Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

Cubs Tie Bees While 66ers Blank Pelicans at Diablo

Matt Rose belted an RBI double, singled, and stole a base, Eloy Jimenez singled twice and scored a run, and Justin Steele and Kyle Twomey combined to toss a five-hitter for the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs), while Michael Pierson ripped an RBI single and walked and SP Joe Gatto fanned seven in 4.1 IP for the Burlington Bees (Lo-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels), as the Bees and Cubs played to a 1-1 tie on Field #4, and Trever Allen drove-in two runs with a SF and an RBI double and Jake Jewell and four relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout, as the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) blanked the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 3-0 on Field #7, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action this morning at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.  

It was a "bullpen day" for Myrtle Beach, as six Pelican relievers threw in the game on Field #7.  

Four position players (INF David Bote, C-1B Alberto Mineo, OF Kevonte Mitchell, and INF Sutton Whiting) were moved-up from the Eugene/Mesa group (Extended Spring Training) for the day, providing additional roster depth for the Pelicans and SB-Cubs. 

In Minor League Camp roster news, INF Danny Lockhart has been moved-down to Myrtle Beach from AA Tennessee. (Lockhart spent the 2015 season at Myrtle Beach). 

(both updated daily) 

Still waiting for final minor league roster cuts, moves, and adjustments, although several pitchers and position players presently on the Iowa, Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend active lists will likely be temporarily assigned to Eugene (AKA "Extended Spring Training") for a few days until further disposition can be determined. Last year, about a dozen pitchers and position players were left behind at EXST simply because there was no room for them on a full-season club's Opening Day roster, but the Cubs did not want to release them, either.     

Also, the Cubs will likely assign one position player (typically either a back-up catcher or multi-postional utility-type player) to each of the four full-season affiliates as a "player-coach," with the player inactive (usually by being placed on the club's 7-day DL with some vague soft-tissue injury) but staying in playing shape so that he can be activated in case another player goes on the DL. Last year, IF-OF Jonathan Mota (Iowa), C Tyler Pearson (Tennessee), C-1B Alberto Mineo (Myrtle Beach), and C Erick Castillo (South Bend) were the player-coaches for the four full-season teams, and RHP Jose Zapata (who was unable to pitch due to a broken neck suffered in a car crash post-2013) served as a player-coach (assistant pitching coach) with the short-season AZL Cubs.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played today at Diablo (Cubs players only): 

Eloy, Happ, Freitas, and Carhart Go Yard at Minor League Camp

Eloy Jimenez belted a two-run 1st inning home run, P. J. Higgins collected four hits (three singles and a triple), scored a run, and drove-in another, and SP Preston Morrison tossed five innings of shutout ball, leading the South Bend Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Field #4, and David Freitas clubbed a two-run 1st inning HR (his second round-tripper in two days) and Billy McKinney drilled a tie-breaking RBI single in the 6th, as the Tennessee Smokies edged the Iowa Cubs 3-2 on Field #6, in Minor League Camp game action Friday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Ian Happ smacked a solo HR for Myrtle Beach in a losing cause on Field #4, and Ben Carhart hammered a solo home run in a losing cause for Iowa on Field #6. (Carhart was temporarily moved-up to the Iowa squad from Tennessee because the three catchers assigned to Iowa are in Las Vegas with the parent club). 

The game on Field #6 was called after seven innings of play. 

There were a number of roster moves made at Minor League Camp prior to the two games, with the Opening Day rosters of the four full-season clubs (particularly regarding position players and starting pitchers) becoming a bit more clear. There are still a few more moves/cuts to be made, however, especially involving the AAA Iowa and Hi-A Myrtle Beach bullpens and the Iowa outfield, and it's always possible that some of the assignments could be changed at the last minute due to injuries or other factors.     

(both updated daily) 

Also, 18 players who are assigned to the Cubs Dominican Acdemy but who were not invited to Minor League Camp will be attending Extended Spring Training and will be arriving over the next several days. The first three (LHP Pablo Ochoa, LHP Eugenio Palma, and RHP Andri Rondon) arrived today. Ochoa and A. Rondon attended Instructs in Mesa last Fall, but Palma is making his U. S. debut. 

Here are the box scores from the two games: 

Lackey Sharp at Riverview

Eloy Jimenez knocked-in two runs with a 1st inning RBI double and a 9th inning RBI single, Andruw Monasterio ripped a single and an RBI double, scored a run, and stole a base, and Donnie Dewees tripled, walked, and scored, helping the South Bend Cubs edge the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5-4 on Field #4, and David Freitas singled twice, walked, and smacked a two-run HR, Matt Murton drilled a two-run double, singled twice, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored a run, Juan Carlos Perez tripled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, and Jeimer Candelario walked four times, leading the Iowa Cubs to an 8-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies on Field #6, in Minor League Camp doubleheader action Thursday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

RHSP John Lackey was left behind in Mesa when the Cubs departed for Las Vegas, and so he got the start for Iowa on Field #6. The big right-hander worked seven innings (100 pitches - 62 strikes), allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits (four singles and a double) and a walk, with eight strikeouts (five swinging), and a 7/5 GO/AO. At one point he retired eleven in a row.

Miguel Montero served as Lackey's catcher, and went 0-3 at the plate (a FO, an inning-ending GIDP, and a K-swinging on what was a nine-pitch AB) and 0-3 CS (with one throwing error), but he did pick a runner off 2nd base.  

Billy McKinney hammered a double and a triple in a losing cause for Tennessee.

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng had a rough outing for the Smokies on Field #6, allowing ten hits (including two triples and a double) and four walks in 4.1 IP. 

The game on Field #4 was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work. 

Because the MLB Cubs took a number of minor leaguers with them to Vegas, several players were temporariliy moved-up from a lower level group to augment the rosters of the four squads playing at Riverview.

Here are the box scores from the two games: 

Kalish Pinch Shot Perfect Elixir for I-Cubs at Fitch

Ryan Kalish launched a lead-off moon-shot pinch-hit home run over the right-centerfield fence and Bijan Rademacher and Willson Contreras contributed RBI singles later in the inning, as the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) scored three in the 8th to break a 1-1 tie and went on to defeat the Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics AAA affiliate) 4-2 on Field #4, and RHSP Daniel Mengden hurled five innings of one-hit shutout ball with seven strikeouts, Bret Vertigan tripled, singled, walked, and scored three runs, and James Harris drove-in three runs with an RBI double and a two-run single, helping the Midland Rockhounds (A's AA affiliate) blank the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 6-0 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Tuesday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Willson Contreras collected three hits, scored a run, knocked-in a run, and stole a base, Albert Almora Jr singled, doubled, and walked, and SP Drew Rucinski retired 12 of the first 14 men he faced for the I-Cubs on Field #4. 

The game on Field #4 was called after 8-1/2 innings of play.

RHSP Brad Markey had a rough outing for Tennessee on Field #3, allowing five runs on seven hits (five singles, a double, and a triple) and two walks (and no strikeouts) in 4.1 IP. 

The Smokies were playing short-handed (four of their guys were assigned to the MLB game at Sloan Park), so four players (OF Luis Ayala, SS Andruw Monasterio, 1B Jose Paniagua, and 2B Edgar Rondon) were moved-up to the Tennessee squad for the day from Eugene/Mesa (the Extended Spring Training group).  

Ex-Cub LHP Felix Doubront (currently the Oakland A's #5 starter) came down to Fitch Park from HoHoKam and got the start for Nashville. He worked 3.2 IP and did not allow a run, but he surrendered three hits and three walks along the way, and he needed 81 pitches (of which only 54% were strikes) to record the eleven outs.    

John Arguello (Cubs Den) was at Riverview Park for the Lo-A/Hi-A games, and he has game notes and some great pics from there: 



And here are the abridged box scores from the AA/AAA games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only): 

Cain Good, but Giants UnAbel to defeat Mota-vated Pelicans in Scottsdale

Ian Rice drilled a bases-loaded two-run single to spark a three-run 7th and SP Trevor Clifton retired ten of the first eleven men he faced, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) edge the San Jose Giants (Hi-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) 5-4 on Field #2, and Byron Murray hammered an RBI triple and a single and scored two runs and Lucius Fox (2015 IFA - Bahamas - $6M signing bonus) smacked an RBI double, walked, and scored a run, leading the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants Lo-A affiliate) to an 8-3 victory over the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs), in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Monday afternoon at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.    

Skyler Ewing and Dillon Dobson each belted a two-run home run in a losing cause for San Jose on Field #2, and Eddy Julio Martinez (2015 IFA - Cuba - $3M signing bonus) singled twice, walked, and drove-in a run in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #1. (EJM has served mostly as the South Bend DH in games so far, but he played RF today). 

San Francisco Giants RHSP Matt Cain made the start for San Jose on Field #2 and worked 5.1 IP (92 pitches - 66 strikes), allowing one run on four hits (all four singles) and a walk with five strikeouts and a 5/6 GO/AO.  

In Minor League Camp roster news, long-time Cubs minor league INF Jonathan Mota has retired as a player, although he has been working exclusively as a coach with the Myrtle Beach (Hi-A) squad since Minor League Camp opened earlier this month, and will continue to do so going forward.

Now 28, Mota was originally signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old shortstop out of Venezuela in 2003, and over the years he has played in more than 1,000 minor league games for the Cubs, playing at every level (rookie ball through AAA) and every position, but he never made it to The Show. (The closest he got was an NRI to Spring Training with the big club in 2012). He was a minor league 6YFA in each of the last six off-seasons, but each time he re-signed with the Cubs. 

Mota was the ultimate "organizational player," a quiet, loyal guy who did whatever he was asked to do without bitching or moaning, moving from one level to another when needed (often without much advance notice), mentoring his younger teammates, and when not needed as a player, he would serve as a 1st base coach, bullpen catcher, batting practice pitcher, and probably the bus driver, as well, all the while staying in playing shape in case he was called to action. He volunteered for the Catcher Conversion Program at Extended Spring Training in 2010 to increase his versatility, and he even had the opportunity to pitch (in a pinch) in seven games over the course of his long career to help save his club's bullpen.


 (updated daily)

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

Smokies Crack Nuts with Bombs at Riverview

Jake Hannemann crushed a three-run homer, Juan Paniagua and Matt Rose each smacked a two-run HR, Victor Caratini drilled an RBI single, doubled, walked, and scored a run, Ryan Dent singled twice, walked, scored twice, and collected an RBI, Chesny Young drove-in three runs with a FC and a two-run single, and SP Preston Morrison hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) crushed the Modesto Nuts (Colorado Rockies Hi-A affiliate) 13-5 on Field #6, and Sam Hilliard tripled, singled twice, and scored two runs, Brian Mundell slugged a solo HR and singled and scored, and Jonathan Piron belted an RBI triple, singled, walked, and stole a base, helping the Asheville Tourists (Rockies low-A affiliate) edge the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 9-8 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Sunday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

P. J. Higgins blasted a two-run HR for South Bend in a losing cause on Field #3, and Ryan Stephens contributed a solo HR and a two-run single in a losing cause for Modesto on Field #6. 

LHSP Justin Steele had a rough outing for South Bend, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits (including two doubles, a triple, and a home run) and a walk in five innings of work. 

As usual, several players were temporarily moved-up from a lower level just for the day. 

The game on Field #6 was unusual in that the Cubs AA squad played the Rockies Hi-A squad. Normally AAA plays AAA, AA plays AA, etc, but the members of last season's Myrtle Beach Pelicans received their 2015 Carolina League Champion rings in a ceremony prior to the games, and because most of the 2015 Pelicans are presently assigned to the AA Tennessee squad at Minor League Camp, the Cubs Hi-A group was dispatched to Salt River Fields to play the Rockies AA squad in place of the Smokies, leaving the Cubs AA group behind at Riverview to collect their rings and destroy the Rockies Hi-A group.

John Arguello at Cubs Den has some great pictures and game reports from Saturday's games at Riveview Park. 

 

And here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Riverview on Sunday (Cubs players only): 

 

Andreoli & Kalish Long Balls Carry Iowa Cubs to Victory at Fitch Park

Employing  the long ball (a Ryan Kalish three-run bomb and a John Andreoli solo blast) and six innings of one-run ball from 2015 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year Ryan Williams, the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) defeated the Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics AAA affiliate) 6-2 on Field #4, while on Field #3, Michael Soto, John Nogowski, and J. P. Sportman drilled consecutive RBI singles to highlight a three-run 7th, lifting the Midland Rockhounds (A's AA affiliate) to a 6-3 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate), in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Saturday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.  

In addition to his HR, Andreoli also walked twice and stole a base.

The I-Cubs bullpen (Peralta-Edwards-Pena) retired the last seven Sounds hitters, striking out six of them.

Iowa 1B Dan Vogelbach left the game on Field #4 after being hit on the foot with a pitch. 

Gioskar Amaya reached base four times (three walks and a single), Mike O'Neill collected three singles, and Mark Zagunis drove-in all three Tennessee runs (two-run double and a bases loaded HBP) in a losing cause on Field #3. 

Smokies SP Jonathan Martinez and reliever (ex-starter) Daury Torrez had rough outings on Field #3, with Martinez allowing five hits (two doubles and three singles) and four walks in just 3.2 IP (78 pitches - only 60% strikes), and Torrez surrendering three runs on five hits in just one inning of work.  

In Minor League Camp roster news, the Cubs have released RHRP Matt Brazis (acquired from SEA for OF Justin Ruggiano post-2014), 1B Matt Clark (ex-MIL), OF Donnie Cimino (2015 37th round draft pick - Weslyan U.), LHRP Heath Dwyer (2015 NDFA - VCU), LHRP Nick Greenwood (ex-STL), C-INF Jordan Hankins (2013 11th round draft pick - Austin Peay), RHRP Santiago Rodriguez (2013 IFA - Dominican Republic), RHSP Austyn Willis (2014 18th round draft pick - Barstow HS - Barstow, CA), and LHRP Sam Wilson (2013 8th round draft pick - Lamar CC). 


 (updated daily)

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

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