Gustavo Polanco drilled a one-out game-tying two-run double off the LF fence (near HR) and Roberto Caro followed one out later with a two-out walk-off line-drive game-winning RBI single, as the Cubs Eugene/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training group) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League) 10-9 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #3 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Adonis Paula belted a two-run double and a single and scored two runs, Yohan Matos ripped a two-run double and an RBI single, and Kwang-Min Kwon tripled and singled and scored a run to aid the Cub cause, and Isaac Rodriguez slugged a two-run HR and singled, Dustin Martin hammered a two-run triple and walked twice, and Edson Garcia rifled a two-run triple for los Toros in a losing cause.
Los Toros are one of three Mexican League teams taking Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex (formerly known as "Tucson Electric Park" when the White Sox and Diamondbacks based their Spring Training there) in Tucson. (Pericos de Puebla and Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz are the other two Mexican League clubs sharing the facility with los Toros), and in addition to playing games against each other in Tucson, the three Mexican League clubs have also been playing games against MLB minor league affiliates in the Phoenix area during the month of March. (Mexican League Opening Day is April 1st).
The Cubs have signed nine players out of Mexico over the last 18 months, and six just in the 2015-16 IFA alone (the same number they have signed so far out of Venezuela in the 2015-16 IFA). So the Cubs--and more specifically Mexico Area Scout Sergio Hernandez--have really been going hard after Mexican talent lately.
Three of the players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico over the past couple of years (RHSP Jesus Camargo, shortstop Isaac Paredes, and catcher Kevin Zamudio) played in the game against Tijuana, and you could see that the trio were stoked to compete against los Toros.
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)
Here is the box score from the game:
Dylan Cease struck out six in two innings and combined with five other Cubs pitchers to fan 17 batters, Jose Paniagua belted a three-run home run and a triple, Isaac Paredes slammed a solo home run and walked twice, Yohan Matos drilled an RBI double, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Adonis Paula hammered a two-run HR, helping Eugene/Mesa (the Cubs Extended Spring Training group) to a 9-3 victory over the Langley Blaze in Minor League Camp game action Tuesday morning on Field #3 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow all the Cubs pitchers who were scheduled to throw to get their work.
A member of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL), the Blaze are one of the top amateur baseball clubs in Canada. Notable alumni include Brett Lawrie and Scott Mathieson, as well as ex-Cub minor leaguer Wes Darvill.
The Blaze are on a ten-day Arizona Spring Training Trip, where they are playing minor league teams, and college and high school teams. The Blaze are scheduled to play one or two (and sometimes even three!) games per day, including morning games, afternoon games, night games, doubleheaders, and split squad games, so the Canadian lads (age 15-18) are playing a LOT of baseball in the Valley of the Sun.
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
1B (ex-LHP) Nick Jones reached base four times (two singles and two walks) and drove-in what proved to be the game-winning run, Nathaniel Javier drilled a two-run double, singled, and scored two runs, and Julio Pena singled twice, knocked-in two runs, and scored another, as the Giants rallied from a 7-2 deficit to edge the Cubs 8-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
Eloy Jimenez belted a solo HR, Adonis Paula hammered a two-run double, singled twice, and scored a run, and Shawon Dunston Jr singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs for the Cubs in a losing cause.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only)
Miguel Mercedes belted a two-run home run and Vicmal de la Cruz singled, doubled, and scored two runs, as the Athletics edged the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Adonis Paula slugged a solo HR and Frandy de la Rosa singled and tripled for the Cubs in a losing cause.
In EXST roster news, IF-OF Varonex Cuevas has been moved-up to AAA Iowa. The 22-year old switch-hitting super-sub was hitting only 204/235/327 with one HR and three doubles, four RBI, six runs scored, two walks, 14 strikeouts, and no SB (two CS), in 18 Cactus League EXST games (51 PA) this season, but he has been hot lately, putting up a 353/421/588 line over his last six Cactus League EXST games (19 PA). He has played 2B-3B-SS-LF at EXST.
