B-Jax, Watkins, and Rusin Lead Cubs to Victory at Fitch Park
Brett Jackson reached base three times on a single, a double, and a HBP, scored a run, and knocked in another, Logan Watkins belted a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a six-run 5th, and Chris Rusin threw six innings of three-hit ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and despite three hits by Rubi Silva and two each by Matt Szczur and Rafael Lopez, five pitchers combined to throw a ten-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) blanked the Tennessee Smokies 6-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Getting ready for the PCL season, starting pitcher Chris Rusin was in the I-Cubs lineup and got three ABs, ripping an RBI single through the box in the 4th, and then walking and scoring in the six-run 5th. (Rusin was a DH at the U. of Kentucky on days he wasn't pitching).
"Super-sub" Jonathon Mota played seven innings at 3rd base for Tennessee on Field #2, before moving over to Field #3 and playing two innings at 2nd base for Iowa. It would appear that Mota (who can play any position on the field) might be employed as a player-coach at either Tennessee or Iowa, going on the DL and coaching 1st base when he is not needed (he had TJS in 2012, so the DL excuse will probably be shoulder-related), and then getting reinstated whenever a warm position-player body is needed.
Several players from the Boise/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training) saw action in the later innings of the two games, including Reggie Golden, Xavier Batista, Trevor Gretzky, Garrett Schlecht, Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1, Matt Szczur, LF-DH: 2-4 (1B, 6-4 FC, 1B, F-8)
2. Anthony Giansanti, 2B: 0-4 (K, F-8, F-9, 6-3)
3. Rubi Silva, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 2B, 1-3, CS, PO)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, K, K, K)
5. Christian Villanueva, DH-3B: 0-4 (K, P-3, K, L-8)
6. Rafael Lopez, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K, 2B)
7. Johermyn Chavez, RF: 1-4 (K, F-7, 2B, F-8)
8a. Jonathon Mota, 3B: 0-3 (K, F-7, K)
8b. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Elliot Soto, SS: 2-3 (1B, F-9, 1B)
1. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 87 pitches (60 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. A. J. Morris: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Ryan Searle: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 3
1. C Rafael Lopez - E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
2. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
3. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (fielding error allowed unearned run to score)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 1-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (BB, 3-U, K, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
1b. Jonathon Mota, PH-2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-4 (L-8, 1B, 2B, 5-3, HBP, R, RBI)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-5 (K, 1B, 6-3, K, K)
4. Brad Nelson, 1B: 1-3 (2B, F-8 SF, BB, K, K, R, 2 RBI)
5a. Darnell McDonald, LF: 0-1 (F-8, BB)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, PH-LF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, R, RBI)
6a. Brian Bogusevic, RF: 1-3 (4-3, P-2, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Garrett Schlecht, PH-DH: 0-1 (K)
6c. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
7a. Luis Flores, C: 1-4 (F-7, 2B, F-8, 5-3, R)
7b. Lance Rymel, C: NO AB
8. Tim Torres, SS: 1-3 (3B, 4-3, BB, K, R)
9a. Chris Rusin, P-DH: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, BB, R, RBI)
9b. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-0 (HBP)
1. Chris Rusin: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 85 pitches (55 strikes), 9/3 GO/FO
2. Esmailin Caridad: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 33 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Rafael Dolis: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
IOWA ERRORS: 3
1. P Chris Rusin - E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 3B Josh Vitters - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. P Rafael Dolis - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd)
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
Craig A. 34 min 30 sec ago (view)
Craig A. 34 min 40 sec ago (view)
He'll be 27 in May and he's played in 36 games at AAA. Seems like he should be playing regularly.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 hour 18 min ago (view)
I really like this idea. They've talked of a 3rd catcher as 26th meaning Phegley, who seems a waste of roster space, good spring notwithstanding. Higgins is far more interesting
tim815 4 hours 25 min ago (view)
Is Brailyn Marquez getting any time in big league camp? Having him around the veterans would seem a solid use of resources.
Thanks, as always.
Charlie 4 hours 45 min ago (view)
Hot take: The Cubs should be considering PJ Higgins as the potential 26th man. 3rd catcher / infield sub who can put the bat on the ball.
I think I'm just stealing an AZ Phil projection from a while ago, actually. But it makes sense!
Charlie 5 hours 47 min ago (view)
Zagunis's stock has dropped a lot since his first exposure to MLB pitching. His 2019 at AAA is particularly alarming given the power spike in that league.
Hagsag 11 hours 23 min ago (view)
I see that Dillon Maples hasn't pitched yet. Is he injured or spending time in the lab?
Arizona Phil 18 hours 42 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of 26-year old RHRP Jonathan de Marte from Quebec (Frontier League) and he has been assigned to AZL Cubs Blue.
He is the closer for Team Israel and has no previous experience in affiliated ball.
He was a NDFA out of the U. of Richmond in 2017 and has been playing independent ball for the past three seasons in the Atlantic League and Can-Am League as well as winter ball in Australia this past winter.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 33 min ago (view)
DJL: Nothing from Sunday or Monday.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 34 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Mark Zagunis was sent outright to the minors last September, and because he did not have the right to elect free-agency after being outrighted he remains under club control through the 2020 season, and so he is signed to a minor league contract that expires at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the conclusion of the 2020 World Series.
Wrigley Rat 21 hours 4 min ago (view)
Thank you AZ Phil! Does that mean he's been signed to a minor league contract, then? Because he's out of options.
Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 59 min ago (view)
I love these scouting reports. Thanks Phil!
You wouldn't happen to have this info for the road games Sun and Mon?
Arizona Phil 22 hours 9 min ago (view)
W-RAT: Mark Zagunis is assigned to AAA Iowa but he did not get an NRI to MLB Spring Training. He is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020 World Series if he is not added back to an MLB reserve list (40-man roster) in the meantime.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 34 min ago (view)
Most of the pitchers who threw today pitched Saturday night, so not a lot of new pitch/velo info.
NOTES: First Cactus League game outing of 2020 for Lester... looked uncomfortable on the mound and even when he was warming up in the bullpen before the game... stuff and command were not sharp... hopefully Lester has at least one good year left in him...
Wrigley Rat 22 hours 41 min ago (view)
Whatever happened to Mark Zagunis? I thought we still held his rights, but he was just out of options? Haven't heard anything about him in awhile & I think he would make a good platoon partner with Schwarber.
crunch 23 hours 48 min ago (view)
3h 43m game today.
at least i've seen a lot of "i need to hop on baseball reference" cubs minor leaguers and new hires in the past 2 days.
rex brothers looked good again.