Turner Uses Hidden Ball Trick to His Advantage

Eloy Jimenez drilled an RBI double and an RBI single, Erick Castillo collected four singles, scored a run, and drove-in another, and RHP Jacob Turner hurled three innings of one-hit shutout ball for the Cubs, and Fernando Pujadas ripped two doubles and knocked-in two runs for the Giants, as the two teams played to a 4-4 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale, AZ.     

Jacob Turner got the start for the Cubs and was masterful, working three shutout innings (37 pitches - 29 strikes) and easily retiring the first eight men he faced (3-U, 4-3, 6-3, K, F-8, F-8, K, 3-1) on just 32 pitches, before surrendering a two-out bouncing double down the LF line (just out of the reach of a diving Adonis Paula) in the bottom of the 3rd inning. He then got the final out on a 3-1 GO to complete his outing.

Turner is on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL (retro to 3/27) with a right elbow flexor strain, and today was his first game action since being shut-down on March 10th during MLB Spring Training.  

As is the practice when a major league pitcher throws in a minor league game, Turner was allowed to use the official "Major League": baseball (which has a different feel than the official "Minor League" ball), and his club (in this case the Cubs) is responsible for supplying the Major League balls to the home plate umpire each half-inning. Then when the big leaguer finishes his inning, the Major League baseballs are sent back to the bench, and the Minor League balls are returned to the home plate umpire.

The Minor League ball that was in play when the last out of the top of the 2nd was recorded was inadvertently left on top of the mound after the conclusion of the half-inning, and when Turner got out to the mound and saw it, he picked it up, looked at it for second, and then disdainfully tossed it out of play (usually the umpires job) while a Major League baseball suddenly appeared in his glove at the exact same time (a variation on what I believe magicians call the "vanishing elephant illusion"). It was absolutely amazing (or I was in a drooling stupor, not sure which). Then Turner made the Giants disappear.

Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring strain) continued his rehab in the game, playing LF for five innings and batting four times. He grounded out sharply 5-3 on a 1-2 pitch in the top of the 1st, hammered an opposite-field double off the RF fence on the first pitch he saw his second time up, roped a line-drive single over the second-baseman's head into right-field on a 2-1 pitch in his 3rd AB, and struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in his final Plate Appearance of the day.

Denorfia has five hits (three singles and two doubles), two walks, and four strikeouts in four games (16 PA) this week, and appears to be pretty close to completing the Extended Spring Training portion of his rehab. I suppose he could go directly back to Chicago, but I suspect he will probably spend at least a day or two at AA Tennessee or AAA Iowa to face more-advanced pitching before he is reinstated from the DL.

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

X. Chris Denorfia, LF: 2-4 (5-3, 2B, 1B, K)
NOTE: Denorfia batted 3rd in the top of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th innings
1. Robert Garcia, CF: 1-5 (1B, K, K, F-8, L-5, R)
2a. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 2-3 (2B, 1B, 6-4 FC, 2 RBI)
2b. Jenner Emeterio, PH-LF: 1-2 (K, 1B)
3. Joey Martarano, DH #1: 0-5 (K, K, E-5, 3-U, K, R)
4a. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-3 (F-9, 1-3, 1B)
4b. Jose Paniagua, RF: 0-2 (P-6, 4-6-3 DP)
5. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 1-4 (K, 1B, 4-6 FC, K)
6. Ho-Young Son, SS: 1-2 (1B, F-9, BB, BB, R, SB, CS)
7. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-3 (K, 1B, F-9 SF, K, RBI)
8. Carlos Sepulveda, DH-2B: 0-2 (3-U, 4-3) 
9. Erick Castillo, C: 4-4 (1B, 1B, 1B, 1B, R, RBI)

1. Jacob Turner: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 5/2 GO/FO, 37 pitches (29 strikes) 
2. Scott Frazier: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1/2 GO/FO, 22 pitches (9 strikes) 
3. Santiago Rodriguez: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R (3 ER). 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP, 2 WP, 2/5 GO/FO, 60 pitches (37 strikes) 
4. Sam Wilson: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (17 strikes) 


Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+



it would be very cool if Jacob Turner was the long lost (out of sight, out of mind) starter that gives the Cubs staff that mid season upgrade that they seem to need. If so, EJax may be enjoying his last days on the roster.

