Trevor Clifton

Cain Good, but Giants UnAbel to defeat Mota-vated Pelicans in Scottsdale

Ian Rice drilled a bases-loaded two-run single to spark a three-run 7th and SP Trevor Clifton retired ten of the first eleven men he faced, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) edge the San Jose Giants (Hi-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) 5-4 on Field #2, and Byron Murray hammered an RBI triple and a single and scored two runs and Lucius Fox (2015 IFA - Bahamas - $6M signing bonus) smacked an RBI double, walked, and scored a run, leading the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants Lo-A affiliate) to an 8-3 victory over the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs), in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Monday afternoon at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.    

Skyler Ewing and Dillon Dobson each belted a two-run home run in a losing cause for San Jose on Field #2, and Eddy Julio Martinez (2015 IFA - Cuba - $3M signing bonus) singled twice, walked, and drove-in a run in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #1. (EJM has served mostly as the South Bend DH in games so far, but he played RF today). 

San Francisco Giants RHSP Matt Cain made the start for San Jose on Field #2 and worked 5.1 IP (92 pitches - 66 strikes), allowing one run on four hits (all four singles) and a walk with five strikeouts and a 5/6 GO/AO.  

In Minor League Camp roster news, long-time Cubs minor league INF Jonathan Mota has retired as a player, although he has been working exclusively as a coach with the Myrtle Beach (Hi-A) squad since Minor League Camp opened earlier this month, and will continue to do so going forward.

Now 28, Mota was originally signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old shortstop out of Venezuela in 2003, and over the years he has played in more than 1,000 minor league games for the Cubs, playing at every level (rookie ball through AAA) and every position, but he never made it to The Show. (The closest he got was an NRI to Spring Training with the big club in 2012). He was a minor league 6YFA in each of the last six off-seasons, but each time he re-signed with the Cubs. 

Mota was the ultimate "organizational player," a quiet, loyal guy who did whatever he was asked to do without bitching or moaning, moving from one level to another when needed (often without much advance notice), mentoring his younger teammates, and when not needed as a player, he would serve as a 1st base coach, bullpen catcher, batting practice pitcher, and probably the bus driver, as well, all the while staying in playing shape in case he was called to action. He volunteered for the Catcher Conversion Program at Extended Spring Training in 2010 to increase his versatility, and he even had the opportunity to pitch (in a pinch) in seven games over the course of his long career to help save his club's bullpen.

Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only): 

Eloy No Joy for Bees at Riverview Park

Trevor Clifton and Adbert Alzolay combined to hurl six innings of two-hit shutout baseball and three relievers followed with three more innings of no-hit ball, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) two-hit the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) 4-2 on Field #5, and Eloy Jimenez slugged a two-run home run to cap a three-run 1st and Ricardo Marcano belted a two-run HR in the 7th (the Jimenez bomb carrying 420+ feet over the CF fence just to left of the Batter's Eye), leading the South Bend Cubs (the Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 7-3 victory over the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) on Field #6, in a Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader played Thursday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Yasiel Balaguert collected two doubles and an RBI for Myrtle Beach, and Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, walked, scored two runs, and stole a base (home, on the back-end of a double-steal) for South Bend.

RHRP Alexander Santana had an unusual outing for Myrtle Beach, working the 9th inning of the game on Field #5. Santana entered the game with a 4-0 lead, and proceeded to hit three batters and throw two wild pitches, and of the 16 pitches he threw in the inning, only two were strikes. But he never-the-less somehow managed to record three outs, because the two strikes both turned into 5-3 ground outs, and the third out was a game-ending caught-stealng at 3rd base on a ball-three pitch with the potential tying run at the plate.  

OF Alex Bautista, 1B-OF Chris Pieters, and INF Edgar Rondon were moved-up from the South Bend group to the Myrtle Beach squad for the game, and all three entered the game as late-inning replacements for the Pelicans.

Myrtle Beach 2B Ian Happ and SS Gleyber Torres (who are two of the Cubs Top 5 prospects) were absent from Minor League Camp on Thursday, as they traveled with the big league club to Salt River Fields for a morning Cactus League "B" game versus the Colorado Rockies.  

Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)


Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Schwarber Just Keeps a-rakin' at Riverview Park

Kyle Schwarber ripped a double and an RBI single and scored a run, Charlie White belted an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, and Mark Zagunis singled twice, scored a run, drove-in another, and stole a base, in a seven-inning AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #1 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Trevor Clifton and three relievers combined to toss a three-hit shut out, as Team Johnson blanked Team Gonzalez 7-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the "Cubs World Series." 

For some reason, Cubs coaches wanted Scott Frazier to face only LH hitters in his one inning of work, so the lineup was adjusted to accomodate the plan. Frazier has what some in the Cub organization believe to be the best pure stuff in the system, but the big right-hander from Pepperdine has struggled to throw strikes going all the way back to Minor League Camp in March. The Cubs have tried almost everything to try and fix the problem, with facing only LH hitters being the latest attempt.    

Here is the box score from today's game:

Pena Punishes Pineiro As Giants Double Their Pleasure at Riverview Park

Julio Pena smacked a three-run home run off Joel Pineiro and RHP Chris Johnson threw four innings of one-run ball and struck out six (including Jorge Soler twice), leading the Giants to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs on Field #6, and Will Callaway, Brad Moss, and Fernando Pujadas stroked RBI doubles as the Giants edged the Cubs 6-5 on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Jeffrey Baez laced an RBI triple and a double and scored a run and RHP Trevor Clifton threw 2.2 IP of shutout relief with five strikeouts in a losing cause for the Cubs on Field #5, and Mark Malave accounted for both Cub runs on Field #6 with an RBI double and an RBI single.

Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab) played RF for seven innings on Field #6 and batted six times, once in each of the first six innings, He struck out (swinging) on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the 1st, was called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch in the 2nd, bounced-out 6-3 in the 3rd, roped a line-drive single to left (and then stole 2nd base!) in the 4th, reached base on an HBP (he was hit on the right inner elbow) in the 5th (his 3rd HBP in five EXST games this week), and then he struck out (swinging) on a pitch over his head in his final AB in the 6th.

While he is still a bit rusty at the plate (he is hitting only 182/269/227 with no walks, five strikeouts, three HBP, and four hits--three singles and a double--in 26 EXST PA), he is running and playing outfield defense without any apparent difficulty, and so today could very well be the end of his EXST rehab. So don't be surprised if he is back with AA Tennessee by Monday. 

35-year old veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro was the starting pitcher for the Cubs on Field #6, his fifth EXST outing since signing with the Cubs on March 30th. Pineiro worked five innings (62 pitches), allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits (three singles, a double, and the Pena three-run HR), and two walks. He struck out only one, but had a 10/4 GO/FO.

THE PITCHING LINES FROM JOEL PINEIRO'S FIVE 2014 EXST OUTINGS
4/12 - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
4/17 - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
4/22 - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 76 pitches (51 strikes)
4/28 - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 4/4 GO/FO, 60 pitches (45 strikes) 
5/3   - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 10/4 GO/FO, 62 pitches (42 strikes)  
TOTAL: 22.2 IP, 27 H, 18 R (16 ER), 6 BB, 17 K, 1 HR, 3 WP, 2 GIDP, 32/13 GO/FO, 70% strikes, 6.35 ERA, 1.46 WHIP

Both games were stopped by mutual-agreement after 7-1/2 innings.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Soler Back in Action at Salt River Fields

Oliver Zapata ripped a two-run triple and an RBI single, Adonis Paula singled, doubled, and scored two runs, Rashad Crawford reached base on a double, a walk, and an HBP, and scored three runs, and Trevor Clifton and Hector Perez threw three shutout innings a piece, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Diamondbacks on Jackrabbit Field, and Ryan Kinsella belted an RBI double and an RBI triple, helping the D'backs rally from a five-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 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.

Gleyber Torres collected three hits, stole a base, and scored two runs in a losing cause for Squad "A" on Whirlwind Field.

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  • So you'd rather go with Blown Save guy, when you can trade a prospect who is blocked for one piece that could get you over the top to the Big Dance? That is pretty old thinking. This is not a move that they cannot recover from if it goes south. But the upside is potentially historic.

    The E-Man 3 min 25 sec ago view
  • I'd prefer it not happen too.

    Rob G. 30 min 14 sec ago view
  • it's a hell of a blockbuster, but it's for a guy who pitches 1/3rd of a season at an extreme premium considering the guy being traded and if the early extension $$$ rumors are true.

    it's one of those things that is bringing a guy at the top his game, but something is nagging me that this trade piece could have been put to better use.

    a huge part of me is all "hell yeah, top of the line producer"...another part of me is "hmm, that for that?"

    crunch 33 min 44 sec ago view
  • Still don't want. Kinda hope they can't work out the extension.

    Charlie 45 min 23 sec ago view
  • obviously not, and I'm sure they did their homework...just hope they have some better answers than the Yankees

    Rob G. 45 min 27 sec ago view
  • Chapman 12+ Career WAR. Currently 4.7:1 k-BB. With Rondon/Chapman/Strop/Nathan/Montgomery/Wood...Its the best pen I can recall other than Sutter or Lee Smith handling things themselves.

    Its gonna suck if he gets injured, and it appears he's not the greatest of characters.

    But, he'll have another Cuban to hang out with on the team.

    The E-Man 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • I agree with the names you mention but there are lots of names being tossed around still and there's that small matter of Chapman agreeing to the extension.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 12 min ago view
  • Heyman, Wiatt, and Sharma are definitely reliable sources. Wiatt and Sharma have a ton of connections with the FO, and Heyman is one of the national guys who usually breaks stories first along with Rosenthal and Passan.

    John Beasley 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Twitter is even more nonsensical with names and rumors than usual right now. I'd wait for a real confirmation from someone reputable at this point before getting too worked up.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • wow.

    a'ite then. i mean, at least they're getting one of the best at a young/durable age even if there's a heavy price to pay for it.

    crunch 1 hour 23 min ago view
  • i pretty much assumed this would be one of the last kinds of things they'd do...give up a top prospect (probably the best in the system) to get 1/2(ish) year of a reliever followed by multiple years locked in at his market value.

    i wonder if there's other players going back/forth, too.

    i mean, it's not like it's a horrible thing...this is just something that seems out of profile.

    crunch 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • Suspend him for the rest of the year and get him ready for the Schwarber era?

    Old and Blue 1 hour 26 min ago view
  • Sadahev Sharma says the names are done. Torres and other parts for Chapman only.

    John Beasley 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • i liked it better when Cubs were really good and likeable.

    will be very curious how and if they address the DV incident.

    Rob G. 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • We are coming into the realm of, ""this ain't the old Cubbies...", with the printing money machine coming online. They'll be able to handle it.

    The E-Man 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • 15m a year for 65-70 innings...phew.

    i mean, technically he's worth it, but wow...the cubs? a'ite.

    crunch 1 hour 36 min ago view