Carson Sands

Baez and Victorino in Action at Riverview

Shane Victorino (calf strain) singled twice and doubled and Javy Baez (thumb contusion) belted an RBI double and scored a run in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

South Bend & Myrtle Beach Get Swept at Fitch Park

The Beloit Snappers (Oakland Athletics Lo-A affiliate) defeated the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 5-2 on Field #3, and the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) edged the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 5-4 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Wednesday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Miguel Guzman belted a solo HR for Beloit and Chris Pieters smacked a solo HR for the SB Cubs on Field #3.   

Kevonte Mitchell left the game on Field #3 after being hit in the head by a fly ball in foul territory in the bottom of the 4th inning. 

Both Cubs starting pitchers (South Bend LHSP Carson Sands on Field #3 and Myrtle Beach RHSP Erick Leal on Field #4) fared poorly, allowing a combined seven runs on twelve hits (including five doubles and a triple), five walks, and a HBP (and a WP) in just 5.1 IP. 

Because of the Cubs-Rangers Futures Game in Surprise, more than the usual number of position players from the Eugene/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training group) were temporarily added to the South Bend and Myrtle Beach rosters on Wednesday to replace absent players.    

John Arguello has posted pics & observations from Tuesday's AA and AAA games at Riverview at Cubs Den:



Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played Wednesday at Fitch Park (Cubs players only): 

Joey Martarano Reports to Extended Spring Training, Pierce Johnson Gets Rocked

First-baseman Joey Martarano has reported to Cubs Extended Spring Training, after spending the 2014-15 school year attending Boise State University.

Martarano was the Idaho High School Baseball Player of the Year at Fruitland HS in his senior year, and was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft). He was offered a $100K bonus by the Phils but did not sign, instead opting to enroll at Boise State and play football.

The 20-year old 6'4 235 Martarano is a linebacker on the Broncos football team, and he is a promising football player. (He had his best game when it really mattered most, in Boise State's 38-30 victory over the University of Arizona in last January's Fiesta Bowl).

Because Boise State does not have a baseball program, Martarano was the rare "Freshman eligible" in the MLB 2014 First-Year Player Draft, and the Cubs took him in the 22nd round. The Cubs convinced him to sign by offering him a chance to play pro baseball during summer vacation (as sort of a "summer job"), with no restrictions on attending college and playing football the rest of the year.

Although he was drafted as a third-baseman, the Cubs immediately moved him to 1st base when he reported to Riverview Park last July, and it looks like 1st base is where he will stay. He spent one month with the AZL Cubs in Mesa last year after signing, but got into only six games before going back to school. (He hadn't played baseball in more than a year, so it took him a while to get back into shape). He will likely spend the months of June and July playing baseball in the Cubs organization this year (probably with the AZL Cubs again), before going back to Boise for pre-season football camp in August.

It's unfortunate for Maratano that the Cubs moved their Northwest League affiliate from Boise to Eugene this year, because otherwise he might have had a chance to play minor league baseball in his college's hometown.

It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an EXST intrasquad gane this morning on Field #6 at Riverview Park. Joey Martarano did not play in the game (he's taking BP and participating in fielding practice and baseruning drills while he gets into "baseball shape"), but the tilt did feature the first game action since Spring Training for RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL with a lat strain).

And Johnson got rocked, too, allowing nine hits (six singles, two doubles, and a triple) and three runs in just 2.1  IP (44 pitches). His fastball was sitting at only 90-91 MPH and topped out at 92, although his breaking ball had some nice bite. He didn't register any strike outs, and if it wasn't for two timely pick-offs, his line surely would have been much worse.
  
While Pierce Johnson was getting hammered, LHP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick - North Florida Christian HS - Tallahassee, FL) was throwing 4.2 IP of shutout ball. 

Significant offensive contributions were provided by Jose Paniagua (two doubles), Danny Gutierrez (a solo home run, a single, and a stolen base), Carlos Sepulveda (a triple, a single, and a run scored), Ricardo Marcano (single, double, and a run scored), and Varonex Cuevas (two-run single and a stolen base).

Here is the abridged box score from today's EXST Cubs intrasquad game: 

Eloy, Marcano, and Sands Offer the Snake-Bite Cure at Talking Stick

Eloy Jimenez reached base four times (two doubles, a single, and a walk) in four Plate Appearances and drove-in a run, Ricardo Marcano belted a triple and a two-run double and scored a run, and LHP Carson Sands hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 5-3 on Jackrabbit Field, and Raymel Flores drilled two triples and scored two runs, Sergio Alcantara ripped a two-run inside-the-park HR, and Wei-Chieh Huang and five relievers combined to retire 25 of the first 27 men they faced, leading the D'backs to an 8-2 victory over the Cubs on Whirlwind Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Jose Paniagua singled twice, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause on Whirlwind Field. 

Recently signed free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 1-3 with a single and a walk and a run scored in four PA and RHRP Matt Stites (on AZ MLB 15-day DL with right elbow inflammation) threw a shutout inning (one hit allowed, one strikeout) for the Diamondbacks squad on Whirlwind Field.  . 

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Tommy LaStella (on Cubs 15-day DL - rib cage inflammation) has completed the Extended Spring Training portion of his rehab and has moved up to AA Tennessee, where he will begin his Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. In just two Cactus League EXST games (10 PA), LaStella had seven hits (including four doubles and a HR) and a sacrifice fly, and six RBI. 

Also, INF Andrew Ely (Cubs 2014 32nd round draft pick - U. of Washington) has been moved-up to Lo-A South Bend, and INF Tim Saunders (Cubs 2012 32nd round draft pick - Marietta College) has been released.  

The 22 year old Ely began the season on the Hi-A Myrtle Beach roster, but he did not play for the Pelicans and was assigned to Extended Spring Training last month. In six Cactus League EXST games (21 PA), Ely hit 312/476/375, with a double, four walks, an HBP, two strikeouts, a stolen base, a run scored, and an RBI. He played both 2B and 3B while he was in Arizona. 

The left-handed hitting Ely had a fine debut professional season in 2014, hitting 298/348/479 with five HR & 16 RBI in 34 games combined between AZL Cubs and AAA Iowa. 

The speedy Saunders (48 SB in 148 career minor league games) was a two-time NCAA Division 3 All American in college and the 2012 NCAA D-3 Player of the Year, but yet he seemingly came out of nowhere to hit 381/431/536 between AZL Cubs, Peoria, and Daytona (combined 49 games - 218 PA) after being drafted in 2012. But then he suffered an elbow injury at Daytona in 2013 that required a UCL transplant (Tommy John surgery), and he was unable to regain the 2012 mojo once he returned to action.   

The 24-year old Saunders retired last June, but decided to try it again this season. He reported to Minor League Camp in March, but was left behind at Extended Spring Training. He still shows plus-speed on the bases and versatility and range in the field, and he still has a good eye at the plate, but he hit only 154/313/231 in eleven Cactus League EXST games (32 PA), with four walks and two HBP, six strikeouts, three stolen bases (one CS), five runs scored, and two RBI. He played 2B, 3B, and SS in Cactus League EXST games and intrasquad games while he was at EXST, and he has also played the outfield earlier in his career. He should be able to find a spot with an indepenedent league team if he wants to continue playing. 

It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an EXST intrasquad game on Field #6 at Riverview Park yesterday afternoon.

Veteran MLB RHP Felipe Paulino was one of the starting pitchers in the intrasquad game, and he worked 3.1 IP and got his pitch count up to 63, so he may ready to join AAA Iowa sooner rather than later. He did allow three runs on four hits (two singles, a triple and a solo HR) and two walks, but he also struck out six (all six swinging). His fastball was consistently 94-95 MPH, and touched 96 at least once, so apparently there is nothing wrong with his arm (Paulino missed most of the 2014 season with a sore shoulder, and he had TJS in 2012).  

Tyler Alamo slugged a solo home run (that was the one HR allowed by F. Paulino), Yohan Matos, Carlos Jimenez, and Jose Paniagua belted triples, and LHP Jose Paulino tossed four innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts (and a 6/0 GO/FO) in the intrasquad game. (J. Paulino is a virtual-lock to join Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Austyn Willis in the Eugene starting rotation, when the Northwest League begins play next month). 

RHP Dillon Maples had another poor outing. Working in relief of J. Paulino in the intrasquad game, Maples allowed five runs on five hits (including two triples and a double) and two walks in just one inning of work.This is the fourth consecutive Extended Spring Training for the now 23-year old Maples (he was drafted out of a North Carolina HS in 2011, but did not sign until August of that year), and while he still throws a 94 MPH heater and a hammer curve, he has a lot of difficulty commanding his pitches. He also sometimes will lose confidence in his fastball if he's not getting good results with it, and when that happens he tends to lose focus. 

Here are the abridged box scores from today's two Cubs Cactus League EXST games (Cubs players only), followed by the abridged box score from yesterday's intrasquad game at Riverview Park: 

Cubs See High-Speed Black and Rally to Tie at Riverview Park

Jhonny Pereda drilled a game-tying two-out two-run single in the bottom of the 7th and then he tied the game again with an RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Cubs rallied to tie the Giants in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

The game was called after ten innings of play with the scored tied 4-4.

Kevin Encarnacion singled twice, walked, drove-in a run, and scored another for the Cubs, and Chuckie Jones drove-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly and scored a run, Evan Potter reached base twice (HBP and a single), stole a base, and scored two runs, and LHSP Nik Turley hurled four innings of shutout ball for the Giants.

Veteran MLB RHP Felipe Paulino got his second EXST start for the Cubs, throwing two shutout innings (29 pitches - 20 strikes), allowing two singles and no walks, with four strikeouts and a 1/1 GO/FO.

Veteran MLB RHRP Daniel Bard saw his first Cactus League EXST game action (he pitched in an intrasquad game two days ago), and threw one inning (17 pitches - 10 strikes), allowing one run on two hits (both singles) and a HBP, with no walks or strikeouts, 

Veteran LHRP Daniel Schlereth threw in his second Cactus League EXST game for the Cubs, and he labored through his one inning of work (26 pitches - only 11 strikes), allowing a run on one hit (a single), three walks, and two WP (but also two strikeouts),   

The Cubs trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of the 7th, and then proceeded to tie the game with a three-spot off Giants fireballing RHRP Ray Black (Eloy Jimenez lead-off double off the LF fence, Kevin Encarnacion RBI single to right, and two walks to load the bases, and then the two-out two-run Jhonny Pereda line-drive RBI single once Black had left the game).

Despite blowing the lead, Black was getting his fastball velocity up to triple digits today, topping out at 101 MPH. (He was clocked at 102 last Saturday in a Cactus League EXST game versus the Angels in Tempe). The Cubs knew about him, so a couple dozen of the players who weren't in the game crowded around behind the screen watching the radar gun readings, shouting out each time he hit 100 or 101. It's not often you seen triple-digit fastballs at Extended Spring Training. 

Black is an interesting case, because he had TJS in high school and then after being drafted by the Giants in 2011 (7th round out of the U. of Pittsburgh), he missed the next two seasons with a torn labrum. He finally returned to the mound last season, and he racked up an incredible 71 strikeouts in only 35.1 IP (that's 18.1 K per 9 innings) and only 4.3 hits allowed per 9 innings (combined) at Augusta and San Jose, which got him a spot on the Giants MLB 40-man roster post-2014 despite having only one year of pro game experience and no experience above "A" ball.  

While the Cubs were playing the Giants in the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, the rest of the Cubs EXST contigent was engaged in a seven-inning intrasquad game on Field #4.

LHP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round pick - North Florida Christian HS - Tallahassee, FL) was one of the starting pitchers in the intrasquad game, and he was outstanding, hurling 3.1 IP of hitless shutout ball (one walk and four strikeouts).

Conversely, RHP Jose Zapata was unable to retire a batter, allowing five runs on a single, a double, a triple, and two walks. Zapata is attempting to come back after suffering a cervical fracture in an off-season car crash in the Dominican Republic post-2013, the same crash that almost killed Kevin Encarnacion. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus Leagie EXST game (Cubs players only), followed by the box score from the intrasquad game: 

Javy Baez Goes 2-5 as Cubs Rally to Edge Angels

Kevin Encarnacion (RBI triple), Tyler Alamo (RBI single), and Jenner Emeterio (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to a four-run seventh, as the Cubs rallied to overcome a 4-2 deficit and then hung-on to edge the Angels 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Jose Paniagua belted a solo home run and Carson Sands tossed three innings of shutout ball to aid the Cub cause, and Travis Adair doubled twice, walked, and scored two runs, and Trevor Gretzky knocked-in two runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly for the Angels. 

Javy Baez played second-base for five innings and batted five times for the Cubs. He struck out (swinging) on three pitches his first time up, laced a line-drive double into the LF corner on a 2-0 pitch and later scored in his second AB, struck out (looking) on three pitches his third time up, roped a line-drive single to center on an 0-1 pitch in his fouth Plate Appearance, and flied out to deep RF on a 3-0 pitch in his final AB. He handled four chances flawlessly in the field.  

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHPs Dylan Cease and Erling Moreno squared-off in a two inning intrasquad "sim" game on Field #4. Both pitchers are rehabbing from a 2014 elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John surgery). 

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

Sands & Steele Help Cubs Polish-Off Giants in Scottsdale

LHP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick) and three relievers combined to toss a three-hitter, Carlos Sepulveda singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Eloy Jimenez (RBI single) and Adonis Paula (two-run single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 4th inning, as the Cubs cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Giants on Field #1, and Kevin Encarnacion drilled three singles, drove-in two runs, stole a base, and scored a run, Jordan Hankins hammered an RBI double and a single and scored a run, and Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick) and four relievers combined to hurl a three-hitter, as the Cubs edged the Giants 5-4 on Field #2, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Chase Compton belted a two-run triple and then scored on a wild pitch to account for three of the Giants runs on Field #2. 

The defensive play of the day was a run-saving sliding catch by Cubs CF Roberto Caro in right-centerfield in the game on Field #2. 

Iowa Cubs catcher Taylor Teagarden (on the I-Cubs 7-day DL with a sore shoulder) continued his EXST rehab, catching seven innings and batting four times in the game on Field #1. He went 2-4 with a double and a single at the plate, scored one run but was also thrown-out on the bases trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a two-out single, and made a terrible short-hop throw on a stolen base attempt that resulted in an error. Teagarden went 4-4 (three singles and a two-run home run) versus the Rockies on Wednesday, and then he had two more hits in an intrasquad game yesterday. His throwing has been poor, however (not just today, but every day so far).  

Ho-Young Son walked twice and was picked-off 1st base again, the third time he has been picked-off 1st base in two EXST games.       

The game on Field #1 was called after eight innings, and the game on Field #2 was called with two outs in the top of the 8th 

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

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