Rondon Makes Cub Debut & Cease Fires No Hit Stuff for AZL Cubs

RHP Luis Jimenez hurled five innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts and combined with two relievers to toss a two-hit shutout, as the AZL Indians whitewashed the AZL Cubs 5-0 in Arizona League game action Saturday (5:30 PM local start time) at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

RHP Dylan Cease got the start for the Cubs and had the best outing I have seen from him yet (and I have seen all of his pro game outings, including "sim" games, intrasquad games, Extended Spring Training games, and AZL games), throwing three dominating innings of no-hit ball with three strikeouts (all three swinging) and a 5/1 GO/FO. When he didn't notch a strikeout, he induced weak contact and broken bats from the Tribe hitters. He walked the first man he faced and then retired the next nine batters in a row (K, 3-U, K, 4-3, 6-3, P-6, 4-3, K, 1-3), with the walk coming around to score thanks to two stolen bases and an E-2 overthrow at 3rd base by Cubs catcher Yohan Matos. 

20-year old Venezuelan LHP Manny Rondon (acquired along with an ISBP SBV slot from the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Rafael Lopez just yesterday) made his Cub debut in the game, and looked pretty much like he did the last time I saw him, which was in his last outing for the Angels (against the Cubs) a week ago last Thursday in Tempe, when he surrendered six runs on nine hits (including two triples and a double) in 3.1 IP. This time Rondon worked four innings in relief and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits (including three singles, a double, and a triple). On the positive side, he issued no walks and struck out three (two swinging), with both swinging punch-outs coming on a two-strike change-up (which is his best pitch). And while he did get cuffed around a bit, 71% of his pitches were strikes.  

Rondon works his two-seam fastball at 88-89 MPH and occasionally touches the low 90's with it, but the change-up is his "money" pitch. To make it all work, he has to throw his fastball down at the bottom of the strike zone and can't allow it to get ripped all over the yard while setting up the change-up, and he has had trouble avoiding that outcome in his last two AZL outings. However, he did pitch very well in his first AZL appearance (getting the start and throwing five innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts for the Angels versus the A's on AZL Opening Day), and he was the DSL Angels best pitching prospect last season. So perhaps (hopefully) there is a mechanical flaw that can be corrected, and his last two outings will be remembered as just a temporary detour from the Road to Success.  

Cubs 2015 27th round draft pick INF Angelo Amendolare (Jacksonville U.) has been moved-up to AAA Iowa from the AZL Cubs before he had a chance to make his pro debut in an AZL game. Because of promotions, trades, and injuries, the I-Cubs needed bench guys ASAP, and with the 22-year old Amendolare being a mature and polished college senior from a D-1 program (with additional experience playing summer ball in the Cape Cod League last year), he got the unexpected call-up (as did IF-OF Varonex Cuevas, who moved-up to Iowa from Eugene). It's probably just a temporary assignment, but still, that's a nice way to make your pro debut (presuming he gets into a PCL game while he's there). 

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

1. Robert Garcia, CF: 0-3 (K, K, K, HBP)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 0-4 (4-3, 4-3, 6-3, 3-6 FC)
3. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 1-4 (1B, K, L-7, 4-U FC) 
4. Joey Martarano, DH: 0-4 (4-U FC, E-5, 6-3, F-7)
5. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-4 (K, K, 6-3, 6-3)
6. Alex Bautista, RF: 0-4 (K, 4-3, P-6, F-8)
7. Yohan Matos, C: 0-2 (6-3, K, HBP)
8. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 0-1 (BB, BB, F-9, SB, CS)
9. Donnie Cimino, LF: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3)

1. Dylan Cease: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 5/1 GO/FO, 45 pitches (27 strikes) 
2. Tanner Griggs: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 12 pitches (11 strikes) 
3. Manny Rondon: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 5/4 GO/FO, 56 pitches (40 strikes)
4. Ariel Ovando: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 12 pitches (10 strikes)

1. C Yohan Matos: E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 3rd base allowed runner to score)
2. 3B Wladimir Galindo: E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely and runner to score from 2nd)

Yohan Matos: 0-2 CS, 1 E (see above)


Two Cubs minor leaguers were placed on the TEMPORARILY INACTIVE LIST yesterday because they will be playing in the Pan American games 7/11 - 7/19. 

Tennessee CF Reinaldo Almora Jr (formerly known as Albert Almora) is playing for Team USA, and South Bend 3B Jesse Hodges is playing for Team Canada. 

AZ Phil, will the IFA signed on or around July 2 be signed to futures contracts to play next season or will they be playing this season? Thanks.

HAGSAG: A 16-year old IFA who does not turn 17 by the conclusion of the 2015 minor league season of the minor league affiliate to which the player is first assigned MUST be "Signed for Future Service" (2016 contract). Other players (the older ones) can sign a 2015 contract and could play this season, but in practice most if not all of the older IFA who sign in July and August will also be Signed for Future Service (2016 contract), since its kind of late in the year to start playing, and any time spent on an Active Roster or DL of a minor league team in a given minor league regular season counts toward the seven seasons required for a minor league player to be eligible to be a minor league FA. 

