Kevin Zamudio

Cubs Pitchers Spin Intrasquad Shutout at Riverview

James Norwood, Cory Abbott, Yovanny Cruz, and Scott Effross combined to toss a four-hit shutout, Kevin Zamudio drilled a two-run HR, a single, and a double, Nelson Velazquez singled, doubled, and walked, and Chris Carrier smacked a solo HR, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Sunday morning on John Arguello Way at the Rivervierw Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Donnie Dewees (acquired in a trade with KC Friday evening) played LF for four innings and collected a single and a SB. 

RHRP James Norwood came over from MLB Camp and threw an easy 1-2-3 1st inning for the winning squad. Taylor Davis also came over to Minor League Camp to serve as Norwood's "personal" catcher, and as is the case when a pitcher on an MLB 40-man roster pitches in a Minor League game, Norwood gets to use the higher-quality MLB baseball (manufactured in Costa Rica) instead of the cheaper minor league model (which is manufactured in China).  

RHSP Matt Swarmer left the game with a finger blister after warming up in the top of the 2nd (he had a 1-2-3 eleven-pitch 1st inning with two strikeouts). He was scheduled to work three innings or throw 45 pitches (whichever came first), but (as it turned out) that didn't happen.   

Here is the box score from the game: 

Brailyn Marquez Goes Five-Strong at Riverview Park

LHSP Brailyn Marquez fired five innings of three-hit/one-run ball with seven strikeouts (and threw 73% strikes), Luis Hidalgo belted an RBI triple, singled, walked, and scored two runs, Christopher Morel drilled a solo HR, Kevin Zamudio slugged a two-run HR, and Carlos Pacheco doubled twice, walked, and scored a run, in Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The EXST Cubs had a few days off during the MLB First-Year Player Draft, before returning to the field to prepare for the start of the short-season leagues.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, AAA Iowa Cubs RHRP David Garner (who has been at Extended Spring Training since the end of Minor League Camp) has received a 100 game "Drug of Abuse" suspension and has returned home. This is his second "Drug of Abuse" suspension this season (the first one was for 50 games and it expired last week). So Garner will have to wait until Iowa plays another 100 regular season games before he can be reinstated (which will take the suspension well into April 2019, because the I-Cubs have only 83 games left in the 2018 season). And Garner was throwing the ball really well at Extended Spring Training, too...   

Here is the box score from the game: 

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):  

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:

Brew Crew Pitching Suppresses Cub Bats at Maryvale

RHSP Javier Salas (four innings, one run, two hits, two walks, two strikeouts, and 8/1 GO/AO) and two relievers combined to fire a four-hitter, Zach Clark and Nick Roscetti lofted sacrifice flies (Clark in the 3rd and Roscetti in the 5th), and 5'3 Jose Gomez (the shortest player in affiliated ball) laced an opposite-field two-run single in the 6th to cap the Brewers scoring, as the Brew Crew defeated the Cubs 5-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field # 7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, AZ.    

Kevin Zamudio had two of the four Cub hits and drove-in both Cub runs (RBI double in the 1st and RBI single in the 7th).   

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

Cubs & Diamondbacks Split a Pair at Talking Stick

Jorge Perez rifled a two-run triple to highlight a three-run 3rd, Connor Owings drilled a two-run single in the 4th, and Luke Lowery ripped a two-run double in the 5th, leading the Diamondbacks to an 8-5 victory over the Cubs on Quail Field, and Chris Dominguez slugged a two-run HR in the 4th to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead and Andruw Monasterio followed an inning later with an RBI single, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Whirlwind Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader action Saturday morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Both games were pre-planned as seven-inning affairs. 

