Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

News, Notes and Game Recaps from May 23

South Bend swept Lake County, Billy McKinney had a walk-off single, while Eloy Jimenez and Yasiel Balaguert earned player of the week honors.

Jimenez, Balaguert named players of week

Eloy Jimenez (Midwest League) and Yasiel Balaguert (Carolina League) were named players of the week by Milb.com.

Jimenez had his best week as a pro and earned the Midwest League Player of the Week award for his effort. Slugging four homers and going 11-24 (.458/.519/.958) with five runs and seven RBI, the 19-year-old helped the Cubs move into first place past Lake County. In 39 games this season, the Dominican Republic native is hitting .327/.363/.526 with six homers, 24 RBI, 24 runs scored, and 4/4 in stolen bases. His week included his second career multi-homer game at Great Lakes, including one homer that traveled 422-feet. Jimenez has good plate discipline, has shown better than average speed on the bases, and looks very comfortable tracking fly balls in the outfield. By the end of the season and if he stays healthy, Jimenez should be acknowledged as one of the organization’s top two prospects.

A native of La Habana, Cuba, Balaguert recorded at least one hit in five of the seven games last week. The 22-year-old batted .308/.333/.615 with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI, including a grand slam in game one of a doubleheader Wednesday against Winston-Salem before popping a two-run homer the very next day against Lynchburg. Balaguert is hitting .324 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 10 games, which have come right on the heels of a 1-for-24 slump in the seven prior contests. The recent hot streak has propelled him into second in the Carolina League in RBIs (35) and a tie for third in homers (7). He also ranks in a tie for second in the circuit in games played (38) and third in at-bats (168). On the season, Balaguert is hitting .262/.292/.411. 

Zastryzny promoted to AAA

The Cubs have promoted left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny from Tennessee to AAA Iowa and he's expected to make his AAA debut on Tuesday night. A second-round pick in 2013 out of the University of Missouri, Zastryzny is coming off one of the better outings of his career, fanning eight in 7.2 innings in a win over Biloxi. In nine starts this year in AA, the 24-year-old is 3-2 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 54.2 innings. A broken bone in his foot limited Zastryzny to 14 starts in 2015 (2-5, 6.23 ERA) and he went 4-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 23 starts in ’14 for Daytona. His career WHIP in 250 plus innings is 1.44. Command, bad luck and injuries have slowed his development but sports a fastball that tops out at 94, and also throws a curve and a slider/cutter. With the Iowa rotation decimated by injuries, Zastryzny will get his opportunity to put it all together. He’s Rule 5 eligible after the 2016 season. This move could set off a chain reaction as starters are moved up to fill a void. Jen-Ho Tseng is eligible to come off the DL and could fill the spot.

Cubs release Victorino

The Chicago Cubs have released outfielder Shane Victorino. The former all-star was signed by the Cubs during the off-season but was injured during spring training and started the year at extended spring training rehabbing. He was assigned to Iowa on May 6 and played in nine games, hitting .233/.324/.367 with five RBI.

Pacific Coast League—AAA—El Paso 6, Iowa 1

Iowa (18-24) lost their eighth straight as El Paso (23-20) scored five times in the 7th.

Hitting Recap: Only run for the I-Cubs came in the first when C Willson Contreras (.328) cracked his fourth homer. 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.250) went 2-for-3 and IF Logan Watkins (.202) ripped a double. 

Pitching Chart: Stephen Fife made his first start since going on the DL April 15 and the 29-year-old blanked El Paso for four innings in the 44-pitch outing. He allowed two hits and fanned five. Jean Machi took the loss, giving up three runs on a pair of homers in two innings. C.J. Riefenhauser surrendered a three-run homer and only got one out. Felix Pena fanned three in 1.2 innings and Carl Edwards, Jr. struckout the side in the 9th.

I-Cubs Notes: Iowa has not announced a starter but Manager Marty Peevy told Des Moines reporter Tommy Birch that Rob Zastryzny would get the start on Tuesday night.

Southern League—AA—Tennessee 3, Biloxi 2—12 innings

Billy McKinney’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th gave the Smokies the series win over the Shuckers. 

Hitting Recap: Tennessee pounded out 14 hits but needed 12 innings and a Billy McKinney (.234) walk-off single to get the win. In the 12th, a walk to CF Jacob Hannemann (.222), a single by Jeimer Candelario (.233) and an intentional walk to C Victor Caratini (.273) filled the bases. McKinney ripped a drive up the middle to start the celebration. 2B Chesny Young (.309) scored on a balk in the first and Candelario added a RBI single in the 3rd. Young, Candelario and SS Carlos Penalver (.241) all had three hits while McKinney finished 2-for-6.

Pitching Chart: Brad Markey threw 93 pitches (61 for strikes) and battled for six innings, surrendering two runs on five hits and two walks. He fanned four and had a game score of 56. Starling Peralta was impressive in three scoreless frames, allowing two hits and a walk wit two strikeouts. Peralta threw 41 pitches, 25 for strikes, and hit the radar gun at 95 with his fastball. Miguel Mejia fanned four in two shutout frames and Michael Jensen (2-0, 8.27) got the win with a scoreless 12th.

Smokies News: Smokies have Tuesday off and head to Chattanooga for a five-game series.

Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach 3, Lynchburg 1

Zach Hedges kept the Hillcats in check for seven innings and Rashad Crawford drove home two runs with a triple and a homer.

Hitting Recap: Pelicans took a 2-1 lead in the third when Cael Brockmeyer led off with a double and scored on CF Rashad Crawford’s triple. Crawford crossed home on 2B Ian Happ’s two-out single. Crawford (.268) added an insurance run in the 8th with a solo homer, his third. LF Shawon Dunston (.239) added a double as the Pelicans only had five hits.

Pitching Chart: Zach Hedges (4-4, 2.70 ERA) gave up a solo homer in the third and that would be it over seven innings. The right-hander threw 86 pitches, 53 for strikes, allowing five hits and a walk with three strikeouts. LH Tommy Thorpe retired all six hitters he faced, three on strikes, to record his first save.

Pelicans News: Trevor Clifton (2-3, 2.62 ERA) looks to build on his last two starts as he gets the ball Tuesday night in Carolina.

Midwest League—Low A—South Bend 6, Lake County 3

South Bend (26-16) completed their 14-game road trip in style with a four-game sweep over former first-place Lake County (24-20). 

Hitting Recap: 2B Andrew Ely (.319) opened the game with a double and it was the seventh time in the last eight road games he’s reached base to start the game. Ely took third on a groundout and scored on a balk. LF Eloy Jimenez (.338) extended his hit streak to 10 games with an infield single in the first. 3B Jesse Hodges (.329) delivered a RBI double in the 6th and 1B Tyler Alamo (.289)followed with his first pro homer to give South Bend a 4-3 lead. Jimenez ripped a RBI double off the wall in the 7th and the second balk of the game allowed Ely to cross home in the 9th. Jimenez went 3-for-4 while Ely and C P.J. Higgins (.291) both had two hits. 

Pitching Chart: Carson Sands (5-0, 3.38 ERA) tossed a career-high seven innings and it was the longest outing by any South Bend starter this year. After blanking the Captains over the first three innings, the lefty allowed a run in the 4th and two more in the fifth. He surrendered five hits, walked two, fanned three and threw 89 pitches, 61 for strikes. Game score 56...... Casey Bloomquist blanked the Captains over the final two innings for his fourth save.

SB-Cubs News: Justin Steele (2-5, 6.49 ERA) takes the ball on Tuesday night when the Cubs return home to face Great Lakes.


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