daytona, replacing RHP Jose Rosario (assigned to Extended Spring Training) and RHP Zach Cates (placed on D-Cubs 7-day DL). Graham and Ihrig have been the two best starting pitchers so far at Extended Spring Training and the duo very likely would have been the Boise Hawks top two starters, too. Graham was scheduled to start today's game at Riverview Park and Ihrig was scheduled to start tomorrow, so the EXST Cubs pitching plans were thrown into disarray with the two promotions (although nobody is complaining).   

THE PITCHING LINES FROM TYLER IHRIG'S SEVEN 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/11 - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 40 pitches (25 strikes)  
4/16 - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (15 strikes) 
4/23 - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 51 pitches (32 strikes) 
4/29 - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 4/1 GO/FO, 38 pitches (26 strikes) 
5/5   - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 39 pitches (27 strikes) 
5/10 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 2/5 GO/FO, 53 pitches (39 strikes)  
5/16 - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 5/2 GO/FO, 61 pitches (41 strikes)
TOTAL: 21.0 IP, 16 H, 8 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 26 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 22/13 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 1.71 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .211 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM TREVOR GRAHAM'S FIVE 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/10 - INTRASQUAD GAME
4/15 - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 7/0 GO/FO, 43 pitches (26 strikes)  
4/21 - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 33 pitches (24 strikes)  
4/26 - INTRASQUAD GAME 
5/2   - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 65 pitches (36 strikes)   
5/8   - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 2/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (30 strikes) 
5/15 - 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 4/1 GO/FO, 68 pitches (45 strikes)
TOTAL: 17.0 IP, 14 H, 4 R (3 ER), 5 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 15/12 GO/FO, 62% strikes, 1.59 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, .226 OppBA   

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

Gleyber Torres (three singles, a double, and a walk) and Shamil Ubiera (two singles, a triple, and a walk) combined to reach base nine times, collect six RBI, and score four runs, Tyler Alamo drilled an RBI double and an RBI single, and Jesse Hodges singled, tripled, scored two runs, and drove-in another, as the Cubs outlasted the Athletics 9-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Baseball Facility in Phoenix, AZ. 

In 23 Cactus League EXST games (91 PA), the 17-year old Torres is now hitting 291/378/392, with four doubles and two triples, 8 RBI, 8 runs scored, 9/17 BB/K, two HBP (and he tried to charge the mound on one of them), 2 SB (2 CS) and one PO, and ten errors (seven fielding and three throwing). 

After hitting 297/367/446 with 42 doubles, four triples, eight HR, and 97 RBI, 89 runs scored, 27 SB (14 CS), and a 43/83 BB/K in 134 games (569 PA) in the DSL 2012-13, the 21-year old Ubiera is now hitting 328/355/517 with seven doubles, two triples, a 3/5 BB/K, 1 SB (0 CS), 3 GIDP, and a team-leading 12 RBI in 18 Cactus League EXST games (62 PA). He has played all three OF positions for the EXST Cubs, and has commited two errors (both in LF) and he has one outfield assist (while playing RF).     

RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (on the Cubs 60-day DL - 2013 TJS) saw his first Cactus League EXST game action since April 14th (when he walked off the mound at Riverview Park in the middle of an AB after thowing 17 pitches), retiring all three batters he faced (4-3, F-9, P-3) on just 12 pitches. Fujikawa is eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day DL today, but he will require additional rehab work before he is ready to rejoin the Cubs (and that's presuming there are no further setbacks along the way).

Cubs 2013 5th round draft pick RHP Trey Masek (on Kane County 7-day DL) saw his first Cactus League EXST game action of 2014, but he was not as sharp as Fujikawa, surrendering a solo HR to the first batter he faced before walking two of the next three hitters. Masek was unable to complete his inning (21 pitches - only 9 strikes), and was relieved with two outs and a runner on 1st (the other baserunner had already been erased on a CS).       

