Matt Garza Stones Bees at Fitch Park

Matt Garza threw four innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits and no walks with six strikeouts, Adrian Cardenas slugged a 420+ foot three-run HR over the CF fence, Welington Castillo drove-in three runs with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly, and Blake Lalli had four hits, leading the Iowa Cubs to an 8-1 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and Casey Coleman threw four innings of one-run ball, but knuckleballer Joe Zeller was tagged for four runs, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies 5-1 on Field #2, in Cactus League minor league game action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ  

Because Garza started the AAA game, Casey Coleman (who was supposed to start for Iowa today) was moved over to Field #2 and started in the AA game instead.

This was “getaway day” for the Cubs four full-season minor league teams, so game time was 9 AM. The Cubs other two full-season squads (Daytona and Peoria) played their games on the road versus Angels affiliates at Diablo Park in Tempe.

A fleet of rental trucks packed with gear stood ready-to-roll in the parking lot, and both games were played at a faster pace than is typical of Spring Training games at Minor League Camp. The players, managers, coaches, and trainers all seemed anxious to get out of Arizona and get going with the regular season, but the start of the game on Field #3 was delayed a few minutes because Matt Garza arrived late.

The one squad from Minor League Camp that won't be leaving town is the Boise/Mesa group, which morphs into the Cubs Extended Spring Training (EXST) team this week.

The EXST squad will consist of about 60 players, including players who failed to make the Peoria Chiefs' final roster cut but who will stay ready to replace any injured players at Peoria or Daytona, younger and less-experienced players who are expected to play at Boise or for the AZL Cubs when the short-season leagues begin play in June, and injured players who are in various stages of rehab.  

Several Boise/Mesa (EXST) players saw game action for Iowa or Tennessee in today's games.

In roster news involving the Iowa Cubs, OF Jim Adduci was moved down to Tennessee from Iowa and (somewhat surprisingly) 3B Marquez Smith was released, as the I-Cubs got down to the AAA 24 player-limit. Also, it appears likely that SS Junior Lake (strained back) will open the Southern League season on the Tennessee 7-day DL. If so, he will probably remain at Fitch Park until he is ready to play again.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)


1. Jim Adduci, LF: 0-4 (F-8, L-8, F-8, E-5)
2a. Elliot Soto, SS: 0-3 (E-9, F-9, 1-3, R)
2b. Javier Baez, SS: 1-1 (1B)
3a. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, K, RBI)
3b. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 0-1 (4-3)
4a. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-3 (1B, F-9, 3-U)
4b. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 0-0 (BB)
5. Matt Cerda, 3B-DH: 0-4 (P-3, K, K, 6-4-3 DP)
6a. Jonathon Mota, DH: 0-3 ( F-7, F-9, 4-3)
6b. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-0 (BB)
7a. Michael Burgess, RF: 1-3 (F-9, 1B, 4-3)
7b. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-1 (6-4 FC)
8a. Michael Brenly, C: 1-1 (BB, 1B)
8b. Luis Flores, C: 0-1 (6-3)
9. Nate Samson, 2B: 0-3 (L-7, 4-3, 6-3)

1. Casey Coleman: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 55 pitches (40 strikes), 6/2 GO/FO
2. Brian Schlitter: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 22 pitches (15 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Joe Zeller: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (17 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Marcus Hatley: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (7 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO

SS Elliot Soto - E6 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Luis Flores: 1 PB

Michael Burgess was thrown out 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to RF with no outs in the bottom of the 5th


1a. Dave Sappelt, RF: 2-4 (F-8, 1B, F-7, 1B, R, CS)
1b. Delbis Arcila, RF: 0-0 (BB)
2a. Adrian Cardenas, 2B: 1-4 (F-8, 4-3, K, HR, R, 3 RBI)
2b. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (P-6)
3a. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 0-1 (BB, K, SB)
3b. Xavier Batista, 1B: 2-3 (1B, E-6, 1B, R)
4. Blake Lalli, DH: 4-5 (K, 1B, 1B, 1B, 1B, R, RBI)
5a. Edgar Gonzalez, SS: 2-2 (3B, 1B, 2 R)
5b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-2 (4-6 FC, BB, 4-6 FC)
6a. Welington Castillo, C: 1-1 (F-7 SF, 2B, 2B, 3 RBI)
6b. Taylor Davis, C: 0-2 (F-9, 5-3)
7. Josh Vitters, 3B: 2-4 (2B, 1B, E-4, K)
8. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 1-4 (F-8, 4-3, 1B, 4-3, R, SB)
9. Trey Martin, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, 6-3, R, RBI)

