Stephen Bruno

Jared Young Has Rake, Will Travel

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.   

Rockie Road for Cubs at Riverview

RHSP Ryan Castellani tossed four innings of one-run ball and Roberto Ramos and Scott Burcham hammered back-to-back RBI doubles to highlight a four-run 6th, as the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #5, and Vince Fernandez drilled an RBI double and a two-run single and Todd Czinege belted a solo HR to help the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies AAA affiliate) defeat the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 8-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.    

In two starts versus Tennessee in the last week, Ryan Castellani has thrown eight innings and allowed just one run on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. (Castellani is ranked by Baseball America as the Rockies #6 prospect).
 
RHSP Duncan Robinson hurled five innings of shutout ball, Jesse Hodges drove-in two runs with an RBI single and an RBI double, and Chris Pieters singled & doubled and scored a run for Tennessee, and the Smokies had the potential tying and winning runs on base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th but were unable to plate even one of the runners. 

Stephen Bruno (RBI double) and Bijan Rademacher (RBI single) drilled consecutive two-out RBI hits in the bottom of the 3rd to provide Iowa's two runs on Field #6. 

As was mentioned here yeaterday, several Iowa Cubs players traveled to Florida with the MLB squad for the two-game pre-season set versus the Red Sox in Ft. Myers, so a number of players on the Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend squads have been temporarily promoted to higher levels for a few days (until the I-Cubs return from Florida).
 
Iowa Cubs RHRP David Garner saw his first game action since being suspended for 50 (official) games after testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse," and he had a very poor outing, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in 2/3 of an inning while throwing only 38% strikes. (With the approval of the MLB Commissioner and with the consent of the player's MLB organization, a player who is on the Restricted List as the result of a prohibited substance suspension can attend Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training - without pay - and participate in Minor League Camp and EXST games while serving the suspension, although the player is not required to do so). Barring rain-outs or other postponements, Garner's suspension is scheduled to end on May 27th.   
 
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Don't Show Brothers Much Hospitality at Riverview

D. J. Wilson smacked a two-run triple and a single, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Zack Short doubled twice and scored twice, Austin Upshaw hammered a two-run home run, Chris Pieters knocked-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, stole a base, and scored twice, and Stephen Bruno, Kevonte Mitchell, and Miguel Amaya each drilled an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Chinatrust Brothers 13-5 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Tung-Jung Wu belted a two-run HR for the Brothers in a losing cause.

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Duncan Robinson got the start for the Cubs, working two innings and allowing a run on four hits (all four hits were singles) and no walks, with four strikeouts (all swinging). Trevor Clifton followed Robinson to the hill and worked two shutout innings, allowing two hits (both doubles) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both looking). Michael Rucker also threw two innings, surrendering a two-run HR along the way while throwing 82% strikes. As things stand right now, Robinson, Clifton, and Rucker would appear to be 3/5 of the AA Tennessee Smokies projected Opening Day starting rotation.

The Brothers (AKA "Brother Elephants") are one of the four clubs in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), and they have been having their Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (former Spring Training home of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks) for the past few weeks, sharing the facility with los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League).

Cory Snyder is the Brothers manager, Jim Presley is the hitting coach, and Scott Budner is the pitching coach, so there is a distinct MLB feel to the operation. Ex-MLB or minor league pitchers Casey Coleman, Zack Segovia, Nick Additon, and Mitch Lively are on the Brothers roster, although none of them pitched in the game. Several of the Brothers played for Team Chinese Taipei in the most-recent World Baseball Classic, so they have some experience playing with and against MLB and minor league players.  

Here is the box score from the game (English translation only):

Cubs Overcome One-Hitter to Gain Split with Giants

Mikey Edie (two RBI singles), Beicker Mendoza (RBI double), Zack Bowers (RBI double), and Julio Pena (go-ahead two-run single) contributed run-scoring hits to help the Giants rally and defeat the Cubs 7-5 on Field #1, and Marcus Mastrobuoni belted a solo home run with two outs in the top of the 6th to tie the game (and break-up a no-hitter), and what proved to be the winning run scored in the top of the 7th without the benefit of a hit (lead-off walk, WP, GO, and an E-6), as the Cubs (held to just the one hit) edged the Giants 2-1 on Field #2, 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. 

Stephen Bruno (RBI single), Chris Pieters (two-run triple), and Abraham Rodriguez (RBI single) collected run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run third inning for the Cubs in a losing cause on Field #1, and RHSP Melvin Adon hurled four innings of no-run/no-hit ball for the Giants in their loss on Field #2.

RHRP Aaron Crow (April 2015 TJS) was shut-down after waming up (unknown if related to the TJS rehab). 

Cubs Latin American Field Coordinator Dave Keller and Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Jim Brower are in town this week, and both were at today's EXST games in Scottsdale. Keller is helping to decide which of the Cubs Latin American players at EXST will stay in Arizona and play in the AZL and which will be sent to the DSL (the DSL begins play in three weeks), and Brower is evaluating the Cubs pitchers at EXST to determine which ones are candidates to be moved up to a full-season affiliate, which ones will be assigned to Eugene, which ones will remain in Arizona and play in the AZL, and which will be sent to the DSL. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHSP Jeremy Null has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach. Null was left behind at Extended Spring Training because he was slowed a bit with arm fatigue during Minor League Camp and could not get stretched-out in time for the start of the Carolina League regular season, but he got his pitch count up to 75 in an EXST intrasquad game in Mesa last week and so he is ready to roll.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only), followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster: 

Snakes Sweep Cubs at Riverview

Francis Martinez smacked a bases-loaded bases-clearing three-run double, Ramon Hernandez belted a two-run double, and Gerard Hernandez drilled a two-run single, leading the Diamondbacks to a 7-3 victory over the Cubs on Field #5, and Fernery Ozuna ripped three singles, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Pedro Marquez hammered a two-run double and a single and scored a run, Chuck Taylor singled, doubled, walked, and scored two runs, and RHSP Luis Madera and three relievers combined to toss a five-hitter with ten strikeouts, helping the D'backs drub the Cubs 11-1 on Field #5, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Cubs & D'backs Split the Difference at Salt River Fields

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) 

Cubs Triple Their Pleasure & Defeat A's at Fitch Park

Bijan Rademacher roped a two-run triple, walked twice, and scored three runs, and NWL batting champion Stephen Bruno drove-in three runs with a two-run triple and an RBI FC, propelling the Cubs to a 10-7 victory over Athletics in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.