Beeler Back on Hill at Salt River Fields

Kevonte Mitchell (RBI single), Michael Foster (RBI double), and Vimael Machin (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits and RHP Jesus Castillo tossed four innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts, helping the Cubs edge the Diamondbacks 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Joel Novas belted an RBI triple and a double for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause. 

The game was called by mutual consent after7-1/2 innings of play. 

On the Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation, RHSP Dallas Beeler saw his first Cactus League EXST game action since being shut-down mid-AB in a rehab start at Riverview Park on April 30th. Beeler threw a 1-2-3 inning (14 pitches) with two strikeouts today, and is scheduled to make his next start (where the number of innings and pitches will be increased) early next week 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee DL since May 9th with right shoulder inflammation) threw a two-inning 40-pitch "live" BP session at Riverview Park and looked very good. Whether he will return directly to Tennessee or make a rehab start or two at EXST is TBD.

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Daniel Lewis has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach. Lewis was one of the last pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp, so it is not surpising that he got the call. Lewis served four years in the U. S. Air Force after graduating from high school, and was discovered by a Cubs scout pitching at Pensacola  JC in Florida in 2014. He's 25, but because of the years lost to military service he still has a "young arm" (he's only been pitching for two years). He throws hard (a 94-96 MPH fastball that touches 97 and a mid-80's slider), and is a fierce competitor.      

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

CUBS LINEUP
1. Ruben Reyes, LF: 1-4 (P-4, K, K, 1B, CS)
2. Roberto Caro, CF: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 5-3, K, R, SB)
3. Vimael Machin, SS: 1-4 (1-3, 1B, 6-3, L-1, RBI, SB)
4. Kevonte Mitchell, DH #1: 1-2 (1B, K, BB, RBI)
5. Marcus Mastrobuoni, 1B: 0-3 (F-9, F-7, 4-3)
6. Kwang-Min Kwon, RF: 0-2 (F-8, 3-U, BB)
7. Jhonny Pereda, C: 0-3 (F-7, 6-3, 6-4 FC) 
8. Rafael Mejia, 3B: 0-3 (K, E-5, 6-3)
9. Edgar Rondon, 2B: 1-2 (1B, K, BB, R, PO) 
10. Michael Foster, DH #2: 1-3 (2B, F-7, F-9, R, RBI)

CUBS PITCHERS
1. Dallas Beeler: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 14 pitches (10 strikes) 
2. Jesus Castillo: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP, 3/1 GO/AO, 53 pitches (38 strikes) 
3. Scott Frazier: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 16 pitches (10 strikes) 
4. Alexander Santana: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 14 pitches (8 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: NONE 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Jhonny Pereda: 1-1 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 6 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's 

Comments

The Cubs have sent LHRP C. J. Riefenhauser outright to Iowa. 

Cubs MLB 40-man roster now stands at 37 (three slots open). 

How strange is this for May? Is it insignificant, or does it suggest some sort of trade might be in the works?

CHARLIE: The Cubs did the same thing with LHSP Eric Jokisch last month, and it has nothing to do with needing the player's 40-man roster slot. 

The hope is that another MLB club will claim the player, so that you aren't on the hook for any termination pay (which you would be if you release him) AND you pick up $20,000 from the claiming team, all for a guy you don't want going forward anyway.  

So the Cubs probably intended to release Jokisch when they placed him on Outright Assignment Waivers and were thrilled when the Marlins claimed him, and they were probably disappointed that Riefenhauser wasn't claimed.

Look for Riefenhauser to get released sooner rather than later, as soon as his slot on the Iowa roster is needed. He is on AAA death row awaiting execution. 

Thanks, Phil!

Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back. I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.

*clap* *clap* *clap*

Well executed! I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.

Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes! Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.

so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best. paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on. that said, the entire MLB rotation is under contract/control for 2017...assuming they'd rather pay j.hammel 10m rather than let him walk for 2m. underwood+blackburn could probably use another year...and there's emerging team prospects like trevor clifton and his high-end fastball who will probably be in AA next year (if not later this season).

Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.

Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats. Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on. South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.

Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.

PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?

E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader. 

The Cubs have four starters at Iowa (Dallas Beeler, Aaron Brooks, Pierce Johnson, and Ryan Williams) who could be considered as a potential "sixth starter" in 2016, except all four are presently on the disabled list, and none of them are the type of pitcher you would want to be an MLB starter for any length of time on a contending team in 2016. (Johnson and Williams have some upside, but neither is a realistic option in 2016). And I don't think the Cubs would consider any of the 4-A type starters at Iowa (Jake Buchanan, Drew Rucinski, Alex Sanabia, or Stephen Fife) as viable options, either   

So if a sixth starter is needed at some point in 2016 either because of an injury to one of the five starters or because of a doubleheader, I suspect we will see Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard, or Adam Warren get the start, with the rest of the bullpen ready to cover the remaining innings, since neither Cahill, Richard, or Warren are presently stetched-out as a starter. Cahill is the closest to being stretched-out, but Maddon seems to like him as an innings-eater out of the pen.  

Would you say Brooks doesn't have any upside going forward? Seems like he could be one of those hybrid starter reliever types maddon seems to like having in his bullpen. But I haven't seen a ton of him, and he got hit around pretty good last year in mlb