Erling Moreno

Ryan Williams and Erling Moreno Throw in Game at Riverview

Carlos Pacheco singled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, Delvin Zinn doubled, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Reivaj Garcia contributed two RBI (a run-scoring double and an RBI GO), leading the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the Angels Saturday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Johan Sala singled, walked, and belted a solo HR and Kevin Maitan singled twice and drove-in a run for the Angels in a losing cause. 

RHP Ryan Williams (2017 shoulder surgery) got the start for the Cubs and threw 3.2 IP (46 pitches), retiring the first six men he faced (6-3, 3-U, 4-3, P-6, 4-3, K-swinging) on only 20 pitches before allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits (both singles) and a walk in a 19-pitch third inning of work. The Williams FB sat at 81-83, but he featured a plus-CV and plus-CH that kept Angels hitters off-balance. 

RHP David Garner (on Restricted List and at Extended Spring Training while serving a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension) relieved Williams and easily retired four of the five men he faced (he walked the first hitter and then retired four in a row - K-swinging, 6-3, 5-3, 4-3). Garner will be getting out of the "penalty box" next week, and he looks like he is ready to roll. 

RHP Erling Moreno worked two innings (32 pitches) in relief, and while his line wasn't great (he allowed two runs on three hits, including a HR), he was pumping his FB consistently at 96-98 MPH and mixing it with a hard slider. E. Moreno has been at EXST for the past couple of months throwing bullpen sessions and working on his mechanics, and from what he showed today, he could maybe fit a reliever profile (perhaps a two-inning reliever in the Archie Bradley/Josh Hader/Amir Garrett mold?).      

LHP Jonathan Bruzual (up from the Cubs Dominican Academy) made his U. S. game debut, throwing a shutout inning. Bruzual's FB sits at 84-86, but he has a solid CV and is working on a CH. He reported to EXST with the other DSL pitchers about two months ago, but he had been throwing only bullpen sessions up until today. 

Here is the unabridged box score (Cubs players only): 

AZL Cubs Five-Run 8th Tops AZL Brewers at Riverview

18-year old power-hitting C-1B Kevin Zamudio (2015 IFA - Tijuana, Mexico) slugged a two-run home run over the LF fence to put the Cubs on the scoreboard and speedy Luis Ayala belted a three-run inside-the-park home run into the right-centerfield alley two outs later, as the AZL Cubs rallied to score five runs in the bottom of the 8th and defeat the AZL Brewers 5-3 in Arizona League (AZL) Opening Day action Monday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

AZL Cubs LHP Yapson Gomez hurled three innings of perfect baseball in relief and picked-up the win. 

Ex-KC RHRP Aaron Crow (April 2015 TJS) pitched the first inning for the AZL Cubs (14 pitches - 10 strikes), allowing no runs and a single, with a strikeout and 1/1 GO/AO. 

19-year old RHP Erling Moreno (2013 IFA - Colombia - $650K signing bonus) was the scheduled starter for the AZL Cubs, but he ended-up piggy-backing the rehabber (Crow). Moreno worked five innings (77 pitches) and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits (five singles and a double), no walks, and an HBP, with three strikeouts and an 8/3 GO/AO.  

Brew Crew SP Nash Walters (Brewers 2015 3rd round pick - Lindale HS - Lindale, TX) threw four innings of one-hit shutout ball with six strikeouts and Nicolas Pierre drove-in all three AZL Brewers runs with a third-inning sacrifice fly and a fifth-inning two-run double.  

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

Cubs Sweep Rockies as Fife Completes Rehab

Kevonte Mitchell doubled, walked twice, and drove-in a run and Erling Moreno and two relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the Rockies 3-0 on Field #4, and Chris Pieters singled, tripled and scored a run, Alex Bautista singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked-in another, and Eric Gonzalez smacked a solo home run, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) belted a two-run HR for the Rockies in a losing cause on Field #5. 

