Bard, Russell, and Denorfia Get Pre-Game Reps at Extended Spring Training

Adonis Paula singled twice, stole a base, and drove-in a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and scored a run, and Carlos Sepulveda smacked a solo home run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #5 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings with the score tied 2-2. (All three Extended Spring Training intrasquad games played this week have ended in a tie)

RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave finally made his game debut as a pitcher, throwing a shutout inning (4-3, 3-1, BB, 4-6 FC). I didn't see anthing special with his stuff, although he throws both a two-seam fastball and a curve (and the curve might be his best pitch). Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus when he was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela in July 2011, the highest bonus ever given by the Cubs to an international amateur free-agent up to that point in time. He was moved almost immediately to 3rd base, and then he was moved back to catcher again (and gave up switch-hitting to hit only RH) after the 2013 season. He struggled offensively throughout his pro career as a postion player (248/347/305 in 141 career minor league games and 560 career minor league PA), and then was converted to a pitcher at Minor League Camp last month.       

In Cubs minor league roster news, RHP Daniel Bard (signed to a minor league contract during the off-season with an NRI to Spring Training, then couldn't throw strikes) and ex-Cubs LHP James Russell (signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this morning after being released by the Atlanta Braves last week) have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. Both pitchers threw morning bullpen side-sessions but did not pitch in the game. Rehabbers RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery), and RHP Austin Reed (2014 TJS) also threw bullpen side-sessions this morning.  

Chicago Cubs OF Chris Denorfia (15-day DL - hamstring) took BP on Field #6 prior to the game.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

1. Kevonte Mitchell, CF: 2-3 (1B, 5-3, 1B, R)
2. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, F-9, R)  
3. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-2 (4-3, K) 
4. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 1-2 (5-3, 1B, RBI)
5. Adonis Paula, 3B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, RBI, SB)
6. Tyler Alamo, 1B: 0-2 (FC, K) 
7. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-2 (L-8, 4-3) 
8. Miguel Rico, DH #1: 0-2 (5-3, 4-3) 
9. Jordan Hankins, DH #2: 0-2 (K, L-6) 
10. Eric Gonzalez, C: 0-2 (3-U, 5-3) 

1. Kevin Brown, 1B: 1-2 (3B, 1-3, R)
2. Ho-Young Son, SS: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, RBI, CS) 
3. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-2 (HR, 3-1, R, RBI)
4. Tyler Pearson, DH #1: 0-2 (K, 4-3)
5. Varonex Cuevas, LF: 0-2 (K, 3-1)
6. Jhonny Pereda, DH #2: 0-0 (BB, BB)
7. Roney Alcala, RF: 0-2 (FC+E4, 4-6 FC)
8. Carlos Jimenez, 3B: 0-1 (3-U)
9. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-1 (4-1)
10. Roberto Vahlis, C: 1-1 (1B)

1. Brad Markey: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
2. Michael Wagner: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
3. Austyn Willis: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
4. Mark Malave: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 13 pitches (6 strikes)   

1. Ben Wells: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GO/FO, 14 pitches (8 strikes) 
2. Alexander Santana: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
3. Jesus Castillo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
4. Andin Diaz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (8 strikes) 
5. Jose Zapata: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (9 strikes) 

2B Frandy de la Rosa - E-4 (throwing error attempting to turn DP allowed batter to advance to 2nd base)


Eric Gonzalez: 1-1 CS 

Roberto Vahlis: 0-1 CS, 1 PB


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70's 


Last updated 4-8-2015

NOTE: The Extended Spring Training (EXST) group (AKA "Eugene/Mesa") is formed during Minor League Camp. This group consists of players who are the replacement cadre for the full season affiliates, players deemed not ready for full-season leagues, and injured players.

Adbert Alzolay
Pedro Araujo
Daniel Bard
Dallas Beeler (INACTIVE - shoulder)
Jordan Brink
Jesus Camargo
Marcelo Carreno (LIMITED ACTIVITY REHAB - post-2013 shoulder surgery)
Jesus Castillo
Dylan Cease  (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 TJS) 
Oscar de la Cruz
* Andin Diaz
Greyfer Eregua
Scott Frazier
David Garner
Trevor Graham 
Taner Griggs
Luis Hernandez
Corbin Hoffner
Pierce Johnson (INACTIVE - lat strain)
John Michael Knighton 
Daniel Lewis 
Mark Malave (ex-C)
Dillon Maples
Brad Markey 
Trey Masek (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 shoulder surgery)
Trey McNutt (INACTIVE - 2014 shoulder surgery)
Yomar Morel
* Ariel Ovando (ex-OF)
* Jose Paulino
Hector Perez
Austin Reed (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 TJS)
* James Russell
* Carson Sands 
Alex Santana
* Justin Steele
Jacob Turner (INACTIVE - shoulder)
Michael Wagner
* Tsuyoshi Wada (ACTIVE REHAB - groin)
Ben Wells 
Austyn Willis
* Sam Wilson
Jose Zapata

Tyler Alamo (also has been playing 1B)
Eric Gonzalez
* Jordan Hankins (ex-3B)
Tyler Pearson 
Jhonny Pereda
Will Remillard (INACTIVE - 2015 TJS) 
Miguel Rico (ex-3B)
Roberto Vahlis

# Roney Alcala
# Varonex Cuevas
# Frandy de la Rosa
* Bryant Flete 
Carlos Jimenez
Joey Martarano (INACTIVE - attending college)
Adonis Paula 
* Carlos Sepulveda
Ho-Young Son 
* Logan Watkins (INACTIVE - torn achilles tendon) 

* Kevin Brown
* Kevin Encarnacion (formerly a switch-hitter, he is now hitting only LH)
Eloy Jimenez
Kevonte Mitchell
* Ricardo Marcano

Carmelo Martinez (AZL Cubs Manager)
Gary Van Tol (Eugene Manager)

Oscar Bernard (AZL Cubs Hitting Coach)
Tom Beyers (Assistant Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
Nate Maldonado (Mesa Rehab Assistant Coach)
Ricardo Medina (Eugene Hitting Coach)
Terrmel Sledge (Eugene Assistant Coach)
Anderson Tavares (Eugene Pitching Coach) 
Rick Tronerud (Mesa Rehab Pitching Coach)
Ron Villone (AZL Cubs Pitching Coach) 
Ty Wright (AZL Cubs Assistant Coach)

Sean Folan (AZL Cubs)
Ryan Nordvedt (Eugene)

Chuck Baughman (Assistant Minor League Training Coordinator - Mesa Rehab)
Mike McNulty (Eugene) 
Toby Williams (AZL Cubs)


The Cubs have released VSL Cubs IF-OF Humberto Garcia and RHP Julio Sanchez. Neither player could return to Latin rookie ball in 2015 because they have spent four "full seasons" playing in Latin rookie leagues, and players can't go back there once they reach the four year limit, Apparently the Cubs did not feel either was worthy of getting a shot in Extended Spring Training.

Both Garcia and Sanchez were "second contract players," with Garcia having signed with the Cubs in 2013 after being released by the White Sox, and Sanchez having signed with the Cubs in 2014 after being released by Cleveland.

Edwards starting in AA, wanting to monitor his workload and keep innings down early in case they need him later in year.

starting...bullpen...title gore. spring training is over mooney, get it together.

They didn't mention that Dusty Baker has been hired to be the new manager at Tennessee. Boom!!

for what little it's worth, Mets batting DeGrom in the 8th slot tonight.

The genius of Tony LaRussa finally spreading through MLB.

ichiro's 1st hit as a marlin is a bunt single to 3rd. i hope he gets 3000 hits (2845 now)'ll probably take another season beyond this age 41 season, though. he got his start on the quest for 3000 at age 27...crazy.

a.cashner is throwing 98-99mph tonight on his fastball (one at 100mph)... ...and he just walked in a run to tie the game at 2 in the bottom 2nd.

