Kevin Encarnacion

Jesse Hodges reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, drove-in three runs, and scored another, and Jose Morales also reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Boise Hawks this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.  

Kevin Encarnacion went 4-4 with three singles and a double for Boise.

Cubs 2012 2nd round draft pick RHP Duane Underwood got the start for Boise and hurled 3.1 IP. He struggled to command his fastball (82 pitches - only 40 strikes), allowing two runs on four hits and five walks and two WP. He also struck out four.

RHP Jorge Diaz pitched for Boise although he is assigned to the AZL Cubs.  

The game was a seven-inning contest.  

The Hawks arrived by bus at 6 AM for the 7:30 AM game, and departed for Sky Harbor Airport after the conclusion of the game. They are due to arrive in Boise at 5:30 PM (local time). They will travel by bus from Boise to Eugene on Thursday, and will play their first 2013 NWL game Friday night.  

There was a lot of loud joking around by the Boise players (like giving Shawon Dunston Jr a rash of shit about his tweets), but the AZL Cubs were fairly quiet. Players spend ten weeks at Extended Spring Training trying to make the Boise roster (if not Kane County or Daytona), and failing to do so can be a bit of a let-down. For AZL Cubs players like RF Jeffrey Baez (323/400/554 in 75 PA - 24 EXST Cactus League), 3B Jesse Hodges (275/342/449 in EXST Cactus League play  - with 321/387/571 over his last ten games), and 1B-OF Xavier Batista (387/441/935 with four HR over his last ten EXST Cactus League games, plus another HR in yesterday's intrasquad game), there had to be a feeling of vindication in soundly beating the team that will be leaving without them. All three deserve to be in Boise (and Batista probably should be at Kane County), but justice is usually not a factor when it comes to assigning players to a particular minor league affiliate.

AA Tennessee OF Jae-Hoon Ha continued his rehab, playing CF for five inings for the AZL Cubs and batting seven times in the game (once each inning). Ha went 1-6 with two fly outs, two ground outs, a line-drive-out, an RBI double, and a HBP, with two runs scored. He also stole two bases (including third base, and then he scored on an E-2 overthrow), and he also won the bat toss by heaving his bat over the grandstand fence and into the bleachers after being hit in the ribs by an Ethan Elias pitch. Ha looks like he's very close to being ready to return to Tennessee.

AA Tennessee 1B Justin Bour (broken wrist rehab) saw his first game action since April 19th, playing 1B for four innings with the Boise squad and batting five times. He went 1-4 with a sharp ground single through the 3.5 hole and a walk. a 3-1 GO, and two strike outs (both swinging). Bour left the game temporarily during the 5th & 6th innings and went over to Field #1 and took about four dozen ground balls around first base. One thing about Bour is that he is a tireless worker.    

Beefy 3B-1B Mark Malave was pressed into service at 2B for the AZL Cubs today. That's because INF Brad Zapenas was absent from Fitch Park, possibly en route to join the Kane County Cougars to replace INF David Bote, who has been assigned to Boise. (Bote will join his Hawks teammates in Boise). Zapenas hit 382/446/564 in 22 EXST Cactus League games (65 PA) while rehabbing from 2012 season-ending shoulder surgery.  

RHP Mike Hamann was (somewhat surprisingly) not on the Boise roster posted yesterday, but that might be because be could be going to KC instead. (Hamann was the Cubs #1 closer at Extended Spring Training). Or he may not be 100%.

2009 South Korean bonus baby ($550K) OF Dong-Yub Kim has disappeared from Fitch Park and may heve been released (can't be confirmed). Kim sufferered a torn labrum in his right shoulder at AZ Instructs post-2009, and eventually learned to throw left-handed. But even then he has a below-average arm (even for a LF), and so he had to hit a ton to remain a prospect. And while he still has plus bat speed and runs well for a big guy, it probably isn't enough (245/328/396 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, and eight RBI, in 27 EXST Cactus League games - 61 PA). 
 
Here is the box score from today's game:

Kevin Encarnacion belted a bases-loaded three-run triple and a double and scored three runs, Yasiel Balaguert singled three times, drove-in two runs, and scored another, and Xavier Batista collected three hits including a solo home run and an RBI single, helping one squad of Cubs defeat another squad of Cubs 12-6 in an Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ. 

Squad "B" pitchers retired 19 of the last 20 men they faced, as Squad "B" rallied from an early 6-1 deficit to win the game.  

