Robel Garcia

Cubs Bore-nstein A's to Tears with Grand Slam and One-Hitter at Fitch Park

SP Justin Steele and five relievers combined to hurl a one-hit shutout, Robel Garcia belted a solo HR and an RBI single, Eddy Julio Martinez drilled two RBI singles, walked, and scored, and Jhonny Bethencourt hammered a single and a double, stole a base, and scored two runs, as the Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs AA affiliate) blanked the Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics AA afffiliate) 8-0 on Field #3, and Zach Borenstein walloped a monster grand slam HR over the CF batter's eye, Zack Short ripped a solo HR and an RBI single and scored two runs, Fernando Arcia singled twice, walked, stole a base, and drove-in a run, and SP Duncan Robinson hurled 4.2 IP of one-run ball (he gave up his only run on a sac fly on his 71st and final pitch), propelling the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Cubs) to a 7-1 victory over the Las Vegas Aviators (AAA affiliate of the A's) on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Saturday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Of the ten Cubs minor league pitchers who threw in the games at Fitch Park on Saturday, only two (Duncan Robinson and George Kontos) are actually assigned to the AAA Iowa squad at Minor League Camp. The other eight who threw (including two who pitched in the AAA game) are assigned to the AA Tennessee squad.   

Speaking of the AA Tennessee pitching staff, with Bailey Clark throwing three innings for Tennessee in Friday's intrasquad game at Riverview and Ian Clarkin and Tyson Miller working out of the Smokies bullpen Saturday at Fitch Park (each threw only 19 pitches), it would appear that the Cubs may be prepping Clark to be a SP and Clarkin and T. Miller to be bullpen guys at Tennessee (which is the exact opposite of how things looked just a week ago).   

Here are the abridged box scores from Saturday's games (Cubs players only):  

Cubs Newcomers Make Good First Impression at Riverview

Michael Cruz and Robel Garcia belted back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches, Brandon Vicens drilled a bases-loaded bases-clearing double, and Derek Casey fired three innings of no run/no hit ball with five strikeouts, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Friday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The 23 year old Vicens was signed recently by the Cubs as a non-drafted free-agent (NDFA) out of the University of Maine, where he played both baseball (CF) and football (FB) for the Black Bears. He grew up in Hialeah, FL, and played HS ball against Cubs CF Albert Almora Jr. He attended Miami-Dade CC prior to transferring to Maine in 2016. The son of a Puerto Rican father and a Cuban-American mother, Vicens was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 35th round of the 2014 draft out of HS but decided to attend college instead. Now that he can concentrate on baseball full-time, he might be able to unlock some of the potential he displayed as a HS All-American CF at American Heritage School in Plantation. (His HS won three state championships while he was there, one in football and two in baseball).  
 
Robel Garcia (not to be confused with Cubs minor league 2B Reivaj Garcia) was signed by the Cubs last October after he starred for Team Italy in the AZ Instructional League. (The Italian team spent parts of September & October with the Oakland A's squad at Fitch Park). Soon to be 26, the switch-hitting Dominican had previously played five seasons of affiliated ball in the Cleveland Indians organization, before being released in 2014.    

Casey was the Cubs 2018 9th round draft pick out of UVA, and the 6-2 190 23-year old righthander was really sharp today, mowing down hitter-after-hitter over the course of his three innings of work as he effectively mixed a FB, CV, SL, and CH to keep hitters off-balance. Cubs 2018 2nd round compensation pick Paul Richan also threw in the game, but Casey really stood out.      

Here is the box score frrom the game: 

He's a Robel

The Cubs have signed INF  to a 2019 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. 

The 25-year old switch-hitting Garcia was a member of the Italian National team that was a guest of the Oakland Athletics at Fitch Park in Mesa over the past month. (Ex-Cubs minor leaguers RHP Alessandro Maestri and C-1B Alberto Mineo were also on the squad). Besides working out with the A's minor leaguers, Team Italy participated in a dozen AZ Instructional League games, and that's where the Cubs saw Garcia play before offering him a contract. NOTE: While the Cubs did not field an AZ Instructs team this year, Cubs professional scouts did attend games.   

Garcia played for UniPolsai Bologna (Fortitudo B. C. 1953) in 2018. He hit 281/343/490 and was 2nd in the league in triples and 10th in doubles during the regular season, before hitting .400 in the semifinali serie and .357 in the finale serie as he helped lead his club to the Federazione Italiana Serie A1 (the Italian major league) championship.