Cubs Take Sentimental Journey to Cactus League Victory
Joe Mather blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 7th to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 Cubs lead, and Blake Lalli smashed a solo HR over the RF bullpens in the 8th to provide an insurance run, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 8-6 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
The game featured a pre-game fly-over by a World War II vintage B-17 bomber (“Sentimental Journey”) that is based at Falcon Field in Mesa.
NOTE: Scroll down for the updated MINOR LEAGUE CAMP rosters (effective today 3/12).
Ian Stewart got the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 1st against RHP Bronson Arroyo, ripping an RBI triple into the right-center alley to score Marlon Byrd, who had singled with one out. (Brett Jackson rifled a single to right to lead-off the inning, but was thrown-out trying to stretch the hit into a double). Alfonso Soriano followed Stewart, slugging his 4th Cactus League home run (a two-run shot over the LF scoreboard) to cap the three-run inning.The Cubs scored another run in the 2nd, as Darwin Barney grounded a double down the LF line, and after Steve Clevenger and Brett Jackson walked to load the bases, with one out, Marlon Byrd lofted sacrifice fly to CF to drive-home Barney and give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
After being sidelined with the flu last week, LHP Paul Maholm made his Cub game debut today, starting the game and allowing one run (a Todd Frazier solo HR) on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts, in two innings of work (24 pitches – 13 strikes, 5/0 GO/FO). Maholm then threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen after he left the game, demonstrating that he probably could have gone another inning if that was part of the plan. A former rotation-starter for the Pirates, Maholm was signed by the Cubs as a free-agent during the off-season, and is expected to be in the Cubs starting rotation in 2012.
RHP Jeff Samardzija “piggy-backed” with Maholm, throwing three innings (39 pitches – 27 strikes). The Shark allowed two runs on two hits and a HBP in his first inning of work (the top of the 3rd), before retiring the last eight men he faced. The big righthander did not walk anyone, and he struck out three, with a 4/2 GO/FO. Samardzija should have gotten out of the 3rd allowing just one run, but SS Junior Lake rushed a throw while trying to complete a room-service 4-6-3 DP, extending the inning.
Like Maholm, Samardzija threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen after he was removed from the game, so he probably could have gone four innings if asked. (Samardzija appeared to be getting stronger & stronger and his command improved as he threw more pitches).
Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo worked an easy 1-2-3 6th inning as he battles to win a job in the Cubs bullpen (although he faced only minor league hitters), but closer Carlos Marmol had another bad outing. With the Cubs up 4-3 through six, Marmol gave up the lead in the 7th, allowing three runs on a walk, a double, a HBP, a two-run RBI single, another walk that re-loaded the bases, and a sac fly. Marmol had just about zero command today (29 pitches – only 14 strikes).
Now down 6-4, the Cubs took back the lead in the 7th when Joe Mather continued his hot power-hitting, unloading his two-out three-run dinger that landed well beyond the left-centerfield fence off Reds RHRP Carlos Fisher, following walks to Dave Sappelt and Jim Adduci. Kerry Wood worked a scoreless 8th, and then Blake Lalli ripped his bomb leading off the bottom of the inning. RHP Marcos Mateo then worked a 1-2-3 9th (P-4, K, 6-3) for the save. (Mateo is out of minor league options, so the Cubs need to decide by the end of Spring training if he is MLB-worthy).
Defensive play of the day was a one-out diving catch by 2B Bobby Scales that kept the potential tying run at 3rd base (and saved Kerry Wood) with one out in the top of the 8th. Although he did get an NRI to Spring training with the big club, Scales will likely serve as a player-coach at AAA Iowa in 2012. (He is viewed by the Cubs as a potential future manager or instructor/coach)
Meanwhile, newly signed 20-year old Cuban LHP Gerardo Concepcion made his debut on Field #2 at Fitch Park, working out with the AA Tennessee squad. Also, several of the Cubs top prospects (including SS Javier Baez, 1B Dan Vogelbach, and 3B Jeimer Candelario) were moved down to the Boise/Mesa squad (which will become the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad next month) from the Peoria squad. There were a few other roster adjustments as well, as the six players sent to Minor League Camp this past weekend (RHPs Marco Carrillo, Trey McNutt, and Dae-Eun Rhee, C Micah Gibbs, INF Jonathon Mota, and OF Jae-Hoon Ha) have reported to Fitch Park.
