The big news of the night was a Gerardo Concepcion sighting as the left-hander took the mound for the Mesa Cubs in the Arizona Rookie League. It was Concepcion's first appearance since last year when he threw 52.1 innings in Peoria but had his season cut short after a calf injury and then a viral infection. He signed a five-year $6 million contract last March after defecting from Cuba. Read about his night in the Arizona game recap below…..The Cubs cut OF Xavier Batista, 21, a free agent signed out of the Dominican in 2009. He played five seasons for the Cubs and never made it past Boise…... RHP Jake Arrieta was sent back down to Iowa after making his Cubs debut Tuesday night at Wrigley against the Brewers…..LHP Jeffry Antigua has no need to unpack, it wouldn't be worth it. The left-handed pitcher was assigned to Tennessee for the second time this season after joining Daytona July 25. He got the win at AA Tennessee tonight and has victories for four different Cubs affiliates this year—Kane County, Daytona, Tennessee and Iowa.
AAA—Salt Lake 6, Iowa 3
Salt Lake (62-49) scored the game's first six runs and hung on for the win sending Iowa (51-60) to their sixth straight loss.
At the Plate: Cubs were held scoreless for six frames and then scored three times in the 7th on back-to-back RBI doubles by Darnell McDonald (.218) and J.C. Boscan (.251). Edgar Gonzalez (.306) delivered a two-out single. Jae-Hoon Ha (.235), McDonald and Boscan all finished with two hits.
On the Mound: Justin Grimm (0-1 31.50 ERA) flew through the minors making his MLB debut on June of 2012 after the Rangers selected the Georgia Bulldog in the fourth round in 2010. The 23-year-old took the hill for 17 starts for the Rangers this season logging 89 innings with 3.1 BB/9 and 6.9 K/9. He had a 6.37 ERA and a 1.652 WHIP. While at Texas he relied on his low 90s fastball and a curveball. Grimm lasted five innings Wednesday night throwing 81 pitches in his second start for Iowa. He allowed two runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Casey Coleman (2-2 3.39) worked a scoreless frame but Marcus Hatley (2-1 5.26) surrendered four runs on five hits and a walk while retiring two hitters. Marcos Mateo got the final four outs, three on strikes.
AA—Tennessee 3, Birmingham 2
At the Plate: Javier Baez's blasted a two-run homer in the 3rd and Mota (.255) delivered the game winner in the seventh as the Smokies had six hits. Brett Jackson (.333) singled and scored in the seventh while Chad Noble (.253) doubled and scored on the homer. Baez (.221) has 11 homers since joining Tennessee and 28 on the season. He's knocked in 21 runs in 23 games at AA and 78 on the year
On the Mound: Matt Loosen (1-2 7.46 ERA) made his return to AA Tennessee after being demoted to Class A Daytona in June. To say Loosen was impressive at Daytona is an understatement (5-2 1.83 ERA, 54 IP, 56K, .180 BAA) with a no-hitter. After giving up at least three runs in his last six AA starts, the 2010 23rd round pick held the Barons to a pair of runs on three hits and four walks in 5.1 IP. He fanned four and threw 95 pitches in his return to AA. Jeffry Antigua couldn't hold the Barons in the sixth in relief of Loosen and was charged with the blown save. Antigua allowed a hit and three walks in 2.2 innings with three punchouts. Antigua got the win and has now has recorded victories at Kane County, Daytona, Iowa and Tennessee this season. Frank Batista recorded his 14th save getting the Barons in the ninth as the game ended on a 3-4-1 putout with runners on first and third.
High A—Daytona 2, Fort Myers 1
At the Plate: The Cubs had 12 hits but it was a bloop single by Soto (.243) over the first baseman's head that plated Pin-Chieh Chen (.260) in the 9th for the winning run. The Cubs got on the board in the fourth on Dustin Geiger's solo homer, his 11th. Anthony Giansanti (.268) and Chen both had three hits while Chadd Krist (.223) added a pair of singles. Zeke DeVoss (.247) drew a walk and has reached base in 23 straight games
On the Mound: Ivan Pineyro (1-0 2.65 ERA) atoned for his last outing when he allowed five earned runs as the 21-year-old right-hander tossed his third shutout outing since being traded to the Cubs for Scott Hairston. Pineyro fanned seven and only allowed three hits. He has 22 K and 1 BB in 23 IP for Daytona. Austin Reed (2-0 4.25 ERA) gave up a run for a blown save but got the win tossing two innings. Frank Del Valle (3-3 2.70) earned his seventh save despite giving up a pair of hits in the ninth.
Cubs Notes: Daytona announcer Robbie Aaron said Wednesday night that Jorge Soler was "progressing nicely" in Arizona and could join the team in a few weeks. Good news for Cub fans.
Low A—Kane County 6, Wisconsin 3
Jeimer Candelario's two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth gave Kane County (12-25, 42-61) the win over Wisconsin (15-23, 44-59) and their seventh in last 11 games.
At the Plate: Cougars only had one hit through five innings but broke through in the sixth when Gioskar Amaya (.270) led off with a double and took third when the left fielder misplayed the ball. Albert Almora (.324) grounded out to score Amaya. Daniel Vogelbach (.290), Candelario (.255) and Rock Shoulders (.263) then singled tying the game. A single by Wilson Contreras (.243) followed by a stolen base and two errors tied the game in the seventh at 3-3. Candelario's two-run shot scored Vogelbach who led off the inning with a walk. Rock Shoulders followed with a solo bomb, his 17th and it was the second time this season the Cougars had gone back-to-back. Amaya had two hits and is hitting .304/.424/.435 since taking over the leadoff spot on July 10.
On the Mound: Felix Pena (4-3 3.62 ERA) earned MWL all-star honors based on his first six starts but a trip to the disabled list derailed the right-hander's season. He may be starting to regain some of that early season form as the 23-year-old has lasted six innings in his past three starts, including a seven-strikeout performance against Beloit. Pena matched his season-high in innings (7) and strikeouts (7) on Wednesday afternoon and finished with a line of (7IP, 7H, 3R 1ER, 2BB 7K). …. Sheldon McDonald (1-0 0.87) got the win allowing a hit in the eighth…... Michael Hamann stayed behind in Mesa after spring training and he's taking it out on opposing hitters. After not allowing a earned run in 7.2 innings at Boise (6 games-3 Saves), the right-hander recorded his fourth save at Kane County allowing a hit in the scoreless ninth. Hamann, the Cubs 16th round pick in 2012 from Toledo University, has yet to allow a run in nine innings with six hits and six strikeouts for the Cougars.
Short-Season—Everett 7, Boise 4
Everett (29-18) won the opening game of the series despite getting out-hit by Boise (25-22)
At the Plate: Boise had a good night at the plate with nine hits as Yasiel Balaguert (.278) was 2-4 with his fifth homer and three RBI. Kevin Encarnacion (.327) went 3-4 and Jacob Rogers (.290) was 2-3 with a RBI. Kris Bryant (.229) extended his hitting streak to six games.
On the Mound: Paul Blackburn (0-2 3.00 ERA) made his second appearance since missing two weeks with a minor arm injury. Its been a tale of two months for Blackburn tossing 15 innings without allowing an earned run in his first three starts but in July sports a 6.75 ERA and a .295 BAA. Blackburn was the 56th pick in the 2011 drafts, the Cubs second supplemental pick. The right-hander lasted two frames giving up a two-run homer in the first with a walk and a strikeout…... The night wasn't any better for fellow 2012 pick Duane Underwood (1-2 6.00) as the right-hander gave up four runs on four hits, two walks, and two hit batters…...Trey Masek fanned a career-high five in two innings but did allow an unearned run
Arizona Rookie League—Cubs 2, Giants 1
Gerardo Concepcion made his 2013 debut as five Cubs (15-18) pitchers held the Giants (26-6) to four hits.
At the Plate: A throwing error and a wild pitch plated the Cubs runs. Kelvin Freeman (.261) was 3-4 with two doubles while Albert Mineo (.185) was 1-3 with a run scored. A throwing error allowed Mineo to score in the third and Freeman doubled and trotted home on a wild pitch in the sixth.
On the Mound: LHP Gerardo Concepcion made his first appearance since June 28 last year when he was wearing a Peoria Chiefs uniform. A reported back injury kept the Cuban off the mound until Wednesday night. Concepcion worked two scoreless innings with a hit and a strikeout, and for the first time in the career didn't walk a batter. According to Jason Cole of Baseball Prospectus, Concepcion was 88-91 with his fastball and threw an "okay curve". The good news is the 21-year-old is back on the mound in a Cubs uniform. Hopefully, he can regain the form the Cubs saw when they signed him to the free agent contract last March and stay healthy….. Josh Davis (3-0 0.00 ERA) continues to put up zeros as the right-hander tossed two scoreless innings with two walks to extend his scoreless streak to 8.1 innings….. Carlos Rodriguez fanned three in his two innings of work while Tyler Ihrig tossed two scoreless frames for his second hold. David Villegas allowed an unearned run in the 9th for his save.
Dominican Summer League—Cubs 5, Nationals 0
Three Cubs (33-16) pitchers combined to blank the Nationals (26-22) as the trio combined for nine strikes
At the Plate: The Cubs rapped out 10 hits as Shamil Ubiera (.262) and Jenner Emeterio (.230) had two hits each. Ubiera added two RBI while Adonis Paula (.254), Varonex Cuevas (.259) and Emeterio all knocked in a run.
On the Mound: 19-year-old Yomar Morel (0-0 1.15 ERA/15.2 IP) got the start allowing four hits. Pedro Araujo, 20, (2-0 0.00) pitched in his fourth game tossing four more innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts earning the victory. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has not allowed a run in 11 IP.
Venezuelan Summer League—Mariners 8, Cubs 6
The first-place Mariners (46-18) beat the Cubs (35-29) as the North Siders have a two-game lead for the second playoff spot over the Phillies with four games to play. Cubs and Phils (33-31) meet Aug. 3.
At the Plate: Cubs blasted three homers including two from 1B Miguel Rico (.238/.330/.450). Rico was 3-4 and has 10 HR and 26 RBI. LF Delbis Arcila (.327/.401/.535) was 2-4 hitting his 9th homer with two RBI. 3B Roney Alcala (.349/.384/.539) was 1-4 with 2 RBI.
On the Mound: Four of the five Cubs pitchers allowed runs as Chris Pieters held the M's scoreless for two innings but walked four and gave up a single. Enrique De Los Rio (2-1 2.08 ERA) was charged with loss surrendering four runs in two innings.