Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Game recaps from April 7, more pitchers released, and a bevy of roster moves.

Jeimer Candelario homered and knocked in five runs in Iowa’s win, David Bote delivered the game-winner for the Smokies, Thomas Hatch was solid in his debut and South Bend forgot their bats in Mesa. More pitchers released.

Pacific Coast League—AAA—Iowa 7, Oklahoma City (Dodgers) 5

Jeimer Candelario slugged a grand slam and added a RBI triple as Iowa (2-0) beat Oklahoma City (0-2) for the second straight night.

Hitting Recap: 3B Jeimer Candelario delivered a grand slam in the first inning and a RBI triple in the eighth to lead the I-Cubs. Ian Happ hit his first AAA homer, a solo blast in the fifth, and walked and scored. SS Chesny Young went 1-for-4 with a run, CF John Andreoli doubled and scored while C Victor Caratini added a triple and scored once. Taylor Davis plated the Cubs the  other run. 

Pitching Chart: Alec Mills got the win in his Cubs debut, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk over six innings. Mills retired the first six hitters but allowed a leadoff triple and a sac fly in the third. The Dodgers opened the fourth with four straight hits and scored three times in the frame. Mills threw 81 pitches, 50 for strikes, and recorded eight ground ball outs. Rob Zastryzny tossed the final three frames for his first career save. The left-hander fanned three and surrendered a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. Zastryzny spent the spring working out of the bullpen for Chicago but is expected to join the rotation once he gets stretched out.

I-Cubs Notes: Cubs have not named a starter for Saturday’s game at Oklahoma City…..Iowa has placed RHP Miguel Mejia, LHP Zac Rosscup and C Carlos Corporan on the 7-day disabled list……The Cubs have sent LHP Brian Duensing on rehab assignment to Iowa. He tossed a scoreless inning on opening night……SS Osvaldo Martinez has been assigned to Iowa. The 28-year-old was signed as a minor league free agent on April 4 and spent last season at AAA in the Orioles system. Martinez stated his pro career in 2006 and the Puerto Rican native has played in 34 big league games with the Marlins (2010-11).

Southern League—AA—Tennessee 2, Pensacola (Reds) 1

David Bote’s ground rule double in the top of the eighth proved to be the difference as Tennessee (1-1) downed Pensacola (1-1) for their first win of 2017.

Hitting Recap: Smokies took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a solo homer off the bat of CF Trey Martin, who went 2-for-4.  In the eighth pinch-hitter Cael Brockmeyer was hit by a pitch and took second on single from Charcer Burks, who had three hits on the night. With two outs, Bote smacked a ground rule double down the right field line to score Brockmeyer. Smokies only had six hits.

Pitching Chart: RH Jen-Ho Tseng fanned seven in five solid innings, allowing a run on four hits, one a solo homer in the 73-pitch outing. Tseng had a game score of 60. RH James Pugliese retired all six hitters he faced and earned the win. RH Brad Markey earned his first hold with a pair of strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth. RH Ryan McNeil picked up a save in his Southern League debut, striking out the side in the ninth.

Smokies News: Trevor Clifton, 21, makes his AA debut on Saturday night in Pensacola. The Cubs 2016 Minor League Pitcher of the Year led Cubs minor leaguers with 129 strikeouts in 23 starts……OF Jacob Hannemann has been assigned to Tennessee and RHP Stephen Perakslis has been placed on the temporarily inactive list.

Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach 2, Lynchburg (Indians) 1

Myrtle Beach (2-0) tied the game in the eighth on a wild pitch and Matt Rose’s RBI ground out gave the Pelicans the win over Lynchburg (0-2) in the ninth.

Hitting Recap: Only three hits for the Pelicans—singles from 2B Carlos Sepulveda, SS Trent Giambrone and C P.J. Higgins, who scored the game winner on the Rose ground out. 3B Jesse Hodges walked and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.

Pitching Chart: Thomas Hatch was impressive in his pro debut, surrendering an unearned run in five innings. The right-hander only allowed one hit, walked three, fanned two, and threw 78 pitches for a game score of 61. Lynchburg scored their run in the fifth after an error, a wild pitch and a two-out single. Hatch recorded 11 ground ball outs. RH Craig Brooks blanked the Hillcats for two innings, recording three strikeouts. RH James Norwood got the win with two scoreless innings, coaxing four ground ball outs.

