Lester Throws in Intrasquad Game at Riverview

John Andreoli and Ryan Dent slugged solo home runs and Rubi Silva drilled a two-run single, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in a five-inning Spring Training minor league intrasquad game played on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park this morning. 

Victor Caratini belted a two-run double and drew a walk and Kevin Brown singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Smokies. 

Jon Lester got the start for the I-Cubs, and threw 84 pitches (62 strikes) while facing 20 hitters. He allowed eight hits (two doubles, a triple, and five singles) and no walks (but two wild pitches), and he struck out four (two looking and two swinging), with a 1/6 GO/FO. Lester threw 81 pitches through four innings and and it looked like his day might be over, but then he went back out to the mound and faced one batter (Jeffrey Baez) in the top of the 5th, who rifled a triple on an 0-2 pitch. At that point, Lester was relieved.  

Lester looked VERY hittable today as the young Smokies hitters consistently squared his offerings up and made lots of hard contact. If the Cubs want to get Lester another minor league start before he faces MLB hitters, they could put him on the 15-day DL retroactive to last Friday (nine days prior to MLB Opening Day being the furthest back a DL stint can be backdated during Spring Training), and maybe have him start a minor league game this coming Sunday (the last day of Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games), and then he would be eligible to be reinstated from the DL on Saturday April 11th. (NOTE: MLB Cactus League and Grapefruit League Spring Training games are considered "official" games, so players on the DL cannot play in these games, and a DL stint cannot be backdated past the last time the player appeared in an official MLB Spring Training game; but pitching or playing in a minor league Spring Training game or in an intrasquad game does not affect DL eligiblity as far as backdating the DL stint is concerned, and a player on the DL can play in a minor league Spring Training game and/or in an intrasquad game without restriction). 

Despite being sent down by the Cubs on Monday, Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell have yet to take the field at Minor League Camp. None of the three played in the Futures Game last night at Sloan Park (and the Cubs sure could have used them, too), none of the three participated in work-outs (fielding practice, baserunning drills, and BP) with the Iowa squad this morning, and none of the three played in the Lester intrasquad game (and they were not on the bench, either). So it's very possible that Baez, Bryant, and Russell are still with the big club, despite being technically on the Iowa roster.   

The game was called with two outs in the top of the 5th inning. 

Here is the box score from this morning's intrasquad game: 

1. Albert Almora, DH: 2-3 (1B, 1B, L-5, R)
2. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-3 (K, P-3, 3B, R) 
3. Victor Caratini, C: 1-2 (E-5, 2B, BB, 2 RBI)
4. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-3 (F-8, K, 4-6-3 DP)
5. Bijan Rademacher, RF: 0-2 (4-3, F-7) 
6. Ben Carhart, 2B: 0-2 (F-9, K) 
7, Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-2 (L-8, 1B) 
8. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 1-2 (K, 1B) 
9. Kevin Brown, LF: 2-2 (2B, 1B, R) 

X. David Ross, C: 1-4 (5-3, K, P-5, 1B, R)
NOTE: Ross batted 2nd in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings
1. John Andreoli, CF: 2-2 (HR, 2B, R, RBI)
2. Mike Baxter, 1B: 0-2 (4-3, K) 
3. Kyle Schwarber, DH #1: 0-2 (3-U, K) 
4. Dan Vogelbach, DH #2: 0-2 (K, K) 
5. Jae-Hoon Ha, LF: 2-2 (1B, 2B, R)
6. Rubi Silva, RF: 1-2 (6-3 FC, 1B, 2 RBI)
7. Chris Valaika, SS: 0-1 (BB, F-8) 
8. Stephen Bruno, 2B: 0-1 (6-3) 
9. Ryan Dent, 3B: 1-1 (HR, R, RBI)

Felix Pena; 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 5/2 GO/FO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)   

1. Jon Lester: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 1/6 GO/FO, 84 pitches (62 strikes) 
2. Michael Wagner: 0.2, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1/0 GO/FO, 7 pitches (5 strikes)


3B Ryan Dent - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely) 

WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's 



solo HR for scuzzy off holland...making it more interesting.

Keep him up!!

Triple :: Willson Contreras triples (1) on a line drive to right fielder Alex Burg. Jacob Hannemann scores. Wes Darvill scores. ...ah, late inning + end of march spring training games. also, they lit up fuji (who's with TEX now).

the cubs used 27 players (8 pitchers) and only 1 guy got more than 1 hit for the cubs (szcuzcczuzcur 2-2) in a 9 inning, 15-10 win.

Keep him up!!!

Hail Szczur!!!

Lake sent down, along with Rosscup and Schlitter.

Jumped the gun I guess, Muskat says Herrera still in the mix

@CarrieMuskat It's down to Sweeney vs Szczur vs Herrera for final 2 spots. Denorfia likely to open on DL. Coghlan day to day now. #Cubs;

Yeah, I still think Herrera has a shot. With Baez down that leaves Alcantara as the only back-up for 3B-SS-2B. La Stella can move around, but it really limits pinch hitting and double switching. 

that's the way I felt all along, but Witty claimed they were down to 3 OF's for 2 spots yesterday...should have known better.

a spot should open up once they trade welly... happy april fools.

