Ruggiano & Conway Return to Game Action at Riverview Park

Jesse Hodges reached base three times (two-run double, RBI single, and a walk) and drove-in three runs and Charcer Burks belted an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Wilin Rosario (on Colorado Rockies MLB 15-day DL - viral infection) served as a DH and singled twice and hammered an RBI double for the Rockies in a losing cause.

OF Justin Ruggiano (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since 4/24) returned to game action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the RF bullpen in the 9th inning of the Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary Game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23rd, serving as a DH and getting four Plate Appearances. Facing RHP Tony Bryant in all four of his AB, Ruggiano struck out (swinging) his first two times up in the bottom of the 1st and bottom of the 2nd (and looked bad in the process), but then he smacked a lead-off double off the CF fence in the bottom of the 3rd inning, before grounding out 6-3 in his final AB in the 4th. He was definitely not running at fuil-speed (he was removed for a "designated pinch-runner" after his double), but then he wasn't limping, either.

RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) saw his first game action in more than a year, getting the start for the Cubs and pitching one inning (17 pitches). His fastball was clocked at only 89-90 MPH (he was peaking at 94 last year), but his two-seamer had good sink and his hard-slider was dive-bombing the lower part of the strike zone. 

Conway underwent "Tommy John Surgery" (TJS) after suffering a torn UCL in a game against Liberty University prior to being drafted by the Cubs (a "2nd round talent" who supposedly fell to the 4th round only because of the TJS), and after spending the 2012 season on the 60-day DL he came back strong and was without question the most-impressive pitcher at Minor League Camp in 2013. He continued his outstanding work into Extended Spring Training, and he appeared to be about ready to join the Kane County or Daytona starting rotation (he had thrown 5.0 IP and 80 pitches in his previous start), when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury (described at the time as a stress fracture) while pitching in an EXST game at the Brewers Maryvale Baseball Complex on May 4, 2013 (see ). 

In EXST Cubs roster news, veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro has been moved up to AA Tennessee from Extended Spring Training, where he will replace RHP Ivan Pineyro (placed on Tennessee 7-day DL with a forearm strain) in the Smokies starting rotation. The 35-year old Pineiro was signed as a free-agent by the Cubs on March 30th, and has spent the last six weeks at Riverview Park getting "stretched-out" as a starting pitcher. (Prior to signing with the Cubs, Pineiro hadn't pitched since playing winter ball in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico last off-season). 

Although it was announced at the time the Cubs signed Pineiro that he would be at Extended Spring Training for "about ten days" and then be assigned to AAA Iowa, it soon became clear that that just wasn't going to happen. For one thing, Pineiro really hasn't pitched that well (see below), and secondly, with Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler, and Tsuyoshi Wada filling the five slots, there is just no room for him in the I-Cubs rotation.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S SIX 2014 CACTUS LEAGUE EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
5/9   - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 3 GIDP, 12/2 GO/FO, 77 pitches (50 strikes)
 
TOTAL: 28.2 IP, 33 H, 19 R (17 ER), 7 BB, 22 K, 1 HR, 4 WP, 1 PO, 5 GIDP, 44/15 GO/FO, 72% strikes, 5.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .289 OppBA

