Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/28/14

Heroes came in all shapes and sizes to end the week as Iowa witnessed the thundering bat of Javier Baez, while Tennessee’s Addison Russell put on his own power show. Russell’s teammate Taylor Davis had a five RBI night, and Daytona remained on a roll thanks to the muscle of Dan Vogelbach. In Kane County, Shawon Dunston Jr. appears to be thriving in the leadoff role, while new faces Charcer Burks and Bryant Flete are hot for Boise.

So if you like your baseball with a little pop, see what’s inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.

Editor’s Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday. Late Games by the Boise Hawks and the AZL Cubs will be carried on the following report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (23–20)

After a rainout Wednesday, Boise came back from a shutout and beat Everett 7-3 Thursday. It was yet another new-look for the Hawks on offense as they welcomed a couple of fresh faces. Installed in the leadoff position, Rashad Crawford (1-for-5) started the game with a single, followed by a walk to Bryant Flete (1-for-3). After a double play, Danny Canela (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) swatted his fourth homer of the season. Justin Marra (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) reached on a throwing error to begin the second. Returning favorite David Bote (2-for-4) singled and moved Marra to third. A sacrifice fly plated Marra, and a triple by Charlie White (1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI) drove in Bote. Crawford made it to first on a dropped third strike and Flete walked. White was forced home as Mark Zagunis (0-for-3 with an RBI) drew a bases loaded walk. Boise added two runs more in the eighth after Jesse Hodges (0-for-3) walked and Marra clubbed his sixth home run.

PrintJosh Conway appears to remain on a pitch count as he allowed an earned run with two strikeouts in two innings. Jasvir Rakkar drew the long assignment but continued his nightmare season. Rakkar gave up two earned runs as he struck out four in three innings. Sam Wilson and Francisco Carrillo each tossed a perfect two innings and had four strikeouts apiece.

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Boise played a doubleheader on Friday to make up for Wednesday’s rainout, and the Hawks lost game one to Everett 3-1. Trevor Graham went the distance and allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out five in six innings. The only run for the Hawks came in the six when Danny Canela (2-for-3 with a home run) hit a solo home run.

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Game two saw a continuation from the opener with Boise’s bats remaining somewhat silent as the Hawks lost to Everett 2-1. The game started out well when Rashad Crawford (1-for-3) began the first with a single and scored on a base hit from Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with an RBI). But that would be all for the Hawks’ offense as they managed only three more hits for the rest of the game. Tyler Ihrig did his best to keep Boise in the game but allowed two earned runs while striking out three in 4.2 innings. James Norwood had a strikeout as he tossed a perfect 1.1 innings.

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In a game that saw five lead changes, the Hawks were able to grind out a victory Saturday and beat Everett 7-6.  Behind 4-0 in the second, Boise started their comeback after David Bote (2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base) and Jesse Hodges (1-for-3 with an RBI) walked, with successive wild pitches advancing the runners and allowing Bote to score. Alex Tomasovich (2-for-4) walked and Charcer Burks (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) reached on an error that plated Hodges. Calvin Graves (2-for-4) was hit by a pitch, and Rashad Crawford (1-for-3) singled in Tomasovich. A walk to Mark Zagunis (1-for-2 with an RBI and two stolen bases) forced in Burks. The Hawks grabbed the lead in the fourth after Zagunis singled, stole second and scored on a two out base hit by Bote. A single by Hodges plated Bote, but Hodges was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. With the game tied at six in the sixth, Zagunis led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on a one out double from Bote.

Dillon Maples made his first start of the season and some of his rustiness contributed to his final line, as an error he committed led to four runs (one earned) while he struck out three in three innings. Ryan Williams was touched up for two earned runs with two strikeouts in two innings. David Garner halted the Aqua Sox with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Brad Markey earned his first save as he shut down Everett for two innings with a strikeout.

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It was a heartbreaking loss for Boise Sunday as they bowed to Hillsboro 4-3 in ten innings. The Hawks’ offense kept grinding throughout the game. Justin Marra (1-for-5) singled to lead off the second, and Alex Tomasovich (1-for-4) had a one out base hit. With two outs, Charcer Burks (3-for-4 with an RBI) singled in Marra. Boise tied the game at two in the seventh when Charlie White (1-for-4 with a double) doubled with one out, moved to third on a single from Burks, and score on a sacrifice fly. The Hawks took the lead in the top of the tenth after Burks began the inning with a single, was sacrificed to second, and scored on an error. Erick Leal started for Boise and allowed two earned runs with a strikeout in six innings. Trey Lang kept the Hawks in the game by tossing three scoreless innings. Francisco Carrillo walked a batter in the tenth before serving up a walk-off home run.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (67–38)

The Big Green Machine rolled on this past Thursday as Kane County beat South Bend 5-3. Newly installed leadoff man Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled to start the game and scored on a two out base hit from Jacob Rogers (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). After the Silver Hawks tied the game in the top of the third, the Cougars bounced back. Trey Martin (2-for-3 with a stolen base) singled and was sacrificed to second. A two out base hit from Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Martin. With the game tied again in the fifth, Martin led off with a single, stole second, and moved to third on an error from a pick-off attempt. A base hit from Dunston brought in Martin. Dunston stole second base. Carlos Penalver (1-for-4) and Carhart singled to plate Dunston. Rogers capped the scoring in the eighth with a solo home run, his 11th of the season.

Jen-Ho Tseng had a little more trouble than in his previous starts, but he was still able to limit South Bend to three earned runs with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Michael Heesch provided quality middle relief with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Closer-for-the-evening James Pugliese was perfect over the final 1.1 innings for his third save.

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Friday saw a new lineup for Kane County settling in and providing the same results that have been there all season. And the Cougars beat South Bend 7-2. Ben Wells was on the mound for the Cougars and allowed two earned runs while striking out five in four innings. Michael Wagner had two strikeouts in three scoreless innings. Zak Hermans shut down the Silver Hawks the rest of the way with a strikeout in two innings.

After spotting South Bend a run, the Cougars went to work in the second inning after Jeimer Candelario (3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI) led off with a double and ended up scoring on a sacrifice fly. Trey Martin (2-for-3 with a double) began the third inning with a double and scored on a double from Shawon Dunston Jr. (3-for-4 with a double, RBI, and a stolen base). Chesny Young (1-for-3) walked and Ben Carhart (1-for-2) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A single from Candelario drove in Dunston and Young. The fifth inning saw Young begin things with a single. A base hit by Carhart and a walk to Jacob Rogers (0-for-3) loaded the bases. Candelario came through again as his double plated Young and Carhart. And a sacrifice fly allowed Rogers to score.

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Some sloppy play by Kane County was a contributing factor in the Cougars 7-5 loss to West Michigan on Saturday. The Cougars’ defense committed five errors, with starting pitcher Paul Blackburn responsible for two on errand pickoffs. Blackburn was charged with five runs, but only two earned as he struck out two in 4.2 innings. Corbin Hoffner went 2.2 innings, gave up an earned run and had four strikeouts. Jose Arias was also hung with an unearned run as he had a strikeout in two innings. It was an early lead for Kane County after Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and an RBI) was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single from Carlos Penalver (1-for-5 with two RBI). The Cougars tied the game at three in the third after Trey Martin (2-for-4 with a stolen base) singled and stole second base. A triple by Dunston plated Martin, and Dunston scored on a groundout. Kane County regained the lead in the fourth after Will Remillard (1-for-3) reached on a two out single and scored on a triple by Chesny Young (2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI). Ben Carhart (0-for-3) led off the eighth with a walk and moved to second on a single by Jacob Rogers (1-for-4). A one out base hit from Kevin Brown (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Carhart.

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The Cougars were a little sharper Sunday afternoon but still wound up losing 2-1 to West Michigan. It was a real pitcher’s duel as Tyler Skulina allowed an earned run while striking out seven in seven innings. Gerardo Concepcion had a strikeout as he surrendered an earned run in two innings. Kane County was not able to muster enough offense in the ninth after Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a stolen base) led off with a single, moved to third on a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a double), and scored on a sacrifice fly.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (49-54)

Rainouts Thursday and Friday meant it was doubleheader time for Daytona. Game one on Saturday resulted in a 6-3 win over St. Lucie. In the first inning, new D-Cubs Jacob Hannemann (3-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base), along with Marco Hernandez (2-for-3 with an RBI) and Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with an RBI) singled and Hannemann scored his first run with Daytona. After a wild pitch, a base hit by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with two RBI) drove in Hernandez and Schwarber. Daytona added to their lead in the fourth after Wes Darvill (2-for-4) walked and a Jordan Hankins (2-for-4) double put two runners in scoring position. A single by Hannemann plated Darvill. Hannemann swiped second base and Hankins scored on a sacrifice fly. Walks to Vogelbach, Willson Contreras (0-for-2), and Billy McKinney (1-for-2 with a triple and an RBI) forced in Hannemann. Starter Felix Pena must have been delighted with the run support as he allowed three runs (two earned) while striking out six in five innings. Stephen Perakslis recorded his third save as he tossed two perfect innings with three strikeouts.