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

The players had three days off during the First-Year Player Draft, and the team reconvened in Mesa yesterday. The players came into today's intrasquad game unaware of who would be going to Boise and who will be staying in Mesa. The Boise roster was to be announced by Hawks Manager Gary Van Tol at a team meeting at 2:00 (MST) this afternoon at the Fitch Park clubhouse, and supposedly one or two of the roster slots were still up for grabs going into the game.   

Boise's first game is this Friday night at Eugene (first home game is next Monday night), and the AZL Cubs will begin league play on June 20th. All AZL Cubs home games will be night games played at HoHoKam Park (Dwight Patterson Field).

Not related to the battle for Boise roster slots, AA Tennessee OF Jae-Hoon Ha (lower back strain rehab) played CF for five innings and batted five times in the game, going 1-5 with two strikeouts (one swinging & one looking), a FC, a F-9 fly out, and a line-drive opposite-field single. He also stole a base. Ha suffered the back strain during batting practice prior to a Smokies game on May 3rd, and this was his first game action since suffering the injury.   

Also, Iowa Cubs RHP Carlos Gutierrez (2012 shoulder surgery rehab) threw one inning and allowed the solo HR to Batista, and switch-hitting ex-Minnesota Twins C-1B-3B Jose Morales (strained hamstring rehab) was the starting catcher for Squad "A" and was behind the dish for seven innings.     

The Cubs claimed Gutierrez off waivers from Minnesota last October, and then outrighted him to Iowa in November. He was assigned to the Iowa squad at Minor League Camp, but was left behind at Extended Spring Training to continue his rehab. He got into one Cactus League Extended Spring Training game on April 10th, and then was shut-down for about six weeks. He has been pitching in "sim" games for the past couple of weeks.

Gutierrez was a former Twins 1st round draft pick out of the University of Miami, where he was the Hurricanes closer. He was throwing mostly cutters & sinkers today, topping out at 92 MPH.   

The Cubs signed Morales to a minor league contract in April, and he suffered the hamstring injury in his very first Cactus League EXST game on April 19th. He returned to game action on May 30th, and should be about ready to move up to Iowa. 

Here is the box score from today's intrasquad game:

Ryan Garvey belted a three-run HR onto 8th Street with two outs in the top of the 8th inning to put the Rockies up 7-4, and then they hung-on to defeat the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ. 

Jared Simon doubled twice, singled, stole a base, drove-in three runs, and scored another, and Correlle Prime singled three times and stole two bases for the Rockies.

Reggie Golden laced a two-run double and an RBI single for the Cubs.

Steve Clevenger (strained oblique rehab) played 3rd base for five innings and batted four times, hitting once in each of the first four innings. He singled in his first two AB, and then grounded out his last two times up. Clevenger is on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL, and is at Extended Spring Training preparing for an upcoming minor league rehab assignment at either AAA Iowa or AA Tennessee. (He isn't eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day DL until June 13th).   

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

Luis Baez stroked two run-scoring doubles (one to tie the game in th 6th and another to put the A's ahead in the 9th) and knocked-in three runs, helping to rally the Athletics to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.

Jesse Hodges smacked an RBI double and a solo HR, Albert Almora singled, doubled, and scored a run, and Paul Blackburn hurled three shutout innings for the Cubs in a losing cause.

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair, so when the A's scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th to take a 6-4 lead, the Cubs still had a chance to mount a comeback. But they left the bases loaded in the top of the 10th.  

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

Jeffey Baez belted an inside-the-park HR off the CF "Batter's Eye," drilled an RBI single, and walked, Justin Marra hammered a three-run triple, singled, walked, and scored a run, Kevin Encarnacion laced a bases-loaded three-run double, and Yasiel Balaguert blasted a solo HR, as the Cubs swept a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader from the Giants by scores of 6-3 and 10-7 this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Joey Rapp (on an EXST rehab) walloped a two-run HR for the Giants in a losing cause.

In 16 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (43 PA), Jeffrey Baez is hitting 342/419/684 with a team-leading four HR. The 19-year old right-handed hitting Venezuelan OF signed with the Cubs for a reported $350K bonus in July 2010 as a 16-year old, at the beginning of the 2010 International Signing Period. Baez went hitless in seven PA at Extended Spring Training last season before breaking his wrist diving for a ball in right field, and then was sent back to the Cubs Dominican Academy where he hit 291/378/448 in 48 games (202 PA) for DSL Cubs #1. 

