Fernando Kelli

Cedeno Sophisticated Slop Too Much for Young Giants

Yonathan Perlaza drilled an RBI double and an RBI single, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Edmond Americaan laced an RBI single and a double, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs. Jacob Hannemann collected three singles, stole a base, and scored two runs, Josue Huma belted a two-run double, drew a walk, and scored a run, Fernando Kelli knocked in two runs with a triple and a GO, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Dalton Hurd smacked an inside-the-park HR (line-drive bounded past centerfielder after diving catch attempt and rolled to the base of the Batter's Eye), and Oscar de la Cruz hurled 4.1 IP of one run ball with six strikeouts, leading the Cubs "A" Team to a 12-6 thrashing of the Giants Black squad in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day game action Friday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.   

Addison Russell played SS for four innings and batted once in each of the first four innings, going 1-3 (single and a run scored and an RBI on a sac fly). As things stand right now, Russell is eligible to be reinstated from the Restricted List on May 2nd (which is an off day) and make his 2019 MLB regular season debut on Friday May 3rd at Wrigley Field vs STL.     

LHP Xavier Cedeno (on the Cubs MLB 10-day Injured List with left wrist inflammation) made his first game appearance of 2019 and easily struck out the side in the top of the 1st inning, mixing a filthy CV with a straight-CH and maybe one FB. The young Giants had no chance against him.      

Prior to the game on Field #6, RHRP Tony Barnette threw "live" BP on Field #5, facing hitters for the first time since being shut-down with right shoulder inflammation following an MLB Cactus League game appearance on March 3rd. (Barnette is a few days behind Cedeno).  

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

Another Albertos Mystery Ride on the Bump at Riverview

Fernando Kelli reached base four times (three singles and an HBP), stole a base, collected two RBI, and scored a run, Fidel Mejia ripped an RBI triple and two singles, and Jose A. Gonzalez drilled an RBI double, walked twice, and scored a run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Monday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

RHSP Jose Albertos continues to struggle with command (mostly by spiking his FB in front of home plate or throwing it over the batter's head), allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits (four singles and a double), four walks, a HBP, and two wild pitches in 3.1 IP (73 pitches), while throwing only 48% strikes. He was, however, also occasionally brilliant, striking out six and getting batters to repeatedly hit his pitches into the ground when he was not recording a punch-out, issuing a walk, hitting a batter, or throwing a WP (4/0 GO/AO).  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Carrier Gets Carried Away and Pacheco Gets Carted Off, Leaving Remaining Cubs in the Dark

Chris Carrier drove-in two runs with a solo HR and two singles and scored twice, Fernando Kelli tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run. and Jonathan Sierra and Reivaj Garcia each drilled an RBI double and a single and scored a run, in an eight-inning Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played Saturday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Carrier hit his HR in the bottom of the 6th right after being informed that he was being called-up to one of the Cubs full-season affiliates (presumably South Bend, but it could have been one of the others), so after blasting the bomb far over the LF fence, Carrier gathered his gear, hugged his teammates, and made a bee-line for the UAPC (slip-sliding on the concrete in the process) and then to Sky Harbor Airport. (It's always a trip when a player at Extended Spring Training gets called-up during a game). 

On a more somber note, Carlos Pacheco was carried off the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the top of the 7th after tripping over 1st base while attempting to beat-out an infield hit. 

The game was called with a score of 8-6 prior to the start of the 9th inning after the lights suddenly switched themselves off. (Unbeknownst to Carmelo Martinez and the rest of the EXST Cubs, the lights were pre-set to turn off automatically at 10 PM so that the Riverview Park ground crew and City of Mesa personnel could go home without having to wait around for the game to end, but none of the Cubs knew how to over-ride the timer and turn them back on). Dalton Geekie and Yan de la Cruz were warmed-up and ready to throw one inning each, but obviously they were unable to get their scheduled game-work. (The Field #1 sprinklers also turned themselves on automatically a few minutes prior to start of the game).  

