Ron Vilone

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: