Ian Rice hammered an RBI double and a single and scored a run, Jesse Hodges belted an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, Tyler Pearson slugged a solo home run, and five pitchers combined to toss a shutout, as the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) blanked the Midland RockHounds (AA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 5-0 on Field #3, and David Bote ripped an RBI triple and two singles, stole a base, and scored two runs, Charcer Burks drilled a triple and an RBI single, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Jason Vosler singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Brandon Cummins (recently acquired from the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League) singled twice, stole two bases, scored a run, and drove-in another, leading the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 9-5 victory over the Nashville Sounds (A's AAA affiliate) on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League game action Wednesday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
The game on Field #4 was called after eight innings of play.
The A's started two of their top pitching prospects in the games, with RHSP Jharel Cotton getting the start for Nashville and RHSP Daniel Gossett the SP for Midland. Both pitchers were sent down to Minor League Camp by the A's specifically to pitch in the two games against the Cubs AA/AAA affiliates, and they are the type of high-end MLB-ready (or near-ready) arms the Cubs might target in a potential trade involving Cubs excess position-player prospects somewhere down the line. Cotton was acquired from the Dodgers as part of the Rich Hill trade last July and led the PCL in strikeouts, WHIP, and OppBA in 2016, and Gossett was the A's 2nd round draft pick out of Clemson in 2014.
As is typical for minor league Spring Training games, a few Cubs position-players were moved up to higher levels for the two games.
Also, while Zach Hedges is assigned to the Tennessee squad at Minor League Camp, he was the starting pitcher for Iowa, and Adbert Alzolay is assigned to the Myrtle Beach squad at Minor League Camp, but he was the starting pitcher for Tennessee. (Alzolay's fastball was sitting at 95, BTW). All of the other Cubs pitchers who worked in the games pitched for their assigned squads (levels), including Jake Stinnett, who "piggy-backed" with Alzolay in the AA game but actually threw more innings and six less pitches than Alzolay.
Cubs pitchers being stretched out as starters (Alzolay, Stinnett, and Hedges) were limited to three innings or 45-50 pitches (whichever came first).
RHP Tyler Skulina (Cubs 2013 4th round draft pick - Kent State) is being moved to the bullpen in 2017. (He was a SP at AA Tennessee last season). He threw a scoreless inning in the AAA game on Field #4 (but only 50% strikes).
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
Jeff Smith ripped a two-run triple, singled, doubled, and scored two runs, Alex Brown hammered an RBI triple, singled, walked and scored two runs, Fernery Ozuna drilled an RBI double, tripled, walked, and scored a run, Austin Byler singled twice, walked twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, Marty Herum smacked a two-run home run and singled, and RHSP Sam McWilliams and four relievers combined to spin a five-hitter, as the Diamondbacks crushed the Cubs 12-4 on Whirlwind Field, and Wladimir Galindo (two-run single), Tyler Pearson (two-run double), and Jhonny Bethencourt (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run 7th and RHSP Pedro Silverio tossed three innings of shutout ball with four strikeouts, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the D'backs 7-5 on Jackrabbit Field, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
The game on Jackrabbit Field was called after eight innings of play.
Yeiler Peguero singled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another and Miguel Amaya belted a two-run double and walked for the Cubs in a losing cause on Whirlwind Field, and Jose Herrera and Gerard Hernandez drilled two-run singles for the D'backs in a losing cause on Jackrabbit Field.
RHSP Junior Marte had difficulty finding the strike zone in the game on Whilrlwind Field, walking six in just 1.1 IP (he threw only 43% strikes), and surrendering two run-scoring triples when he did throw the ball over the plate.
RHP (ex-INF) Francisco Garay and RHP (ex-OF) Wander Feliz saw their first Cactus League EXST game action since being converted to pitchers this season (they had previously thrown only "live" BP and in intrasquad games at Riverview Park), throwing an inning a piece in the game on Jackrabbit Field. Garay got through his inning relatively unscathed (although his fastball topped out at only 86 MPH), while Feliz walked the bases loaded and then surrendered a two-run single (like Marte, Feliz could not find home plate, recording only 33% strikes).
A 17-year old 6'2 Panamanian, Garay hit just 126/190/146 with a whopping 96 K in 220 PA while playing both 3B and SS for the VSL Cubs in his debut pro season last year, and the 18-year old 6'2 Feliz hit 235/375/333 in 202 PA and 54 games (mostly in RF) for the DSL Cubs in 2015 (his rookie season). Garay received a $200K signing bonus in July 2014, so his failure as a position player is especially noteworthy.
Stephen Bruno saw his first game action since Minor League Camp, playing 2B for four ininngs and going 1-2 (a single and a FC) at the plate on Jackrabbit Field.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only)
Isaac Paredes hammered a solo home run, Kevonte Mitchell blasted a two-run HR, and Robert Garcia (two-run single), Yeiler Peguero (RBI double), and Marcus Mastrobuoni (RBI double) contributed run-scoring hits, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Angels at Sloan Park, and Jose Paniagua slugged a two-run HR, Tyler Pearson smacked a solo HR, and Jesus Castillo and three relievers combined to hurl a three-hit shutout, helping the Cubs blank the Angels 3-0 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.
