Erick Leal

Cubs Rehabbers Shut-Down D'backs at Riverview

SP Erick Leal tossed five innings of one-run ball and four relievers combined to hurl five shutout innings, leading the Cubs "B" team to a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning contest. 

At one point Cub pitchers retired 14 D'backs in a row. 

Four Cubs pitchers on Active Rehab at EXST saw action in the game: 

1. Erick Leal: FB 89-90 - CV 76-78 (62 pitches - 15 swings & misses)   
2. Tony Barnette: FB 90-91 - SL 81-84 
3. Danny Hultzen: FB 94-97 - SL 85-86 (12 pitches - seven swings & misses) 
4. Chad Hockin: FB 90 - SL 84-86 

In his three EXST game outings Hultzen has been unhittable. He has thrown three shutout innings (75% strikes) with eight strikeouts while allowing no walks and just an infield single and a weak P-6. His max FB velo has increased from 92 to 96 to 97 and his SL velo increased from 84 to 86 in a span of eight days. The difference seems to be that he has changed to a lower arm-slot (a lot like Andrew Miller circa 2015-16) which apparently puts less-stress on his shoulder and has led to a stunning uptick in his velo.

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

Barnette Throws in EXST Intrasquad Game at Riverview

Danny Zardon and Marcus Mastrobuoni walloped back-to-back solo HR over the LF fence in the bottom of the 1st inning, Luis Diaz tripled, singled, and scored a run, and Herson Perez singled, stole a base. scored a run, and drove-in another with a sacrfice fly for the "A" team, and Widimer Joaquin ripped an RBI double, walked twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Raymond Pena (RBI double) and Richard Nunez (RBI single) drilled run-scoring hits to cap a four run 3rd inning for the "B" team, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after six innings of play with the score tied 5-5.

RHRP Tony Barnette (on Cubs MLB 10-day IL - right shoulder inflammation) started the game for the "A" team and threw 14 pitches (8 strikes), recorded four outs (2/2 GO/AO), and allowed a walk before being relieved after he reached his pre-planned pitch limit. 

RHSP Erick Leal got the start for the "B" team and was struck on the left leg just below the knee with a high-velocity line-drive off the bat of Luis Diaz in the bottom of the 1st inning and had to be carried off the field. Leal surrendered the back-to-back homers to Zardon and Mastrobuoni just prior to getting hit by the Diaz liner, so needless-to-say it wasn't exactly the best of outings for the right-hander. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Nic, Bug, and Mac Are a Rockie Concoction for Cubs at Riverview

Nic Motley doubled twice, walked, and collected two RBI, Tyler Bugner singled twice, stole two bases, and scored twice, and RHSP Pearson McMahan hurled five innings of two-hit/one-run ball (retiring the first nine men and the last six men he faced), helping the Rockies edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Luis Hidalgo smacked a three-run HR, Luis Vazquez drilled a single and an RBI double and scored a run, Reivaj Garcia singled, doubled, and scored a run, and Yovanny Cuevas belted an RBI triple and drove-in another run with an RBI GO for the Cubs in a losing cause. 

The game was pre-planned as an eight-inning affair, but was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the Rockies pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work. 

Prior to the game, LHSP Justin Steele (July 2017 TJS) threw "live" BP (two innings - 35 pitches) on Field #4 and it went very well (FB velo good and flashed a plus-CH). Next step is three innings (45 pitches), and then he will begin to throw a breaking ball.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHSP Erick Leal (missed 2017 season with a non-TJS elbow injury) has completed his rehab and has rejoined Myrtle Beach, replacing RHRP Elvis Diaz on the Pelicans roster (E. Diaz was released). In addition, RHP Kyle Miller (Cubs 2015 19th round draft pick - Florida Atlantic) has been released from Extended Spring Training. (K. Miller had a lot of difficulty throwing strikes at Minor League Camp and was left behind in Mesa to work on his mechanics when Myrtle Beach departed Arizona at the end of March, but he was unable to overcome the problem). 

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

Dunderwood Just Plain Dealin' at Riverview Park

Iowa Cubs RHSP Duane Underwood Jr hurled 6.2 IP of two-hit shutout baseball, Henderson Perez belted a two-run HR, and Christopher Morel smacked a solo HR, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Wednesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The Morel HR was hit halfway to Scottsdale.

