Alfonso Rivas

Espinoza Sharp at Sloan

After hurling three perfect innings in his previous start, Manuel Espinoza fired three innings of one-hit shutout ball (and threw 75% strikes), and Pablo Aliendo singled twice and drove-in a run and Cam Balego tripled and scored, in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Wednesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.   

The Giants at Cubs AZIL game was canceled, so the Cubs played an intrasquad game instead.   

The five pitchers who were scheduled to pitch in the AZIL game threw in the intrasquad game, and the game was called after 3-1/2 innings of play after all of the pitchers got their scheduled work. 

It wasn't possible to field two full teams because only the players who were set to play in the AZIL game played in the intrasquad game (the other position players retired to the clubhouse after early BP), so there was no DH used in the game and Alfonso Rivas (who is already an accomplished hitter and really doesn't need any more game ABs) played LF for both squads and did not take an AB (he stood out in LF for the entire game -- that's 90 minutes straight defense in 90-degree heat without a break, folks).  

Also, Ethan Hearn played 1B and Yonathan Perlaza (ex-infielder now playing outfield) temporarily moved back to the infield and played 2B. 

Fireballin' RHP Danis Correa labored through one inning of work while throwing almost all secondary stuff (only a couple of high velo FB) after throwing almost all FB in his previous outing, while RHRP Eduarniel Nunez threw almost 100% FB (only two off-speed pitches) and was sitting 95-96 (T-97). Both Corraa and E. Nunez are 21-year old Dominican power bullpen arms who could advance quickly if they can improve their secondaries and FB command (easier said than done, obviously).    

Here is the box score from the game: 

Mervis Clout and Rivas Line Drives Rule the Day in Mesa

Matt Mervis crushed a solo HR over the RF fence & 30-foot high screen and off the outside west wall of the stadium across the street, Alfonso Rivas rifled an RBI double and a single and scored run, and Nelson Velazquez walked, stole a base, scored a run, and collected an outfield assist, in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Saturday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Timely Hitting the Rx for Cubs at Sloan

Cole Roederer drilled a line-drive two-out two-run single to CF to put the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 1st, Alfonso Rivas doubled, singled, and scored, Luis Verdugo doubled, singled, and scored, Nelson Velazquez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, Ethan Hearn singled twice and knocked-in a run, Cam Balego singled twice and scored twice, and Matt Mervis doubled and singled, as the Cubs collected 13 hits and edged the Athletics 5-4 in AZ Instructional League game action Monday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Jonah Bride (two-run HR) and Tyler Soderstrom (solo shot) belted four-baggers for the A's in a losing cause.

Cubs Get Long Ball from Strumpf and Wetzel at Sloan Park

Chase Strumpf belted a two-run HR halfway up the LF berm and singled and scored, Jacob Wetzel clubbed a two-run HR halfway up the RF berm and walked and scored, Andy Weber stroked a single and a two-run double, and Alfonso Rivas drilled an RBI single, walked twice, and stole a base, in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Wednesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Cubs Hitters Go Old School Clutch All Day Long at Instructs

Jared Young singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Alfonso Rivas (RBI single), Matt Mervis (two-out RBI double), Cam Balego (RBI double), Christopher Morel (RBI triple), and Rafael Morel (game-tying two-out two-run single) collected run-scoring hits for the Cubs, and Armani Smith belted a booming three-run home run and Tyler Fitzgerald drilled a line-drive solo shot for the Giants, as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

RHP Manuel Rodriguez (on Cubs MLB 60-day IL) made his first game appearance since leaving a Cactus League Spring Training game last March with a right biceps strain, throwing one inning (10 pitches) and allowing one hit and one run (Fitzgerald's solo HR). He struck out one (swinging) and retired the other two batters on a 4-3 GO and F-8 FO.    

INF Kevin Made (July 2019 IFA - Dominican Republic - $1.5M signing bonus) made his pro game debut and got a hit in his first pro AB, reaching base on a two-out bloop single that fell in front of a diving Giants RF in the bottom of the 7th inning. Made would later score one of the two runs driven-in by Rafael Morel.  

You may have noticed that the Cubs have been playing their infielders all around the infield in AZIL games (and in instructs pre-game and Camp Day infield practice as well), and that's because with the extensive use of shifting today in MLB, infielders need to know the mechanics of all three positions (2B, 3B, and SS) as they move forward, even if the player might profile primarily at one infield position in particular.