Toros Don't Dig Graves at Mesa Cubtown

Calvin Graves drilled a double and a two-run single and Varonex Cuevas singled twice and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over Los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League) in Minor League Camp game action this morning at Mesa Cubtown Field #3.

The speedy Graves also made the defensive play of the game, an outstanding full-sprint running catch in left-centerfield. 

Miguel Torrero walked and roped a two-run single and Efren Espinoza singled twice, walked, and scored a run for Los Toros. 

The seven Cubs pitchers who worked in the game were from the Iowa (AAA) squad, and with five NRI pitchers having been sent down to Minor League Camp today from the MLB club, all seven of the guys who threw against Tijuana are probably "on the bubble."

Most (if not all) of the The position players who played in the game are likely destined for the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad, and so most all of them are probably "on the bubble," too.   

For those of you who follow the Tijuana Toros in particular and the Mexican League in general, Mexican League Opening Day is Friday April 3rd, and Tijuana will be on the road at Mexico City Red Devils. So if you were planning to be in Tijuana to watch Los Toros on Mexican League Opening Day, you will need to divert to Mexico City.

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

1a. Tim Saunders, SS: 0-1 (K, BB, BB, R)
1b. Varonex Cuevas, SS: 2-2 (1B, 1B, 2 R)
2a. Tanner Witt, 2B: 0-2 (6-3, BB, F-8)
2b. Bryant Flete, 2B: 1-2 (F-8, 1B) 
3a. Shane Kennedy, 3B: 0-2 (L-9, 4-6 FC, BB, R, 2 SB) 
3b. David Bote, 3B: 1-2 (E-4, 2B, 2 RBI)
4. Kevin Brown, DH: 0-4 (4-3, 4-3, F-8, F-8 SF, F-7, RBI)
5. Kevin Encarnacion, LF: 1-5 (F-9, F-9, 1B, K, F-9, R)
6a. Alex Tomasovich, 1B: 0-2 (5-3, K) 
6b. Adonis Paula, PH-1B: 0-2 (P-4, 6-3) 
7. Calvin Graves, CF: 2-4 (E-3, 2B, 1B, 4-3, R, 2 RBI)
8a. Charlie White, RF: 0-2 (F-8, 4-3) 
8b. Shamiel Ubiera, RF: 0-2 (5-U FC, 6-3) 
9a. Tyler Pearson, C: 1-2 (6-4-3 DP, 2B, RBI)
9b. Erick Castillo, C: 1-2 (E-6, 1B, 2 R) 

1. Felix Pena: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 37 pitches (19 strikes) 
2. Carlos Pimentel: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 BALK, 1/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (20 strikes) 
3. Blake Cooper: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 10 pitches (8 strikes) 
4. Austin Kirk: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 14 pitches (9 strikes) 
5. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (11 strikes) 
6. Matt Loosen: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 19 pitches (14 strikes)  
7. Zach Cates: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 17 pitches (11 strikes) 

3B Shane Kennedy - E-5 (throwing error on infield single allowed batter-runner to advance to 2nd base and unearned run to score from 3rd)


Tyler Pearson; 2-2 CS 

: Sunny and a bit breezy, with temperatures in the 80's 




I had forgotten that Loux was still in the system. Can he still be considered to be a prospect any more. The same question for Maples.

DAVID P: Barret Loux had both shoulder surgery AND UCL elbow surgery (TJS) over the past year-and-a-half. It's hard enough to come back from one, but to make it back from both (especially when the two surgeies occurred within such a short period of time) would be quite a feat. So far he looks OK throwing "live" BP, but it remains ro be seen how he fares in games. 

As for Dillon Maples, he probably needs to make the South Bend staff (bullpen) coming out of Minor League Camp. If he doesn't, he would be a definite release candidate prior to Opening Day. I don't think he will spend another season at Extended Spring Training. 

BTW, if Maples does get released, he can always go to college and be a punter (he was an outstanding punter in HS). He was all set to be a two-sport student athlete at the University of North Carolina when the Cubs almost literally signed him off the UNC football practice field in August 2011. Not every minor leaguer who gets released has that fall-back option. 

47 in attendance? I smell a trade.

"Reds manager Bryan Price indicated Monday that Jason Marquis and Paul Maholm are good bets to make the team's rotation." damn...not the best group of ex-cubs. CIN was looking interesting a couple years they're at this point.

Sheesh. Jason Marquis - might as well sign Jamie Moyer.

Marlon Byrd agrees.

The ghost of Dusty Baker strikes again. Is Milton Bradley available for the Reds or did he end up in jail?

he's on probation...7 years of it...for beating his wife...who oddly passed away not long after he was convicted. his whole circle was weird, insular, and violent.

