2022 Cubs Extended Spring Training

Much Ado About Nothing at Riverview

Anthony Martinez threw two perfect innings and Miguel Pabon belted a triple, providing the highlights from a Cubs Extended Spring Training two-inning intrasquad game played Wednesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The "core" of the proto-ACL Cubs -- Cristian Hernandez, Moises Ballesteros, Pedro Ramirez, and Rafael Morel -- got the day off. 

RHP Michael McAvene threw a bullpen prior to the game, so he could be ready for Cactus League EXST game action in the near-future. 

Here is the box score from the game:  

D'backs Black Blank the Cubs at Sloan Park

Deivi Estrada belted a solo HR, Luis Rubio singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Jose Fernandez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, Grayson Greiner drilled a single and a double, and Sean Poppen, Ricardo Yan, and Miguel Gil combined to toss a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts, as the Diamondbacks Black squad blanked the Cubs 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven inning affair.  

EXST Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Michael Arias (ex-SS) got the start for the Cubs, but had to leave the game after recording only one out when he suffered a lower body injury while covering home plate after a bases-loaded wild pitch. He also had a blister issue earlier in the inning, which may be why his usual upper 90's FB velo was down a couple of clicks (94-97 MPH instead of 96-99).      

RHP Dakota Mekkes (on AAA Iowa 7-day IL) made his first game appearance of the season, working 2.1 IP (30 pitches - 18 strikes) in relief. He allowed a run on two hits (the Estrada HR and the Greiner double), walked one, and struck out three (all swinging). He  displayed his usual 89-92 MPH FB, 85-88 CH, and 76-79 MPH CV in the game, had decent command of all of his pitches, and threw 60% strikes. Mekkes will be an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2022 if he isn't added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or signs a 2023 minor league successor contract. He would appear to profile as a "once-through-the order / multi-inning" reliever at this point, and that's exactly how he was used in the game today.  

The best EXST Cub pitching performance of the day was by RHRP Angel Gonzalez, who mixed his high velo 96-98 MPH FB with a 86-87 MPH SL  - AND - with much better FB command than seen previously. His FB velo and command seem to be better when he can focus on throwing just one inning, instead of working two innings as he sometimes has been used in EXST games. Known as "Angel Gonzalez-Martinez" when he was signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old NDFA out of Puerto Rico in 2020, he now just goes by the name Angel Gonzalez. If he can command his hard stuff going forward and stay healthy, he will move quickly through the system, with a ceiling of a high-leverage one-inning reliever.   

In EXST roster news, INF Jake Slaughter has been moved-up to Hi-A South Bend. He was left behind in Mesa when the four full season affiliates left town last month and appeared to be a potential release candidate sooner rather than later, but he didn't pout, and has hit the ball very well while providing stellar defense at 3rd base in Cactus League EXST games over the past three weeks. If anybody "deserved" another chance, it was Jake Slaughter.   

Also, LHRP Wyatt Short has been assigned to AA Tennessee. Like Jake Slaughter, Short was left behind at EXST when the four Cubs full-season affiliates left town last month.Short is scheduled to be an MLB Rule 9 minor leaguer 6YFA post-2022. 

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

Hernandez Drops a Bomb at Sloan Park

Brennon Lund belted a two-run HR, Gabriel Rodriguez doubled twice and scored a run, and SP Jorge Marcheco tossed three innings of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, as the Angels defeated the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Cristian Hernandez crushed a 440-foot solo HR high up onto the left-centerfield berm, walked, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, Rafael Morel singled twice and knocked-in a run, Flemin Bautista laced a two-run triple and scored a run, and Grayson Byrd doubled, walked, and scored two runs for the Cubs in losing cause.  

LHP Jack Patterson (on AA Tennessee 7-day IL - March 2021 TJS) got the start for the Cubs and went two innings (36 pitches - 17 strikes, 3/0 GO/AO), allowing two runs (one earned), one hit (one of Gabriel Rodriguez's doubles), and four walks. He fanned two (both swinging, the last two men he faced), and induced an inning-ending GIDP in his first inning of work. He also committed a balk. Patterson threw mostly an 88-91 MPH FB with sinking action, mixed with with a few 79-82 MPH CV and one 84 MPH CH. He had a lot of trouble commanding his FB, and so he mainly threw his CV when he needed a strike.  

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

Cubs & A's Play a Tie at Riverview

Christian Olivo belted a two-run double and Cristian Hernandez collected an RBI on a bases-loaded walk for the Cubs, and SP Wander Guante hurled four innings of two-hit shutout ball with seven strikeouts (no walks) for the Athletics, as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Sloan Park, but a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) event was held in the stadium simultaneous with the Cubs game, so the ball game was moved across the street. 

Pedro Ramirez returned to the Cubs lineup after being hit in the helmet by a pitch in an intrasquad game on Wednesday, so he apparently passed the concussion protocol with flying colors. 

In other EXST news, INF Andrelton Simmons has completed his EXST rehab and has been assigned to AAA Iowa on an official Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment (a maximum of 20 days because he is a position player, and the player can call it off at any time). Simmons appeared to be 100% at the plate and on the bases in Mesa, and while he hasn't played much shorstop in Cactus League EXST games, he did take grounders for 20 minutes on Field #1 on Wednesday and made all of the throws a shortstop would need to make in a game. How his shoulder felt afterward, I don't know. 

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

Cubs Tie D'backs Red Squad at Salt River Fields

Cristian More hammered a solo HR and Jake Slaughter rapped an RBI double and a single and scored a run for the Cubs, and SP Jose Cabrera hurled three innngs of one-run ball for the Diamondbacks "Red" squad, as the two teams played to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Cubs pitchers issued 11 walks (seven by SP Marino Santy), hit a batter, committed a balk, and uncorked four wild pitches. 

The game was called after six innings of play. 

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

Giants Pitchers Throttle Cubs with Smoke

P. J. Hilson belted an RBI double and a solo HR, Juan Perez laced a two-run single, Anthony Rodriguez walked four times and scored two runs, and SP Mikell Manzano tossed three innings of one-run ball and combined with three relievers to strike out 14 (including the last six outs by gas throwin' closer William Suarez), as the Giants edged the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Andrelton Simmons served as a DH and singled twice, tripled, and scored a run, Carlos Sepulveda drove-in two runs with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single and scored a run, and Dilan Granadillo drilled a two-run single, to account for the four Cub runs.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

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