Lance Rymel

Cubs Celebrate AARP Day at Riverview Park

Four pitchers combined to hurl one-hit shut-out ball and Yeiler Peguero drilled an RBI single with one out in the top of the 2nd, took second on the throw to the plate, advanced to 3rd on a GO, and then scored on a two-out WP, accounting for both of his team's runs, as Team Banks blanked Team Santo 2-0 in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #3 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings of play. 

Jake Hannemann (on AA Tennessee DL since July 7th) played for both squads, handling CF for three innings and getting three Plate Appearances with Team Santo before serving as a DH for Team Banks, going a combined 1-4 (K, 2B, K, 3-U). He will likely play winter ball somewhere in Latin America.

The game featured dramatic comeback attempts by 43-year old Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator (ex- MLB RHP) Jim Brower, 46-year old Cubs AZ Advanced Instructional League Pitching Coach (ex-MLB LHP) Ron Villone, 37-year old Mental Skills Program Coordinator (ex-MLB OF) Darnell McDonald, and Rehab Coach (ex-Cubs minor league catcher) Lance Rymel, much to the delight of the Cubs players. Rymel served as the catcher for both Brower and Villone, and McDonald batted once each for both squads, facing Brower once and Villone once.

McDonald's walk-up music lasted about five minutes, Brower received an animated pep-talk at the mound from Coach Ty Wright with two outs in the bottom of the 4th before summoning the courage to strike out McDonald on 82 MPH gas, and Villone had to be helped off the field by Rymel after nearly having a heart-attack waiting for RF Jonathan Sierra to make a spectacuilar stumbling game-ending catch (an L-9 line-drive by McDonald).

While all four of the geezers look to be maybe (somewhat) in something close to near-playing shape, McDonald hasn't played in the big leagues since getting released by the Cubs in Spring Training 2014, Brower last pitched professionally in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2009-10, Villone retired after the 2010 season (but he IS a lefty, so I guess he still has a chance), and Rymel hasn't played since getting released by the Rockies during Spring Training 2015. I will say that Villone still has a nifty Houdini pick-off move. He absolutely nailed Carlos Diaz cold at 1st base, and for all I know, Diaz may still be standing there wondering what just happened.

Here is the box score from the game:

Cubs Bats Alive & Well at the Wind, Not So Much on the Jack

Yasiel Balaguert mashed a two-run home run to key a three-run 3rd, Jeffrey Baez belted a solo HR, Trevor Gretzky collected an RBI double and two singles and scored three runs, Carlos Penalver singled, doubled, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, Reggie Golden singled twice, walked, drove-in a run, and scored two more, and Lance Rymel doubled and walked and drove-in three runs, as one squad of Cubs throttled one squad of Diamondbacks 10-2 on Whirlwind Field, and Ben Eckels and three relievers combined to throw a three-hitter with ten strikeouts and Damion Smith laced a bases-loaded three-run double, as the other squad of D'backs defeated the other squad of Cubs 4-1 on Jackrabbit Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

The game on Whirlwind Field was called by mutual agreement in the middle of the 9th inning, and the game on Jackrabbit Field was called by mutual agreement in the middle of the 8th.

The Cubs got outstanding work from their two starting pitchers today. RHP James Pugliese fired three innings of one-hit shutout ball (80% strikes) with five strikeouts on Whirlwind Field, and 19-year old Dominican RHP Alexander Santana tossed three innings of no-run/no-hit ball on Jackrabbit Field, retiring nine of the ten men he faced (the only blemish being an HBP).  

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF David Bote and C-DH Carlos Escobar have been moved up to Kane County.


Bote was hitting 219/324/344 in 12 Cactus League EXST games (37 PA), with two triples, one SB (three CS), and 5/8 BB/K. He has played 2B, SS, and 3B for the EXST Cubs, and this is the second time he has been moved up to a full-season club since the end of Minor League Camp (he was with the Daytona Cubs for about a week last month when Tim Saunders was on the DL). The 20-year old Bote was the Cubs 18th round pick in the 2012 June Draft out of Neosho County CC.     


The Cubs 2012 15th round draft pick out of the U. of Nevada, Escobar was sidelined with an ankle injury during Minor League Camp and for the first three weeks of Extended Spring Training. But he hit 462/462/846 in five Cactus League EXST games (13 PA) since returning to action, and he hammered two home runs over a period of three days last week (one in an intrasquad game at Fitch Park, and then a tape measure shot last Saturday at Maryvale). Escobar had a 25% CS in Cactus League EXST games, and he also picked one runner off base.    


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

Vitters' Stick Leads Cubs to Victory at Talking Stick

Josh Vitters singled twice and ripped an RBI double, Carlos Penalver doubled twice, scored a run, and knocked-in another, Trey Lang tossed three innings of no-run no-hit ball, and catcher Lance Rymel threw out five baseruners (four caught stealing and one picked-off), as the Cubs edged the Rockies 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Vitters was placed on the AAA Iowa Cubs DL with a back strain earlier this month, and before that he missed most of MLB Spring Training with a quad strain. He is presently on a rehab assignment with the EXST Cubs, and he played 1st base for five innings today and batted four times (once each in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings). All three of his hits were rockets, and even the F-7 out was a near HR. (He also played 3rd base in yesterday's intrasquad game -- see below).   

Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (broken hamate bone during Minor League Camp) has started taking pre-game BP with the other position players, so I would think he will probably be seeing some EXST game action very soon, and then perhaps get moved-up to Kane County sometime next month.

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

Almora, Soler, and Baez Shine under Arizona Sun

Albert Almora and Jorge Soler smacked back-to-back RBI doubles in the 3rd, Bijan Rademacher and Lance Rymel collected two hits and two RBI a piece, and Marco Hernandez belted a solo home run, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Rockies in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.


Then this afternoon, Cubs #1 prospect Javier Baez blasted a three-run home run (on a 3-0 pitch) over the LF wall and to the base of the fence adjacent to the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th, propelling the Mesa Solar Sox to an 8-3 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.