In two DSL seasons (2011-12), Baez hit a combined 286/363/424, with 8 HR & 64 RBI, 22 doubles, 60 SB (19 CS), 97 runs scored, and 17 outfield assists (playing all three OF slots, but mainly CF) in 116 games (497 PA). He had a brief six-game trial with the AZL Cubs after the conclusion of the DSL season last August, and was likely ticketed for the AZL Cubs this season. But don't be surprised if the "other" Baez skips the AZL, joining fellow Venezuelan teenaged hot-shot Carlos Penalver on what should be a very interesting Boise Hawks team.  

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

John Polonius blasted a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 4th to break a 4-4 tie and propel the Giants to a 6-4 victory on Field #1, and Jonathan Jones belted a two-run walk-off double off the LF fence on a 3-0 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 5th as the Giants edged the Cubs 4-3 on Field #2 (thus sweeping the doubleheader), in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Kevin Encarnacion doubled, tripled, and scored a run and Jacob Rogers hammered a solo home run on Field #1, and Reggie Golden slugged a tape-measure two-run HR on Field #2, to provide most of the Cubs offensive highlights.

John Polonius (two RBI doubles) and Shilo McCall (a three-run HR and an RBI FC) knocked-in four runs a piece, leading the Giants to an 11-2 victory over the Cubs on Field #1, and Steven Neff and three relievers combined to toss a one-hit shutout, as the Giants blanked the Cubs 2-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.


RHP Guillermo Moscoso got the start for the Cubs on Field #2, and threw four innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts. He allowed four hits (all singles) and did not issue any walks. He was a strike-throwing machine today (46 pitches - 38 strikes). I would think he will likely be in the Iowa starting rotation by the end of the month.  


Kevin Encarnacion singled, doubled, and walked, and scored a run for the Cubs squad on Field #1. 


In EXST roster news, RHP David Cales has been promoted to Daytona, and LHP Matt Iannazzo has been moved up to Kane County.  


Here are the 2013 EXST stats for Cales and Iannazzo:  


DAVID CALES: 5.40 ERA & 1.40 WHIP - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 8 K (5 G)
MATT IANNAZZO: 0.00 ERA & 0.33 WHIP - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (2 G)


Cales spent the 2012 season rehabbing from 2011 shoulder surgery, and the 5'8 side-armin' Iannazzo was signed as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) out of U. of Pittsburgh last June.  


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


Matt Hillsinger and Daniel Robertson each smacked a two-run home run, leading the Athletics to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Sports Complex Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.


Kevin Encarnacion roped a two-run double down the RF line and Wilfredo Petit followed with an RBI single one out later to key a Cub rally in the top of the 9th, but it fell short and the A's hung-on to win the game.


RHP Ryan McNeil (Cubs 2012 3rd round draft pick) threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball in a losing cause.   


Jorge Soler played CF and hit 3rd in the Cub lineup, going 1-5. He lined out sharply to left in the top of the 1st (outstanding diving catcher by A's LF Hillsinger), hammered a single through the 5.5 hole in the 4th, bounced out 6-3 in the 6th, and struck out (swinging) in his last two AB. Soler is now 1-8 (with three strikeouts) in two EXST games since arriving in Mesa last Thursday. (He took BP on Friday, played in a game at Fitch Park on Saturday, and the EXST Cubs have Sundays off).


Trey Martin belted a bases-loaded triple and Kevin Encarnacion crushed a two-run triple to highlight a nine-run 3rd, Jeimer Candelario doubled twice, walked, and drove-in a run, and Rob Whitenack threw six strong innings, allowing one run (unearned) on three hits (all singles), with no walks and seven strikeouts, to help the Cubs cruise past the Brewers 12-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Maryvale Baseball Complex Field #7 (AKA “Paul Molitor Field”) in Phoenix, AZ.


Trey Martin laced a bases-loaded triple to key a six-run 2nd inning, and Javier Baez and Jeimer Candelario each blasted a two-run home run to highlight a five-run 9th, as the Cubs rode a 21-hit attack en route to a 14-5 thrashing of the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.

The game was extended an extra inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work.

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.


Javier Baez belted a three-run home run and Yasiel Balaguert stroked an RBI triple and scored on a Jair Bogaerts RBI single, as the Cubs plated five runs in the bottom of the 4th en route to a 5-1 victory over the Angels in Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

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