EXST Cubs Rally to Beat A's, Eyre Throws "Live" BP
Some of you might be happy to know this, but more might not be...
Scott Eyre, on the DL since the last week of Spring Training with a sore elbow, has progressed beyond just throwing side sessions in the bullpen. While the EXST Cubs were playing the EXST A's on Fitch Park Field #3, Eyre threw a 25-pitch "live" BP session on Field #2 to some of the Cub position players who were not in the starting lineup of the EXST game.
While we all know Eyre is not the pitcher he was three years ago, he did appear to throw the ball OK today, mixing a decent fastball with a "big league" slider the Cub youngsters will rarely see in Minor League Camp or Extended Spring Training.
Eyre is at the point in his rehab where pitchers are just before the start of Spring Training games (throwing "live" BP), but since he's a relief pitcher who usually pitches only one inning, he probably could get himself ready to rejoin the Cubs after just a couple or three rehab game outings.
Of course, that would be dependent on whether or not he has any setbacks in his rehab. And if he does continue to progress without any setbacks, it still must be determined if his rehab game outings will be at Fitch Park (EXST) or will begin at a full season stop or stops (Peoria, Daytona, Tennessee, or Iowa) yet TBD.
Eyre did say that his "live" BP session today "felt good," although he admitted that might have been due to the medication he's been taking.
In other injury news at EXST, RHP Alberto Alburquerque underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday, and RHP Rafael Dolis (2007 TJ surgery) has been shutdown after developing a sore shoulder. When Dolis will start throwing again is unknown.
On the bright side, Leon Johnson (finger) and Jeffrey Rea (sore arm) are about back to full strength, and both will likely be leaving Fitch Park for a full-season affiliate (probably Peoria) very soon. So if I'm Peoria 2B Nathan Samson (BA in the .130's), or 1B-OF Drew Rundle (3 for last 35 with 13 K), or LF Dylan Johnston (0 for last 15 with 11 K), I might start to worry just a bit.
The fact that Rundle had been demoted from Peoria to Boise-Mesa during Minor League Camp, only to get a last minute reprieve when Johnson got hurt just prior to the Chiefs leaving Arizona, might not be a good predictor for Rundle remaining at Peoria.
And if the Peoria Chiefs ar looking for a first-baseman, Bryan Jost has been on a tear at EXST.
A 2007 draft-eligible sophomore picked in the 44th round out of the University of Minnesota and signed (he fell due to signability concerns) just before the August 15th deadline for signing Rule 4 draftees, Jost suffered a season-ending knee injury in the AZ Instructional League in October, and was limited to light activities at Minor League Camp in March (BP and fielding OK, but no sliding). But he's cleared for "full contact" now, and it looks like he's trying to make up for lost time, as he went 3-3 today with a single, a double, and a triple, as well as making a couple of nice scoops at first-base.
Speaking of today's EXST game, the Cubs jumped out to a 6-0 lead, with starter Marcus Hatley throwing three shutout innings. But then the A's came back against the Cubs bullpen (F. Acosta, Carmona, and Rojas) to take a 7-6 lead in the 6th, before Nelson Perez hit a game-winning two-run HR 430+ feet over the CF fence in the bottom of the 8th. John Muller then pitched a shutout 9th for the save.
If a replacement pitcher is needed at Peoria or Daytona in the next few days or weeks, and it's not one of the rehab guys like Todd Blackford or Billy Muldowney, expect to see Hatley or Muller get the call. Both right-handers are throwing the ball VERY well right now.
Both Hatley and Muller are converted position players, Hatley having played OF at Palomar JC, and Muller shortstop at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
The guy who hit the game-winning HR today (Nelson Perez) is an unsual case in the Cubs system, in that he was signed as a pitcher, but was converted to an outfielder.
Essentially, N. Perez is a left-handed hitting Ryan Harvey, an EXTREME first-ball fastball hitter with an aversion to breaking balls and change-ups, but with the power to hit a ball half-way to Apache Junction.
Also like Harvey, N. Perez has one of the top two outfield arms in the Cubs organization (11 outfield assists in just 2-1/2 months at AZL Mesa in 2007). He also bears an uncanny physical resemblance to a young Sammy Sosa.
Like Felix Pie, Nelson Perez is another one of Alfonso Soriano's Dominican proteges. During Spring Training, Soriano befriended the youngster, giving him bats, gloves, shoes, and a case of batting gloves.
Here is today's abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Leon Johnson, CF-LF: 1-2 (2B, 2-3 SH, BB + CS, K-s)
2. Jeffrey Rea, 2B: 1-2 (BB, FC-RBI, BB + CS, BUNT 1B +R)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-2 (6-4-3 GIDP, P-6)
3b. John Contreras, 3B: 0-1 (K-s, 3-4 SH)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-4 (1-3, 4-3, K-c, HR-2 RBI)
5. Carlos Perez, C: 0-4 (4-3, F-8, 6-3, 6-3)
6a. Brandon Guyer, DH #1: 0-1 (6-3, BB + R)
6b. Roberto Sabates, PH-DH #2: 0-2 (4-3, 5-3)
7a. Elvis Lara, LF: 1-3 (F-8, 3B-RBI + R, 4-3)
7b. Andres Quezada, CF: 0-0
8. Bryan Jost, 1B: 3-3 (2B + R, 3B-RBI + R, 1B)
9. Gian Guzman, SS: 2-2 (1B-RBI + R, F-7 SF-RBI, 1B)
10. Starlin Castro, DH #2: 0-3 (E-4 + R, 5-3, K-c)
1. Marcus Hatley - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K (2/2 GB/FB)
2. Francisco Acosta - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 WP
3. Rogelio Carmona - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK
4. Carlos Rojas - 0.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP
5. Eduardo Figueroa, - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
6. John Muller - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
FIELDING: No errors!
OUTFIELD ASSIST: L. Johnson (8-6 out at 2B)
C. Perez: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: Warm & VERY breezy (25 MPH out to CF)
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.