Dwayne Kemp

AZL Cubs Rally for Opening Day Victory

Dwayne Kemp ripped an RBI single to drive-in Robert Bautista with the game-wining run, as the AZL Cubs rallied with three runs in the bottom of the 9th to defeat the AZL Angels 6-5 in Arizona League (AZL) Opening Day action at Fitch Park on Sunday. Kemp also clubbed an RBI triple earlier in the game, and Bautista drove in three runs with a squeeze bunt, a FC grounder, and a single, while also stealing three bases.


20-year old 2B D. J. Fitzgerald had a memoraable pro debut, going 4-4 with two doubles, two runs scored, and a stolen base. The Cubs 22nd round pick in the 2009 Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) out of Dyersburg State CC, "DJ Fitz" was a star baseball player at Ocean Lakes HS in Virginia Beach, VA. He signed an NLI with Georgia Southern, but ended up at a Tennessee JC instead.

20-year old RHP Toby Matchulat got the start for the AZL Cubs, and was stellar, throwing four shutout innings (7/1 GO/FO), while allowing just two harmless singles and no walks, with four strikeouts. Matchulat just missed making the Boise Opening Day roster, after having an impressive Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park. An 11th round pick out of Wabash Valley JC in 2008, the lanky 6'5 right-hander struggled big-time with his command in his pro debut last year (29 BB in 18.2 IP), but he has really turned it around this year. Kudos to AZL Cubs Pitching Coach Rick Tronerud and Minor Leagure Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins for helping Matchulat find a better arm slot and a more consistent release point.

Berg and Carrillo Get Rehab Work at EXST

Sean Hoorelbeke slammed a double off the right-centerfield fence with two outs in the top of the 8th, scoring Chris Weimer from 1st base with the go-ahead run, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A's 3-2 in a rematch at the A's Minor League Complex Field #2 at Papago Park in Phoenix this morning.   

EXST Cubs Face Kelvim Escobar at Diablo Park

Dwayne Kemp drove in the go-ahead runs with a line drive two-run single to right-center in the top of the 11th, but the EXST Cubs could not hold the lead, as the EXST Angels rallied with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, as the Cubs and Angels played to a 4-4 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning.

The other offensive highlight for the Cubs was provided over the course of an inning by speedy Dominican lead-off hitter Jose Valdez, who reached base after being hit by a pitch to lead-off the top of the 5th, and then proceeded to steal 2nd, 3rd, and home.

For all you Angels fans out there (and you know who you are), RHSP Kelvim Escobar (on the 60-day DL after undergoing shoulder surgery) made a rehab start for the EXST Angels, throwing 1.2 IP (30 pitches) and retiring all five men he faced on three ground outs, a line drive, and a strikeout. 

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

Ten Extra-Base Hits Do the Trick for Cubs at Fitch Park

Dwayne Kemp had three hits (including two triples) and drove in four runs, Chris Weimer slugged three doubles and drove-in three runs, Logan Watkins had three hits and two RBI, and Kevin Soto had three hits and an outfield assist, leading the EXST Cubs to a 12-3 drubbing of the EXST Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot & sunny Mesa.

A native of Rotterdam, Kemp was the second player signed by the Cubs out of the MLB European Baseball Academy (Italian RHP Alessandro Maestri was the first) and was a member of the Team Netherlands provisional roster for the WBC, and like Cubs 2B Mike Fontenot, the 5'8 might-mite really packs some punch. Both of Kempy's triples today were opposite field shots slammed off the right-centerfield fence.

20-year old Venezuelan RHP Robert Hernandez, who is at EXST rehabbing from a sprained ankle suffered in a game at Papago Park the last week of Minor League Camp, pitched two innings today and showed no ill effects. Several of his family and friends were at the game today, and he looks to be about ready to move up to Daytona.  

And LHP Chris Siegfried, who was left at Fitch Park at the end of Minor League Camp to work on his mechanics and revamp his delivery, has been promoted to Peoria.

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

Pie Tastes Bitter

Felix Pie went 2-3 with a lead-off first-pitch double roped down the RF line, a bases loaded RBI walk on a 3-2 pitch, a grand slam HR hammered over the CF fence, and a hard-hit 4-3 GO, as the AZL Cubs thumped the AZL Royals 18-1 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot and sunny Mesa. 

box score

So do I really think Pie was sent to Fitch Park to "rehab" a "sprained thumb"?


A's Extenze Rally to Defeat Cubs at Fitch Park

Marcus Hatley retired the first 11 men he faced, Mark Pawelek threw 2.1 innings of shutout ball, and Dwayne Kemp belted his team-leading third home run, but the EXST A's rallied to defeat the EXST Cubs 7-5 in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

Killer Bees Lead Cubs to Victory

Robert Hernandez threw three hitless innings and Dwayne Kemp drove in three runs with a sac fly, a triple, and a home run, leading the EXST Cubs to a 9-4 victory over the EXST Giants in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.   

Recent comments

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  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, AJackson, Castro, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.