At the beginning of May, the Cubs minors had a glutton of pitchers. They loaned Yoanner Negrin and Frank Batista to the Mexican League, parted ways with Ryan Searle, and still had a handful of pitchers rehabbing in Arizona working their way back to a full season roster spot.
Then the injuries hit, nothing major, but the DL moves have flipped the minor league depth chart and forced the Cubs to sign arms outside of the organization. Negrin and Batista are back from the Mexican League and the Cubs have used young pitchers from extended spring training to log innings in the Florida State League.
Tennessee's been the hardest hit, losing four pitchers to the disabled list—C.J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson, Ivan Pineyro, and Hunter Cervenka—and Matthew Loosen is on the restrictive list. The Cubs signed two independent league pitchers—Joe Gardner and Julio Rodriguez—and assigned them to AA to assist with the shortage. Former MLB pitcher Joel Pineiro is also in Tennessee attempting a comeback.
Daytona's also been sideswiped by injuries. Rob Zastryzny was hit by a liner and missed two starts while Jose Rosario was taken off the roster and assigned to Boise after getting sick and unable to pitch. Zach Cates is on the DL with an arm injury as is top starter Felix Pena. 2014 picks Tyler Ihrig and Trevor Graham were added to the roster from extended spring training. To make matters worse, the D-Cubs have back-to-back doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday (28 innings to two days), and starter Ben Wells only got two outs on Friday night. Relief pitcher Josh Davis, who had a brought stint at Kane County, was added to the roster on Saturday.
In Kane County, Jen-Ho Tseng went on the DL with minor shoulder stiffness but the move was more precautionary than any concern, as we've already reported. Corbin Hoffner and Michael Wagner have been added to the staff and Justin Amlung is getting Tseng's innings as a starter. Kane County uses a six-man rotation. LHP Gerardo Concepcion went on the DL on Saturday and was replaced by LHP Michael Heesch from extended spring training. Heesch started 20 games last year in MWL going 3-9 with a 3.78 ERA in 119 IP. He began the year on the DL for Daytona.
In case you missed it, here's some background on Gardner and Rodriguez, the two Atlantic League hurlers.
Gardner, 26, was a 3rd round pick of the Indians in 2009 and traded to Colorado during the 2011 season. He pitched in AA with the Rockies last year, going 6-4 with a 5.53 ERA in 35 relief appearances after spending most of his career as a starter. He's pitched in 117 minor league games, 77 starts, with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Gardner pitched in one game for Lancaster in the Atlantic League, throwing five scoreless innings.
Rodriguez, 23, made three starts in the Atlantic League for Bridgeport (17.1 IP, 7H, 10 BB 19 K, 2.60 ERA). He was a member of the 2012 Futures Game World team and was ranked as one of the top prospects in the Phillies organization. He was traded in '13 to the Orioles and started last year in AA but ended up in the Gulf Coast League, only throwing 27.2 innings.
AAA—Iowa 8, Colorado Springs 3
At the Dish: Chris Valaika socked a three run homer, his 4th, and added a RBI as Iowa pounded Sky Sox pitching for 15 hits..... Javier Baez (.203) extended his hitting streak to eight games with a double. He also walked, scored twice, and added a RBI fielder‘s choice grounder.......Logan Watkins (.315) continues to make the most of his playing time in the outfield as he went 3-5 with a triple, scored twice and knocked in two runs......Casper Wells went 3-5 while Brett Jackson had three hits and walked once.
On the Hill: Chris Rusin (3-6 3.49 ERA) twirled six shutout innings as he fanned a season-high eight hitters. He allowed four hits and walked two. Rusin threw 96 pitches, 61 for strikes and coaxed seven ground ball outs.....Alberto Cabrera is haunted by the long ball as the right-hander surrendered his sixth of the season, a three-run shot in the seventh. Cabrera worked one inning, allowing two walks and the homer........Marcus Hatley fanned the side in the eighth and Frank Batista worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
I-Cubs Notes: Kyle Hendricks (4-3 3.06 ERA) makes the start for Iowa on Sunday afternoon.
AA—Mobile 2, Tennessee 1
A two-run double in the sixth gave Mobile the win over Tennessee.
At the Dish: Kris Bryant's league-leading 13th homer was the only run of the game for the Smokies despite collecting seven hits. Bryant extended his hitting streak to 10 games and is now hitting .339 as he went 2-3 with a walk......Dustin Geiger had a pair of singles and may be coming out of his slump as he looks more comfortable at the plate.
