Ruggiano & Conway Return to Game Action at Riverview Park
Jesse Hodges reached base three times (two-run double, RBI single, and a walk) and drove-in three runs and Charcer Burks belted an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Wilin Rosario (on Colorado Rockies MLB 15-day DL - viral infection) served as a DH and singled twice and hammered an RBI double for the Rockies in a losing cause.
OF Justin Ruggiano (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since 4/24) returned to game action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the RF bullpen in the 9th inning of the Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary Game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23rd, serving as a DH and getting four Plate Appearances. Facing RHP Tony Bryant in all four of his AB, Ruggiano struck out (swinging) his first two times up in the bottom of the 1st and bottom of the 2nd (and looked bad in the process), but then he smacked a lead-off double off the CF fence in the bottom of the 3rd inning, before grounding out 6-3 in his final AB in the 4th. He was definitely not running at fuil-speed (he was removed for a "designated pinch-runner" after his double), but then he wasn't limping, either.
RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) saw his first game action in more than a year, getting the start for the Cubs and pitching one inning (17 pitches). His fastball was clocked at only 89-90 MPH (he was peaking at 94 last year), but his two-seamer had good sink and his hard-slider was dive-bombing the lower part of the strike zone.
Conway underwent "Tommy John Surgery" (TJS) after suffering a torn UCL in a game against Liberty University prior to being drafted by the Cubs (a "2nd round talent" who supposedly fell to the 4th round only because of the TJS), and after spending the 2012 season on the 60-day DL he came back strong and was without question the most-impressive pitcher at Minor League Camp in 2013. He continued his outstanding work into Extended Spring Training, and he appeared to be about ready to join the Kane County or Daytona starting rotation (he had thrown 5.0 IP and 80 pitches in his previous start), when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury (described at the time as a stress fracture) while pitching in an EXST game at the Brewers Maryvale Baseball Complex on May 4, 2013 (see link).
In EXST Cubs roster news, veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro has been moved up to AA Tennessee from Extended Spring Training, where he will replace RHP Ivan Pineyro (placed on Tennessee 7-day DL with a forearm strain) in the Smokies starting rotation. The 35-year old Pineiro was signed as a free-agent by the Cubs on March 30th, and has spent the last six weeks at Riverview Park getting "stretched-out" as a starting pitcher. (Prior to signing with the Cubs, Pineiro hadn't pitched since playing winter ball in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico last off-season).
Although it was announced at the time the Cubs signed Pineiro that he would be at Extended Spring Training for "about ten days" and then be assigned to AAA Iowa, it soon became clear that that just wasn't going to happen. For one thing, Pineiro really hasn't pitched that well (see below), and secondly, with Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler, and Tsuyoshi Wada filling the five slots, there is just no room for him in the I-Cubs rotation.
THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S SIX 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS:
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes)
5/3 - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)
5/9 - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 12/2 GO/FO, 77 pitches (50 strikes)
TOTAL: 28.2 IP, 33 H, 19 R (17 ER), 7 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 4 WP, 1 PO, 5 GIDP, 44/15 GO/FO, 72% strikes, 5.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .289 OppBA
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
Xa. Justin Ruggiano, DH #1: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, 6-3)
NOTE: Ruggiano batted 3rd in the bottom of the 1st & 2nd innings and 1st in the bottom of the 3rd & 4th innings)
Xb. Bryant Flete, DPR: NO AB (R)
1a. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (6-3, F-7)
1b. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 0-2 (4-6-3 DP, L-6)
2a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (3-1, F-8)
2b. Charcer Burks, CF: 2-2 (3B, 2B, R, RBI)
3a. Oliver Zapata, LF: 1-2 (P-5, 2B, R)
3b. Shamil Ubiera, LF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH #2: 0-4 (5-3, E-5, K, K, R, SB)
5a. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 1-2 (2B, L-8, R)
5b. Zak Blair, 2B: 1-1 (1B, BB)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-3 (1-3 SH, 6-3, 6-U FC, K)
7, Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (2B, 1B, BB, L-9, 3 RBI, CS)
8a. Roney Alcala, 1B: 0-1 (3-1)
8b. Kevin Brown, 1B: 0-1 (BB, 3-U, R)
9a. Mark Malave, C: 0-1 (5-3)
9b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (BB, K)
1. Josh Conway: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, ! K, 2/0 GO/FO, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
2. Michael Heesch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
3. Jose Paulino: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/5 GO/FO, 48 pitches (30 strikes)
4. Hector Perez: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (20 strikes)
5. Greyfer Eregua: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 18 pitches (15 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Mark Malave: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's
crunch 3 hours 59 min ago (view)
i truly wonder why f.carrera wasn't more of a priority.
he throws straight up junk, but he's got great control and command over his pitchers. he's young enough that he could find some more velocity, too.
i mean, this is a management team that decided to trade for dan haren and kyle hendricks. they don't have an aversion to slow-tossing starters.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 40 min ago (view)
Has anyone else noticed James Norwood's picture on the Cubs top 30 prospects page is actually Brandon Kintzler?