The Cubs will be playing AZL home games at both Sloan Park (the Cubs Spring Training stadium) and across the street at Riverview Park Field #1 (the only Riverview back-field with lights) on nights when both AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 are scheduled to play home games, so it's probably good to be aware of potential problems and get the glitches worked-out now rather than after the AZL season starts.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cubs Repel Snakes at Riverview

Yovanny Cuevas (RBI triple), Cam Balego (two-run single), Jonathan Sierra (RBI single), and Fernando Kelli (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits and LHSP Brailyn Marquez and four relievers combined to hurl a five-hitter, as the Cubs cruised to a 7-1 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 defensive gem of the game was turned-in by Cubs SS Luis Vazquez, who made a spectacular back-handed diving catch (at full-speed and with full extension) in short LF at the foul line, quickly righted himself, and then threw a laser-strike to 1st base to double-off the shocked/amazed D'backs baserunner to end the top of the 7th inning. (To prove he isn't ready for MLB just yet, Vazquez made a fielding error on an easy grounder to short in the top of the 9th).   
 
Recently-signed OF served as a DH in the game for the Cubs and got three AB, walking and scoring in the 1st, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 2nd, and striking out (swinging) on a 3-2 breaking ball in the 4th. Adams elected free-agency after being sent outright to AAA Gwinnett by the Atlanta Braves on April 25th,.and he officially signed with the Cubs today. He is at Extended Spring Training partly because he hadn't played in a game in about three weeks, and partly because there is not (at present) room for him at AAA Iowa.

The 28-year old Adams was one of the better "4th outfielders" in MLB last year, hitting 275/339/468 in 85 games with the Braves. But his best attribute is base-stealing. He swiped 25 bags last year, ten with Atlanta (no CS) and 15 for AAA Gwinnett prior to getting called up, after stealing 38 in AA in both 2013 and 2014, 31 in AA/AAA in 2015, and 44 in AA/AAA in 2016. 

Adams played in the Cubs organization in 2016 (first at AA Tennessee and then at AAA Iowa) after being released by the Yankees (he was released from AA Trenton to make room for OF Billy McKinney after the Yanks acquired McKinney as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, so in a way Adams signing with the Cubs in 2016 was indirectly a result of the Chapman deal), and he was actually "on the bubble" for a potential September call-up to Chicago that season as a "5th outfielder" (late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement), but he never got the call.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Cubs 2017 5th round draft pick OF Nelson Velazquez (P. J. Education School - Carolina, PR) has been promoted to South Bend.  

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

Giants Orange Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Cubs Expense

Cody Brickhouse and John Polonius drilled back-to-back RBI doubles to spark a four-run 4th inning and Robinson Medrano belted a solo HR in the 6th, leading the Giants orange squad to a 6-3 victory over the Cubs in Cinco de Mayo Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Field #2 (AKA "Jim Davenpost Field") at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Luis Ayala tripled, singled, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Fernando Kelli drove-in Ayala with a sacrifice fly in the top of the 1st, laced a two-run inside-the-park HR into the right-centerfield gap in the 3rd (he did a face-burger pratfall rounding 3rd base but still scored standing-up anyway), and singled and stole a base in the 6th, to provide what there was of Cub offense. 

In EXST Cubs medical news, RHRP Chad Hockin (on Myrtle Beach 7-day DL with a right elbow sprain) underwent TJS earlier this week and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season while rehabbing at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa. Hockin is the second Cubs pitcher to undergo TJS in the last month (AZL Cubs LHRP Pablo Ochoa was the other one). 

Hockin was the Cubs 6th round draft pick (Cal State - Fullerton) in 2016, and he is the brother of Cleveland Indians minor league RHP Grant Hockin. And the Hockin brothers are the grandsons of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.  

