D. J. Wilson

Pelicans Pitchers Turn Up the Heat at Riverview Park

Kevonte Mitchell walloped a two-run HR (off Brailyn Marquez), D. J. Wilson singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and SP Paul Richan hurled six innings of shutout ball with nine stikeouts (also 6/2 GO/AO, all three hits he allowed were singles, he issued no walks, and he threw 80% strikes) and combined with five relievers to fan 20, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) cruise past the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) 6-1 in Minor League Camp Spring Training game action Friday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as an eleven inning contest so that all of the pitchers who needed to throw could get their work, and while the twenty strikeouts racked up by Myrtle Beach pitchers was certainly aided by playing two additional innings, Pelicans pitchers did punch-out 16 SB-Cubs hitters through nine innings.    

Also, three of the pitchers who threw for Myrtle Beach (Ian Clarkin, Jordan Minch, and Wyatt Short) were actually Tennessee relievers who needed work (the Minch FB was sitting 94-95 and touched 97, BTW), and another (LHP Ryan Lawlor) was recently moved-down to South Bend from Myrtle Beach but (like the Tennessee trio) he needed work and the South Bend bullpen dance card was full.   

As is typical this time of year, several players from the Eugene/Mesa squad (Vicens, K. Moreno, L. Diaz, O. Nunez, Hurd, Zardon, and Daniel) served as late-inning replacements for the MB and SB starters, and the ones who played for South Bend combined to go 1-7 with six strikeouts (which also contributed to the prodigious Pelicans pitchers' strikeout total).     

In Minor League Camp news, OF Brandon Hughes (Cubs 2017 16th round draft pick - Michigan State) is being converted to a LHP. Hughes is the second Cubs outfielder to be converted to pitcher this month (Jamie Galazin was the other one). Like Galazin, Hughes does have some prior experience as a pitcher in college (he appeared in seven games as a reliever in his freshman season at MSU). 

Here is the box score from the game:  

Ryan Williams Keeps Rollin' at Riverview as Extended Spring Training Comes to an End

D. J. Wilson singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run, Franklin Tineo belted a solo HR, and SP Ryan Williams (2017 right shoulder surgery) hurled five innings of one-run ball, in a Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played Tuesday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings of play (only two pitchers were scheduled to throw in the game, both with a pre-determined 75-pitch limit). 

Tuesday marked the official end of Cubs Extended Spring Training. AZL mini-camp begins on Thursday, and the first AZL games are next Monday.

Meanwhile, the Eugene Emeralds (the Cubs short-season "A" affiliate) flew up to Oregon earlier in the afternoon, leaving AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 behind in Mesa to play the final EXST intrasquad game. The first Eugene game will be this coming Friday. 

Based upon who did and did not play in the intrasquad game and who I did not see on the bench (and we will have to wait for the Eugene roster to be released before this can be confirmed), it would appear that a number of the Cubs best EXST prospects have been assigned to Eugene (at least initially, pending the eventual arrival of some of this year's college draft picks), including SS-3B Christopher Morel, C Jonathan Soto, LHSP Brailyn Marquez, CF Fernando Kelli, SS Luis Vazquez, LHSP Faustino Carrera, RF Jonathan Sierra, 2B Luis Diaz, RHSP Eury Ramos, and 3B-2B Orian Nunez. (OF Nelson Velazquez -- who was moved up to South Bend from EXST last month -- has also been assigned to Eugene, so the Emeralds could be a fun team to watch).

Converseely, some of the older and more experienced players who were expecting to go to Eugene (C Alexander Guerra, OF Luis Gutierrez, OF Jose A. Gonzalez, 3B-1B Fidel Mejia, OF Yovanny Cuevas, and INF Yonathan Perlaza) as well as the youngsters making their pro debuts (SS Luis Verdugo, 2B Reivaj Garcia, and OF Kevin Moreno) were left behind to play in the AZL. (As most of you know by now, the Cubs Player Development Department likes to employ aggressive "challenge-promotions" for their best prospects). 

On the EXST medical front, Cubs 2017 6th round draft pick RHSP Jeremiah Estrada (who was a virtual lock for the Eugene starting rotation) was left behind in Mesa after suffering a right elbow injury in a Cactus League EXST game versus Angels at Diablo Park about ten days ago. RHSP Jose M. Gonzalez (who was not in contention for a Eugene SP slot but was expected to be a SP for one of the two Cubs AZL teams) has been shut-down indefinitely with a right elbow/forearm injury that ocurred in a Cactus League EXST game at Giants about two or three weeks ago (but no TJS for either Estrada or Gonzalez... yet). RHSP Danis Correa and RHRP Junior Marte have also been shut-down indefinitely (and I don't know why). And still no confirmation on the exact nature of DSL Cubs #2 LHSP Andres Bonalde's season-ending left elbow surgery (probably was TJS, but I'm not 100% sure). NOTE: Bonalde was called up from the Cubs Dominican Academy and was assigned to Cubs Extended Spring Training only - AFTER - he had the surgery. Myrtle Beach OF Chris Pieters was last seen a couple of weeks ago at the UAPC wearing a TJS-type contraption on his right (non-throwing) arm, but his injury could be any one of a number of different types of elbow/biceps type-injury (although whatever it is, it didn't look good). South Bend catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni had season-ending knee surgery last month. And no update yet on OF Carlos Pacheco, who suffered a leg injury while tripping over 1st base (and had to be carried from the field) in an intrasquad game last weekend (Pacheco -- who was tied for 2nd in the DSL in HR in 2017 -- was expected to play LF and provide a power-bat for one of the two AZL Cubs teams).   

Here is the box score from the game: 

D. J. Leads Pelicans past 66ers at Diablo

D. J. Wilson singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove one in, Fidel Mejia singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, and catcher Johnny Pereda drilled two RBI singles and threw out all four baserunners who tried to steal against him, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) to a 5-3 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #3, and RHSP Luis Madero hurled four innings of one-run ball and Brandon Marsh roped a two-out two-run single to cap a three-run 3rd inning, helping the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) defeat the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate 6-1 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Sunday afternoon at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.    

Myrtle Beach relievers retired the last eleven men they faced on Field #3.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two 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):

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.

D. J. Helps Pelicans Cruz to Miller Time Music at Diablo

Zack Short singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run, and Jose Gutierrez singled, walked, stole a base and scored two runs, helping the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) defeat the Burlington Bees (Lo-A affilate of the Los Angeles Angels) 7-4 on Field #3, and Trent Giambrone belted a two-run double, stole 3rd base, and then scored on a FC to highlight a three-run 2nd, D. J. Wilson smashed a tape-measure solo home run off the Angels clubhouse in the 3rd, Michael Cruz blasted a two-run HR down the RF line in the 4th, and Kyle Miller hurled three innings of shutout ball, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) to an 11-7 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Saturday afternoon at the Diablo Stadium Complex n Tempe, AZ.

Myrtle Beach 1B Matt Rose left the game on Field #4 in the top of the 2nd inning after being hit by a pitch, and he was driven back to the UAPC in Mesa by Cubs training staff. Also, South Bend catcher Tyler Payne suffered what appeared to be a lower-body injury while sliding into 2nd base (RBI double) in the top of the 6th on Field #3.   

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

Shelby Miller a Mystery to Cubs Hitters

RHSP Shelby Miller (on Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 15-day DL retro to May 25th with a sprained/bruised right index finger) hurled five innings of shutout ball and Max Brown (RBI double) and Gerard Hernandez (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits to highlight a two-run first inning, as the Diamondbacks made the two runs stand and edged the Cubs 2-1 at Sloan Park, and Joey Armstrong laced a two-run single to cap a three-run second-inning and Marcus Wilson walked twice, singled, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the D'backs over the Cubs 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.  

With local Phoenix TV crews recording every pitch, Miller breezed-through his five innings (55 pitches), allowing just three singles and no walks, with two strikeouts and an 8/5 GO/AO.

D. J. Wilson belted an RBI double and a single and Wladimir Galindo singled twice and drove-in a run for the Cubs in a losing cause on Field #1.

RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) and LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) continued their EXST rehab, working in the game played at Sloan Park. 

Tseng started the game and worked four innings (48 pitches - 73% strikes) and allowed two runs on four hits (three singles and a double), but he struck out five, did not issue any walks, and he retired the last eight hitters he faced (K, 4-3, 4-3, 3-1, K, L-9. K, 6-3). 

Leathersich followed Tseng to the hill and worked a 1-2-3 5th inning (4-3, F-9, K). While he's still in "rehab mode," Leathersich is increasing his velocity & command with each EXST outing, and he could ultimately replace Clayton Richard as the Cubs second LHRP option (perhaps sooner rather than later).    

In EXST Cubs roster news, SS Ho-Young Son (2014 IFA - South Korea) is being converted to pitcher, but he is not ready to throw in games yet (just bullpen side-sessions and PFP drills so far). The 21-year old Son hit just 238/310/295 in 65 career minor league games (AZL Cubs & Eugene) 2014-15, but he has a rifle for an arm.   

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

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