Alfonso Soriano for DH! (Vote Early & Often)

Alfonso Soriano homered twice and Brett Jackson whacked a three-run home run, leading the Cubs to an 11-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm, sunny, and windy (sometimes VERY windy) Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Matt Garza was the Cubs starting pitcher, and he worked two innings (31 pitches – 22 strikes), allowing two runs on three hits and an HBP, no walks, and one strrikeout (Ramon Hernandez - looking). Garza threw a scoreless 1st inning, and then the Rockies plated both of their runs off Garza in the top of the 2nd.

Casey Blake was hit by a pitch leading-off the inning, and then Brandon Wood doubled off the CF batter’s eye, sending Blake to 3rd. Ex-Cub Tyler Colvin picked up an RBI with a 4-3 GO that scored Blake and moved Wood up to 3rd, and then after Garza got Chris Nelson on a pop up and looked like he might get out of the inning with only one run scoring, Wilkin Castillo roped an RBI single to left to score Wood.

After going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 1st against Rockies RH starter Guillermo Moscoso, the Cubs put up a four-spot in the bottom of the 2nd.

DH and clean-up hitter Alfonso Soriano smacked a solo HR off the Wells Fargo sign at the top of the scoreboard beyond the LF fence to get things started, and then with two outs, Anthony Rizzo ripped a rocket line-drive single to right center and Welington Castillo doubled down the LF line, putting runners at 2nd & 3rd. Brett Jackson then blasted a moon-shot three-run HR over the RF fence and into the Rockies bullpen, giving the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

The Cubs scored another run in the bottom of the 3rd, as Alfonso Soriano smoked a lead-off double off the CF batter’s eye, and then with two outs, scored from 3rd on an Anthony Rizzo two-out RBI infield single. (Rizzo showed good speed going down the line).

RHP Casey Coleman worked the 3rd & 4th innings for the Cubs and had a decent two-inning stint, throwing shutout ball, while allowing consecutive two-out singles in the 4th.

LHP James Russell pitched the 6th, and allowed a lead-off HR to Dexter Fowler that hit the scoreboard in almost the exact same spot Soriano's 1st inning HR did earlier. Russell then gave-up two more hits (both singles), before inducing Ramon Hernandez to ground into a much-needed 6-4-3 DP and getting Casey Blake on a fly out to end the inning. Russell is expected to be the Cubs #1 lefty specialist this season, but he faced only RH hitters today (Fowler-Pacheco-Cuddyer-Hernandez-Blake).

Up 5-3 through 4-1/2 innings, the Cubs scored four runs in the bottom of the 5th against Rockies RHRP Zach Putnam.

Blake DeWitt continued his hot hitting, lining a lead-off single to center. Alfonso Soriano then hit his second HR of the day, a line-drive two-run shot just inside the LF foul pole. Ian Stewart walked, and Junior Lake ripped a double down the LF line, sending Stewart to 3rd. Anthony Rizzo grounded out 4-3 to score Stewart and move Lake up to 3rd, and then Welington Castillo grounded a sharply-hit single between 2nd & 3rd to knock-in Lake with the inning’s final run.

NRI LHP Chris Rusin threw the 6th & 7th innings for the Cubs, allowing one hit and one run (a Tyler Colvin triple followed by an RBI gound out in the 6th), and two walks and no runs in the 7th. Rusin works slow and really likes to nibble, and went 3-2 on several of the Colorado hitters.

The Cubs finished their scoring in the 7th, tallying twice. Jonathon Mota led-off the inning with a bloop single, and scored on a Joe Mather triple. Then after Michael Brenly grounded out (with the runner holding at 3rd), Mather scored on Jae-Hoon Ha grounder, beating the throw home by Rockies 3B (and ex-Cub) Brendan Harris. (Mather has good speed for a big guy)

The Cub Defensive Play of the Day was a spectacular catch by CF Jim Adduci, who made a long run and then caught a fly in deep right-center, crashing into the fence in the process. Adduci also showed-off his plus arm, making an outstanding throw to 2nd from the base of the CF batter’s eye after fielding a double the previous inning.

The 26-year old Adduci was acquired by the Cubs from the Marlins a few years ago in the Todd Wellemeyer deal, and has spent five seasons in the Cub organization. Like several other Cub minor leaguers presently in big league camp, Adduci was a Rule 55 Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) after last season, but opted to re-sign with the Cubs, getting an NRI as part of the deal.

