Baez returns for I-Cubs, 4/30 Recap

Here’s a look at action around the Cubs affiliates from Thursday including the season debut of Javier Baez.

Javier Baez returns for Iowa
Following a one-month stay on the bereavement list to deal with the passing of his 21-year-old sister, Javier Baez returned to diamond on Thursday night for his season debut. Batting third and playing second base, Baez went 1-for-6 with a double and struckout three times. Baez didn’t make the big league club out of spring training and was assigned to Iowa late in camp before the death of his sister. “Its been pretty tough but I leaned to deal with stuff,” Baez told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register. “No matter what happens, we’ve got to keep going.”

Only One Month In
The first month of the minor league season is over and the Cubs top two prospects —Kris Bryant and Addison Russell—have already been promoted to the big league club. Daniel Vogelbach grabbed two Southern League Player of the Week awards and Cael Brockmeyer was honored by the Midwest League.

Beware not to give too much credit or issue too much criticism after the first month, its a season, and how they develop is what’s important. It should also be noted that during the first half of the season, most of the promotions are injury based and past history tells us the “Cubs Way” is to wait until the second half to promote based on “dominating” the league. Most of the mid-season movement has been with the team’s top draft picks and involve mostly position players, but some starters have been promoted. Last three years, Cubs had no need to “rush” any prospects to the majors to help, since they were not in a pennant drive. Look for them to be more aggressive promoting prospects, especially if they can help win games at the major league level.

Pacific Coast League—AAA—Oklahoma City (Dodgers) 4, Iowa 2—13 innings
Oklahoma City scored two runs in the top of the 13th to take the opening game of the series.

Hitting Recap: Christian Villanueva (.275) is starting to figure out AAA pitching after struggling last year. The third baseman went 2-for-4 and slugged his second homer. He also walked, singled and scored both Iowa runs.....John Andreoli had two hits while LF Arismendy Alcantara (.194) went 1-for 6.

Pitching Chart: The I-Cubs used six pitchers as Carlos Pimentel got the start and allowed a run on just one hit, a solo homer, over six innings. Yoanner Negrin was charged with a blown save, allowing a solo homer in the 7th. Joe Ortiz (2 IP), Blake Cooper (1 IP), and Andres Santiago (2 IP) kept the Dodgers off the board. Michael (0-1, 3.60 ERA) took the loss, allowing a pair of runs in the 13th on three walks and two hits.

I-Cubs Notes: Dallas Beeler is expected to make his second rehab start Friday night

Box Score and Game Story

Southern League—AA— Birmingham (White Sox) 5, Tennessee 3
Birmingham (10-10) grabbed a 5-0 lead and hung on to take the series opener over Tennessee (11-8).

Hitting Recap: Smokies were kept off the board the first five innings but a late rally fell short. CF Jacob Hannemann (.357) had two hits and scored twice while DH Kyle Schwarber (.375) went 1-for 3 with a walk and a RBI. 3B Anthony Giansanti and LF Pin-Cheih Chen both knocked in runs. Daniel Vogelbach (.362) was 1-for 4.

Pitching Chart: LHP Rob Zastryzny (0-1, 6.14 ERA) didn’t make it out of the second inning as he was pulled after the first three hitters reached base, and according to one report, left with an apparent injury. He was charged with three runs on two hits and two walks.....Jeffry Antigua replaced Zastryzny and allowed two runs over four frames. Michael Jensen tossed a pair of scoreless innings and Starling Peralta worked a scoreless 8th.

Smokies News: Frank Batista (2-0, 1.02 ERA) gets the ball on Friday night against Birmingham.

Box Score and Game Story

Carolina League—High A— Wilmington (Royals) 6, Myrtle Beach 4
Wilmington (10-10) scored four times in the bottom of the 8th to take the series from Myrtle Beach (10-9).

Hitting recap: 1B Jacob Rogers (.246) led the offense with two hits and a run scored while LF Mark Zagunis (.254) and CF Trey Martin (.273) both delivered RBI.

Pitching chart: Daury Torrez isn’t going to blow hitters away and rack up huge strikeout numbers, but the 21-year-old Dominican does have an uncanny knack to pound the strike zone, keep the ball down, and log quality innings. The right-hander went six innings on Thursday night, allowing two runs on six hits. He only fanned one but got nine ground ball outs in the non-decision.....Josh Conway (0-1, 6.00 ERA) worked a scoreless 7th but ran into problems in the 8th, getting charged with three runs on three hits. James Pugliese got the final two outs but not before one inherited runner scored and another run crossed the plate.

Pelicans News: Duane Underwood (2-0, 1.13 ERA) gets the start at Lynchburg (Indians) on Friday night as the Pelicans start a four-game series.

Box Score and Game Story

Midwest League—Low A—South Bend 6, West Michigan (Tigers) 3
Gleyber Torres had four hits as South Bend improved to 11-10 and took the series from West Michigan.

Hitting recap: SS Gleyber Torres (.352) had three singles, a double, scored a run, stole his 7th base, knocked in a run, and threw out a runner at home on a double steal attempt.—not a bad day’s work for the 18-year-old. DH Jason Vosler (.271) extended his hit streak to four games with two hits, including a double, and a pair of RBI (7). Chesny Young (.284) plated two runs and C Justin Marra (.132) went 2-for-4 with a RBI.

Pitching chart: Erick Leal (3-0, 2.25 ERA) made his fourth start and turned in another solid performance, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk over five innings. Northsiders Report #45 ranked prospect threw 76 pitches, and pounded the zone with 52 strikes, recording four punchouts. The 20-year-old Venezuelan was acquired in the trade with Arizona for Tony Campana, and made 13 starts last year for Boise. His fastball sits in the low 90s and was 92-93 vs. the Whitecaps......Ryan McNeil, the Cubs 4th round pick in 2012 and missed ’13 with Tommy John surgery, allowed a run on two hits in the sixth for his second hold.....Signed as a free agent in 2012 out of Venezuela at the age of 22, Francisco Carrillo spent two years in the Latin American Summer Leagues before making a big splash last year, going 6-for-6 in save opportunities for Kane County, plus three more in the post season sweep. After struggling in his first four outings for SB (7.1 IP, 11 H, 11 R), Carrillo turned in his second positive outing and earned his first save, with three scoreless frames. He only allowed a single and fanned three in his 39-pitch outing.

SB-Cubs News: Zach Hedges (1-1, 3.00 ERA) gets the start on Friday night as the SB-Cubs return home for a three game series with Fort Wayne.

Box Score and Game Story

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