Josh Vitters

Tsuyoshi Wada fired five innings of shutout ball with seven strikeouts, Javier Baez collected three hits and three RBI, and Josh Vitters ripped a solo HR and an RBI double, as the AAA Iowa Cubs defeated the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) 7-1 on Field #6, and C. J. Edwards and four relievers combined to toss a two-hitter and Rubi Silva stroked an RBI single and an RBI double, stole a base, and scored a run, leading the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) to a 4-1 victory over the Arkansas Travelers (LAA AA affiliate) on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Albert Almora laced an opposite-field RBI triple into the RF corner and then scored one out later on a sacrifice fly, Josh Vitters roped an RBI double, and Jose Rosario threw four innings of one-hit ball, helping the Cubs edge the Athletics 4-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 (formerly known as "Field #3") in Mesa, AZ. 

Almora (the Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick) saw his first game action in more than six weeks, since having hand surgery on March 16th (he broke his hamate bone at Minor League Camp on March 14th). He was a DH and hit five times in today's game, once in each of the first five innings. He lined out to CF in his first AB, then bounced out to third, reached base on an E-5 (another bouncer that the A's third-baseman tried to cut-off in front of the shortstop), ripped his RBI triple (and then he tore his pants and got a pretty good "raspberry" on his left thigh sliding home on the sac fly), and (in his last AB) grounded out to short. 

Josh Conway got the start for the Cubs and went five strong innings (80 pitches), allowing two runs on four hits (all four singles) and two walks, while striking out six (five swinging). He retired nine of the first ten men he faced and then four of the last five, but in between he gave up two runs on four hits in the top of the 4th. The way he is being stretched out makes it look like the Cubs might be thinking about moving him up to Kane County or Daytona in the near future.

Jose Rosario followed Conway to the mound and threw four innings of one-hit ball (although he did walk three). He surrendered a lead-off triple in the top of the 9th, but looked like he would get out of the inning and leave the runner stranded at 3rd after retiring the next two hitters. However, a two-out fielding error by 1st baseman Mark Malave allowed the runner at 3rd to score. Rosario looks like he might be about ready to move up to either Kane County or Daytona, too.


Eric Aybar (on an injury rehab assignment) singled and walked and scored two runs, Quentin Davis punched-out three RBI singles, and Jonathan Walsh belted a solo HR, as the Angels rallied to defeat the Cubs 7-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Dillon Maples got the start for the Cubs and allowed one run on two hits and two walks in three innings of work (50 pitches). He also struck out five and threw a wild pitch. His hammer-curve was virtually unhittable (as it usually is), and he was able to command his fastball somewhat better today than in previous outings.  

Josh Vitters continued his EXST rehab assignment, playing 3B for seven innings and batting five times. He flied out twice, grounded out, and reached base on an Eric Aybar error and on an HBP, and he also made an outstanding double-saving backhanded diving catch on the 3rd base line. He certainly looks like he's ready to return to Iowa.

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

Josh Vitters singled twice and ripped an RBI double, Carlos Penalver doubled twice, scored a run, and knocked-in another, Trey Lang tossed three innings of no-run no-hit ball, and catcher Lance Rymel threw out five baseruners (four caught stealing and one picked-off), as the Cubs edged the Rockies 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Vitters was placed on the AAA Iowa Cubs DL with a back strain earlier this month, and before that he missed most of MLB Spring Training with a quad strain. He is presently on a rehab assignment with the EXST Cubs, and he played 1st base for five innings today and batted four times (once each in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings). All three of his hits were rockets, and even the F-7 out was a near HR. (He also played 3rd base in yesterday's intrasquad game -- see below).   

Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (broken hamate bone during Minor League Camp) has started taking pre-game BP with the other position players, so I would think he will probably be seeing some EXST game action very soon, and then perhaps get moved-up to Kane County sometime next month.

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

So pretty much out of nowhere yesterday, the Cubs decided to promote Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. In a lost season, where getting the #1 draft pick is more important than winning 70 games, I'm all for going with the youth movement. Now when the Cubs were keeping Rizzo in the minors to delay his shot at free agency, TheJedi were spouting that they like their prospects to get a full 162 games at the Triple A level. Rizzo ended up with 163 between his time in Tuscon and Iowa to the tune of a 336/405/670 slash line. There was another factor and that was the play of Bryan LaHair, who after a red hot April deserved all the chances in the world to keep his spot. Yeah, they could have moved him to the outfield sooner, but between LaHair's early play, Rizzo's long-term future and that the Cubs were going to suck regardless, it was a wise decision to keep Rizzo in Iowa.