Adduci is an outstanding defensive outfielder with a plus-arm, and he can play all three OF spots. He also has above-average speed for a big guy, and is both a good base-runner and a good base-stealer. And he has a good eye at the plate, too. He will likely be the "4th OF" at Iowa in 2012.

What has held him back over the years is that while he is built like the Incredible Hulk, he has Tony Campana power (.356 career SLG %). He is essentially a “singles hitter,” and even at that, his hit tool is just so-so (career .279 hitter in the minors, but only .248 at AAA).

That said, I could see Adduci maybe making it as an MLB “5th OF” someday (late-inning defensive replacement & PR). One thing for sure, he certainly won’t hurt a team with his defense or his base-running.

The Cubs play their first Cactus League road game tomorrow, facing the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. With the Rockies and the Diamondbacks having moved up to the Valley of the Sun from Tucson last year, the Mesa-Surprise bus trip is now the longest one in the Cactus League… it takes about an hour).


That was unexpectedly awesome!

throw him in the crab cooler,dom

best piece of acting i've seen since caddyshack

Even funnier in light of the fact that, behind his image, DiMaggio was rumored to be a real dick. Has a chilling ring of truth to it.

AZ Phil - thanks for the great recaps...have you been over to Fitch, wondering if there were any missing faces as the minor league guys start showing up (since BA has had a limited number of signs/releases this winter)

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:03pm — BoiseHawks AZ Phil - thanks for the great recaps...have you been over to Fitch, wondering if there were any missing faces as the minor league guys start showing up (since BA has had a limited number of signs/releases this winter) ==================================== B-HAWKS: Not really any missing faces from the 2011 Boise Hawks. I presume you already knew that Jon Nagel retired (he suffered a torn labrum at Extended Spring Training last year while rehabbing post-2010 elbow surgery). Blair Springfield (who suffered a season-ending torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder last August) is 100% healthy and is assigned to the Daytona squad. Wilson Contreras has been moved back to catcher (he was a catcher when the Cubs signed him in 2009, but he was moved to 3B at the Dominican Academy). Anthony Giansanti is also learning the catching arts, but in his case it's probably more to make him more valuable as a utility player as he moves up through the system (as was the case with David Macias and Jonathon Mota in previous Minor League Camps). Giansanti has one of the best OF arms in organization. Some of the young Latin players who were at Instructs post-2011 (Carlos Penalver, Jeffrey Baez, Luis Acosta, and Mark Malave) did not return for Minor League Camp 2012. Hot-shot 3B prospect Jeimer Candelario is here, though, and is competing for the starting 3B job at Peoria. The others still could get here later, maybe for Extended Spring Training next month. Instead, 1B-OF Xavier Batista (who spent 2011 in the DSL after playing for the AZL Cubs in 2010), OF Delbis Arcila (who attended Instructs post-2010 but then spent the entire 2011 season in the DSL), and catchers Wilfredo Petit and Antonio Valerio are in camp (they always need a couple of extra catchers at Fitch Park this time of year). Also, several recently-signed Cuban defectors are at Fitch Park, including 27-year old RHP Ricardo Estevez (who will have to serve a 50-game PED suspension before he can see game action, but in the meantime he is participating in camp drills), 26-year old SS Leugim Barroso (who is presently assigned to the Iowa squad), 25-year old OF Eliecer Bonne (assigned to the Tennessee squad), 24-year old OF Mayke Reyes (assigned to the Daytona squad), and 19-year old OF Yasiel Balaguert (assigned to the Peoria squad). Both Bonne and Reyes played in the DSL last season, and Bonne attended Instructs at Fitch Park post-2011. Balaguert played with highly-regarded OF prospect Jorge Soler on the Cuban Junior National Team a couple of years ago.

Nice to hear he's in consideration for Peoria. Pipedream that he makes it, or realistic. Not that much blocking him, if Baez stays at SS.

Phil - have you read or heard anything about the pitcher, Concepcion? The papers reported that he signed, but the Cubs did not, and I haven't heard anything since then.

I believe this has been addressed previously. There was a physical that hung things up, and there still may be naturalization issues. Check out Bruce Levine's recent chats. Not that he is entirely accurate, but he seems to be ok on contract stuff.

If anyone is in Phoenix for Spring Training and chooses to drive over to Surprise for Royals or Brewers games, one piece of advice: plan WAY ahead with regards to traffic. It's a flipping nightmare over there, we tried to hit a Royals/Cubs game last year and it was such a mess at 12:30 before game time, we gave up and went golfing instead. It is SO much easier to get in and out at HoHoKam, Mesa rocks in that regard.

