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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  • I'll root for the uniform and imagine it's left-handed Rod Beck or Randy Myers out there I suppose.

    Rob G. 17 sec ago view
  • Amen to this. I guess it's gonna happen and I'm gonna have to suck it up but I really despise domestic abusers with every bone in my body and cannot stand them on any team I root for.

    johann 8 min 52 sec ago view
  • I just prefer they don't  acquire players that choke their wives/girlfriends.

    Rob G. 12 min 19 sec ago view
  • So you'd rather go with Blown Save guy, when you can trade a prospect who is blocked for one piece that could get you over the top to the Big Dance? That is pretty old thinking. This is not a move that they cannot recover from if it goes south. But the upside is potentially historic.

    The E-Man 21 min 48 sec ago view
  • I'd prefer it not happen too.

    Rob G. 48 min 37 sec ago view
  • it's a hell of a blockbuster, but it's for a guy who pitches 1/3rd of a season at an extreme premium considering the guy being traded and if the early extension $$$ rumors are true.

    it's one of those things that is bringing a guy at the top his game, but something is nagging me that this trade piece could have been put to better use.

    a huge part of me is all "hell yeah, top of the line producer"...another part of me is "hmm, that for that?"

    crunch 52 min 7 sec ago view
  • Still don't want. Kinda hope they can't work out the extension.

    Charlie 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • obviously not, and I'm sure they did their homework...just hope they have some better answers than the Yankees

    Rob G. 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • Chapman 12+ Career WAR. Currently 4.7:1 k-BB. With Rondon/Chapman/Strop/Nathan/Montgomery/Wood...Its the best pen I can recall other than Sutter or Lee Smith handling things themselves.

    Its gonna suck if he gets injured, and it appears he's not the greatest of characters.

    But, he'll have another Cuban to hang out with on the team.

    The E-Man 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • I agree with the names you mention but there are lots of names being tossed around still and there's that small matter of Chapman agreeing to the extension.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • Heyman, Wiatt, and Sharma are definitely reliable sources. Wiatt and Sharma have a ton of connections with the FO, and Heyman is one of the national guys who usually breaks stories first along with Rosenthal and Passan.

    John Beasley 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • Twitter is even more nonsensical with names and rumors than usual right now. I'd wait for a real confirmation from someone reputable at this point before getting too worked up.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • wow.

    a'ite then. i mean, at least they're getting one of the best at a young/durable age even if there's a heavy price to pay for it.

    crunch 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • i pretty much assumed this would be one of the last kinds of things they'd do...give up a top prospect (probably the best in the system) to get 1/2(ish) year of a reliever followed by multiple years locked in at his market value.

    i wonder if there's other players going back/forth, too.

    i mean, it's not like it's a horrible thing...this is just something that seems out of profile.

    crunch 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • Suspend him for the rest of the year and get him ready for the Schwarber era?

    Old and Blue 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • Sadahev Sharma says the names are done. Torres and other parts for Chapman only.

    John Beasley 1 hour 45 min ago view