On the Hill: Joe Gardner was effective in his Cubs debut as the 26-year-old right-hander pitched into the sixth inning. He left in the sixth with one on and got charged with an earned run. Gardner threw 75 pitches, 50 for strikes, and recorded seven ground ball outs. He only surrendered two hits, walked two and fanned two.....Austin Kirk got charged with the blown save and took the loss as the inherited runner scored as well as the winning run. Kirk issued a walk and a two-run double......P.J. Francescon worked a scoreless ninth.
High A—GAME 1—Daytona 5, Clearwater 4; GAME 2—Daytona 8, Clearwater 4
Daniel Vogelbach homered in both games as Daytona swept Clearwater.
At the Dish: GAME 1—Vogelbach hit a 0-2 pitch over the right field fence in the bottom of the sixth, his first homer since April 24, to give Daytona the one-run win...... The D-Cubs opened the bottom of the third with six straight hits for a 3-0 lead with RBI from Marco Hernandez, Bijan Rademacher and Albert Almora. Jeimer Candelario added a sac fly for a 4-0 lead....Willson Contreras (.253) stayed hot going 2-3 with a double. He's 9-14 with four doubles and a triple.....Rademacher finished with two hits and Gioskar Amaya (.306) was 1-3 with a run scored; GAME 2—Daytona displayed some power in the night-cap as Zeke DeVoss, Vogelbach and Jeimer Candelario all homered in the first. Daytona scored four times in the first frame and added four more in the second, three coming on a bases clearing, three-run double off the bat of Candelario. The third baseman finished with 4 RBI.....Vogelbach was 3-3, scored twice, and hit a two-run homer....Rademacher (.323) was 1-4 with a double and a RBI....Pin-Chieh Chen (.274) was on base twice and scored two runs
On the Hill: GAME 1—Yao-Lin Wang tossed three scoreless frames, gave up a run in the fourth and never made it out of the fifth. The right-hander surrendered three runs on three hits and two walks. He fanned one and got five fly ball outs.........Andrew McKirahan allowed an inherited runner to score on a groundout to cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth and then yielded the tying run in the sixth. After Daytona took the lead, the left-hander retried the side in the ninth for the win. McKirahan finished with a line of 2.2 IP, 1H, 1R O ER, 2B 1K. McKirahan is having a nice season, his first full season since having Tommy John surgery in 2012. The former 2012 21st round out of Texas, has appeared in 15 games and sports a 1.16 ERA in 23.1 IP. He's fanned 22 with four walks.; GAME 2—Starling Peralta made his first start and didn't hold back with his fastball hitting in the upper 90s on the gun. Peralta earned the win, working five innings with five strikeouts. He surrendered two runs on four hits and didn't walk a hitter.....Michael Jensen didn't make it out of the sixth as the right-hander walked two and allowed a hit, yielding two runs.......Zack Godley came in and got the final four outs, two on strikes.
D-Cubs Notes: Rob Zastryzny gets the start in the first game of the doubleheader on Sunday. The starter for Game 2 has yet to be determined.
Low A—Clinton, 3, Kane County 2
Clinton was able to salvage the final game of the series and snapped Kane County's four-game win streak.
At the Dish: Kane County's only runs of the game came in the fifth when David Bote delivered a two-run single......Benjamin Carhart extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single.......Carlos Penalver upped his average to .253 with a pair of singles while Jordan Hankins was 2-3 with a double and a run.
On the Hill: Daury Torrez only allowed three hits and a walk but the Lumberkings were able to turn that into three runs, two earned. He retired nine Clinton hitters on fly balls and didn't record a strikeout........Zak Hermans worked three scoreless frames of relief with four punchouts. He gave up two hits and walked one.
Cougars Notes: Kane County hosts Peoria, the Cardinals affiliate, on Sunday for the start of a three-game series as Juan Paniagua (0-3, 4.94 ERA) takes the mound.
Venezuelan Summer League—Cubs 3, Mariners 2
Humbert Garcia tripled and scored in the top of the 8th on a throwing error as the Cubs (3-8) beta the M's (5-5).
At the Dish: Cubs had seven hits but all three of their runs were unearned. A throwing error in the first allowed DH Jose Gonzalez (.278) to score and 2B Henrry Pedra (.417) reached on an error, stole third and scored when the throw went into left field......Gonzalez was 2-4 with his third steal while Wladimir Galindo (.243) and Fidel Matos (.333) both doubled.
On the Hill: Enrique De Los Rio made his third start and didn't figure in the decision, working five innings. The 19-year-old right-hander yielded two runs on five hits, including a homer. He fanned five and didn't issue any free passes......Salvador Jerez (1-0, 3.60 ERA) earned the win, tossing 2.1 shutout innings with a strikeout......Jesus Arias earned the save, getting the final five outs, two on strikes.
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