Cubs AZ Instructional League

Ed Howard Stars as Cubs Rally to Tie Giants at Instructs

Cubs 2020 1st round draft pick Ed Howard IV (Mt. Carmel HS - Chicago, IL) drilled a pinch-hit RBI double in his pro game debut and Jacob Wetzel (2020 NDFA - Frederick CC) laced an RBI triple and scored on a Fabian Pertuz RBI single in his pro game debut, as the Cubs rallied to tie the Giants 5-5 in AZ Instructional League Opening Day game action Wednesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Rob Emery belted a three-run HR and Marco Luciano followed with a monster solo shot (both off Cubs SP Cory Abbott) to give the Giants an early 4-0 lead, before the Cubs came roaring back in the late innings. 

The game was called after eight innngs of play.  

Besides Howard and Wetzel, three other Cubs made their pro game debut on Wednesday. LF Jordan Nwogu (2020 3rd round pick - U. of Michigan) reached base on an HBP in his first pro AB and later scored from 1st base on the Wetzel triple, 1B Matt Mervis (2020 NDFA - Duke) drew a walk in his first pro AB and later scored on the Howard RBI double, and RHRP Ben Leeper (2020 NDFA - Oklahoma State) threw one inning in relief. 
   
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):  

D. J. Takes Koji Deep at Instructs

D. J. Wilson clubbed a home run off Koji Uehara leading off the game and Andruw Monasterio belted an RBI triple and a single and scored two runs, leading Team Banks to a 4-1 victory over Team Santo in AZ Instructional League intrasquad action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.

2017 Cubs AZ Instructs Underway

77 Cubs minor leaguers have reported or will soon be reporting to the Cubs Under Armour Performance Center at Mesa Riverview Park.  

70 of the players have been assigned to Cubs AZ Instructs, and seven have been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.

There will be no "Advanced Instructs" this year. (The Cubs and Angels fielded a "co-op" team in AZ Advanced Instructs the previous two seasons), so there are no games scheduled against other organizations. There are also no intrasquad games planned as of now (only instructional/situational "sim" games)..  

Cubs Celebrate AARP Day at Riverview Park

Four pitchers combined to hurl one-hit shut-out ball and Yeiler Peguero drilled an RBI single with one out in the top of the 2nd, took second on the throw to the plate, advanced to 3rd on a GO, and then scored on a two-out WP, accounting for both of his team's runs, as Team Banks blanked Team Santo 2-0 in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #3 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings of play. 

Jake Hannemann (on AA Tennessee DL since July 7th) played for both squads, handling CF for three innings and getting three Plate Appearances with Team Santo before serving as a DH for Team Banks, going a combined 1-4 (K, 2B, K, 3-U). He will likely play winter ball somewhere in Latin America.

The game featured dramatic comeback attempts by 43-year old Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator (ex- MLB RHP) Jim Brower, 46-year old Cubs AZ Advanced Instructional League Pitching Coach (ex-MLB LHP) Ron Villone, 37-year old Mental Skills Program Coordinator (ex-MLB OF) Darnell McDonald, and Rehab Coach (ex-Cubs minor league catcher) Lance Rymel, much to the delight of the Cubs players. Rymel served as the catcher for both Brower and Villone, and McDonald batted once each for both squads, facing Brower once and Villone once.

McDonald's walk-up music lasted about five minutes, Brower received an animated pep-talk at the mound from Coach Ty Wright with two outs in the bottom of the 4th before summoning the courage to strike out McDonald on 82 MPH gas, and Villone had to be helped off the field by Rymel after nearly having a heart-attack waiting for RF Jonathan Sierra to make a spectacuilar stumbling game-ending catch (an L-9 line-drive by McDonald).

While all four of the geezers look to be maybe (somewhat) in something close to near-playing shape, McDonald hasn't played in the big leagues since getting released by the Cubs in Spring Training 2014, Brower last pitched professionally in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2009-10, Villone retired after the 2010 season (but he IS a lefty, so I guess he still has a chance), and Rymel hasn't played since getting released by the Rockies during Spring Training 2015. I will say that Villone still has a nifty Houdini pick-off move. He absolutely nailed Carlos Diaz cold at 1st base, and for all I know, Diaz may still be standing there wondering what just happened.

Here is the box score from the game:

Team Banks Rallies to Edge Team Santo at Riverview

Fernando Kelli laced a game-tying two-run triple into the right-centerfield alley and Luis Ayala followed with a line-drive walk-off RBI single to right that plated Kelli with the winning run, as Team Banks rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 8th and edged Team Santo 5-4 in Cubs Arizona Instructional League intrasquad game action Saturday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was pre-planned as an eight-inning affair. 

RHSP Alfredo Colorado tossed three innings of one-hit shutout ball (7/2 GO/AO) for Team Santo, and Miguel Amaya tripled, singled, and scored the tying run for Team Banks. 

Cubs minor league C-INF Ben Carhart (Cubs 2012 35th round draft pick - Stetson University) has joined the instructs coaching staff, so he may be filing retirement papers (as a player) in the near future. The 26-year old Carhart has spent five seasons in the Cubs organization as a player, and has seen action at five levels, playing five different positions (3B-1B-2B-C-RHP) and hitting a combined 270/329/382 in 372 games (1518 PA), He went through the catcher conversion program in 2013-14.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

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