LaStella Shows Desire to Play at Riverview Park

Jenner Emeterio doubled twice, scored two runs, and drove-in another, and Tyler Alamo belted a solo home run, leading the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Rockies on Field #5, and Luis Castro reached base three times (a single, a double, and an HBP), stole a base, and scored three runs, as the Rockies rallied for three runs in the 8th and two in the 9th to edge the Cubs 8-7 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

Terry McClure belted a solo HR in the Rockies loss on Field #5, and Roberto Caro smacked an RBI double, singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #6.    

Tommy LaStella (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - rib cage inflammation) returned to the field for the first time in almost five weeks and saw action in the game on Field #6, playing 3rd base for four innings and then 2nd base for two innings. He batted four times (once in each of the first four innings) and had quite a day, driving-in three runs with two doubles, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly, while also scoring two runs, helping the Cubs take a 7-1 lead through three innings.   

19-year old RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance after pitching in several "sim" games over the past month, throwing 16 pitches in the top of the 1st inning in the game on Field #5. He retired two (a 1-3 comebacker and a strikeout looking) and hit one batter before being relieved (he was under a strict pitch count).

Cease was the Cubs 6th round draft pick out of Milton HS - Milton, Ga in 2014, and the Cubs selected him despite knowing that he would need a UCL elbow ligament transplant ("Tommy John surgery"). Considered one of the top high school arms in the 2014 draft class and a likely 1st round pick prior to his elbow issues, he received a $1.5M signing bonus (equivalent to "first round money") and then had the TJS last July 22nd. He has made a rapid recovery, and barring a setback, he will likely be a rotation starter for the AZL Cubs when the Arizona League season begins play next month. 

RHRP Daniel Bard and LHRP Daniel Schlereth each threw an inning in the game on Field #6. Schlereth had an easy eleven-pitch inning (K, 6-3, 1B, 6-4 FC), but Bard allowed two runs on two hits, an HBP, and a WP, plus a two-base throwing error on an attempted pick-off in his inning (20 pitches - only 10 strikes). Bard is now throwing mostly side-arm, and his one-time upper 90's velocity now sits at 91-92, occasionally touching 93.  

Speaking of throwing sidearm, RHRP Corbin Hoffner has gone to an extreme sidearm delivery (it's almost "submarine"), and while he has struggled to command his pitches in games with his new delivery, he had a 1-2-3 9th in the game on Field #5, picking up the save with two strikeouts and an F-7.   

Prior to the Cactus League doubleheader, Erling Moreno (2014 TJS), Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery), and Anthony Carter (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL) pitched in a three-inning "sim" game on Field #3. Moreno and Masek threw two innings each, and Carter threw one.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two Cactus League EXST games (Cubs players only): 


FIELD #5

CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Kevonte Mitchell, CF: 1-2 (K, 2B, BB, RBI, CS)
2. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 0-3 (P-3, 5-3, 3-U)
3. Eloy Jimenez, LF: 1-3 (1B, L-9, 5-3)
4. Roney Alcala, DH #1: 0-3 (K, 3-U, 6-3)
5. Tyler Alamo, 1B: 2-3 (1B, HR, 3-U, R, RBI)
6. Yohan Matos, C: 0-3 (5-4 FC, F-7, K) 
7. Carlos Sepulveda, SS: 1-2 (4-3 DP, 1B, BB, R)
8. Jenner Emeterio, RF: 2-3 (2B, 2B, 4-3, 2 R, RBI)
9. Danny Gutierrez, 3B: 1-2 (1B, F-7 SF, K, R, RBI)
10. Alberto Mineo, DH #2: 0-1 (F-9 SF, 3-1, RBI)

CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS
1. Dylan Cease: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (9 strikes) 
2. Austyn Willis: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 4/2 GO/FO, 46 pitches (28 strikes) 
3. Greyfer Eregua: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 0/3 GO/FO, 36 pitches (23 strikes) 
4. Corbin Hoffner: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes) 

CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 2 
1. 2B Frandy de la Rosa; E-4 (missed catch on line drive allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 3B Danny Gutierrez: E-5 (throwing error on infield single allowed batter to take 2nd base) 