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It was a perfect storm in game two as Daytona blew away St. Lucie 9-1. The D-Cubs scored seven runs in the second inning after Dan Vogelbach (3-for-4) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A single by Rock Shoulders (1-for-4) put runners at the corners, and Vogelbach scored on a base hit by Billy McKinney (2-for-3 with an RBI). A single by Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3) loaded the bases, and a walk to Chadd Krist (0-for-2) forced in Shoulders. A fielder’s choice allowed McKinney to score, and a two out triple by Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI) drove in Amaya and Krist. Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled in Hernandez. After Schwarber stole second base, Vogelbach singled and a passed ball allowed Schwarber to score. Daytona added two more in the fourth after Jordan Hankins (1-for-3 with an RBI) singled and Jacob Hannemann (3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) hit a ground rule double. A single by Hernandez plated Hankins, while Hannemann scored on a double play. Tayler Scott picked Saturday to toss his best game of the season as he struck out eight in five scoreless innings. Tyler Bremer allowed an earned run in an inning, while Austin Kirk had a strikeout as he tossed a perfect inning.

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Suddenly, Daytona has the second best record in the second half of the season as the D-Cubs hung on to beat St. Lucie 4-3 in the opener of a doubleheader on Sunday. The D-Cubs started fast after Marco Hernandez (1-for-2) had a one out single and Kyle Schwarber (0-for-0 with two walks and an RBI) walked to begin the game. A base hit by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Hernandez. Billy McKinney (0-for-1) drew a two out walk. Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with two RBI) singled in Schwarber and Vogelbach. Daytona manufactured a run in the fifth to break a 3-3 tie after Hernandez singled, moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly. Jose Rosario could not hold a lead as he allowed three earned runs and struck out a batter in 4.1 innings. Michael Jensen stopped the Mets’ rally as he had two strikeouts in a scoreless inning. Zack Godley made it save number three as he had a strikeout in the final 1.2 innings.

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Daytona completed the doubleheader sweep in the nightcap as they beat St. Lucie 6-5. Nathan Dorris received the spot start and got the D-Cubs in trouble by allowing five earned runs and striking out five in 4.2 innings. Starling Peralta went the rest of the way with a strikeout in 2.1 scoreless innings. Daytona cut the lead in half in the third inning after Wes Darvill (1-for-2 with a double and two RBI) walked, stole second base and eventually scored on a groundout. Rock Shoulders (1-for-3) singled with one out in the fourth and moved to second on a wild pitch. Willson Contreras (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch, and both Shoulders and Contreras scored on a double from Darvill. A single by Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) plated Darvill. Behind 5-4 in the fifth, Marco Hernandez (1-for-3) reached on an error and came in on a home run from Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI).

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (52-54)

A new face and an old hand assisted Tennessee in completing a 4-2 victory over Mississippi on Thursday to take the series. Pierce Johnson put together one of his most effective starts of the year. Johnson gave up two hits and walked three batters in six scoreless innings while striking out eight batters. Tony Zych allowed the Braves to get back into the game as he surrendered two earned runs in an inning. Jeffrey Lorick recorded the two outs in the eighth and yielded to Frank Batista. The reliable reliever has seemed to regain his closer role with the Smokies as Batista had two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings for this sixth save.

The Smokies were able to take control in the first inning after Addison Russell (2-for-4) singled and scored on a double from new first baseman Lars Anderson (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Tennessee put the game away in the sixth after Russell reached with a one out single and scored after base hits from Anderson and Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with an RBI). A double from Stephen Bruno (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in Anderson and Villanueva.

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Friday saw the Smokies offense build a big lead and the bullpen give it away as Tennessee lost to Mississippi 9-8. Tennessee put up five runs in the first after Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4) and Albert Almora (1-for-5) singled and scored on a home run by Addison Russell (2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI). Christian Villanueva (3-for-5 with two doubles) hit a one out double and scored on a two out single from Luis Flores (3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI). A double by Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) plated Flores. Russell went deep again in the second inning with a two out solo home run. Flores added a solo home run of his own in the sixth inning. Lars Anderson (1-for-5) led off the seventh with a single and base hits from Villanueva and Flores allowed Anderson to come around and score.

Jeffry Antigua started and allowed three earned runs while striking out a batter in four innings. Lendy Castillo followed and gave up an earned run with a strikeout in two innings. Hunter Cervenka tossed a scoreless inning, but Zach Cates failed to record an out as he surrendered four runs (three earned). Andrew McKirahan pitched two innings but yielded an unearned run that turned out to be the game winner.

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Tennessee capped a fierce comeback with a three-run tenth inning as the Smokies defeated Birmingham 7-4 on Saturday. The Smokies jumped out to an early lead after Addison Russell (3-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) swatted his sixth home run in a Tennessee uniform. Tennessee tied the score at three in the seventh after Stephen Bruno (1-for-5 with a double) reached with a one out double and scored on a home run from Taylor Davis (3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, and five RBI). The Smokies tied the game again in the eighth after Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3 with a stolen base) led off with a single and scored on a one out double from Russell. In the tenth, Christian Villanueva (1-for-5) and Lars Anderson (1-for-1) started the inning with singles. A bunt attempt forced Villanueva at third and allowed Bruno to reach first. A wild pitch moved Bruno to second, and Luis Flores (0-for-3) was intentionally walked. That brought up Davis, who doubled to center and plated Anderson, Bruno, and Flores.

Matt Loosen started for the Smokies and allowed three earned runs while striking out seven in 5.1 innings. P.J. Francescon gave up an earned run in 2.1 innings, and Jeffrey Lorick struck out the only batter he faced. Tony Zych and Frank Batista each pitched a perfect inning, with Zych getting the win and Batista picking up his seventh save.

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It was like old times Sunday as the bullpen once again failed to hold a lead and Tennessee lost 6-5 to Birmingham. Corey Black deserved a better fate as he allowed an earned run and struck out two in six innings. Hunter Cervenka gave up two earned runs, while Lendy Castillo surrendered another two earned runs as each pitched an inning. Andrew McKirahan yielded the winning run following an error. The Smokies tied the game in the fifth inning after Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-5 with a home run and an RBI) slugged a two out solo home run. Tennessee appeared to take command of the game in the sixth after Addison Russell (1-for-5) singled and Lars Anderson (2-for-4 with a double) doubled. Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) had a base hit to score Russell and Anderson, while a triple by Jonathan Mota (2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI) drove in Villanueva. The Smokies added a run in the eighth after Villanueva doubled, advanced to third on a single from Charles Cutler (1-for-4), and scored on a sacrifice fly.

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Triple-A  – Iowa Cubs (58–52)

As a possible omen of things to come, Iowa beat New Orleans 11-2 on Thursday. New faces Jorge Soler (2-for-5 with double and three RBI) and Mike Olt (2-for-4) were in the line-up and did not disappoint as the I-Cubs tied the score in the second after Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a stolen base) reached on an error, stole second, and moved to third on an error. After a walk to Soler, Bryant scored on a sacrifice fly. Iowa blew the game open in the fourth after Bryant and Soler had back-to-back singles and Chris Valaika (1-for-1 with an RBI) walked to load the bases. Olt delivered a bases clearing double, while a base hit by Rafael Lopez (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated Olt. Javier Baez (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) added to the fun in the fifth as he popped his 17th home run, a solo shot. Reliever Armando Rivero (2-for-4) joined in as he singled with one out in the sixth. Matt Szczur (1-for-5) had a base hit and Brett Jackson (1-for-4) walked to reload the bases. A single from Baez plated Rivero and Szczur. Valaika walked to open the seventh. A single from Olt and a wild pitch put runners on second and third. A ground ball scored Valaika, and pinch hitter Josh Vitters (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI) drove in Olt with a home run.

Starter Eric Jokisch labored through six innings, but allowed only two earned runs on 10 hits while striking out five batters. Armando Rivero recorded three strikeouts in 1.2 innings, while Arodys Vizcaino also tossed 1.2 innings with a strikeout. Marcus Hatley recorded the final out of the game.

