Kyler Burke

17-year old Panamanian LHP Anfernee Benitez tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball with eight strikeouts, 16-year old Dominican SS Sergio Alcantara singled twice, tripled, and scored two runs, and Tyler Linton cracked a two-run double to cap a four run 8th inning rally, as the Diamondbacks outlasted the Cubs 8-6 on Field #4, and Wagner Mateo belted an RBI double to put the D'backs on the board in the top of the 1st, and Andrew Velasquez laced an RBI triple to plate the Diamondbacks final run in the top of the 4th, as the D'backs withstood a Cub rally in the bottom of the 9th (Cubs scored twice and left the bases loaded) and defeated the Cubs 5-3 on Field #2, sweeping a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.    

Jose Rosario got the start for the Cubs on Field #4 and had a rough 1st inning, surrendering four runs on four hits (three singles and a double) and a walk. But then he found his rhythm and retired 12 of the last 13 men he faced (five on strikes) before reaching his pre-planned pitch limit (67). 

Rony Rodriguez whacked a two-run HR in the bottom of the 5th and Justin Marra followed an inning later with a two-run double to help the Cubs tie the game on Field #4, and then the Cubs took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 7th, before the D'backs erupted  for four runs off reliever Chad Martin (capped by the Tyler Linton two-run two-bagger) in the top of the 8th. Martin had a really poor outing, allowing four runs on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple) in just two innngs of work 

Albert Almora was in the lineup on Field #4 and played CF for six innings, getting four AB and going 1-4. He struck out (swinging) twice against Anfernee Benitez, then he broke up the no-hitter by rifling a single off RHRP Bobby Hillier and past the D'backs third-baseman leading off the bottom of the 5th (before scoring on the Rony Rodriguez HR), and popped up to the second-baseman in short RF in his final PA (also versus Hillier).

Prior to the doubleheader, RHP Chang-Yong Lim (July 2012 TJS rehab) threw a 25-pitch "live" BP inning on Field #1, facing Jose Morales (strained hamstring rehab), Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra. The 36-year old side-armin' Korean and one-time closer for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (NPB) was signed by the Cubs post-2012, and has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past couple of months. Barring a medical setback, I would think he will probably see some EXST game action soon. (Fellow South Korean Dong-Yub Kim bowed to Lim in "we are not worthy" style as he passed behind the batting cage on Field #1 on his way to Field #4).   

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Bryant Flete has been moved down to the VSL Cubs. Flete had an interesting weekend, playing in the EXST game at Talking Stick last Friday, flying to Venezuela on Saturday, and then playing in the VSL Cubs inaugural yesterday morning (Flete hit lead-off and played SS for the VSL Cubs).  

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

Matthew Carasiti threw five shutout innings and combined with three relievers to throw a four-hitter, and Raimel Tapia and Dillon Thomas drilled RBI singles, as the Rockies edged the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Jeffrey Baez belted a solo HR to account for the Cubs lone run.

RHP Dillon Maples got the start for the Cubs and threw four innings (67 pitches), allowing one run on two hits (both singles), three walks, and a HBP. He struck out three and really had the sinker working (8/0 GO/FO). Maples did struggle with his comand throughout the first two innings (a 22-pitch 1st and a 25-pitch 2nd), but then retired six of the last seven men he faced on just 20 pitches. After completing his 67-pitch four inning stint, Maples went out to the bullpen and threw 20 more pitches, so he should be well stretched-out if the Cubs decide to move him up to Kane County before the end of Extended Spring Training. (FWIW, he also threw 78 pitches in an intrasquad game last Thursday). 

LHP Kyler Burke (strained oblique rehab) "piggy-backed" with Maples and also threw four innings (58 pitches), allowing one run (it was unearned) on three hits (all singles) and a walk, with two strikeouts. He looks like he is about ready to leave EXST and join either Kane County, Daytona, or Tennessee (depending upon where a slot is available).    

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.

21 Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (the so called "six-year minor league free-agents" and the so-called "second-contract minor league free-agents") were declared free-agents by MLB at 5 PM last Friday, while three others who could have been Rule 55 free-agents agreed to 2013 minor league "successor contracts" and thus will be returning to the Cubs organization next season.


However, the three who are returning will be eligible for selection in next month's MLB Rule 5 Draft (as will any other minor league free-agent signed prior to the Rule 5 Draft).


The 21 Cubs who were declared Rule 55 minor league free-agents join six others who elected to be minor league free-agents per Article XX-D of the CBA over the past month.


By outrighting eight players and losing two more off waivers over the past couple of days, the Cubs are beginning to clear some space on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).

The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 33 players, but three more players (RHP Matt Garza, 3B Ian Stewart, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino) are still on the 60-day Disabled List and they will need to be reinstated no later than the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. So the Cubs essentially have a 36-man MLB Reserve List right now.