CUBS SQUAD "A CATCHERS DEFENSE
Yohan Matos: 0-2 CS 

FIELD #6

CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Tommy LaStella, 3B-2B: 3-3 (2B, F-8 SF, 1B, 2B, R, 3 RBI)
NOTE: LaStella batted third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings
1. Robert Garcia, LF: 1-3 (3-U, 1B, 4-3, R)
2. Roberto Caro, CF: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 1B, 2 R, RBI, SB)
3. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 1-3 (K, 1B, F-8, 2 RBI)
4. Bryant Flete, 2B-3B: 0-2 (L-3, F-8, BB)
5. Tyler Pearson, C: 1-3 (2B, P-3, 6-4-3 DP, R)
6. Ricardo Marcano, DH #1: 1-3 (6-3, F-8, 1B)
7. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-3 (F-8, K, 6-3)
8. Ho-Young Son, SS: 2-3 (1B, 1B, L-9 DP, R, SB)   
9. Carlos Jimenez, DH-2B: 1-2 (3B, P-3, R, RBI)

CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS
1. Adbert Alzolay: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 2/3 GO/FO, 47 pitches (26 strikes) 
2. Daniel Bard: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2/0 GO/FO, 20 pitches (10 strikes) 
3. Daniel Schlereth: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes) 
4. Dillon Maples: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 0/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (12 strikes) 
5. John Michael Knighton: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 9 pitches (6 strikes) 

CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 3 
1. P Daniel Bard  E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
2. P Dillon Maples: E-1 (errant throw to 1st base on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd)
3. 1B Jose Paniagua  E-3 (dropped pop infield fly allowing batter to reach base safely)

CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE
Tyler Pearson: 0-5 CS 

WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the 80's 

ATTENDANCE : 6 

 

Comments

Good news about La Stella.

Small correction, La Stella wasn't placed on the DL during Spring Training. He broke with the club and played in two games. He was placed on the DL April 14th, retroactive to April 9th. So it's been just under 5 weeks since the injury. Our resident doc will have to let us know how that sounds for a rib cage strain and whether he is ahead or behind schedule and how much more time we can estimate.

oblique strains come in varying flavors from mild to severe. The issue is twofold...severity and re-injury. I think it's an automatic 3 weeks but a more severe strain could take 2 months/8 weeks. This puts LaStella in the moderate-severe range at 5-6 weeks to probably return.

WISCGRAD: Thanks for that. I will make the correction.

Interesting news about Bard going side-arm. Are the pitchers switching to side-arm deliveries indicative of a wider organizational goal of encouraging struggling pitchers to give it a try? Or just a thing that low-minor pitchers sometimes experiment with?

TRANS: In the case of Bard, I suspect it's a last gasp effort to try and correct a really bad case of the yips.    

In the case of Hoffner, he was probably not going to survive Extended Spring Training if he didn't try something different. He was just too hittable the way he was throwing before. Might as well try something radical. 

That's what I imagined, for Bard.  Thanks!  Not knowing squat about the subject, I often wonder if organizations might be more aggressive in suggesting last-ditch attempts to go sidearm or submarine.  Or knuckler... 

Beltre will kill Andrus one day http://fat.gfycat.com/FirmLiveHairstreakbutte...

they're so awesome. i hope they get non-gay gay married sometime soon.

The longer video is also awesome, as Andrus basically stalks Beltre's helmet.  http://deadspin.com/elvis-andrus-stalks-the-m...

This is great, the Beltre GIF collection http://imgur.com/a/kwPzi#4

I was gonna put Coghlan on suicide watch after Cuddyer caught that line out. But instead he went yard. Dude is crushing the ball.

And Castro sure must want to play for the Mets! He always kicks their asses! / puttingonashow

Bryant said in post game interview that he was "more agressive today" Yes please!

Bryant said in post game interview that he was "more agressive today" Yes please!

Russell with 7 doubles in 19 MLB games.

yeah...screw you matt carpenter.

that Bulls game...did come down to the wire again.

Taj ejection was pretty brutal, Taj's leg kick looked dramatic at first but he was mostly just trying to untangle himself. Refs blew that one.

Butler missed 3 with :48 seconds looked like the play they wanted, but Butler made it a horrible shot, came off that screen and was fading back for no reason.

Don't get why K. Hinrich is in on defense near the end, couldn't block out Deladova who saved the offensive rebound. Granted, that's where you expect Taj or Pau to come up with a rebound, so not sure who the better option is there.

Jacos said Rose was 0/7 after the stinger, dude is made of glass. 

Hope Pau is back and they can pull off Game 6. I don't have much hope for a win in Game 7 on the road, but you never know I suppose.

This team overall is good, but doesn't appear to be great enough to win a title. It reminds me a little of the Bulls before Phil Jackson came along. Maybe Thibs isn't the answer to move them along far into the playoffs. Also, having your 'superstar' being the basketball equivalent of Glass Joe does not help.

Oh yeah, and also we don't have the best player on the planet, Lebron James. 35 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 0 turnovers? WOW!

Bring back Phil Jackson!! Doug Collins was a pretty decent coach, so is Thibs, but I think this will be the last time a Thibs Chicago team gets beaten by LeBron. Moving beyond Collins to get them to the next level won them a bunch of championship. The challenge is finding a better coach than Thibs, whose achilles heel is getting his starters playoff-weary and unready. You gotta have bouncy legs at this time of year. These guys are beat up and tired from a long season. When I was watching the Bucks get destroyed I kept wondering when Thibs would pull his starters. This has been an issue with the GM so I'm thinking they'll make a move, assuming they don't beat Cleveland.

I think Thibs is a very good regular season coach -- hard work and defense will win you games in the regular season. Not so in the playoffs, when teams actually try to play defense. Not enough offensive creativity -- having Noah consistently handle the ball 25 feet from the hoop -- when his entire offensive game is rebounding and put-backs -- makes no sense to me.

The radio folks here have Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg as next coach. /former Iowa State coach, what could go wrong?

What is the statistician's metric for how hard Bryant's triple went off the wall in right? That has to have a "Whoah" effect on a team. That hit was insane. Opposite field triple to the far reaches of right field that hit the upper part of the wall with authority? Really? Right now, Fangraphs has Bryant's WAR at 0.8. But I can think of at least 2 games where's he had the central role in winning the game. I understand that the stat means wins over replacement, in other words, how much better is he than the average player at his position, and not, how many games has he helped win. So maybe there's no real stat for this, but the Cubs don't win last night if Bryant is not playing. Of course, they don't win if Arrieta only gets them to the sixth inning, too. Also Maddon last night said he didn't understand the subgroup that doesn't respect 90 the way Bryant does. I wonder who he was referring to. I can't help he has some guys on his team in mind.

Len said he was" stunned" that made the wall like that. What a shot.

Everyone mashed the ball last night, but it was especially nice to see Bryant and Soler hit some really hard line drives. This team is scary if those two get going while Rizzo, Montero, and Fowler all do such a good job of getting on base.

Buster Olney wondering if the Cubs would trade Addison Russell or Castro for Tulowitzki. Uh.....pass?

That would be a super weird use of resources. I wonder what is going on with Tulo this year--K% and BB% are way out of wack (and we're already at the point where those numbers supposedly stabilize).

If Cubs could pull off Castro and someone like Vogelbach for Tulowitzki, that would be a neat deal. Cubs should still have enough middle infield depth to survive Tulo's  yearly DL stints.

Presuming whatever is happening with those K and BB numbers is just early season flukiness of course.

Not that I think it's something that would ever happen, imagine Rockies want volume in prospects more than anything.

Good Point Rob. I could see the Cubs depth making this easier to do....what with Tulo missing time...a LOT! But sheesh.....$20 mill a year for 90-120 games a year? Eh....I dunno...

eh, just spitballing to be honest. I imagine Cubs would save their bullets for something else. But I've been a huge fan of healthy Tulo for a long time, regardless of Coors. The power and the rather small gap between BB and K numbers is rather rare to find and he should be good at SS for at least 2-3 years and the bat should easily carry to 3B if needed.