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


CUBS LINEUP
:
Xa. Justin Ruggiano, DH #1: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, 6-3)
NOTE: Ruggiano batted 3rd in the bottom of the 1st & 2nd innings and 1st in the bottom of the 3rd & 4th innings) 
Xb. Bryant Flete, DPR: NO AB (R)  
1a. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (6-3, F-7)
1b. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 0-2 (4-6-3 DP, L-6)
2a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (3-1, F-8)
2b. Charcer Burks, CF: 2-2 (3B, 2B, R, RBI)
3a. Oliver Zapata, LF: 1-2 (P-5, 2B, R)
3b. Shamil Ubiera, LF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH #2: 0-4 (5-3, E-5, K, K, R, SB)
5a. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 1-2 (2B, L-8, R)
5b. Zak Blair, 2B: 1-1 (1B, BB)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-3 (1-3 SH, 6-3, 6-U FC, K)
7, Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (2B, 1B, BB, L-9, 3 RBI, CS)
8a. Roney Alcala, 1B: 0-1 (3-1)
8b. Kevin Brown, 1B: 0-1 (BB, 3-U, R)  
9a. Mark Malave, C: 0-1 (5-3)
9b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (BB, K)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Josh Conway: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, ! K, 2/0 GO/FO, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
2. Michael Heesch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
3. Jose Paulino: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2/5 GO/FO, 48 pitches (30 strikes)
4. Hector Perez: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (20 strikes)
5. Greyfer Eregua: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 18 pitches (15 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run) 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Mark Malave: 0-1 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 11

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's

Comments

night 2 of y.molina vs his pitchers... cubs benefit. top 1st runs rule. 1-0 cubs on a passed ball. ...make that 2-0...castro triple ...make that 4-0...olt HR

Time to plan the family vacation http://www.avclub.com/article/annual-gatherin...

Mike Oltimate Warrior #8 Oppo Cubs hit for cycle in first 4-0

What's really cool is that now we get to see what creative way the Cubs can come up with to lose an early lead. They have a full book on how to lose games, and they're not afraid to use it.

Is there any way to back up time and get Olt out of the lineup tonight? He seems tired, or at the very least inexperienced.

He's batting fifth! Renteria learning as he goes maybe.

Amazing how runs come in bunches when you place hitters in order to succeed.

Uncanny. That said what's with Sureholds and Barney in the lineup. The bottom of that batting order is a wasteland.

3h HR j.lake. 7 hits, 7 runs...1 out in the top 2nd. t.lyons is the sux tonight.

Cubs will need to reach down for something extra to lose this one, but I have faith they can still find a way.

Hahaha! Well truthfully the pitching can be okay sometimes ... but this is the Cardinals. We'll see. Scoring runs is usually the issue though ...

True, and the pitching held up fine, but I was expecting other shenanigans! Maybe a few gifts from Lake? Or maybe some other tomfoolery. It was just too many runs even for Cubbery

yahoo boxscore has T. Lyons pitching, think he died in 1986, at least this guy on the mound is pitching that way

rain allegedly on its way, Cubbery law says it hits before the 5th inning

That's not even funny!!! Ugh

This is rapidly becoming a team display of spite for Jeff Samardzija.

Well played sir.

I truly don't get people who don't like replay. The time taken is far less than all the time taken with just pitchers being slow and batters constantly calling time and it's a chance to actually reward players for their play and not screw them over for bad calls.

you'd think people that are obsessed with a season that takes 6 months to resolve itself would show a little patience. The whole thing already seems to be significantly better than the first couple of weeks.

...well...the 5th inning got interesting.

...and "old school mentality" stupidity takes over in the 6th. t.wood (who hit 2 batters in the 5th) comes up and gets hit by the 1st pitch of the inning...putting the closest thing to an automatic out on base for 2-2, 1bb boni...who gets a single. sac fly moves wood to 3rd...next sac fly scores wood...boni is still on 1st. 10-5 chc/stl hey stl...you're down by 4 and both batters t.wood hit were not "messages" being sent. way to give away a run.

...and boni scores from 1st on a single by castro...dat speed tho. 11-5 chc/stl that's 2 runs because STL has to retaliate. chances are pretty good t.wood would have been out 1 in that inning. bravo stl.

the cardinal way

barney with back to back 2-hit days...ha. ...and d.barney gets his 3rd hit of the game in the 9th. he's raised his average 61 points in the past 2 days (5 for 9) to .188 ...also boni with his 3rd 4-hit game of the season.

trade him asap!