...and then the SD defense implodes...holy crap. this makes some of the weird cubs D we've seen since spring tolerable. SD got lucky puig ran LA out of the inning.

Latoya does his best Hawkins impression and just blows a 2 run lead in the 9th for Colorado. What great memories...

And of course Hawkins gets the vulture win.

Phil, Kevin Brown is leaving tomorrow morning to join AAA . Happy for him. He is a player! Just like you mentioned, he will probably make out better being here in Mesa a couple of extra days. It worked out for him. I know he will deliver.

agonz is really good at hitting baseballs long distances.

Adrian Gonzalez putting on a show against Cashner. 3 HR thru 5 innings for him.

He has 5 HR on the year thru 3 games. Cashner dropped his head in defeat after delivering the pitch for 3rd one.

Somebody needs to tell him about the 13 shutouts in MLB so far this year.

AzPhil, Hope all's well. Been trying to find a way onto TCR all spring, but my carrier abroad kept blocking me (Rob, if you go through your list of people blocked from accessing TCR ... that would be me trying to log-in from Taiwan ... I guess it's possible there's others, but a lot of them were likely my attempts ... am using someone else's carrier right now and this question has been bugging me for a long time now). Anyhow, AzPhil, it's possible you've answered this, but as noted, haven't been able to get on. Can you give me your take on what's happened to Ben Wells in the past year? Admittedly, I was always higher on him than most (although, it was more of the "profile" that I liked, the big, strong power sinkerballer who, during his draft year, supposedly showed a decent breaking ball). Anyhow, he's 22 now, so the intrigue is gone, but ... what happened? It wasn't that long ago that he held some intrigue - 2012 he started of real well in A ball before getting hurt. I don't think people remember how ... good he was to start that year. Even in 2013, he was ... passable in High A. No one expected the K rate to stay high, as the secondaries weren't that good, but he was still ... usable. At the very least, I thought he could move into a pen role and become a power sinker guy out of the pen and have an outside shot of reaching the upper minors. Then 2014 came and he just ... collapsed. Heck, IIRC, there was talk he might start in AA to start 2014 before being bumped down (memory could be shoddy). And now, he doesn't seem to be doing much in XST. What happened? Velocity was down from his Boise days, but that was to be expected, IMO, as he was sort of a wild power sinker guy back then. Anyhow, it's been bugging me for long enough for me to work to find a way to get on TCR and ask you. Best.

TOONSTER: I don't know the cause of it (and he probably does not know either), but Ben Wells showed up at Minor League Camp last season (2014) with a case of the yips. It wasn't as bad as the Daniel Bard or Scott Frazier cases (which are REALLY bad), probably more like Dillon Maples, or Trey Lang (before he retired).   

He eventually ended up at Extended Spring Training and they tried to adjust his mechanics (grip, arm slot, release point landing spot), but it didn't really fix the problem. 

Some days are better than others, but he still isn't throwing with much confidence. He's been getting cuffed around, almost like he's throwing BP.


Hmm. Can't think of many sinkerballers who completely lost the plate.

Another mock draft...projects Ashe Russell, HS righty, throws 96mph. Makes sense as the Cubs are obviously collecting Russells.

Does anyone have a site that easily gives a breakout of career numbers of a hitter vs. today's probable starter?

Nevermind, found a good break down on

See? It's just that easy Manny!

Based uppn the sequence they were in at Minor League Camp from this past weekend, the Myrtle Beach starting rotation is Underwood-Torrez-Blackburn-Skulina-Tseng (in that order), and the South Bend rotation is Stinnett-Hedges-Null-Leal-Clifton. However, Hedges got bombed on Friday and so he could be replaced by Ryan Williams or Ryan McNeil (both are stretched-out). James Norwood was stretched-out as a starter but then he was moved to the bullpen this past weekend. 

Iowa had Roach-Pimentel-Jokisch-Loux #1-4 through this past weekend with the #5 slot TBA (could be a Britton-Negrin piggy-back, or maybe Tsuyoshi Wada on a 30-daty minor league rehab assignment, since Wada threw 64 pitches in an Extended Spring Training intrasquad game on Tuesday).  

Tennessee had Black-Pineyro-Zastryzny-Pena #1-4 through this past weekend with the 5th slot TBA. 

The minor league third-catchet/player-coach DL assignments have begun... 

3rd catcher Alberto Mineo to 7-day DL at Myrtle Beach, and I would expect the same thing for Erick Castillo (3rd catcher) at AA Tennessee. 

Brewers Double-A team will play first 2 months on the road

AZ Phil, is there any hope that Bard can recapture his past?

HAGSAG: There isn't a lot of hope for a pitcher as deep into the yips as Bard is. I think the Cubs are just giving him a chance because the FO knew him from Red Sox days, but he looks really messed up right now. If the strike zone was high & outside he'd be fine. 

According to Maddonni the yips are a golf term, baseball players refer to it as "the thing".

Wow.....Milton Bradley is a real POS. Ugh....

yup, pretty terrifying article even if you knew about it, probably didn't know the ugly details.

Rosenthal on Padres SS search has this about Castro

Much of the recent media speculation centers on Castro, whom the Cubs likely will attempt to move to clear the position for top prospect Addison Russell.

Well, the Padres indeed have talked to the Cubs about infielders, but not recently, one source said. What’s more, some with the Pads are less than enamored of Castro’s defense, another source said, echoing a view held by many in the industry.

Don't know about the first part because I doubt they're really sold on LaStella/Alcantara at 2b or Baez and Castro can move to 2B for Russell or vice-versa (guessing it's Castro that moves).

Might have been Valbuena.

For some time now, Theo & Jed have been very coy when it comes to Castro doing everything possible (IMO) to keep his trade value as high as possible. I feel if Baez could show any semblance of plate discipline, he and Russell would solve the 2B/SS situation. Until then, I look for continued talk of 'Starlin is our SS....we're satisfied with his progress....etc., etc.'

CLE loses their bid for a multi-pitcher no-hitter (t.bauer went 111 pitches in 6 innings) with 1 out in the bottom close. dave steib laughs at your pain, CLE.

To get down to the 25-man Opening Day active roster limit, the Iowa Cubs have placed INF Javy Baez on the Bereavement List and LHP Joe Ortiz on the Suspended List, and have released RHP Jorge DeLeon. OF Kevin Brown has been moved up to Iowa from Extended Spring Training to replace Baez. Also, LHP James Russell is supposedly en route to Memphis to join the I-Cubs after throwing a bullpen side-session at Cubs Minor League Camp at Riverview Park yesterday morning (he spent most of Spring Traning with the Atlanta Braves). 

The reason for Ortiz's suspension would NOT be a Prohibited Substance violation, because if that's what it was he would have been placed on the Restricted List. So best guess would be that there was some violation of team rules, like he missed the bus when the I-Cubs left for Memphis from Des Moines yesterday, or he got arrested, or he had a fight with the manager or with a coach or a teammate. 

To get down to the 25-man active roster limit, the Tennessee Smokies have placed C Erick Casillo on the 7-day DL and LHP Jeffry Antigua has been sent to Extended Spring Training, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans have placed LHP Michael Heesch and C-1B Alberto Mineo on 7-day DL. and the South Bend Cubs have placed LHP Tyler Ihrig and OF Yasiel Balaguert on the 7-day DL. 