He's essentially the leftovers of Cal Ripken in my book without the part where he plays all the time, which of course, is a big part. Contract isn't really that bad in this day and age.

Castro, Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, and Russell are all locked in until at least 2020....cheaply(never more than $16M). That's insane, you don't break that up.

Tell Buster 'no way', that would be stupid. Tulo's numbers away from COL drop significantly and skew his numbers. Then when you consider his crazy contract and the fact that he is injured all the time, no thanks!

most players hit better at home and yes, of course Coors skews those numbers even more, but some players are just good players, Walker and Holliday come to mind. I would certainly put Tulo in that conversation.

At South Bend, the Cubs have two starting pitchers, both 2014 draftees out of college, with ERAs below 1 and two or fewer walks: Jeremy Null and Ryan Williams. I've seen Null talked about, but not Williams. Other minor league highlights so far: Vogelbach, Schwarber, McKinney, Torres, Underwood

I might also mention Wilson Contreras at Tennessee, Zagunis at Myrtle Beach, and Young, Burks and Brockmeyer at South Bend. Also a shout-out to Christian Villanueva at Iowa, who has always worn a major-league glove at third, but may now be learning to hit.

Coghlan's post-game interview. He apparently takes his nickname cues for Quade.

To go along with the Twitter comment about Montero's walks, he is 5th in WAR with a bunch less chances than the other top catchers (71 ABs to leader Norris' 119 ABs) and 2nd in OPS. Really good pick up so far. Castillo has suffered from some poor luck on some hard hit balls but overall he seems like a pretty good pinch hitting option besides the occasional catching and I suppose Ross can be a good teacher in the club house but Montero is very much the real deal so far. Outside of throwing out runners:-/

lots of days off has been good for Montero...

just for kicks...

if Cubs stay in it, what are some possible trade ideas?

Naturally SP and RP are always a want, I would think LF would be the other, although they may have some options between Olt, LaStella, Byrant, Baez, Alcantara and possibly even Scwharber.

Picture will come clearer in July of course, but I think Josh Reddick or Justin Upton could be of interest. Maybe C. Gonzalez, gotta presume he'll turn it around here soon, but everyone will always be afraid of the Coors Field effect.  And yes, I can see Padres falling off real quick. I was hoping Royals would suck and A. Gordon could be available, but they look tough.

I don't think we need an elite starting pitcher, just someone better than Wood. With Lester getting back on track, you got 3 top shelf starting pitchers and Hendricks I think showing signs of improving too. No need to trade someone like Castro for pitching but I do think we need to replace Wood.

3? I do not share your view of Jason Hammel.

Well no telling if Hammel will continue all year but so far he's been excellent and has continued from how he pitched for us last year.

I think he's a perfect mid-rotation guy, FIP and ERA are inline at the moment at 3.50ish area. Certainly a guy that can get going and dominate a few starts, but I'd certainly want at least one more awesome option heading into playoffs over Hendricks and whomever the 5th starter is at that time. I'll happily take a guy on a fluke or contract year, doesn't have to be Hamels.

Another thing to consider is if the Cards continue to run away and hide, how much talent do you want to give up for a chance at a one game playoff.

heh, the smart answer is not much.

but the WC winners seem to do well in playoffs as well.

I'm guessing the only minor league untouchable left is Kyle Schwarber at this point. The rest should be currency. How much and what they should pay for is yet to be determined of course.

Agreed, so for TOR guys I would assume they are only going to target pitchers that are under team control past this season.

I'd go so far as to say that there are several good prospects whose primary value to the Cubs are as trade bait because they are potentially blocked in some way: Vogelbach and McKinney top the list, but Gleyber Torres is probably on it, and Russell is pushing Baez toward it as well.

I think there's a chance Castro will end up somewhere once STELLA! gets back online so that Russell can move to short. Probably Castro and another prospect, I'll bet Vogelbomb, but that would require an AL team with a good young starting pitcher available, and I don't know that there are many around. Maybe Castro and McKinney if it's the Mets, but then again, as I said in a post yesterday, if the Mets make that trade, and they have another arm injury, they're the Mets all over again.

