Cam Balego

Perlaza Slam Powers Cubs to Victory at Salt River Fields

Yonathan Perlaza slugged a grand slam, Alexander Guerra singled and scored, drove-in two runs with two sacrifice flies, and threw-out a runner attempting to steal, Cam Balego collected three singles, and SP Brailyn Marquez hurled five innings of two-hit shutout ball, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Danny Edgeworth belted a two-run triple and scored a run in a losing cause for the Rockies. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Jeffrey Passantino and RHRP Garrett Kelly have been moved-up to South Bend from Extended Spring Training, and RHP Benjamin Rodriguez and SS Fabian Pertuz have been sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (they were assigned to DSL Cubs #1) from Extended Spring Training. 

In Cubs Dominican Academy medical news, DSL Cubs #2 LHP Andres Bonalde underwent elbow surgery last month (not sure if it was TJS or something else) and will miss the 2018 season. 

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

A's Rumble Past Cubs at Fitch Park

JaVon Shelby collected four RBI (bases-loaded walk, two-run triple, and RBI GO) and Liam Hendriks and Jose Mora combined to hurl 5.1 IP of one-run ball with nine strikeouts, helping the Athletics thump the Cubs 8-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning affair, but it was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the A's pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work. 

Cam Balego was removed from the game after being hit in the head (helmet) with a pitch. He left the field under his own power, but appeared to be a bit woozy. Balego is the second Cub in two days to be hit in the head or face with a pitch.  

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

Cubs Repel Snakes at Riverview

Yovanny Cuevas (RBI triple), Cam Balego (two-run single), Jonathan Sierra (RBI single), and Fernando Kelli (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits and LHSP Brailyn Marquez and four relievers combined to hurl a five-hitter, as the Cubs cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The defensive gem of the game was turned-in by Cubs SS Luis Vazquez, who made a spectacular back-handed diving catch (at full-speed and with full extension) in short LF at the foul line, quickly righted himself, and then threw a laser-strike to 1st base to double-off the shocked/amazed D'backs baserunner to end the top of the 7th inning. (To prove he isn't ready for MLB just yet, Vazquez made a fielding error on an easy grounder to short in the top of the 9th).   
 
Recently-signed OF served as a DH in the game for the Cubs and got three AB, walking and scoring in the 1st, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 2nd, and striking out (swinging) on a 3-2 breaking ball in the 4th. Adams elected free-agency after being sent outright to AAA Gwinnett by the Atlanta Braves on April 25th,.and he officially signed with the Cubs today. He is at Extended Spring Training partly because he hadn't played in a game in about three weeks, and partly because there is not (at present) room for him at AAA Iowa.

The 28-year old Adams was one of the better "4th outfielders" in MLB last year, hitting 275/339/468 in 85 games with the Braves. But his best attribute is base-stealing. He swiped 25 bags last year, ten with Atlanta (no CS) and 15 for AAA Gwinnett prior to getting called up, after stealing 38 in AA in both 2013 and 2014, 31 in AA/AAA in 2015, and 44 in AA/AAA in 2016. 

Adams played in the Cubs organization in 2016 (first at AA Tennessee and then at AAA Iowa) after being released by the Yankees (he was released from AA Trenton to make room for OF Billy McKinney after the Yanks acquired McKinney as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, so in a way Adams signing with the Cubs in 2016 was indirectly a result of the Chapman deal), and he was actually "on the bubble" for a potential September call-up to Chicago that season as a "5th outfielder" (late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement), but he never got the call.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Cubs 2017 5th round draft pick OF Nelson Velazquez (P. J. Education School - Carolina, PR) has been promoted to South Bend.  

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

Cubs Use Three-Run Third to Edge Angels at Diablo

Jonathan Soto drilled a triple and an RBI single and six pitchers combined to hurl a four-hitter, helping the Cubs edge the Angels 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #3 at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.  

The Cubs scored all three of their runs in the top of the third inning against Angels RHSP Jose Soriano, loading the bases on three singles (Verdugo, J. Gutierrez, and L. Diaz) before eventually scoring all three of the runners on the Soto RBI single (bases remained loaded), a Morel sacrifice fly to the warning track in LF, and a Soriano wild pitch. 
 
Connor Fitzsimons belted a solo HR off RHP Jesus Tejada to give the Angels a brief 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.