The fact that E. Castillo, Heesch, Mineo, Ihrig, and Balaguert were not left behind at Extended Spring Training (and they all looked perfectly healthy on Sunday) tells me they are not really injured (at least not enough to require rehab) and that they will be the in-house "replacement players" for those affiliates. The "injured" pitchers will throw bullpen side-sessions and the "injured" position-players will work as a bullpen catcher or a 1st base coach, and  be available to be reinstated whenever needed to replace a player or pitcher who goes on the 7-day DL, and then they go back on the 7-day DL when they are not needed. 

What happened to Baez family-wise? HAven't heard anything.

I believe his sister died. It's heartbreaking, tho she was sick, I remember reading how much he was inspired by her battle - spina bifida I think.

Ah, yes, I do remember that, thanks Carlito. Not that he's reading this, but best wishes to him and his family, and I'm rooting for him whenever he gets back.

Minor league games begin...early returns.

Iowa: Russell 2/2,  Bryant 1/2 with a SB, D. Roach starting

Tenn: C. Black starting, 2 shutout innings so far

Myrtle Beach: J. Rogers 3/3 with a HR, V. Caratini 2/3, Penalvar 2/2 and D. Underwood went 5 innings, no earned runs, 5 K, 2 BB

South Bend: Jeffrey Baez 1/3 with a HR, J. Stinnett went 5 innings, 1 ER, 4 K, 2 BB

On this note, I wonder if AZ Phil would mind swinging by and suggesting some young players for my MLBfarm list that don't appear on most of the top X lists.

What positions were Bryant and Russell playing?

Catcher and first base.

What are they going to do with Rizzo then? :)

Follow Bert Byleven on Twitter /f Detroit

Cubs Lineup today: Fowler Soler Rizzo Castro Olt Szczur Castillo Wood Alcantara

Interesting line up. Seems like he is shooting for power over speed, which makes sense in Colorado. Also, of course, the platoon advantages.

who the hell is castillo? also, he's been one hell of a sport not pushing his "3rd string" status in public. if he's not traded and everyone stays in roles as expected he's going to be lucky to see 200-250 PA...and pretty much ruin his immediate future earning potential in the process unless he puts up some nice numbers doing it.

also, he's been one hell of a sport not pushing his "3rd string" status in public.

Please stop trying to make this a thing.

alright...should i ignore his "i'm going to miss being here"-type comments he made in spring training and simply pretend he's not expecting to go anywhere. others have thrown fits over less. i think the guy's being a hell of a sport about it.

we got that...move on, because literally no one else here or in the universe has mentioned, cared or said one thing about Castillo being a distraction about this. He's on the Geovany Soto career journeyman path, I'm sure he knows his place in the baseball world by this point.

ooooooooooooookay. *clicks boot heels together*

TCR brass has spoken!

I completely agree with crunch. I think it is remarkable that Castillo is not making a stink about this. I am not saying he should. I think he should be commended for it. Doesn't seem right for Rob to just tell crunch to move on...

Castillo (runs into Theo office): TRADE ME!

Theo (hangs up phone): I've been fucking trying!!! No one wants you.

*End scene

Sounds like a conversation Cutler might have had with Bears management.


as for the moving on comment, since you clearly have not been around...harping on things is frowned upon around here, particularly things that aren't things, I obviously wouldn't say anything if that was the first or even second time it was mentioned.

Yeah, fair enough. I get that. Do you really think that Castillo is going to slowly fade away into irrelevance, like Soto did? That's just not where i expected this to end up...

As one who was guilty of bringing up the idea of pee-soaked baseballs more than once, I can understand why you might be sensitive to repetitive topics.... Seriously, though, I think Moises Alou was onto something!

Looks like we have a new member. /Cult of Olt

that comes with a membership card, an actual piece of the bench he sits on, a signed game-unused bat, and a packet of Oltimate Orange Gatorade. you're also entered to win a yearly drawing for one of the rarest pieces of olt memorabilia, an actual cubs lineup card where he's penciled in as a starter and played all 9 innings.

haha, non-believer!

Schlitter has returned from the Yukon Grimm retro DL