Kevin Zamudio and Christopher Morel each clubbed a two-run HR in the top of the 4th on Quail Field as the Cubs rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the "A" game, and then after the D'backs plated two runs in bottom of the 4th on the Owings two-run single to go ahead 5-4, Yovanny Cuevas belted a game-tying solo HR for the Cubs in the top of the 5th. The Diamondbacks then took advantage of three Cubs errors in the bottom of the 5th to score three unearned runs off unlucky reliever David Garner that provided the Snakes with their margin of victory. 

Francis Martinez hammered a solo HR in the bottom of the 1st to put the Diamondbacks on the board in the "B" game on Whirlwind Field, but the Dominguez two-run HR and the Monasterio RBI single turned the game in the Cubs favor in the 4th & 5th, and RHRP Elvis Diaz sealed the deal for the Cubs with an easy eight-pitch save.   

In EXST roster news, CF Jacob Hannemann (March 2017 right knee injury) has completed his EXST rehab assignment and has rejoined the AA Tennessee Smokies. Hannemann hit a robust 333/455/722 in six Cactus League EXST games (22 PA), collecting three doubles, four walks, two SB, three RBI, two runs scored, and two sacrifice bunts. He struck out only twice in the 22 PA.   

Also, 21-year old LHP Jose MacDonna (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic) made his U. S. debut in the game on Whirlwind Field. The lanky lefty allowed a run on two hits and a walk in one inning of work. 

The Cubs are 7-4 through their first eleven Cactus League EXST games. 

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

Hannemann Back in Action at Extended Spring Training

Andruw Monasterio drilled a two-run home run and a single, walked, and stole two bases, and Yapson Gomez and two relievers combined to hurl a three-hit shutout, as the Eugene Emeralds blanked the Mesa Cubs 7-0 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Wednesday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw in the game could get their work. 

Jacob Hannemann (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL - knee injury) played CF for Mesa and batted five times (once in each of the first five innings), collecting all three Mesa hits (two doubles and a single).

LHP Jose Paulino was notified during the game that he is being moved-up from Extended Spring Training, but he doesn't know if he is going to South Bend or to Myrtle Beach. (Players who started the season on a minor league 7-day DL cannot be reinstated until tomorrow). Paulino threw a "live" BP session on Field #6 last week and looked very good, so it's not surprising that he will be moving up.  

And based on how he looked today, I would say Jacob Hannemann probably won't be down here much lomger, either. 

Meanwhile, OF Eloy Jimenez (on Myrtle Beach 7-day DL - right shoulder bruise) is bunting in the cages and catching fly balls in outfield drills, but he is not hitting or throwing at this point. In "live" BP he's been standing in the box tracking pitches, but he doesn't swing. Hopefully he will be able to do more soon. 

INF Chris Dominguez (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL) is taking BP and is fielding grounders at 3B and 1B, but he hasn't played in any games yet.  Dominguez hit 282/317/538 with two HR and four doubles in 22 MLB Cactus League Spring Training games, and is projected to play the infield corners (1B-3B) at Iowa in 2017.    

The Cubs are trying Kevin Zamudio (2015 IFA - Mexico) at catcher again in pre-game drills (he hasn't caught in a game yet). He was a catcher when he first reported to Mesa last year, but then he was moved to corner infield (1B-3B) after he struggled behind the plate. The 19-year old Zamudio has plus raw power, and so it would be good for his career going forward if he can maybe be a C-1B-3B.    

Joe Martarano took pre-game BP again today but did not play in the game, and he is playing 1B in infield practice (one of the reasons Zamudio was moved back to catcher). Martarano was a third-baseman in HS and in his first year in pro ball (2014), but then was moved to 1B in 2015 and he hasn't played 3B since. However, it is expected that he will play both 1B and corner OF in Extended Spring Training (although he hasn't taken any fly balls yet), and if he proves he can handle OF (he is an athletic 6'4 240 with a third-baseman's arm), he conceivably could eventually morph into a "four-corner" player (1B-3B-LF-RF), or at least a 1B-LF-RF if 3B is too much of a problem for him defensively.  

Here is the box score from today's game: 

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