The game on Field #4 was called by mutual consent after seven innings of play, and the game on Field #5 was called by mutual-consent after six innings of play. 

Speedy waterbug Edgar Rondon laid-down a picture-perfect two-out squeeze-bunt hit to get the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning on Field #4, after practicing his bunting in pre-game BP. (I guess that's why they say "practice makes perfect"). 

Cubs outfielders Jose Gonzalez (knee or ankle injury after tripping over 1st base on two-run RBI single on Field #5) and Robert Garcia (hit on foot by pitch on Field #4) left their games with injuries. 

RHSP Stephen Fife (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL with strained oblique since 4/15) made his final EXST rehab start, working four innings (81 pitches - 69% strikes). He was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits (four singles, a triple, and the Castellanos two-run bomb). He also hit a batter, threw a WP, and struck out six, with a 3/3 GO/AO. His next start will likely be for the I-Cubs next Monday or Tuesday, but don't be surprised if he gets released sooner rather later.    

RHRP Nick Sarianides made his Cubs debut, throwing a 1-2-3 inning (F-8, P-2, K). The 26-year old Sarianides was released by the Diamondbacks earlier this month after struggling to throw strikes at AA Mobile, but he led the Hi-A California League (an extreme hitters league) in both saves and strikeouts last season after being acquired by the D'backs from Tres Rivieres (Cam-Am League) in 2014. He was mentioned by Baseball America prior to last December's Rule 5 Draft as a likely candidate to get selected, although he was not. Sarianides features a 91-92 MPH fastball and a dive-bomb change-up (which is his strikeout pitch). He probably won't be at EXST very long, because he was in "game shape" when the Cubs signed him. He looked very good today.   

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

Cubs Use Long-Ball to Crush D'backs at Riverview

Jose Paniagua hammered a three-run HR, Shane Victorino belted a solo home run, Alex Bautista knocked in three runs with an RBI single, a solo home run, and a sacrifice fly, Wladimir Galindo doubled twice, singled, scored a run, and drove-in another, Yeiler Peguero tripled and scored and drilled an RBI single, and Erling Moreno hurled three innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs outslugged the Diamondbacks 12-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Francis Martinez blasted a grand slam home run, Kal Simmons cranked a two run HR, Jazz Chisholm ripped an RBI double and a triple and scored a run, and Jacy Cave doubled twice for the D'backs in a losing cause.  

17-year old RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) struck out the side in a 1-2-3 5th inning for the Cubs, mixing a mid-90's fastball with a plus-curve to blow the D'backs away.  

John Arguello has game notes from Riverview Park at Cubs Den.

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

Denorfia and Dunston Help Cubs Salvage Tie at Riverview

Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - strained hamstring) belted an RBI double, walked, and scored a run and Shawon Dunston Jr (on Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-day DL - right shoulder injury) doubled, stole two bases, and scored a run for the Cubs, and Jesus Lopez drilled a two-run single, doubled, and walked and Vicmal de la Cruz singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Athletics, as the Cubs and A's played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee7-day DL with a lat strain) continued his EXST rehab, working three innings (37 pitches) for the Cubs and allowing two runs on four hits (two doubles and two singles) and no walks, with three strikeouts (all three swinging) and a 4/2 GO/FO. Johnson had excellent command today and threw a high percentage of strikes (71%). His fastball velocity sat consistenty at 92 MPH (max), with only an occasional drop-off to 91.  

18-year old Colombian RHP Erling Moreno (2014 TJS) made his second game appearance in a week. The 6'3 righthander allowed two hits (a single and a double) in 1.2 IP, and successfully escaped a "runner at 3rd and out out" situation. Moreno's fastball velocity sat at 89-90 (down a couple of MPH from last week), but he displayed outstanding command of all of his pitches, most noteworthy an advanced change-up (unusual for an 18-year old) 

Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS) also made his second game appearance in a week (he faced the A's at Fitch Park last Monday), but he did not fare as well as Moreno. While he only allowed one run, he also allowed six of the ten batters he faced to reach base (three singles and three walks, plus a WP) in just 1.1 IP. Cease's fastball velocity was at 95-97 MPH in both innings, down a couple of ticks from his outing last week when he touched 99.

