Chris Pieters

Rockie Road for Cubs at Riverview

RHSP Ryan Castellani tossed four innings of one-run ball and Roberto Ramos and Scott Burcham hammered back-to-back RBI doubles to highlight a four-run 6th, as the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #5, and Vince Fernandez drilled an RBI double and a two-run single and Todd Czinege belted a solo HR to help the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies AAA affiliate) defeat the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 8-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.    

In two starts versus Tennessee in the last week, Ryan Castellani has thrown eight innings and allowed just one run on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. (Castellani is ranked by Baseball America as the Rockies #6 prospect).
 
RHSP Duncan Robinson hurled five innings of shutout ball, Jesse Hodges drove-in two runs with an RBI single and an RBI double, and Chris Pieters singled & doubled and scored a run for Tennessee, and the Smokies had the potential tying and winning runs on base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th but were unable to plate even one of the runners. 

Stephen Bruno (RBI double) and Bijan Rademacher (RBI single) drilled consecutive two-out RBI hits in the bottom of the 3rd to provide Iowa's two runs on Field #6. 

As was mentioned here yeaterday, several Iowa Cubs players traveled to Florida with the MLB squad for the two-game pre-season set versus the Red Sox in Ft. Myers, so a number of players on the Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend squads have been temporarily promoted to higher levels for a few days (until the I-Cubs return from Florida).
 
Iowa Cubs RHRP David Garner saw his first game action since being suspended for 50 (official) games after testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse," and he had a very poor outing, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in 2/3 of an inning while throwing only 38% strikes. (With the approval of the MLB Commissioner and with the consent of the player's MLB organization, a player who is on the Restricted List as the result of a prohibited substance suspension can attend Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training - without pay - and participate in Minor League Camp and EXST games while serving the suspension, although the player is not required to do so). Barring rain-outs or other postponements, Garner's suspension is scheduled to end on May 27th.   
 
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Don't Show Brothers Much Hospitality at Riverview

D. J. Wilson smacked a two-run triple and a single, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Zack Short doubled twice and scored twice, Austin Upshaw hammered a two-run home run, Chris Pieters knocked-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, stole a base, and scored twice, and Stephen Bruno, Kevonte Mitchell, and Miguel Amaya each drilled an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Chinatrust Brothers 13-5 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Tung-Jung Wu belted a two-run HR for the Brothers in a losing cause.

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Duncan Robinson got the start for the Cubs, working two innings and allowing a run on four hits (all four hits were singles) and no walks, with four strikeouts (all swinging). Trevor Clifton followed Robinson to the hill and worked two shutout innings, allowing two hits (both doubles) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both looking). Michael Rucker also threw two innings, surrendering a two-run HR along the way while throwing 82% strikes. As things stand right now, Robinson, Clifton, and Rucker would appear to be 3/5 of the AA Tennessee Smokies projected Opening Day starting rotation.

The Brothers (AKA "Brother Elephants") are one of the four clubs in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), and they have been having their Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (former Spring Training home of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks) for the past few weeks, sharing the facility with los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League).

Cory Snyder is the Brothers manager, Jim Presley is the hitting coach, and Scott Budner is the pitching coach, so there is a distinct MLB feel to the operation. Ex-MLB or minor league pitchers Casey Coleman, Zack Segovia, Nick Additon, and Mitch Lively are on the Brothers roster, although none of them pitched in the game. Several of the Brothers played for Team Chinese Taipei in the most-recent World Baseball Classic, so they have some experience playing with and against MLB and minor league players.  

Here is the box score from the game (English translation only):

Break-Up Team Banks!

Chris Pieters tripled, singled twice, scored three runs, and knocked-in another, Gustavo Polanco belted a two-run double and a single and scored a run, Sam Tidaback drilled a two-run double, singled, and walked, Aramis Ademan doubled twice and scored two runs and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Zack Short tripled and singled and scored two runs, as Team Banks hammered out 16 hits (including seven XBH) en route to an 11-3 drubbing of Team Santo in Cubs Arizona Instructional League intrasquad game action Saturday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The two teams combined to commit nine errors, including three by Team Santo third-baseman Christopher Morel. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Galindo Three-run Blast Highlights Cubs Sweep over Giants

Wladimir Galindo belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Chris Pieters rifled a two-run double, and Andry Rondon and four relievers combined to toss a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Giants 7-0 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, and RHSP Pedro Silverio hurled five innings of three-hit/one-run ball with no walks & eight strikeouts and Roberto Caro drilled three singles, as the Cubs edged the Giants 4-3 at Sloan Park, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

The game on Field #1 was called after seven innings of play, and the game at Sloan Park was called after 6-1/2 innings. 

The EXST Cubs record now stands at 32-16-6. 

With today's outing, Silverio becomes the second Eugene starting pitcher to go five innings (Jesus Castillo was the first, hurling five innings yesterday).  

In EXST Cubs roster news, LHSP Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) has been assigned to Extended Spring Training after struggling at South Bend (6.17 ERA - 1.94 WHIP - .308 OppBA - 45 H - 23/37 BB/K in 35 IP - nine GS). Steele will likely be a starting pitcher at Eugene (NWL season begins on June 16th), joining some combination of Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Manny Rondon in the Emeralds rotation (if there isn't room for all of them in the starting rotation, one or two may end up as "piggy-back" relievers). 

Also, RHRP P. J. Francescon has completed his 50-game "Drug of Abuse" suspension and has been reinstated from the Restricted List. He celebrated his freedom by working two perfect innings on Field #1. Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last season, and it's probably just a matter of time before he's back in the Smokies bullpen.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Pierce Johnson Sharp at Sloan Park

RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL since May 5th retro to 5/3 with a lat strain) hurled three innings (30 pitches - 83% strikes) of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, Jose Paniagua belted an RBI double and two singles and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni hammered a triple and a single and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Rockies at Sloan Park, and LHSP Manny Rondon (acquired from LAA last July for C Rafael Lopez) tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts, Chris Pieters (ex-LHP) ripped two two-run doubles (four RBI total), and Andruw Monasterio drilled an RBI single, walked twice, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the Rockies 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Park Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ. 

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) slugged a solo HR for the Rockies at Sloan Park. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only) 

Cubs Sweep Rockies as Fife Completes Rehab

Kevonte Mitchell doubled, walked twice, and drove-in a run and Erling Moreno and two relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the Rockies 3-0 on Field #4, and Chris Pieters singled, tripled and scored a run, Alex Bautista singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked-in another, and Eric Gonzalez smacked a solo home run, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) belted a two-run HR for the Rockies in a losing cause on Field #5. 

The game on Field #4 was called by mutual consent after seven innings of play, and the game on Field #5 was called by mutual-consent after six innings of play. 

Speedy waterbug Edgar Rondon laid-down a picture-perfect two-out squeeze-bunt hit to get the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning on Field #4, after practicing his bunting in pre-game BP. (I guess that's why they say "practice makes perfect"). 

Cubs outfielders Jose Gonzalez (knee or ankle injury after tripping over 1st base on two-run RBI single on Field #5) and Robert Garcia (hit on foot by pitch on Field #4) left their games with injuries. 

RHSP Stephen Fife (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL with strained oblique since 4/15) made his final EXST rehab start, working four innings (81 pitches - 69% strikes). He was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits (four singles, a triple, and the Castellanos two-run bomb). He also hit a batter, threw a WP, and struck out six, with a 3/3 GO/AO. His next start will likely be for the I-Cubs next Monday or Tuesday, but don't be surprised if he gets released sooner rather later.    

RHRP Nick Sarianides made his Cubs debut, throwing a 1-2-3 inning (F-8, P-2, K). The 26-year old Sarianides was released by the Diamondbacks earlier this month after struggling to throw strikes at AA Mobile, but he led the Hi-A California League (an extreme hitters league) in both saves and strikeouts last season after being acquired by the D'backs from Tres Rivieres (Cam-Am League) in 2014. He was mentioned by Baseball America prior to last December's Rule 5 Draft as a likely candidate to get selected, although he was not. Sarianides features a 91-92 MPH fastball and a dive-bomb change-up (which is his strikeout pitch). He probably won't be at EXST very long, because he was in "game shape" when the Cubs signed him. He looked very good today.   

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only): 

Cub Pitchers Fan Sweet Sixteen A's at Fitch Park

Wladimir Galindo smacked an RBI double, singled twice, and scored a run, Chris Pieters singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, D. J. Wilson drilled an RBI triple, and RHSP Pedro Silverio hurled three innings of no run/no hit ball and combined with three relievers to strike out 16 hitters and toss a five-hitter, as the Cubs defeated the Athletics 5-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Mike Martin tripled, singled twice, and scored both of the A's runs. 

In twelve Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (43 PA), Wladimir Galindo is hittting 333/372/462 (28% K-rate and 2% walk-rate), with three three-hit games. Galindo displays a similar offensive skill-set as Jorge Soler (extremely hard contact when he hits the ball, but not many walks and a lot of strikeouts). He has also committed five errors (two throwing and three fielding) in eleven games played at 3B (he was a DH in the other game). The 19-year old Galindo was part of the touted Cubs 2013-14 IFA class that also included Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, Jen-Ho Tseng, and Jeferson Mejia, and Galindo had a fine rookie season in 2014, hitting 278/356/472 for the VSL Cubs and leading the VSL in HR as a 17 year old. But then he missed most of the 2015 season with left wrist inflammation (at EXST) and then a fractured left hand (in the AZL), so the inconsistency he is showing at the plate and in the field right now is probably to be expected. 

As things stand right now, it would appear that Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, and either Erling Moreno, Manny Rondon, or Jesus Castillo will form the Eugene starting rotation, and Daniel Lewis, Tommy Nance, Pedro Araujo, Tyler Peitzmeier, Jared Cheek, John Michael Knighton, and Mark Malave will be the bullpen arms, with Scott Frazier, Alexander Santana, Enrique de los Rios, M. T. Minacci, and Yapson Gomez still battling for jobs in the Emeralds pen. Again, this is only as things stand right now at this point in time, because a lot can happen between today and June 17th (Northwest League Opening Day). 

John Arguello (Cubs Den) has a game report:  



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

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