Arizona Phil 7 hours 3 min ago (view)
It's always interesting to see how many players each MLB club protects on its AAA affiliate's 38-man reserve list on 11/20.
I'm not saying it absolutely and necessarily proves what a club thinks of its own prospects, but there are 38 slots available on a AAA reserve list, and if you leave 15 slots open, I think that does say something, especially when you don't lose anybody in either the MLB Phase or in the AAA Phase. (I'm looking at you, Seattle Mariners!)
Arizona Phil 7 hours 47 min ago (view)
HAGSAG: Instructs starts next month. The pitching lab operates year round, so guys are always coming & going.
Hagsag 9 hours 53 min ago (view)
Phil, when does the Instructional program begin? Are there pitchers in the pitching lab now?
cubbies.4ever 20 hours 56 min ago (view)
Just to continue my conspiracy theory that Theo has a requirement you have TJS to pitch for the Cubs Trevor Megill had it in 2013. The Cubs must have a support group for pitchers who have had TJS.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 32 min ago (view)
After losing two players off the Iowa reserve list in the Major League Phase and selecting four players in the AAA Phase, the Iowa reserve list has one slot open, so now would be an excellent time to try and outright C. D. Pelham to AAA.
Keep in mind that he can't elect free-agency if he's outrighted, and if he is outrighted, he won't be a minor league free-agent until post-2021.
And if he gets claimed off waivers? No big deal.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 54 min ago (view)
LHSP Faustino Carrera and 2B Carlos Sepulveda were among the first players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2014-15. The Cubs ended up signing more than two dozen more Mexican players over the next three years.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 58 min ago (view)
Vimael Machin can play anywhere in the infield & outfield, but he also went through the catcher conversion program at post-2015 Instructs so he can even catch in a pinch, too. He could be a very useful 26th man.
Machin is bi-lingual (he is from Puerto Rico and went to college at Old Dominion), and was projected by the Cubs as a future coach or manager. He's a savvy & astute baseball guy.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 11 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Every year the Cubs convert two or three position players to pitcher (it was Galazin, Hughes, and Zardon in 2019), so it's very possible that Suiter will be given a chance to pitch.
bradsbeard 1 day 7 min ago (view)
Suiter, who pitched in HS and briefly in college and who doesn't appear to be much of a hitter, seems to me to be a good pitcher conversion candidate.
Arizona Phil 1 day 49 min ago (view)
BTW, three of the four players selected by the Cubs in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (Stewart, Suiter, and Masters) will be minor league free-agents post-2020, and the fourth one (Vance Vizcaino) is a second-contract player (he was previously released by KC) so he could be a post-2020 minor league free-agent, too (TBD).
Incidentally, David Masters was selected by the Cubs after signing a minor league successor contract with the Nationals.
Arizona Phil 1 day 56 min ago (view)
So LHSP Brailyn Marquez, INF Christopher Morel, RHSP Cory Abbott, SS Aramis Ademan, RHSP Erich Uelmen, RHSP Keegan Thompson, and LHSP Brendon Little stand-out among the Cubs 2020 first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles, and RHRP Oscar de la Cruz, LHSP Luis Lugo, and LHRP Jordan Minch are probably the ones to watch among the Cubs post-2020 free-agent eligibles.
Arizona Phil 1 day 56 min ago (view)
For those of you who like to plan ahead, AS THINGS STAND NOW here is how the Rule 5 Draft and minor league free-agency shape up for the Cubs post-2020:
bradsbeard 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
You say that in jest, but just from the 2016 draft, which did not feature a first or second round pick, the Cubs drafted 4 players who were added to 40 man rosters this winter (Hatch, Miller, Rucker, Short) with Mekkes, Giambrone, and several others being potential mid-season additions.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
So I guess he's the first guy since Rondon we've taken in rule 5 with a shot at making the roster. That's kinda cool