Employing the long ball (a Ryan Kalish three-run bomb and a John Andreoli solo blast) and six innings of one-run ball from 2015 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year Ryan Williams, the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) defeated the Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics AAA affiliate) 6-2 on Field #4, while on Field #3, Michael Soto, John Nogowski, and J. P. Sportman drilled consecutive RBI singles to highlight a three-run 7th, lifting the Midland Rockhounds (A's AA affiliate) to a 6-3 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate), in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Saturday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
In addition to his HR, Andreoli also walked twice and stole a base.
The I-Cubs bullpen (Peralta-Edwards-Pena) retired the last seven Sounds hitters, striking out six of them.
Iowa 1B Dan Vogelbach left the game on Field #4 after being hit on the foot with a pitch.
Gioskar Amaya reached base four times (three walks and a single), Mike O'Neill collected three singles, and Mark Zagunis drove-in all three Tennessee runs (two-run double and a bases loaded HBP) in a losing cause on Field #3.
Smokies SP Jonathan Martinez and reliever (ex-starter) Daury Torrez had rough outings on Field #3, with Martinez allowing five hits (two doubles and three singles) and four walks in just 3.2 IP (78 pitches - only 60% strikes), and Torrez surrendering three runs on five hits in just one inning of work.
In Minor League Camp roster news, the Cubs have released RHRP Matt Brazis (acquired from SEA for OF Justin Ruggiano post-2014), 1B Matt Clark (ex-MIL), OF Donnie Cimino (2015 37th round draft pick - Weslyan U.), LHRP Heath Dwyer (2015 NDFA - VCU), LHRP Nick Greenwood (ex-STL), C-INF Jordan Hankins (2013 11th round draft pick - Austin Peay), RHRP Santiago Rodriguez (2013 IFA - Dominican Republic), RHSP Austyn Willis (2014 18th round draft pick - Barstow HS - Barstow, CA), and LHRP Sam Wilson (2013 8th round draft pick - Lamar CC).
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)
Here are the abridged box scores from the two game (Cubs players only):
Jacob Rogers blasted a grand slam home run (off the roof of the Angels clubhouse) and a triple, Billy McKinney belted a solo HR, singled twice, and scored two runs, Mark Zagunis singled twice, walked, and scored a run, and Paul Blackburn threw 5.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball (no-hitter thru 4.2 IP), leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) to a 7-1 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #7, and Mike Bolaski (ex-3B) and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts, as the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) blanked the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 5-0 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League game action this morning at Diablo Park in Tempe, AZ.
Somewhat appropriately, the Burlington Bees - South Bend Cubs game on Field #4 was delayed for several minutes while a swarm of bees hovered overhead, apparently looking for a landing spot. The players who were on the field at the time hit the ground the way soldiers do when a hand grenade is thrown into their vicinity. This is the second time in two years that bees have descended upon Diablo Park when I've been there (a hive had to be removed from a tractor that was situated in the bullpen at Field #7 last year). Naturally, the Angels have not one but two affiliates (Lo-A Burlington and AAA Salt Lake City) with the "Bees" nickname.
The game on Field #7 was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that all of the pitchers scheduled to throw today could get their scheduled work.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
The Asheville Tourists (Colorado Rockies Lo-A affiliate) rode a 13-hit attack that included three doubles, two triples and a home run, to coast past the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 9-5 on Field #5, and the Modesto Nuts (Rockies Hi-A affiliate) cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, in Cactus League minor league game action this afternoon at Mesa Cubtown at Riverview Park.
Mark Zagunis singled twice, doubled, walked, stole a base, drove-in his team's lone run, and threw out a runner at the plate, in an AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #4 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Although they were outhit, Team Gonzalez took advantage of three errors, six walks, an HBP, and a PB, to edge Team Johnson 2-1 in Game 3 of the "Cubs World Series." Team Johnson now leads the series, two games to one.
Here is the box score from the game:
Kyle Schwarber singled, doubled, and scored a run, Mark Zagunis ripped an RBI double and scored and drove-in another run with a sacrifice fly, and Charcer Burks singled twice and walked, in a seven-inning AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #1 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
The contest was game one in a five game intrasquad "Cubs World Series" to be played at Riverview Park this week, between the "Northside Rooftops" and the "Wrigley Field Ivy," each team chosen by draft by the two managers (Jimmy Gonzalez and Mark Johnson). Team Johnson won today's game by a score of 3-1.
Gioskar Amaya got the start at catcher for Team Gonzalez, and handled himself well behind the plate for the four innings he spent there. (Amaya is in the Catcher Conversion Program at Instructs). He then moved to 3rd base for the final three innings and made the defensive play of the game, a run-saving stop & throw to end the top of the 5th. Amaya had a fine day offensively, too, with a line-drive double into the LF corner, a walk, and a stolen base.
Kevin Encarnacion played RF for Team Johnson, his first game action since suffering a near career-ending shoulder injury and 3rd degree burns in a car crash in the Dominican Republic last December. He (understandably) looked rusty both in the field and at the plate, committing an error on a ground single to right (he bobbled the ball, allowing a baserunner to advance from 2nd to 3rd), and he went 0-3 at the plate with two strikeouts (both swinging) and a weak infield pop out. Probably because of the injuries he sustained in the car crash, Encarnacion is now hitting only left-handed (he previously had been a switch-hitter). In his one AB batting LH against a LH pitcher (Jordan Minch), Encarnacion struck out on three pitches.
The Cubs are not playing games against other MLB organizations at Instructs this year, instead opting to spend more time on morning field instruction & afternoon classroom training. Players attending Instructs are also spending some of their off hours researching the history of the Cubs, and presenting the information they learn to the the other players.
Most of the Cub brass are in attendance at Instructs this week, including Team President Theo Epstein, Executive VP & GM Jed Hoyer, and Senior VP & Scoutng/Player Development Director Jason McLeod.
Here is the box score from today's game: