Eloy Jimenez

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: 

Giants Rally to Edge Cubs at Riverview

1B (ex-LHP) Nick Jones reached base four times (two singles and two walks) and drove-in what proved to be the game-winning run, Nathaniel Javier drilled a two-run double, singled, and scored two runs, and Julio Pena singled twice, knocked-in two runs, and scored another, as the Giants rallied from a 7-2 deficit to edge the Cubs 8-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

Eloy Jimenez belted a solo HR, Adonis Paula hammered a two-run double, singled twice, and scored a run, and Shawon Dunston Jr singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs for the Cubs in a losing cause.  

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

Turner Continues Rehab at Riverview, While Denorfia is Leaving on a Jet Plane

Eloy Jimenez (two-run double), Tyler Alamo (RBI double), and Ricardo Marcano (RBI single) stroked consecutive running-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 6th, and LHSP Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) tossed 5.1 IP of one-run ball (11/2 GO/FO), leading the Eugene Emeralds to a 4-1 victory over the Mesa Cubs in Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

RHP Jacob Turner (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL- right flexor strain) started the game for Mesa and threw 3.2 IP of shutout ball (56 pitches), allowing four hits (all singles) and two walks, with two strikeouts and a 3/4 GO/FO. This will almost certainly be Turner's last EXST rehab outing before he departs for one of the Cubs full-season minor league affiliates, where he will continue his rehab under Article XIX-C.

Turner's fastball velocity sat at 91-92 MPH through his first two innings of work, but then it spiked to 93-94 over his final two frames. He had some command issues at times with his cutter, but his breaking ball was very sharp. 

OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs 15-day DL - hamstring strain) has definitely completed the Arizona portion of his rehab and is en route to AA Tennessee, where he will spend the weekend facing more advanced pitching than he saw at EXST. Then he will (presumably) re- join the Cubs in Detroit on Tuesday.   

Originally, Denorfia was supposed to remain at Extend0ed Spring Training through Saturday and then spend the first-half of next week at Tennessee, but the timetable was pushed-up when he got back into playing shape sooner than was expected. In six Cactus League EXST games (24 PA), Denorfia hit 400/500/550, reaching base 12 times in the six games (five singles, three doubles, and four walks). He also struck out five times in the 24 Plate Appearances.   

Prior to the intrasquad game, RHRP Neil Ramirez (on Cubs 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation), RHRP Anthony Carter (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL), and LHSP Rob Zastryzny (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL - foot injury) squared-off in a two-inining "sim" game on Field #5. Ramirez threw two innings (25 pitches - 15 in the first inning, then ten in the second), and Carter and Zastryzny threw one inning a piece (15 pitches each).   

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

Turner Uses Hidden Ball Trick to His Advantage

Eloy Jimenez drilled an RBI double and an RBI single, Erick Castillo collected four singles, scored a run, and drove-in another, and RHP Jacob Turner hurled three innings of one-hit shutout ball for the Cubs, and Fernando Pujadas ripped two doubles and knocked-in two runs for the Giants, as the two teams played to a 4-4 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale, AZ.     

Jacob Turner got the start for the Cubs and was masterful, working three shutout innings (37 pitches - 29 strikes) and easily retiring the first eight men he faced (3-U, 4-3, 6-3, K, F-8, F-8, K, 3-1) on just 32 pitches, before surrendering a two-out bouncing double down the LF line (just out of the reach of a diving Adonis Paula) in the bottom of the 3rd inning. He then got the final out on a 3-1 GO to complete his outing.

Turner is on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL (retro to 3/27) with a right elbow flexor strain, and today was his first game action since being shut-down on March 10th during MLB Spring Training.  

As is the practice when a major league pitcher throws in a minor league game, Turner was allowed to use the official "Major League": baseball (which has a different feel than the official "Minor League" ball), and his club (in this case the Cubs) is responsible for supplying the Major League balls to the home plate umpire each half-inning. Then when the big leaguer finishes his inning, the Major League baseballs are sent back to the bench, and the Minor League balls are returned to the home plate umpire.

The Minor League ball that was in play when the last out of the top of the 2nd was recorded was inadvertently left on top of the mound after the conclusion of the half-inning, and when Turner got out to the mound and saw it, he picked it up, looked at it for second, and then disdainfully tossed it out of play (usually the umpires job) while a Major League baseball suddenly appeared in his glove at the exact same time (a variation on what I believe magicians call the "vanishing elephant illusion"). It was absolutely amazing (or I was in a drooling stupor, not sure which). Then Turner made the Giants disappear.

Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring strain) continued his rehab in the game, playing LF for five innings and batting four times. He grounded out sharply 5-3 on a 1-2 pitch in the top of the 1st, hammered an opposite-field double off the RF fence on the first pitch he saw his second time up, roped a line-drive single over the second-baseman's head into right-field on a 2-1 pitch in his 3rd AB, and struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in his final Plate Appearance of the day.