Cuevas was signed by the Cubs as an 18-year old out of the Dominican Republic in May 2011, and spent his first three seasons with the DSL Cubs (240/344/304 in 163 DSL games 2011-13) before arriving in the U. S. last season. He hit 288/416/493 in 24 Cactus League EXST games (89 PA) last season before being assigned to Boise, where he struggled (hitting just 118/211/235 in 12 NWL games). He then was moved down to the AZL Cubs, where he hit 318/368/466.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
Alberto Mineo (RBI double), Tyler Alamo (RBI single), and Adonis Paula (RBI single) collected run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 3rd, 17-year old Andruw Monasterio smacked a two-run double, Eloy Jimenez belted a solo home run, and Jose Paulino hurled four shutout innings and combined with four relievers to toss a three-hitter, as the Cubs cruised past the Angels 7-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work.
Frandy de la Rosa drilled his team-leading seventh double in the game and is now hitting 279/324/443 in 19 Cactus League EXST games (68 PA), and it appears that he has won the Opening Day starting second-base job at Eugene.
The Eloy Jimenez HR gives him the team lead with two, and he is now hitting 317/348/583 in 19 Cactus League EXST games (66 PA). In addition to the two home runs, Eloy also has four doubles and is tied for the team lead in triples with three (tied with Kevin Encarnacion), and he leads the team in RBI (15 ) and in runs scored (11). He has three walks and ten strikeouts in the 66 PA, and he has also stolen three bases (no CS).
In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Bryant Flete has been moved-up to AA Tennessee, and catcher Erick Castillo has been assigned to Extended Spring Training from AA Tennessee, as Flete and Castillo essentially changed places.
The 22-year old left-handed hitting Flete is a versatile player defensively and a polished player offensively, capable of playing 2B, SS, and 3B. and with a patient approach and a good eye at the plate. He hit a combined 274/385/355 in 189 career minor league games (761 PA) 2012-14, and in 13 Cactus League EXST games (35 PA) this season, Flete hit 357/485/500, with four doubles, seven walks and five strikeouts, one stolen base (one CS), seven runs scored, and three RBI.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
Tommy LaStella belted a solo home run, two RBI doubles, and a single, Adonis Paula ripped a two-out two-run game-tying double in the bottom of the 7th, and Roberto Caro tripled and scored in the 7th and then drove-in what proved to be the winning run with an 8th inning sacrifice fly, as the Cubs rallied from a 5-0 deficit to edge the Athletics 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
Gabriel Santana and Carlos Hiciano drilled RBI doubles to highlight a two-run third and Iolana Akau hammered a three-run HR in the fourth for the A's in a losing cause.
The game was called after eight innings.
LaStella batted six times and reached base four times (he also was retired on an F-9 fly out and a 3-U ground out). He played second-base for the first four innings and then moved to third base for the next three, and he made one really nice play in the field, coming-in fast from third-base to snatch a slow one-hopper before throwing the batter out at 1st in a "bang-bang" play.
At the plate, both of LaStella's doubles were hard-hit line-drives, one crashing off the CF fence and the other drilled into the right-centerfield gap, and the home run was a line-drive shot over the RF fence. Even the F-9 fly out his first-time up was hit to the warning track. The single was an opposite-field looper that fell between the A's left-fielder. shortstop, and third-baseman in short-left near the foul line. LaStella didn't run at first (he apparently thought it would land in foul territory), or else he might have had still another double.
In just two Cactus League EXST rehab games (10 PA) so far, LaStella has seven hits (including four doubles and a HR) and a sacrifice fly, and six RBI.
Two of the three Extended Spring Training position player "conversion projects" were on the hill for the Cubs in today's game.
RHP Mark Malave (ex-C) got the start and was not effective, allowing two runs on three hits (including two doubles) and three walks in 2.1 IP. He didn't strike anyone out. Malave features a high-80's two-seam fastball that occasionally touches 90 MPH, and a curve (which is his best pitch). When he doesn't keep his fastball down in the zone, he can get hammered.
RHP Jae-Hoon Ha (ex-OF) pitched in relief and struggled with his command (as has been the case in most of his outings so far), issuing two walks in his one inning of work. (Cubs pitchers issued a combined nine walks today). Ha throws harder than Malave (he tops out at 92) and probably has more of a future as a pitcher, featuring the low-90's fastball, a curve, a slider, a change-up, and a "mystery pitch" (not sure even he knows what it is...)
