Pacific Coast League—AAA—Memphis (Cardinals) 8, Iowa 1
Memphis pounded Iowa pitching for the second straight night, scoring seven runs in their first two at-bats.
Hitting Recap: I-Cubs faced left-hander Tim Cooney, (3rd round pick in 2012) who made a quick trip from Wake Forest to AAA in two seasons. He won 14 games for Memphis last year with a 3.47 ERA in 158 innings......Cooney kept Iowa off balance for six frames, yielding just four hits with a walk and three punchouts......Kris Bryant went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts as Memphis pitchers continue to pound him inside. Addison Russell crushed a ball off the left field wall for a double but that was his only hit in four trips.
Pitching Chart: Carlos Pimentel probably didn’t think he would be in the Iowa rotation to start the year when he reigned this off-season but injures to Tsuyoshi Wada, Dallas Beeler and Pierce Johnson have put the 25-year-old on the mound. Signed by the Rangers in 2006, Pimentel spent his career in Texas system before signing as a free agent last year. He made 15 starts at AAA Iowa, throwing 101 innings in 29 appearances......On Friday night, he didn’t fool many Redbird hitters, getting tagged for two homers, including a grand slam. He allowed seven runs, five earned, walked four, and gave up six hits in 3.2 innings......Iowa’s bullpen didn’t pitch bad as Jeffry Antigua allowed a run over 2.1 frames while LH Zac Rosscup and RH Blake Parker retired all three hitters they faced in their inning of work.
I-Cubs News: RHP Brian Schlitter has been promoted to Chicago to replace Justin Grimm, who was placed on the disabled list with a strained forearm. Chicago manager Joe Maddon told reporters Grimm’s injury is not serious and had been nagging him........OF Kevin Brown has been added to Iowa roster and LHP Jeffry Antigua has moved from AA to Iowa. Javy Baez has been placed on the bereavement list (death of his sister) and according to Iowa Cubs games notes, Joseph Ortiz has been placed on the suspended list to start the season. With Schlitter going to Chicago, Ortiz has been taken off the suspended list and added to Iowa roster.Box Score and Game Story
Southern League—AA— Mississippi (Braves) 8, Tennessee 7
Mississippi erased a 5-0 deficit and hung on to even the series with the Smokies.
Hitting Recap: Smokies batted around in the second, scoring five runs in the frame. LF Pin-Chief Chen delivered a two-run single and RF Bijan Rademacher added a two-run double. Rademacher finished with three hits and 3 RBI while C Willson Contreras added three singles in his first AA start. CF Albert Almora went 0-for-4 with a RBI and his second walk in as many games. 1B Daniel Vogelbach was on base three times with a single and two walks. Kyle Schwarber had the night off after catching the opener but pinch-hit in the 7th and struckout. Stephen Bruno entered the game in the fifth and went 2-for-2 and scored once.
Pitching Chart: Ivan Pineyro got the start but struggled with his command, throwing 73 pitches and lasting only four innings. He was charged with three run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Pineyro needs to command the strike zone to be effective but that wasn’t the case on Friday night. Former Dodger farmhand Andres Santiago made his Cubs debut after signing as a free agent. He also had problems throwing strikes as two walks and three hits led to three runs in ? inning. Michael Jensen made his AA debut, fanning three of the five hitters he faced in 1.1 innings. Pitching for the first time since 2013, Fernando Cruz allowed a two-run homer in the 7th but struckout the side and pitched a scoreless 8th..
Smokies News: Smokies have placed C Erick Castillo on the 7-day disabled list.Box Score and Game Story
Carolina League—High A— Wilmington (Royals) 8, Myrtle Beach 3
Wilmington slugged a pair of homers off Daury Torrez and evened the series with an 11-hit attack.
Hitting Recap: CF Jacob Hannemann had his second straight multi-hit game with a double and a RBI in five trips to the plate. Albert Mineo made his debut and singled as a pinch-hitter in the 9th. RF Billy McKinney, 1B Jacob Rogers, C Benjamin Carhart and DH Shawon Dunston were all 1-for-3. Pelicans only scored one run through eight innings, adding a pair in the 9th, and fanned 11 times.
Pitching Chart: Daury Torrez left a couple of breaking pitches up in the zone and paid the price as the Blue Rocks hit a pair of homers as part of their seven-hit, six-run attack. Torrez fanned five but didn’t have his best stuff, as several pitches got too much of the plate and he got hit hard. He threw 81 pitches, 57 for strikes, and faced 22 hitters, getting six ground ball outs and two fly outs......Josh Conway returned to the stadium where he pitched in college but was charged with two runs on three hits, sitting 92 on the radar with most of his fastballs......Gerardo Concepcion threw two scoreless frames and Tayler Scott added a scoreless ninth in the season debuts for both relievers.
Pelicans News: The Pelicans made two roster moves before their first game. IF Andrew Ely and LHP Michael Heesch were both placed on the DL to bring the roster to the 25-man limit........Carlos Penalver made it two straight three-hit opening night performances as the 21-year-old Venezuelan pulled off the feat last year at Kane County.Box Score and Game Story
Midwest League—Low A—South Bend 7, Bowling Green (Rays) 2
Jeremy Null tossed five shutout innings with seven punchouts and the South Bend offense pounded out 10 hits in their second straight win.
Hitting recap: Everyone in lineup except 1B Gioskar Amaya a got a hit with 2B Chesny Young, 3B Jesse Hodge and RF Jeffrey Baez with two each. CF Trey Martin knocked in three runs out of the leadoff spot, including a two-run single in the 7th.
Pitching chart: Jeremy Null was impressive in his Midwest League debut only surrendering two singles over five innings. The 6-foot-7, right-hander showed good command of not only his fastball but his breaking ball and change-up, using all three to record seven strikeouts. It was the first time I had seen Null pitch and was impressed with his ability to repeat his delivery and the feel he had for his off-speed pitches.......South Bend’s bullpen allowed four runs, two each from Rasvir Rakkar and Tommy Thorpe, both making their ’15 debuts with two innings.
SB-Cubs News: I forgot to mention the debut of Gioskar Amya at catcher opening night, probably because he looked like he had been doing it his entire life. He had a few problems but overall looked comfortable and did a nice job framing pitches and getting some called strikes.......OF Yasiel Balaguert has started the season on the 7-day DL along with LHP Tyler Ihrig.Box Score and Game Story
Baseball America published its list of the youngest players in each league and the Cubs had one at every level. Jorge Soler 4th youngest in NL, Addison Russell 3rd in PCL, Albert Almora 5th in Southern League, Jen-Ho Tseng 6th in Carolina League, and Gleyber Torres is the youngster player in the Midwest League.