Denorfia has five hits (three singles and two doubles), two walks, and four strikeouts in four games (16 PA) this week, and appears to be pretty close to completing the Extended Spring Training portion of his rehab. I suppose he could go directly back to Chicago, but I suspect he will probably spend at least a day or two at AA Tennessee or AAA Iowa to face more-advanced pitching before he is reinstated from the DL.

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

Eloy Drives in Six at Riverview

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run HR, a two-run double, and an RBI single, Carlos Sepulveda reached base three times (a triple, a walk, and an RBI single) and scored three runs, and Joey Martarano clubbed a two-run HR, lifting the Eugene Emeralds to a 10-4 victory over the Mesa Cubs in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

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

Cubs & Rockies Split the Difference at Talking Stick

Jairo Rosario reached base four times (single, double, walk, and an HBP) and scored a run and RHSP Javier Palacios tossed four innings of shutout ball, leading the Rockies to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs on Dust Storm Field, and Roberto Caro belted a two-run triple and Andruw Monasterio followed with an RBI single to highlight a three-run third to help the Cubs take an early 3-0 lead, but then they had to hold-on to edge the Rockies 5-4 on Red Mountain 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.   

Eloy Jimenez drilled an RBI double and a single for the Cubs in a losing cause on Dust Storm Field. 

Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - strained hamstring) continued his EXST rehab, serving as a DH for the Cubs squad on Red Mountain Field. He batted four times (once in each of the first four innings), and went 1-4 (5-3 GO his firsr time up, a strikeout looking in his second AB. a fly out to left his third time up, and a line-drive single to left in his fourth and final Plate Apparance). Denorfia appeared to be running better today than he did yesterday, but he clearly still isn't 100%.  

In EXST roster news, OF Kevin Encarnacion has been moved up to South Bend. Encarnacion was hitting 258/329/403 in 21 Cactus League EXST games (70 PA), with one HR and three triples, twelve RBI and nine runs scored, 7/10 BB/K, and one SB (no CS).  

Encarnnacion was signed by the Cubs out of Venezuela as an 18-year old in 2010, and has hit 291/402/428 in 797 career minor league games.

He was involved in a near-fatal car crash in the Dominican Republic post-2013 while attending an off-season mini-camp at the Cubs Dominican Academy. He was a passenger in the vehicle, and was pulled-out just seconds before the vehicle exploded.

Encarnacion suffered third-degree burns on his right side (he now wears a pressure-sleeve on his right arm) and shoulder damage as well, and the Cubs had him flown from the Dominican Republic to Phoenix immediately after the accident to be treated at the Burn Unit at Maricopa County Medical Center. After several surgeries and post-surgery rehabilitation that cost him the 2014 season, Encarnacion finally returned to the field at AZ Instructs post-2014.

The 23-year old Encarnacion was forced to give up switch-hitting as the result of the injuries sustained in the crash (he now only bats left-handed), and he was left behind at Extended Spring Training this year to continue working on hitting left-handed against LHP (not an easy task when you've never done it before) and to get regular playing time. 

Here are the abriged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only): 

Eloy Goes Deep to Help Cubs Defeat Angels at Riverview

Alberto Mineo (RBI double), Tyler Alamo (RBI single), and Adonis Paula (RBI single) collected run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 3rd, 17-year old Andruw Monasterio smacked a two-run double, Eloy Jimenez belted a solo home run, and Jose Paulino hurled four shutout innings and combined with four relievers to toss a three-hitter, as the Cubs cruised past the Angels 7-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work. 

Frandy de la Rosa drilled his team-leading seventh double in the game and is now hitting 279/324/443 in 19 Cactus League EXST games (68 PA), and it appears that he has won the Opening Day starting second-base job at Eugene.

The Eloy Jimenez HR gives him the team lead with two, and he is now hitting 317/348/583 in 19 Cactus League EXST games (66 PA). In addition to the two home runs, Eloy also has four doubles and is tied for the team lead in triples with three (tied with Kevin Encarnacion), and he leads the team in RBI (15 ) and in runs scored (11). He has three walks and ten strikeouts in the 66 PA, and he has also stolen three bases (no CS).    

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Bryant Flete has been moved-up to AA Tennessee, and catcher Erick Castillo has been assigned to Extended Spring Training from AA Tennessee, as Flete and Castillo essentially changed places.

The 22-year old left-handed hitting Flete is a versatile player defensively and a polished player offensively, capable of playing 2B, SS, and 3B. and with a patient approach and a good eye at the plate. He hit a combined 274/385/355 in 189 career minor league games (761 PA) 2012-14, and in 13 Cactus League EXST games (35 PA) this season, Flete hit 357/485/500, with four doubles, seven walks and five strikeouts, one stolen base (one CS), seven runs scored, and three RBI.  

