Cubs Drop Contest at Diablo

Matt Cerda reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, but there just wasn't much other Cubs offense on display, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 3-1 in Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning. 

Three converted position players saw action on the mound for the Cubs today, and while RHP (ex-3B) Josh Lansford struggled with his control, 20-year old Dominican RHP (ex-SS) Gian Guzman and LHP (ex-OF) Ryan Sontag (2008 23rd round pick out of Arizona State) looked good, particularly Sontag, who worked quickly, fired strikes and punched out all four Angels batters he faced. 

Exclusively an outfielder in his college days at Arizona State and in his first season in pro ball at Boise last year (where he hit an anemic .218 with only five XBH), Sontag was a combination OF/LHP in high school (8-3 1.45 ERA), and he also pitched occasionally in his freshman year at Michigan State before transferring to ASU and moving the outfield full-time. So it's not like pitching is a foreign language for him.

But the crew-cut 5'10 200+ 23-year old Sontag hardly fits the classic image of a pitcher. A few stocky lefties have had successful big league pitching careers (1954 A. L. MVP Bobby Shantz was only 5'6 145!), but it is unsual to see a body-type like Sontag's throwing off a mound these days. 

Nevertheless, Sontag decided to give pitching a whirl in Minor League Camp this past March, and so far the results have been quite promising. He has pitched well in all of his EXST game outings so far, and he looks like he could advance rapidly through the system s a lefty reliever.   

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

1. Jose Valdez, CF:        1-3  (1B, BB, 5-3, K - 1 R)
2. Dwayne Kemp, 2B:     1-3  (SH, K, 2B, K)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1:      2-3  (2B, 1B, BB, F-8 - 1 RBI)
4. Chris Weimer, LF:       0-4  (FC, FC, K, K)
5. Juan Medina, 1B-C:    1-4  (GIDP, FC, 4-3, 1B)
6. Kevin Soto, RF            2-4  (2B, 1B, F-8, K - 1 CS)
7. Alvaro Sosa, C-1B:      2-4  (F-8, 1B, F-8, 1B)
8. George Matheus, 3B:   0-4 (E-5, GIDP, K, FC)
9. Robert Bautista, SS:    0-2  (BB, F-7, K)
10. Jose Made, DH #2:     0-2  (BB, 4-3, 4-3)

1. Tarlandus Mitchell -  1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
2. Josh Lansford -         1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Cedric Redmond -     2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/FO
4. Gian Guzman -          2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO
5. Ryan Sontag -           1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K


Alvaro Sosa - 1-2 CS

Juan Medina - 1-1 CS



CLINT HURDLE canned by the Rockies. "The last straw for the Rockies was being swept at home in a three-game series by the Dodgers,..."

2-1 Cubs Win! Angels of Death Dodgers do Not Sweep us at Home! Lou's Job Saved!

Lou will quit on the team before getting fired. And also if they fire Lou, Hendry would have to go with him (not a horrible proposition). But I can't imagine anyone letting Hendry hire his 3rd manager.

What in the name of Dusty Baker does Hurdle getting fired have to do with Lou/Hendry?

Read the title of NAVIGATOR's post.

lou's already quit on 2 teams in a row before coming to the cubs...he seems a bit happy or content here, though...even with the talk of this being his "last job."

K-Fuk at third with no out, and he can't score??? That is pathetic!

The third base coach needs to be fired.

Anyone else notice O-Dawg's hitting .338 with 30 RBI in the 3-spot as a lefty second baseman that we could have signed in the offseason?

BUT JACE! Hendry had Fontenot, Theriot, and other Minor League bench players that he thinks can do just as good of a job. See how spot-on he's been?

Yeah, I see how spot on he's been...

I brought up Hudson during the off season and somebody shot me down for some reason. I don't remember the details because I'm getting old and my brain is about half the size it was when I was 20.