The main effect of a player being Signed for Future Service (besides the player making his minor league debut the following season) is that the player does not have to be added to a minor league reserve list until Opening Day of the following season. The player is placed on a special list for the balance of the minor league regular season and during the off-season that excludes the player from having to be placed on a minor league reserve list until the start of the next season (after Spring Training).

Also, while a player who is Signed for Future Service can't play in a minor league game until the following season, the player can attend and fully participate in post-season Instructs (in the case of the Cubs, the player could go to AZ Instructs in Mesa and/or to Dominican Instructs at the Cubs Dominican Academy), Minor League Camp (Spring Training), and Extended Spring Training, without restriction.

While a player who is Signed for Future Service does not count against the reserve list of any minor league affiliate until Opening Day of the following season, the player's "Rule 5" clock begins ticking the day he signs. For example, if an IFA signs prior to the conclusion of the regular season of the minor league club to which he is first assigned, the player is considered to have Rule 5 liability for that season, even though he does not make his minor league debut until the folllowing season. So if an IFA signs in August, the question is what was the last date of the regular season of the minor league affiliate to which he was first assigned, and did he sign on or before that date? Since short season minor leagues conclude their regular seasons on different dates, the affiliate to which the player Signed for Future Service is first assigned makes a difference as to when the player becomes Rule 5 Draft eligible for the first time. 

A player who turns 16 anytime July 2nd through August 31st cannot sign after 8/31. If the IFA who turns 16 during the period 7/2-8/31 does not sign by August 31st, the player cannot sign until the start of the next IFA (July 2nd of the following season). 

Another issue comes into play for players who sign after being selected in the MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) or who sign as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) after being eligible for selection in the Rule 4 Draft. These players must be placed on a minor league active roster or minor league inactive list (DL, Restricted List, et al) no later than 15 days after signing, but the player does not count against a minor league reserve list until the lists are filed on 11/20. So for example, Ian Happ is on the Eugene Active List (Active Roster), but he is not on the Eugene Reserve List or any other minor league reserve list (not until 11/20). 


Thanks Phil.

Baxter in for Rizzo.

We're going to close the swearing jar for the next couple of hours.

Swearing jar closed... Unless you get a doctor's note saying you have Tourette's syndrome.

I meant closed as in the penalty is being suspended. Go nuts!--at least till we get a lead.

Recent comments

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  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 13 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have purchased the contract of 25-year old 6'5 260 RHP Adam Heidenfelder from Gary (American Association) and he has been assigned to the ACL Cubs.  


  • Hagsag 12 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Does anyone know what type of injury Amaya has?


  • Hagsag 12 hours 24 min ago (view)

    I can not believe what a good 3b he has been playing.


  • Wrigley Rat 18 hours 15 min ago (view)

    Robert Stock was claimed off waivers by the Mets.


  • crunch 20 hours 14 min ago (view)

    HR in the 8th.  dope.


  • crunch 22 hours 25 min ago (view)

    he's back out in the field in the top 3rd...must be okay, but he sure doesn't look confidently healthy.  *shrug*  off-day tomorrow...


  • crunch 22 hours 35 min ago (view)

    p.wisdom seems to have injured his right leg/knee swinging a bat...


  • crunch 22 hours 57 min ago (view)

    “It did not feel good to take Javy out of the game,” Ross said. “I never feel comfortable doing that at all. That's a pit in my stomach and it was in my stomach the entire game.”


    “I blame it on myself. I lost the count of the outs,” Báez said. “We talked about it. We're on the same page. I'll be there tomorrow to help the team.”


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 33 min ago (view)

    The thing that gets me is that she cheated with the guy providing religous-based pre-marital counseling. Hmmm... this guy is abusing his (quasi-)professional couseling position to pursue an intimate relationship; forgot the parts of the Bible about lying, cheating, & doing dirty by the 2016 WS MVP; and clearly has very conflicted feelings on the marriage construct... yep, I'm blowing up multiple people's lives to ride-or-die with THAT guy. 


  • Hagsag 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    I am with my hero Zo.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    whole zobrist thing got fleshed out (no pun) in public now...


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed C Harrison Wenson (ex-LAA) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to Hi-A South Bend. Wenson spent five seasons in the Angels organization, and he got an NRI to MLB Spring Training as an extra catcher with the Halos this past spring. 


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    69 (nice) pitches...goes 4.2ip and leaves with a man on 1st

    4.2ip 3h 1bb 5k, 3r/er (2hr)

    alzolay continues to have the HR screw him over.  12 given up in 62.1ip


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    d.ross pulls baez for alcantara for what was either a mental mistake forgetting the outs or totally not hustling by baez in the bottom 4th running the bases.

    cubs are down by 1.

    hell of manager power play.  hope this plays out well...expect it will.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    nico expected back in early july...duffy had a "setback" and is in limbo...bote has started baseball activities, but nowhere near a return time.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    haha.  ump checked alzolay's hat and glove between innings and declared it all clear.

    stuff so nasty they wanna make sure you're not on that "sticky fingers" bandwagon.