The game was pre-planned as an eleven-inning affair so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw today could get their work.

So it looks like Underwood is ready for his first start with the I-Cubs (probably next Tuesday).

LHRP Kyle Ryan (who was an NRI to MLB Spring Training) followed Underwood to the mound and retired seven of the eight men he faced. (K. Ryan was assigned to Extended Spring Training to get work and stay ready in case he is needed at Iowa).  

LHP Manuel Rondon and RHP Erick Leal also threw in the game (this was the second game appearance for both of them after spending most of Minor League Camp in the Rehab Throwing Program).
 
Here is the box score from the game:

Pelicans Fly the Coop While Bote Bomb Leaves Smokies in the Dark

David Bote (solo HR), Christopher Morel (RBI double), Fernando Kelli (RBI single), and Luis Vazquez (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits and LHP Bryan Hudson hurled 4.2 IP of one-run ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Sunday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Kevin Zamudio (RBI double) and Joe Martarano (RBI single) drove-in the two Tennessee runs.   

Iowa relievers Randy Rosario, Rob Zastryzny, and Daury Torrez (combined) retired nine in a row.   

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans left town today, so the South Bend Cubs had a full workout (baserunning drills, fielding practice, and BP) on Field #3 but did not play a game. As a result, Myrtle Beach LHSP Bryan Hudson (who remained behind in Mesa) and South Bend RHSP Erich Uelmen pitched the latter innings of the Iowa-Tennessee game, which was extended an extra inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work.   

Also, two pitchers who have been in the Rehab Throwing Program (RHP Erick Leal and LHP Manuel Rondon) got some work in the game as well. (Leal hadn't piched in a game since 2016).

The game was really two different games, because position players from the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad replaced the Iowa and Tennessee position players after each of the I-Cubs and Smokies starters got two AB. (Christopher Morel -- who began the game as the Iowa DH and then moved to 3B in the 5th -- was the only player to play the entire game). So Uelmen faced the EXST Cubs rather than AAA hitters during his five innings of work, while Hudson faced the AA starting lineup first time through the order and then EXST guys the next time.    
 
Here is the box score from the game:

Pelicans Brief South Bend on Way to Succeed in Intrasquad Business

Shawon Dunston Jr stroked an RBI double, reached base on a bunt single, and scored two runs, Trey Martin clubbed an RBI triple, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and Gioskar Amaya reached base three times on two walks and a single, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to an 8-5 victory over the South Bend Cubs in Minor League Camp intrasquad action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Frandy de la Rosa roped a triple and an RBI single and scored a run for South Bend in a losing cause. 

Four pitchers threw in the game, with two starting pitchers "piggy-backing" for each squad. Of the four, Erick Leal had the worst outing, allowing five runs on eight hits (including two doubles and a triple) and a walk (plus a throwing error and a wild pitch) in just 3.2 IP.  

The game was called with one out in the top of the 8th inning.

Here is the abridged box score from the game:  

Deep-Fried Snakes on Cubs Brunch Menu at Riverview Park

Alberto Mineo (a double and a run scored), Oliver Zapata (an RBI triple and a run scored), Jesse Hodges (an RBI double and a run scored), Kevin Brown (an RBI single and a run scored), and Rashad Crawford (RBI triple) sparked the Cubs to a four-run 2nd inning, Jeffrey Baez belted an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, and Erick Leal threw five innings of one-run ball, as the Cubs hammered the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Field #5, and Trey Masek and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Gleyber Torres singled twice, walked, and drove-in the game's only run, as the Cubs whitewashed the D'backs 1-0 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.     

In EXST Cubs roster news, RF Eloy Jimenez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs. 

The 17-year old Jimenez (last year's top-rated July 2 international free-agent) hit 238/270/357 in 24 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (89 PA), with 4/22 BB/K. one HR, five doubles, a triple, and a team-leading 16 RBI. He had a sore arm in Minor League Camp that limited him to DH duty-only until mid-April, and even then he only started eight EXST games in RF. No question his defense needs a lot of work.

But Jimenez caught fire at the plate on May 14th, hitting 360/385/640 over his final seven games (26 PA). He hit his only Cactus League EXST home run in what turned out to be his last EXST game (versus the Angels in Tempe this past Tuesday), when he drove-in four runs with a three-run HR and an RBI single.   

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

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