In EXST Cubs roster news, C-1B-3B Cam Balego (Cubs 2017 30th round draft pick - Mercyhurst) has completed the "Catcher Conversion Program" and has been moved-up to South Bend. Balego began learning the catcher trade at AZ Instructs post-2017, and continued the process this year at Minor League Camp and then at Extended Spring Training. However, Balego is - NOT - becoming a full-time catcher, he is just adding "catcher" to his utility tool-box to increase his player-value going forward.   
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

Cubs Win Home Opener

Kyle Ryan hurled three innings of shutout ball and combined with four relievers to toss a two-hit shutout, Fernando Kelli singled twice, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and Cam Balego (two-run double) and Gioskar Amaya (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits, as the Cubs blanked the Dodgers 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day game action Tuesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the Cubs pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work (and even with the extra half-inning Cubs pitchers still threw a two-hit shutout!).   

K. Ryan was left behind when the Iowa Cubs departed Arizona last week, and he is staying ready in case he is needed in Des Moines. He dominated the young Dodgers today. 

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

Oscar de la Cruz Goes Six Strong at Riverview

Oscar de la Cruz hurled six innings (78 pitches - 72% strikes) of one-run/three-hit ball (run was unearned) with five strikeouts and no walks, Cam Balego drilled an RBI single and an RBI double and drew a walk, Delvin Zinn singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored three runs, Jonathan Soto belted a two-run HR and a single, and Alexander Guerra smacked a solo HR, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Tuesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Alec Mills (Iowa) and Oscar de la Cruz (Tennessee) were the starting pitchers in the game. Both were left behind in Mesa by their respective full-season clubs so that they could pitch in a game on what was their normal day to pitch, with both scheduled to make regular-season starts for their teams this coming Sunday or Monday. So it was a matter of them getting both their normal-scheduled work and increasing their pitch counts closer to regular-season levels.  

Enrique de los Rios and Brendan King followed de la Cruz and Mills to the mound, getting stretched-out in preparation for being Cubs EXST SP.  
 
Here is the box score from the game:      

Jared Young Has Rake, Will Travel

Jared Young drilled an RBI double and a two-run HR, Cam Balego mashed a two-run HR, singled, walked, and scored three runs, Tyler Payne slugged a two-run HR and singled twice, and RHSP Javier Assad hurled five inings of one-run ball, leading the South Bend Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Field #5, and LHSP Jose Paulino tossed five innings of shutout ball and Carlos Penalver belted a solo HR to help the Tennessee Smokies whitewash the Iowa Cubs 3-0 on Field #6, in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Saturday morning on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Jared Young has been the hottest hitter in Cubs Minor League Camp this month, leading all Cubs minor leaguers in home runs with four. He went 5-5 at Fitch Park versus Beloit yesterday (four singles and a double), and continued to rake today with the RBI double and two-run HR. He is a hitting-machine. (A natural second-baseman, Young has been playing 1B-2B-3B-LF at Minor League Camp to help increase his player-value going forward).   

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng threw six innings (80 pitches) and allowed two runs on four hits (one HR) and a walk with five strikeouts for the I-Cubs on Field #6, in preparation for his Opening Day start next Thursday in Des Moines against Oklahoma City.

The Defensive Gem of the Game (on Field #6) was turned in by an unexpected source, one Stephen Bruno (normally an infielder, and not known for his defense). Bruno made a spectacular leaping catch over the top of the LF fence and pulled back a near-certain HR-ball off the bat of Jesse Hodges that left the other players and the coaches in near hysterics.
 
Yeiler Peguero had an interesting day, playing 3B for South Bend on Field #5 for six innings before carrying his bat and glove across the walkway to Field #6 and playing 2B for Tennessee for the final two innings of the Iowa-Tennessee game (the two games were played simultaneously and started and ended at about the same time). 

Several pitchers were inserted into the lineups on Field #6 so that they could practice bunting in game situations.  

Although the games were ostensibly Iowa vs Tennessee and Myrtle Beach vs South Bend, the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad actually contributed the lion's share of the position-players (22 to be exact) to the two games, as a number of players from the four "full-season" squads got the day off. The main purpose of the games was to get innings for pitchers who were scheduled to throw in a game today (the Cactus League minor league season concluded yesterday, so intrasquad games are the only option right now), and to allow the starting pitchers to increase their pitch-counts to where they will need to be once the minor league regular-season begins next week.  

The Opening Day rosters for the four Cubs "full-season" affiliates should be announced within the next couple of days. Collectively the four teams are 17 over the Opening Day active roster limit, but most of the trimming will involve players going onto the 7-day DL and/or being assigned to  Extended Spring Training.   

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