Cubs Extended Spring Training game report

Cubs Pitchers Spin Shutout at Indian School Park

Rafael Mejia belted a solo HR and drove-in another run with a 6-3 GO and RHSP Jesus Camargo fired four innings of no run/no hit ball and combined with three relievers to hurl a four-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Giants "black" squad 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Field #2 (AKA "Jim Davenport Field") at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

With his two RBI day, Rafael Mejia now has ten RBI in the 16 Cactus League EXST games in which he has played (he leads the EXST Cubs in that category, with no other player on the team having more than six). Mejia is also now tied for the team lead in HR with Kevin Cornelius, Chris Dominguez, and Christopher Morel (all four have two). Now 19, Mejia won the Home Run Derby (by a large margin) as an 18-year old at Cubs AZ Instructs post-2016, and the Cubs have been hoping that moving him from 3B to 1B (he made the move at Instructs) will help him develop as a hitter. Mejia was a defensive disaster for the AZL Cubs at 3B last season (mostly throwing errors), and it may have affected his hitting (he hit only 203/226/313 in 36 AZL games in 2016, with 34 K and only three BB in 133 PA).   

With four more innings without allowing a hit, Jesus Camargo has now thrown ten consecutive innings of no-hit ball over his last three outings, including all four innings in each of his last two starts (today and last Thursday) and the last two innings of his three-inning stint on 5/6. Camargo was signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in December 2014 and attended Extended Spring Training in 2015 (he pitched for the AZL Cubs that summer and had a very nice debut season) and then again last year in preparation for an expected promotion to Eugene, but he threw only one inning at 2016 EXST before being shut-down for the balance of the season with a sore elbow. Although his upper 80's fastball is nothing special, Camargo has one of the best change-ups in the Cubs system (when he made his pro debut at Extended Spring Training in 2015, Cubs pitching coaches had to talk Camargo out of throwing his change-up on every pitch). As things stand right now, Camargo would appear to be in strong contention to be the Opening Day starting pitcher for Eugene next month, with the Emeralds projected starting rotation likely to be - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - Camargo, Jose Albertos, Javier Assad, Enrique de los Rios, and Tyler Peyton. (While Albertos is clearly the best prospect of the five, Camargo is pitching better than any of them right now).  

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

Street Closure Obstructs Cubs at Diablo

Franklin Torres (two-run single) and Jimmy Barnes (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run 1st inning, Julian Leon singled twice, walked, reached base on an HBP, scored a run, and drove-in another, Rayneldi Rosario drilled a two-run single, walked twice, and scored a run, Gabriel Sanchez belted a two-run double, and veteran RHP Huston Street (on LAA MLB 60-day DL - right lat strain) and six relievers tossed a combined four-hitter, helping the Angels defeat the Cubs 8-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #3 at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, C-1B Michael Cruz (Cubs 2016 7th round draft pick - Bethune Cookman) has been moved-up to South Bend. The LH-hitting Cruz has plus-power and was the EXST Cubs #1 offensive player, leading the team in AVG, OBP, and SLG (minimum 35 PA) and doubles. He was left behind at EXST to work on his catching defense (receiving & throwing), otherwise he would have been on the South Bend Opening Day roster. He reminds me of a young Miguel Montero.     

Michael Cruz Cactus League EXST game stats
13 GAMES (39 PA)
400/462/686
5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 RUNS, 1 GIDP, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K 
CATCHERS DEFENSE: 1-6 CS (17%), 1 PB, 1 E 

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

Brito Knows Thyself Can Hit

Socrates Brito (on Diamondbacks MLB 60-day DL - March 2017 dislocated finger) belted an RBI triple, an RBI double, and a single and RHSP Emilio Vargas retired the first ten men he faced and fired four innings of shutout ball for the Diamondbacks, and RHSP Tyler Peyton tossed three innings of shutout ball and Rafael Narea and Fidel Mejia collected two hits a piece for the Cubs, as the D'backs edged the Cubs 6-5 on Field #5 and the two teams played to a 2-2 tie on Field #6, in Cactus Extended Spring Training doubleheader action Monday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Both games were extended an extra half inning so that all of the Diamondbacks pitchers who were scheduled to pitch in the games could get their work. (The game on Field #6 was called with two outs in the bottom of the 8th after the Cubs tied the game).

In EXST Cubs roster news, IF-OF Jemile Weeks (February 2017 sprained knee) has completed his EXST rehab, has been reinstated from the AAA Iowa 7-day DL, and has rejoined the I-Cubs.

Jemile Weeks 2017 Cactus League EXST game stats:
9 GAMES (38 PA)
364/432/515
3 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 7 RUNS, 4 BB, 6 K, 2 SB (0 CS), 1 SH
1 ERROR (E-4)
NOTE: Played 2B-SS-CF-LF

Also, INF Andruw Monasterio has been moved-up to Hi-A Myrtle Beach.

Andruw Monasterio 2017 Cactus League EXST game stats:
13 GAMES (36 PA)
300/417/433
4 2B, 3 RBI, 2 RUNS, 5 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K, 2 SB (2 CS), 1 PO
3 ERRORS (all E-6)

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Rafael Mejia a Homer Short of the Cycle at Fitch Park

Rafael Mejia collected four RBI (an RBI triple, a two-run double, and an RBI single) and scored two runs and Miguel Amaya doubled twice and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
 
James Harris belted a two-run HR for the A's in a losing cause. 

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Rafael Mejia won the Home Run Derby (by a substantial margin) at Cubs AZ Instructs last fall when he also was moved from 3B to 1B. He made a lot of errors (especially throwing errors) playing 3B at age 18 for the AZL Cubs last summer, and the Cubs felt moving him to 1B might help him defensively as well as allow him to concentrate more on his hitting, but he has had a lot of problems defensively at 1B, too (at least so far). Mejia shows plus-power in BP, but it has rarely been displayed in games.

In EXST Cubs roster news, OF Eloy Jimenez (March 2017 bruised right shoulder) has completed his EXST rehab, has been reinstated from the Myrtle Beach 7-day DL, and has rejoined the Pelicans.

Eloy Jimenez 2017 Cactus League EXST game stats:
8 GAMES (31 PA)
240/355/320
2 2B, 5 RBI, 1 RUN, 1 SF, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 5 K, 0 SB (1 CS)
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

Eloy Does His Part, But Cub Bullpen Can't Hold the Lead in Scottsdale

Eloy Jimenez drilled a two-run single, walked twice, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, Jemile Weeks singled twice, walked twice, and scored two runs, Yovanny Cuevas singled three times, stole a base, and scored two runs, Carlos Diaz belted an RBI double and an RBI single and scored a run, Jhonny Bethencourt singled twice, walked, stole a base, knocked-in two runs, and scored another, and Jose Gonzalez ripped an RBI double and a single and scored a run, helping the Cubs take an early 6-0 lead, but the Giants "black" squad rallied to get within a run at 6-5 in the 7th, and then after the Cubs took an 8-5 lead in the top of the 9th on the Eloy two-run single, the Giants scored three times in the bottom of the 9th, as the two teams played to an 8-8 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #2 (AKA "Jim Davenport Field") at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.    

The game was called with two outs in the bottom of the 9th after the Giants tied the game.

Cubs LHRP Jose MacDonna left the game with what appeared to be a blister on his left index finger after facing only four batters in the 5th (and all four reached base and all four eventually scored the first four Giant runs).

Eloy Jimenez (on Myrtle Beach 7-day DL - March 2017 right shoulder injury) played RF for all nine innings, and he uncorked one long throw to third base in the 5th as a runner was attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single down the RF line. And although the runner was safe at 3rd, it was the best throw and the strongest throw I've seen Eloy make all year.

Jemile Weeks (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL - February 2017 sprained knee) continued his EXST rehab in the game, playing SS for all nine innings (he has played 2B-SS-CF-LF so far). Weeks expects to remain at EXST through the weekend, and then will be re-evaluated on Monday.  

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

8th Inning Rally Helps Cubs Avoid Sweep at Riverview

Luke Lowery slugged a solo HR, Joel Novas belted a two-run double, Jorge Perez singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, and RHSP Jhoan Duran hurled five innings of shutout ball, leading the Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory over the Cubs on Field #6, and on Field #5 RHSP Jesus Camargo tossed four innings of no-hit ball for the Cubs and RHSP Matt Koch (on AAA Reno 7-day DL) fired four innings of shutout ball for the D'backs, and then with the Cubs trailing 4-1 going into the bottom of the 8th, Kwangmin Kwon tripled and Yonathan Perlaza walked to start the inning and Franklin Tineo and Orian Nunez followed with RBI singles as the Cubs rallied to tie the Diamondbacks 4-4, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader action Thursday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex In Mesa, AZ. 

The game on Field #5 was called after eight innings of play, and the game on Field #6 was halted after seven innings.

Eloy Jimenez (on Myrtle Beach 7-day DL - right shoulder injury) served as a DH and went 0-4 with a walk in five PA.  

RHSP Casey Kelly made what will probably be his last Cactus League EXST appearance before moving-up to AAA Iowa, getting the start on Field #6 and throwing 4.1 IP (75 pitches) and allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and the Lowery HR) and a walk, with two strikeouts and a 7/2 GO/AO. Although Kelly's fastball velocity has shown a slight uptick since Spring Training in March (when he was working in the upper-80's and topping out at 90 MPH) and his curve and change-up have been fairly sharp and his command has been good, he still isn't missing many bats as opposing hitters seem to be consistently squaring-up his offerings.

Casey Kelly 2017 Cactus League EXST game stats:
3 GAMES (3 GS)
4.91 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, .293 OppBA 
11.0 IP, 12 H, 7 R (6 ER), 4 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 14/10 GO/AO    
 
Meanwhile, INF Elliot Soto (March 2017 foot injury) has completed his EXST rehab and has been reinstated from the AAA Iowa 7-day DL. Soto was absolutely on fire both offensively and defensively at EXST. Nobody could get him out, and the slick-fielding Soto (one of the best defensive middle-infielders in pro ball) made several acrobatic defensive plays at both SS and 2B (much to the delight of the young Cub pitchers).  
 
Elliot Soto 2017 Cactus League EXST game stats:     
6 GAMES (23 PA)
562/695/750
1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 RUNS, 5 BB, 2 HBP, 2 K
 
Here are the box scores from the games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Score Four in 1st & Make It Stand at Riverview

Jemile Weeks (RBI double), Miguel Amaya (RBI single), Kwangmin Kwon (RBI triple), and Jose Gutierrez (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 1st inning and Aramis Ademan singled, walked twice, and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Jemile Weeks played LF in the game, the fourth different position he has played during the course of his EXST rehab assignment (he has also played 2B-SS-CF). 

In EXST Cubs roster news, 1B-3B-LF Kevin Cornelius (March 2017 broken hand) has completed his EXST rehab assignment, has been reinstated from the AA Tennessee 7-day DL, and has rejoined the Smokies.

Kevin Cornelius 2017 Cactus League EXST game stats:
7 GAMES (25 PA)
350/444/800
3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 7 RUNS, 0 SB (2 CS), 3 BB, 1 HBP, 9 K
ASS scouting report: Plus-power, slow runner, below-average defensively no matter where he plays, and he strikes out a LOT 
NOTE: Cornelius was selected from the New York Yankees AA Trenton affiliate in the AAA Phase of the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft.
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

 

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