I went there a couple years ago and for some reason decided to leave way early. We got there and had a few beers, cut off that around the 5th inning because we didn't want to be crispy on the way home, and realized that we could have managed an entire kegger ourselves by the time we actually got out of there after the game. So, if you must drink and drive, go to Surprise.

So, if you must drink and drive, go to Surprise. TCR: Teaching the Youth of America

I think I saw somebody looking at this blog on Showtime's Shameless.

If anyone is in piece of advice...It's a flipping nightmare over there. ...fixed "[Reyes] said 'I really want to play in Miami as long as you pay me $1 more than anyone else… I really want to make the most money I can.'" If the Marlins were to move to Las Vegas, Mr. Samson said, he suggested the casinos there buy out game tickets in advance so nobody would be drawn away from the casinos. "We don't care if nobody comes," Mr. Samson recalled with a smile. "We'll play in front of nobody, and we'll have all the money."

A few links away is this article

dave samson is a 110% asshat. the laws of averages are just in adding the 10%. he heckles other teams, players, office personnel...and his step-dad/owner taught him how to be a bitter asshat about not getting the best of everything in life when you want it. really mind-boggling how Captain Bud can't make this happen... Chicago Cubs Released: RHP Jean Sandoval, RHP Kyle Smit The Cubs acquired Kyle Smit, along with Blake DeWitt and Brett Wallach, in the ’10 deadline deal that sent Ted Lilly to the Dodgers.

That trade is turning out rather poorly

Blake DeWitt still has a pretty swing. :)

Yeah, he does well to swing on multiple planes! Just seems like he often swings on one plane while the ball is on another.

I have never understood what makes DeWitt's swing "pretty." Looks loopy to me, and it looks like a swing that can only produce power to the pull field.

ask kevin goldstein...and about a few dozen scouts. it is a mystery to all. he gets "slappy" results out of it.

How bad is the mark-up on the today's pre-sale on tickets?


bastards Well, the draft world received quite a jolt this week with news out of Southern California that RHP Lucas Giolito, the consensus top high school pitching prospect in the draft, sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Tuesday. He'll be sidelined for six to 10 weeks, and his coach at Harvard-Westlake HS in Studio City, Calif., told the Los Angeles Times, "He's probably done for the season." Giolito is 6-foot-6, 230 pounds and has signed with UCLA, but he stood to be a very high draft pick. In fact, Baseball America and ESPN's Keith Law both ranked him as the No. 2 prospect in the draft (behind Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, in Baseball America's case). There has even been some talk that he is a special enough talent to go No. 1 overall. Giolito had caused a great deal of excitement last week, in his season debut, by hitting 100 mph on the radar gun, which prep pitchers almost never do this early in the season*. (Harvard-Westlake had quite a staff -- senior left-hander Max Fried is a top 15 prospect himself). maybe next time try not breaking the radar gun and you won't get injured?

mark "fools gold" appel...someone's gonna pay too much for his upside. with his stuff he should miss a whole lot more bats than he does vs. his level of competition.

believe you can stream it on ESPN3.

Sappelt 8, Johnson 7, Castro 6, LaHair 3, Ha 0, Barney 4, Tolbert 5, Clevenger 2, Mather 9 3 Royal errors in first lead to 4 runs Johnson, LaHair (RBI), Ha with singles, Barney with an RBI double Samardzija starting for Cubs.

3 IP, 3 K, 1 H, 0 ER he's got the tools for a top of the rotation starter or at least a mid-rotation starter, but can he really put together the command? be a neat trick

i find it cute gameday is recognizing a "knuckle curve" as someone's pitch (KC pitcher, not ninja)...especially for someone relaying from a ST game. props.

Does ninja have a 3rd pitch?

an emerging cutter...doesn't throw it very often, but he didn't throw it at all a few years ago...better than his crappy curve he didn't trust and changeup he couldn't throw.

Hey if it helps him get through the lineup that 3rd time...and he develops some command...

I have a feeling Samardzija is gonna have a good year. There. I said it.

It's not a bad little cutter, either. It's still a work in progess, but I think that thing has the potential to be pretty nasty.