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHP Marcelo Carreno (post-2013 shoulder surgery) and RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) squared-off in a two-iining "sim" game on Field #3.   

Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League EXST game (Cubs players only): 

Moreno & Cease Piggy-Back Their Way to Fitch Park

Trace Loehr singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Jean Carlo Rodriguez drilled a bases-loaded three-run double, Vicmal de la Cruz belted a solo home run, walked, and drove-in another run with a GO, Andy Paz slugged a two-run HR, and RHSP Jon Massad tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball, leading the Athletics to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs in Memorial Day Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

Kevin Encarnacion hammered a solo home run and an RBI single, Kevonte Mitchell drilled an RBI single, a double, drew a walk, stole a base, and scored a run, and Ricardo Marcano roped an RBI triple, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

In 22 Cactus League EXST games, Kevonte Mitchell leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with 12 (one CS and one PO). Also, he is hitting 239/345/310, with three doubles and a triple, eleven walks, 15 K, and one HBP, ten runs scored, and seven RBI, in the 22 games (84 PA). The 19-year old 6'4 185 Mitchell (Cubs 2014 13th round draft pick - Kennett HS - Kennett, Mo) is a virtual lock to play CF and hit lead-off for the Eugene Emeralds, once the Northwest League (NWL) commences play next month. 

RHP Erling Moreno (2013 IFA - Colombia) got the start for the Cubs today and retired six of the seven men he faced (1B, 5-3, 4-3, K, F-8, K, 4-3). He allowed one run on one hit (a single leading off the bottom of the 1st inning that came around to score on a couple of ground outs and a WP) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both swinging). Moreno rolled easily through his two innings, throwing a good percentage of strikes (27 pitches - 18 strikes - 67% K), and mixing his 91-92 MPH fastball, plus-curve, and change-up to keep the A's hitters mostly off-balance.

The 18-year old 6'3 200 Moreno was signed by the Cubs ($650K bonus) out of the same 2013-14 International Signing Period class that produced OF Eloy Jimenez, SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, 3B-1B Wladmir Galindo, C Yohan Matos, and RHP Jeferson Mejia (since traded to AZ in the Miguel Montero deal), but he underwent an elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John Surgery) midway through the 2014 season that has slowed his development, and so this was his first game action in almost a year.

Moreno will likely join RHP Dylan Cease, ex-Mexico City Red Devils RHP Jesus Camargo, RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave, and probably either Adbert Alzolay or Santiago Rodriguez in the AZL Cubs starting rotation (at least at the outset of the AZL season, until the 2015 draft picks begin to arrive).     

Speaking of Dylan Cease, he also saw action in today's game, "piggy-backing" with Moreno. Although he threw just 1.0 IP, Cease actually pitched in parts of two different innings (facing eight hitters total), hence the high pitch count (37 pitches) in just one inning (three outs). 

Cease was working his fastball at 95-97 MPH to the first four batters he faced, but then elevated the FB velocity up to 98-99 when facing the next four. He continues to struggle with command, however, walking two and going to three-ball counts on two other hitters, bouncing his breaking ball (which is a really a plus-pitch when he throws it over the plate instead of bouncing it in front of the plate), and throwing only 56% strikes.

After throwing an amazing six wild pitches in just one inning of work last Friday versus the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick, RHRP Daniel Bard had another nightmare inning (actually just one-third of an inning), allowing four runs on one hit (the Rodriguez bases-loaded double) after walking three and hitting a batter. And he threw three more WP today, too, for a total of nine in his last 1.1 IP.       