Nobody is fooled.

except Ricky of course.

choate out...no pitcher up in the pen...POSITION PLAYER PITCHING ALERT. ...and d.descalso it is. spotted 2 outs and inheriting a man on 1st.

85 mph fastball.

m.olt pops out to LF. lulz.

brian wilson continues to have a hellish season...gives up 2 more runs tonight in 0.2ip...a 2-run HR to reed johnson (yes, reed johnson...his 1st HR since may 30th, 2013). he makes 10m this year...player option for 9m next year. 10.32 era - 2.38 whip in 15 appearances 11.1ip 16h 11bb 14k 3hr...yow.

2.38 is good, what do yo... ohhh, that's his WHIP...

I'm guessing he's going to take his option for next year.

Can a boy dream? July 2015 Almora 8 Casto 6 Baez 4 Rizzo 3 Bryant 9 Olt 5 Lake 7 Castillo 2 Your mom 1 (I know they need pitching) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX5tfRdkoY0

JACOS: You think Albert Almora will be ready for MLB by next summer? I'm thinking it will probably be more like 2016 or even 2017, and when he does arrive he will probably be hitting 8th for a while. 

I think it's more likely that Jorge Soler will be up by July 2015 and playing RF, with Kris Bryant in LF and maybe Junior Lake in CF. (In the case of Bryant, moving from 3B to LF is easier than moving from 3B to RF, because an ex-3B playing LF sees the ball off the bat the same way he did when playing 3B, it's just that he's playing a VERY deep 3B). 

BTW, Jorge Soler will get a 4th minor league option in 2015 but then he will be out of options in 2016, so the Cubs can't take their time with him (as they can with Baez, Bryant, and Almora). Soler needs to move through the system at a steady pace and be MLB ready absolutely no later than 2016. The Cubs cannot afford to have his progress derailed by another injury, otherwise it will be another Wily Mo Pena situation (out of minor league options before he is MLB ready). Also keep in mind Soler will be making $2M in 2015, $3M in 2016 and 2017, and $4M in 2018, 2019, and 2020, with a player option to opt out if he is eligible for salary arbitration (because he will be out of options in 2016, he will be eligible for salary arbitration no later than post-2018).

And if the Cubs stay 100% "in house" as far as position players are concerned, their future lineup will be very RH, which actually would be good for Anthony Rizzo because the Cubs will likely see a steady diet of of RHSP. I believe having a lineup that is "too right-handed" is better than having one that is "too left-handed" (the 1984 & 2008 Cubs being a couple of good examples), since generally speaking RH hitters have less-difficulty hitting RHP than LH hitters do hitting LHP. A RH-heavy lineup would also mean the Cubs would want to carry at least three or maybe even four LH hitting or switch-hitting back-up guys on the bench.

Dont forget Alcantara.

AZ Phil- As always I bow to you. You are probably right about Almora not being ready. Someone is going to be moved for pitching though, be it Olt, Soler or Almora.

Olt on bench tonight Barney, Shitholts and Valbuana in. So Barney has better chance then Olt? Got it.

Q: So Barney has better chance than ________? A: No.

see the scary part is Ricky might think his "pacing" of Olt is working and helping Olt with his 'success'. its like a self perpetuating delusion. if Valbuena is so damn good against Wainwright that he has to be in the game (and Olt of course has never faced him) then get the other bozos a seat on the bench. Got something against scoring runs Ricky Happyass?

The last thing we want to do is have Olt get exposure to top-notch MLB pitching. We should send him to Kane County to get some reps in. What the hell.

Mr Happy is insane

Reminds me of when DLee hurt his wrist and Dusty replaced him essentially with Neifi Perez by moving Todd Walker to 1B and Neifi to 2B. Ah, that was a good year. 2006. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

Espn-"or use veteran utility player John Mabry" Pick your poison. Hendry could have called up...(thinking) oh yeah Hendry had no prospects.