Not at all interested in Herrera. Journeyman with below average stats, including an OBP last year of .307. Szczur has looked really good this spring and is driving the ball. However, he probably doesn't have much of a chance, after winning that NCAA bet against the Maddonini.

Herrera's not there to hit, just gives the option for someone else to hit for LaStella, Alcantara or Olt.

I'm guessing Sweeney/Herrera unless they think Coghlan might need some time off, but not DL time off.

Why would you want Herrera to hit for any of LaStella, Alcantara or Olt? He's not as good a hitter as any of them (unless you count Olt pre-August 2014). The way Szczur is driving the ball, and with his approach to the game, it would be criminal to not have him on the roster. His hitting is not Arizona-aided. He's driving the ball with extreme authority. I'm biased towards the youngsters generally, but in this case it's a clear case of a guy who has had a remarkably good spring training and should not be rewarded with those efforts with a demotion, and I don't care about how many options he has or doesn't have.

I think you missed the not in my comment. 

The idea is not that you would have Herrera hit for any of them. The idea is that you may want, for example, Olt to pinch hit for the pitcher. You then double switch and put Olt in at 3B, move La Stella to 2B, and take out Alcantara from the game. But now that's it. You are locked in with your defensive 1B-2B-3B-SS and their batting order for the rest of the game. You can't make any defensive substitutions there or pinch hit for any of them. That is severely limiting, and it makes it easier for opposing managers to plan pitching matchups. And if anyone gets injured you are screwed. Rizzo pulls up with a bit of a tight hammy. No big deal, just needs to come out of the game and rest a bit. So you can move Olt to 1B, right? Except who plays 3B? La Stella could, but then who plays 2B? Ideally you have 2 catchers and carry them both, but it is what it is. Szczur did great and he will certainly be up at some point. But I expect him to start in AAA with Sweeney and Herrera up. If Sweeney continues to suck, he might be released at some point into the season.  

Okay, thanks W, that makes some sense - they need another infielder. But in that case, I'd still take Szczur over Sweeney right now. A bit of a gamble perhaps, but if the idea is to go into the season with the hot hand, just cut the guy who by all marks has lost his job over the guy who has by all marks, won the job. It seems like every time the Cubs put a bunch of runs on the board, Szczur is in the middle of it. Even his homers seem to be hard hit, not lucky flukes. Sweeney's 2013 and 2014 lines, combined with his spring (small sample size) is the classic journeyman's stats line. It won't be the end of the world if he goes down I guess, but it doesn't seem fair to other AAA teams for Iowa to field a lineup with Braynt, Russell, Baez, and Szczur. They may need to invoke the slaughter rule.

While I think it is necessary for the Cubs to carry a utility infielder on the 25-man roster (in addition to Alcantara) who can play SS (as well as 2B-3B), it doesn't necessaily have to be Jonathan Herrera. 

This is the time of Spring Training when players on MLB 40-man rosters become available (either by trade or waiver claim) because they are out of options, or NRI guys with MLB experience who don't make the 40 can be easily acquired in a trade.

For example, the Cubs acquired Luis Valbuena (who was out of minor league options) off waivers from Toronto at the end of Spring Training in 2012, Donnie Murphy was claimed off waivers by Texas at the end of Spring Training last year, and Andres Blanco was traded to Texas at the end of Spring Training in 2010.   

The Miami Marlins just sent Reid Brignac (who played for Maddon in TB) to Minor League Camp, and he probably would be available in a trade for cash and/or "future considerations." 

So not to say that it won't be Herrera or that it would have to be Brignac, but it could be someone other than Herrera.   


-edit- doh, miami not TB...nevermind. let's just hope baez returns quickly or welly gets shifted soon so none of this is much of an issue.

Brignac opted out of his contract after being sent down, so he's now a free agent

good points as always, AZ

Braves claimed A. McKirahan off waivers, Rule 5 rules apply.

given the failure of josh outman this spring, mcK will probably stick around with the braves a while...especially since they cut james russell a few days ago. they have brady feigl looming as backup insurance while working AA/AAA.

Nothing new but an interesting overview of the NL central. http://grantland.com/the-triangle/2015-mlb-nl...

Stuff we've heard before. But I thought it a well written piece. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-0... Holy Cow! The Chicago Cubs Finally Have a Winning Business Plan The new strategy to end a century of futility? Run it like a modern baseball team


Cubs will rotate between LaStella, Alcantara and Olt at 2B and 3B

btw, if I'm reading the depth charts and schedule right, the only potential LH starting pitcher Cubs will face in first 2 weeks is Tyler Matzek in Colorado depending on how their rotation shakes out. As far as I can tell, no other team even has a lefty in their rotation (Cardinals, Rockies, Reds, Padres). Rockies also have De La Rosa, but he'll be out for Cubs series for sure.