1. Matt Garza: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 49 pitches (32 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. Nate Robertson: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. John Gaub: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 11 pitches (5 strikes)
4. Ryan Rowland-Smith: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 15 pitches (9 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
5. Ryan Searle: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 28 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Searle inning was stopped with one out & bases-loaded after he reached max pre-planned pitch limit
6. Ramon Garcia: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 8 pitches (3 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO

1. LF Eduardo Gonzalez - E-7 (fielding error on single to LF allowed batter to advance an extra base)
2. P John Gaub - E-1 (errant pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed base-runner to advance to 2nd

Josh Vitters was thrown out 4-6 trying to take an extra base on a dropped pop fly in short CF


WEATHER: Sunny, cool, and VERY breezy, with temperatures in the 60’s


must be nice to have 3 legit backup MLB-ready catchers in the system =p i agree with them scoping out wellington as a starter rather than paying soto "real" money after this year, though. can b.lali hold his own on D at C? i assume he profiles as organizational filler, but it's hard to tell given the backlog at C the past many years in AAA.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 2:07pm — crunch Re: Matt Garza Stones Bees at Fitch Park must be nice to have 3 legit backup MLB-ready catchers in the system =p i agree with them scoping out wellington as a starter rather than paying soto "real" money after this year, though. can b.lali hold his own on D at C? i assume he profiles as organizational filler, but it's hard to tell given the backlog at C the past many years in AAA. =============================== CRUNCH: I think the fact that the Cubs released Jason Jaramillo speaks to their confidence in Blake Lalli being able to handle the back-up AAA job. Added as an NRI to provide an extra catcher at Big League Camp, Lalli opened some eyes with his hitting and his defense. He has always been as good minor league hitter (albeit at AA), but has never shown much with the glove (he plays C-1B-3B), although he does have a strong arm. (He was a 3B in college). Lalli will be a minor league FA after this season, so if he has a good year offensively and defensively at Iowa, it's possible that the Cubs will add him to their MLB 40-man roster to keep him from leaving as a 6YFA (especially if they trade Geovany Soto).

"[Lalli] does have a strong arm. (He was a 3B in college.)" I recall that in his first few seasons in the Cub minors, Lalli pitched once in a while. It only comes to 13.1 innings total, but his WHIP is 1.20. I don't think I ever saw him swing a bat before this spring, but in five or six recent at bats that I watched, he hit the ball hard every time. As you indicate, he may have opened some eyes, assuming they like him behind the plate.

I'm mildly intrigued that Phil noted below that Lalli looked good defensively. Hadn't expected that, as past reports have always been ... eh (which was why he was often at 1st or DH'ing). Offensively, he's ... Clevenger-ish, not much power, decent approach, makes decent contact in the lower levels. Seems like a "will do anything" type of guy, as off the top, pretty sure he's tossed a few innings here and there out of necessity.

Makes Astros opening day roster

Didn't Marquez Smith have any trade value at this point? The guy seems good enough to get MLB at-bats on a bad team or in an injury situation. I don't think it's a huge loss, but an outright release surprises a bit.

For the past two years, any team in baseball could have had him for the $50,000 Rule 5 price -- 29 teams passed both years. Not sure what kind of trade you're envisioning.

i missed that part of the blurb...that's weird. is he that banged up that he's not worth keeping around?

