Cam Balego

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.   

Mitchell Grand Salami Gives Angels Indigestion at Riverview

Kevonte Mitchell blasted a grand slam over the LF fence and onto the south bank of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway to cap a nine-run explosion in the bottom of the 5th inning as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-affiliate) turned a 5-0 deficit into a 9-5 lead and then hung-on for dear life to edge the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) 9-8 on Field #6, and RHSP Erich Uelmen (Cubs 2017 4th round draft pick - Cal Poly SLO) hurled four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts, no walks (72% strikes), and 6/0 GO/AO, and Cam Balego (RBI triple), Alexander Guerra (RBI double), and Luis Hidalgo (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to stake the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate to a 4-1 lead, but the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) came-back in the late innings to tie the game at four and then the potential winning run was picked-off 2nd base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th to thwart a Cub plan to plate the winning run with a sac bunt and maybe a sac fly, as Burlington and South Bend played to a 4-4 tie on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The MLB Cubs had the day off so Kyle Hendricks was supposed to have started the Myrtle Beach game on Field #6, but he was scratched due to illness (strep throat). 

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

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