EXST Cubs

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.

Frank Batista threw four shutout innings and Carlos Rojas got the last four outs to nail down the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A’s 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.


Batista became the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out one. The 21-year old Dominican RHP was the Cubs #1 pitching prospect in the DSL last season, going 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with 7/63 BB/K in 58.1 IP for DSL Cubs #1. So far at EXST, Batista has thrown 9.2 IP, allowing four runs (three ER) on six hits, 2/4 BB/K, with a 2.79 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and .171 OBA.

Runey Davis reached base three times, scored two runs, knocked-in another, and stole a base, but the EXST Angels scored two runs in the 8th to take the lead after the EXST Cubs had clawed their way back from a 6-0 deficit to tie the game in the 6th, and held-on to defeat the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


With two hits today, Davis raised his EXST batting average to .353 (.450 OBP), and with his speed and the ability to play all three OF positions, I would think Davis (the Cubs 2009 12th round pick out of JUCO World Series champion Howard JC) is a strong candidate to get promoted to Peoria.

Sergio Burruel cracked a three-run double, Alvaro Ramirez drilled a two-run triple, and Xavier Batista and Arismendy Alcantara smashed solo home runs, but the Angels took advantage of nine walks to score 11 runs over the last three innings and overcome a four-run deficit in the bottom of the 8th and another four-run deficit in the bottom of the 9th, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Angels played to a 12-12 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this morning. The game was halted by mutual agreement between the two teams with one out in the bottom of the 9th after the Angels tied the game on a 420-ft+ three-run home run off the top of the Batter’s Eye in CF.

Rafael Disla roped a two-run triple into the RF corner to score the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the 7th, rallying the EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the EXST Giants on Field #2, while over on Field #3, Cubs hitters could only muster three hits and two walks while striking out 11 times as the Giants blanked the Cubs 6-0, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played at Fitch Park in Mesa this morning. The games were played simultaneously

Apparently thoroughly embarrassed by the parent club’s piss-poor performance versus the Cubs at Miller Park in Milwaukee over the weekend, the EXST Brewers played inspired Cactus League Extended Spring Training baseball this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, defeating the EXST Cubs 5-1. With the loss, the Cubs fall to 4-6-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training play.

18-year old Taiwanese infielder Pin-Chieh Chen had three hits, knocked-in two runs, and stole a base, leading the Cubs to a 4-2 victory on Field #1, while the Giants rallied with five runs in the 7th to win the other game 5-1 on Field #2, as the EXST Cubs and the EXST Giants split a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this morning. Both games were pre-planned to be eight-inning affairs, and the two games were played simultaneously with split squads.


Rebel Ridling (appendectomy rehab) played 1B today (he had been restricted to DH in his previous EXST games), and got a total of seven Plate Appearances in the first seven innings of the game on Field #1. He grounded out to second, lined out to CF, and flied out to CF in his first three at bats, before rapping singles in three of his last four ABs. The HR power might not be there yet, but in most other ways he looks like he might be just about ready to move up to Daytona.

Runey Davis reached base twice on a double and a walk and scored two runs, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the EXST A’s in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.


The game was a pre-planned 7-1/2 affair with the Cubs playing as the “home” team even though the game was played at the A’s minor league complex, because the A’s only had enough healthy and rested pitchers available to throw seven innings, while the Cubs needed at least eight opponent's innings to get their scheduled pitchers enough work.


The EXST Giants swept the EXST Cubs by the scores of 7-0 and 9-2 in a “Split Squad” doubleheader played at Fitch Park in Mesa this morning. The EXST Cubs are now 2-3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training games.


The games were played simultaneously, one game on Field #2 and the other on Field #3. Both games were abbreviated due to the squads having a limited number of pitchers available to throw in a game.


Rebel Ridling (appendectomy with complications) saw his first game action of the 2010 season today, getting four Plate Appearances in the game on Field #2. He hit the ball hard all four times, grounding out sharply 5-3 his first time up, flying out twice (F-8 and F-9) in his next two ABs, and then crushing a double off the fence in right-center in his 4th and final PA. The 23-year old 6'4 235+ Ridling (310/357/466 with 16 HR & 97 RBI, 34 doubles, and a league-leading 166 hits in 136 games at Peoria in 2009) will probably be at Fitch Park for about another week before joining the Daytona Cubs.


Ridling replaces Matt Spencer as the newest EXST “AB Hog,” as Spencer (broken toe) has completed his rehab and is en route to Daytona, where he will play until the Cubs can open up a roster slot for him at AA Tennessee. 


Francisco Guzman had the best day offensively, ripping an RBI triple to CF and beating out a routine ground ball to 2nd base for an infield single, while also scoring two runs. Otherwise, Cubs bats were quiet on both fields.


Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (EXST Cubs players only):


Xavier Batista and Blair Springfield drove-in two runs a piece in a four-run Cubs 2nd, and Matt Spencer whacked a home run over the RF fence leading-off the bottom of the 3rd, as the EXST Cubs held-on to defeat the EXST A's 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The Cubs managed only six hits while committing six errors in the field, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 4-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


Considered by most observers to be the Cubs #3 best pitching prospect coming into the season, RHP Chris Carpenter made his first appearance of the year after nursing a sore shoulder throughout Minor League Camp and after starting the 2010 regular season on the AA Tennessee Smokies 7-day DL. Carpenter was the Cubs 3rd round pick in 2008 out of Kent State, and went a combined 6-7 with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP and 52/118 BB/K in 130.2 IP at Peoria/Daytona/Tennessee in 2009.


Thursday is "Camp Day" at Cubs Extended Spring Training, which means the entire squad participates in an extended training & workout session (PFP, pick-off drills, baserunning drills, fielding practice, BP, and situational hitting), with an intrasquad game to follow.


In post-Minor League Camp roster news, RHP Alvido Jimenez, Hector Mayora, and Jade Mendez, 1B Melvin Camarena, and OF Xavier Batista, Albert Hernandez, and Manuel Pestana arrived at Fitch Park from the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica, DR, last week (and Camarena, X. Batista, Hernandez, and Pestana have already seen EXST game action), and 23-year old 5'11 195 former catcher Alvaro Sosa (214/254/305 with a 33% CS% combined at AZL Cubs and Boise in 2009 and a career .225 hitter going back to 2005) is being converted to a RHP (joining ex-OF Drew Rundle, who continues his conversion to LHP that began at Instructs last October). And (as I have mentioned previously) utility INF Jonathan Mota continues his conversion to catcher, to help him improve his versatilty. (Mota will be assigned to a full-season minor league team after he has had a chance to get some more experience behind the plate).


Here is the current up-to-date Cubs Extended Spring Training roster (61 players) as of today:


Francisco Guzman singled three times, stole three bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, but it wasn’t quite enough, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Brewers played to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Maryvale Park Field #7 in Phoenix this morning.


Down to their last strike, the Cubs rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th to take a 5-3 lead, only to see the Giants take advantage of a two-base throwing error in the bottom of the 9th and score two runs to tie the game, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this morning.  


Brandon May reached base four times, scored four runs, and drove-in two more, Jonathan Mota knocked-in three runs, and Charles Thomas had three hits, leading the EXST Cubs to a 15-7 drubbing of the EXST Giants at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.


Today was Cactus League Extended Spring Training (EXST) Opening Day in the Valley of the Sun, as the EXST Cubs played the first of 38 games they will be playing over the next eight weeks.

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