Hudson has been a pretty shocking suprise and playing well over his head. He's in the 'coulda, shoulda' category just like Ibanez.

a lot of people were pimping for Hudson...he's had some injury issues and it seemed like they just got rid of DeRosa for the about the same amount money...but it sure looks like a bone-headed move right now.

Long season though...

D'oh! I stand corrected at thinking Manny was being Manny.

Cubs Don't Lose!!!

If Lou were to quit - Trammel takes over. IMO, things would have to get really, really bad for Lou to resign. Hendry would just write off the rest of the year rather than fire him. Unless Crane-less Kenny forces him to.

lou seems content enough...dunno what the pen thinks of his over the years, but he doesn't seem to have lost control of his clubhouse.

Have you guys been seeing Lou's press conferences lately? He's laughing and taking it one day at a time attitude. That being said if the Cubs win WS I believe he will quit.

Personally, I think he's done regardless, after the '09 season.

Name the team with the best record in the AL right now without looking it up...

Red Sox or Tigers?

no and no, although both lead their divisions...


correct, I was suprised. Blue Jays in a 9-game death spiral. Bring on Halladay!

When you asked I knew it would not be the usual suspects, and I knew it was not anyone in the central because I saw the other day that Tigers only team over .500 in that division. I'm betting on a sub .500 AL central division champ.

I'll say just .500, or one game over. Tigers still have decent pitching, IIRC.

More likely than not, Lou chooses not to re-sign the end of this year. It would depend on whether A) How the team finishes this year. B)If the ownership can persuade him to stay on. C)How tired he gets. I distinctly remember the huge sigh he heaved when they clinched in 2008; that was a tired-looking man. If for some reason they win it all, he might just retire on top as well. I like Lou and hope he stays. Go Cubs!

"...chooses not to re-sign" Do you mean "resign" - or "Re-Sign", as in re-upping his deal?

he's signed through next season

Indeed he is, however, depending on how much of a toll this year zaps him for, I believe he'll just "call-it".

So it looks like the Hill pinch-hit mix-up was probably Hill's fault. They were trying to call him back but he stepped in the batter's box at which point he is in no matter what.

really? thought you had to be announced?

Lou clearly has no control over this team. If Ted Lilly calls the booth during a game, all bets are off.

I heard Neil Cotts approached Brenly on the team plane...and asked if he could fluff his pillow.

Neil has been seen hugging his bong recently.

The protocol is that the umpire looks over at the manager and the manager points to the hitter, at which point he is officially in the game, is written on the scorecard, and then announced. The batter usually waits on the circle until the ump looks over and the manager points and then the ump will motion him up to the plate. This time, for some reason, neither the umpire nor Hill was looking back at Lou for the OK. Koyie just sauntered up to the plate and the ump started writing his name down, and he was announced - all while Lou was yelling at both trying to get their attention. The PA has nothing to do with it. The batter is officially in the game when one of two things happens, the manager tells the umpire (verbally or by pointing) that he is in, or, as happened in this case, the batter crosses the line into the batter's box. Once you cross the chalk you are in the game no matter what the manager is saying. So had Hill not stepped in the box, the umpire would have let Lou pull him back since Lou had not confirmed he was in. In the end it seems to be partly Hill's fault for wondering up there like an idiot, but also partly Lou's fault for not making sure Hill knew he might not be the one going up.

sorry, I misinterpreted batter's box as on-deck circle the first time...obviously if he gets that far it makes sense.

Andres Blanco and the D: Boy - I checked out a couple highlights from the last couple days: Andres Blanco seems to be the most talented SS/2B of ANY of the current "scrappy" guys.As I have heard, wasn't he a #1 draft choice for the Royals a few years ago? If he could only hit consistently! However, with Fontenot, Theriot, and Freel not being able to either, I'd just as soon have him saving runs.

