Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

9th Inning Rally Gains Split for Cubs at Riverview

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng hurled three innings of perfect baseball, Kevin Cornelius laced two RBI doubles (one in the 2nd inning and another in the 8th), Eddy Julio Martinez singled and doubled and scored a run, and Gioskar Amaya drilled a bases-loaded two-run walk-off double off the LF fence in the bottom of the 9th to overcome a 4-3 deficit, as the AAA Iowa Cubs rallied to edge the Reno Aces (AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks) 5-4 on Field #6, and Anfernee Grier smacked a two-run HR in the 1st inning and Marcus Wilson hammered a solo HR in the 3rd, and LHSP Alex Young hurled three innings of shutout ball, as the Jackson Generals (D'backs AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Friday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Diamondbacks RHSP Taijuan Walker was sent to Mesa from D'backs MLB camp and got the start for Reno on Field #6, working 4.2 IP and allowing one run (earned) on three hits (a double and two singles) and a walk, with seven strikeouts and a 4/2 GO/AO. Kevin Cron belted two tape-measure home runs (a solo blast off Zach Hedges in the 5th and a two-run bomb off Preston Morrison in the 7th) to give the Aces a temporary 3-2 lead (later expanded to 4-2), before the Cubs came back with a run in the 8th on the second RBI double by Cornelius and then the two runs in the bottom of the 9th on the G. Amaya clutch two-bagger (the culmination of a magnificent ten-pitch AB).

Down 4-0 going into the 9th on Field #5, Zack Short blasted a three-run HR to pull the Smokies within a run, but the potential tying and winning runs were subsequently left-stranded. 

Tennessee pitchers allowed only three hits on Field #5, but eight walks (including six by Smokies SP Kyle Miller) and two HBP combined with the two early HR helped give the Generals just enough runs and the eventual victory.   
 
Because the Cubs MLB squad has split in two for the weekend (the Cubs will be playing a two-game set versus the Cleveland Indians in Las Vegas on Saturday and Sunday while the other squad remains in Mesa to face an Indians split-squad on Saturday and the Kansas City Royals on Sunday), a number of players (mostly from AAA Iowa) were called up to the MLB squad from Minor League Camp just for the weekend, and so there were also a number of temporary promotions at Minor League Camp as well. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Riverview Park on Friday (Cubs players only):  

Cubs Wish Yanqui Had Just Stayed Home

Yoel Yanqui (two-run triple), Jose Queliz (two-run double), Eduardo Diaz (solo HR), and Luke Van Rycheghem (RBI double) contributed run-scoring extra base hits to lead the Visalia Rawhide (Arizona Diamondbacks Hi-A affiliate) to a 7-2 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, and Buddy Kennedy collected three hits (two singles and a double) and scored twice and Francis Martinez drilled an RBI double, singled and scored, and reached base on an HBP, helping the Kane County Cougars (D'backs Lo-A affiliate) defeat the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate 4-1 on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.

Diamondbacks relievers retired a combined 30 of the last 33 hitters they faced on the two fields.

Wladimir Galindo stroked a two-run 1st inning HR and SP Jose Paulino hurled three shutout innings with five strikeouts (including the first four men he faced) for the Pelicans in a losing cause on Field #6,.and Christopher Morel doubled and singled and scored a run and Delvin Zinn roped an RBI triple and a single in the South Bend loss on Field #5.  

CF Jose Gutierrez and 1B Rafael Mejia were moved-up from the Eugene/Mesa squad to the Myrtle Beach squad for the day to provide additional late-inning position-player replacements beyond what the Pelicans had available.

Both games were eight inning affairs.

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

Bolt from the Skye Turns I-Cubs Blue at Riverview

Aramis Ademan and Nelson Velazquez each ripped an RBI triple, singled, walked, and scored two runs, Miguel Amaya drilled a two-run double and a single and scored a run, and Fidel Mejia slugged a three-run HR, helping the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) trounce the Midland Rockhounds (AA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 10-3 on Field #5, and Luke Persico and Collin Theroux roped RBI doubles, Luis Barrera hammered an RBI triple, Skye Bolt clubbed a solo HR, and RHSP Ben Bracewell tossed 2-1/3 innings of one-hit ball, helping the Nashville Sounds (A's AAA affiliate) defeat the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 6-4 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Both games were eight-inning affairs.  

Because the Cubs MLB squad was playing a split-squad doubleheader, most of the Iowa position players were called-up for those games, and as a result the Iowa game featured a number of position-players from the Tennessee squad, and the Tennessee game featured a number of players from the Myrtle Beach and South Bend squads (and in fact it was some of the Cubs top prospects from the lower levels -- Ademan, Velazquez, and M. Amaya -- who had the best performances).   

Iowa Cubs reliever Corey Black (February 2017 TJS) saw his first game action since 2016 in the contest on Field #6, but it did not go too well for the righthander. Black faced three batters and threw 14 pitches (but only three strikes) and left the game with what appeared to be a right arm injury (unknown if it's related to the TJS). 

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

Cubs Don't Show Brothers Much Hospitality at Riverview

D. J. Wilson smacked a two-run triple and a single, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Zack Short doubled twice and scored twice, Austin Upshaw hammered a two-run home run, Chris Pieters knocked-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, stole a base, and scored twice, and Stephen Bruno, Kevonte Mitchell, and Miguel Amaya each drilled an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Chinatrust Brothers 13-5 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Tung-Jung Wu belted a two-run HR for the Brothers in a losing cause.

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Duncan Robinson got the start for the Cubs, working two innings and allowing a run on four hits (all four hits were singles) and no walks, with four strikeouts (all swinging). Trevor Clifton followed Robinson to the hill and worked two shutout innings, allowing two hits (both doubles) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both looking). Michael Rucker also threw two innings, surrendering a two-run HR along the way while throwing 82% strikes. As things stand right now, Robinson, Clifton, and Rucker would appear to be 3/5 of the AA Tennessee Smokies projected Opening Day starting rotation.

The Brothers (AKA "Brother Elephants") are one of the four clubs in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), and they have been having their Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (former Spring Training home of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks) for the past few weeks, sharing the facility with los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League).

Cory Snyder is the Brothers manager, Jim Presley is the hitting coach, and Scott Budner is the pitching coach, so there is a distinct MLB feel to the operation. Ex-MLB or minor league pitchers Casey Coleman, Zack Segovia, Nick Additon, and Mitch Lively are on the Brothers roster, although none of them pitched in the game. Several of the Brothers played for Team Chinese Taipei in the most-recent World Baseball Classic, so they have some experience playing with and against MLB and minor league players.  

Here is the box score from the game (English translation only):

Cub Pitchers Shine in the Arizona Sun at Riverview Park

Ryan Williams hurled 6-2/3 innings of one-hit ball (no walks) and combined with Rob Zastryzny to toss a two-hit shutout, as the Iowa Cubs blanked the Tennessee Smokies 1-0 on Field #6, and Yeiler Peguero slugged a solo HR and Dylan Cease tossed 4-2/3 innings of three-hit one-run ball with six strikeouts (81 pitches), as the South Bend Cubs edged the Eugene Emeralds 3-2 on Field #5, in Cubs Minor League Camp doubleheader intrasquad action Sunday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Baez, Clifton, and Hodges Star at Riverview Park

Jeffrey Baez belted a solo home run, an RBI triple, and a single, and stole a base, and RHSP Trevor Clifton hurled six innings of three-hit shutout ball, as the Tennessee Smokies blanked the Iowa Cubs 3-0 on Field #6, and Jesse Hodges ripped a two-run double and a single and stole a base, Carlos Sepulverda singled twice, walked, scored a run, and drove-in another, and Robert Garcia laced an RBI double and a single, stole a base, and scored a run, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to a 6-4 victory over the South Bend Cubs on Field #5, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad doubleheader action Saturday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Trainer Olympics & Good Pitching Featured at Riverview Park

Zack Short collected three hits (two singles and a triple) and scored two runs, Chris Pieters singled twice and walked and drove-in a run, and RHSP Duncan Robinson (Cubs 2016 9th round draft pick - Dartmouth) hurled four innings of shutout ball (groundball machine with a 7/1 GO/AO) and RHP Matt Swarmer (Cubs 2016 19th round draft pick - Kutztown U.) followed with four innings of one-run ball (with six strikeouts), leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 4-2 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Lo-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) on Field #5, and RHSP Casey Meisner tossed four innings of one-run ball as the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) edged the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-affiliate) 3-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader action Friday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The game on Field #5 was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair. 

RHSP Thomas Hatch (Cubs 2016 3rd round draft pick - Oklahoma State) was the starting pitcher for Myrtle Beach on Field #6, working 4.2 IP (90 pitches) and allowing two runs on five hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts. He also threw a WP, and committed a two-base throwing error on an attempted pick-off at 1st base. Hatch is a very advanced pitcher and could move very quickly through the Cubs system. In fact he could see MLB as early as next season - IF - he can improve his command (he threw only 49% strikes in the game). 

Prior to the games, the Cubs Player Develpment Department held their annual "Trainers Olympics" on Field #6. Cubs minor league trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, equipment managers, clubhouse personnel, and video & IT techs participated. Events included a Home Run Derby (from 2nd base), catching pop-ups at home plate while wearing catchers gear, and throwing BP. 150 or so players gathered around the field to provide encouragement to the contestants as they gamely tried to show-off their baseball skills.    

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

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