RHP Erick Leal had a terrible outing, allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits and four walks in three innings of work (and the 71 pitches he logged in only 3.0 IP is not a typo). He struck out only one, and that was the last batter he faced.

RHP Trevor Graham was relaxing in a chair, charting the game from behind home plate, when he was called up to Daytona in the middle of the 7th inning. He was driven back to Riverview Park by the Strength & Conditioning coach so that he could catch a plane at Sky Harbor Airport ASAP.

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

Jeffrey Baez (RBI triple and RBI FC) and Eloy Jimenez (RBI double and RBI single) collected two RBI a piece to help the Cubs take a 7-1 lead, but Fernery Ozuna drove-in four runs with two two-run singles (one in the 5th and the other with two outs in the bottom of the 7th) as the Diamondbacks rallied to tie the Cubs 7-7 on Jackrabbit Field, and Everett Williams belted an RBI triple, singled, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, and Mark Thomas drilled an RBI single, tripled, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the D'backs to a 7-4 victory on Whirlwind Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Rony Rodriguez (RBI single and a two run HR) knocked in three runs and Shamil Ubiera drilled an RBI double, singled, and scored a run in a losing cause for the Cubs on Whirlwind Field.

Both games were pre-planned as seven-inning contests.

In EXST Cubs roster news, outfielders Casper Wells (back spasms) and Justin Ruggiano (hamstring) have completed their EXST rehabs and have been moved-up to AAA Iowa (Wells has been reinstated from Iowa's 7-day DL, and Ruggiano remains on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL and is assigned to Iowa on a Minor League Rehab Assignment), and RHPs Zak Hermans and Corbin Hoffner have been moved-up to Kane County from EXST, replacing RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (7-day DL - shoulder) and LHP Nathan Dorris (moved up to Daytona) on the KC roster. 

Wells hit 182/345/273 in seven Cactus League EXST games (29 PA), with two doubles, five BB, a HBP, and three K, while Ruggiano hit 154/214/231 in four Cactus League EXST games (14 PA), with a double, a walk, and three K. Ruggiano also clubbed two ringing doubles and stole 3rd base in Saturday's intrasquad game. 

THE PITCHING LINES FROM ZAK HERMANS' EIGHT 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/9  -  1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 20 pitches (12 strikes)
4/11 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4/15 - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 2/2 GO/FO, 25 pitches (14 strikes)
4/18 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
4/24 - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO, 32 pitches (22 strikes)
4/29 - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/4 GO/FO, 43 pitches (28 strikes)
5/5  -  3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 1 PO, 3/2 GO/FO, 46 pitches (30 strikes) 
5/13 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (18 strikes)  
TOTAL: 16.0 IP, 11 H, 4 R (4 ER), 5 BB, 13 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 GIDP, 18/15 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .196 OppBA

THE PITCHING LINES FROM CORBIN HOFFNER'S EIGHT 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/14 - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 41 pitches (27 strikes) 
4/18 - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4/21 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 9 pitches (6 strikes) 
4/26 - INTRASQUAD GAME  
4/29 - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes) 
5/3   - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (12 strikes) 
5/7   - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 4/1 GO/FO, 19 pitches (15 strikes) 
5/10 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 22 pitches (16 strikes)
5/16 - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 6/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (20 strikes)
TOTAL: 14.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 25/9 GO/FO, 73% strikes, 1.26 ERA, 0.42 WHIP, .109 OppBA  

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

Eloy Jimenez belted an RBI triple and Rony Rodriguez and Justin Marra drilled RBI singles to highlight a three-run 1st inning, Oliver Zapata, doubled, singled, and walked, and Erick Castillo smacked a pinch-hit solo home run, helping the Cubs defeat the Giants 5-3 on Field #5, and Kevin Brown tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Roney Alcala (RBI ground out & a two-run single) and Arnaldo Calero (two run-scoring doubles) drove-in three runs a piece as the Cubs rallied from a four-run deficit to tie the Giants 6-6 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Ryan Jones slugged a two-run HR, doubled and scored, and singled for the Giants on Field #6.

