Czech Swing Not Up to the Challenge at Riverview

Jake Hannemann belted a solo home run leading off the bottom of the 1st inning and an RBI double in the 4th, Trey Martin tripled twice and knocked-in two runs, Yasiel Balaguert hammered a three-run HR in the 1st and walked in the 3rd, Will Remillard doubled twice and scored a run, and Paul Blackburn and seven relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout, as the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) blanked Team Czech Republic 10-0 in Minor League Camp game action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The Czech team (managed by Mike Griffin, with Trot Nixon and Corey Lee serving as assistant coaches) is in Arizona preparing for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier #2 tournament in Mexicali, Mexico later this week. Mexico is the host team, and Germany and Nicaragua are the other two particpants. The winner qualifies for the 2017 WBC. 

As per usual, the Tennessee squad added some additional players for the game, with RHP Corey Black, catchers David Freitas, Will Remillard, and Ben Carhart, 1B Matt Clark, SS Bryant Flete, and OF Bijan Rademacher moving down from the Iowa squad, RHRP Scott Effross, 1B Yasiel Balaguert, 2B Ian Happ, and LF Donnie Dewees moving up from the Myrtle Beach group, and 3B Adonis Paula and catcher P. J. Higgins moving up from the South Bend squad.     

 (updated daily)

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

1a. Jake Hannemann, CF: 2-3 (HR, F-7, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
1b. Bijan Rademacher, PH: 1-1 (3B, RBI)
2a. Chesny Young, 2B: 0-2 (BB, F-8, 5-3, CS)
2b. Ben Carhart, PH-C 0-2 (4-3, F-7)
3. Donnie Dewees, LF: 0-4 (F-9, 3-1, L-7, F-7)
4. Ian Happ, DH-2B: 1-3 (BB, 1B, 4-3, 6-3, R, SB)
5a. Mark Zagunis, RF: 0-1 (BB, F-8, R)
5b. Will Remillard, PH-DH: 2-2 (2B, 2B, R)
6a. Yasiel Balaguert, 1B: 1-1 (HR, BB, R, 3 RBI)
6b. Matt Clark, PH-1B: 1-2 (F-8, 2B, R, RBI)
7a. Jason Vosler, 3B: 0-2 (3-U, F-7)
7b. Adonis Paula, PH-3B: 1-2 (6-3, 1B, RBI)
8. David Freitas, C-DH: 0-2 (F-8, 3-U) 
9. Billy McKinney, DH-RF: 1-3 (1B, F-9, BB, 4-3, R)
10a. P. J. Higgins, DH-C: 1-1 (1B, R, SB)
10b. Bryant Flete, PH-SS: 1-2 (1B, K, R) 
11a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-2 (F-7, 5-3) 
11b. Trey Martin, PH-CF: 2-2 (3B, 3B, R, 2 RBI)

1. Paul Blackburn: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 3/0 GO/AO, 30 pitches (20 strikes) 
2. Corey Black: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
3. David Berg: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 10 pitches (7 strikes) 
4. Craig Brooks: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2/0 GO/AO, 7 pitches (5 strikes) 
5. Josh Conway: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1/0 GO/AO, 18 pitches (9 strikes) 
6. David Garner: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/AO, 12 pitches (6 strikes) 
7. Scott Effross: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 10 pitches (6 strikes) 
8. Daury Torrez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/AO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 


1. David Freitas: 0-1 CS 
2. P. J. Higgins: 1-1 CS 


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70's 


While the Smokies weere trouncing the Czechs on Field #5, "live" BP continued on the other three backfields. 

Pitchers throwing "live" BP today were: 

Casey Bloomquist 
Gerardo Concepcion 
Greyfer Eregua 
Dillon Maples
Ryan McNeil 
Kyle Miller 
Jordan Minch
Jose Paulino 
Tayler Scott  

All nine pitchers threw one inning (25 pitches each).  

i'm gonna edit/delete this out. i'm just surprised t.nixon is back doing anything involving coaching baseball. he must have loved his taste last year doing paid coaching clinics for little leaguers. good for him.

strop finally pitched! 1ip 0h 0bb 2k. unf. also, h.rondon shit himself and blew a 3 run lead in the ends in a 3-3 tie. j.baez got to play 2nd today.

Nice to see Strop back out there. I was getting a little concerned.

Strop had a lot of innings last year and while he was very good in most of them I'm happy Madden has cut back his workload so far.

John Arguello from Cubs Den was also at the game at Riverview, and took some great pics (as usual!)...  


Where are the sexy girls?

"The Cubs trimmed their roster by seven players on Monday, optioning Dan Vogelbach, Eric Jokisch and Andury Acevedo to Triple-A Iowa. Pitchers Duane Underwood, Jack Leathersich, Jonathan Pettibone and Armando Rivero were all assigned to the Minor League camp."

In addition to Acevedo, Jokisch, Vogelbach, Leathersich, Pettibone, Rivero, and Underwood, catcher Cael Brockmeyer was also assigned to Minor League Camp today. Brockmeyer was a late NRI who was invited to report with pitchers & catcher on 2/18, and he has been in big league camp ever since (until today). 

Also, only Acevedo, Brockmeyer, Jokisch, and Rivero were actually on the field at Minor League Camp this morning (all four were with the Iowa squad).

Despite being optioned to Iowa today, Vogelbach is still physically with the big league club, and Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) and Pettibone (2015 right shoulder surgery) will be assigned to the Extended Spring Training Pitchers Rehab Group when it is formed.

Underwood has been bothered by right elbow stiffness (he did not pitch in any MLB Cactus League games), and so he could end up at EXST, too.  

More "live" BP at Minor League Camp this morning, with 13 pitchers in action on the four fields: 

* throws left

THREE INNINGS (45 pitches - 15 pitches-per-inning)
* Ryan Kellogg 
Brad Markey 

ONE INNING (25 pitches) 
Pedro Araujo
Dale Brocker
Jared Cheek 
Zach Hedges
Corbin Hoffner
Tommy Nance 
James Norwood
* Luis Parra 
Alexander Santana 
* Tommy Thorpe 
* John Williamson 

The pitchers throwing three innigs are being primed as starters, and the one-inning guys are being primed as relievers. 

Brocker and Nance are the two pitchers the Cubs acquired from Frontier League (independent) teams during the off-season.

In Minor League Camp roster news, 17-year old RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico) has arrived and has been assigned to the South Bend squad. Although he just arrived at Minor League Camp, Albertos participated in Fall Instructs at the Cubs Under Armour Performance Center in Mesa last September-October, and he is one of six IFA players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico (so far) during the 2015-16 International Signing Period (with six being as many IFA as the Cubs had signed out of Mexico over the previous ten years combined). 

In addition, RHP Matt Brazis (Iowa squad) has been cleared for full activity, while RHP Luis Hernandez (injured while throwing a "live" BP session last week) is now restricted to Limited Activity Only with the South Bend squad. 

Phil, have you heard anything about Wen Hua Sung? He was a Boras client and connected to Cubs but never heard of him signing anywhere.

I read somewhere that he didnt think much of the Cubs offer and went back to school.

The Cubs have another nice dilemma with Candelario.

I wouldn't go that far yet, but: Wilson Contreras also having a very nice ST so far.

Lester in sim game today Only way he will learn Bruce Levine ‏@MLBBruceLevine 30s30 seconds ago Cubs have forced the issue of Lester throwing to all the bases.Lester has not backed away from challenge

Unstoppable force vs. immovable object: Lester picks off Vogelbach.

Adam LaRoche retires today $ 13 million back to Sox. Win/Win for Reinsdorf, no free agents to spend it on, gets to keep it.

wonder if he was gonna piss dirty or something... hopefully his "personal issue" isn't something horrible. he's been limited because of back pain this spring. maybe he just has enough money and pride to not care. maybe it's aliens.

Maybe his son is ready to graduate from Clubhouse U?

nice piece. also nice to be able to say "screw it" it $13m when you're in your mid-30s.

schwarb's back today...batting 4th and playing LF. free live game on (video and audio) feed is SD.

t.ross lasts 0.1ip for SD...cubs up 5-0 in the 1st.