You know, the Cubs might do just fine tonight, but I have no desire to watch Valbuena, Barney, and Shierholtz in the same lineup. Going up to Beloit anyway to see Kane County play the Snappers in the old-school austere ballpark they have there. Plus it's $1.50 Leinie night and dollar hot dog night. Gonna be a wee bit chilly, though. Daury Torrez is scheduled to pitch. I'll see if I can give a Will Remillard/Yasiel Balaguert report tomorrow. Go 2018.

" Plus it's $1.50 Leinie night and dollar hot dog night" Heaven

Yeah, living in Massachusetts now, I really miss Wisconsin. Sigh. And that ballpark is simple, but seems like what minor league baseball should be like.

Here's my report, as promised: Remillard smoked a double and looked good defensively behind the plate. Penalver is at least as skinny as Alcantara was when he was in A ball, but is a graceful shortstop. Torrez looks like Carlos Marmol, but has a nice clean delivery and good stuff. He's auditioning for Samardzija's gig, pitching six scoreless innings but getting a ND due to bullpen implosion. Shawon Dunston wraps the bat so far back over his left shoulder and back that it looks like he's swatting flies on his T11 vertebra. A good game, well-played, Cougars couldn't quite pull it out in the ninth. My $9 box seat put me in the second row, and I had three little 12-oz Leinenkugel Canoe Paddlers, three hot dogs (small, old-fashioned franks, and they had sauerkraut on the condiment table) and a small popcorn (hey, I was hungry) for, wait for it, a total of $8.50. Plus free parking, and you got to walk past the Park District softball game on the way to the ballpark. Attendance was something like 490. It was College Night--get in for a buck with a college ID-- so the place was infested with Beloit College kids who mostly watched the game as a break from their smartphones. Cheap beer night and college night together? They should have given out a free fake ID for the first 100 admissions... Anyway, great place to watch a game-- when the chatty girls in front of us were quiet, you could hear outfielders call for the ball.

Bully report! Capital! (Channeling my inner Teddy Roosevelt)

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  • crunch 22 min 19 sec ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...

     

  • Hagsag 49 min 3 sec ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!

     

  • crunch 55 min 56 sec ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.

     

  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 41 min ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information. 

     

  • Cubster 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office,  as GM

     

  • Charlie 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.

     

  • crunch 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    rev up those off-season rumor fryers...

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.

     

  • crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.

    green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters. 

     

  • crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    chris young to be named new bullpen coach (former phillies pitching coach)

    mixed messages on whether lester strode will have a new cubs role or leaving the cubs...

     

  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    t.clifton straight up falling off a cliff sucked to watch happen last year.

    i had a lot of faith in the guy to at least hold his own in AAA, even if he needed another season or 2 after to get ready for prime time.

    he ended up giving out homers like candy on halloween while retaining his high walk and injury rate.

    that said, his career is far from done.  most likely many other teams willing to give him a minor league deal.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Keep in mind that most free-agents who sign a 2020 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection. (The only exception would be a free-agent who is not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, such as a player whose only previous pro experience was in a foreign major league or in an independent minor league, or a player who was released by another MLB organization but is still not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).  

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    If you're wondering if players who sign minor league successor contracts ever get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the answer is most definitely - YES -. 

    The Cubs selected RHP Hector Rondon in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft after the Indians signed him to a minor league successor contract, and the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Pedro Araujo in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs signed him to a minor league successor contract. 

     

  • Hagsag 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Got to get Taylor Davis back.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    So the Cubs were ultimately able to retain five of their seven most-valuable post-2019 minor league free-agent eligibles (Rea, Pereda, de la Cruz, Lugo, and Burks), losing only Clifton and Leal (both of whom are probably looking for a fresh start in another organization after maybe feeling stalled in the Cubs system).

     

  • crunch 5 days 54 min ago (view)

    that's some of that 4-D chess i keep hearing about.

    checkmate, boras.  cub gets 10 more years of club control for bryant.