Chris Denorfia & Pierce Johnson Rehabbin' at Riverview

Marcos Derkes belted a bases-loaded triple and RHSP Taylor Black tossed three innings of no-hit ball, leading the Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

The Cubs Cactus League EXST record dropped to 16-15-5 with today's loss. 

Jose Paniagua drilled an RBI triple and a single and Ho-Young Son ripped an RBI double, singled, reached base on an HBP, and stole a base for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Son is now hitting a robust 417/520/561 (and the .417 batting average leads the EXST Cubs for players with at least one PA per Cactus League EXST game), with four doubles and a triple, five walks and four HBP (so he is the Anthony Rizzo of the EXST Cubs), only three strikeouts (none in his last 33 PA), and five SB (albeit with two CS and four PO) in 18 Cactus League EXST games (50 PA). He also leads the EXST Cubs in multi-hit games with six (Frandy de la Rosa and Kevonte Mitchell have five a piece), and he made just his second error of the Cactus League EXST season today. Son will very likely be the starting shortstop for the Eugene Emeralds once the Northwest League season begins play next month. 

OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day with a hamstring strain) was a DH in today;s game and batted four times, once in each of the first four innings.

He struck out (swinging) on three pitches his first time up (and looked bad doing it), then grounded out 6-3 on the first pitch he saw the second time up, walked on four pitches in his third AB, and roped a line-single to left on the first pitch of the AB in his fourth and final Plate Appearance.

Denorfia jogged to 1st base when he ran (that's called "fuck 90 when I'm rehabbing my hamstring"), and Kevonte Mitchell was inserted into the game as a Designated Pinch-Runner the two times Denorfia reached base. Mitchell took advantage of the two opportunities by stealing a base and scoring two runs (Herb Washington, eat your heart out!).

RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee DL with a lat strain) got the start on the mound for the Cubs today and looked a lot better today than he did in last Thursday's intrasquad game, working two innings of no-run/no hit ball (25 pitches - 19 strikes), and allowing just one baserunner (he hit the first man he faced) before easily retiring the last six in a row (4-3, P-4, K, K, F-8, 3-1).

His fastball velocity was better than last time, too, as he was working mostly at 92 MPH, and he touched 94 (the very first pitch of the game). He threw 12 consecutive strikes at the end of his outing (including all ten pitches he threw in the top of the 2nd), and was able to command all of his pitches (something he was not able to do last time out).

RHP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Tony Campana deal a couple of years ago) followed Johnson to the hill and had a very poor outing, allowing three runs on two walks and two hits (one of which was the Derkes bases-loaded triple) in just one-third of an inning.

Usually a starting pitcher, LHP Jose Paulino had his outing pushed-back to the middle innings to accomodate Johnson and Castillo, and although he did allow three runs (two earned) on three hits, four walks, an HBP, and a balk in 3.2 IP, he was throwing his two-seamer harder than usual, working at 91-93 and touching 94-95 while getting a ton of ground balls (8/0 GO).  

LHRP Andin Diaz had his fastball gas consistently up to 94-95 MPH over the last two innings of the game (no runs/no hits allowed) 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, RHP Marcelo Carreno (post-2013 right shoulder surgery) and RHRP Corbin Hoffner threw a one-inning "sim" game on Field #4. This was the first time Carreno (acquired as the PTBNL from the Tigers in the August 2012 deal that sent IF-OF Jeff Baker to Detroit) has faced hitters this year, while Hoffner is trying to perfect his new exteme sidearm (almost "submarine") delivery by getting extra work throwing against hitters on days he would normally just throw a bullpen side-session.  