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

Eloy, Marcano, and Sands Offer the Snake-Bite Cure at Talking Stick

Eloy Jimenez reached base four times (two doubles, a single, and a walk) in four Plate Appearances and drove-in a run, Ricardo Marcano belted a triple and a two-run double and scored a run, and LHP Carson Sands hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 5-3 on Jackrabbit Field, and Raymel Flores drilled two triples and scored two runs, Sergio Alcantara ripped a two-run inside-the-park HR, and Wei-Chieh Huang and five relievers combined to retire 25 of the first 27 men they faced, leading the D'backs to an 8-2 victory over the Cubs on Whirlwind 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. 

Jose Paniagua singled twice, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause on Whirlwind Field. 

Recently signed free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 1-3 with a single and a walk and a run scored in four PA and RHRP Matt Stites (on AZ MLB 15-day DL with right elbow inflammation) threw a shutout inning (one hit allowed, one strikeout) for the Diamondbacks squad on Whirlwind Field.  . 

In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Tommy LaStella (on Cubs 15-day DL - rib cage inflammation) has completed the Extended Spring Training portion of his rehab and has moved up to AA Tennessee, where he will begin his Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. In just two Cactus League EXST games (10 PA), LaStella had seven hits (including four doubles and a HR) and a sacrifice fly, and six RBI. 

Also, INF Andrew Ely (Cubs 2014 32nd round draft pick - U. of Washington) has been moved-up to Lo-A South Bend, and INF Tim Saunders (Cubs 2012 32nd round draft pick - Marietta College) has been released.  

The 22 year old Ely began the season on the Hi-A Myrtle Beach roster, but he did not play for the Pelicans and was assigned to Extended Spring Training last month. In six Cactus League EXST games (21 PA), Ely hit 312/476/375, with a double, four walks, an HBP, two strikeouts, a stolen base, a run scored, and an RBI. He played both 2B and 3B while he was in Arizona. 

The left-handed hitting Ely had a fine debut professional season in 2014, hitting 298/348/479 with five HR & 16 RBI in 34 games combined between AZL Cubs and AAA Iowa. 

The speedy Saunders (48 SB in 148 career minor league games) was a two-time NCAA Division 3 All American in college and the 2012 NCAA D-3 Player of the Year, but yet he seemingly came out of nowhere to hit 381/431/536 between AZL Cubs, Peoria, and Daytona (combined 49 games - 218 PA) after being drafted in 2012. But then he suffered an elbow injury at Daytona in 2013 that required a UCL transplant (Tommy John surgery), and he was unable to regain the 2012 mojo once he returned to action.   

The 24-year old Saunders retired last June, but decided to try it again this season. He reported to Minor League Camp in March, but was left behind at Extended Spring Training. He still shows plus-speed on the bases and versatility and range in the field, and he still has a good eye at the plate, but he hit only 154/313/231 in eleven Cactus League EXST games (32 PA), with four walks and two HBP, six strikeouts, three stolen bases (one CS), five runs scored, and two RBI. He played 2B, 3B, and SS in Cactus League EXST games and intrasquad games while he was at EXST, and he has also played the outfield earlier in his career. He should be able to find a spot with an indepenedent league team if he wants to continue playing. 

It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an EXST intrasquad game on Field #6 at Riverview Park yesterday afternoon.

Veteran MLB RHP Felipe Paulino was one of the starting pitchers in the intrasquad game, and he worked 3.1 IP and got his pitch count up to 63, so he may ready to join AAA Iowa sooner rather than later. He did allow three runs on four hits (two singles, a triple and a solo HR) and two walks, but he also struck out six (all six swinging). His fastball was consistently 94-95 MPH, and touched 96 at least once, so apparently there is nothing wrong with his arm (Paulino missed most of the 2014 season with a sore shoulder, and he had TJS in 2012).  

Tyler Alamo slugged a solo home run (that was the one HR allowed by F. Paulino), Yohan Matos, Carlos Jimenez, and Jose Paniagua belted triples, and LHP Jose Paulino tossed four innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts (and a 6/0 GO/FO) in the intrasquad game. (J. Paulino is a virtual-lock to join Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Austyn Willis in the Eugene starting rotation, when the Northwest League begins play next month). 

RHP Dillon Maples had another poor outing. Working in relief of J. Paulino in the intrasquad game, Maples allowed five runs on five hits (including two triples and a double) and two walks in just one inning of work.This is the fourth consecutive Extended Spring Training for the now 23-year old Maples (he was drafted out of a North Carolina HS in 2011, but did not sign until August of that year), and while he still throws a 94 MPH heater and a hammer curve, he has a lot of difficulty commanding his pitches. He also sometimes will lose confidence in his fastball if he's not getting good results with it, and when that happens he tends to lose focus. 

