Cubs Minors

Victor Caratini blasted a two-run home run, doubled, singled twice, walked, and scored four runs, Jordan Hankins knocked-in four runs with three run-scoring singles, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and doubled, scored twice, and drove-in a run, Chesny Young laced a bases-loaded three-run triple and a single, and Johan Matos belted a solo home run and singled, in an AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

The game was played at "Cubs Park" (home to the AZL Cubs and the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL, and the Chicago Cubs during Spring Training in March).

Collecting 17 hits (including three doubles, a triple, and a home run), Team Gonzalez evened-up the "Cubs World Series" at two games a piece with a 15-5 drubbing of Team Johnson. 

Eloy Jimenez left the game after being hit on the left arm by an Erick Leal fastball. 

Several of the Cubs young sluggers competed in the annual Cubs Instructs Home Run Derby on Field #2 prior to the game, and Billy McKinney edged out Scott Frazier to take home the title. 

Frazier is a pitcher, but the 6'7 fireballer was a two-way player (pitcher/outfielder) in HS, and he showed that he still knows how to swing the lumber, clubbing several prodigious shots onto the street beyond the LF fence ("Cubs Way') during the course of the contest. He then threw a 1-2-3 7th inning in the game that followed. 

Here is the box score from today's game:

Mark Zagunis singled twice, doubled, walked, stole a base, drove-in his team's lone run, and threw out a runner at the plate, in an AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #4 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Although they were outhit, Team Gonzalez took advantage of three errors, six walks, an HBP, and a PB, to edge Team Johnson 2-1 in Game 3 of the "Cubs World Series." Team Johnson now leads the series, two games to one.

Here is the box score from the game:

Kyle Schwarber ripped a double and an RBI single and scored a run, Charlie White belted an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, and Mark Zagunis singled twice, scored a run, drove-in another, and stole a base, in a seven-inning AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #1 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Trevor Clifton and three relievers combined to toss a three-hit shut out, as Team Johnson blanked Team Gonzalez 7-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the "Cubs World Series." 

For some reason, Cubs coaches wanted Scott Frazier to face only LH hitters in his one inning of work, so the lineup was adjusted to accomodate the plan. Frazier has what some in the Cub organization believe to be the best pure stuff in the system, but the big right-hander from Pepperdine has struggled to throw strikes going all the way back to Minor League Camp in March. The Cubs have tried almost everything to try and fix the problem, with facing only LH hitters being the latest attempt.    

Here is the box score from today's game:

Kyle Schwarber singled, doubled, and scored a run, Mark Zagunis ripped an RBI double and scored and drove-in another run with a sacrifice fly, and Charcer Burks singled twice and walked, in a seven-inning AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #1 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The contest was game one in a five game intrasquad "Cubs World Series" to be played at Riverview Park this week, between the "Northside Rooftops" and the "Wrigley Field Ivy," each team chosen by draft by the two managers (Jimmy Gonzalez and Mark Johnson). Team Johnson won today's game by a score of 3-1.

Gioskar Amaya got the start at catcher for Team Gonzalez, and handled himself well behind the plate for the four innings he spent there. (Amaya is in the Catcher Conversion Program at Instructs). He then moved to 3rd base for the final three innings and made the defensive play of the game, a run-saving stop & throw to end the top of the 5th. Amaya had a fine day offensively, too, with a line-drive double into the LF corner, a walk, and a stolen base.   

Kevin Encarnacion played RF for Team Johnson, his first game action since suffering a near career-ending shoulder injury and 3rd degree burns in a car crash in the Dominican Republic last December. He (understandably) looked rusty both in the field and at the plate, committing an error on a ground single to right (he bobbled the ball, allowing a baserunner to advance from 2nd to 3rd), and he went 0-3 at the plate with two strikeouts (both swinging) and a weak infield pop out. Probably because of the injuries he sustained in the car crash, Encarnacion is now hitting only left-handed (he previously had been a switch-hitter). In his one AB batting LH against a LH pitcher (Jordan Minch), Encarnacion struck out on three pitches. 

The Cubs are not playing games against other MLB organizations at Instructs this year, instead opting to spend more time on morning field instruction & afternoon classroom training. Players attending Instructs are also spending some of their off hours researching the history of the Cubs, and presenting the information they learn to the the other players. 

Most of the Cub brass are in attendance at Instructs this week, including Team President Theo Epstein, Executive VP & GM Jed Hoyer, and Senior VP & Scoutng/Player Development Director Jason McLeod.

Here is the box score from today's game:

Iowa

C - Mark Johnson, Chris Robinson

INF - Andres Blanco, Matt Matulia, Luis Rivas, Nate Spears, Bobby Scales, Jake Fox

OF - Sam Fuld, Doug Deeds, So Taguchi, Jason Dubois, Brad Snyder

SP - Jose Ascanio, Mitch Atkins, Esmalian Caridad, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells

RP - Justin Berg, Jessie Estrada, Chad Fox, Kevin Hart, J.R. Mathes, Greg Reinhard, Jeff Stevens, Jason Waddell

That starting rotation is according to the press release and it mentions that Mitch Atkins will get Iowa's opening day start. Also, Triple A and Double A rosters should max out at 24 (according to AZ Phil at least) so there's a good chance two players are headed to the DL right away unless there's been a rule change. Then of course, why wouldn't they just sit back in extended spring training?

Besides re-signing free-agent RHP Chad Fox to a minor league contract, the Cubs have signed three minor league free-agents in recent days, including one player who (as things stand now) actually has a legitimate chance to make the Cubs 2009 Opening Day Roster.

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