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

X-1. Chris Denorfia, DH #1: 1-3 (K, 6-3, BB, 1B) 
NOTE: Denorfia led-off the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings
X-2. Kevonte Mitchell, PR (2 R, SB)
NOTE: Mitchell pinch-ran for Denorfia in the bottom of the 3rd & 4th innings
1. Ho-Young Son, SS: 2-3 (HBP, F-8 DP, 1B, 2B, RBI, SB)
2. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-3 (4-3, K, F-8 SF, F-9, RBI)
3. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 1-3: (5-3, 2B, F-9)
4. Joey Martarano, 1B: 1-3 (K, 1B, K)
5a. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-2 (K, 6-4 FC) 
5b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (3-1) 
6. Roberto Caro, DH #2: 0-3 (4-3, 1-3, F-8)
7. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, K, 3-U, RBI)
8. Varonex Cuevas, 3B: 0-3 (3-U, K, L-4)
9. Calvin Graves, LF: 0-1 (5-3, BB, BB, 2 R)
10. Jose Paniagua, DH #3: 2-3 (3B, 1B, K, RBI)

1. Pierce Johnson: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/FO, 25 pitches (19 strikes)
2. Jesus Castillo: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 22 pitches (9 strikes) 
3. Jose Paulino: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 BALK, 1 GIDP, 8/0 GO/FO, 69 pitches (37 strikes) 
4. Andin Diaz: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 2/3 GO/FO, 35 pitches (19 strikes) 

1. P Jose Paulino: E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
2. C Erick Castillo: E-2 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
3. SS Ho-Young Son: E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to rrach base safely)  

1. Alberto Mineo: 0-1 CS 
2. Erick Castillo: 1 E (see above)

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 



tonight's game vs WAS on ESPN, btw.

Haha! Somehow I don't think #fuck90 is likely to catch on Twitter. It sounds like he had some shitty ABs today despite the decent results, hopefully he turns it around.

#fuck90 #yolo #swag #kony2012

ugg...ESPN the game so far... - hendricks takes the mound "Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux." - every ESPN announcer - bryce harper makes his way to the plate "Gosh, Bryce is swell. He's God's gift to the game. He's young! BRYCE!" - every ESPN announcer

Just be glad Zobrist Alcantara is down in Iowa right now.

I thought I heard on ESPN... A1: Jordan Zimmerman is from Univ Wisconsin, Steven's Point A2: Now that's good scouting

Nats pitch around Rizzo to get to pitch later, they are out of the inning. Better get used to it....I think we will be seeing this a lot.

especially lately, it's a bit weird not seeing cog in the 4 slot more often when he plays.

The Cubs' number four hitter is still baking in the oven. He should be ready in a couple months.

Maddux Hendricks with another well timed DP.

/pen'd WAS takes a 2-1 lead in the 8th.


NASA still currently attempting to track that one.

The sound coming off the bat. /dear God

Bryant Is pretty, pretty, pretty good

I forgot how stupid Escobar is. /step below Cedeno

WAS decides to pay back the cubs earlier baserunning stupidity with some of their own in the top of the 9th. awesome.

That pickoff move will rarely work. Good time for it to work tho

helps the base runner is a moron

woooooooooooo! scrubs win.

Why were the outfielders so shallow? Dumb

Runner on second, you have to play to stop a single from winning the game.

No, I get that, but they were in really far.

That was pretty sweet. Cubs and all their growing pains are still a pretty fun team to watch. Harper will be in a bad mood tomorrow, and will yell at umps. Good stuff.

"Scrubs"? The team you speak of is cir. 2012, 2013, and half the season last year. The 2015 Cubs with several top 30 MLB prospects, plus the top "framer", Lester, Arietta, Hamels, Castro and Rizzo cannot be considered "scrubs" unless you have to press your weird nicknaming fetish.

i'll take this out of place post. scrubs because...umm...force of habit or something. i pretty much did it because i called them that when they lost yesterday.

here's a stat from the ESPN broadcast, Bryant ranks 3rd for most 3-2 counts. I like.

he knows what's in/out of the zone and what he wants to offer at, yet he'll swing and whiff on stuff in the zone more often that one would expect. he could be a rather badass hitter who also K's 150+ least until (if) he turns a corner on that issue.

he could be a rather badass hitter who also K's 150+ least until (if) he turns a corner on that issue. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think both of those first two will turn out to be correct. Don't see Bryant having a shorter 2-strike swing in there. Very repeatable, in control, long swing. I'm wondering if he's already decided that over the long haul he'll be more successful/helpful to the cause putting that swing on some fraction of balls (while missing others) rather than upping his contact rate a bit with a shorter swing???? Leave the OBP to Rizzo and he'll do the SLG.