Here are the updated Cubs Minor League Camp rosters (effective today)
Justin Berg (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Brooks Raley
* Nate Robertson
* Ryan Rowland-Smith
Luis Flores (see NOTE)
# Micah Gibbs
NOTE: Luis Flores is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities
# David Macias
* Michael Burgess
* Jeffry Antigua
David Cales (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Gerardo Concepcion
* Frank del Valle (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Brent Ebinger
Ricardo Estevez (see NOTE)
* Casey Harman
* Eric Jokisch
* Matt Spencer (ex-OF)
Rob Whitenack (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
NOTE: Ricardo Estevez is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities
* Sergio Burruel
* Rafael Lopez
* Justin Bour
* Matt Cerda
# Zeke DeVoss
* Jake Opitz
* Rubi Silva
* Logan Watkins
Taiwan Easterling (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Kyler Burke (ex-OF)
P. J. Francescon
* Austin Kirk
* Jeff Lorick
A. J. Morris
* Zac Rosscup
Charles Thomas (ex-3B)
Yaniel Cabezas (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Anthony Giansanti (ex-OF)
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Ryan Cuneo (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Wes Darvill
* Richard Jones
* Pin-Chieh Chen
* Ben Klafczynski
* Hunter Ackerman
* Willengton Cruz
Dillon Maples (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Sheldon McDonald
* Andrew McKirahan
Wilson Contreras (ex-3B)
* Justin Marra
# Wilfredo Petit
# Marco Hernandez
# Brian Inoa
* Eduardo Gonzalez
# Oliver Zapata
Ethan Elias (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Graham Hicks (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Austin Reed Colin Richardson
* Brian Smith
Austin Urban (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Alberto Mineo
# Jeimer Candelario
* Danny Lockhart
# Rock Shoulders
* Dan Vogelbach
* Delbis Arcila
* Shawon Dunston, Jr
* Trevor Gretzky (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Garrett Schlecht (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
NOT ON FIELD - WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN:
Gregori Gonzalez, IF-OF (?)
Yohan Gonzalez, P (?)
* Cam Greathouse, P (supposedly will report to EXST)
Alvido Jimenez, P (?)
Arturo Maltos-Garcia, P (2011 TJS rehab)
Amaury Paulino, P (?)
* Nelson Perez, OF (?)
crunch 9 hours 3 min ago (view)
minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs). this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living. for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.
activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen. good work.
bradsbeard 12 hours 46 min ago (view)
Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in).
Arizona Phil 17 hours 59 min ago (view)
azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.
Hagsag 1 day 9 min ago (view)
This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November.
azbobbop 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.
tim815 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.
Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF).
Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.
I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.
Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.
Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Childersb3: Not much bat speed. Just "lug-power." I actually like Matt Mervis better.
Hagsag 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
Thanks wrigley rat.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG - Not Phil, but I think this info was from him in the past:
RHP/OF (signed as a two-way player - seems to be sticking with hitting for now), R/R, 5'11 180, Age 18, SPAIN
Childersb3 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Does Bryce Ball have any real bat speed, or is he just a big guy that waves at the ball and makes contact 1of5 times?
Hagsag 2 days 38 min ago (view)
Phil, tell me about Frank Fernandez.
tim815 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
If Matt is "not horrible" at third, that could be useful.
crunch 3 days 8 hours ago (view)
bonds got a standing-O after being introduced between innings at LAD @ SF.
as he sat down, dude looked extremely genuinely happy to hear the park errupt in cheers for him again.
it's not his first time back, nor his first set of cheers, but the park is packed and loud.
Cubster 4 days 7 hours ago (view)
Jed's GM search wrapping up, and the winner is: (Athletic write up): 37 yr old "Carter Hawkins, Cleveland assistant general manager, deals with all aspects of baseball operations in a front office admired for its stability, creativity in turning over the roster and ability to keep churning out pitchers.