Cue the outrage if Olt doesn't start opening night... :emoticon:

fowler, pitcher slot, alcantara, rizzo, a penguin, montero, ben zobrist fathead poster, lastella, cubs "best costume" winner... that's my prediction for the opening day lineup. this is a guy who created a lineup to "honor" tommy tutone with a "867-5309 lineup" last year...in a game that counted. fun times.

I think Maddonnini will just use his analytics to push the best lineup he can out there. He's said (sorry, no link) something like, "it's my job to get him as many at bats as possible" when he was asked about Olt, so for me it's a non-issue.

This comment pretty much proves you entirely missed the point last year. I don't think this year you cut anyone any slack. You play to win. Period. Last year that wasn't the case. It's a non-issue for me as well this year.

the chris valaika fan club disagrees with you. you're not invited to any all-star games he plays in.

If Valaika plays over Olt I would actually begin whining. You are correct sir.

It was also a joke, so...

Samardzija gives up 2 more hrs today ST era 8.44 /giggles

Good God, Soler! /all hail the Sun King

i know it's just spring training and all that, but is there any specific reason that j.lester was stashed away tossing innings in the minor league camp even after his "dead arm" thing cleared up?

I read the answer to this question from some other post on this site I think. It had to do with being allowed to retroactively put him on the 15-day DL. A minor league spring game apparently doesn't count against that. (that's all assuming whoever wrote this was right..but it sounds logical enough)

yes, totally...if needed that would be ideal. thanks.

Heard a long interview with Chris Archer today on MLB radio and he is a really impressive person. Very thoughtful, mindful and somewhat intellectual -- very impressive approach to baseball and I really liked him. Wish to f%ck McNutt had gone south in that deal instead. Oh well...

archer is sneaky smart...really into humanity and how we think, act, and socialize with each other. he's doing more with his off-diamond baseball life than playing cards on the plane. david price up'd his game in that department...speaking of sneaky smart. there's more to (some) newschool baseball players than neck tattoos and screwed up facial hair. good times.

Check out the first comment from the article linked to in the tweet box - linked here for your convenience: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/11583011... Wow, and I thought *I* was old. He may have a point about there being no competitive advantage if everyone is doing it, but that is a long long way down the road. I think it's pretty cool. Didn't I see Rizzo batting lead off one game this spring? Not sure but I think I may have. Gonna be a fun year, gentleman. Enjoy the ride.

not touching the comment...just the article, but tony larussa would like to have a word with brian kenny about not noticing what he was doing over a decade ago. also, clint hurdle is more talk than action when it comes to the things Kenny's lauding in the article...good maddon-like personality manager, though.

Szczur is Gritty. AZ PHIL: Since you have seen the 'Nova Ultraback, are you of the opinion now that he will have a decent career in the MLB? It seems as if he may have figured some things out at the plate, for sure.. But I know you have been following him since draft so probably see the coaches working with him. Such a good dude to root for.

I see Doubront has signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays

A. Vizcaino suspended 80 games for testing positive for PED's...traded to Cubs for Maholm, traded back for LaStella.

I wonder if the Cubs suspected he was doing something and dealt him.

holy crap...that only leaves him with 2 months of minor league ball to return to. his very young career is already littered with too much time off. bullet dodged for the cubs...unless lastella sucks. btw, for all the knocks on his D in the past he sure looked good there this spring. his range, glove, footwork, and arm all seemed to be good enough for him to stick at the position even if he'll probably not be in any gold glove discussions. i don't really have an opinion of his play at 3rd because i didn't see much of it.

He actually looked pretty outstanding in the games I saw at third. He's a player, I think. I'd never heard of him before the trade.

La Stella looks like the better 2B to me out of him and Alcantara. I wonder, though, who is better defensively at 3B. I saw Alcantara make some impressive plays there, and unless he scatters throws he could be a plus defender at that spot.

What I saw at third this spring was a small sample size but he showed a good arm and good instincts, including that classic good fielding 3B play where the guy charges a lightly hit ball and whips a throw to first.

Judge gives Cubs go-ahead to block rooftop owners' Wrigley views http://chicago.suntimes.com/baseball/7/71/493...

i hope the cubs are in on this hour+ old t.cahill from ARZ to ATL trade rumor... it would be nice to settle the welly issue and (hopefully) make everyone happy.

"But a major league source said the Cubs have been trying to trade Sweeney, who will earn $1.5 million this season." http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Carrie Muskat @CarrieMuskat Tsuyoshi Wada struck out 7 over 3 IPs pitching in a Minor League game today. All went well. #Cubs

CRUNCH: Not true.  

Wada threw 3.1 IP, and struck out four.   

In fact the outs went: K, 5-3, K, F-9, 6-3, L-1, P-2,-P-3, K, K. Three of the four strikeouts were called third strikes, the other was swinging.