Mark Malave

AZL Cubs Relentless Attack too Much for A's

Robert Garcia (two singles, a double, and a home run) reached base four times, scored three runs, and drove-in three more, Wladimir Galindo and Joey Martarano collected three hits a piece and drove-in three runs between them (Martarano with a sharply-hit opposite-field RBI ground single to right through the 3.5 hole in the top of the 1st inning to get things started, and Galindo with a line-drive two-run single drilled to center to cap a five-run 3rd), and 13 of the first 15 Cubs batters reached base (although two were thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double and another was CS), helping the AZL Cubs take an 8-4 lead through three innings en route to a 10-4 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action last night at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ. 

Rockies Belt Malave Offerings Around Salt River Fields & Beeler to I-Cubs

Cesar Galvez drilled a two-run double and singled, Luis Castro belted a solo home run and singled, Wesley Jones ripped two RBI singles, and Max George hammered an RBI triple, walked twice, and scored a run, as the Rockies cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs 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.  

Frandy de la Rosa doubled twice and scored two runs for the Cubs. 

RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave made his second Cactus League Extended Spring Training game appearance and his first start, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits (four singles, a double, and a home run) and a walk (and a WP) in just 1.1 IP.

Malave is one of three former position players being converted to pitcher by the Cubs at Extended Spring Training, with RHP (ex-OF) Jae-Hoon Ha and LHP (ex-OF) Ariel Ovando being the other two.

Ha has yet to pitch in a Cactus League EXST game, but he did throw in an intrasquad game a couple of days ago and allowed a run on three hits (all singles) with no walks or strikeouts in one inning of work, and Ovando (selected by the Cubs from the Houston Astros in the AAA Phase of the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft) has yet to throw in a game. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) has completed his Extended Spring Training work and has been assigned to the AAA Iowa Cubs on an Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. He did not pitch in any Cactus League MLB Spring Training games last month, and just recently began throwing in Cactus League Extended Spring Training games.

Beeler threw poorly in his first EXST game on 4/15, but his fastball velocity upticked to 94 MPH and touched 95 in his second EXST start last Monday as he got his pitch count up to near 70.

DALLAS BEELER - 2015 EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING GAMES:
1. WED 4/15: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 PO, 1/4 GO/FO, 61 pitches (39 strikes)
2. MON 4/20: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 6/5 GO/FO, 69 pitches (43 strikes)
TOTAL: 7.1 IP, 12 H, 6 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 PO, 7/9 GO/FO, 63% strikes, 7.36 ERA, 2.45 WHIP

Beeler will likely be optioned to Iowa when his rehab assignment is completed (which could be up to 30 days from now), but keeping him on the DL and sending him to Iowa on a Minor League Rehab Assignment rather than reinstating him from the DL now and optioning him to Iowa immediately will give the Cubs the option to transfer Beeler to the 60-day DL if a 40-man roster slot is needed sometime over the next 30 days.

Meanwhile, RHP Justin Grimm (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right forearm inflammation since April 2nd) threw two bullpen sessions this week, and so he will probably begin pitching in Extended Spring Training games early next week.

I saw RHP Neil Ramirez (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation since 4/16) playing catch on the Agility Field on Thursday, but he has not started throwing bullpens yet, so he is a few days behind Grimm. 

Because getting "stretched-out" and building up pitch counts isn't that important for relief pitchers, Grimm and Ramirez will not need a whole lot of rehab games to get back into MLB game shape. The main thing to be concerned about with Grimm and Ramirez are medical setbacks during the course of the rehab that could send the pitcher back to "square-one" (or worse).  

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

Bard, Russell, and Denorfia Get Pre-Game Reps at Extended Spring Training

Adonis Paula singled twice, stole a base, and drove-in a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and scored a run, and Carlos Sepulveda smacked a solo home run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #5 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings with the score tied 2-2. (All three Extended Spring Training intrasquad games played this week have ended in a tie)

RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave finally made his game debut as a pitcher, throwing a shutout inning (4-3, 3-1, BB, 4-6 FC). I didn't see anthing special with his stuff, although he throws both a two-seam fastball and a curve (and the curve might be his best pitch). Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus when he was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela in July 2011, the highest bonus ever given by the Cubs to an international amateur free-agent up to that point in time. He was moved almost immediately to 3rd base, and then he was moved back to catcher again (and gave up switch-hitting to hit only RH) after the 2013 season. He struggled offensively throughout his pro career as a postion player (248/347/305 in 141 career minor league games and 560 career minor league PA), and then was converted to a pitcher at Minor League Camp last month.       

In Cubs minor league roster news, RHP Daniel Bard (signed to a minor league contract during the off-season with an NRI to Spring Training, then couldn't throw strikes) and ex-Cubs LHP James Russell (signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this morning after being released by the Atlanta Braves last week) have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. Both pitchers threw morning bullpen side-sessions but did not pitch in the game. Rehabbers RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery), and RHP Austin Reed (2014 TJS) also threw bullpen side-sessions this morning.  