Pelicans News: Left-hander Justin Steele takes the hill on Saturday night in Lynchburg. The 21-year-old went 5-7 with a 5.00 ERA in 19 starts last year for South Bend.

Midwest League—Low A—Game 1—West Michigan (Tigers) 2, South Bend 0; Game 2—West Michigan 1, South Bend 0—16 innings

South Bend was held scoreless for 23 innings as the Cubs were swept in a twin-bill at West Michigan.

Hitting Recap: Let’s review, the Cubs were 8-for-75 in the DH and fanned 31 times. GAME 1—Only two hits for the Cubs, a leadoff single by Luis Ayala and a single in sixth from Yeiler Peguero. Cubs fanned 12 times as every starter whiffed at least once.; GAME 2—Isaac Paredes had two hits, that’s about it. South Bend had six in the game and fanned 19 times. 

Pitching Chart: GAME 1—Making his first pro start, Duncan Robinson retired the first five hitters but two errors and a triple to right field plated the only two runs of the game. Robinson only allowed one more hit over the next three innings, fanning two in the 69 pitch outing. Marc Huberman worked a scoreless sixth, issuing one walk while striking one out in the 13-pitch outing ; GAME 2—Tyson Miller fanned seven over 4.2 scoreless frames, allowing four hits and a walk in 75 pitches in his MWL debut. The Cubs bullpen was light out. They held the Whitecaps without a hit for 11 innings and fanned 16.—Dakota Mekkes (2.1 IP, 3 K), Pedro Silverio (3 IP, 6 K), Michael Rucker (2 IP, 3 K), Chad Hockin (2 IP, 3 K). Infielder Vimael Machin tossed a scoreless 15th and got the first two outs of the 16th but an infield single, a walk and a single ended the game. South Bend fanned 24 hitters in the game.

SB-Cubs News: The Cubs head to South Bend for the home opener on Saturday and send right-hander Dylan Cease to the mound as the Cubs top pitching prospect makes his MWL debut……The South Bend Cubs have placed right-hander reliever Jared Cheek on the DL to start the season. The roster is now at 25.

More minor leaguers released

The Cubs have released right-handed pitchers Frank Batista, Dallas Beeler, Greyfer Eregua, Jonathan Martinez, Jordan Pries, Tyler Skulina and Michael Wagner.

With the last two drafts pitching heavy and a large number of minor league free agent deals signed during the off-season, pitching spots in the Cubs system are at a premium. Three former starters are the latest to be released.

Frank Batista—After missing last year with an injury, the Cubs have cut ties with the right-hander after seven seasons in the Cubs organization. In 266 minor league games, the Dominican Republic native recorded 85 saves and went 28-22 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 497 innings. Batista spent three different seasons in AAA but never played in the majors.

Dallas Beeler—The Cubs 41st round pick in 2010 out of Oral Roberts, Beeler made his MLB debut in 2014 and also made three big league starts in 2015. In 115 minor league games, Beeler went 31-29 with a 3.68 ERA in 547.2 innings. 

Greyfer Eregua—After five years in the Cubs organization,   the Cubs have cut ties with the Venezuelan native. Last year, the 23-year-old tossed a career-high 74 innings in 34 relief appearances for South Bend, 3-4, 3.77 ERA, 67 K. Eregua has already signed a minor league deal with the Angels and has been assigned to Burlington.

Jonathan Martinez—Kinda surprised by this one. The 22-year-old went 21-8 over the past two seasons (44 starts) at Myrtle Beach and earned a late season promotion to AA last year. The Cubs acquired Martinez from the Dodgers for infielder Darwin Barney in 2014.

Jordan Pries—Another arm the Cubs got via trade, Pries was part of the deal with the Mariners that involved Mike Montgomery and Daniel Vogelbach. The 27-year-old made nine starts for Iowa, going 5-2 with a 5.21 ERA last year.

Tyler Skulina—The Cubs fourth-round pick in 2013 out of Kent State, Skulina struggled last year in AA, sporting a 1.60 WHIP and a 5.16 ERA, walking 71 in 129 innings. Skulina was part of a no-hitter back in 2014 at Kane County and made 70 starts in the Cubs organization over the past four seasons.

Michael Wagner—A former teammate of Kris Bryant at San Diego, Wagner spent the past two seasons as a mercenary arm, pitching at three different levels in 2015 and all four full-season affiliates last year. In four seasons, Wagner appeared in 98 games and threw 94.1 innings.


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