Junior Lake

Carlos Pimentel tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out nine, as the AAA Iowa Cubs throttled the Columbus Clippers (Indians AAA affiliate) 7-2 on Field #6, while on Field #3 the Akron Aeros (CLE AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 5-2, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader game action Monday afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Junior Lake collected five hits (four singles and a double), stole two bases, and scored two runs, Welington Castillo reached base four times on three walks and a single, and Dustin Geiger singled twice, doubled, and drove-in four runs, in Cactus League Minor League action this afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affliate) hammered the Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers AA affiliate) 10-4 on Field #3, while the Albuquerque Isotopes (LAD AAA affiliate) edged the Iowa Cubs 4-3 on Field #6.

Lake and Castillo moved back & forth between the two fields, each working as an extra DH and taking an AB whenever the opportunity arose. Lake managed eight Plate Appearances between the two games, and Castillo had six.

Cubs #1 pitching prospect RHP C. J. Edwards got the start for Tennessee on Field #3, and he allowed one run on three hits (two singles and a double) and a walk, with five strikeouts and a 6/0 GO/FO in 3.2 IP (67 pitches).

Recently returned from the Arizona Diamondbacks (who had selected him the Major League Phase of the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft), RHRP Marcos Mateo threw a dominating 9th inning on Field #3 (two strikeouts and a broken bat 5-3 GO) to seal the victory for the Smokies. 

LHP Eric Jokisch got the start for the I-Cubs, and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (a single and a double) and four walks in 5.2 IP (78 pitches). He also struck out seven and induced two DP grounders along the way, using his quality off-speed stuff to keep Isoptope hitters off-balance. Albuquerque plated their two runs off Jokisch on a bases-loaded walk and a two-out RBI double.  

Carlos Pimentel "piggy-backed" with Jokisch and worked 3.1 IP, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits (three singles and a triple) and two walks. He struck out four, with a 2/4 GO/FO.  

Kris Bryant went 0-3 for Tennessee, striking out (swinging) his first two times up, and then popping out to the first-baseman in foul territory in his final AB.  

Arismendy Alcantara played SS and batted 3rd for Iowa, and he struck out all three times up, first two times swinging, and last time looking. 

Though assigned to the Tennessee squad, Dan Vogelbach was the Iowa DH, and he went 0-3 in the game, grounding into a 4-6-3 DP and then striking out twice (both times swinging). 

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

Yasiel Balaguert doubled twice, singled twice, walked, drove-in two runs, and scored three more, Junior Lake stroked a double and an RBI single, walked, and scored two runs, Rony Rodriguez singled twice, doubled, knocked-in three runs, and scored another, and Xavier Batista belted an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, helping the Cubs defeat the Angels 10-8 in Cactus League Extended Spriung Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.  

RHP Trey Lang (Cubs 2012 6th round draft pick) got the start and had another rough outing, allowing six runs (all earned) on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple), two walks, and an HBP, plus three wild pitches, in 4.1 IP (72 pitches). He did strike out five (all five swinging), but he was bouncing his breaking ball and had difficulty throwing his fastball for strikes.

In EXST Cubs roster news, catcher Neftali Rosario (Cubs 2011 6th round draft pick) has been moved up to Kane County. It's probably just a temporary thing, however, because Rosario was hitting just 091/167/136 in 11 EXST games (24 PA), and had missed some time with an ankle injury. Rosario was doubtful to even make the Boise roster, much less a permanent promotion to KC.  

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


Xavier Batista blasted his fourth home run in four games (a solo shot in the top of the 6th that put him into a tie for the team-lead in HR with Jeffrey Baez), Jose Morales hammered an RBI triple, scored a run, and drew a walk, and Carlos Penalver doubled, walked, and scored two runs, as the Cubs and Angels played to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #6 in Tempe, AZ.   

Junior Lake played six innings at 3B and batted six times, going 1-6. He drove-in a run with an RBI 5-3 GO in the 1st, reached base on an RBI infield single, stole a base, and scored a run in the 2nd, struck out swinging in the 3rd, reached base on a 5-4 FC and stole a base in the 5th, was called out on strikes in the 6th, and struck out swinging in the 7th. 

In five Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (26 PA), Lake is hitting 409/500/682 with six doubles, seven runs scored, three RBI, 3/6 BB/K, and 3 SB (1 CS). He has played three of the five EXST games at 3B and two in CF, and he has not commited an error at either position.   

RHP Paul Blackburn got the start for the Cubs and was roughed-up in the bottom of the 1st inning, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (four singles and a triple).  Bit then he got into a groove and retired nine in a row. 

RHP Armando Rivero relieved Blackburn and was hit hard, allowing three runs on five hits (four singles and a triple) in 1.2 IP. He struck out three (all three swinging).  

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

Junior Lake doubled, walked and scored two runs, Jose Morales singled twice, walked, and scored two runs, and Carlos Penalver stroked a two-run double and a single and scored a run, but one squad of Diamondbacks ralliied to score four runs with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to tie one squad of Cubs 7-7 on Quail Field, and RHP Alexander Santana retired the first nine men he faced, Francisco Sanchez singled twice, knocked-in a run, and scored another, and Mark Malave singled twice and walked, but the other squad of D'backs rallied to score one run in the 7th to tie the game and three more in the 8th to take the lead, defeating the Cubs 5-2 on Whirlwind Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) played CF for six innings and batted four times (once every-other inning), going 1-3. He bounced out 5-3 in the 1st inning, drew a walk and scored a run on the Carlos Penalver RBI double in the 3rd, belted a double (his 6th two-bagger in his last three games) into the left-centerield alley with two outs in the 5th, and bounced into a 5-2 FC with a runner at 3rd base and one out in the top of the 7th, before scoring on a Yasiel Balaguert RBI triple. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, C-1B-3B Steve Clevenger has completed the Extended Spring Training portion of his rehab, and has been moved-up to AAA Iowa.

Clevenger was placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL with a strained oblique on April 14th, and will not be eligible to be reinstated until June 13th.  

In eight Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (34 PA), Clevenger hit 355/412/516, with five doubles and seven RBI, and 3/2 BB/K.  

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):

Junior Lake doubled twice, singled, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Jeffrey Baez doubled twice, scored twice, and knocked-in a run, Shawon Dunston Jr belted a two-run triple, singled, stole a base, and scored two runs, Brad Zapenas drove-in three runs with a double and two sacrifice flies, and Xavier Batista hammered a solo home run (his third HR in two days), as the Cubs drubbed the Rockies 13-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa,AZ.

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that more pitchers could get game work.  

Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) played CF for seven innings and batted five times, going 3-4 with two doubles (both rifled off the LF fence), a line-drive single, and a walk, plus a strikeout (swinging). 

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

Xavier Batista walloped two two-run home runs, Junior Lake belted three doubles, scored twice, and drove-in a run, and Steve Clevenger stroked a two-run double, leading the Cubs to a 9-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.

The game was pre-planned as an 11-inning contest, and the game was called in the middle of the 11th inning after all of the Cubs and A's pitchers who were scheduled to throw in the game got their work.

Junior Lake (rib cage fracture rehab) played third-base for six innings and batted six times, hitting once in six of the first seven innings.

He lined a double off the LF fence (near-HR) in his first AB in the top of the 1st, and then scored from second base on a Yasiel Balaguert 4-3 GO (Lake was running on the pitch, and he didn't stop when he got to third-base, putting on the "after-burners" before sliding home safely just ahead of the throw in a cloud of dust). Lake also doubled in the top of the 2nd inning, this time an RBI two-bagger off the right-centerfield fence (another near-HR). He struck out swinging on a breaking ball in the 4th, but doubled again in the top of the 5th (opposite-field line-drive sliced into the RF corner) before scoring on Clevenger's two-run double. Lake popped-out to the first-baseman and grounded into a 6-4-3 DP in his final two AB.

Steve Clevenger (strained oblique rehab) was the starting catcher for the Cubs and was the backstop for the first six innings, and then moved to DH for the rest of the game. He batted five times, and went 1-5 with the big two-run double in the top of the 5th. He also struck out swinging, grounded out to the first-baseman (unassisted), flied out to CF, and reached base on an E-6. He was thrown out trying to steal third-base after the 5th inning double, and was picked-off 1st base after reaching on the E-6. He twisted his ankle on the pick-off and limped off the field after being tagged out by the A's first-baseman.

X. Batista came into the game hitting 182/262/255 with no home runs and just one RBI and 19 strikeouts in 22 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (61 PA), so hitting a couple of two-run HR in one game probably felt pretty good. 

2012 6th round draft pick RHP Trey Lang was the Cubs starting pitcher and worked 3.2 IP, allowing two runs (one earned) on just one hit (a 4th inning single) with five strikeouts (all five swinging). But he also walked five, hit a batter, and threw two wild pitches, and needed 75 pitches (only 36 strikes) to get the 11 outs (including a 28-pitch 4th inning that he could not even finish). Lang will likely be one of the starting pitchers at Boise, although his control issues are a big problem and have been all year.

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

James Sneed roped a two-run single and Ryan Dalton followed with an RBI single to highlight a two-out three-run rally in the top of the 3rd inning, and Tyler DeLoach tossed 3.2 IP of one-hit shutout relief with seven strikeouts, helping the Angels defeat the Cubs 4-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.  

Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) saw his first game action since March 6th, playing 3rd base for five innings and getting five AB.

Lake batted once in each of the first five innings, going 1-3 with a single and two walks. He also was retired on a 1-3 comebacker to the mound and was called out on strikes. In addition, he was caught stealing after reaching base on the single. 
    
Ex-Minnesota Twins switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales also returned to action today after missing almost six weeks with a strained hamstring. He went 0-3, and knocked-in the Cubs lone run with a F-7 sacrifice fly.

The 30-year old Morales was signed as a minor league free-agent last month and reported to Extended Spring Training to get into playing shape, but promptly pulled a hammy in his very first EXST game on April 19th. He has been restricted to limited activity (essentially just BP and "sim" games) ever since. Once he is deemed ready to move up, he will likely be assigned to AAA Iowa. 

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

Darnell McDonald and Junior Lake each had a single, a double, and an RBI, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.


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:


The Giants swept the Cubs by scores of 3-1 and 2-1 in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training Cinco de Mayo doubleheader this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


Both games were pre-scheduled as seven-inning contests, but the game on Field #2 was extended an extra half-inning so that Alvido Jimenez could throw a second inning.


Dundee-Crown HS alum Ryan Court reached base five times on two doubles, a single, and two walks, leading the Diamondbacks to an 11-4 drubbing of the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

D'backs Stephen Drew (2011 broken ankle rehab) arrived at Fitch Park after the game started and played the middle three innings at shortstop, batting once each in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.

Justin Bianco hammered a solo home run leading off the bottom of the 5th to break a 1-1 tie, and it was just enough as the Diamondbacks edged the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.


Junior Lake continued his rehab, batting six times (once in each of the first six innings) and playing shortstop for seven innings.


On a rehab assignment from AA Tennessee, Junior Lake (back strain) doubled, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Pierre LePage (also on a rehab assignment after suffering a hamstring injury in Spring Training) laced an RBI triple, an RBI single, and walked, and Kevin Encarnacion ripped a two-run triple and scored a run, but the Angels scored three in the 5th and two more in the 8th to edge the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.


Matt Downs clubbed a grand slam home run to cap a nine-run 2nd inning, and the Giants coasted to a 9-4 victory over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa. 

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