Esmailin Caridad

The regular seasons for the Latin Winter Leagues in Venezuela (VWL), Mexico (LMP), Puerto Rico (PWL), and the Dominican Republic (DWL) close this weekend, and the playoffs will start next month. Then the four league champions will meet in the Caribbean Series in Hermosillo, Mexico, the first week of February (just prior to the start of MLB Spring Training).


About 30 Cubs (both major leaguers and minor leaguers) are playing winter ball in Latin America, and the following are seven of the better performances:


LHP Marcos Perez threw four shutout innings and DH Jae-Hoon Ha homered and doubled, but the EXST Angels scored two in the 5th, three in the 7th, and two more in the 8th, to defeat the EXST Cubs 7-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


With four more shutout innings today, Perez has now thrown 14-1/3 innings of shutout ball in six Extended Spring Training outings (2 GS), allowing just five hits and one walk in those 14.1 IP, while striking out 15. He also has a 17/10 GO/FO ratio, has averaged just 11.5 Pitches-Per-Inning, and has thrown 73% of his pitches strikes. I would say the Cubs pitching prospect Perez most-closely resembles is Peoria LHSP Jeffry Antigua, except Perez has better control.

Bobby Wagner drove-in three runs with a solo home run and a two-run double and Albert Hernandez had two hits and two RBI, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the EXST Giants in an abbreviated eight-inning game on Field #2, while over on Field #1, Austin Kirk struck out six (including Freddy Sanchez twice) in three innings of work, but the other squad of EXST Giants rallied late to defeat the other squad of EXST Cubs 7-5 in a game that was stopped after seven innings, as the Cubs and Giants played an Extended Spring Training doubleheader at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this morning. As per usual, the games were played simultaneously.


Cubs RHP Esmailin Caridad saw his first game action since being placed on the 15-day DL with a strained forearm on April 12th, working 1.2 IP on Field #2. Caridad threw 19 pitches (11 strikes) and allowed no runs or hits, but he did walk two. He struck out one Giants hitter (swinging), while getting another three outs on a pop-up to the catcher in foul territory, a fly-out to deep CF, and a ground-out to SS. (The 5th out was a CS). Caridad continued to pitch even after he recorded the third out (getting five outs total in the inning), because he had thrown only 11 pitches up to that point, and the Cubs wanted him to throw at least 15-20 pitches, but only pitch one inning. Caridad appeared to have good velocity on his fastball, but his control was spotty.


The Giants also had a big leaguer on a rehab assignment playing in one of the games, as 2B Freddy Sanchez (who is at Extended Spring Training rehabbing from shoulder and knee surgeries) played 2nd base and hit third in every inning on Field #1. Sanchez struck out twice against Cubs 2009 3rd round pick LHP Austin Kirk, once in the 1st inning (on three pitches) and then again in the 3rd. He lined a single to CF off Kirk in the 2nd. Then in three AB against RHP Jose Rosario, Sanchez walked, grounded out to SS, and lined out to third, before completing his day by stroking an F-7 SF against RHP Tzu-An Wang in the 7th (the game continued after the Giants had scored the winning run in the 7th, in order to give Sanchez another AB).


Cubs OF Runey Davis left the game on Field #2 after getting hit flush on the knee with a pitch. He stayed in the game initially and ran the bases (more like limped around the bases), but he was replaced in the field at the start of the next inning.

The first in-season roster move was annouced as Esmailin Caridad will go to the disabled list for sucking, a forearm strain with Jeff Gray getting called up. I updated the bullpen chart on the right with the green indicating Gray's appearances in the minors. Derrek Lee takes the day off with the sore right thumb, conveniently on day when Dave Bush is pitching, whom Lee is 5/31 against in his career against with a .413 OPS.

Lineups after the jump...

Nearly 7 innings of great baseball from the pitching and defense, ruined in 4 batters. That was a debacle deep-fried in a disaster served with a chaser of Cubbery. 

Tyler Colvin went 4-5 with two singles, an RBI triple, and a solo home run, but it wasn't enough, as the Cubs and the San Diego Padres played to a 2-2 tie in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 13,462 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in sunny Mesa, AZ.


 

Carlos Zambrano threw five innings of three-hit shutout ball and Ryan Theriot drove in three runs with a bases-clearing double, leading a Cubs "split squad" to a 4-0 whitewashing of the Kansas City Royals in front of 11,842 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ this afternoon.


 

Five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, Jeff Baker smashed a solo home run, and Xavier Nady doubled twice and knocked-in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in Cactus League action before a capacity crowd of 13,157 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa this afternoon.


 

Tyler Colvin went 3-3 with two doubles and a solo HR, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd singled and homered, Sam Fuld blasted a two-run home run, Brad Snyder ripped a 450+ foot solo HR, Kosuke Fukudome doubled and singled, Starlin Castro tripled, and five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, as the Cubs drubbed the Oakland A's 9-3 in front of 7,496 fans at the 2010 Cubs Cactus League Opener at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & breezy Mesa this afternoon.


box score


Nick Noonan capped a five-run 9th with a two-out grand slam, as the Giants rallied to defeat the Cubs (and leave a lot of Cubs fans speechless) before a record crowd of 13,024 under sunny skies at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.   

box score

Also, the Cubs sent have sent non-roster RHPs Esmailin Cardidad and Ken Kadokura to minor league camp. This brings the Cubs Spring Training roster down to 43 (including Ted Lily and Kosuke Fukudome, who are still playing in the WBC) 

The 35-year old Karokura was making his U. S. debut after spending 13 years playing in Japan, and I suspect he will be released (or will request his release) prior to Opening Day and will return to Japan. He probably isn't at the point in his career where he would want to spend a year playing AAA ball. He didn't really have a bad Spring with the Cubs, but he had a tendency to get ahead of hitters 0-1 or 1-2 and then nibble, nibble, nibble. I don't think Manager Lou Piniella likes that approach too much.  

Caridad is a different matter, however, I have him rated as one of the Cubs Top Ten prospects, and he pitched very well so far this Spring and could surface sometime this season in Chicago. Now 25, Caridad was (like Alfonso Soriano and Timo Perez) originally signed by the Hiroshima Carp and was assigned to their Dominican Academy, before pitching in Japan in 2007. But Caridad became a free-agent on a technicality after that season, and Cubs Player Personnel Director Oneri Fleita personally signed the right-hander while on a trip to the Dominican Republic in December 2007  Caridad pitched at Daytona and Tennessee in 2008 (going a combined 13-7, 3.73 ERA, 1.11 WHIP), and then pitched in the AFL with the Mesa Solar Sox in October-November '08. He can start or relieve.

As for today's game...      

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