Sunday Brunch with Rich Hill and Jered Weaver at Fitch Park

It was caviar, champagne, wheat toast, and strawberry marmalade for breakfast, as the Iowa Cubs and Salt Lake Bees (LAA) met at Fitch Park Field #3 in what is the final ST game for both AAA clubs before they leave Arizona. A Throng of Three (including your ol' pal Arizona Phil, who had nothing better to do) was on hand when the first pitch was thrown at 9 AM (MST), with Rich Hill (CUBS) facing Jered Weaver (LAA). It was the final tune-up for Hill before his first scheduled start next Friday at Milwaukee, while Weaver is trying to increase his pitch count and innings while recovering from biceps tendinitis. First the Good News: Rich Hill pitched today. Now, the Bad News... While Jered Weaver (who is on the 15 day DL) threw his four innings and (about) sixty pitches as the Angels had hoped, Rich Hill lasted only one inning (13 pitches) before being shut-down with a recurrence of the left index-finger blister that his troubled him for about ten days. Hill told a fan as he was leaving the premises that he expects to make his scheduled start next Friday, but if I'm the Cubs, I'd have Wade Miller ready earlier than planned and/or Angel Guzman fully available, in case Hill either can't start, or can't pitch more than a couple of innings. Hill's one inning was a pretty good one, though, as he struck out the lead-off man on three pitches (called-strike fastball, foul, and called-strike curve), gave up a first-pitch ground single to center to the #2 hitter, got the #3 hitter on a second-pitch perfect DP grounder to short that was turned into just a 6-4 FC by a slight mix-up between the I-Cubs SS and 2B, and a seven-pitch AB to his final hitter that ended with a line-drive to right-center (and fine running catch by Felix Pie!) on a 3-2 pitch. Weaver had a good outing for Salt Lake, too, allowing just three hits, a lead-off single + stolen base in the 2nd inning by Felix Pie, and a triple by Angel Pagan and an RBI single by Eric Patterson to start the 4th, in his four innings, one run (earned), no walks, and four K. The Cubs almost scored a second run in the fourth, but E-Pat (who stole second and then third after his RBI single) was thrown out trying to score on a one-out Micah Hoffpauir pop fly to medium-deep LF. BTW, later in the game, Pagan had a double, and E-Pat drew a walk. Just back from Vegas (where he was one of several Cubs minor leaguers brought along to add additional roster depth), LHP Carmen Pignatiello worked three shutout innings, allowing two hits (both singles) and striking out two. Trying to get stretched-out so he can be a rotation starter at Iowa (if needed), LHP Les Walrond worked four innings and threw about 60-70 pitches. He had a terrible first inning (three runs on four hits), but then settled down and pitched shutout ball in his last three innings (6-7-8). RHP John Webb worked a 1-2-3 9th. It appears that the reason veteran AAA guys like John Webb, Ben Howard, and Hector Almonte are still around is because it's possible that Sean Marshall (still trying to increase his pitch count after suffering from a sore shoulder earlier in ST), Roberto Novoa (shoulder), and Ryan O'Maley (groin, I think) might start the season on the Iowa DL. But Mark Prior was on the Iowa Cubs bench today, like a good employee should be. Today's I-Cubs starting lineup and batting order went like this: 1. Angel Pagan, CF 2. Eric Patterson, 2B 3. Felix Pie, RF 4. Micah Hoffpauir, LF 5. Koyie Hill, C 6. Scott Moore, 3B 7. Casey McGehee, 1B 8. Carlos Rojas, SS 9. Rich Hill, P Midway through the game, Hoffpauir, McGehee, and Moore played "musical chairs," as Hoffpauir moved from LF to 1B, McGehee moved from 1B to 3B, and Moore moved from 3B to LF. While out in LF, Hoffpauir made a fine running back-handed catch in left-centerfield with his back to the infield. Angel Pagan also made a fine running catch in CF, while Felix Pie made two fine grabs in RF, one the running catch to end the 1st inning, and the other a shoe-string catch to end the 3rd. Mike Fontenot (2B-3B), Albenis Machado (SS-2B), Chris Walker (4th OF), and Geovany Soto (normally the #1 catcher) were on the Iowa bench, while OF Josh Kroeger (ex-AZ) has been demoted to AA Tennessee (where there is a shortage of outfielders due to Sam Fuld, Ryan Harvey, and Chris Amador all being on the DL at the same time). It would appear that OF Val Pascucci (ex-MON, who played in Japan in '05 and '06) and veteran MLB INF Tomas Perez (who was in the big league camp as an NRI) have been released. The Iowa Cubs open their 2007 season at Round Rock (HOU AAA) on Thursday night.


So THAT'S how the other half lives.....

April's Fools?!

Trans, check your e-mail. Urgent.


Phil: Tell Rich Hill to soak his fingers in pickle worked for Nolan Ryan, although I have no clue as to why. Must be that tough pickle skin or the garlic smell that kept the reporters away (so nobody bugged him about it).

why isn't EPat batting leadoff?

well, i posted this on the Heinie article, but now it seems relevant again:

also, i’m sure others, but not all, had likely caught this, but the cubs are *planning on* starting Z twice before miller starts once, using the off day tuesday to their advantage.

Cincy: Z, Lilly, Marquis

Milwaukee: Hill, Z (saturday, 4 days rest), then Miller

Houston: Lilly (opening day), Marquis, Hill

nicely done. let’s keep moving back the back end of the rotation through the season if possible.

hopefully this blister doesn't get in anyone's way....i hate ridiculous injuries.

good info, Thanks, GL

I've Got Blisters on my Fingers

t.walker added to the 25-man...e.durazo released...looks like t.walker is gonna play 1st for a while for oakland.

These recurring blister problems are troublesome. Hill is our #2, despite the money Lilly got. We desperately need a 100% healthy Rich Hill, please.

I wonder if it's the slider.

That Iowa team is going to be pretty tough, especially if Marshall gets healthy.

AZ Phil wrote: MLB INF Tomas Perez (who was in the big league camp as an NRI) have been released.

Actually, I heard he was traded to the Dodgers for "future considerations."

Rosenthal reporting that Z's agent is saying a deal is so close that both sides are "going to extend the deadline for an indefinite period of time."

Worth more than $80 mill. over 5 years, which "would be the largest ever awarded to a non-free agent starting pitcher, both in average salary and total dollars."

the Reds officially put Eric Milton on the 15 day DL (backdated to 3/23). He was supposed to start the thursday game 3 in the Cub series. Roto reporting that Matt Belisle is likely to start in Milton's place. Milton will be eligible to come off the DL in time to see the wind blowing out at Wrigley for the series starting 4/13...

Also the Reds released quasi-closer Dustin Hermanson. Hermanson was battling lumbar back problems all last yr with the WSux. Hermanson refused a minor league assignment with the Reds.

baseball :D

re #14:

"Rosenthal reporting that Z’s agent is saying a deal is so close that both sides are “going to extend the deadline for an indefinite period of time.”"

Once again Chadstrodamus strikes again:

"Chad — March 29, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

And let us not forget that nothing really happens the day the season starts. It’s not like he becomes a free agent. It’s a Zambrano imposed deadline, that’s all. I’m sure if they are very close to terms, he not going to stop a deal just cause it turned midnight on Sunday."

larussa sure as hell has a thing for the squeeze the past couple years.

didnt waste any time showing he's still a fan in 07.

Baseball makes me happy.

The real start of the Piniella era comes Monday, though Carlos Zambrano said it isn't all that different from the Dusty Baker era.

"The only difference is there are a few more rules," Zambrano said. "That's good. When you want to be a disciplined team, you have to have rules. I'm OK with that."

that was from today's tribune. what do you all think those new rules are?

The Mets offense is still good if anyone was worried. :)

Carpenter getting hammered?

Die Cards!!! Die!!

5-0 Mets, bottom of 4th

go go glavine!

after 4+ innings of play, I've surmised that the Cardinals are DONE!!!


but really Edmonds, Taguchi, Preston in the OF? Ugh...

Joe Morgan is a coward. He let Miller hang on a limb regarding LaRussa's arrest.

Joe Morgan also said Jose Valentin was the reason the Mets were good last year.

There are a group of guys who every year try to lobby that the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday should be a national holiday. My friends and I think that is the dumbest idea ever. HOWEVER, we are in agreement that tomorrow, the official opening day of baseball, should, in fact, be a national holiday. It's the national pastime, right?

Who's with me?

My wife and I always take Opening Day off.

And our outfield defense is supposed to be bad...

Seems like it's just So being So in left for the StL this evening.

nice job by the cards third base coach to send eckstein with 1 out, down by 4, and pujols batting next.....

ouch. he's out, pujols walks, rolen HBP, then molina bloops out to SS.

two observations:

1) i'll take mike quade's supposedly over-conservative third base coaching over a bonehead move like that any day
2) yadier molina is hitting #5 for the cards? this division is terrible

let's win it. period.

Glavine had nothing tonight. He wasn't that great.


THAT was a kickass double play...

cubster — April 1, 2007 @ 2:26 pm
why isn’t EPat batting leadoff?


CUBSTER: Eric Patterson usually hit second behind Chris Walker at AA last year, and even though E-Pat is at his best when he hits lead-off, with Alfonso Soriano probably hitting lead-off for the next eight years, Patterson's future will likely be as a #2 hitter (presuming he remains with the Cubs).

BTW, in case anyone is wondering how it is that Felix Pie hit 3rd but also led-off the second inning, Weaver (who is rehabbing from biceps tedinitis) reached his per-inning pitch limit in the bottom of the first after only two batters (a six-pitch AB by Pagan and a nine-pitch AB by E-Pat).

I can only hope this is the lineup they trot out against Hill and Lilly...

Yadier batting 5th
Preston/So in the OF
Kennedy who can't hit lefties at 2b

"Joe Morgan also said Jose Valentin was the reason the Mets were good last year." -RobG

Don't knock Valentin! He's my fantasy sleeper for 2007. Joe Morgan knows what he's talking about.

The Cards 3B coach is a disciple of Wavin' Wendell

"Alfonso Soriano probably hitting lead-off for the next eight years"

I don't think so. Probably 4 or 5. By 36, he's going to be more Andre Dawson than Rickey Henderson.

So Taguchi's excuse was that he was breaking in a new Freddie Bynum autographed model A2000 glove.

[...] AZ Phil at The Cub Reporter caught the Iowa Cubs final tune-up against the Anaheim Angels AAA team on Sunday.  Among his notes was this I-Cubs lineup, which settles a discussion that Mike and I had a week ago. Today’s I-Cubs starting lineup and batting order went like this: [...]

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  • I don't hate Coghlan as a PHer but he's leading off today which is as bad as Austin Jackson doing so last year. He doesn't even have the speed.

    johann 32 min 1 sec ago view
  • TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.

    Rob Richardson 42 min 43 sec ago view
  • Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?

    billybucks 53 min 8 sec ago view
  • Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.

    billybucks 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.

    johann 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • Not 2nd to last but Cubs are definitely bottom of the pack in the 2nd half in oWAR and wRC+. #1 in dWAR though which is certainly a good sign for the playoffs.

    johann 1 hour 14 min ago view
  • I was going to say that you wouldn't want Heyward to achieve Soriano's OBP--.317 with the Cubs--but now I see that he's already done that. Pitchers have lost their fear of him.

    Oh, well, at least Chapman seems to be as good as advertised.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 23 min ago view
  • Thanks to E-man and Quiet Man for the link on Chapman in a previous post. It's funny because I never really noticed Chapman's delivery until I saw him doing it in a blue uniform. Two saves in a Cubs uniform already. I hope they don't need him today, despite that smooth delivery.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • Cubs are middle of the pack in average, 5th in OPS, 2nd in walks, 4th in runs scored in MLB. Their runs scored ranks 17th in the MLB in July.

    Boston, leading everything, continues to rake in July.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • Lester has given up one run or fewer in 11 starts this year. So I'd answer yes. Three of his last four starts were duds, yes. Not worried about him at all. Arrieta is concerning, to be sure. I look it at as, what he was doing was historic, so the regression was bound to happen. He showed in his start against the Mets that he's still capable, and I'd bet on him regaining his form.

    Tito 2 hours 23 min ago view
  • marlins getting a.cashner and c.rea from SD

    crunch 2 hours 30 min ago view
  • This is not an attack...But In what stat are the Cubs second from last in MLB, in hitting? I don't see this.

    Dusty Baylor 3 hours 36 min ago view
  • How odd the stats:

    Cubs 1st in pitching in MLB

    2nd to last in hitting.

    In May they were 1st in both.

    The E-Man 3 hours 53 min ago view
  • trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.

    eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.

    we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).

    crunch 12 hours 32 min ago view
  • As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.

    I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.

    billybucks 12 hours 52 min ago view
  • Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.

    billybucks 12 hours 53 min ago view