Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Daily look at the Cubs minor leagues

Outfielder Billy McKinney made his spring debut on Monday and the Cubs sent seven players back to minor league camp.

McKinney makes debut

After missing the final month of 2015 with a broken knee cap, Billy McKinney returned to the diamond on Monday and made a pair of fine defensive plays in right field in the ninth during Cubs 10-2 loss to San Diego. McKinney, acquired from the A’s along with Addison Russell, fanned in his only plate appearance. One of the Cubs top outfield prospects, McKinney hit .340/.432/.544 in 29 games in Myrtle Beach and then batted .285/.346/.420 in 77 games at AA before the injury......LF John Andreoli continues to square up baseballs, going 1-for-2 and is hitting .333 with a OPS of 1.089......CF Albert Almora (.143) was 0-for-2........3B Jason Vosler struckout in his only at-bat.........1B Taylor Davis (.059) walked in his only plate appearance. 

Rough day at the office for Pierce Johnson as the right-hander gave up a pair of two-run homers in the sixth, both with two out. Johnson worked two innings and allowed five runs on four hits and walk with two punchouts. The former first-round compensation pick has allowed nine hits and seven runs over four innings ( 3 games).....Seeing his first game action since an arm injury ended his 2015 season in early June, RH Stephen Perakslis got the final out of the seventh, leaving the bases loaded.

Cubs trim roster to 56

The Cubs made their first moves of the spring, sending 1B Daniel Vogelbach, LHP Eric Jokisch and RHP Andury Acevedo to AAA Iowa and assigned pitchers Duane Underwood, Jack Leathersich, Jonathan Pettibone and Armando Rivero to minor league camp. None of these players were expected to make the Cubs 25-man roster. They currently have 56 players on the spring roster.

Underwood, the Cubs second-round pick in ’13 and one of the top pitching prospects, didn’t appear in any spring games and has been dealing with allergies since he arrived in Mesa. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he has been held back due to some stiffness in his right elbow. Underwood missed a month last season with an elbow issue but returned to pitch in Myrtle Beach, including two starts in the playoffs.

Vogelbach went 3-for-14 with a homer in six games, all at DH. Jokisch made two relief appearances, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits (1 HR) in three innings while Rivero surrendered three earned runs on four hits in 1.2 frames in two relief appearances. Acevedo had command problems, giving up five runs on three walks and two hits in three outings. Pettibone and Leathersich didn’t pitch this spring.. 

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