He was/is the worst.

How about taking Edwin for the trifecta??

Wasn't there some talk of a Castro for Zach Wheeler trade a ways back? Whew! Sucks, though - I hate seeing all these pitchers go down.

@CarrieMuskat 46s46 seconds ago #Cubs seem to be leaning toward 3 catchers. Maddon says having Welly will help them keep Montero, Ross healthy, also extra bat.

countdown until welly demands a trade... the guy is way better than the 200-ish PA this kind of setup would allow (without injury) even if he's not a world changer behind the plate.

Is Wellington Castillo in any position to demand a trade? That said, my first thought on seeing this was public posturing by Theo/Jed to increase trade value.

I don't know about increase, but let teams know they won't give him away. TheJedi are very good at playing the PR trade game. And frankly, they do have room for Beefy.

C: Montero, Ross, Castillo

INF: Rizzo, LaStella/Alcantara, Castro, Olt

OF: Soler, Fowler, Coghlan/Denorfia, Sweeney

Alcantara is going to play 7 positions by June, but being able to pinch hit Montero or Ross late in games would be a neat luxury.

And the Cubs are in a good position in that they are not in a rush to make the move. The roster will likely shift a lot this year with so many young guys. If no one offers anything decent by the end of Spring Training, you could start the season like this. Then after a few weeks another team realizes their back-up catcher is not working out, or an injury hits, and they can move him then, at which point perhaps someone like Bryant or Baez is going to be called up anyway.  If the Cubs are in the position where they have to take a hit on the trade, it means that many other things are all going really well, and we won't care.

it's been this way for months. there's been very few teams looking catchers and when TOR picked up a new catcher, making d.navarro expendable, things got worse for the cubs. handing d.ross a 2 year deal pushed them further into a corner...if you want to call it that. given the elements of this "storm" they can continue to wait for some other catcher to catch an injury or try to out-compete TOR's desire to trade away d.navarro by undercutting welly's value even more. his value in trade has been sunk for months. i just wonder how cool welly will be with being the "3rd catcher" when he could start for some teams and be the main backup on others...we'll find out soon if he's not traded how cool he is with it.

at some point it becomes an issue of protecting your future in the game...and your wallet thickness for doing it. no idea if he'll do it...wouldn't surprise me at all.

I mean, okay, but say Carrie Muskat tweets "Wellington Castillo demands trade"...and then what? Do Theo/Jed care what their 3rd string catcher demands? Do other teams think, "hey, here's a guy who knows what he wants, let's go get him"? Or, does Castillo paint himself as a whiner and clubhouse malcontent by making demands as an arb-eligible 3rd string catcher? I don't think any demand would either protect his future or increase his wallet thickness. Get better at framing pitches. Improve your hitting and patience. Then teams will start to care what you want and when you want it.

usually the player in question ends up being traded or making a "i'm happy here, this was overblown" statement...all the while the press strokes themselves from beginning to end covering it. that said, it was just pure wild-ass "tossing it out there" speculation on a trade demand. i just can't imagine him or his agent are cool with this unless they know he's going to see 400-ish PAs and work behind the plate. when it comes to his that 1 to 1.5 extra called strikes per game worth ignoring the other aspects of his D game? framing pitches was the hot thing this winter, but it's hardly a make/break thing for a catcher when he brings other plus tools to his D game. for people that care about dWAR, he put up 4.0 value on that in his 210 games over his last 2 seasons behind the plate.

I get it was wild-ass. I just don't get why anyone would care if he made demands. Or why that would help a player of his stature. As for his D, or really his whole game, I admit that I don't know what Theo/Jed didn't like. But that they acquired 2 catchers says enough about what they think of him, at least for now.

Beefy isn't going to demand anything, if anything they'll try and sneak him through waivers at the end of spring training if they don't have a roster spot or a trade partner.

There's a reason he hasn't been traded yet and it's because he's a barely serviceable starter and not veteran enough and not good enough defensively to be a back-up.

At best you're talking Corey Black upside in a trade I'm guessing. Everyone agrees at this point he's terrible at framing pitches, it was one of the first things I noticed when he came up and a lot of others on this board did as well, and the somewhat flawed metrics agree and most importantly obviously TheJedi agree or they wouldn't have gotten 2 new catchers. He's a decent enough hitting catcher that can get hot that you don't want to give him away and he is decent at throwing out runners, but a player is only worth what someone will give you for him and obviously it's not much at the moment.


there's about a 0% chance you could get him through waivers... the guy is healthy, has pop, doesn't have a leaky glove, and throws out about 1/3rd of base runners who test him. not to mention the guy makes 2m and has years of club control left. david ross just got 2.5m (for 2 years, each year) after putting up 2 extremely pathetic seasons with the bat, half the workload, and showcasing a decrease in arm strength last year. 2m for welly is a deal compared to that.

I love it. It's the only way to have a decent right-handed bat on the bench against lefty starters, and it gives flexibility to lift/sit Montero against tough lefties without putting an auto-out into the lineup. This is exactly what I proposed in January, and I agree.

Assume 3 catchers and no trades: 11 pitchers. 8 starters and 6 bench guys. Fowler, Coglin, Rizzo, Soler, Montero, Castro, Olt, Baez. Bench: Castillo, Ross, Denorfia, LaStella, Alcantara and Sweeney/Szczur. so other than the 4/5th OF, it looks like Lake or Baez/Herrera is the final cut? and who goes when Bryant arrives?

Sweeney/Szczur? Olt or Bryant to OF

11 pitchers? in the NL?

Anything possible, but guessing the 13 position player/12 pitcher dynamic is the way it will go down.

I think I read somewhere that Maddon was thinking 11 pitchers. Something to the contrary direction in that Renteria wanted 13 for much of the last season. I might have misunderstood the comment though. Either way, Junior Lake is...

Lake has an option left, wasn't going to make team barring an injury anyway.

"and who goes when Bryant arrives?" Instead of Baez, who is hitting .115, they'll keep someone they can send down painlessly. He's not gonna break camp if he doesn't nudge that average up a bit. So keep Lake, test Bryant in the OF. It doesn't take much to make a passable left fielder, and if he already has arm fatigue it could be third base is not his position anyway, even if he can field it ok. Baez now is going to need to fight off Russell. He has his work cut out for him me thinks. By the time Bryant comes up they'll either probably have a taker for Castillo or they can just send Lake off somewhere.

Baez isn't going to make the team, my guess from earlier presuming the standard 13 position player/12 pitcher mix

C: Montero, Ross

INF: Rizzo, La Stella/Alcantara, Castro, Olt

OF: Soler, Fowler, Coghlan/Denorfia, Sweeney

leaving your extra spot for Welington, Herrera,  Szczur, Lake, etc (my $$ would be on Herrera)

SP: Arrieta, Lester, Hammel, Hendricks, ???

RP: Rondon, Strop, Motte, Ramirez, Grimm, Coke, ???

two spots for Wood, Jackson, Doubront, Wada, Britton, Schlitter, etc (my $$ on Wood as SP and Jackson to pen)

I do find the amount of angst on who is going to break with the club rather disproportional to the amount that it matters. I don't know the numbers off hand, but guestimating  teams probably change 20-30% of the backend of their roster every year. You'll go through 7-10 SP's on a year most times and I'm guessing around 15-20 relievers, plus 3-5 bench players and probably a starting position player or two. That's all off the top of my head, adjust your numbers accordingly.

"I do find the amount of angst on who is going to break with the club rather disproportional to the amount that it matters" I can't speak for others, but hopefully it's not angst. Something to talk about whilst waiting for something interesting to happen maybe? I don't know what the word for that is, but I'm pretty sure it ain't angst. Teeth gnashing? No. That's two words.

As long as Michael Jeffrey Olt is the opening day third baseman

Not a sure thing with the way Stella!! has handled the bag. Olt's RISP this spring is .167, so that's a sobriety check for Olt aficionados like myself. Two weeks to go or so, so in a way, spring training season is still young.

Not to be a total dick, but RISP spring training numbers are even less worthy of your attention than spring training numbers in general. #samplesize #didn'tneedtobesaid #"actually"

If they follow an established pattern (.153 last year) it's something to keep an eye on.

TCR being the den of accuracy that it is, It is actually Michael George Olt.

More like a den of satire /for some of us

Damn, I thought this was Olt's wiki page

I don't think it's angst either, but I'm rooting for a few of the bubble guys like Szczur, Britton or even Daniel Bard who is really a long shot but might get called up later. J Herrera makes me say, meh, but he represents what Rob is talking about in terms of the that 20-30% roster shuffle for when Bryant or later when Russell gets the call. At some point, As far as rooting for the kids, I'd love to see Dallas Beeler get another chance but that won't happen without some key starter getting injured (hopefully none of the top 4). Finally, Blake Parker vs Brian Schlitter. Iowa shuffle material again this year?

I'm rooting big time for Szczur (or, as the Great Maddonini calls him, Julius Szczur). The rest I don't really care too much about, since there's just about 0 chance Bryant isn't up by whatever his date is. Even if Szczur is sent down I'm sure he'll be back up during the Rob Shuffle at some point but I'd love to see the guy break camp. Because bone marrow.