He honestly seems to me like a guy studying, observing, trying to figure it all out. If I'm a pitcher, that's a pretty scary thought. A lot of guys, their second time around the league, pitchers start to exploit their flaws. I have a suspicion that with Bryant it's gonna be the other way around.

Sounds like a velociraptor in "Jurassic Park"

Bryant's Babip is .378. Yes, he has done very well, but I don't think he is one of the top players yet. The praise would be more muted if you shave 40 points each off his avg, obp and slg.

Home runs will elevate BABIP. :)

Home runs aren't in play, but they generally help compensate for depressed BABIP. Home runs + a high BABIP = hot streak.

Cubs Minor League games to be broadcast Want to watch the Cubs Minor Leaguers but can’t go to the games? Comcast SportsNet will carry 15 live Minor League games this season, beginning Sunday with the Iowa Cubs vs. the Padres’ El Paso Chihuahuas at 6 p.m. CT. Additional games featuring young Cubs will be June 7 at 5 p.m. CT on CSN+ when Myrtle Beach plays hosts to Carolina. Please note that Sunday’s game will be on the main Comcast SportsNet channel location while the remaining 14 telecasts will air on CSN+. Please check’s channel finder to locate the games.

This would have been more fun last year, but still it's pretty cool.

Huh? Coughlan leading off, Fowler batting 4th, Lake in right

Recent comments

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  • crunch 7 hours 36 min ago (view)

    it probably had nothing to do with len leaving, but Marquee can get rid of that "we're all wearing suits and we're classy as hell" look.

    i loved len and bob...len and jd i was only warming up to in the past couple years.  either way, gonna miss len.


  • crunch 7 hours 41 min ago (view)

    *laura ricketts has entered the chat*


  • crunch 7 hours 42 min ago (view)

    the claim is he "really wants to do radio" and "totally nothing wrong with Marquee"...etc etc

    but yeah...the team is having a hell of an offseason having theo walk away with a year left on his deal, semi-embarrassingly trying to find a taker for bryant, deciding to not keep schwarber, and now the long-time cubs pbp TV guy leaves for a radio gig across town.

    all of this and the cubs are yet to be linked to any FA discussions...or names for a GM hunt...or a pool of teams actually interested in bryant...or anything resembling a 2021 plan so far...


  • Eric S 7 hours 44 min ago (view)

    Thom Brennaman - a longtime Cub fan favorite - would fit Marquee to a T 🤣


  • Charlie 7 hours 48 min ago (view)

    My appreciation of Len has waned since 2016. But he and JD have been my favorite Cubs broadcast crew in the ~25 years I've paid close attention.

    I wasn't thrilled about the few changes that came along with Marquee this year.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 22 min ago (view)

    I believe this is the correct take. It's surprising that Len is leaving. He's good, but he had gotten a little too rationalizey over the past few years for me.

    However, it seemed he was heavily invested in the Cubs. His departure feels like there is some Ricketts-ish bullshit going on behind the scenes at Marquee that Len wants no part of. Anyway, I wish him well with the other Chicago team


  • crunch 17 hours 58 min ago (view)


    is everything the ricketts touch just falling to shit in 2021?  ....well, except their heavy investments in taking over the state of Nebraska politically with one of the sons and heavy investment in supportive state legislators...


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 19 hours 29 min ago (view)

    This makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks Phil!

    (And that HR off Hader was unforgettable)


  • Hagsag 21 hours 52 min ago (view)



  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs for the White Sox radio booth.


  • Charlie 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    I would be happy to see the Cubs no longer spend DH time on Victor Caratini. Provided there's a Kyle Schwarber or better alternative, of course.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?). 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point


  • waveland 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS. 


  • bradsbeard 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH.