RHP Ivan Medina hurled three innings of shutout ball (in relief), Alexander Guerra singled and scored twice and drove-in a run, and Eric Gonzalez drilled a two-run double to break a 4-4 tie, as the Cubs rallied to upend the Giants orange squad 6-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Beicker Mendoza (RBI double), Cody Brickhouse (two-run double), and Dylan Manwaring (RBI triple) contributed run-scoring extra-base hits for the Giants to highlight a four-run 4th that chased RHRP Eury Ramos before he could retire a batter in his second inning of work.
The game was called after eight innings of play.
As happened with Brendan King and Enrique de los Rios a couple of weeks ago, Ivan Medina is being stretched-out at EXST in likely anticipation of either being a SP at Eugene or possibly a move-up to South Bend where he would work as a "swing-man" out of the SB-Cubs bullpen. (I. Medina was the last cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp).
Prior to the Cactus League game on Field #5, RHP Ryan Williams (2017 shoulder surgery) and RHP Peyton Remy (Cubs 2017 17th round draft pick - Central Arizona JC) threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one "inning" & 25 pitches a piece).
In EXST Cubs roster news, OF Roberto Caro has been moved-up to South Bend.
Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):
Jared Young (Cubs 2017 15th round draft pick - Old Dominion) collected five hits (four singles and a double), stole a base, and scored a run, Brandon Hughes (Cubs 2017 16th round draft pick - Michigan State) belted an RBI double and a single, stole a base, and scored a run, Chris Carrier (Cubs 2017 9th round draft pick - U. of Memphis) doubled, singled, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, and Roberto Caro smacked an RBI double, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, leading the Cubs South Bend Lo-A affiliate to a 6-1 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Oakland Athletics Lo-A affiliate) on Field #3, and Luke Persico (two-run triple) and Luis Barrera (RBI single) drilled consecutive run-scoring hits to cap a five-run 6th, Will Toffey drove-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, and SP Brendan Butler hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 11-1 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Friday morning at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
The game on Field #3 was called after eight innings of play.
Austin Upshaw (Cubs 2017 13th round draft pick - Kennesaw State) singled twice and doubled and scored the Pelicans lone run (Chris Pieters RBI single) on Field #6.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico) is considered by most observers to be one of the Cubs top two or three pitching prospects, and he got the start for South Bend on Field #3. Albertos did not allow any runs (maybe I should just leave it at that...), but he did permit eight batters to reach base (three singles, a double, three walks, and an HBP) in just 3.2 IP. His main problem was inability to command any of his pitches (75 pitches - only 51% strikes), especially his CV, which he kept spiking into the ground in front of home plate (giving catcher Michael Cruz quite a work-out in the process). RHRP Manuel Rodriguez had a "mid-game save" in relief, stranding two runners inherited from Albertos in the 4th and retiring the side 1-2-3 in the 5th (F-8, K, K) to preserve the shutout. (The Snappers would later score their one and only run of the game with two outs in the bottom of the 8th).
RHP Keegan Thompson (Cubs 2017 3rd round draft pick - Auburn) got the start for Myrtle Beach on Field #4 and easily retired the first eleven men he faced (4-3, 5-3, 3-U, L-8, K, 4-3, 6-3, F-8, P-6, 6-3, K) before allowing a double, a walk, an HBP, and a two-run single with two outs in the 4th. But he recovered and retired the next four batters to complete his pre-planned five innings of work (73 pitches - 68% strikes). RHP Kyle Miller followed Thompson and had a nightmare outing, walking all four men he faced (all four eventually scored). K. Miller had a similar outing a couple of weeks ago for AA Tennessee (prior to being moved-down to Myrtle Beach) when he walked six in two innings, so don't be too surprised if he is left behind at Extended Spring Training to work on his pitching mechanics/command/control a bit when his Pelican teammates leave town in the next couple or three days.
CF Connor Myers suffered a left leg injury in the top of the 6th on Field #4 after colliding with RF Chris Pieters in right-centerfield while chasing what turned out to be a two-run triple. Myers left the game under his own power (albeit with a noticeable limp), but if you're looking for a candidate to start the season on the Myrtle Beach 7-day DL, Myers just might be your man.
RHP M. T. Minacci (March 2017 non-TJS elbow injury) threw a shutout inning for South Bend in relief. He allowed a single to the first man he faced before inducing a 1-6-3 DP ball and striking out the next batter to retire the side. Minacci has been in the Rehab Throwing Program at Minor League Camp and prior to today hadn't thrown in a game in more than a year, so he will almost certainly be spending the next couple of months at Extended Spring Training while continuing his rehab and competing for a spot in the Eugene bullpen.
As usual, several players (Caro, Donahue, Pena, and Romano) were moved-up from the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad for the day to provide late-inning position-player reinforcements for South Bend and Myrtle Beach.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
Roberto Caro belted a two-run triple in the first and doubled and scored in the fourth and Robert Garcia doubled twice, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs, and Yan Sanchez hammered a game-tying two-out RBI triple in the 8th for the Diamondbacks, as the two teams played to a 4-4 tie at Sloan Park, and Jazz Chisholm laced a two-run triple and an RBI single and Gerard Hernandez drilled an RBI triple and an RBI single. leading the D'backs to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.
Wladmiir Galindo ripped an RBI double and a single in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #1.
The game at Sloan Park was called by mutual agreement after 8-1/2 innings of play.
RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL with a lat strain) completed his EXST rehab, throwing five innings (72 pitches - 74% strikes) in the game at Sloan Park. Johnson allowed two runs on six hits (two doubles and four singles), struck out six, did not issue any walks (although he did hit a batter), and he retired the last seven men he faced in dominating fashion (K, K, K, 4-3, K, K, F-7). So he's ready to return to the Iowa Cubs, and his next start will very likely be this coming Sunday versus Round Rock in Des Moines or next Monday at Colorado Springs.
LHSP Bryan Hudson started the game for the Cubs on Field #1 and had another poor outing, surrendering six runs on seven hits (five singles and two triples) and three walks in four innings of work. Coupled with his last start versus the Angels in Tempe last week, Hudson has allowed 13 hits and seven walks in his last 6.0 IP.
RHSP Oscar de la Cruz (out of action since Minor League Camp with a right elbow injury) threw an early-morning bullpen side-session, but it was cut-short after only about a half-dozen pitches.
RHRP Jordan Brink (post-2015 right shoulder surgery) did complete his bullpen side-session (he threw at the same time as de la Cruz), and it went well, so he should be returning to game action soon (probably with the AZL Cubs).
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only), followed :by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster:
Wladimir Galindo belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Chris Pieters rifled a two-run double, and Andry Rondon and four relievers combined to toss a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Giants 7-0 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, and RHSP Pedro Silverio hurled five innings of three-hit/one-run ball with no walks & eight strikeouts and Roberto Caro drilled three singles, as the Cubs edged the Giants 4-3 at Sloan Park, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.
The game on Field #1 was called after seven innings of play, and the game at Sloan Park was called after 6-1/2 innings.
The EXST Cubs record now stands at 32-16-6.
With today's outing, Silverio becomes the second Eugene starting pitcher to go five innings (Jesus Castillo was the first, hurling five innings yesterday).
In EXST Cubs roster news, LHSP Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) has been assigned to Extended Spring Training after struggling at South Bend (6.17 ERA - 1.94 WHIP - .308 OppBA - 45 H - 23/37 BB/K in 35 IP - nine GS). Steele will likely be a starting pitcher at Eugene (NWL season begins on June 16th), joining some combination of Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Manny Rondon in the Emeralds rotation (if there isn't room for all of them in the starting rotation, one or two may end up as "piggy-back" relievers).
