P. J. Francescon

Galindo Three-run Blast Highlights Cubs Sweep over Giants

Wladimir Galindo belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Chris Pieters rifled a two-run double, and Andry Rondon and four relievers combined to toss a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Giants 7-0 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, and RHSP Pedro Silverio hurled five innings of three-hit/one-run ball with no walks & eight strikeouts and Roberto Caro drilled three singles, as the Cubs edged the Giants 4-3 at Sloan Park, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

The game on Field #1 was called after seven innings of play, and the game at Sloan Park was called after 6-1/2 innings. 

The EXST Cubs record now stands at 32-16-6. 

With today's outing, Silverio becomes the second Eugene starting pitcher to go five innings (Jesus Castillo was the first, hurling five innings yesterday).  

In EXST Cubs roster news, LHSP Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) has been assigned to Extended Spring Training after struggling at South Bend (6.17 ERA - 1.94 WHIP - .308 OppBA - 45 H - 23/37 BB/K in 35 IP - nine GS). Steele will likely be a starting pitcher at Eugene (NWL season begins on June 16th), joining some combination of Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Manny Rondon in the Emeralds rotation (if there isn't room for all of them in the starting rotation, one or two may end up as "piggy-back" relievers). 

Also, RHRP P. J. Francescon has completed his 50-game "Drug of Abuse" suspension and has been reinstated from the Restricted List. He celebrated his freedom by working two perfect innings on Field #1. Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last season, and it's probably just a matter of time before he's back in the Smokies bullpen.

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

Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

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

LaHair Ball Day at Fitch Park

Bryan LaHair singled, doubled, and tripled, scored two runs, and knocked-in two more, and Nate Samson had two hits, drove-in three runs and scored another, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough, as the Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels AA affiliate) took advantage of six errors to defeat the Tennessee Smokies 7-3 on Field #2, and the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 13-8 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Socorro Pro Debut Should Make Marshall Proud

Making his professional debut, Cubs 2011 46th round draft pick Kenny Socorro (Marshall U.) had three hits and drove-in three runs, and Oliver Zapata drew four walks and scored twice, leading the AZL Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix this evening.


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  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Even though Hammel is missing start, don't assume he'll not be on #Cubs postseason roster. Maddon says elbow problem isn't that bad

    Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Maddon on #Cubs postseason rotation: "I don't want to announce anything. We haven't talked to anybody yet"

    Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Maddon hopes Soler can take BP in Cincy, play in sim game Tue. "All of that should give us some kind of indication of where he's at"

    crunch 29 sec ago view
  • tarp on the field 40 minutes before gametime...meh.

    crunch 3 min 24 sec ago view
  • travel day + rain in Pittsburgh. Why risk injury?

    Rob G. 6 min 45 sec ago view
  • tim federowicz has been freed to play with his AAA teammates.

    crunch 17 min 40 sec ago view
  • The lineup tonight....what the hell. Unless all the players are completely exhausted, this seems like overkill to me. They have 4 days off after Sunday.

    billybucks 21 min 29 sec ago view
  • Tommy Nance seems like quite an Indy league find

    Koyies Bansaw 27 min 35 sec ago view
  • watching heyward attempt to hit a fastball is alarming. he's doing bad things with stuff he should be nailing...weak popups, grounders, late swing fouls...

    it's going to be next to impossible to do worse than this season, but hopefully he can at least hit a fastball with authority next year.

    crunch 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • He's an incredible defender, base-runner and takes great AB's. A .265 BABIP is highly likely to improve next year. That being said, his power numbers are down too which is certainly concerning so I'd certainly hedge my bets with him next year, but it would be surprising if this is his new normal.

    Rob G. 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • I have no deep level of expertise or analysis here, but I still like Jason Heyward. I truly wish his bat was better, but I love the defense and the feel-good nature of his signing. I might be naive, but I think his offense will improve. I'm glad he's here, and I hope he doesn't make me regret saying that!

    Brick 1 hour 40 min ago view
  • Pay the man his money...(MVP Talk)

    http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2016/09/29/who-should-win-the-mvp-awards-who-will/

    Kris Bryant is going to own the Cubs himself in 6 years :)

    Without doing any actual research because this is the Internets, I have a feeling Bryant will break every arbitration record there ever was unless TheJedi can literally use the Force to convince him and Boras to sign a multi-year deal.

     

    Rob G. 2 hours 37 min ago view
  • Hammel was supposed to pitch Friday, Cubs said it'll be a bullpen day instead.

    Rob G. 2 hours 44 min ago view
  • Tis either a valid excuse for Hammel's recent struggles or a PR game when they try to trade him this offseason. Or possibly both

    #Cubs say Jason Hammel has been pitching through elbow tightness and could have started if the team was still playing meaningful games.

    Rob G. 2 hours 45 min ago view
  • Finally made it to Pittsburgh, 6 hour drive can't wait to see the game ....WTF?!?!?

    https://twitter.com/cubs/status/781576204704808960

    jacos 2 hours 49 min ago view
  • Being young does have its advantages. Not that it helps Addison Russell last season.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 1 min ago view
  • Keith Law chat

    "Nick: Speaking of players you were wrong about, do you still like the Jason Heyward contract?
    Klaw: Yes, actually."

    I gives player a year to get acquainted w whole Cub thing,next year will be more telling.Love the d though.

    jacos 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • Saw Tito's comment in the last thread. Thought it was a joke.

    QuietMan 3 hours 34 min ago view