Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 12/19/11

As the regular season in the Caribbean and Mexico begin to wind down, and the holidays approach, this week saw minimal participation of players from the organization. That’s not to say things haven’t been interesting.

Carlos Zambrano and his Caribes de Anzoategui teammates flirted with greatness on Wednesday, while reliever Kyle Smit was on top of his game in his debut for Indios de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican League. Marco Carrillo and Austin Bibens-Dirkx continued to baffle hitters, while Bryan LaHair set out to silence some of his critics.

To see how this all played out, take a look inside this week’s Down on the Farm Report.

Dominican Winter League

Estrellas de Oriente
As the Dominican League looks to end their regular season this coming Wednesday, Iowa reliever Marcos Mateo was the lone player from the organization to see any action in the DWL this past week. Mateo earned his second hold and lowered his ERA to 0.96 in the Stars 2-1 victory over Licey on Friday.

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Mexican Pacific League

Yaquis de Obregon
Tennessee pitcher Marco Carrillo continues to be smoking hot, blanking Mexicali over six innings and striking out three batters in Thursday’s tight 1-0 victory for the Yaquis.

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Tennessee reliever Oswaldo Martinez had a busy week. He struck out a batter in a scoreless inning on Tuesday, as Obregon lost to Mexicali 8-3. Martinez faced the Eagles again on Wednesday, this time with a better result. Martinez picked up his fifth hold as he tossed another shutout inning in the Yaquis’5-2 win over Mexicali.

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Oswaldo Martinez was then called upon to eat up some innings for the Tribe on Friday. Martinez blanked Mazatlan for 1.2 innings and had a strikeout in a 4-3 loss.

Puerto Rico Baseball League

Indios de Mayaguez
Iowa reliever Kyle Smit saw his first action of the winter on Friday, as the Indians blew out Ponce 13-7. In the game, Smit pitched two innings and struck out three batters to earn his first hold.

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Venezuelan Winter League

Caribes de Anzoategui
Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano had it all working for him on Wednesday, as he no-hit Aragua over four innings in an 11-0 drubbing. Zambrano also struck out as batter as the Caribes’ pitching staff carried the no-hitter into the seventh inning.

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Leones de Caracas
Iowa starter Jay Jackson was the victim of some sloppy defense as the Lions’ errors led to four unearned runs on Friday. Jackson allowed an earned run and struck out two in 6-5 win over Margarita.

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Navegantes del Magallanes
Despite some taunts from the local media, Bryan LaHair showed he can hit in Venezuela by posting a .357 batting average and a .526 on-base percentage for the week. LaHair started out on Sunday by going 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in the Navigator’s 3-1 win over Caracas.

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After going 0-for-4 in an 8-5 loss to Caracas on Wednesday, Bryan LaHair flexed his muscles on Thursday. LaHair belted his ninth home run to go along with a double, two RBI, and three walks in a 2-for-3 performance as the Navs edged Zulia 10-9 in 12 innings.

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Bryan LaHair followed that up by going 1-for -3 with a walk in Friday’s 5-4 loss to Lara. In that game, Tennessee first baseman Rebel Ridling was 0-for-1 in as a pinch hitter.

Bryan LaHair ended the week by taking sole possession of the VWL’s home run lead, smacking his tenth round-tripper while going 2-for-4 with two RBI as the Pathfinders white washed Anzoategui 8-0. Rebel Ridling was also 1-for-2 with a walk.

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Aguilas del Zulia
With another week, there was another sparkling performance by Austin Bibens-Dirkx. In his Friday start against Aragua, Bibens-Dirkx went seven shutout innings to raise his record to 6-2. He struck out five as the Eagles soared to a 9-1 victory. For the season, Bibens-Dirkx is tied for first in victories, sixth with a 2.20 ERA, seventh with 41 strikeouts, and second with a WHIP of 1.04

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News and Notes
While the Cubs have yet to make many roster moves down on the farm, several former Cubs and Cubs’ farmhands inked deals with news organizations.

Angel Guzman signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers that includes a non-roster invitation to Spring Training. The Dodgers also signed right-handed pitcher Jose Ascanio and left handed reliever Scott Rice to minor league deals with invites to big league camp.

Chris Robinson signed a minor league deal with the Rangers organization. Robinson was acquired from the Tigers in the deal that sent Neifi Perez to Detroit in 2006.

Robert Coello signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays organization a couple of weeks back. Coello was acquired last February from the Red Sox for Tony Thomas and put up mixed results in his only season in the Cubs’ organization.

The Cubs released RHP Manolin de Leon, RHP Jose Tineo, 3B Brandon May and OF Smaily Borges. The Padres released former Cub, Eric Patterson.

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