I'm rooting for Szczur, too, for three reasons. 1) His baby-blue eyes will translate into mega jersey sales in the female sizes, especially when the Bryant rack has been picked clean. 2) Has a great story: saved a kid's life at some danger/cost to himself 3) He also saves no-hitters, as Chris Rusin can testify. Also made a great effort to pull off a Reed Johnson catch to save Arietta's no-no. Maybe he'll be the Cubs' salvation!

Or as the White Sox would say, halfway to Halfway to St. Patrick's Day.

fwiw, Jesse Rogers isn't buying it either...

I wasn't paying enough attention last year but says Cubs actually went 13 pitchers/12 position players for long stretches so the 11 pitcher roster proposal I find even less plausible.

it also doesn't seem like welly is buying it... “It will hurt me to leave here,” Castillo said Tuesday as he continues to compete in spring training. “This is the team I signed with and learned how to play with. I want to win with these guys and for the Cub fans. What can I do? I don’t know what will happen, but I know I can play and help somebody win.”

B. Harper creates an out from a hit on defense

manager chastises him for getting out and risking extra base...

use to call that rope a dope in softball I would add a spin to act like ball got by me. /goes back to drinking beer and weeping

The inevitable Boras tantrum on Bryant showed up about 2 weeks earlier than I expected

"Everybody in baseball is saying he's a major-league player ready for the big leagues. I have players call me. Executives call me. The Cubs' people want him there. Everyone says, 'They cannot send this guy down.' It's too obvious.

"This isn't a system choice. This isn't a mandate. This is a flat ownership decision. Do they really want to win here?''


"Ownership doesn't have anything to do with it,'' Epstein told USA TODAY Sports. "We're making an organizational decision. And I'll be the one, as president of baseball operations, making the decision.

"You never have a second chance to promote somebody the first time. You want to make sure they're in the right place. In Kris' case, we know he's ready offensively, we just want to get him in a good rhythm defensively.

"We do a better job at player development than we do strategizing on how to save a few dollars here and there. That's what we want to be all about. We don't think we screwed him up, and we don't think we're going to.''

Since Bryant is essentially going to be handing him free money for the next 10-15 years assuming he doesn't get hurt, the least Boras could do is spout off a little BS to try to earn his keep.

Let's be real. Boras's problem is Hendry isn't GM here anymore. If he was, Bryant, Russell and Baez would be in the starting lineup with Johnson in the rotation. Schwarber would be up in July. Unfortunately for Scott, idiots are no longer in charge of baseball operations anymore.

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  • crunch 9 hours 30 min ago (view)

    both him and his sister (who's since left twitter) have some interesting opinions on what civility and real americans are and are not.

    it may run in the family, but they're grown ass adults responsible for what things they put out in the world for public consumption.


  • Hagsag 9 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Piece of gabage.


  • crunch 13 hours 25 min ago (view)

    arrieta threw a pen today (saturday)


  • crunch 14 hours 2 min ago (view)

    beth and jd in the booth today.  beth had a great debut earlier in the year with very positive fan feedback for her work + homework.


  • crunch 14 hours 11 min ago (view)

    decided to check in on corey black to see if anyone has signed that waste of space.  dont think anyone has yet.

    he might want to remove the photo of the proud boys leader he has on his twitter as aggressively as he's removed some of his weird hot takes from the past.  actually, he should keep it there.  it will give him a reason to feel like a victim and that seems to be very important to him.


  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    no hitter!  4 in MLB on the season...2 have been vs CLE

    114 pitches.


  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    ...and CIN takes the lead because CLE is up a run on a throwing error followed by balking another runner in.

    miley gonna get his shot for a no-hitter win.


  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    w.miley (CIN) has a no-hitter through 8ip...0-0 game...106 pitches (season high)


  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    after this past off-season that is the most logical gut reaction.

    there's a lot of people out there rooting for kimbrel and bryant to have a good season as a backup plan (or main plan) for the 2021 season.


  • Sonicwind75 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Is it bad that my gut reaction was that I'm glad they didn't panic and risk injuring a valuable trade chip? Just keep him rested and healthy.   


  • champsummers 1 day 10 hours ago (view)




  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Jordan Horrobin  @JordanHorrobin
    #Cubs David Ross says Craig Kimbrel was "just down" today and that not having Kimbrel in the ninth was not injury related. 
    He also said he expects Kimbrel to be available tomorrow.


  • champsummers 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    it certainly was....

    wonder why Kimbrel didnt't come in?


  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    that was -way- too much drama.

    cubs move to .500, though.  woo.


  • Sonicwind75 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    This top of the 9th is going from better, to bad, to worse.


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Least painful to lose if they don't want to keep a 40-man spot tied up?