Cam Balego

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: 

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 Rally Late to Tie Giants at Indian School Park

Yohendrick Pinango drilled an RBI single, Luis Vazquez ripped an RBI triple, and Cam Balego lofted a sacrifice fly to highlight a three-run 8th. as the Cubs rallied to tie the Giants 4-4 in AZ Instructional League game action Friday afternoon on Field #2 (AKA "Jim Davenport Field") at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Ghordy Santos laced an RBI double in the bottom of the 5th and hammered a line-drive two-run HR over the CF Batter's Eye in the bottom of the 7th for the Giants. 

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.     

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):

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