Cubs Bore-nstein A's to Tears with Grand Slam and One-Hitter at Fitch Park

SP Justin Steele and five relievers combined to hurl a one-hit shutout, Robel Garcia belted a solo HR and an RBI single, Eddy Julio Martinez drilled two RBI singles, walked, and scored, and Jhonny Bethencourt hammered a single and a double, stole a base, and scored two runs, as the Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs AA affiliate) blanked the Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics AA afffiliate) 8-0 on Field #3, and Zach Borenstein walloped a monster grand slam HR over the CF batter's eye, Zack Short ripped a solo HR and an RBI single and scored two runs, Fernando Arcia singled twice, walked, stole a base, and drove-in a run, and SP Duncan Robinson hurled 4.2 IP of one-run ball (he gave up his only run on a sac fly on his 71st and final pitch), propelling the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Cubs) to a 7-1 victory over the Las Vegas Aviators (AAA affiliate of the A's) on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Saturday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Of the ten Cubs minor league pitchers who threw in the games at Fitch Park on Saturday, only two (Duncan Robinson and George Kontos) are actually assigned to the AAA Iowa squad at Minor League Camp. The other eight who threw (including two who pitched in the AAA game) are assigned to the AA Tennessee squad.   

Speaking of the AA Tennessee pitching staff, with Bailey Clark throwing three innings for Tennessee in Friday's intrasquad game at Riverview and Ian Clarkin and Tyson Miller working out of the Smokies bullpen Saturday at Fitch Park (each threw only 19 pitches), it would appear that the Cubs may be prepping Clark to be a SP and Clarkin and T. Miller to be bullpen guys at Tennessee (which is the exact opposite of how things looked just a week ago).   

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

Cubs Release Tazawa... But He Could Be Back

The Cubs released NRI RHRP Junichi Tazawa today, but that might not be the end of the Tazawa-Cubs connection.

Because Tazawa was a post-2018 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signed a minor league contract more than ten days prior to MLB Opening Day (he was signed on January 26th), the CBA mandates that if the Cubs did not release Tazawa by today (five days prior to MLB Opening Day), the Cubs would have had to either add him to their MLB 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) by MLB Opening Day or else pay him a $100K retention bonus with a June 1st opt-out. 

So it's possible that the Cubs will re-sign Tazawa to a new (different) minor league contract without the automatic Article XX-B retention bonus and/or the June 1st opt-out (the Cubs actually did exactly this in 2016 with Shane Victorino, Manny Parra, and Munenori Kawasaki).

2019 Cubs Spring Training Uniform Numbers

3/23 UPDATE:

The Cubs have released RHRP Junichi Tazawa.

In addition, RHRP Dillon Maples, C-1B Taylor Davis, and INF-OF Ian Happ were optioned to AAA Iowa.

Also, NRI INF Cristhian Adames and OF Johnny Field have been assigned to Minor League Camp. 

So the Cubs MLB Active List now stands at 30, with one NRI (RHRP Allen Webster) still in MLB Camp as well. 

The Cubs must reduce their Active List to 25 players by MLB Opening Day (Thursday 3/28).

An injured or ill player on a club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) can be placed on the club's MLB 10-day Injured List beginning on Monday 3/25. 

Cubs Pitchers Fan the Blaze at Riverview

Delvin Zinn walloped a solo HR, doubled, reach base on an HBP, and scored three runs, Yonathan Perlaza tripled, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, Chris Singleton singled twice, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and seven Cub pitchers combined to toss a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts (including five by SP Yunior Perez in just 1.2 IP), as the Mesa Cubs thrashed the Langley Blaze 7-1 in Minor League Camp game action Friday morning on Field #4 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

A member of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL), the Langley Blaze are one of the top amateur baseball clubs in Canada. Notable alumni include Brett Lawrie and Scott Mathieson, as well as ex-Cub minor leaguer Wes Darvill. 

The Blaze are on a ten-day Arizona Spring Training Trip, where they are playing minor league teams, and college and high school teams. The Blaze are scheduled to play one or two (and sometimes even three!) games per day, including morning games, afternoon games, night games, doubleheaders, and split squad games, so the Canadian lads (age 15-18) are playing a LOT of baseball in the Valley of the Sun.
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Cubs 2018 International Signing Period (J-2 players)

3/22 UPDATE

The Cubs have officially signed another 2018-19 IFA: 

Jonathan Alvarez
, P 
R/R, 6'1 160, Age 19 
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

So the Cubs have now signed 18 IFA since the start of the 2018-19 ISP on July 2 (see complete list below) 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3/21 UPDATE
:

The Cubs officially signed another 2018-19 IFA:

Cristian More, OF 
L/L, 5'10 170, Age 17
CUBA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++   


3/15 UPDATE


The Cubs have officially signed another 2018-19 IFA: 

Felix Stevens, OF 
R/R, 6'4 235, Age 19 
CUBA 

NOTE: By this time last year the Cubs had signed 33 IFA on their way to a record (for the Cubs) 46 IFA signed by the 6/15 deadline. But that was because the Cubs needed to fill a 35-man roster for the new AZL Cubs #2 affiliate and they did that mainly by promoting about thirty DSL players to the AZL who otherwise probably would have remained in the DSL for another season, and that in turn required signing a much higher than usual number of IFA to replentish the two Cubs DSL squads. The Cubs don't have that issue this year.  

Giants Rally to Edge Pelicans at Indian School Park

Diego Rincones blasted a two-run HR in the 1st inning and an RBI double in the 3rd, and then with their team trailing by a run with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Fabian Pena and Dalton Combs belted back-to-back RBI doubles for the walk-off victory, as the San Jose Giants (Hi-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) rallied to edge the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 5-4 on Field #1, and Luis Vazquez drilled a two-run single, walked, and stole a base for the Cubs, and Marco Luciano rifled a two-run double for the Greenjackets, as the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) and Augusta Greenjackets (Giants Lo-A affiliate) played to a 3-3 tie on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Wednesday afternoon at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Cole Roederer (who smacked a HR in the Cactus League MLB game at Sloan Park on Tuesday) tripled, singled, walked, and scored two runs for the Pelicans in a losing cause on Field #1. 

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

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