Prior to the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, RHPs Neil Ramirez (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation), Santiago Rodriguez, and Pedro Araujo pitched in a two-inning "sim" game on Field #4. Rodriguez threw two innings (30 pitches) and Araujo and Ramirez each threw one inning (15 pitches a piece). Ramirez looked good, with no distress indicated by his body language or visible on his face during the course of the outing.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Trevor Graham has been released, and catcher Roberto Vahlis and SS Rafael Narea have been assigned to the VSL Cubs.
the 23-year old Graham was the Cubs 2013 13th round draft pick out of Franklin Pierce University, and he has not pitched since Minor League Camp (he has been inactive at Extended Spring Training). He began last season at Extended Spring Training and was moved up to Daytona briefly in May, before ending up at Boise.
The 21-year old Vahlis (known affectionately as "Fuji" by his teammates) was at Minor League Camp at Riverview Park during Spring Training after spending the previous three seasons playing in Latin American summer leagues, with the DSL Blue Jays in 2012, and then with the VSL Cubs in 2013-14. (He is from Venezula).
Vahlis had three hits (all three singles) in five Cactus League EXST AB (all as a pinch-hitter or DH). He was originally signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a 17-year old international free-agent in July 2011, and he has hit a combined 213/324/313 in 107 career minor league games (2012-14).
Narea was signed out of Venezuela by the Cubs as a 16-year old last July ("Signed for Future Service"), and was invited to Extended Spring Training after he turned 17 the first week of April. The slick-fielding Narea was hitless in eight Cactus League EXST Plate Appearances, but was impressive in the field. (Narea is one of 27 international free-agents signed by the Cubs so far in the 2014-15 International Signing Period)
The Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) begins play this coming Monday (5/18), and the league schedule had to be re-worked somewhat at the last minute after the Mariners suddenly and unexpectedly moved their VSL affiliate (VSL Mariners) to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) earlier this year (the affiliate will play in the DSL as DSL Mariners #2).
When the Cubs moved their second DSL:affiliate (DSL Cubs #2) to the VSL in 2013, the VSL became a five-team league at that time, resulting in a schedule where each of the five teams would play each of the other four VSL teams once and then get a bye on the 5th day. With only four teams now in the VSL (VSL Cubs, VSL Phillies, VSL Rays, and VSL Tigers), the schedule has been altered to where the four clubs will play six days in a row and then get Sundays off (like the Arizona Fall League).
Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League EXST game (Cubs players only), followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster:
Adonis Paula ripped a two-run double and Tyler Alamo belted a two-out RBI double to highlight a three-run 1st, Oscar de la Cruz tossed three innings of shutout ball, and Tim Saunders drove-in the winning run by getting hit on the top of the helmet with a two-strike pitch with the bases loaded, the score tied, and two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Field #5, and Eloy Jimenez thumped a solo home run and an RBI triple, Yohan Matos belted a three-run inside-the-park HR, and Bryant Flete singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the D'backs 8-4 on Field #6, as the Cubs swept a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
Trevor Mitsui bashed a double and a two-run HR, Sergio Alcantara laced a single and a double and scored a run, Luis Veras singled, doubled, and scored two runs, and Didimo Bracho collected three singles for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause.
LHP Patrick Corbin (on the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 60-day DL - 2014 TJS) got the start for the D'backs on Field #6 and hurled three innings of shutout ball, allowing two singles and no walks, while striking out five (four swinging), and a 2/1 GO/FO.
The EXST Cubs returned to action today after a weekend of rain wiped out two games.
Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHPs Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), Erling Moreno (2014 TJS), Jose Zapata (post-2013 cervical fracture), and Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) pitched in a five-inning "sim" game on Field #3. Cease and Moreno worked three innings (45 pitches each), Zapata pitched two innings (30 pitches), and Masek threw one inning (15 pitches).
In roster news, 21-year old switch-hitting Dominican OF Robert Garcia has been added to the Cubs Extended Spring Training roster. Garcia signed with the Cubs in July 2013 and spent two seasons with the DSL Cubs, hitting 301/394/369 with 33 stolen bases (8 CS) in 77 games combined 2013-14.
Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
Taylor Teagarden drilled three singles and slammed a two-run home run, Eloy Jimenez ripped an RBI double and an RBI triple and scored a run, Tyler Alamo doubled, singled, walked, scored three runs, and knocked-in another, and Adonis Paula singled, tripled, walked, and drove-in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 13-7 drubbing of the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Josh Fuentes slugged a two-run HR and Ryan Stephens hammered a two-run triple for the Rockies in a losing cause.