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST game rehabs, with Ruggiano playing RF with Squad "B" on Field #5 and Wells playing RF with Squad "A" on Field #6.

Ruggiano played RF for four innings and then moved to DH for one more inning, getting three Plate Appearances in the game. He struck out (swinging) in his first AB, drew a walk his second time up and then (apparently feeling a bit frisky) was thrown-out trying to steal, and he flied out to right in his third PA. He also commited an error, dropping a line-drive that was hit right at him (eventually leading to an unearned run scoring).  

Wells played RF for eight innings and went 1-3, with a pop out to 1st, a bloop double (he later scored), a line-out to CF, and a walk.    

Meanwhile, C-1B-3B Mark Malave is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting only RH (and actually has been for a while). Malave drives the ball with more authority RH. and from what I've seen so far, he does not appear to be adversely affected hitting RH versus RHP.

Last year OF Rashad Crawford gave up switch-hitting, opting to hit only LH (to take better advantage of his plus-speed), and that move has worked out well for him. 

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

Elliot Soto tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Eloy Jimenez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, leading the Cubs to a 9-5 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ. 

Raul Linares reached base four times (RBI triple, two singles, and a walk) for the Angels.

In 18 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (72 PA), Eloy Jimenez is hitting 221/250/279, with a team-leading nine RBI, plus four doubles and 3/19 BB/K. He has yet to homer in a Cactus League EXST game, although he has in Intrasquad games. 

Unlike the other top international prospect signed by the Cubs in 2013 (SS Gleyber Torres), Jimenez has no chance to make the Boise Hawks Opening Day roster, but he does stand a good chance to be in the AZL Cubs Opening Day lineup next month. 

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

Jorge Ortega tossed six shutout innings, Tucker Neuhaus (Brewers 2013 Supplemental 2nd round draft pick - Wharton HS - Tampa, FL) drilled two RBI doubles, singled, and scored a run, Edgardo Rivera reached base four times (a single and three walks), stole a base, and scored three runs, and Luis Aviles smacked a three-run home run, as the Brewers outlasted the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Jeffrey Baez walked twice, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run and Eloy Jimenez singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs. In 17 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (67 PA), Baez is hitting 345/433/500, with two doubles, two triples, one HR, 5 RBI, 8 RUNS, 9/8 BB/K, and 12 SB (0 CS), and he leads the team in OBP, SLG, SB, BB, and RUNS, is second only to the departed Matt Scioscia in AVG (Scioscia hit 348 in 26 PA), and is one of only three EXST Cubs players to hit a HR (Tyler Alamo and Rashad Crawford are the other two).    

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST rehab assignments in today's game, going a collective 0-8.

Ruggiano popped-out to short and flied out three times (including two near-HR hit to the warning track, one in left and the other in right-center), and Wells tapped back to the pitcher on a check-swing, popped out to the shortstop, lined-out to CF, and reached base on an E-5 (dropped infield pop fly).   

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

Timing has never been kind to the Cubs, and this "Party of the Century" is really, really unfortunate.

Bryant Flete reached base four times (two singles and two walks), knocked-in two runs, and scored another, and Casper Wells singled twice, walked, drove-in two runs, and scored another, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Nataniel Delgado (2012 NDFA - Dominican Republic - $280K bonus) clubbed a three-run home run to account for three of the four Angels runs.  

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs 15-day DL - hamstring) continued his EXST rehab, serving as a DH and batting three times. He laced a line-drive single to center and then later scored in the bottom of the 1st inning, grounded out 6-3 in his second AB, and flied out to the warning track in dead CF his last time up.  

Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) also continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for seven innings and reaching base in all three of his Plate Appearances (the aforementioned two singles and a walk). He was due to hit a fourth time in the bottom of the 8th, but he had already departed for the clubhouse by that time. He looks to be 100%, and so he may be rejoining Iowa very soon.  