I haven't seen Andy White play defense, but I can remember the reputation for his skee-ilz way back when he was playing with Iowa last year. The strange thing is that he's surprisingly young-- only 25, which makes me hope that his much improved batting line this season is less of a fluke than it is a progression. The Royals called him up originally when he was 20 years old (for two years running, Blanco was one of their top 10 prospects). Looking at Blanco's minor league numbers at baseball cube, he's played most of his games at SS and 2B, and only 2 at 3B. This sounds fine to me. Let Blanco be the defensive player he is, and play him every now and then when Riot needs a break. I imagine if he can hit about on par with M!les (which shouldn't be too unreasonable), Blanco (along with either Scales or Freel) makes M!les and his 4.9 million dollar contract redundant. Hopefully somebody else will need him and we can turn him into another Chris Robinson or something.

"I imagine if he can hit about on par with M!les" Umm, Sam Zell could probably hit on a par with Miles.

They finally won one without scoring 4...about time. The probably could have easily scored at least 4 with just a little bit of clutch hitting, which this team is abismally bad at. Anyway one win at a time keep plugging away until Ramirez comes back. I heard Lou is going to give Soriano a few days off to rest his knee, so we could see Fox play LF over the weekend? I'll be happy with a split this weekend, but its easier said than done.

I'd just as soon have him saving runs. --- what I find interesting about Andy White is that he's a "switch-hitter" that only bats lefty. Hence he's fitting the 2009 Cubs profile of getting left handed. that is all.

someone in parachat said that len was saying he had surgery on one of his shoulders (right I believe) in the offseason and it's easier to swing from the left side. So we replaced one sore-armed infielder (Miles) with another one that can only bat lefty with a slew of lefties slated against us.

Outstanding planning by the Cubs.

I think when you have to go to plan C and D in Scales and Blanco you can't really be picky about what side of the plate they hit from. Were one injury away from seeing Nate Spears on this team.

and somebody shot me down for some reason --- old and blue and wounded? that's getting to the very heart of the 2009 Cubs.

except during the playoffs... 2nd best record over the last 5 years against teams with a .600 winning percentage when they played them.

not sure this is 3/44 but it was in today's StL Post-Dispatch regarding the Cardinals interest in several third basemen, including this on DeRosa. Note writer Bernie M. says the Cubs are also interested: - DeRosa: He’s more affordable for payroll puproses than Atkins, Beltre or Mora. DeRosa isn’t the smoothest at 3B, but can hold his own. He can also play 2B, SS, 1B, LF, RF. That versatility is ideal for manager Tony La Russa’s lineup concoctions. The Cardinals are poor against LH pitchers and DeRosa could help remedy that. In his career, he’s a .303 hitter against LH, with a .373 OBP and a .481 slugging percentage. Great guy in the clubhouse. Loved playing in the National League. Is Mitchell Boggs enough to land DeRosa? The Cubs, Mets and Brewers are said to be interested in acquiring DeRosa.

Yea, apparently Glaus isn't even close to coming back and he was supposed to be their 2nd-half boost.

If DeRosa ends up a Cardinal I will be fucking sick. What do you think Cleveland wants for him? Couldn't we just offer Stevens, Gaub, and Archer? And throw in M!les? :) Or maybe Neal Cotts? Does Cleveland have a need for Jake Fox?

Cleveland reportedly wants ready pitching. Some say a starter and a reliever. One thing to keep in mind is that Cleveland isn't exactly out of it yet. Their chances are remote, but if some things fall their way, there's a chance. I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to add a pen arm to see if they can get it going. Failing that, then they might sell around the deadline. Short of it is, I wouldn't expect a move on DeRosa anytime soon. Some Indians fans suggest that they want a ready 3/4 starter. Much as I like DeRosa, I just don't see how he would net that, even if he has an outside chance at being Type A. A potential 3/4 starter? Sure, I could see that. I imagine a couple B-/C+ level arms in the upper levels would get them intrigued. Perhaps a Randy Wells and Kevin Hart (assuming Hart rebounds and Wells continues his surprisingly strong performance). It might be some different combination, but basically 2 arms on that level. I wouldn't go all out for DeRosa - he would fill a need at 2nd and a backup 3rd baseman, but I don't think that need is worth overpaying for unless something else happens to our team.