Matt Szczur tripled twice, scored twice and drove-in a run, Justin Bour had two hits and three RBI, and Matt Cerda reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, leading the Tennessee Smokies to a 6-4 victory over the Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) on Field #2, but the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) took advantage of seven walks and bested the Iowa Cubs 9-6 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke threw three innings of no run/no hit ball with five strikeouts and Jeimer Candelario and Dan Vogelbach cracked back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the 8th to tie the game at 3-3, but the Mariners pushed across a run in the bottom of the 8th to take back the lead and added three more in a tack-on 9th to defeat the Cubs 7-3 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Mariners Field #2 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, AZ.


The EXST Cubs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the EXST Diamondbacks 6-6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.


The Cubs did have a chance to win the game, but Reggie Golden popped out to the first-baseman to end the bottom of the 9th, leaving the potential winning run stranded at 3rd base.


Tennessee OF (and Cubs 2009 1st round draft pick and #1 position player prospect) Brett Jackson saw his first game action since going on the Smokies DL with a finger injury on May 12th, getting four plate appearances as a DH, one in each of the first four innings.


Reggie Golden had three hits, scored a run, and knocked-in another, and LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke threw a 1-2-3 inning in his debut as a pitcher, as a split-squad of EXST Cubs played the EXST Rockies to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


The game was stopped after eight innings with the score tied at six when both teams ran out of available pitchers. (The Cubs and Rockies played a doubleheader at Fitch Park yeterday, and the Cubs were playing a split-squad DH today).


Carlos Marmol allowed three first-inning runs, facing five batters and retiring only one (BB, 2B, HBP, F-7, 2B), and a four-run 8th inning Iowa Cubs rally fell one run short (the potential tying run was left stranded on 3rd base), as the Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco Giants AAA affiliate) almost blew a 6-1 lead but held-on to edge the I-Cubs 7-6 on Field #3, while over on Field #2, Steve Clevenger “celebrated” his assignment to AA (for the third year in a row!) with an RBI single and a double, but two baserunners were thrown at key points in the game (Josh Vitters trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a hit & run single to CF in the 4th, and D. J. Lemahieu trying to score from 1st on double in the 8th), as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies 4-3 in Cactus League Minor League action at Fitch Park this afternoon


- Nick Steiner takes a look at Milton Bradley using Pitch F/X data and comes away impressed.

The fact that Bradley has such a bad year - and it wasn't even that bad
- can be placed solely on a huge drop in ISO from his previously
established norms. His plate discipline and contact skills were just as
good as they were in 08 and the year before that, and there is no
evidence that the drop in ISO is anything "real". Despite the
personality problems, teams are apparently lining up to try and steal
Bradley away from Jim Hendry because he is still a very good player.

You'll make no friends around here Mr. Steiner with that sort of reasoned analysis.

- Speaking of Bradley, he makes MLBTR's list of bad contracts along with Soriano and Aaron Miles. All the hype to date has been that the Cubs will have to take on one of those (or something similar) to move Bradley.

- Bruce Miles says the Cubs should pass on Gary Matthews Jr. and responds to my inquiry in the comments that there are indeed clubs interested in Bradley.

- Bruce Levine concurs with Chris DeLuca that a payroll around $140M for 2010 should be expected and save up for another ticket price increase. He also says the Cubs are in talks with "Tampa, Toronto and three or four other clubs with players with big contracts that they would like to move."

- Dave Cameron at Fangraphs is thinking about bad contracts as well and suggests a ratings bonanza would follow a GM summit where each team brought one bad contract and threw them into a pile. Then each team picks one from the pile and has to go home with it in what he has dubbed Bad Contract White Elephant.

Brandon Guyer had two hits and two RBI, Justin Bour had two hits and three RBI, Kyler Burke reached base four times on two doubles, a single, and a walk, and five Cubs pitchers threw a combined four-hitter with 14 strikeouts, as the Cubs defeated the Giants 6-2 in AZ Instructional League action at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this afternoon.

Brandon Guyer walked, singled, doubled, crushed a three-run homer, scored two runs, and stole a base, Ryan Flaherty doubled, tripled, and walked, drove-in three runs, and scored three more, Brett Jackson reached base three times, scored all three times he reached, and knocked-in two runs, and D. J. LeMahieu ripped a two-run triple, leading the Cubs to a 12-8 victory over the Giants in AZ Instructional League action at breezy Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon. 

Kyler Burke had three hits including a solo HR and an RBI single, but it wasn't enough, as the Peoria Chiefs were defeated by the Kane County Cougars (Oakland A's "Lo-A" affiliate) 9-5 at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix today (and yes, I did watch both games simultaneously)...

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

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