2006 Spring Training – The B-Team

Game Four: Cubs 5 – Giants (ss) 1

wflag.jpgBefore a sold-out crowd of 12,672 on Sunday at HoHoKam Park, the Cubs B-Team, with Aramis Ramirez, beat the Giants split squad. While the rest of the Giants were warming up Team USA, the Cubs A-Team was taking batting practice and instruction from Gene Clines on the backfield at HoHoKam. Jason joined me today at the park, along with some other friends of the CCO, and the second field at HoHoKam received a lot of attention from the Cubs Faithful.

The backfield is behind right field of the main field at HoHoKam. The crowd was given a show by Todd Walker, Jacque Jones, Juan Pierre, Ronny Cedeno and for the first time this spring John Mabry.

Here is the line-up from Sunday and the box score from Yahoo Sports….I hope everyone watched on WGN:

Felix Pie – CF
Jerry Hairston, Jr. – 2B
Ramirez – 3B
Brandon Sing – 1B
Marquis Grissom – RF
Murton – LF
Michael Restovich – DH
Neifi Perez – SS
Jake Fox – C

It was great to see Major League ballplayers receive instruction, sometimes the general public is led to believe that practice is just for the rookies or the up and comers. Gene Clines worked hard with those guys for a long time and seeing the players take his advice was very refreshing. After those guys were done, Rich Hill was warming in the Cubs bullpen in preparation for the game.

I watched Larry Rothschild work with Rich Hill on location and arm angle. Hill’s curve is amazing to watch. The angle from where I was watching was behind the catcher, Jake Fox, talking about the bottom dropping out. Hill seemed to listen to every word from Rothschild and he looked good during the ballgame. Hill did throw a lot of pitches for only two innings of work and fell behind a lot of hitters. Hill was hitting his spots on the strikes, not making Fox move his glove. But on the balls, not only was he off, he was way off. Hill has a lot of talent and upside and with time at Iowa he could prove to be a very successful Major League pitcher.

Once the game started everyone’s attention turned to Rich Hill, but the atmosphere quickly changed when Jerry Hairston was hit in the head. Hairston left the field on his own power and was taken to the hospital. Hairston was supposed to make his spring debut at second base on Sunday. Ryan Theriot pinch ran for Hairston and remained in the game.

Felix Pie has been hitting very well so far this spring. He already has two triples and on Sunday added a double to his spring resume. Pie is having a good start and if he keeps it up he could force the Cubs to make a decision they are not ready to make. I have noticed over the past four days that Pie and Neifi Perez are very close. It seems like every time I have seen one, I have seen the other.

The Cubs used more of their bullpen on Sunday. Scott Eyre made his Cub debut and looked good. He had a rough time at first, but settled down and looked the pitcher the Cubs thought they signed in the off-season. Bobby Howry pitched again and other than the one double he gave up, he shut down the Giants. Sean Marshall, Jae Kuk Ryu and Michael Wuertz were also very successful out of the pen. Roberto Novoa who looked shaky at best gave up the only run of the game. Novoa has to have better outings to keep from starting the season in Iowa.

Marquis Grissom is continuing to look good at the plate and if he continues to play this way throughout the spring look for him to make the 25-man roster. Brandon Sing and Brian Dopirak are making their case for the future. I have been very impressed with those two over the first four games.

The other Cubs to play on Sunday were: Angel Pagan, Brian Dopirak, Buck Coats, Casey Kopitzke, Adam Greenberg, Scott Moore and Augie Ojeda.

Monday – Cubs vs. A’s in Phoenix

Angel Guzman vs. Dan Haren

The Cubs have already roughed up Haren once this spring. Look for him to have a better outing on Monday. The Cubs went back to showing patience at the plate on Sunday. Combination Ball is alive and well at “Camp Dusty”. Angel Guzman will make his first start of the spring.

This is my last report from Mesa, so enjoy the Photo Gallery and until tomorrow….

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein