Archive - Mar 31, 2015

Lester Throws in Intrasquad Game at Riverview

John Andreoli and Ryan Dent slugged solo home runs and Rubi Silva drilled a two-run single, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in a five-inning Spring Training minor league intrasquad game played on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park this morning. 

Victor Caratini belted a two-run double and drew a walk and Kevin Brown singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Smokies. 

Jon Lester got the start for the I-Cubs, and threw 84 pitches (62 strikes) while facing 20 hitters. He allowed eight hits (two doubles, a triple, and five singles) and no walks (but two wild pitches), and he struck out four (two looking and two swinging), with a 1/6 GO/FO. Lester threw 81 pitches through four innings and and it looked like his day might be over, but then he went back out to the mound and faced one batter (Jeffrey Baez) in the top of the 5th, who rifled a triple on an 0-2 pitch. At that point, Lester was relieved.  

Lester looked VERY hittable today as the young Smokies hitters consistently squared his offerings up and made lots of hard contact. If the Cubs want to get Lester another minor league start before he faces MLB hitters, they could put him on the 15-day DL retroactive to last Friday (nine days prior to MLB Opening Day being the furthest back a DL stint can be backdated during Spring Training), and maybe have him start a minor league game this coming Sunday (the last day of Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games), and then he would be eligible to be reinstated from the DL on Saturday April 11th. (NOTE: MLB Cactus League and Grapefruit League Spring Training games are considered "official" games, so players on the DL cannot play in these games, and a DL stint cannot be backdated past the last time the player appeared in an official MLB Spring Training game; but pitching or playing in a minor league Spring Training game or in an intrasquad game does not affect DL eligiblity as far as backdating the DL stint is concerned, and a player on the DL can play in a minor league Spring Training game and/or in an intrasquad game without restriction). 

Despite being sent down by the Cubs on Monday, Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell have yet to take the field at Minor League Camp. None of the three played in the Futures Game last night at Sloan Park (and the Cubs sure could have used them, too), none of the three participated in work-outs (fielding practice, baserunning drills, and BP) with the Iowa squad this morning, and none of the three played in the Lester intrasquad game (and they were not on the bench, either). So it's very possible that Baez, Bryant, and Russell are still with the big club, despite being technically on the Iowa roster.   

The game was called with two outs in the top of the 5th inning. 

Here is the box score from this morning's intrasquad game: 

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Lewis Brinson and Kellin Deglan hammered two-run doubles and nine pitchers (including six of their Top 10 pitching prospects--Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, Andrew Faulkner, Jake Thompson, Luke Jackson, Luis Ortiz, and Jose LeClerc) combined to toss a five-hitter with 13 strikeouts, helping the Rangers Prospects defeat the Cubs Prospects 5-1 in the 2015 Cubs-Rangers Spring Training Futures Game played Monday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Apparently the Cubs didn't get ALL of the Rangers best prospects in trades over the past three years (at least not yet), because they obviously have a few left in their system (and Rangers #1 prospect Joey Gallo didn't even play in the game).  

Willson Contreras knocked-in the lone Cub run with an RBI double, but probably the best overall performance by a Cub position player was turned-in by 2014 #1 draft pick catcher Kyle Schwarber, who walked in both of his At Bats (both times on 3-2 pitches), and also helped Corey Black get out of jams in two different innings by throwing out Ranger baserunners trying to steal (one at 2nd and one at 3rd).

And the best Cub pitching performance was by #1 pitching prospect C. J. Edwards (acquired from the Rangers in the Mattt Garza trade back in 2013), who retired all six men he faced (K, L-4, K, 4-3, F-9, K - all strikeouts were swinging). 

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