Ramirez Heats Up & Olt Has Active Day at Riverview Park

Ricardo Marcano (RBI single) and Varonex Cuevas (two-run single) drilled run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run 4th, as the Eugene Emeralds rallied to edge the Mesa Cubs 3-2 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after 5-1/2 innings of play. It was supposed to be a seven-inning affair, but one of the pitchers scheduled to throw in the game (RHRP John Michael Knighton) was called up to South Bend during the game, so the contest had to be truncated.   

Knighton (known as "Bama" to his teammates) was the most-consistent Cub reliever at Extended Spring Training. He features a "natural" upper-80's cutter and a curve, and he threw the highest-percentager of strikes (67%) of any EXST Cubs pitcher who worked more than six innings in Cactus League EXST games:

JOHN MICHAEL KNIGHTON - Age 21 - 2014 17th round draft pick (Central Alabama CC)
2.93 ERA - 0.91 WHIP - .228 OppBA
15.1 IP, 13 H, 8 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 17/16 GO/FO, 67% strikes, 13.0 PITCHES-PER-INNING

RHRP Neil Ramirez (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation) continued his EXST rehab, making his second appearance on the mound in three days, and Mike Olt (on Cubs 60-day DL - fractured right wrist) made his second rehab start in three days.  

Ramirez entered the game in the top of the 4th inning, with one out and a runner at 2nd base. He faced three hitters, striking out Mike Olt (looking) on a 3-2 pitch, before issuing a walk to Jhonny Pereda on a 3-1 pitch and striking out Carlos Jimenez (swinging) on three pitches.  

In 1.1 IP in two Cubs EXST intrasquad games (today and Friday), Ramirez has allowed no runs, two hits and a walk, and struck out four. 

Olt moved back & forth between the two teams, serving as a DH for the Mesa Cubs and playing third-base for Eugene.

He began the game as the Mesa DH, drawing a walk in the top of the 1st, before advancing to 2nd base on a WP and scoring on a Carlos Sepulveda RBI single to right. He batted in the bottom of the 1st inning for Eugene, reaching base on a two-out HBP. He then played third-base for two innings (top of the 2nd & top of the 3rd) for Eugene, before once again serving as a DH for Mesa in the top of the 4th (when he struck out looking against Neil Ramirez). He batted for Eugene again in the bottom of the 4th (line-drive single to right-center, then scored later in the inning on the Varonex Cuevas two-run single), before returning to the field and playing third-base again for two more innings (top of the 5th & top of the 6th). He handled two grounders flawlessly at third, turning both into 5-3 outs.    

After the game, Olt high-fived himself for doing his part to help Eugene rally to win the game, and cursed himself for not doing enough to prevent the Mesa Cubs from losing.   

Here is the abridged box score from today's game: 

X. Mike Olt, DH #1: 0-1 (BB, K, R)
NOTE: Olt batted third in the top of the 1st & 4th innings 
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-2 (4-3, K, HBP, PO)
2. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-9, R, SB, CS)
3. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-2 (1B, HBP, 5-3, RBI, SB, 2 CS)
4. Roney Alcala, 1B: 1-3 (K, 2B, K)
5. Jhonny Pereda, C: 1-1 (1B, BB, SB)
6. Carlos Jimenez,  3B: 0-2 (L-8, K)
7. Jenner Emeterio, DH #2: 0-2 (K, 6-3)
8. Danny Gutierrez, RF: 0-2 (L-6, 5-3) 
9. Calvin Graves, LF: 1-2 (L-7, 1B)

X. Mike Olt, DH-3B: 1-1 (HBP, 1B, R)
NOTE: Olt batted third in the bottom of the 1st & 4th innings 
1. Robert Garcia, CF: 1-2 (1B, BB, K, 3 SB, CS)  
2. Kevonte Mitchell, LF: 0-2 (F-9, K, BB)
3. Joey Martarano, 1B: 2-3 (K, 1B, 1B, R)
4. Ricardo Marcano, RF: 1-3 (K, 1B, 3-1, RBI)
5. Ho-Young Son, SS: 0-2 (4-3, BB, K, R)
6. Adonis Paula, 3B-DH: 0-2 (2-U, 1-2 FC)
7. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, 2 RBI)
8. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (1-6-3 DP, F-8)

1. Erling Moreno: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 2/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (19 strikes)
2. Corbin Hoffner: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 2/0 GO/FO, 34 pitches (21 strikes)
3. Pedro Araujo: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 36 pitches (19 strikes)

1. Santiago Rodriguez: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1/3 GO/FO, 61 pitches (38 strikes)
2. Neil Ramirez: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K,  14 pitches (7 strikes) 
3. Dillon Maples: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 2/0 GO/FO, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
4. Scott Frazier: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 13 pitches (8 strikes)


1. 3B Adonis Paula; E-5 (dropped pop fly in foul territory extended AB for batter)
2. C Erick Castillo:  E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)

Jhonny Pereda: 1-4 CS 

Erick Castillo: 3-6 CS, 1 PO, 1 E (see above) 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+  


The Eugene Emeralds will begin Northwest League play this coming Thursday, and while this is very much subject to change, here is the... . 


* throws or bats left 
# bats both

Pedro Araujo 
Jordan Brink 
Oscar de la Cruz 
* Andin Diaz 
Scott Frazier 
Corbin Hoffner 
John Michael Knighton 
Dillon Maples 
* Jose Paulino 
* Carson Sands 
Alexander Santana 
* Justin Steele
Austyn Willis 
* Sam Wilson 

Tyler Alamo 
# Erick Castillo 

# Varonex Cuevas 
# Frandy de la Rosa 
Joey Martarano 
Adonis Paula 
Ho-Young Son 

# Robert Garcia 
Eloy Jimenez 
* Ricardo Marcano 
Kevonte Mitchell 

Paulino, Steele, Sands, Willis, and de la Cruz figure to be the rotation starters, Santana, Diaz, and Brink are stretched-out to where they can be used as multiple-inning "piggy-back" relievers, Araujo is more of a two-inning reliever, and Knighton, Hoffner, Maples, Wilson, and Frazier will probably be mainly one inning relievers, although each of them can pitch two innings if necessary 

Eugene has a 35-man reserve list and a 30-man active list, of which 25 players may be designated as "active" for each game, and 10 of the 25 players designated as active must be pitchers. In effect, this means that one starting pitcher and nine relief pitchers are active for each game, so Eugene will likely begin the season with a 14-man pitching staff (five starters and nine relievers). and 11 position players (two catchers, five infielders, and four outfieldes). 

2015 Cubs draft picks who sign do not have to be added to a minor league reserve list for up to 15 days after signing, or until the player is placed on a minor league active list (whichever comes first). So figure at least five of the Cubs 2015 Draft picks (the more-advanced ones) will be assigned to Eugene as soon as they complete their Introduction to The Cubs Way at the Cubs Training Complex (Under Armour Performance Center) at Riverview Park, at which point the Eugene 30-man active roster will be full. As more draft picks are gradually moved-up to Eugene, some of the players who were on the Eugene Opening Day roster could be either promoted to South Bend, sent back to Mesa, or released. 


Does Frazier look as if he has overcome or at least mitigated his "Steve Blass" disease?

DAVID: Scott Frazier is pitching with much better command (and confidence) now than he was earlier this spring. Hopefully he can keep it up, because arms like his don't grow on trees (6'7 with a 97-99 MPH fastball)

AZ Phil: Here is the video of the Pat Pieper doing the lineup announcements for your game at Riverview park. Note Mike Olt was supposed to be playing all positions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsK-oHdic94 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k7XUXhSMFw