I'm surprised, but not shocked that Marquez got released. Not shocked because the roster crunch suggested that there might be some upper level cuts that were mild surprises, and also because Vitters was going go grab the time at 3rd in AAA. There wasn't really much value to sending Marquez down to AA again, and he had sort of plateaued a bit. I had always thought Smith's best shot would be to become a utility guy, but he didn't take well to 2nd a couple years ago (out of shape as well, IIRC). He's a guy who is a decent guy for AAA, a little bit of pop, decent approach, decent glove. That's a type of guy that could see the bigs for some time, but also probably needs to be a bit lucky with situation/opportunity. With his age, Aramis ahead, and Vitters behind, it was never ideal for him here at 3rd once he didn't develop as a utility guy. Don't get me wrong, surprised. Just not shocked.

It seems that attendance is way up at Fitch Park this spring.

The recession must be over.

Bobby Scales is a AAA Met.


He is risen.

Bobby Scales signed a milb contract with the Mets. Shufflin off to Buffalo.


NOT that I care, but didn't AZ have him listed as player-coach like two days ago? HOW HAS BOBBY SCALES ESCAPED?!?

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 8:24pm — Tony S. NOT that I care, but didn't AZ have him listed as player-coach like two days ago? HOW HAS BOBBY SCALES ESCAPED?!? ======================================= TONY S: Bobby Scales had a better Spring Training than expected and obviously he still wants to play, and the Mets apprarently think he can, too. The Cubs wanted him to be a player-coach at Iowa and be roster back-up to be activated only when another postion- player went on the 7-day DL.

I'm glad to have reached the point where there are no roster spots in Iowa for a non-prospect like Scales. I think he's a major-league hitter, mind you, but unfortunately he can't run or catch.

Pending the final Cubs MLB roster cuts, right now this appears to be the Iowa Cubs Opening Day roster: * bata or throws left # bats both STARTING PITCHERS (6): Randy Wells Casey Coleman Jay Jackson * Chris Rusin * Travis Wood * Nate Robertson BULLPEN (8): Blake Parker (closer) * John Gaub Shawn Camp or Manny Corpas * Scott Maine Frankie de la Cruz (presuming he is outrighted and accepts the assignment) * Jeff Beliveau Esmailin Caridad * Ryan Rowland-Smith CATCHERS (2): Welington Castillo * Blake Lalli INFIELDERS (6): # Alfredo Amezaga (presuming he gets cut from Cubs ST roster) * Adrian Cardenas Edgar Gonzalez * Anthony Rizzo # Matt Tolbert Josh Vitters OUTFIELDERS (4): * Tony Campana (presuming he is optioned) * Brett Jackson Dave Sappelt Ty Wright AAA and AA have 24-man roster limits (Daytona and Peoria have 25-man roster limits), so depending on how things shake-out on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster over the next couple days, two pitchers would need to be cut from the I-Cubs roster by PCL Opening Day on Thursday. If De La Cruz is outrighted and refuses the assignment, then that's one slot that becomes available. If Lendy Castillo is dropped from the Cubs MLB 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) and either is returned to the Phillies or retained via trade and then sent to Tennessee or Daytona, that's another slot that would be available because the Cubs could keep both Shawn Camp and Manny Corpas on the 25-man roster. But if the Cubs keep L. Castillo on the 25-man roster (at least for a while), then probably either Camp or Corpas would get sent to Iowa. It's possible that Camp has an opt-out in his contract where he can refuse an assigment to the minors and become a FA, but Corpas would have to accept the assignment because he was outrighted to Iowa during the off-season. Also, if Corpas is added back to the 40-man roster, he has an option left (actually two) and could be optioned to Iowa if he doesn't pitch well with the Cubs, while Camp has enough MLB Service Time to where he can't be sent to the minors without his permission once he is added to the 40-man roster (and 25-man roster). De La Cruz probably would not get a better financial deal elsewhere if he refuses an Outright Assignment, and he also would probably stand a better chance of getting called up later in the season if he stays with the Cubs and goes to Iowa instead of signing elsewhere, so I doubt that he would choose to be a FA immediately. So unless somebody starts the season on the DL, as many as two Iowa pitchers would need to be cut by Thursday. While it might seem likely that Nate Robertson and Ryan Rowland-Smith would be the obvious ones to get released, it is very possible that Travis Wood will get sent to AA. He has pitched just as poorly at Minor League Camp as he did in MLB Cactus League games, and Nate Robertson could fill the #5 slot in the I-Cubs rotation if T. Wood were to get demoted.

"Jimenez (CLE) plunked his former teammate (Tulowitzki) -- who said 10 days ago that Jimenez should stop talking about the Rockies -- in the first inning and then pumped his chest and approached Tulowitzki, motioning for the shortstop to engage him; ostensibly in fisticuffs. Both benches cleared. Jimenez, for whatever reason, was not ejected, and the Indians refused to allow him to speak to the media after the game. " tulo's getting his elbow xray'd right stuff. "Ubaldo Jimenez was allowed to speak to the media after Sunday's game, contrary to prior reports, and said his pitch that beaned Troy Tulowitzki was unintentional. -- Jimenez claimed he was confused by all the hoopla after he plunked his former teammate. Colorado's one-time ace said he was just pitching inside, lost his control, and only approached Tulo because the shortstop called him a name." also, elbow came back negative. "(Jim) Tracy characterized the beaning and Jimenez's challenging of Tulowitzki on the field after it "the most gutless act I've seen in 35 years in the game."" damn.

Aren't they always "unintentional"? :)

Ask Pedro Martinez, who would hit more guys than he would walk, iirc.

Glad that Tulo's elbow is ok after he got hit in the head, or has the definiton of 'beaning' expanded?

BEES!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!??? How has nobody made this joke in this thread yet?

Status of Mateo? Does CHC need another LHRP? When does Byrd get traded? What for, reliever? Does Jackson replace him or Campana come up and Johnson man it for a while? Did you see Szczur starting in A+? Do we have enough OF in the system?


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 7:19pm — Childersb3 Phil Status of Mateo? Does CHC need another LHRP? When does Byrd get traded? What for, reliever? Does Jackson replace him or Campana come up and Johnson man it for a while? Did you see Szczur starting in A+? Do we have enough OF in the system? ============================== CHILDERS: Marcos Mateo will almost certainly be placed on the 60-day DL. I don't know if he will be having surgery, but he is not rehabbing at Fitch Park so he is not coming back anytime soon. I would think that Sveum would prefer two LH relievers, but none of the other candidatesthe Cubs had at HoHoKam threw well enough to be considered. Maine (as usual) threw hard but had trouble throwing strikes, Beliveau was VERY inconsistent and definitely needs some AAA experience, and Trevor Miller was throwing slop. The one Wild Card is John Gaub, who just started throwing last week and finally saw some ST game action for Iowa yesterday. If he can stay healthy and get outs at AAA, he could get recalled sooner rather than later. I think Marlon Byrd will get traded as soon as the Cubs get the offer they want (other team takes on his contract and the Cubs get a second-level prospect back, or Cubs pay part of his salary and Cubs get a better prospect back). I don't think Brett Jackson will be recalled if Byrd gets traded, unless the Cubs were going to recall him anyway. Tony Campana would probably replace Byrd in CF until B-Jax is deemed ready. Matt Szczur is playing CF and hitting lead-off for Daytona.

Now let's look at the Tennessee Smokies roster: STARTING PITCHERS (5): Trey McNutt Nick Struck * Brooks Raley Dallas Beeler Dae-Eun Rhee BULLPEN (11): Kevin Rhoderick Frank Batista Alberto Cabrera * Jeffry Antigua Marcus Hatley * Casey Harman Ryan Searle Casey Weathers Juan Serrano Yoannis Negrin Dan Berlind CATCHERS (2): Juan Apodaca Michael Brenly INFIELDERS (7-8): * Justin Bour * Matt Cerda Junior Lake (likely will start season on 7-day DL) Jonathon Mota Rebel Ridling Nate Samson Elliot Soto * Logan Watkins OUTFIELDERS (3): * Jim Adduci * Michael Burgess Jae-Hoon Ha Although there are only three outfielders on the Tennessee roster, Rebel Ridling can play LF and Nate Samson can play all three OF spots. The Smokies went into yesterday's action needing to cut four pitchers. It is likely that Juan Serrano and Yoannis Negrin will get assigned to Daytona, because it appears that the Cubs are placing all of their Cuban defectors at either Daytona or Extended Spring Training. Dan Berlind and Casey Weathers could get assigned to Daytona (or one or both could get released), but Ryan Searle had a brutal outing at Fitch Park yesterday and could get moved down to Daytona. Also, Casey Harman has been moved back & forth from the Tennessee squad to the Daytona squad at Minor League Camp, so he could be assigned to Daytona if a roster slot is needed (although he has pitched very well at Minor League Camp). A 5th roster slot would be needed if Travis Wod is sent down to Tennessee from Iowa. (That's presuming none of the Tennessee pitchers start the season on the DL).