RHP C. J. Edwards (AA Tennessee 7-day DL - shoulder fatigue) is at Riverview Park while awaiting the results of his latest MRI. He can participate in PFP drills, but he is not yet cleared to resume throwing.  

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

Jesse Hodges reached base three times (two-run double, RBI single, and a walk) and drove-in three runs and Charcer Burks belted an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Wilin Rosario (on Colorado Rockies MLB 15-day DL - viral infection) served as a DH and singled twice and hammered an RBI double for the Rockies in a losing cause.

OF Justin Ruggiano (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since 4/24) returned to game action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the RF bullpen in the 9th inning of the Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary Game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23rd, serving as a DH and getting four Plate Appearances. Facing RHP Tony Bryant in all four of his AB, Ruggiano struck out (swinging) his first two times up in the bottom of the 1st and bottom of the 2nd (and looked bad in the process), but then he smacked a lead-off double off the CF fence in the bottom of the 3rd inning, before grounding out 6-3 in his final AB in the 4th. He was definitely not running at fuil-speed (he was removed for a "designated pinch-runner" after his double), but then he wasn't limping, either.

RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) saw his first game action in more than a year, getting the start for the Cubs and pitching one inning (17 pitches). His fastball was clocked at only 89-90 MPH (he was peaking at 94 last year), but his two-seamer had good sink and his hard-slider was dive-bombing the lower part of the strike zone. 

Conway underwent "Tommy John Surgery" (TJS) after suffering a torn UCL in a game against Liberty University prior to being drafted by the Cubs (a "2nd round talent" who supposedly fell to the 4th round only because of the TJS), and after spending the 2012 season on the 60-day DL he came back strong and was without question the most-impressive pitcher at Minor League Camp in 2013. He continued his outstanding work into Extended Spring Training, and he appeared to be about ready to join the Kane County or Daytona starting rotation (he had thrown 5.0 IP and 80 pitches in his previous start), when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury (described at the time as a stress fracture) while pitching in an EXST game at the Brewers Maryvale Baseball Complex on May 4, 2013 (see link). 

In EXST Cubs roster news, veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro has been moved up to AA Tennessee from Extended Spring Training, where he will replace RHP Ivan Pineyro (placed on Tennessee 7-day DL with a forearm strain) in the Smokies starting rotation. The 35-year old Pineiro was signed as a free-agent by the Cubs on March 30th, and has spent the last six weeks at Riverview Park getting "stretched-out" as a starting pitcher. (Prior to signing with the Cubs, Pineiro hadn't pitched since playing winter ball in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico last off-season). 

Although it was announced at the time the Cubs signed Pineiro that he would be at Extended Spring Training for "about ten days" and then be assigned to AAA Iowa, it soon became clear that that just wasn't going to happen. For one thing, Pineiro really hasn't pitched that well (see below), and secondly, with Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler, and Tsuyoshi Wada filling the five slots, there is just no room for him in the I-Cubs rotation.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S SIX 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
5/9   - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 12/2 GO/FO, 77 pitches (50 strikes)
 
TOTAL: 28.2 IP, 33 H, 19 R (17 ER), 7 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 4 WP, 1 PO, 5 GIDP, 44/15 GO/FO, 72% strikes, 5.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .289 OppBA

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

 

The VSL Cubs begin their 68-game 2014 season tomorrow morning with a game against the VSL Phillies.

Jeffrey Baez led-off the game with a home run and then laced an RBI single and stole a base in his next AB, Jesse Hodges belted an RBI triple and scored a run, Gleyber Torres singled twice, knocked-in two runs, and scored another, and Tyler Ihrig fired four innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts and combined with three relievers to help the Cubs whitewash the Giants 6-0 on Field #2, and Craig Massoni drove-in three runs with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly and Carlos Valdez hammered a solo home run, leading the Giants to a 6-1 victory on Field #1, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.  

