Tyler Payne cracked a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd inning to put the Cubs on the board, and then Miguel Amaya tripled and scored in the 7th and belted a game-winning walk-off solo HR with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, earning the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics AA affiliate) in Cactus League Minor League Camp game action Friday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.
J. J. Schwarz clubbed a game tying solo HR for the RockHounds in the top of the 9th to necessitate Amaya's heroics.
This was Miguel Amaya's first game action since being sent to Minor League Camp from the Cubs Alternate Training Site in South Bend last week. He was sent to Minor League Camp after Tony Wolters agreed to accept an Outright Assignment to the ATS.
Veteran MLB LHRP Adam Morgan saw his first game action of 2021, tossing a 1-2-3 twelve-pitch inning with two strikeouts (FB 91-93, SL 81-82, and CH/CV 76-78). The Cubs signed the 31-year old to a minor league contract this past off-season, and while he did receive an NRI to Spring Training, he did not pitch in any MLB Cactus League games.
But RHRP Robert Stock was the highlight of the day pitching-wise, throwing two shutout innings and striking out four (swinging). He threw 28 pitches (75% strikes!) including 12 FB and 16 SL, and all 12 FB were 99 MPH or better (five at 99, four at 100, and three 101 MPH). Stock was claimed off waivers by the Cubs from the Boston Red Sox last December, and was sent outright to the minors in March.
INF Luis Vazquez was moved-up to the Tennessee squad from the South Bend squad to replace Brennen Davis (who was hit in the face with a pitch yesterday).
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
Jared Young drilled an RBI double and a two-run HR, Cam Balego mashed a two-run HR, singled, walked, and scored three runs, Tyler Payne slugged a two-run HR and singled twice, and RHSP Javier Assad hurled five inings of one-run ball, leading the South Bend Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Field #5, and LHSP Jose Paulino tossed five innings of shutout ball and Carlos Penalver belted a solo HR to help the Tennessee Smokies whitewash the Iowa Cubs 3-0 on Field #6, in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Saturday morning on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Jared Young has been the hottest hitter in Cubs Minor League Camp this month, leading all Cubs minor leaguers in home runs with four. He went 5-5 at Fitch Park versus Beloit yesterday (four singles and a double), and continued to rake today with the RBI double and two-run HR. He is a hitting-machine. (A natural second-baseman, Young has been playing 1B-2B-3B-LF at Minor League Camp to help increase his player-value going forward).
RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng threw six innings (80 pitches) and allowed two runs on four hits (one HR) and a walk with five strikeouts for the I-Cubs on Field #6, in preparation for his Opening Day start next Thursday in Des Moines against Oklahoma City.
The Defensive Gem of the Game (on Field #6) was turned in by an unexpected source, one Stephen Bruno (normally an infielder, and not known for his defense). Bruno made a spectacular leaping catch over the top of the LF fence and pulled back a near-certain HR-ball off the bat of Jesse Hodges that left the other players and the coaches in near hysterics.
Yeiler Peguero had an interesting day, playing 3B for South Bend on Field #5 for six innings before carrying his bat and glove across the walkway to Field #6 and playing 2B for Tennessee for the final two innings of the Iowa-Tennessee game (the two games were played simultaneously and started and ended at about the same time).
Several pitchers were inserted into the lineups on Field #6 so that they could practice bunting in game situations.
Although the games were ostensibly Iowa vs Tennessee and Myrtle Beach vs South Bend, the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad actually contributed the lion's share of the position-players (22 to be exact) to the two games, as a number of players from the four "full-season" squads got the day off. The main purpose of the games was to get innings for pitchers who were scheduled to throw in a game today (the Cactus League minor league season concluded yesterday, so intrasquad games are the only option right now), and to allow the starting pitchers to increase their pitch-counts to where they will need to be once the minor league regular-season begins next week.
The Opening Day rosters for the four Cubs "full-season" affiliates should be announced within the next couple of days. Collectively the four teams are 17 over the Opening Day active roster limit, but most of the trimming will involve players going onto the 7-day DL and/or being assigned to Extended Spring Training.
Tyler Payne belted a two-run double and scored in a three-run 6th and Aramis Ademan and Wladimir Galindo stroked two singles a piece and each scored a run in a three-run 7th, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Friday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.
Miguel Mercedes drilled two RBI singles to account for both of the A's runs.
The game was called by mutual consent after 7-1/2 innings of play.
LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) saw his first game action of 2016 but had difficulty locating home plate (17 pitches - only 6 strikes), walking two while recording two outs (F-8 and 4-3) before being relieved. Leathersich was claimed off waivers from the Mets in November and then was non-tendered by the Cubs on December 2nd, before signing a 2016 minor league contract with the Cubs. Leathersich has been rehabbing at the Cubs UAPC at Riverview Park since February, and the Cubs hope he will be able to help the big club's bullpen sometime later in the year (once his rehab is complete).
RHSP Jesus Camargo (2014 IFA - Mexico) also saw his first game action of 2016, relieving Leathersich and retiring all three hitters he faced on an F-7 and two strikeouts (both swinging). Camargo probably has the best change-up in the Cubs system and was the workhorse of the AZL Cubs starting rotation in 2015, and he would have been a strong contender for a starting gig at Eugene in 2016, too, if he had been able to compete with the others (Cease, Hudson, Paulino, Silverio, J. Castillo, Moreno, and M. Rondon) from the gitgo. Camargo still might eventually win a slot in the Eugene starting rotation, but time is short and he is far behind the other candidates. I would think he will probably begin the short-season back at AZL Cubs and work his innings and pitch count up to where it needs to be for a starting pitcher.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Pedro Araujo has been moved-up to South Bend (Araujo was one of the last three pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp).
Pedro Araujo combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/26):
1.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .226 OppBA
14.0 IP, 12 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 21 K, 9/11 GO/AO, 181 pitches (73% strikes), 12.9 PITCHES-PER-INNING
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
Jose Paniagua slugged a grand slam to cap a five-run 3rd inning and singled and scored in the 7th, Robert Garcia and Alex Bautista each drilled a triple and a single and scored two runs (Garcia also stole a base), and Jesus Camargo (ex-Mexico City Red Devils) tossed four shutout innings with seven strikeouts, as the AZL Cubs bludgeoned the AZL Padres 9-2 in Arizona League action Tuesday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.