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

Cubs Trip(le) Up Angels at Riverview

Kevin Zamudio tripled, doubled, and scored a run, Delvin Zinn tripled, singled, and scored a run, Fernando Kelli belted a two-run triple, and four pitchers combined to hurl one-hit ball with eleven strikeouts over the first 6-2/3 innings, as the Cubs withstood a late rally and edged the Angels 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

RHP Eury Ramos got the start for the Cubs and was outstanding, retiring the first six Angels hitters in a row (1-3, K, K, F-7, 3-U, K - all three strikeouts swinging, including Dustin Ackley on a 3-2 pitch) while mixing a high-octane 95-97 MPH FB with a plus-CV and a swing & miss CH. The Cubs still have six weeks left to decide, but it is pretty clear that Ramos has joined Brailyn Marquez, Jeremiah Estrada, Faustino Carrera, and Danis Correa as the front-runners for the five Eugene Opening Week SP slots. The 6'3 Ramos is starting to fill-out (he weighed only 150 pounds when he signed with the Cubs in 2014) and that could be at least one of the reasons behind his rather sudden and startling uptick in FB velo. 

RHP Ryan McNeil (elbow, back, hip) followed Ramos to the mound and continued his EXST rehab with two perfect innings, striking out the last four men he faced (all four swinging - including Dustin Ackley again). Although he has been used as a reliever over the four seasons since 2013 TJS, McNeil still has a four-pitch SP-type repertoire that includes a 90-92 MPH FB, a mid-80's hard-slider, a CV, and a plus-CH. The 3rd round draft pick of the Cubs in 2012 out of Nipomo HS (Nipomo, CA), McNeil is eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA post-2018, so the Cubs will need to decide sometime over the next few months whether to add McNeil to the MLB 40-man roster post-World Series, or offer him a 2019 Minor League Successsor Contract and hope that he accepts it (in which case he would be eligible for selection in next December's Rule 5 Draft), or let him walk away as a minor league FA.

Prior to the game, LHP Danny Hultzen (2016 shoulder surgery) threw "live" BP (one inning - 15 pitches) on Field #4. This was the first time the 28-year old Hultzen has faced "live" hitters in more than two years. Hultzen was the second overall pick (by the Seattle Mariners) in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft ($6.35M signing bonus and a major league contract) out of UVA, but his career was derailed by shoulder woes and he retired after the 2016 season. But then he decided to give it one more try, signing a minor league contract with the Cubs this past February. He has been in the Rehab Throwing Program at the UAPC in Mesa for the last two months. Once he has completed the "live" BP phase and if all is proceeding according to plan, he will likely throw in an EXST intrasquad game and then perhaps in a Cactus League EXST game.    
 
In EXST Cubs roster news, C-1B-3B Cam Balego and OF Chris Carrier have been sent to EXST from South Bend, and RHSP Carlos Paula has been sent back to the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica, so he will almost certainly begin the 2018 season back in the DSL. Paula did not pitch in any Cactus League or intrasquad games while at EXST. 

Also, RHRP Aneuris Rosario was placed on the Disqualified List last week. I don't know why the Cubs did this, but the move had to be approved by the MLB Commissioner. (The Disqualified List is used when a player violates the terms of his contract, such as using a false identity, submitting fraudulent documents, circumventing a drug test, or signing with another professional baseball club before being released). Because A. Rosario has spent four seasons in the DSL he is ineligible to return there in 2018, and so he would have had to make the Opening Day roster of Eugene or one of the Cubs two AZL teams.  

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

Cubs Win Home Opener

Kyle Ryan hurled three innings of shutout ball and combined with four relievers to toss a two-hit shutout, Fernando Kelli singled twice, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and Cam Balego (two-run double) and Gioskar Amaya (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits, as the Cubs blanked the Dodgers 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Opening Day game action Tuesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the Cubs pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work (and even with the extra half-inning Cubs pitchers still threw a two-hit shutout!).   

K. Ryan was left behind when the Iowa Cubs departed Arizona last week, and he is staying ready in case he is needed in Des Moines. He dominated the young Dodgers today. 

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

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