Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 11/29/10

Ty Wright, Bryan LaHair and Matt Camp all join winter league teams. Ryan Searle is handed another loss in Australia. One Cubs prospect goes deep off another. A full update on all the Cubs playing in the Caribbean Winter Leagues as the second half of the season begins.

All that and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report!

Venezuelan Winter League
Last Tuesday Aragua pounded Zulia 8-1 in a VWL battle. They led by six after two innings and never looked back. Ty Wright was the DH for Zulia and went 1-for-4. He recently joined the team in Venezuela. Aragua’s Marquez Smith launched a two-run homer in the second inning off fellow Cubs farmhand Craig Muschko. The right-hander was pulled after only 1.1 innings and was charged with six runs, five earned. Click for full box score.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Magallanes knocked off Caracas 5-3. Robinson Chirinos, who is hitting .344, doubled and scored in the win. Former Cub Andres Blanco singled, walked and scored. Click for full box score.

Robinson Chirinos got the start at first base on Wednesday and went 1-for-4 with an RBI as Magallanes fell to Aragua 7-5. Smith played the hot corner and went 1-for-4, but it was ex-Cub Ronny Cedeno who led the charge with a two-run homer in the second inning. Click for full box score.

Ty Wright went 1-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch and a bunt single on Wednesday in Zulia’s 9-2 loss at the hands of Caribes. Wright’s bunt single was one of his team’s only two hits. Click for full recap.

Storms washed out most of the Black Friday games in Venezuela, but Aragua topped Lara 4-1 in the only game that took place that day. Marquez Smith posted a multi-hit game (2-for-4) to help his team’s cause. Click for full box score.

It was doubleheader day on Saturday for most teams in the VWL. Zulia was swept by Margarita in their pair of seven inning affairs. Margarita picked up a 6-4 win in the first game despite an RBI single from DH Ty Wright. Wright went hitless in his team’s other loss. Click for full box score.

Magallanes blanked Aragua 4-0 on Saturday. Each team had one Cubs prospect, but both were fooled at the plate all day long. Magallanes did all of its scoring in the second inning and got a great effort from its pitching staff. Robinson Chirinos and Marquez Smith both suffered 0-for-4 days. Click for full box score.

League Standings
Zulia: 21-14, — GB
Magallanes: 22-15, — GB
Margarita: 20-18, 2.5 GB
Aragua: 19-18, 3 GB
Caribes: 18-18, 3.5 GB
Caracas: 18-19, 4 GB
Lara: 16-20, 5.5 GB
La Guaira: 11-23, 9.5 GB

Dominican Winter League
Welington Castillo’s struggles in the Dominican Winter League continued last week. On Tuesday he went 0-for-5 for Licey with a pair of strikeouts. He went on to have two more hitless nights during the week (Thursday and Saturday), but he did sprinkle in a big day on Wednesday. Castillo went 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBI and two runs scored against Escogido. Welington’s average is just .180 in 19 games so far this winter. He will be vying with Koyie Hill for the backup catcher’s job next spring.

Nelson Perez, who spent the regular season with the Peoria Chiefs, has been roaming the outfield for Toros for the second straight winter. He is hitting .286 in 11 games so far. Perez appeared in two games coming off the bench this past weekend, but he only ended up with one AB, which resulted in an out.

Marcos Mateo has got some work in pitching-wise with Estrallas this winter. He pitched 1.1 innings on Saturday and did not allow a hit or a run. Mateo did walk one of the five men he faced. Marcos finished the year in the Cubs’ bullpen and will have a shot to make the team out of Spring Training in 2011. He has appeared in four games so far this offseason.

Bryan LaHair has joined Estrellas in the DWL, where he is expected to see time at first base. LaHair inked a minor league deal to stay with the Cubs earlier this offseason and has already been invited to Spring Training. With Xavier Nady likely to sign elsewhere, Derrek Lee long gone and Micah Hoffpauir heading overseas, LaHair has a shot at making the team out of camp … Other early non-roster invitees include James Adduci, Angel Guzman, Scott Moore, Scott Rice and Bobby Scales.

League Standings
Escogido: 18-14, — GB
Toros: 18-14, — GB
Estrellas: 17-14, 0.5 GB
Aguilas: 15-17, 3 GB
Licey: 14-18, 4 GB
Gigantes: 13-18, 4.5 GB

Mexican Pacific League
Matt Camp spent much of last offseason playing for Mexicali and he has returned for more Mexican Pacific League action this winter. So far he has struggled with just one hit in five games. Camp went 0-for-4 on Tuesday in his first game of the offseason and followed that up with a 0-for-5 performance on Wednesday. Matt celebrated Thanksgiving with a walk, an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored on Thursday but he still failed to notch that first hit. Camp doubled on Friday in a wild contest in which he received seven at-bats. He also walked and scored a run. Camp picked up his third RBI on Saturday, but he went 0-for-5 and saw his average shrink to .040.

The only other Cub playing in Mexico is right-handed pitcher Marco Carrillo. He got the start for Obregon on Thursday night. Carrillo was touched for two runs on three hits and two walks in a five-inning outing. He was hit with the loss to drop to 2-3 this winter.

League Standings
Mazatlan: 22-18, — GB
Mochis: 22-18, — GB
Culiacan: 22-18, 1 GB
Hermosillo: 21-19, 1 GB
Guasave: 20-20, 2 GB
Obregon: 20-20, 2 GB
Mexicali: 19-21, 3 GB
Navojoa: 14-26, 8 GB

Australian Baseball League
Several Cubs prospects have found a home with the Australian Baseball League this winter. Ryan Searle got the start on Saturday for his Brisbane Bandits. He worked five innings and surrendered two earned runs on six hits. Searle was hammered with the loss, his third in as many starts. Ryan went 8-9 during the regular season, which he split between Peoria and Daytona.

Lefty Cody Hams is also gaining some experience in the ABL. The southpaw, who celebrated his 21st birthday last week, spent most of the summer with the Mesa Cubs of the AZL. He has not pitched well for the Melbourne Aces in three relief appearances, so his ERA is over seven.

Down on the Farm Report Notes
Look for the Down on the Farm Report every Monday throughout the offseason! Follow me on twitter at twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates for updates from the Arizona Fall League this week. If you have any questions or comments, email me at cubsblogmailbag@aol.com. Please visit my Chicago Cubs blog at www.everythingcubs.blogspot.com.

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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