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.


Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com's minor league guy is running a list of top 10 prospects for each position in the minors leading up to his top 50 minor league prospects that will air on Tuesday on the MLB network. It appears he's gone through everything but the pitchers so far and two Cubs can be found - Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.

Josh Vitters homered, singled, walked, and knocked-in three runs, and Ryan Flaherty singled twice, doubled, scored twice, and drove-in a run, helping to lead the Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs, Angels, Mets, Phillies, and Pirates) to a 15-1 drubbing of the Peoria Saguaros (Padres, Rays, Reds, Twins, and White Sox) in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa. Vitters slugged his dinger (a two-run blast) over the 390-foot sign in left-center, and also made several fine defensive plays at 3B during the course of the game. 

The Cubs and the A’s Split Squad #1 squared-off in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon, in a game that was halted due to a sudden, torrential rain storm after three innings, with the Cubs ahead 1-0. And it was a real gully-washer, too, as much of Mesa (including Fitch Park) was under water within minutes.


The Cubs scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the 1st inning. Logan Watkins lined a one-out double into the RF corner, advanced to 3rd base on a WP, and scored on a Josh Vitters sacrifice fly to the warning track in LF. (Vitters once again got the start at 1st base, and handled his one and only chance without incident).

Hak-Ju Lee ripped a double and a triple, drove-in three runs, and scored another, Gioskar Amaya had three hits (two singles and a triple), two RBI, and two runs scored, and five pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts, as the Cubs blanked the A’s Split Squad #1 7-0 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.


The game was halted with two outs in the top of the 9th after a severe thunderstorm came roaring into Mesa, causing BP screens and tarps to fly across Fitch Park amidst high winds, heavy rain, and lightning & thunder, as the Cubs ran for their clubhouse, the umpires hot-footed it for their dressing room, the A’s loaded up their gear (and themselves) into their two maxi-vans, and the scouts in attendance made a beeline for their cars parked in the lot across the street.

A. J. Kirby-Jones smashed a grand slam home run to power the A’s Split Squad #1 to a 6-0 whitewashing of the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #3 in Phoenix this morning.

Xavier Batista smashed a solo HR and threw a runner out at the plate, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Angels in AZ Instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this afternoon.

Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick Reggie Golden slugged a two-run HR over the LF scoreboard and onto 8th Street to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th, but the Brew Crew rallied for four in the 8th as the Cubs and Brewers played to a 7-7 tie in the Cubs 2010 AZ Instructional League opener at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.


There are 47 Cubs minor leaguers participating in Instructs at Fitch Park (22 pitchers, five catchers, 12 infielders, and eight outfielders), including eight players who are making their U. S. debut after spending the 2010 season playing in the Dominican Summer League, four draft picks and one non-drafted free-agent who signed too late to get into game action in August, and one Korean bonus baby. Also among the 47 is Cubs 3B prospect Josh Vitters, who is at Instructs rehabbing his broken hand and preparing for play in the Arizona Fall League next month.


Two of the newcomers made their pro debut in today's game, as LHP Casey Harman (2010 29th round draft pick out of Clemson) threw 1.1 IP of hitless shutout ball, walking one while striking out two, and catcher Max Kwan (2010 NDFA - U. of Washington) went 1-3 with a single and an RBI.


Harman was Clemson's #1 starter ("Friday night starter") in 2010 and beat #1 ranked Arizona State at the College World Series in June. Although he was selected in the 29th round, Harman received a $150,000 bonus (equivalent to "5th round" money) when he signed with the Cubs at the August 16th deadline.


Kwan suffered through an injury-plagued college career at Tulane and then later at Washington, but he has good size for a catcher (6'3 220), and helps provide depth at the catching position going into the 2011 season.


The Cubs will be playing a 21-game AZ instructional League schedule, with the last game on October 16th (they play every day Monday-Saturday up through 10/16, with no games on Sundays).


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

Brad Snyder crushed a game-winning two-run double off the CF Batter's Eye in the bottom of the 9th, scoring Bobby Scales from second base with the tying run and Sam Fuld from first with the winning run, as the Cubs edged the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7 in Cactus League action in front of 11,775 fans under sunny skies (65 degrees) at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.


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