On an injury rehab assignment in Mesa, AZ, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto went hitless in five plate appearances this morning in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played at Fitch Park.
Soto, who was seeing his first game action in two weeks after suffering a groin strain in a game on May 10th, was the starting catcher and got five at bats in the game played on Field #2 (there was another game played simultaneously on Field #3), batting third in each of the first five innings. He looked a bit rusty at the plate, bouncing out 5-3 in the 1st inning, popping out to the first-baseman in foul territory in the 2nd, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 3rd, getting called out on strikes in the 4th, and striking out swinging in the bottom of the 5th. Also two Rockies base-runners stole 2nd base while Soto was behind the plate.
As far as the games were concerned, one squad of EXST Cubs and one squad of EXST Rockies played to a 1-1 tie on Field #2, while the other squad of Rockies defeated the other squad of Cubs 5-2 on Field #3.
The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.
We've had a bit of a discussion lately about back-up catchers with the trading away of Robinson Chirinos, the signing of Max Ramirez and the head-scratching re-upping of Koyie Hill via the arbitraton process. Reader WISCGRAD put together a spreadsheet of catchers by Baseball Reference's WAR values which does include a defensive component.
-- The I-Cubs' Andrew Cashner was named PCL Pitcher of the Week. That's what winning two starts while allowing one run and just eight hits over 13 innings will do for you. And let's not forget: he won the second of those games while dealing with the pressure of having TCR's very own Mike Wellman in the stands.
-- The Giants fan site, 22gigantes, pointed me to an mlb.com article in which the 30 MLB clubs were ranked for drafting success, based on All-Star appearances, Cy Young Awards, etc., won by their draftees in recent years. Cub draftees earned six such awards—four All-Star appearances plus ROY Awards for Kerry Wood and Geovany Soto—which tied the team for 11th place with the Giants, Marlins, and Cardinals.
The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven tries as the Marlins scored three times in the 7th inning to overcome a 2-1 Cub lead and go on to win 4-2 at Wrigley Field.
You wouldn't think a team could pack so much failure into a simple 4-2 loss, but well...
This afternoon at Wrigley, when Rich Harden goes up against former teammate Jason Marquis, Geo Soto will make his first start since last Tuesday in Houston, and while Lou Piniella says Aramis Ramirez's back is getting better, he adds "one more day [of rest] won't do any harm."
As for Milton Bradley, Paul Sullivan reports:
Bradley is still projected back by the weekend,
though Piniella said Bradley told him he's feeling better, "though he
still feels (the groin strain) somewhat."
On the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut 62 years ago, Bradley is also the subject of a long piece by Gordon Wittenmyer about the sad history of race-baiting by Cubs fans.
Update: Paul Sullivan reports in the Tribune that Soto underwent an MRI today and has "minor inflammation in the biceps area." He will not be going on the DL.
Soto is likely to sit out the Friday and Saturday games in Milwaukee and "possibly all three depending on how he feels this weekend." Aaron Miles will be the designated emergency catcher behind Koyie Hill while Soto recovers.
Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs and reached base four times on two singles and two wallks, Milton Bradley had three hits including a double and a solo home run, and Geovany Soto drove in two runs with a double and a sacrifice fly, leading the Cubs to a hard-fought 9-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies this afternoon in front of a record Ho Ho Kam Park crowd of 13,298.