Jabari Henry belted a solo HR in a losing cause for the Angels at Sloan Park.
Jenner Emeterio singled, doubled, and tripled, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Varonex Cuevas singled and scored in the 3rd and belted a two-run home run in the 6th, and Carlos Jimenez singled, doubled, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run. as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 6-5 on Whirlwind Field, and Raymel Flores drilled a two-run single with two outs and the bases loaded to key a four-run 3rd, as the D'backs shutout the Cubs 6-0 on Jackrabbit 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.
Both games were called after 7-1/2 innings of play.
Veteran MLB RHRP Daniel Bard had a very odd/unusual day. Working one inning in the game on Whirlwind Field, Bard issued three walks, struck out two (both swinging), and uncorked six wild pitches. That's six wild pitches In one inning!
In EXST Cubs roster news, catcher Eric Gonzalez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs, and catcher Tyler Pearson has been moved-up to AA Tennessee.
The 18-year old Gonzalez got into eight Cactus League EXST games (14 PA), going 0-13 with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw out one of three baserunners attempting to steal against him (33% CS). Gonzalez was signed by the Cubs last June, and he hit 254/297/322 in 19 DSL games last season.
The DSL Cubs begin play a week from tomorrow (Saturday May 30th), and it's possible that additional players who are presently at Extended Spring Training will get assigned to the DSL Cubs prior to DSL Opening Day.
The 23-year old Pearson was the Cubs 25th round pick in the 2014 MLB Fiirst-Year Player Draft out of Texas State (by way of Rice). He hit 235/322/431 in 21 games with AZL Cubs last season, and 250/333/458 in 14 Cactus League EXST games (30 PA) this season (with three doubles and a triple, three walks and an HBP, eight strikeouts, a SH, a SF, and two GIDP). He had a 14% CS, with one passed ball in Cactus League EXST games.
While he was assigned to Tennessee and will physically report to the Smokies, he will not be activated until he is needed. The Cubs have been doing that quite a bit this season, which is to say a a player will be placed on a minor league affiliate's 7-day DL or assigned to Eugene or AZL Cubs (but only on paper), without the player actually leaving the club or reporting to Extended Spring Teaining. Then other times, the player does report to EXST.
One player on a Cubs minor league affiliate's 7-day DL who is definitely at Extended Spring Training is OF Shawon Dunston Jr, who is rehabbing a right arm injury (I believe it's the right shoulder) sustained about a month go at Hi-A Myrtle Beach. Dunston is just now beginning a throwing program and to take BP at EXST, so he probably won't be ready to return to the Pelicans for a while.
Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
Alberto Mineo (two-run single, RBI triple, and a walk) and Tyler Pearson (two walks and a double) reached base three times a piece for the Cubs, and Gilbert Lara (RBI triple), David Denson (RBI double), and Yerald Martinez (RBI double) stroked run-scoring extra-base hits in a three-run fourth, CF Joantgel Segovia drilled three singles, stole two bases, drove-in two runs, and threw out a runner on the bases, and RHP J. B. Kole threw five innings of two-hit ball for the Brewers, as the Cubs rallied for two runs in the top of the 9th and played the Brewers to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, AZ.
Before Kole entered the game, the Cubs scored two runs on four hits in the top of the 1st inning off 6'9 RHP Johnny Hellweg, who is on the Brewers MLB 60-day DL while rehabbing from 2014 Tommy John Surgery.
RHP Austyn Willis got the start for the Cubs and retired nine of the first ten men he faced on just 27 pitches, before running into trouble in the fourth when the Brew Crew plated three runs on a single, the Lara triple, and the Denson and Martinez doubles.
RHRP Corbin Hoffner worked the 8th and the 9th for the Cubs and did not allow a run, retiring six of the seven men he faced (three strikeouts and three ground outs) to preserve the tie. His new extreme sidearm (almost submarine) delivery coupled with lots of off-speed stuff (AKA "junk") really kept the Brewers hitters off-stride.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRPs Brad Markey and Daniel Lewis have been moved up to Lo-A South Bend, replacing RHPs James Norwood and Jake Stinnett, who were placed on the SB 7-day DL.
The 23-year old Markey was the Cubs 2014 19th round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, and he worked in 15 games (combined) out of the AZL Cubs and Boise bullpens after signing in June. He was left behind at Extended Spring Training despite spending much of Minor League Camp with the Hi-A Myrtle Beach squad, but he has pitched very well at EXST, and it was just a matter of time before he got his Letter of Transit out of Casablanca.