Also, RHRP P. J. Francescon has completed his 50-game "Drug of Abuse" suspension and has been reinstated from the Restricted List. He celebrated his freedom by working two perfect innings on Field #1. Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last season, and it's probably just a matter of time before he's back in the Smokies bullpen.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
Jonathan Sierra (two-run home run), Alberto Mineo (RBI triple), Kwang-Min Kwon (RBI single), and Roberto Caro (RBI triple) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run 2nd, Jose Paniagua clubbed his team-leading 4th HR in the 6th, Edgar Rondon drilled two doubles, walked, and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled, singled , and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Giants on Field #2, and Chase Compton belted a solo HR and an RBI single, Richard Amion Jr rifled an RBI single and walked twice, and RHP Hengerber Medina and four relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout, as the Giants blanked the Cubs 3-0 on Field #1, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.
Both games were called by mutual-consent after 7-1/2 innings of play.
Now 17, Jonathan Sierra (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic- $2.5M bonus) was invited to AZ Instructs as a 16-year old last September, and he made a favorable impression, even drawing comparisons to a (very) young Darryl Strawberry (lanky teenaged LH hitting & throwing corner OF with potential to mash). But Sierra has struggled at Extended Spring Training so far, hitting just 152/243/303 (16% K-rate - 11% walk-rate) in 13 Cactus League EXST games (37 PA), and his second-inning home run today (which was his 1st Cactus League EXST HR) broke an 0-13 skid that goes back ten days. So while his future is bright, he will likely be assigned to one of the Cubs DSL squads (DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2) in the coming days.
Here are the abridged box scores from the games (Cubs players only):
Gustavo Polanco drilled a one-out game-tying two-run double off the LF fence (near HR) and Roberto Caro followed one out later with a two-out walk-off line-drive game-winning RBI single, as the Cubs Eugene/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training group) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League) 10-9 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #3 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Adonis Paula belted a two-run double and a single and scored two runs, Yohan Matos ripped a two-run double and an RBI single, and Kwang-Min Kwon tripled and singled and scored a run to aid the Cub cause, and Isaac Rodriguez slugged a two-run HR and singled, Dustin Martin hammered a two-run triple and walked twice, and Edson Garcia rifled a two-run triple for los Toros in a losing cause.
Los Toros are one of three Mexican League teams taking Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex (formerly known as "Tucson Electric Park" when the White Sox and Diamondbacks based their Spring Training there) in Tucson. (Pericos de Puebla and Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz are the other two Mexican League clubs sharing the facility with los Toros), and in addition to playing games against each other in Tucson, the three Mexican League clubs have also been playing games against MLB minor league affiliates in the Phoenix area during the month of March. (Mexican League Opening Day is April 1st).
The Cubs have signed nine players out of Mexico over the last 18 months, and six just in the 2015-16 IFA alone (the same number they have signed so far out of Venezuela in the 2015-16 IFA). So the Cubs--and more specifically Mexico Area Scout Sergio Hernandez--have really been going hard after Mexican talent lately.
Three of the players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico over the past couple of years (RHSP Jesus Camargo, shortstop Isaac Paredes, and catcher Kevin Zamudio) played in the game against Tijuana, and you could see that the trio were stoked to compete against los Toros.
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)
Here is the box score from the game:
D. J. Wilson drilled an RBI triple, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, Roberto Caro ripped a triple and an RBI single and scored a run, Robert Garcia collected three hits, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in another, Carlos Sepulveda singled twice, walked, and collected two RBI, and Eric Jokisch and Austyn Willis combined to toss a shutout, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Athletics 6-0 in Arizona League action Saturday night on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
P. J. Higgins belted a two-run HR, a double, and a single, Roberto Caro reached base six times (a double, an RBI single, three walks, and an E-6), stole a base, and scored a run, Andruw Monasterio singled twice, walked, and scored three runs, and Enrique de los Rios tossed 4.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, as the AZL Cubs pounded the AZL Diamondbacks 12-1 in the completion of a game suspended on July 5th, and Angelo Amendolare doubled, singled, and drove-in two runs and Jose Paniagua clubbed a two-run home run to lead the AZL Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the AZL Diamondbacks in the regularly-scheduled game that followed, in Arizona League action Tuesday night on Whilrlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Sciottsdale, AZ.