Slick-fielding AA Tennessee shortstop Elliot Soto (at Extended Spring Training while serving a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension) reached base four times (three singles and a walk) and stole a base in a losing cause on Field #1. 

OF Casper Wells (on AAA Iowa Cubs 7-day DL - back spasms) continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for six innings and getting three Plate Appearances (he was in the clean-up slot in the batting order on Field #2 and he batted only when his spot in the order was due to hit). Wells walked twice and grounded out 6-3.

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

Raul Linares rifled a single through the box to drive-in the tying run from 3rd base with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied for two runs in their final AB to tie the Cubs 3-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez singled twice and collected an RBI and Varonex Cuevas ripped an RBI triple and scored a run for the Cubs.

Casper Wells (Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued his EXST rehab, playing RF for five innings and batting once in each of the first five innings. He went 0-5, getting called out on strikes in both the 1st and 2nd innings (in both cases strike three was a knee-buckling curve thrown by Angels 2013 3rd round draft pick RHP Keynan Middleton), before grounding out 5-3 in the 3rd, and flying out in the 4th and 5th innings. 

After LHP Michael Heesch (Daytona 7-day DL) made his 2014 game debut with a 1-2-3 five-pitch bottom of the 1st inning (6-3, F-9, P-4), veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro took the hill and threw the next six innings (77 pitches) for the Cubs, allowing one run on six hits (four singles and two doubles) and a walk, with five strikeouts. Pineiro also induced three inning-ending double plays, as he really had the sinker working today (12/2 GO/FO).   

There was a somewhat larger crowd than normal at today's game, although some of the fans were clearly there to watch Angels OF Josh Hamilton (15-day DL - torn ligament in thumb) run the bases and field fly balls and grounders on an adjacent field. 

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

Christhian Perez tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball in relief, Robert Martinez hammered an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, Chris Wolfe drilled two RBI singles, and Brett Vertigan smacked a solo home run, leading the Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Rashad Crawford belted an RBI triple and a single, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

RHPs Trevor Graham and Erick Leal "piggy-backed" for the Cubs and threw a combined 7.2 IP, allowing all five runs (four earned), 10 hits (including two doubles, two triples, and a home run), and two walks, with nine strikeouts. 

The way things are playing out so far at EXST, it appears very likely that Graham and Leal will form 2/5 of the Boise starting rotation when the NWL season commences next month, with LHP Tyler Ihrig and RHPs Trevor Clifton and Zak Hermans being other 3/5 (at least until one or two of the better college pitchers selected by the Cubs in next month's First-Year Player Draft get stretched-out to start). 

The Cubs have now lost six straight Cactus League EXST games, and after thirty games (halfway through the Cactus League Extended Spring Training schedule), the Cubs record stands at 11-18-1. 

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

Emerson Jimenez (2012 NDFA - Dominican Republic - $275K bonus) stroked a two-run single and David Bergin and Miguel Dilone followed with RBI triples to highlight a four-run 3rd inning, Hamlet Marte belted an RBI triple in the 6th and doubled and scored in the 8th, Marcos Derkes collected three hits, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in another, and Ryan Garvey blasted a two-run home run, leading the Rockies to a 9-6 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action thiis morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Kevin Brown (a double and three walks) and Zak Blair (two singles and two walks) reached base four times a piece for the Cubs in a losing cause. (The Cubs left 11 men on base and had three runners thrown out on the bases).

The two teams combined to commit nine errors, including six by the Cubs and three by the Rockies.

Casper Wells (back spasms) continued his EXST rehab, serving as a DH and batting five times (once in each of the first five innings). He drew a two-out walk in the 1st inning, reached base on an HBP in the 2nd, lined out to 2nd base in the 3rd, ripped a two-run double down the LF line in the 4th and then later scored on a Ricardo Marcano RBI single, and struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 slider (from a LHP) in the 5th. 

In EXST roster news, OF Jorge Soler (hamstring) has completed his rehab assignment at Extended Spring Training and will be rejoining AA Tennessee. In seven EXST Cactus League games (34 Plate Appearances), Soler hit 179/265/214 with five hits (four singles and a double), one walk, three HBP, five strikeouts, two sacrifice flies, five RBI, and one stolen base. 

Also, RHP Michael Wagner has been moved up to Kane County from Extended Spring Training. The 22-year old 6'4 200 Wagner was the Cubs 15th round pick in last June's MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of San Diego, where he was the USD closer, second-team All-American, and a teammate of Cubs mega-prospect Kris Bryant. 

THE PITCHING LINES FROM MICHAEL WAGNER'S FIVE 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/14 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/4 GO/FO, 24 pitches (15 strikes)
4/18 - 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 23 pitches (15 strikes) 
4/21 - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/FO, 38 pitches (20 strikes)
4/26 - INTRASQUAD GAME
4/29 - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (12 strikes)  
5/2   - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (20 strikes)
TOTAL: 9.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 10 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 7/10 GO/FO, 62% strikes, 1.92 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .222 OppBA

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

Gabriel Sanchez belted a bases-clearing three-run double to cap a four-run 7th inning, and Justin Higley singled twice, stole two bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, as the Athletics rallied to defeat the Cubs 5-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Jeffrey Baez had three hits and Varonex Cuevas smacked a triple and an RBI single for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab) is still at Extended Spring Training, and (just like yesterday) he played RF for all nine innings in today's game. He had four Plate Appearances in the game, hitting a check-swing dribbler back to the pitcher on a 3-0 pitch in his first AB in the bottom of the 1st inning, walked on four pitches in the 4th, grounded out 5-3 in the 7th, and (representing the tying run) lined-out to right with runners on 1st & 2nd and out out in the 9th.  

Veteran MLB OF Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL) returned to game action today after missing about six weeks with knee and back issues. He batted five times in the game--once in each of the first five innings, going 1-4 with two infield pop outs, two fly outs (one of which was a run-producing sacrifice fly), and a line-drive single. For a player who has missed as much time as he has, he showed plus bat-speed and really nailed the ball with authority in three of his five AB, and showed good speed on the bases, too.

Wells was an NRI outfielder at Cubs MLB Spring Training, and probably would have been the Opening Day RF at Iowa if he hadn't started the season on the DL. He also probably would have been the logical candidate to replace Justin Ruggiano when Ruggiano went on the DL with his hamstring injury last month, because Ruggiano and Wells are very similar-type players. 

RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) and RHP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from Arizona in the Tony Campana deal) were scheduled to throw "live" BP on Field #5 prior to the game on Field #6. Both pitchers warmed up in the Field #5 bullpen, and while Castillo did throw his two "innings" (40 pitches total - 20 pitches in each inning), Fujikawa returned to the clubhouse after completing his warm-ups and did not throw BP.   

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

Chad Thompson and three relievers combined to toss a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts and Tucker Neuhaus singled, walked twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, as the Brewers celebrated "Cinco de Mayo" with a 6-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Maryvale Baseball Park Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix, AZ.

Jorge Soler drove-in both Cub runs with a 1st inning F-8 sacrifice fly to the warning track in CF and a 3rd inning two-out RBI ground-single through the box, and Rashad Crawford reached base three times (two BB and an HBP), stole two bases, and scored both Cub runs. 

Soler also struck out (swinging) on a 2-2 breaking ball in the 5th and grounded out 6-3 in the 8th.

In 30 Plate Appearances over six Cactus League EXST games, Soler is hitting 200/267/240 with five hits (four singles and a double), five RBI, two sacrifice flies, no walks, three HBP, six strikeouts, and one stolen base.   

Julio Pena smacked a three-run home run off Joel Pineiro and RHP Chris Johnson threw four innings of one-run ball and struck out six (including Jorge Soler twice), leading the Giants to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs on Field #6, and Will Callaway, Brad Moss, and Fernando Pujadas stroked RBI doubles as the Giants edged the Cubs 6-5 on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Jeffrey Baez laced an RBI triple and a double and scored a run and RHP Trevor Clifton threw 2.2 IP of shutout relief with five strikeouts in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #5, and Mark Malave accounted for both Cub runs on Field #6 with an RBI double and an RBI single.

Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab) played RF for seven innings on Field #6 and batted six times, once in each of the first six innings, He struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the 1st, was called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch in the 2nd, bounced-out 6-3 in the 3rd, roped a line-drive single to left (and then stole 2nd base!) in the 4th, reached base on an HBP (he was hit on the right inner elbow) in the 5th (his 3rd HBP in five EXST games this week), and then he struck out (swinging) on a pitch over his head in his final AB in the 6th.

While he is still a bit rusty at the plate (he is hitting only 182/269/227 with no walks, five strikeouts, three HBP, and four hits--three singles and a double--in 26 EXST PA), he is running and playing outfield defense without any apparent difficulty, and so today could very well be the end of his EXST rehab. So don't be surprised if he is back with AA Tennessee by Monday. 

35-year old veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro was the starting pitcher for the Cubs on Field #6, his fifth EXST outing since signing with the Cubs on March 30th. Pineiro worked five innings (62 pitches), allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits (three singles, a double, and the Pena three-run HR), and two walks. He struck out only one, but had a 10/4 GO/FO.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S FIVE 2014 EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
TOTAL: 22.2 IP, 27 H, 18 R (16 ER), 6 BB, 17 K, 1 HR, 3 WP, 2 GIDP, 32/13 GO/FO, 70% strikes, 6.35 ERA, 1.46 WHIP

Both games were stopped by mutual-agreement after 7-1/2 innings.

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

Shilo McCall lined a walk-off two-run double into the left-centerfield alley with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to cap a three-run rally as the Giants edged the Cubs 4-3 on Field #1, and Arnaldo Calero looped an RBI single over the second-baseman's head into short right field to tie the game in the top of the 8th and Tyler Alamo shot a sharp grounder through the box into CF for what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 9th, as the Cubs derailed the Giants 2-1 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

RHPs Erick Leal and Trevor Graham were the starting pitchers for the Cubs, and both threw three innings of shutout ball. Leal had the more-impressive outing of the two because he had to pitch around two errors, striking out four and inducing two timely DP grounders to get out of trouble. RHP Luis Hernandez "piggybacked" with Leal and also threw three innings (the three middle innings) on Field #1, although he did surrender a run, two hits, and three walks.  

Jorge Soler continued his EXST rehab assignment with Squad "A" on Field #2, playing RF for five innings and getting a total of five Plate Appearances (one in each of the first five innings). He went hitless in the game, although he did reach base once. Specifically he grounded out 6-3 in the 1st inning, was called out on strikes (a three-pitch AB) in the 2nd, reached base after being hit by a pitch (left shoulder) in the 3rd, grounded out 6-3 again the 4th, and flied out to the warning track in front of the Batter's Eye in CF (400+ feet from home plate) in the 5th.

In four EXST games this week, Soler has totaled 20 Plate Appearances. He is 3-17 with an RBI double (line drive into the LF corner) and two singles (both ground singles, one of which drove-in a run), two fly outs (one of which was an RBI sacrifice fly), ten ground outs (all ten being one or two-hop choppers hit to the left-side of the infield), and he reached base on an E-1. He has struck out twice (once swinging and once looking), and he has reached base twice on an HBP (he was hit in the lower back and on the left shoulder). He has yet to draw a walk  He has played RF twice (both times for five innings), and he does not appear to be favoring his right leg while running, although he has been just jogging to 1st base on the ground outs. 

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

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