Although Daniel Lewis is 24, he has only been pitching for a year. He enlisted in the U. S. Air Force after finishing high school, and enrolled in Pensacola JC after being discharged in 2013. The Cubs signed him as a Non-Drafted Free Agent (NDFA) in July 2014 after scouting him in the Cape Cod League (probably the top collegiate summer league), and he appeared in eight games out of the Boise bullpen after signing. He attended AZ Instructs post-2014 but he did not pitch well there. Lewis features a high-octane 94-MPH fastball, but his command is spotty and his secondary pitches are raw.
BRAD MARKEY - 2015 CACTUS LEAGUE EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING GAMES
1. 4/17: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 18 pitches (11 strikes)
2. 4/21: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (10 strikes)
3. 4/24: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/3 GO/FO, 30 pitches (18 strikes)
4. 4/29: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 3/1 GO/FO, 24 pitches (16 strikes)
5. 5/5: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 B, 0 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 17 pitches (13 strikes)
6. 5/9: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 23 pitches (16 strikes)
TOTAL: 10.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 6 K, 1 PO, 12/11 GO/FO, 66% strikes, 1.80 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, .172 OppBA
DANIEL LEWIS - 2015 CACTUS LEAGUE EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING GAMES
1. 4/17: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
2. 4/20: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 23 pitches (14 strikes)
3. 4/24: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (11 strikes)
4. 4/28: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 5/1 GO/FO, 20 pitches (15 strikes)
5. 5/1: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 0/3 GO/FO, 17 pitches (9 strikes)
6. 5/5: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
7. 5/8: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 2 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 2 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 44 pitches (19 strikes)
8. 5/13: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 WP, 4/2 GO/FO, 36 pitches (19 strikes)
TOTAL: 12.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R (5 ER), 9 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 3 WP, 2 GIDP, 17/11 GO/FO, 56% strikes, 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .150 OppBA
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
The Cubs and Athletics played to a 5-5 tie in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Frandy de la Rosa (two-run single) and Tyler Alamo (RBI single) drilled run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run third that gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead. Then after the A's took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a Miguel Mercedes solo home run, the Cubs came back and tied the game in the top of the ninth as pinch-hitter Tyler Pearson belted a two-out triple to right-center and scored on a game-tying Bryant Flete RBI single. The A's loaded the bases on two walks and a Cub error in the bottom of the 9th, but were unable to push across the winning run.
Robert Garcia singled, doubled, and scored two runs for the Cubs.
Cub pitchers allowed only four hits in the game (none until the fourth, and only one through six), but they also walked eight, hit a batter, and threw three wild pitches. Collectively, Cub pitchers threw only 53% strikes today. The two Cub catchers (Tyler Alamo and Jhonny Pereda) took a physical beating behind the plate, with numerous balls short-hopping them before hitting a collar-bone or a groin.
Two veteran ex-MLB pitchers recently signed by the Cubs to minor league contracts saw action in today's game, as RHP Felipe Paulino (released by the Red Sox at the end of SpringTraining) and LHRP Daniel Schlereth (released by the Tigers last month) each worked an inning.
The 6'3 260+ 31-year old Paulino came out like a house afire, striking out the first two men he faced (both swinging) on seven pitches before walking the next two hitters on 3-2 pitches, finally retiring the side on a pop-out to the first-baseman in foul territory. He cuts a rather large figure on the mound, with a physique similar to that of Jumbo Diaz or Jonathan Broxton.
Originally signed by the Houston Astros as an International free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, Paulino has pitched in the big leagues with Houston, Colorado, Kansas City, and the White Sox. He underwent an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) post-2012 when he was with the Royals, and then missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury while a member of the White Sox.
The 28-year old Schlereth worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 2nd (F-9, 4-3, P-4), but had command issues, going to a three-ball count on the first two hitters he faced and a two-ball count on the third hitter before retiring them. He needed 15 pitches to retire the side, but threw only seven strikes.
Schlereth was the 1st round pick (26th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, and was part of the Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Edwin Jackson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson/Phil Coke three-team mega-deal in December 2009, going to the Tigers with Scherzer, Coke and A. Jackson (Granderson went to the Yankees, and E. Jackson and Kennedy ended up in Arizona).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
Carlos Sepulveda tripled and singled and scored two runs, Roney Alcala belted an RBI double, singled, and scored a run, Miguel Rico drilled a two-run double, and five pitchers combined to toss a four-hitter, helping the Cubs to a 6-4 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
Denzel Richardson and Jordan Ribera stroked solo home runs to account for two of the Rockies four runs.
The Cubs had several baserunning gaffes in the game. Slow-footed catcher Tyler Pearson was gunned-down 7-4 trying to stretch a single into a double with no outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Kevin Encarnacion was doubled-up at 1st base on a pop out to the second-baseman in the bottom of the 6th (Rockies shortstop faked like he was fielding a ground ball and Encarnacion fell for it), and Roney Alcala was called out on an appeal play at 3rd base in the bottom of the 7th inning when the home plate umpire ruled that Alcala had left 3rd too early on what should have been a sacrifice fly (it was really obvious, too), taking what should have been a third RBI away from Miguel Rico.
So I guess we might see a special emphasis on baserunning drills tomorrow.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):