The Cubs - Diamonbacks AZL game on July 5th at Whirlwind Field was suspended in the top of the 1st inning with one out and the Cubs leaduing 3-0 due to a medical enmergency. A person attending the game suffered a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest, and the game was halted while the Cubs & D'backs trainers performed emergency CPR until Salt River Fire Dept paramedics arrived. Unfortunately, the person could not be resuscitated, and so AZL Cubs Manager Carmelo Martinez, AZL Diamondbacks Manager Mike Benjamin, and the two umpires met at home plate and decided it would be best to just suspend the game and send everybody home. The players, managers, coaches, umpires, scouts, and many of the spectators who were there that night knew the person who very suddenly passed away in front of their eyes, and so it really wasn't possible to continue playing the game that night.
Even the completion of the suspended game once it got going again last night was further delayed another 25 minutes in the fourth inning after the home plate umpire took a foul tip off his mask and had to leave the game with concussion symptoms. So while the players, managers and coaches were basically just standing around, the base umpire hurried back to his car to retrieve his home plate umpire gear, and then he disappeared into the Diamondbacks clubhouse to change into the outfit (which took even more time), after-which he umpired the game by himself (from behind home plate) for the final five innings (and nobody gave him any shit, either). .
Here is the abridged box score from the suspended game from July 5th that was completed last night (Cubs players only)
Andruw Monasterio drilled a two-run triple, walked twice, scored a run, and collected a third RBI on a bases-loaded walk, Wladimir Galindo belted a two-run double and knocked-in a third run with a sacrifice fly, Roberto Caro reached base on a bunt single, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and RHSP Jesus Camargo hurled five innings of three-hit one-run ball with no walks and a 11/1 GO/FO, helping the AZL Cubs defeat the AZL Diamondbaks 8-4 in AZL action last night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jairo Rosario reached base four times (single, double, walk, and an HBP) and scored a run and RHSP Javier Palacios tossed four innings of shutout ball, leading the Rockies to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs on Dust Storm Field, and Roberto Caro belted a two-run triple and Andruw Monasterio followed with an RBI single to highlight a three-run third to help the Cubs take an early 3-0 lead, but then they had to hold-on to edge the Rockies 5-4 on Red Mountain Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Eloy Jimenez drilled an RBI double and a single for the Cubs in a losing cause on Dust Storm Field.
Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - strained hamstring) continued his EXST rehab, serving as a DH for the Cubs squad on Red Mountain Field. He batted four times (once in each of the first four innings), and went 1-4 (5-3 GO his firsr time up, a strikeout looking in his second AB. a fly out to left his third time up, and a line-drive single to left in his fourth and final Plate Apparance). Denorfia appeared to be running better today than he did yesterday, but he clearly still isn't 100%.
In EXST roster news, OF Kevin Encarnacion has been moved up to South Bend. Encarnacion was hitting 258/329/403 in 21 Cactus League EXST games (70 PA), with one HR and three triples, twelve RBI and nine runs scored, 7/10 BB/K, and one SB (no CS).
Encarnnacion was signed by the Cubs out of Venezuela as an 18-year old in 2010, and has hit 291/402/428 in 797 career minor league games.
He was involved in a near-fatal car crash in the Dominican Republic post-2013 while attending an off-season mini-camp at the Cubs Dominican Academy. He was a passenger in the vehicle, and was pulled-out just seconds before the vehicle exploded.
Encarnacion suffered third-degree burns on his right side (he now wears a pressure-sleeve on his right arm) and shoulder damage as well, and the Cubs had him flown from the Dominican Republic to Phoenix immediately after the accident to be treated at the Burn Unit at Maricopa County Medical Center. After several surgeries and post-surgery rehabilitation that cost him the 2014 season, Encarnacion finally returned to the field at AZ Instructs post-2014.
The 23-year old Encarnacion was forced to give up switch-hitting as the result of the injuries sustained in the crash (he now only bats left-handed), and he was left behind at Extended Spring Training this year to continue working on hitting left-handed against LHP (not an easy task when you've never done it before) and to get regular playing time.
Here are the abriged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):