Manny Rondon

Pierce Johnson Sharp at Sloan Park

RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL since May 5th retro to 5/3 with a lat strain) hurled three innings (30 pitches - 83% strikes) of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, Jose Paniagua belted an RBI double and two singles and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni hammered a triple and a single and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Rockies at Sloan Park, and LHSP Manny Rondon (acquired from LAA last July for C Rafael Lopez) tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts, Chris Pieters (ex-LHP) ripped two two-run doubles (four RBI total), and Andruw Monasterio drilled an RBI single, walked twice, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the Rockies 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Park Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ. 

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) slugged a solo HR for the Rockies at Sloan Park. 

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

EXST Cubs Run Like a Well-Oiled Machin

Isaac Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) tripled, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, Vimael Machin (Cubs 2015 10th round draft pick - VCU) knocked-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, and LHP Manny Rondon (acquired from LAA for C-1B Rafael Lopez last July) tossed three perfect innings with five strikeouts, leading the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Giants in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

The Cubs stole six bases in the game. 

Ben Turner and John Riley drilled consecutive two-out RBI singles to highlight a two-run first inning for the Giants. 

RHSP Duane Underwood got the start for the Cubs and worked five innings (62 pitches - 43 strikes), allowing the two first-inning runs mentioned above, five hits (a double and four singles), no walks, four strikeouts (all four swinging), and 5/4 GO/AO, and he retired ten of the last eleven men he faced.  

Shane Victorino (calf strain rehab) played LF for seven innings and went 0-3 (5-3, L-5 DP, F-9).  

John Arguello has game notes at Cubs Den. 



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

Dodger First-baseman Performs "A Salute to Bill Buckner" at Sloan Park

Pinch-runner Roberto Caro scampered home from second base with the game-winning run on an E-3 (ground ball scooted through first-baseman's legs in classic Bill Buckner fashion) with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL Dodgers 2-1 in Arizona League action Wednesday night at Sloan Park In Mesa, AZ. 

AZL Cubs Check Out Small Ball Book at Sloan Park

Varonex Cuevas reached base four times (three singles and a walk), stole two bases, and scored a run, leading the AZL Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the AZL Angels in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cubs did most of their damage in the bottom of the 6th inning, using "small ball" to plate three runs and take a 4-1 lead.

Jose Paniagua led-off the inning by drawing a rare (for him) walk, and advanced to 2nd base on a Varonex Cuevas bunt single. Roberto Caro laid down the first of what would be eventually two sacrifice bunts for him in the game to advance the runners to 2nd & 3rd,  and then 18-year old AZL Cubs shortstop Andruw Monasterio looped a single into short right to score Paniagua and move Cuevas up to 3rd. Monasterio and Cuevas then pulled-off a picture-perfect double steal, with Monasterio breaking for 2nd base to draw a throw (he was safe at 2nd), while Cuevas waited to break for home until he saw the throw go through to 2nd. Monasterio took off for 3rd base on the very next pitch (and he would have had 3rd base stolen easily, too), but Tyler Payne rocketed a line drive just past Monasteriio's ear into LF, as Monasterio continued around 3rd base to score the third run of the inning. Payne was then picked-off 1st base by the Angels pitcher (Payne was frozen like a deer-in-headlights two steps from 1st base, and so he took off for 2nd, but the slow-footed catcher was out by a mile).   

LHP Manny Rondon got the start for the Cubs, facing his former AZL Angels teammates for the first time. (Rondon was acquired from the Angels in a trade for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month). And not too surprisingly he came out firing from the gitgo, working his fastball consistently at 94 MPH (he hadn't thrown harder than 91-93 in previous ouitings) and mixing it with a hard-breaking curve. Being a bit hyped-up, Rondon did have some command problems, issuing three walks and hitting a batter, but he also struck out four while allowing only one run on four hits (all singles) in 5.0 IP. Rondon threw 85 pitches (52 strikes) over his five innings of work, the most pitches I have ever seen a non-rehabbing pitcher throw in an AZL game. 

To the best of my knowledge, Rondon is only the second pitcher acquired in a trade by the Cubs who went directly from one AZL team to the AZL Cubs during the AZL season. The last one (and the only other one I can recall) was 19-year old fireballing 6'3 280+ RHP Jose Ceda, acquired from San Diego for veteran INF Todd Walker on July 31, 2006. Ceda moved from the AZL Padres to the AZL Cubs after the trade.

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

Rosscup Strikes Fear into the Hearts of A's at Sloan Park

Shane Conlon drilled two singles and a double, reached base on an HBP, scored two runs, and drove-in three more, leading the AZL Athletics to a 10-2 drubbing of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action Saturday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The final two innings were played in a light drizzle.  

Yohan Matos ended a 1-25 skid by lining a bases-loaded opposite-field two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to account for the two Cub runs and avert what otherwise would have been a shutout.  

LHP Manny Rondon (acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month) got the start for the AZL Cubs and was terrible, allowing seven runs (six earned) on five hits and three walks and a WP in just 1.1 IP, including a 30-pitch 2nd inning in which he retired only one batter. 

LHRP Zac Rosscup (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation since June 17th) made his second AZL appearance of the week and was brilliant, working one inning (16 pitches - 12 strikes) and striking out the side, with a virtually unhittable mixture of 94 MPH fastball and hard-breaking slider. The young A's hitters looked totally befuddled trying to deal with Rosscup's plus-stuff.  

20-year old RHP M. T. Minacci (Cubs 2015 33rd round draft pick - Powermill Training Academy) worked a 1-2-3 7th inning (6-3, F-7, 4-3). Minacci was a teammate of Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick LHP Carson Sands at North Florida Christian HS in Tallahassee, and was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) but did not sign,. He chose instead to enroll at Florida State, but then transferred to Chipola College after only one semester at FSU, before joining Powermill last year. Minacci was working primarily with his fastball (90-92 MPH) Saturday night, with an  occasional slider and change-up mixed-in.   

In AZL Cubs roster news, LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (Cubs 2015 9th round draft pick - Cal State Fullerton) has been moved up to Eugene, and LHP Heath Dwyer (2015 NDFA - Virginia Commonwealth) has been moved down to AZL Cubs from Eugene. Dwyer pitched the 9th inning for the AZL Cubs in Saturday night's game, and was tagged for two runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple). Dwyer is a soft-tossing lefty who features a mid-80's fastball, a curve, and a plus-change up, but his smoke & mirrors stuff didn't fool the A's hitters. 

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

Rondon Makes Cub Debut & Cease Fires No Hit Stuff for AZL Cubs

RHP Luis Jimenez hurled five innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts and combined with two relievers to toss a two-hit shutout, as the AZL Indians whitewashed the AZL Cubs 5-0 in Arizona League game action Saturday (5:30 PM local start time) at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.