Little blurb on the Cubs 2008 top three draftees over at BP:

I'm still not completely sold that Cashner is a starter, but I was fairly high on last year's pitching heavy draft, and so far, it looks solid. Overall, our pitching depth is improving a lot. Shafer was a "hope he gets healthy pick", but Carpenter was a good gamble at that point. Hope his control can improve. Would like to see him at Daytona soon - not much else he can do at Peoria. I find it funny how a review of 3 picks from our draft doesn't somehow include Jay Jackson in there. As impressive as Carpenter has been in Peoria, Jackson's been that much more impressive and has arguably a better one-two punch than Carpenter.

Worse than I previously thought: Dave Van Dyck gives us the stat that taking away A-Ram's excellent clutch hitting, the team's BA with RISP is .228 This lineup REALLY DOES SUCK!

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  • crunch 11 hours 28 min ago (view)

    career high for zach davies, 7 runs given up...only took 1.2 innings.



  • Cubster 12 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Ex Cub Dexter Fowler, now with Maddon's Angels goes on the DL with a knee sprain. 


  • crunch 14 hours 6 min ago (view)

    AAA exhibition game @south bend rained out.


  • Cubster 14 hours 47 min ago (view)

    Coach Craig Driver tested positive for Coronavirus and was sent back to Chicago. Apparently, no other Cub tested positive. No word about symptoms so it sounds like it was picked up in whatever the regular testing protocol covers  including Wed, Thursday and Friday which were negative for the "traveling party".


  • bradsbeard 21 hours 27 min ago (view)

    Sure makes it sound like Schwarber and Lester were among the positives. Hate that for them, especially Jon who has the cancer history and the recent thyroid issue. Hopefully both recover without significant lingering effects. 


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    j.musgrove throws SD's first no-hitter.  it would have been a perfect game if he didn't hit a batter.

    not bad for his 2nd start for them.


  • Cubster 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Nats Covid update (wrt Former Cub factor): Brad Hand, Yan Gomes, Alex Avila and Jordy Mercer have all been cleared to return after being away due to COVID-19 protocols. Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester and Josh Harrison have not been cleared yet, 

    Still looking forward to seeing Schwarbs play in a Nats uniform.


  • Jackstraw 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Right.  Three batter minimum.  Hopefully the only time I'll need to be reminded this year. 



  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    I'd be good with either. The other can go when Rowan Wick is ready, as far as I'm concerned. Hope they keep Maples instead of one of those two.


  • bradsbeard 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    Yeah, Winkler had to face a third batter (or intentionally walk him I guess) before Ross could pull him. Wondering how long before Shelby Miller takes over for Winkler or Workman...


  • crunch 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    k.rosenthal reporting that MLB has taken multiple baseballs from t.bauer's last start with "visible markings and were sticky."


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Isn't the rule where the reliever must either finish an inning or face at least three batters still around? I know it was in effect last year but wasn't sure if that was a "2020 is a nonsense season, let's do whatever" rule or one they're sticking with  


  • Jackstraw 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    I am as befuddled as George A.  Back to back four pitch walks and Ross thinks Winkler gets another batter? 


  • crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    d.ross and others around him are supposedly rather big on j.adam, fwiw...

    wouldn't be shocked to see him around in cubs leading/tie/close middle relief.


  • crunch 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    4.2ip 0h 0bb 9k

    unf.  more please.


  • Sonicwind75 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    I like this version Kimbrel. Seem apparent that he needs a normal spring training.  Year 1, signs a free agent contract mid season, no so good.  Year 2, Covid craziness, settles in 2nd half of the season.  Year 3, pretty bad beginning of ST and settles in at beginning of the season.