2WP for grimm...having a difficult time with his slider today, but he didn't look horrible...just a couple in the dirt. n.ramirez strikes out 3 with 0bb/0h in his 1ip. \m/ j.andreoli inside the park HR!!!! ...still don't understand how this legit 3-OF-position dude with AAA experience survived the rule-5 even if his ceiling is believed to be a bench OF'r.

Hits and runs like a centerfielder, but mostly gets sent out to left and right. That tells me he doesn't track balls very well. Same problem as Coghlan.

Recent comments

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • JustSayin' 3 days 16 hours ago (view)

     I hear you but welcome to the world of Theo.  The team is always a step or two away from the World Series in his mind, whether that is true or not.  Therefore, the thing to do on the margin is to trade top prospects or younger guys on the roster for that missing puzzle piece, not build for the future.  I had a front-row seat for this as a Red Sox fan.  If Pedro Martinez doesn't insist the Red Sox sign David Ortiz for table scraps and Chris Bryant isn't the no-brainer second pick in the draft, we'd all be wondering what happened to that Theo guy who was in the Red S


  • Cubster 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    Shogo Akiyama is a lefty bat, career BA at.301 w/ Seibu Lions.  Recent OBPs: .419, .385, .398, .403 and .392. HR 20-15 in last 3 seasons Stolen bases, 12 in 2019, 18 in best season (2016). Defense supposedly plus-plus, 7-10 assists (10 in 2016). Clearly a leadoff hitter.


  • crunch 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    christian yelich committed internet homicide on yu darvish...


  • Charlie 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Little in the offseason could make me happier than the Cubs finding ways to retain the good MLB players who came up with them while remaining competitive. This Javy extension talk makes me much happier as a fan than the Bryant and Contreras trade talk.


  • crunch 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    "Javy Baez. The two-time All-Star shortstop and 2018 MVP runner-up already has begun negotiations on a potential long-term extension with the Cubs, according to sources."

    also, some talk of being linked to shogo akiyama (CF, Japan, 32yo in April)


  • crunch 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    j.odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer (17.8m) from did j.abreu (CWS)....everyone else is gonna play the FA market.

    w.smith (SF) immediately signed with the braves for 3/39 (13m team option/1m buyout on the backend).  braves lose a 2nd round pick...which they'll probably get back when someone signs j.donaldson.


  • crunch 6 days 10 hours ago (view)


    it's not like i think he's something special, but if he had 5mph more on his stuff he'd probably be a top prospect in the system combined with his command/control.  he's got highly repeatable junk and he's still young enough there might be a little more velocity to discover.


  • Arizona Phil 6 days 13 hours ago (view)

    CRUNCH: As long as Carrera is placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 he should be safe from selection, and I would say he is in fact close to a lock to be placed on the Iowa roster.

    Presuming he is on the Iowa reserve list going into the Rule 5 Draft, I doubt very much that he would get selected in the Major League Phase because he hasn't pitched above Lo-A. 


  • crunch 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    nice info...

    i'm low-key keeping an eye on faustino carrera if he's not protected...which he may not be protected.

    he throws junk, but he throws it well, and with great control.


  • Arizona Phil 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    I've talked to Player Development people over the past many years about the Rule 5 Draft and how an organization goes about deciding whether to protect or not protect a player from selection. 

    STEP 1: How many of your Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are actually legit candidates to get selected in the Major League Phase?. Usually there a dozen or more who could conceivably/realisticaly get selected. You need to identify them and then carefully evaluate them. 
    EXAMPLES: See my lists above. 


  • crunch 6 days 17 hours ago (view)

    "There are no untouchables," Epstein said.

    In truth, the Cubs boss has said the same every year, but it certainly sounds like he means it this time. "We're in the 'information collecting' stages of the process," one general manager put it on Tuesday.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 week 19 hours ago (view)

    I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.

    That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...


  • Hagsag 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.


  • Arizona Phil 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information.