Olt & Ramirez Ready to Rumble at Riverview

Ho-Young Son tripled, singled twice, stole two bases, scored three runs, and drove-in two more, Kevonte Mitchell belted a bases-loaded triple, singled, and walked, and Joey Martarano drilled a double and an RBI single and scored a run, helping the Eugene Emeralds thrash the Mesa Cubs 10-2 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Neil Ramirez (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation) saw his first game action since April 16th, and Mike Olt (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL - fractured right wrist) saw his first game action since April 20th,

Getting the start for Eugene, Ramirez allowed singles to the first two men he faced (an infield single followed by a line-drive single to right) and then the runners pulled off a double-steal. Ramirez then struck out the next two hitters, one swinging and one looking. He threw 17 pitches (11 strikes), and was pulled from the game when he reached his pre-planned pitch limit.

Mike Olt played 3rd base for three innings for the Mesa Cubs and got four Plate Appearances, one in each of the first four innings. He struck out (swinging) on three pitches against Neil Ramirez in the top of the 1st, was called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch in the 2nd, drew a walk and scored a run in the 3rd, and grounded out 6-3 in his fourth and final PA in the 4th (with the last three AB coming against LHP Jose Paulino). He did not handle any chances in the field.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game: 

X. Mike Olt, 3B: 0-3 (K, K, BB, 6-3, R)
NOTE: Olt batted third in the top of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings, and led off the top of the 3rd
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 1-3 (1B, K, BB, 6-3, R, SB)
2. Andruw Monasterio, DH-SS: 0-2 (5-U FC+E5, 3-1)
3. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-4 (1B, 6-3, F-9, F-7, SB)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-2 (K, 4-3)
5. Carlos Jimenez,  SS-3B: 0-3 (1-3, 4-3, 4-3) 
6. Jhonny Pereda, C: 1-2 (1B, 6-3, BB) 
7. Jenner Emeterio, RF: 0-2 (K, K, HBP)
8. Calvin Graves, LF: 1-3 (1B, F-8, P-3)
9. Roney Alcala, DH #2: 0-3 (6-4 FC, 5-3, P-4) 
10. Danny Gutierrez, CF: 2-3 (2B, 1B, K, RBI)

X. Shawon Dunston Jr, DH #1: 0-3 (4-6 FC, K, 1-3 SH, F-8)
NOTE: Dunston batted third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings 
1. Robert Garcia, CF: 2-4 (P-6, 3-U, 1B, 1B, R)
2. Kevonte Mitchell, LF: 2-3 (BB, 1B, 3B, F-8, R, 3 RBI)
3. Joey Martarano, 1B: 2-4 (3-1, K, 1B, 2B, R, RBI)
4. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 0-4 (F-8, P-3, 5-3, 6-3)
5. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-4 (F-8, K, 2B, 3-1, R, RBI)
6. Ricardo Marcano, DH #2: 0-2 (F-8, 3-1, F-8 SF, RBI)
7. Varonex Cuevas, SS-DH: 1-2 (K, 2B, BB, 2 R)
8. Ho-Young Son, DH-SS: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 SB)
9. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-2 (1B, K, F-8 SF, 2 RBI)
10. Erick Castillo, C: 1-2 (4-6 FC, BB, 1B, R)

1. Carson Sands: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/4 GO/FO, 40 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Alexander Santana: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R (6 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 5/2 GO/FO, 58 pitches (37 strikes)
3. Jesus Castillo: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2/3 GO/FO, 30 pitches (17 strikes) 
NOTE: Game was called with two outs in bottom of the 8th

1. Neil Ramirez: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
2. Jose Paulino: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 34 pitches (23 strikes) 
3. Enrique de los Rios: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 7/1 GO/FO, 54 pitches (29 strikes) 
4. Scott Frazier: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 0/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (9 strikes)
5. Dillon Maples: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 9 pitches (6 strikes)


3B Adonis Paula - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base and runner to score from 2nd) 

Jhonny Pereda: 0-2 CS

Erick Castillo: 0-2 CS 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+ 



Mike Olt was wearing a Cubbie blue t-shirt with a large backward "K" on the front, the backward "K" being the universal scoring symbol for "called out on strikes."
He actually was wearing the t-shirt in the game for a half-inning before somebody gave him a regulation Cubs jersey (#17) to wear. Apparently he does not have his #20 jersey at Riverview (or maybe he can't find it, or maybe it's in the laundry), although the other Cubs MLB rehabbers who are now at--or have been at--Extended Spring Training this season (Ramirez, Denorfia, Grimm, Turner, LaStella, et al ) do wear their own jerseys in EXST games.

And yes, Neil Ramirez did get to use official MLB baseballs (the ones with Rob Manfred's signature stamped on them)  in the game, and then they switched-back to minor league baseballs once Ramirez had left the game. So Olt got to hit against both major league baseballs and minor league baseballs in the game. (Unlike MLB pitchers rehabbing in EXST games, MLB position players like Olt have to play with whatever baseball is being used).  

It's like his Scarlet Letter.

It's a strike out cancer thing. I think Jason Motte has a charity that sells them.

Nice to see Ramirez is throwing the ball again. I'm pretty amazed Olt is already getting playing time. -- Cult of Olt

c.anderson (ARZ) no-hitter through 6... ...and that's done after 6 1/3rd.

PHIL: How has young Eloy J. been looking? Does he take instruction well? Are you projecting he'll be a contributing MLB player within the next 2 years?

E-MAN: Eloy Jimenez is a lot like Jorge Soler, in that he's a nice kid, but he knows he's good so whatever instruction he gets better have cred. 

As for his MLB ETA, that depends on how fast the rough edges (like defense) get polished. I think he will end up in LF, so defense isn't going to be a big concern, but never-the-less he does need to improve his defense, and (especially) get a lot of game reps.  

So barring a career limiting injury or some other unexpected setback, I could see him making his MLB debut (hopefully playing for the Cubs) sometime in 2018, or possibly as soon as late 2017 (but that's only if he keeps hitting like he has at EXST as he moves up through the pipeline).

He will be Rule 5 Draft eligible for the first time post-2017, so he wil likely get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster no later than 11-20-2017. 

Hi, Phil! Thanks as always for the report. I wondered if you have an opinion on Mark Zagunis's outfield defense. I noticed that he started in CF yesterday, and his offensive toolset would be much more appealing if he can play CF than if he is strictly a LF option. Is CF a position you think he will be able to play, or is that a reach for him?

CHARLIE: I saw Mark Zagunis play RF and LF at Instructs last Fall, and after reporting to Minor League Camp with the Pitchers & Catchers, he switched to OF (full-time) the last two weeks of Minor League Camp and hasn't been catching since. And I doubt very much that he ever will be a catcher again. 

From what I saw of him playing corner OF (but not CF) at Instructs post-2014 and at Minor League Camp this past March (where I did see him play CF only once in a game), he looks like a natural outfielder to me. He has plus-speed and plus-range, and a strong and accurate arm.

I don't know if he can play CF, but he does have the physical tools you look for in a centerfielder.