Chicago Cubs OF Chris Denorfia (15-day DL - hamstring) took BP on Field #6 prior to the game.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cubs Minor League Pitches & Catchers on Field at Riverview

83 pitchers and 14 catchers were on the field at  the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park this morning, as the Cubs minor league pitchers & catchers engaged in an extensive workout at Minor League Camp. The full squad will be on the field later this week, with the first minor league Cactus League games scheduled to commence on March 19th. 

Among the pitchers on the field at Riverview Park today were two ex-position players. 

Pena Punishes Pineiro As Giants Double Their Pleasure at Riverview Park

Julio Pena smacked a three-run home run off Joel Pineiro and RHP Chris Johnson threw four innings of one-run ball and struck out six (including Jorge Soler twice), leading the Giants to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs on Field #6, and Will Callaway, Brad Moss, and Fernando Pujadas stroked RBI doubles as the Giants edged the Cubs 6-5 on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Jeffrey Baez laced an RBI triple and a double and scored a run and RHP Trevor Clifton threw 2.2 IP of shutout relief with five strikeouts in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #5, and Mark Malave accounted for both Cub runs on Field #6 with an RBI double and an RBI single.

Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab) played RF for seven innings on Field #6 and batted six times, once in each of the first six innings, He struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the 1st, was called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch in the 2nd, bounced-out 6-3 in the 3rd, roped a line-drive single to left (and then stole 2nd base!) in the 4th, reached base on an HBP (he was hit on the right inner elbow) in the 5th (his 3rd HBP in five EXST games this week), and then he struck out (swinging) on a pitch over his head in his final AB in the 6th.

While he is still a bit rusty at the plate (he is hitting only 182/269/227 with no walks, five strikeouts, three HBP, and four hits--three singles and a double--in 26 EXST PA), he is running and playing outfield defense without any apparent difficulty, and so today could very well be the end of his EXST rehab. So don't be surprised if he is back with AA Tennessee by Monday. 

35-year old veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro was the starting pitcher for the Cubs on Field #6, his fifth EXST outing since signing with the Cubs on March 30th. Pineiro worked five innings (62 pitches), allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits (three singles, a double, and the Pena three-run HR), and two walks. He struck out only one, but had a 10/4 GO/FO.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S FIVE 2014 EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
TOTAL: 22.2 IP, 27 H, 18 R (16 ER), 6 BB, 17 K, 1 HR, 3 WP, 2 GIDP, 32/13 GO/FO, 70% strikes, 6.35 ERA, 1.46 WHIP

Both games were stopped by mutual-agreement after 7-1/2 innings.

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

Diamondbacks Rally Twice to Thwart Cubs at Talking Stick

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):

Golden Sparkles for Cubs at Talking Stick

Reggie Golden drilled a two-run single, an RBI double, and a triple, Mark Malave singled, doubled, walked, and scored two runs, Jeffrey Baez singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, and James Pugliese hurled four innings of shutout baseball, leading the Cubs to a 6-4 victory over the Rockies 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. 

After beginning the Cactus League Extended Spring Training schedule mired in a 1-22 slump (045/276/091 in 29 PA over the course of 11 EXST games), Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick Reggie Golden has been on fire, hitting 423/483/692 over his last nine games (29 PA), bringing his season slash-line up to a more-respectable 250/438/479. Golden suffered two torn ligaments in his left knee a year ago while running the bases as a member of the Peoria Chiefs, and missed the rest of the 2012 season. He is just now rounding back into playing shape.        

James Pugliese has been pitching "lights out" over his last four Cactus League EXST appearances (two GS), allowing no runs on four hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts in 10.1 IP. With Josh Conway out for the season and Dillon Maples having been promoted to Kane County, Pugliese is putting in a claim on one of the open starting rotation slots at Boise.    

Wilfredo Petit returned to action today, catching for six innings and getting three AB. Petit suffered a bruise on the back of his left hand last week after being struck by a bat on a Catcher's Interference error, and although it initially appeared to be a serious injury, x-rays were negative. 

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

Penalver Four-Hit Day Pain in the Halo for Angels

Carlos Penalver had four hits (an RBI double and three singles) and scored a run, Reggie Golden singled twice, walked, drove-in a run, and scored two more, Mark Malave belted a two-run double and scored a run, and Duane Underwood and Trey Lang combined to throw six shutout innings, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.   

With his four hits today, Penalver is now hitting 381/422/524 with three doubles and a triple and only four strikeouts in 45 Cactus League Extended Spring Training Plate Appearances (17 games). He also leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with with four (no CS), and has committed only two errors (his second error coming today). The 18-year old Venezuelan was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old for a reported $550K bonus on July 2, 2010 (the first day of the 2010 International Signing Period), and he is probably the best defensive shortstop in the organization. 

Baez Can Do Whatever the...

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.

Jurica Slugs Giants to Victory at Indian School Park

Carter Jurica tripled and scored to key a two-run 1st inning, and blasted a solo HR leading off the bottom of the 6th to provide what proved to be the game-winning run, as the Giants edged the Cubs 3-2 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale.

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