Joey Martarano

Eloy Drives in Six at Riverview

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run HR, a two-run double, and an RBI single, Carlos Sepulveda reached base three times (a triple, a walk, and an RBI single) and scored three runs, and Joey Martarano clubbed a two-run HR, lifting the Eugene Emeralds to a 10-4 victory over the Mesa Cubs in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

Here is the abridged box score rrom today's intrasquad game, followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster:: 

Martarano & Loux See Game Action at Riverview Park

It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an intrasquad game this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

Some of you may notice that when there is an EXST intrasquad game or a Cactus League EXST split squad doubleheader, that (with the exception of the pitchers and catchers, who move back & forth between the squads) one squad (Squad "A") is essentially the proto-Euguene Emeralds, and the other one (Squad "B") is essentially the proto-AZL Cubs. The squad rosters change slightly every now & then, but what you see now is probably pretty close to what will likely be the case next month when the two teams are officially separated.

Three position players assigned to Squad "B" -- 3B-1B Wladimir Galindo (left wrist injury),  IF-OF Carlos Jimenez (left elbow injury from HBP yesterday), and 1B-C Miguel Rico (left knee injury) -- are out indefinitely, so the AZL Cubs may have to "run short" for a while at the start of the AZL season. (Rico is being converted to catcher, but also plays 1st base).

RHP Barret Loux (on Iowa Cubs 7-day DL with a right triceps strain) made his first game appearance in a month, getting the start for Squad "B" in the intrasquad game. While he did throw 3.2 IP (44 pitches) and allowed no runs, he also surrendered five hits (and a walk), struck out only one, and his fastball velocity topped out at 86 MPH.

The 26-year old Loux was the 1st round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, but then was declared a free-agent by MLB after the D'backs reduced their original bonus offer after a post-draft physical showed a pre-existing shoulder problem. (The Loux Case was one of the factors that led to draft slotting in the 2012 CBA).

So Loux signed with the Texas Rangers in November 2010 after being declared a free-agent, and then was traded to the Cubs as the PTBNL in the Geovany Soto deal post-2012. He made it through the 2011-13 seasons OK, but then he had shoulder surgery post-2013 and TJS at the start of last season, so he has been through the sports medicine wars over the past couple of years. He made a fairly rapid recovery from the 2014 TJS, however, and actually was a member of the Iowa Cubs starting rotation at the begining of the 2015 season, before being shut-down last month.

18-year old RHP Austyn Willis (Cubs 2014 18th round draft pick - Barstow HS - Barstow, CA) started the intraquad game for Squad "A", and had a lot of difficulty throwing strikes in his three innings of work (61 pitches - only 28 strikes). For a guy who is 6'6, Willis does not throw especially hard (his fastball tops out at 89 MPH), but he usually is able to spot his fastball effectively and throw all of his pitches (including his curve and change-up) for strikes, with the stamina to throw multiple innings. At 6'6 205, Willis has the size & frame scouts call "projectable," because it is presumed that he will add velocity as he matures and fills-out. Along with Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Jose Paulino, and Oscar de la Cruz, Willis is being primed to be one of the rotation starters at Eugene when the Northwest League season commences next month.  

6'7 RHRP Scott Frazier (Cubs 2013 6th round draft pick - Pepperdine) threw an inning in the game (12 pitches - 7 strikes) and retired the side uneventfully (4-3, BB, 4-6 FC, K), although the Squad "A" lineup was adjusted so that he only had to face left-handed hitters (something the Cubs can't do in a Cactus League EXST game). His fastball velocity usually sits at 95-97 MPH and has touched 98-99 previously this Spring, but he apparently has dialed it down a bit, because he threw only 96 (max) today, working mostly at 94-95.

Boise State's Joey Martarano saw his first game action of 2015, serving as a DH for Squad "B." He was hitless in four plate appearances, but he did reach base on an HBP and scored a run his first time up. He ran through a "stop sign" as he rounded third and headed home, but when you've got a 6'4 235 D-1 college linebacker coming through, you just have to get out of the way and let him roll. I half-expected him to tackle the catcher at home plate, but he did not. Martarano projects to be the first-baseman and sometimes DH for the AZL Cubs once the AZL season starts next month.

Here is the abridged box score from today's intrasquad game: 

Joey Martarano Reports to Extended Spring Training, Pierce Johnson Gets Rocked

First-baseman Joey Martarano has reported to Cubs Extended Spring Training, after spending the 2014-15 school year attending Boise State University.

Martarano was the Idaho High School Baseball Player of the Year at Fruitland HS in his senior year, and was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft). He was offered a $100K bonus by the Phils but did not sign, instead opting to enroll at Boise State and play football.

The 20-year old 6'4 235 Martarano is a linebacker on the Broncos football team, and he is a promising football player. (He had his best game when it really mattered most, in Boise State's 38-30 victory over the University of Arizona in last January's Fiesta Bowl).

Because Boise State does not have a baseball program, Martarano was the rare "Freshman eligible" in the MLB 2014 First-Year Player Draft, and the Cubs took him in the 22nd round. The Cubs convinced him to sign by offering him a chance to play pro baseball during summer vacation (as sort of a "summer job"), with no restrictions on attending college and playing football the rest of the year.

Although he was drafted as a third-baseman, the Cubs immediately moved him to 1st base when he reported to Riverview Park last July, and it looks like 1st base is where he will stay. He spent one month with the AZL Cubs in Mesa last year after signing, but got into only six games before going back to school. (He hadn't played baseball in more than a year, so it took him a while to get back into shape). He will likely spend the months of June and July playing baseball in the Cubs organization this year (probably with the AZL Cubs again), before going back to Boise for pre-season football camp in August.

It's unfortunate for Maratano that the Cubs moved their Northwest League affiliate from Boise to Eugene this year, because otherwise he might have had a chance to play minor league baseball in his college's hometown.

It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an EXST intrasquad gane this morning on Field #6 at Riverview Park. Joey Martarano did not play in the game (he's taking BP and participating in fielding practice and baseruning drills while he gets into "baseball shape"), but the tilt did feature the first game action since Spring Training for RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL with a lat strain).

And Johnson got rocked, too, allowing nine hits (six singles, two doubles, and a triple) and three runs in just 2.1  IP (44 pitches). His fastball was sitting at only 90-91 MPH and topped out at 92, although his breaking ball had some nice bite. He didn't register any strike outs, and if it wasn't for two timely pick-offs, his line surely would have been much worse.
  
While Pierce Johnson was getting hammered, LHP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick - North Florida Christian HS - Tallahassee, FL) was throwing 4.2 IP of shutout ball. 

Significant offensive contributions were provided by Jose Paniagua (two doubles), Danny Gutierrez (a solo home run, a single, and a stolen base), Carlos Sepulveda (a triple, a single, and a run scored), Ricardo Marcano (single, double, and a run scored), and Varonex Cuevas (two-run single and a stolen base).

Here is the abridged box score from today's EXST Cubs intrasquad game: 

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