Aaron Brooks

A's Trounce Cubs at Fitch Park

Jhonny Rodriguez (RBI single), Eric Marinez (two-run double), Jesus Lage (two-run double), Steven Pallares (RBI double), Carlos Hiciano (RBI single), Javier Godard (RBI triple), and Luis Barrera (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight an 18-hit attack, helping the Athletics bash the Cubs 11-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Kevonte Mitchell belted a two-run home run and Vimael Machin drilled an RBI triple to highlight a three-run first inning for the Cubs, but that was all the scoring the Cubs could muster. 

RHSP Aaron Brooks (On Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) continued his EXST rehab, starting the game and working 2.2 IP (54 pitches). He allowed three runs on six hits (four singles, two doubles, and a triple), did not issue any walks, and struck out three (all three swinging) with a 2/2 GO/AO. 

The game was called by mutual consent after eight innings of play. 

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

Brooks Looking Good at Diablo

Sam McDonnell drilled two RBI singles including one that drove-in the tying run, as the Angels rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to upend the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, AZ. 

Rafael Mejia belted a two-run double and a single, scored a run, and knocked-in a third run with a 6-3 GO and Alberto Mineo tripled, walked twice, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made a rehab start for the Cubs and tossed three shutout innings (32 pitches), allowing a lead-off single in the bottom of the 1st (erased on a CS) before easily retiring the next eight in a row (3-U, K, K, L-8, P-3, 4-3, 1-3, K). A healthy Brooks (and hopefully a healthy Pierce Johnson and a healthy Dallas Beeler) should help upgrade the Iowa starting rotation once the trio have completed their rehab work at EXST within the next week or two.

LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) continued his EXST game rehab work, following Brooks to the hill and hurling a scoreless inning (1B, K, F-7, 6-3). The ex-NYM lefthander who was claimed by the Cubs off waivers last November looked a lot better today than he did in his first rehab outing last week, needing 15 pitches (11 strikes) to record three outs. (He struggled to throw strikes and could not complete his assigned inning in his previous outing). The Cubs are hoping Leathersich can rehab successfully from the TJS and offer some lefty relief help down the stretch drive, and today's outing certainly provides some reason for optimism.

6'8 LHP Bryan Hudson (Cubs 2015 3rd round draft pick - Alton HS - Alton, IL) got "piggy-back" duty today, following Brooks and Leathersich to the mound. Like Dylan Cease yesterday, Hudson was supposed to stretch-out a bit today and throw five innings and/or about 75 pitches (whichever came first), but he hit 71 pitches after only 2.0 IP, and so I guess he'll have to try and make it through five innings next time out. The 19-year old lefthander allowed three runs on six hits (two doubles and four singles) and four walks (and a WP) and was lucky to surrender only three runs given the ten baserunners he allowed, but he benefited from four well-timed strikeouts (his stuff wasn't all bad, he just couldn't command it) and an Angel batter thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. This was definitely Hudson's worst outing as a pro.  

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

Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

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