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)

Recent comments

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  • JustSayin' 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.

     

  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.

     

  • crunch 4 days 2 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 4 days 8 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 4 days 11 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 5 days 8 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 5 days 16 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 5 days 18 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 22 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 6 days 10 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 1 week 14 hours ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

     

  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    RedSox acquire catcher Jhonny Pereda from the #Cubs, completing the January 21 trade for RHP Travis Lakins

    ...cubs lost lakins on waivers to BAL, btw

     

  • erich081 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    I wore my Rick Wilkins #2 shirsey today and kept thinking real baseball was only a week away. And then I remembered this weird alternate reality we've seemed to have slipped into. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    I am installing a padded room to sit in until this hell is over.