J. Jackson 2 IP, 1 unearned run (Castro with the error) Campana scores Tolbert on a sac fly (impressed he hit it far enough). 5-1 through 5 1/2 innings. 4 SB's so far (Castro, Tolbert, Mather, LaHair) Campana with an OF assist at 1B (probably a hit and run I presume) Clevenger threw out 1 runner with Ninja pitching, allowed a SB to Hosmer with Jackson pitching

2-out single by Brett Jackson plates DeWitt Mcnutt gives up 1b and then a 2B to Betancourt that scores a run. 6-2 Cubs in the 9th

needed those insurance runs, 6-4 with no outs bottom 9th vs Jean Beliveau (for those hockey fans) lefty competition for the spot after Russell: Beliveau, Maine, Gaub, Trevor Miller

subbed in at 1b today, BB'd and then gets picked off 2b to end inning. Whoops. Dolis with a scoreless 6th, staying in for the 7th.

concerning/good news...well, good for cubs fans. shelby miller (STL future pimp) made his 1st spring start and could barely hit 90mph...lot of high 80s. it's early and etc etc etc...but that's not his style.

Not good for him

Gammons tweeting Cubs close to signing Soler for $ 27 million according to Wscr

meh one international scouting director sees Cuban power bat Jorge Soler getting $27M from the Cubs. seems like that scouting director was reading the newspapers a month ago

Now, if it was Carfardo tweeting it, I'd be all over it.

Cafardo would say the Sawks are getting him for 400,000.

if soler was 22/23 rather than 19 i'd be all over it... also, lulz mikec comment

I'd rather he face decent breaking stuff before his 20th birthday than having to wait two more years.

I have no idea how anyone got "closing in on Soler" from Gammons tweet. That's just him regurgitating what a scouting director heard that everyone else heard as well.

Peter Gammons ‏ @pgammo Soler has 8 HR in last 10 games against Dominican acadamy teams. Cespedes had 1st live game pitching against minor leaguers:2 HR, 4H Peter Gammons ‏ @pgammo one international scouting director sees Cuban power bat Jorge Soler getting $27M from the Cubs. --- pgammo sounds like some urologic affliction

Did I miss something, is Soler in play? I thought he has not yet been cleared. If he hasn't been cleared and all these Cub rumors are out there, I fear a tampering issue. I really want the Cubs to sign him because whether he is a hit or a miss (and I think he will be a hit) , he is the last one that money can be thrown at before July 1, if I am correct. Please someone with better knowledge let me know if that is the case.,

I fear a tampering issue. --- "I can tamper if I want to, as long as the Cubs get screwed" PGammo, HOF (quoting a high level Red Saux source with the initials LL)

they're playing loose this season compared to years past with reigning in rumors...i guess MLB realizes it's harder in the internet age and/or the US govt. isn't asking them to reign it in.

yeah, probably the last Cuban they can throw money at, probably a few Dominican and Venezuelan players that I don't know about. Officially he hasn't been cleared yet to begin negotiations.

punching his ticket to the minors 6-2 bottom of 9th gives up 1b to Kouzmanofff, single to M. Maier, WP advances them to 2nd/3rd, 1B to M. Ramirez scores both, gets a line out, then a bunt single by I. Falu, Flyout by W. Myers Betancourt up as the tying run

gets the K to end the game 6-4 Cubs win.

Poison! Never trust a big butt and a slider.


Verducci is probably right. We're living in the last days of a DH-less National League - or perhaps even with the National League as we know it.

As long as they never switch to aluminum bats, I'm ok with whatever. Things change, but they would lose me with that one.

Sure, why not the auto intentional walk and pinch runners for catcher/pitcher? UGH... Better yet, make it an 80 game season and 80 game playoffs? Just like the NHL/NBA...

It seems to me there are only three options: (1) Leave things just the way they are, (2) get rid of the DH in the AL, or (3) add the DH to the NL. As we saw this past off season, AL teams have a distinct advantage when it comes to signing free agents to long term contracts. Most NL teams were afraid to give either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder more than 5-6 years because of the fear that their bodies will break down during the final years of a long term contract. In the AL, players like Pujols and Fielder can transition from playing in the field to DHing. So keeping the DH in the AL, but not in the NL, probably isn't sustainable. I'd personally love to see the AL get rid of the DH, but that's never going to happen. The players union would never agree to getting rid of 14 (soon to be 15) highly paid positions. That leaves adding the DH to the NL as the only remaining option. I don't like it because I like the way baseball is currently played in the NL, but it appears that is the only realistic way to have a level playing field between the two leagues.

