Luke Weaver & Associates Stymie Cub Bats at Salt River Fields

Johan Benitez drilled a single in the third, belted an RBI triple and scored in the fifth, and collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and SP Luke Weaver (on Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 60-day IL with right elbow inflammation) threw two shutout innings and combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, as the Diamondbacks Red squad defeated the Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

RHP Yovanny Cruz (on Hi-A South Bend 7-day IL) made his first game appearance since undergoing TJS a year ago, and worked a nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning (4-3, K-swinging, 4-3). Because it was such a short, easy inning, Cruz went out to the bullpen and threw an additional 15 pitches after the inning was over. All set to be in the South Bend starting rotation at the end of Minor League Camp 2021, his season was sidetracked less than a week before Opening Day.  

RHP Zac Leigh (on South Bend 7-day IL since Minor League Camp with a right shoulder issue) blasted his 95-98 MPH FB past D'back hitters, this time mixing it with a slurvy breaking ball that he can throw for strikes (he threw only FB in his last outing).   

RHP Joel Sierra had a 1-2-3 inning, finishing it up with an ascending 98-99-100 MPH FB trilogy (strikeout - swinging) that sucked the air right out of the park.  

Casey Opitz (on Myrtle Beach 7-day IL since Opening Day) is back to switch-hitting again, going 2-2 with two singles and a walk in the game. He caught all nine innings in extreme heat, and looks to be about ready to go to Myrtle Beach. He is considered to be the best defensive catcher in the Cubs organization. Casey is the younger brother of ex-Cubs minor league infielder Jake Opitz (who was a manager in the Rockies system for a few years after he retired).   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 
1. Pedro Ramirez, 3B-DH: 0-4 (1-3, K, K, 3-U)
2a. Cristian Hernandez, SS: 0-1 (BB, K) 
2b. Josue Huma, SS: 1-2 (F-8, 1B) 
3a. Moises Ballesteros, DH #1: 0-3 (3-U, K, 3-1) 
3b. Reivaj Garcia, 2B: 0-1 (F-7) 
4a. Frank Hernandez, LF: 0-2 (5-3, 4-3)
4b. Flemin Bautista, LF: 0-2 (K, F-8) 
5a. Miguel Pabon, 1B: 0-0 (BB, BB, R) 
5b. Bryan Serra, 1B: 0-1 (BB, K)
6. Casey Opitz, C: 2-2 (BB, 1B, 1B) 
7. Rafael Morel, DH-3B: 0-3 (F-9, L-5 DP, F-7) 
8. Cristian More, CF: 1-3 (4-6-3 DP, 2B, K, RBI)
9a. Raino Coran, RF: 1-2 (K, 1B) 
9b. Carlos Morfa, RF: 0-1 (6-3) 
10. Christian Olivo, 2B-DH: 0-3 (1-3, L-5, P-4)

1. Yovanny Cruz: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 9 pitches (7 strikes) 
2. Zac Leigh: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/1 GO/AO, 26 pitches (16 strikes)
3. Wilfri Figuereo: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 2/2 GO/AO, 43 pitches (26 strikes) 
4. Jose Romero: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R 2 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (8 strikes) 
5. Joel Sierra: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 13 pitches (8 strikes) 
6. Alfredo Zarraga: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 24 pitches (13 strikes) 


Casey Opitz: 0-1 CS  

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 



"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen" 


Rob Manfred must have changed his mind again, with Hughes getting thee "returned to Iowa" treatment withHermosillo being sent back. Or something.

The few reports I have seen indicate that he has less speed and less contact than his brother, with perhaps a little more power.  But generally, no, he is not thought to be as good as his brother.  But at his age, things can change rather rapidly.

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40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full)    

Last updated 1-24-2023
* bats or throws left
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Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Brad Boxberger
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Julian Merryweather
Ethan Roberts 
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

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Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

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Nick Madrigal
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Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

Kevin Alcantara
* Cody Bellinger 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez


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