Yohan Matos

Is That Arrieta?

Dylan Cease fired three innings of shutout ball, Vimael Machin lined a triple off the CF Batter's Eye and scored and Alex Bautista rifled an RBI double into the LF corner to highlight a two-run 7th, and then Bautista ripped an RBI single through the box into CF and Yohan Matos followed with an RBI triple high off the LF screen (near HR) to spark a two-run 9th, as the Cubs plated five runs over the final three innings and defeated the Brewers 6-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Cease threw a higher percentage of strikes (62%) today than in any previous outing (he usually struggles to throw strikes, typically throwing 50-55% strikes), breaking his curve for called strikes time & again, and humming his heater consistently knee-high at 98-99 MPH (per both the Brewers & Cubs guns -- for example, 99-99-99-98-99-99-98-98-99-99-99 in the bottom of the 2nd). He even got a swing & miss on a change-up (the pitch that is his "work-in-progress").

Cease allowed four hits (three singles and a double) over his three-inning stint, but three of the hits were opposite-field grounders, and the fourth was a broken-bat humpback liner looped over the shortstop's head and into short left. 

Cease was so dominating that one of the Brewer pitchers seated behind home plate asked "Is that Arrieta?" as Cease dropped his knee-bending hook to get ahead 0-2 and then blew unhittable gas past the last two Brew Crew hitters for strike-three in the bottom of the 2nd (stranding runners at 2nd & 3rd). It's unusual when the other team's pitchers are mesmerized by an EXST opponent who isn't a major league rehabber.  

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only) 

Cubs Grab the Bulls by the Horns in Four-Run 9th

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 (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.   


 (updated daily)

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cease Fires Gas to Extinguish Blaze

Dylan Cease struck out six in two innings and combined with five other Cubs pitchers to fan 17 batters, Jose Paniagua belted a three-run home run and a triple, Isaac Paredes slammed a solo home run and walked twice, Yohan Matos drilled an RBI double, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Adonis Paula hammered a two-run HR, helping Eugene/Mesa (the Cubs Extended Spring Training group) to a 9-3 victory over the Langley Blaze in Minor League Camp game action Tuesday morning on Field #3 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was extended an extra inning to allow all the Cubs pitchers who were scheduled to throw to get their work. 

A member of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL), the Blaze are one of the top amateur baseball clubs in Canada. Notable alumni include Brett Lawrie and Scott Mathieson, as well as ex-Cub minor leaguer Wes Darvill. 

The Blaze are on a ten-day Arizona Spring Training Trip, where they are playing minor league teams, and college and high school teams. The Blaze are scheduled to play one or two (and sometimes even three!) games per day, including morning games, afternoon games, night games, doubleheaders, and split squad games, so the Canadian lads (age 15-18) are playing a LOT of baseball in the Valley of the Sun.

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Rosscup Strikes Fear into the Hearts of A's at Sloan Park

Shane Conlon drilled two singles and a double, reached base on an HBP, scored two runs, and drove-in three more, leading the AZL Athletics to a 10-2 drubbing of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action Saturday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The final two innings were played in a light drizzle.  

Yohan Matos ended a 1-25 skid by lining a bases-loaded opposite-field two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to account for the two Cub runs and avert what otherwise would have been a shutout.  

LHP Manny Rondon (acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month) got the start for the AZL Cubs and was terrible, allowing seven runs (six earned) on five hits and three walks and a WP in just 1.1 IP, including a 30-pitch 2nd inning in which he retired only one batter. 

LHRP Zac Rosscup (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation since June 17th) made his second AZL appearance of the week and was brilliant, working one inning (16 pitches - 12 strikes) and striking out the side, with a virtually unhittable mixture of 94 MPH fastball and hard-breaking slider. The young A's hitters looked totally befuddled trying to deal with Rosscup's plus-stuff.  

20-year old RHP M. T. Minacci (Cubs 2015 33rd round draft pick - Powermill Training Academy) worked a 1-2-3 7th inning (6-3, F-7, 4-3). Minacci was a teammate of Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick LHP Carson Sands at North Florida Christian HS in Tallahassee, and was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) but did not sign,. He chose instead to enroll at Florida State, but then transferred to Chipola College after only one semester at FSU, before joining Powermill last year. Minacci was working primarily with his fastball (90-92 MPH) Saturday night, with an  occasional slider and change-up mixed-in.   

In AZL Cubs roster news, LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (Cubs 2015 9th round draft pick - Cal State Fullerton) has been moved up to Eugene, and LHP Heath Dwyer (2015 NDFA - Virginia Commonwealth) has been moved down to AZL Cubs from Eugene. Dwyer pitched the 9th inning for the AZL Cubs in Saturday night's game, and was tagged for two runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple). Dwyer is a soft-tossing lefty who features a mid-80's fastball, a curve, and a plus-change up, but his smoke & mirrors stuff didn't fool the A's hitters. 

Here is the abridged box score from Saturday night's game (Cubs players only):  

Matos Dinger Lifts AZL Cubs to Victory

Yohan Matos blasted a three-run HR to cap a four-run 5th and Enrique de los Rios and three relievers combined to hurl a three-hitter, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL Angels 6-5 in AZL action last night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

Zastryzny Gets Start for AZL Cubs

Hector Hernandez (on Kane County 7-day DL) hurled three innings of one-hit shutout ball and combined with three relievers to toss a four-hitter, as the AZL Diamondbacks defeated the AZL Cubs 4-1 in AZL action this evening on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Late Rally Helps Emeralds Sparkle at Riverview

Kevonte Mitchell smashed a solo HR to lead-off the inning and Frandy de la Rosa belted a two-run triple and scored on a WP to highlight a four-run 8th, as the Eugene Emeralds rallied to defeat the Mesa Cubs 5-3 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Eloy Jimenez reached base four times (two singles and two walks) for Eugene, Yohan Matos slugged a solo HR and singled twice for the Mesa Cubs, and the two starting pitchers (LHP Justin Steele and RHP Oscar de la Cruz) combined to hurl six innings of shutout ball.

Mesa Cubs LF Jose Paniagua left the game after being hit on the helmet by a Daniel Bard fastball in the top of the 4th. (Bard was pulled out of the game after throwing only eight pitches).

Mike Olt (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - broken right wrist) took pre-game BP but did not play in the game.

In EXST Cubs roster news, OF Shawon Dunston (on Myrtle Beach 7-day since April 23rd with a right shoulder injury) has completed his rehab and has returned to the Pelicans, and C-1B Alberto Mineo has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach.

Mineo will be inactive at MB (technically he's on the Eugene Reserve List) and will serve as a bullpen catcher for the Pelicans, but he can be activated if necessary.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game, followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster: 

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