The Cubs belted out 22 hits today (including five doubles, four triples, and a HR), and with a 4-4 day, Taylor Teagarden was the leading trouble maker. On the Iowa Cubs 7-day DL rehabbing a sore shoulder, Teagarden batted once each inning in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, and was the Cubs catcher for the first four innings. If today was any indication of his present state of rehabilitation, he will likely be rejoining the Iowa Cubs sooner rather later.
RHP Dallas Beeler (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) got the start for the Cubs, making his first game appearance of the 2015 season. But things did not go well for the big right-hander, as he allowed four runs (all earned) on eight hits (five singles, a double, a triple, and a two-run home run) in just three innings of work (61 pitches - 39 strikes). On the positive side, he did not issue any walks, and he struck out three (one swinging and two looking). There is a spot waiting for Beeler in the I-Cubs starting rotation, but he may need a bit more work (like getting his pitch count up to about 80) before he is ready to be reinstated from the DL.
RHRP Austin Reed (on the Hi-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-day DL - 2014 TJS rehab) also saw his first game action of 2015 and his first game action since undergoing elbow UCL transplant surgery last year, throwing one inning (18 pitches) and allowing one run on two hits (a double and a single) and a WP. He struck out one (looking).
The best pitching outing of the day by a Cub hurler was turned-in by RHP David Garner, who struck out the side in the 7th (two swinging and one looking). Garner also struck out the side 1-2-3 in an intrasquad game last week, so he may be the first call-up to a full-season affiliate when the need arises.
Cubs SS Ho-Young Son had an odd day, singling twice, but then getting immediately picked-off 1st base both times (once by the pitcher and once by the catcher).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
Adonis Paula singled twice, stole a base, and drove-in a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and scored a run, and Carlos Sepulveda smacked a solo home run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #5 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
The game was called after 4-1/2 innings with the score tied 2-2. (All three Extended Spring Training intrasquad games played this week have ended in a tie)
RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave finally made his game debut as a pitcher, throwing a shutout inning (4-3, 3-1, BB, 4-6 FC). I didn't see anthing special with his stuff, although he throws both a two-seam fastball and a curve (and the curve might be his best pitch). Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus when he was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela in July 2011, the highest bonus ever given by the Cubs to an international amateur free-agent up to that point in time. He was moved almost immediately to 3rd base, and then he was moved back to catcher again (and gave up switch-hitting to hit only RH) after the 2013 season. He struggled offensively throughout his pro career as a postion player (248/347/305 in 141 career minor league games and 560 career minor league PA), and then was converted to a pitcher at Minor League Camp last month.
In Cubs minor league roster news, RHP Daniel Bard (signed to a minor league contract during the off-season with an NRI to Spring Training, then couldn't throw strikes) and ex-Cubs LHP James Russell (signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this morning after being released by the Atlanta Braves last week) have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. Both pitchers threw morning bullpen side-sessions but did not pitch in the game. Rehabbers RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery), and RHP Austin Reed (2014 TJS) also threw bullpen side-sessions this morning.
Chicago Cubs OF Chris Denorfia (15-day DL - hamstring) took BP on Field #6 prior to the game.
Here is the box score from the game:
Bryant Flete singled, doubled, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, Ricardo Marcano singled, tripled, and scored two runs, Adonis Paula ripped an RBI double and a single and drove-in another run with an RBI GO, and Ho-Young Son singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training Intrasquad game action this morning on Field #5 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
The game was called after 7-1/2 innings with the scored tied 3-3.
Myrtle Beach RHSP Tyler Skulina and Iowa RHSP Barret Loux were the two starting pitchers in the game. Both were left behind in Mesa because they will not get their first scheduled start for another five or six days, and they needed to elevate their pitch counts to 80+ before their first start.
Loux was hit hard, allowing eight hits (five singles, two doubles, and a triple) in his 5.1 IP of work. Acquired from the Texas Rangers as a PTBNL in the 2012 Geovany Soto trade, Loux is attempting to come back after undergoing shoulder surgery post-2013 and UCL elbow ligament transplant surgery (TJS) last season.
On the other hand, Skulina was really dealing, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Prior to the Intrasquad game, Frank Batista and Dylan Cease squared-off in a two-inning "sim" game on Field #4.
Here is the box score from the intrasquad game, followed by the current Cubs Extended Spring Training Roster.