While it will be great to have more depth, I don't see a starter that needs replaced right now. At least Turner could improve the bullpen. :)

per the Twitter box... Cub game postposed. I just walked outside and it's raining hard and very cold for baseball (46 degrees). Would have been ugly to sit through that. from Cubs.com:
tonight's Cubs-Royals game has been postponed due to weather and will be made up on Sept. 28, a previously scheduled off-day for each team.
That rescheduled game will be the last Wrigley home game for 2015, excluding the (dare I say) post-season.

46F...meanwhile i'm sitting in hawaii waiting on that 1pm game. now what am i gonna do? this sucks. lulz.

Fox has replaced it with the Dodgers/Cardinals. Fortunately, you can alternatively watch the Blackhawks/Ducks on NBC. I suspect, the latter option went into some of the thinking to postpone tonight's game. Also, the WSux vs Astros is being played in a monsoon in Houston. Although indoors, their stadium is badly leaking and they showed parts of the concession area well under water. No Hawk for this broadcast so Chuck Swirsky/Steve Stone suggested the vendors start selling boats to go with each hot dog. I presume you are on not on the rainy side of the Big Island.

in kauai...i like my island life much much much slower than the more populated islands. hey, they have a walmart here...and a costco...and not much else. that said, one of my favorite guilty pleasures out here is catching cubs day/afternoon games while having breakfast. being an east-coast US guy, it's a bit surreal.

The day off will give the Cubs a chance to rest the pen. And give the Royals a chance to rest their pen. Crap.

Why no double header tomorrow?

Oh No Not Lennie ... https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/6047991945413... There is now nobody alive on Planet Earth who has played for the Cubs in the World Series.

Schwarber with two more HR's tonight

how many SB? 2? 3? =p sigh...that started off as a joke, but it's 2. 42sb in 29 games (10cs). even mike piazza isn't impressed. he'll make a good LF and emergency catcher one day. ...or...maybe "the cubs way" now includes not checking runners, giving up huge leads, and letting runners steal bases. it's the pitchers letting it happen. schwarb might be the best catcher in all of the minors.

You may well be right that he'll make a good LFer and emergency catcher one day. I'm certainly not a believer yet, but you're jumping to your conclusion, even if it is tongue-in-cheek. Using season long statistics for a guy who is still developing at the position is misleading. While it shows he hasn't been good to date, it doesn't show if he's improving. As with any development, the trend holds more meaning than the overall total. In his last 6 stolen base attempts, Schwarber has thrown out 3 of them. The sample size is incredibly small so that stat in and of itself is meaningless, but the point is who cares what his caught-stealing numbers have been on the season? Second, caught stealing is only a small part of the measure of a catcher's worth defensively. Game calling, pitch-framing, pitch-blocking, leadership, working with a pitching staff, etc. all have a lot to say about what a catcher brings while behind the plate. Unfortunately, we don't get any stats on that stuff, at least not for public consumption at the minor league level. After checking the recent box scores, all I know is that in his last 10 games at catcher, he's allowed one passed ball and had one throwing error. It's not a lot to go on, but those are the numbers. Third, Jason Varitek played 1488 games at catcher in the majors and had a career CS% of 23%. He never had a season where he wasn't below the league average. He led the league in passed balls in his first two full seasons in the bigs. No one ever called him a good defensive catcher, but he's widely consider a great one for a lot of other reasons. Schwarber's early season behind the plate was rough. He's getting better. Will he ever be good enough to be a passable major league catcher? I don't know. I'll believe it when I see it. But at 22 years old and less than a year of professional instruction at the position, I'm not ready to write him off just yet.

im not jumping to a conclusion based solely on stats or just steals...there's a rather large crew of people watching him since before he was drafted saying there's little chance he's going to be a MLB-calibre catcher and what he's been doing so far hasn't been impressing too many people. that's what i'm buying into...personal belief, not anything damning. his lack of mobility behind the plate as well as his "stolen base issues" are fixtures. it's also worth mentioning he's not letting SB's happen because of a weak arm, it's because of his mobility and defensive mechanics handing the ball. he's got a good arm...he's just slow and clumsy getting it all together. catchers with worse arms have fared better. i'm not counting him out yet, but i'm in the camp that holds so little hope they already think of him as a LF'r based on how quickly his bat is moving him up in the system (and because there's no room for him at 1st). his bat got him drafted. it's just smart to let him catch until he proves he can or cannot do it at this point in his development...or until he injures himself doing it (which isn't a concern right now). he wants to put the work in and he's not blocking anyone.

In the case of Kyle Schwarber, I don't think it's a matter of whether he can or can't eventually be an MLB-quality catcher (Cubs Minor League Catching Coordinator Tim Cossins believes he can be). Rather, it's more a matter of Schwarber projecting to be an elite hitter, maybe even in the class of Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant, and I woudn't want Rizzo or Bryant to be a catcher, either, even if one or both had the aptitude to play the position.

There is just too much wear & tear and the chance for injury at catcher than there is at other positions, and just like Bryce Harper and Wil Myers were moved from catcher to the outfield, I believe Schwarber will be moved, too.

I suspect Schwarber will be moved to LF at Instructs post-2015 and then play LF in the AFL after that, and that he will continue to play LF at Spring Training next season and then at Iowa, and that he will be called up early in the 2016 season to play LF for the Cubs, at about the same time Kris Bryant and Addison Russell were called up this season.

Again, it isn't that Schwarber can't develop into an MLB-quality catcher, or that he doesn't want to be a catcher (because he really does want to be a catcher), it's that he shouldn't be a catcher. From what I saw of him in LF at AZ Instructs post-2014, he isn't exactly a natural outfielder (he's a much better catcher than outfielder), but unless he is the second coming of Johnny Bench or Gary Carter (which he is not), you just don't leave an elite hitting prospect like Schwarber behind the plate. (I'm not sure even Gary Carter would stay at catcher if he came up today).  

And if the DH is implemented in the N. L. in 2017 with the new CBA (as I believe it will be), Schwarber (not Vogelbach) would be the best bet to be the Cubs full-time DH (and emergency 3rd catcher) going forward. And then Billy McKinney (or Kris Bryant, if he is moved from 3B to the outfield) would project as the future LF. 


I agree, Phil. He can be a catcher, but to get the most out of what could be a very special bat, he'd be better off playing somewhere else. That begs the question though, if, as you believe, Schwarber will be moved to LF as soon as the end of this season, why is he playing catcher at all? What are the Cubs thinking here? Any idea?

not phil, obviously, but i have a couple pennies burning a hole in my pocket... schwarb REALLY wants to be a catcher and has been "working hard on his defense" since he was a jr/sr in college. while some people do this to increase their draft value, even after he got his payday he still really wanted to work on his game behind the plate. it's not just the cubs bending over to appease him...he's got tangible skills outside of his flaws. he's got a nice arm and a head for the game. his body may not be letting him be the catcher he wants to be, but he's doing everything he can to become the catcher he wants to be. when he gets a bit lost with the bat, he can make the adjustment and get back on track. that's something he doesn't have to work as hard on as some people. good for him. the cubs have a need at C...especially with one of their better prospects down for the year having TJ surgery. as long as his main skill is covered (the bat), he has a desire, and the cubs have the need in their system...it's not that huge of a deal to get him work behind the plate. the gamble could pay off in a way that he could become a backup catcher rather than an emergency catcher...or even a 120+ games a year catcher. as far as LF goes, he may not have the best speed or head for routes, but it shouldn't be something he needs a full season or multiple seasons to get a hold of. he did play a bit of OF in college when he wasn't catching, too. ...as an aside on the cubs C crew...i'm ready for shwarb to move up to AAA so w.contreras can get more playing time at C in AA. he's emerging as someone to keep an eye on at C, though many viewed him as a backup-type at best coming into the year.

I agree that Schwarber could (emphasis on could) become a 120+ games a year catcher, and definitely agree that Contreras is emerging as someone to keep on eye on. If his bat is for real, he's got the athleticism to be a strong backstop defensively. It's a wait-and-see situation on both. I think the Cubs are simply giving Schwarber every opportunity to improve behind the plate and that his performance/development will call the shots as to where he winds up playing. I greatly respect AZ Phil's opinion and eye and wanted to understand why he thought the Cubs were having him work this hard on his catching if he felt they'd never let him play the position in order to keep him healthy?

If the Cubs keep all of their top prospects and they bring Baez up (I imagine he'll be the first position player up if he keeps hitting) and he does well they'll have to put him or Castro in LF. So at that point it seems like C is the only real position of need to fill. Now this of course assumes all of the prospects work out but I'm imagining the Cubs are getting Scwharber all the work C to prepare for that eventuality.

I like Coghlan in LF more than Castro and Baez. I think I'm changing my tune and it might be time to move castro. Selling low sucks tho ... But I want Addison at SS and Baez LaStella Herrera can cover 2B I'm sure.

K-DUB: Crunch said pretty much the same thing as what I'm saying, but after Schwarber has worked as hard as he has on improving his catching skills (like paying his own way to California to work with Cubs Catching Coordinator Tim Cossins during this past off-season), I don't think the Cubs want to move him to the outfield without giving him a chance to be what he really wants to be (a catcher)... at least for one season. 

But he has emerged as an elite hitter at AA this season (possibly THE best hitting prospect in baseball), and so now I think the game has (a bit unexpectedly perhaps) changed for him and for the Cubs. Just like Bryce Harper and Wil Meyers moved from catcher to outfield, it's only a matter of time before Schwarber does, too. And once he does, his ETA to MLB will be significantlly shortened. And at some point in the near-future I would expect the Cubs will sit down with him and explain the facts of life.  

"a chance to be what he really wants to be" Who cares about that? Not the Cubs, I hope. They want him to be a catcher because it allows them to put a checkmark next to an important defensive position while adding a left-fielder's slugging profile to the batting order: two left fielders for the price of one. It's the same concept as preferring to keep Bryant at third and Russell and Baez at shortstop. I've tried to sell this concept on this blog before, without much success, apparently. "Hey, I got a great idea! Let's just move him, him, him and him to left field!"

if he is that good of a hitter, like Harper, he won't be catching so he can miss games from knicks and rest.

Thanks for your response, Phil. The fact that he's hitting this well this consistently is a game-changer, and I agree that it could cause the Cubs to reassess their plans for him. I understand what you're saying now. After speaking with Joe Bohringer this spring, he seemed most excited about the positive implications of keeping Schwarber at catcher saying he would rank Schwarber ahead of Bryant (on a value-basis) if he was able to stay at catcher. We also talked about the impact of having a bat like Schwarber's at the catcher position and how that would enable the line-up to have yet another impact bat at another more easily filled position like LF. From the way he was talking in March, it sounded like the Cubs wanted to give Schwarber every opportunity to stick at catcher precisely because his bat was Bryant-like. It will be interesting to see how they proceed.

He leads the Southern League in OBP and Slugging. It would be great to add a LH power bat to the lineup...

Blackhawks to the finals. They have the clutch gene I guess ...

They are the anti-Bulls. Backs to the wall, they play with energy, guts and confidence.

Article from the twitter feed. I found it interesting. Thought I'd link it here before it was buried. Tale of the Whales: The Forgotten Story of Chicago’s Original North Side Ballclub http://newcity.com/2012/07/05/tale-of-the-wha...

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  • crunch 51 min 7 sec ago (view)

    it screws up stats.  i know you play for wins/losses, but real money is on the line for players and makes agent/player homework selling their client a bit harder.

    it also makes historical comparisons difficult.

    the amount of time i've seen a fresh inning starting out...bunt guy to 3rd for an out, IBB, IBB is too high.  what would amount to a leadoff single following that can easily turn into 2 runs (1 earned) with guys on the corner...which usually leads to another IBB.


  • Charlie 1 hour 56 min ago (view)

    Jay Jaffe has a timely argument against the runner on second rule over at fangraphs: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-runner-on-second-i...

    I still don't know why we don't just have ties. Obviously, the Cubs could have dodged most of these situations by simply hitting a little bit during the regulation innings.


  • Arizona Phil 4 hours 40 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed free-agent RHSP Adrian Sampson to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and OF Donnie Dewees have been placed on the 60-day IL to open up slots for Sampson, Trayce Thompson, and Kyle Ryan on the Cubs minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List. 


  • crunch 5 hours 5 min ago (view)

    well that sucked.

    2-game sweep, 2 games under .500


  • crunch 5 hours 31 min ago (view)

    stumbled onto this today...clip from a 2019 ESPN broadcast game with boog, chipper jones, and david ross in the booth...


    boog used to call games for ATL, btw...


  • tim815 8 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Someone on social media was floating Yoelqui Cespedes to the Cubs in a Bryant trade.

    I was clueless if it was permitted. It is.


  • Wrigley Rat 19 hours 1 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have traded for outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was with the Diamondbacks at Triple-A, but is formerly of the big league White Sox, Dodgers, and A’s. The Diamondbacks are getting cash in the deal, which is a reflection of the reality that Thompson, 30, is a depth outfielder at this point in his career. Thompson is the younger brother of NBA star Klay Thompson. https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/05/11/cub...


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    i'd like to point out ross feels more comfortable with j.pederson and k.bryant in CF over j.heyward.

    watching heyward not just look human in the OF, but having a bit of a hard time is rough.  he's just not getting to stuff like he used to.


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    bryant out of the game for no apparent reason...that...doesn't seem good...

    he's "under the weather" according the clubhouse.  that's better than screwed up oblique or similar, at least.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    this shane bieber guy kinda sucks.  1 run in, bases loaded 0 outs.

    i hope 4-5 innings of alzolay and the 5 pen guys after him hold it down.

    ...hey wow, bases loaded 0 out turns into 0 runs...very cubs.


  • George Altman 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Baseball wants more offense, fans want more action -- limit pitching staffs to 12, ideally transition to 11 over a 3 year period. 

    Teams are asking RPs to throw only 45 pitches a week. Think about that.

    SPs who throw 175 IP/Yr will be museum pieces in 5 years.

    It's not shifts. Oh....and electronic Strike zones as soon as possible. 


  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    given that the starters are on pace to pitch around 150 innings this year they might need the zillion relievers.

    i'm under the impression that d.ross got a new Fitbit exercise tracker prior to the season and likes to have excuses to walk to the mound for higher step counts.  i'm going with this theory until proved otherwise.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    I get that 40 man rosters are complicated, but now we have 10 GD relievers and 3 bench guys, one of whom is an obviously injured Javy.

    I can't wait until they reinstate the 13 pitchers maximum rule.


  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    baez (again) a late scratch because back ouchies.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    OF Jake Marisnick to 10-DAY IL, and Cubs recall LHRP Brad Wieck. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    Prior to last season, Rule 4 Competitive Balance Draft picks could be traded in advance of the draft (the window beginning on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the start of the draft), although the pick could not be sold for cash, the pick itself could not be the PTBNL in a trade, and once traded the pick could not be flipped to a third team.

    However, there is presently a moratorium on trading Competitive Balance picks that extends through the conclusion of the 2021 draft, so right now no draft picks may be traded.