Drew Rucinski

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): 

Cubs Sign Two Minor League Free-Agents

Baseball America reports that the Cubs have signed Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent RHSP (ex-LAA) and Rule 55 minor league 6YFA LHP to 2016 minor league contracts. 

Both will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft, although it's not likely that Rucinski would get picked because he was not claimed off waivers when he was outrighted in September, and the only way Antigua gets claimed is if the Cubs placed him on the AA Tennessee reserve list, which would make him eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the draft ($12,000 draft price with no roster restrictions and no chance to be re-claimed).