The problem is the NL doesn't know what to do with the DH. All of its minor leagues and spring games have it and yet there is no marketing of this as a distinct, traditional thinking-man's game. Like pocket billiards the players and coaches MUST have 3-4 (or more) moves ahead in mind in the NL. Add another major offensive position and it dumbz the game down to the Texas Rangers beating the ball to death. "Well, if it sells tickets..." No. When push comes to shove the Rangers were the most disadvantaged team at Busch in a 2 game series end. If I were a fan of AL baseball I would probably be a fan of soccer also because it ties your hands behind your back. Want to see Albert and Prince walk a LOT, as DH's? No, not really. Both of them exposed a major weakness in Cubs' head coaching last year, and sprang a leak bigger than Niagra. Ends up changing the whole Cubs system, hopefully for the better, and without the stupid DH...

What does AL baseball have to do with soccer? I love soccer and don't like the DH. That said, I agree with Lou either there should be no DH or all DH. Either are better then that we have now.

I guess I just see it as an inevitability. I don't see the AL ever, ever going away from the DH. I agree, it completely changes the complexion of the game from a strategy standpoint, and NOT in a good way. I guess I just sort of gave up a long time ago on the whole thing. The time to push back is probably over.

Yeah, I can see it happening in the next five years. And I don't think it will be all that big of a deal... they'll just make the change and teams will adapt.

2030 = blurnsball multiball! multiball! multiball! multiball!

But by then, there will be an asterisk on all records before that era because the players will all be super droid/human hybrids.

...and they still won't let robots play.

Big Z started for the Marlins vs the Mets today: first inning: K(3 pitches), K(3 pitches), BB(4 pitches), BB (4 pitches), 2B (1 pitch), 1B(1 pitch), K(3 pitches)...( 19 pitches, 3 runs) second inning: BB(4 pitches), 1B(1 pitch), K(3 pitches)...(8 pitches); pitching change to Chad Gaudin same ol' Z (except for no 3-2 counts). “There’s an opportunity for the fans to get in on the ground floor,’’ [Epstein] said. “We’re not asking them to be patient. We’re asking them to be demanding. They should expect a ­winner. “… They can get invested with this 2012 club and the players, but they can also follow along with the way the organization is being built. Pay attention to the draft and the prospects.’’

True story...once the new regime drafts some players, I'll be very interested and follow along.

[Theo] calls the draft “the single most important day of the year.’’

(2) Coleman over (1) Beliveau (3) Maholm over (12) Wells (3) W. Castillo over (9) A. Cardenas (2) DeJesus vs. (5) Castro Final Four (2) Coleman vs. (3) Maholm (3) W. Castillo vs. TBD

I guess Sveum and his staff had a pretty good idea of the individuals' bunting acumen prior to camp starting. The seeding ended up being fairly accurate. It's a small thing, but I think it speaks well of the grasp that the new staff has on the team.

DeJesus 9, Byrd 8, Castro 6, Stewart 5, Soriano 7, Rizzo 3, Baker 4, Johnson DH, Castillo 2. Volstad pitching Volstad, T. Wood, R. Lopez, Samardzija and Wells battling for 2 rotation spots allegedly.

radio feed free volstad - 3ip 1h 0bb 3k

Oooh nice. In parachat for a few. Volstad 17 pitches through 3.

I will be in there tomorrow

2nd inning Soriano HR, 1-0 in the 4th

and he was almost out of the box by the time it landed.

marmol with no feel for his slider today. hit, K, hbp, rbi hit, 3r homer... his slider is pure crap today...lot of 3-2 counts

First time this spring that I feel that the Cubs' regulars haven't had the better of the opposition. Can't win em all, I guess.

K and a single...and he's done for the day.

what's up with jason jaramillo? he hasn't played a game yet as far as i can tell. "Non-roster C Jason Jaramillo has been held out of games with leg problems." thank u internets. also, w.castillio...DAT ARM. SEA scrub caught stealing without a slide even attempted on a hit/run gone wrong.

ian stewart swings/misses on 3 straight...reaches 1st on a dropped ball + bad throw. go luck go.

Soriano DH, Barney 4, Baker 9, LaHair 3, Byrd 8, Mather 7, Clevenger 2, Lake 6, Gonzalez 5

casey weathers in mid-season form. 3bb, 2 wild pitches, and a homer...not in order of appearance.

len talking up bleedcubbieblue...lulz.