I'm surprised that Searle is going to the bullpen. I thought he would continue starting, but after looking at his numbers from last year I guess he didn't start the whole season. What's your take on him and his role?

Unlike recent years, this year things will be turned upside-down for the Cubs minor league teams. Tennessee has typically had the most talent to watch, and Daytona the least--this year, it is the opposite, with Iowa featuring several top players as well. Looking at Phil's Tennessee list, the only legit prospects here look to be McNutt and Rhee, and eventually, Lake. Slim pickings.

AA and A+ are both a bit thin. That said, the AA rotation looks good. Besides McNutt/Rhee, I wouldn't sleep on Struck just yet, and Beeler has solid mid-rotation potential (off the top, 91-93 sinker, solid breaking balls, decent-solid change, I think, along with solid command). Beeler pounded out roughly 60% GB's last year. I hope they can tweak Struck's mechanics a bit, which might help his stuff, but it's easy to forget how young he is and how he held his own in AAA after being rushed there. Granted, no one has TOR potential (heck, no one in A+ on up has that ability, well, maybe McNutt but he needs a lot of things to go right), but there's still value. I still really like Alberto Cabrera in the pen. As a starter, he was whipping out a low-mid 90's fastball with a good slider. Rhoderick has an electric slider, and I like Frank Batista, but granted, both these guys profile more as middle relievers. Hatley's probably the other pen arm that, on paper, has late inning potential if he puts it together. Positionally, both levels are thin. In AA, I wouldn't sleep on Ha just yet. I've never been as big on him as others, but he deserves to get some attention because of his tools, age, and decent performance. Will be curious how his defense shows in CF - there were such diverse reports last year, ranging from below average w/ poor routes to good/borderline plus ability. The AA lineup should produce, though (granted that doesn't mean much ... Ridling should hit well in AA, after showing well last year. He really shouldn't be in Tennessee, but Rizzo has 1st, and the potential stopgap OF's like Sappelt/Campana need PT at Iowa. A+ is bleh in terms of talent (then again, it was expected. It's mainly the crop from Peoria last year, and the lack of talent in Peoria had a lot of us bothered last year). Szczur and Torreyes are the only positional guys that really catch my eye, unless Gibbs starts hitting. The pitching staff has a touch more intrigue, with Cates/Concepcion/Loosen. Peoria holds some intrigue with AzPhil's last listing of Hernandez/Chen/Golden/DeVoss/EasterlingGeiger and several fascinating arms. Really, though, we're waiting on a lot of talent in XST.

"Will be curious how [Ha's] defense shows in CF - there were such diverse reports last year, ranging from below average w/ poor routes to good/borderline plus ability." The reports were more diverse than that. Brian Harper, his manager at Tennessee, said this about Ha:
"He's amazing. He's one of the best center fielders that I've ever seen."

Peoria posted their roster: Some interesting differences between this and Phil's observations from Mesa. It's time for the wonderful world of Minor League Baseball.

Phil, Speculate a little on Geiger and Andreoli, please. I thought they'd earned a chance to start full year ball. Peoria really doesn't have a full-time 3B to start off with. I guess Zapenas and Darvill will fill it? I can understand Burruel not making it. He's younger and will get at bats at EXT. And, pitchers seemingly always have a reason for not making a roster. I think it's interesting though how Reed jumped both Ackerman and Hartman from that class in the last days.

Geiger reported on Facebook last night that he was going to Peoria.

Maybe Socorro is off the roster for the start as the Coach, and Geiger hasn't been added yet.