I don't see the Cubs doing much, since the only real needs are SP and more time for the young players to develop. It would take injuries to put the Cubs really in the market for any other very significant parts. Coghlan + Denorfia/Olt/Baez? should be fine in LF until Schwarber or someone else forces that issue. You'd have to pick up a really good player to be a significant improvement at either LF or 2B. I imagine that if they did move Castro for SP, they might find themselves suddenly in the market for a good 2B. Not sure who that would be. Utley? He's not hitting the ball hard this year and his ISO is on a downward trend.

I could see the Cubs adding a solid number three and/or bullpen help.

1. Curtis Granderson (L) RF 2. Daniel Murphy (L) 3B 3. Michael Cuddyer (R) LF 4. Lucas Duda (L) 1B 5. Wilmer Flores (R) SS 6. Kevin Plawecki (R) C 7. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) CF 8. Dilson Herrera (R) 2B 9. Matt Harvey (R) P

vs.

1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF 2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B 3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B 4. Starlin Castro (R) SS 5. Miguel Montero (L) C 6. Jorge Soler (R) RF 7. Chris Coghlan (L) LF 8. Jason Hammel (R) P 9. Addison Russell (R) 2B

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  • Hagsag 3 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Cardinals have two games left with Detroit, not the Cubs.

     

  • blockhead25 9 hours 32 min ago (view)

    Ahh, 2 games against the Tigers, but seems to imply they'd only play those games if it will impact which teams make the playoffs.  If the Cardinals win their last 2, I don't believe the other games could impact which Team makes it.  Why would Detroit have any incentive to win those games?  Well, hope the Cubs won one of the next 2 so it doesn't matter.

     

  • crunch 10 hours 18 min ago (view)

    yeah, it may be another team.  i just know they have a possible monday double header...unless i got that wrong, too.

     

  • blockhead25 10 hours 49 min ago (view)

    Cubs?  We played the cards the full 10 slate?

    if Cards make playoffs, I would think they'd want nothing to do with having to play a double header Monday to improve playoff seeding.

     

  • crunch 10 hours 56 min ago (view)

    the cubs may or may not have to play a doubleheader vs STL on monday depending on the next game or 2...i think

     

  • blockhead25 10 hours 59 min ago (view)

    How did the Cubs not just clinch the division?

    Aren't the Cards only scheduled for 58 games?

    beat Cards can do is 31-27. Worst Cubs can do is 33-27.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 19 min ago (view)

    j.baez is batting left handed...and hits a double.

    CWS have a position player "pitching"

     

  • crunch 11 hours 21 min ago (view)

    2nd contreras homer...no bat flip, no staring down the pitcher, quick trip around the bases, into the dugout.

    mature de-escalation.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 22 min ago (view)

    i wish more non-AFL winter league was televised.  dominican, puerto rico, etc...you can straight up showboat if you've earned it on a play without having to deal with retaliation (most of the time).  bat flips, pitcher celebrations, swagger home run trots, etc...all fair game.  it's you know...fun.

     

  • Craig A. 11 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Plunking a guy for a bat flip only proves the pitcher has thin skin and short fingers. I'm glad Contreras scored. 

     

  • Cubster 12 hours 1 min ago (view)

    I goofed wrt Bluejays/Astros. They clinched a WC #2 and 8 seed but Houston has a lock on West div team 2. The Indians will be 7 seed and wild card #1, abd team #3 from the central

     

  • crunch 12 hours 2 min ago (view)

    hey, guess who just got a fastball in the back.

     

  • crunch 12 hours 50 min ago (view)

    that contreras bat flip, tho...

    https://video.twimg.com/tweet_video/EizYUZ2XcAUrHp...

     

  • Cubster 14 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Cards lose game 1 of DH w Brewers

     

  • crunch 15 hours 29 min ago (view)

    happ / rizzo / contreras(DH) / heyward / baez / schwarber / caratini / kipnis / hoerner(3rd)

    eloy will not start this weekend for CWS and may be unavailable to pinch hit, too (foot injury).

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Even more of a shame when you consider we gave up a decent prospect for him