Frank Batista threw four shutout innings and Carlos Rojas got the last four outs to nail down the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A’s 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.
Batista became the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out one. The 21-year old Dominican RHP was the Cubs #1 pitching prospect in the DSL last season, going 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with 7/63 BB/K in 58.1 IP for DSL Cubs #1. So far at EXST, Batista has thrown 9.2 IP, allowing four runs (three ER) on six hits, 2/4 BB/K, with a 2.79 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and .171 OBA.
EXST Cubs co-closer Danny Keefe (2009 14th round draft pick out of the U. of Tampa) had a rough day on the mound, allowing three runs on four hits (including three ringing doubles) in 1.2 IP, before Carlos Rojas extinguished the fire.
3B Charles Thomas (2009 10th round pick out of Edward Waters College) had two hits, scored a run, stole a base, and made two nifty plays at 3B (one a running catch in LF foul territory and the other a nice scoop & throw). The 21-year old 6’4 225 Thomas is now hitting .405 (.463 OBP), and leads the EXST Cubs in BA, OBP, hits, walks, runs scored, RBI, and stolen bases, and has struck out just three times in 41 PA. (He led the AZL Cubs in hits, doubles, and RBI in 2009). Thomas also has a cannon for an arm, one of the most-powerful throwing arms in the organization, making him a good candidate to get moved to the mound if things don’t work-out at 3B (he was a combination 3B/RHP in college).
The one negative against Thomas right now (besides the fact he is blocked at 3B by Matt Cerda at Peoria and Josh Vitters at Daytona) is that for a big guy, he just doesn’t seem to generate much power (he hit just one HR in 45 games with the AZL Cubs last season, and he had his first EXST XBH—a double--today). Because he is a big dude, Thomas also gets starts at 1B, and while he can play 1B, his arm is wasted there.
Catcher Luis Flores saw his first game action today since Minor League Camp in March, starting the game at DH before moving to catcher in the 6th. He did not reach base, but he did drive-in a run with an F-9 SF. The 23-year old Flores was reinstated from the Suspended List on Monday.
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #1: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, 1-3, RBI, SB, CS)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-4 (F-7, K-DP, 3-1, F-9)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (K, BB, K, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 2B, K, R, SB)
5. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 1-4 (P-2, 3-1, 1B, K, R, RBI)
6. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, 1-3 SH, R, SB)
7a. Blair Springfield, 2B: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-1 (FC, R)
8. Luis Flores, DH-C: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-9 SF, RBI)
9. Jose Guevara, C-DH: 0-3 (F-9, E-5, K, R)
10. Cody Shields, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, 5-3)
1. Frank Batista – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (37 strikes)
2. Alvido Jimenez – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Danny Keefe – 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/3 GO/FO, 36 pitches (25 strikes)
4. Carlos Rojas – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 12 pitches (8 strikes)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – did not score)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base, runner on 1st base to advance to 2nd, and runner on 3rd base to score unearned run)
CF Alvaro Ramirez: batter-runner thrown out 8-6-5 trying to stretch double into triple
WEATHER: Partly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 60’s