Here is the abridged box score from today's games (Cubs players only) :

Cease Fires 99, but Not Enough Gas to Stop Giants from Pummeling Cubs

Nicol Parra reached base four times (a two-run HR, two singles, and a walk), Chase Compton belted a triple and two doubles, drove-in a run, and scored another, Byron Murray slugged a three-run home run and a triple, Richard Amion Jr drilled an RBI triple, singled, walked, and scored a run, Fernando Pujadas smashed a two-run triple, and LHSP Nik Turley hurled six innings of shutout ball, as the Giants swept a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader from the Cubs this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

The Giants shutout the Cubs 6-0 in the game played on Field #6, and drubbed the Cubs 10-4 in the game played on Field #5. 

Roberto Caro singled twice, tripled, and drove-in two runs for the Cubs.

RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS) got the start for the Cubs on Field #6, and worked a third of an inning, walking the bases loaded around a strikeout. Cease's fastball was riding high (topping out at 99 MPH), but he had difficulty commanding it (22 pitches - only ten strikes). Otherwise, he was unhittable.

Cease was the Cubs 6th round draft pick out of Milton HS - Milton, Ga in 2014, and the Cubs selected him despite knowing that he would need a UCL elbow ligament transplant ("Tommy John surgery"). Considered one of the top high school arms in the 2014 draft class and a likely 1st round pick prior to his elbow issues, he received a $1.5M signing bonus (equivalent to "first round money") and then had the TJS last July 22nd. He has made a rapid recovery, and barring a setback, he will likely be a rotation starter for the AZL Cubs when the Arizona League season begins play next month.

In his first EXST Cactus League start start last Tuesday (16 pitches, two outs recorded, one HBP), Cease's fastball was topping out at 97 MPH, so his velocity has increased a bit over the past week. 

Prior to the Cactus League games, RHPs Jacob Turner (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL with a right flexor strain), Erling Moreno (2014 TJS), and Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) threw in a three-ining "sim" game on Field #3. Turner threw one inning (15 pitches), and Moreno and Masek threw two innings a piece (30 pitches each).

OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with a hamstring strain) was one of the hitters in the "sim" game. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, LHRP Daniel Schlereth and RHSP Felipe Paulino have been moved-up to AAA Iowa.

The 6'3 260+ 31-year old Paulino was orginally signed by the Houston Astros as an International free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, and he has pitched in the big leagues with Houston, Colorado, Kansas City, and the White Sox. He underwent an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) post-2012 when he was with the Royals, and then missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury while a member of the White Sox.

Paulino was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs on May 3rd, after being released by the Boston Red Sox at the end of Spring Training. His fastball velocity has ranged from 94-96 MPH in his two Cactus League Extended Spring Training outings and one EXST intrasquad game.  

Schlereth was the 1st round pick (26th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, and was part of the Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Edwin Jackson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson/Phil Coke three-team mega-deal in December 2009, going to the Tigers with Scherzer, Coke and A. Jackson (Granderson went to the Yankees, and E. Jackson and Kennedy ended up in Arizona).

Schlereth was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs on April 26th, after he was released by the Detroit Tigers,

FELIPE PAULINO - CACTUS LEAGUE EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING GAMES
1. 5/6: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (12 strikes)  
2. 5/9: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 29 pitches (20 strikes)
TOTAL: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 1/2 GO/FO, 64% strikes,  0.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .182 OppBA

Paulino also pitched in one EXST intrasquad game:
5/14: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 2/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (43 strikes) 
 
DANIEL SCHLERETH - CACTUS LEAGUE EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING GAMES
1. 5/6: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (7 strikes)
2. 5/9 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 0/1 GO/FO, 26 pitches (11 strikes)
3. 5/12: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)_
4. 5/15: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 22 pitvhes (15 strikes)
TOTAL: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 4/3 GO/FO, 55% strikes, 6.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, .313 OppBA

Here are the box scores from the two Cactus League EXST games (Cubs players only):

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