Here are the abridged box scores from today's two Cubs Cactus League EXST games (Cubs players only), followed by the abridged box score from yesterday's intrasquad game at Riverview Park: 

Angels Take Down Cubs in Diablo Park

Alex Abbott drilled a triple and a single and scored twice and Jose Antonio Rodriguez reached base three times (two singles and an HBP) and scored a run, helping the Angels to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe. 

Eloy Jimenez belted a two-run triple, walked, and scored a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, stole two bases, and scored a run, and Andrew Ely reached base three times (two singles and an HBP) for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Mitchell leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with eight (no CS) in 16 Cactus League EXST games, and E. Jimenez has been an "RBI machine," with 13 ribbies in just 15 Cactus League EXST games (leads team).

ELOY JIMENEZ in 15 Cactus League EXST games (55 PA):
265/309/511, with three doubles, three triples, and one HR, three walks, eight strikeouts, and one HBP, and two SB (no CS).  

NOTE: Through 23 Cactus League EXST games so far, the Cubs have hit only five home runs as a team... one each by Frandy de la Rosa, Eloy Jimenez, Ricardo Marcano, Yohan Matos, and Taylor Teagarden,  

19-year old lanky lefty Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) got the start for the Cubs and quickly and easily retired the first seven men he faced (6-3, 4-3, 3-U, 5-3, K, F-7, K) on just 20 pitches, before running into trouble with one out in the bottom of the third, when he allowed four consecutive batters to reach base (1B, 1B, BB, BB). The 2014 Mississippi High School Player of the Year, Steele was cruising along, working his two-seam fastball in the low 90's and getting a ton of ground balls with it, before he began to lose command in his third inning of work once he had to start pitching out of the stretch. 

JUSTIN STEELE in his four Cactus League EXST games : 
9.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 9 K, 13/7 GO/FO, 63% strikes (4 games) 
2.79 ERA - 1.03 WHIP 

RHP Oscar de la Cruz "piggy-backed" with Steele, working 3.2 IP (65 pitches) and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits (all singles), two walks, and an HBP. He struck out three (all swinging), with a 5/3 GO/FO. Along with RHRP Scott Frazier (whose fastball velocity has reached 99 MPH this spring) and Alexander Santana (mid-90's fastball that sits at 94 and touches 95), the 20-year old 6'6 de la Cruz is one of the hardest throwers among Cub pitchers at EXST, with a 94 MPH fastball that can touch 95. Like a lot of young pitchers, de la Cruz's fastball command and secondary stuff (breaking ball and change-up) need work, but he was the ace of the staff at DSL Cubs last season, and he is in the mix for one of the rotation starter jobs at Eugene this year. (Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Austyn Willis are virtual locks to make the Eugene rotation, with de la Cruz, Santana, and Jose Paulino likely competing for the remaining two slots). 

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

Cubs Use Their Bats & Their Heads to Sweep D'backs

Adonis Paula ripped a two-run double and Tyler Alamo belted a two-out RBI double to highlight a three-run 1st, Oscar de la Cruz tossed three innings of shutout ball, and Tim Saunders drove-in the winning run by getting hit on the top of the helmet with a two-strike pitch with the bases loaded, the score tied, and two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Field #5, and Eloy Jimenez thumped a solo home run and an RBI triple, Yohan Matos belted a three-run inside-the-park HR, and Bryant Flete singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the D'backs 8-4 on Field #6, as the Cubs swept a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

Trevor Mitsui bashed a double and a two-run HR, Sergio Alcantara laced a single and a double and scored a run, Luis Veras singled, doubled, and scored two runs, and Didimo Bracho collected three singles for the Diamondbacks in a losing cause.   

LHP Patrick Corbin (on the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 60-day DL - 2014 TJS) got the start for the D'backs on Field #6 and hurled three innings of shutout ball, allowing two singles and no walks, while striking out five (four swinging), and a 2/1 GO/FO.    

The EXST Cubs returned to action today after a weekend of rain wiped out two games. 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHPs Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), Erling Moreno (2014 TJS), Jose Zapata (post-2013 cervical fracture), and Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) pitched in a five-inning "sim" game on Field #3. Cease and Moreno worked three innings (45 pitches each), Zapata pitched two innings (30 pitches), and Masek threw one inning (15 pitches).    

In roster news, 21-year old switch-hitting Dominican OF Robert Garcia has been added to the Cubs Extended Spring Training roster. Garcia signed with the Cubs in July 2013 and spent two seasons with the DSL Cubs, hitting 301/394/369 with 33 stolen bases (8 CS) in 77 games combined 2013-14.     

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):

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