Cubs @ Diamondbacks: Series Thread (Games 31-33)

Despite a hefty portion of the roster currently calling the injured list home, the Cubs managed to win two of three in San Diego. They'll take on the D-Backs sans Madrigal, likely Hoerner, Frazier, Hermosillo, David Robertson, Sean Newcomb, Ethan Roberts, and likely Seiya Suzuki. See below for the daily matchups.

Giants Plate 13 on Friday the 13th

Ryan Reckley (2022 IFA - The Bahamas - $2.2M signing bonus) tripled and scored, walked and scored, and drilled an RBI single, Onil Perez laced two run-scoring singles and collected three RBI, Anyesper Sivira drove-in three runs with a two-run double and an RBI GO, Jean Pena walked and scored three times and smacked an RBI single, and P. J. Hilson singled and scored twice, leading the Giants to a 13-2 drubbing of the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning at the Papago Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.   

Cubs batters struck out twelve times, and Cubs pitchers issued 14 walks. 

David Bote played second-base for four innings and was the middle-man on a snappy inning-ending 6-4-3 DP in the bottom of the 2nd, before switching to DH in the 5th. He went 1-3 at the plate (struck out looking, then an F-7 to the warning track, and finally a 6-3 GO with 17-year old hot-shot SS Ryan Reckley showing off his plus range, glove, and arm to nip Bote at 1st base).   

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

Bote Is Back at Diamondbacks Black

Miguel Pabon and Brayan Altuve laced run-scoring singles, Felix Stevens and Reivaj Garcia singled, walked, and scored one run a piece, Raino Coran reached base three times on two singles and a walk and gunned down a runner trying to score from 2nd base on a line-drive single to RF, fireballin' RP Alfredo Zarraga struck out three of the last four men he faced (all three swinging) to protect the lead and record the win, and catcher Moises Ballesteros threw out a runner attempting to steal second base to end the game after earlier picking a runner off 2nd base to blunt a potential 4th inning rally, as the Cubs scored a late tie-breaking run and edged the Diamondbacks Black squad 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning on Whilrlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Danyer Sanabria drilled an RBI single and tripled and scored for the D'backs. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning affair. 

David Bote saw his first game action of 2022 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder last October. He served as a DH in the game and went 1-3, grounding out in his first two ABs and then reaching base on an infield hit his final time up. Barring a medical setback, Bote will be playing in EXST games through next week, and then he will report to AAA Iowa on 5/23 and begin an official Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. Because he was placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL during Spring Training, he must spend at least the first 60 days of the MLB regular season on the IL, which means June 6th is the earliest he can be reinstated.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Dakota Mekkes has completed his EXST rehab and he has moved-up to AAA Iowa (he pitched in just one Cactus League EXST game, and that was two days ago). Also, INF Carlos Sepulveda has been assigned to Iowa (he played in the EXST intrasquad game yesterday, so the move was sudden), and 1B Grayson Byrd has been moved up to South Bend. Like Jake Slaughter and Wyatt Short, Sepulveda and Byrd were left behind at EXST when the four Cubs full-season minor league affiliates left town last month. 

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

Much Ado About Nothing at Riverview

Anthony Martinez threw two perfect innings and Miguel Pabon belted a triple, providing the highlights from a Cubs Extended Spring Training two-inning intrasquad game played Wednesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The "core" of the proto-ACL Cubs -- Cristian Hernandez, Moises Ballesteros, Pedro Ramirez, and Rafael Morel -- got the day off. 

RHP Michael McAvene threw a bullpen prior to the game, so he could be ready for Cactus League EXST game action in the near-future. 

Here is the box score from the game:  

D'backs Black Blank the Cubs at Sloan Park

Deivi Estrada belted a solo HR, Luis Rubio singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Jose Fernandez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, Grayson Greiner drilled a single and a double, and Sean Poppen, Ricardo Yan, and Miguel Gil combined to toss a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts, as the Diamondbacks Black squad blanked the Cubs 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven inning affair.  

EXST Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Michael Arias (ex-SS) got the start for the Cubs, but had to leave the game after recording only one out when he suffered a lower body injury while covering home plate after a bases-loaded wild pitch. He also had a blister issue earlier in the inning, which may be why his usual upper 90's FB velo was down a couple of clicks (94-97 MPH instead of 96-99).      

RHP Dakota Mekkes (on AAA Iowa 7-day IL) made his first game appearance of the season, working 2.1 IP (30 pitches - 18 strikes) in relief. He allowed a run on two hits (the Estrada HR and the Greiner double), walked one, and struck out three (all swinging). He  displayed his usual 89-92 MPH FB, 85-88 CH, and 76-79 MPH CV in the game, had decent command of all of his pitches, and threw 60% strikes. Mekkes will be an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2022 if he isn't added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or signs a 2023 minor league successor contract. He would appear to profile as a "once-through-the order / multi-inning" reliever at this point, and that's exactly how he was used in the game today.  

The best EXST Cub pitching performance of the day was by RHRP Angel Gonzalez, who mixed his high velo 96-98 MPH FB with a 86-87 MPH SL  - AND - with much better FB command than seen previously. His FB velo and command seem to be better when he can focus on throwing just one inning, instead of working two innings as he sometimes has been used in EXST games. Known as "Angel Gonzalez-Martinez" when he was signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old NDFA out of Puerto Rico in 2020, he now just goes by the name Angel Gonzalez. If he can command his hard stuff going forward and stay healthy, he will move quickly through the system, with a ceiling of a high-leverage one-inning reliever.   

In EXST roster news, INF Jake Slaughter has been moved-up to Hi-A South Bend. He was left behind in Mesa when the four full season affiliates left town last month and appeared to be a potential release candidate sooner rather than later, but he didn't pout, and has hit the ball very well while providing stellar defense at 3rd base in Cactus League EXST games over the past three weeks. If anybody "deserved" another chance, it was Jake Slaughter.   

Also, LHRP Wyatt Short has been assigned to AA Tennessee. Like Jake Slaughter, Short was left behind at EXST when the four Cubs full-season affiliates left town last month.Short is scheduled to be an MLB Rule 9 minor leaguer 6YFA post-2022. 

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

Hernandez Drops a Bomb at Sloan Park

Brennon Lund belted a two-run HR, Gabriel Rodriguez doubled twice and scored a run, and SP Jorge Marcheco tossed three innings of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, as the Angels defeated the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Cristian Hernandez crushed a 440-foot solo HR high up onto the left-centerfield berm, walked, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, Rafael Morel singled twice and knocked-in a run, Flemin Bautista laced a two-run triple and scored a run, and Grayson Byrd doubled, walked, and scored two runs for the Cubs in losing cause.  

LHP Jack Patterson (on AA Tennessee 7-day IL - March 2021 TJS) got the start for the Cubs and went two innings (36 pitches - 17 strikes, 3/0 GO/AO), allowing two runs (one earned), one hit (one of Gabriel Rodriguez's doubles), and four walks. He fanned two (both swinging, the last two men he faced), and induced an inning-ending GIDP in his first inning of work. He also committed a balk. Patterson threw mostly an 88-91 MPH FB with sinking action, mixed with with a few 79-82 MPH CV and one 84 MPH CH. He had a lot of trouble commanding his FB, and so he mainly threw his CV when he needed a strike.  

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

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