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It was a disappointing game for Iowa Friday as a rally fell short and they lost 3-2 to Memphis. Chris Rusin started and did pitch badly. Rusin allowed three runs (all in the fifth inning) and struck out four in eight innings. Marcos Mateo worked a perfect ninth with a strikeout. The I-Cubs manufactured a run in the sixth after Ryan Kalish (2-for-4 with a double) singled, advanced to second on a balk, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) reached on a one out double in the ninth and scored on a single from Kris Bryant (1-for-4). However, Bryant was thrown out at home trying to score the tying run on a ground ball.

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The first in a series of doubleheaders was held Saturday and Iowa lost game one to Memphis 5-4. Dan Straily continued his struggles since being acquired from the Oakland organization. Straily allowed five earned runs but struck out eight in five innings. Kyuji Fujikawa tossed a scoreless inning. Zac Rosscup had a strikeout in a perfect seventh. The I-Cubs had the early lead after Matt Szczur (3-for-4) led off the game with a single and Chris Valaika (0-for-3) walked. Both runners scored when Javier Baez (2-for-4, with a double, home run, and three RBI) walloped his 18th home run of the season. Iowa inched closer in the sixth after Mike Olt (1-for-3 with a double) reached on a one out double and scored on a single from Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with an RBI).

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In game two, Iowa could not sustain an offensive effort as they lost 6-4 to Memphis. The I-Cubs once again jumped out to a big lead in first after Ryan Kalish (2-for-3 with a double) and Logan Watkins (1-for-4) led off with singles and scored on a home run from Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI). Josh Vitters (1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI) cracked a solo home run with one out in the second inning. But the bats fell silent for starter Yoanner Negrin, who was also done in by some sloppy defense. Negrin committed an error of his own as he was charged with five runs, two being earned, with four strikeouts in five innings. Alberto Cabrera gave up an earned run in two innings of work.

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Sunday brought another doubleheader and Iowa could not overcome a big lead and lost 4-2 to Memphis. Dallas Beeler was on the hill and the groundballs he was throwing found holes. Beeler allowed four earned runs while striking out three in six innings. Arodys Vizcaino issued a walk in an inning of work. The only scoring for the I-Cubs came in the sixth inning when Kris Bryant (0-for-1) walked and scored on the first Triple-A home run for Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI).

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The I-Cubs were stymied by Memphis pitching again in game two as they lost 2-0. Iowa scattered seven hits and were not able to mount a serious threat. Mike Olt was 2-for-3 with a double, while Logan Watkins and Ryan Kalish were each 1-for-3. Carlos Pimentel deserved better as he allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out five in four innings. Marcus Hatley, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Armando Rivero each tossed a scoreless inning.

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Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (13–13)

It was a romp on Wednesday as the A-Cubs defeated the Rangers 10-0. Third baseman Adonis Paula was 2-for-5 with two RBI while catcher Erick Castillo went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Rehabbing from Tennessee, C.J. Edwards struck out two in two scoreless innings, and Jose Paulino fanned four in four innings.

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The rookie league gave and took away for the AZL Cubs Thursday as they lost to the Athletics 7-6. Pitching for the first time in two years, Marcelo Carreno had two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. But Jesus Castillo gave up four runs (two earned) with a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Outfielder Shamil Ubiera had a good game as he was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a stolen base.

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The A-Cubs just could not get their offense going Friday night as they lost 6-2 to the Giants. Ivan Pineyro made his second rehab start and was pounded for four earned runs with two strikeouts in two innings. Lefty Carson Sands recorded a strikeout during two scoreless innings. First baseman Alberto Mineo (1-for-3) drove in the only run.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs recalled RHP Blake Parker from the Iowa Cubs; optioned RHP Neil Ramirez to the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF/OF Lars Anderson to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Stephen Perakslis to the Daytona Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned INF Chesny Young to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; Assigned INF/OF David Bote to the Boise Hawks from the Kane County Cougars; assigned OF Charcer Burks and INF Bryant Flete to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Marcelo Carreno to the AZL Cubs. The Iowa Cubs activated RHP Yoanner Negrin from the 7-day disabled list.

Top Prospect Watch
Albert Almora (OF) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Corey Black (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Paul Blackburn (RHP) – Kane County Cougars

 

Jacob Hannemann (OF) – Daytona Cubs

 

Eloy Jimenez (OF) – AZL Cubs

 

Pierce Johnson (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Dillon Maples (RHP) – Kane County Cougars

 

Jorge Soler (OF) – Iowa Cubs

 

Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Daytona Cubs

 

Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – Daytona Cubs

 

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  • George Gray

    Hannemann definitely deserves a look at the top 20. He is having a great season, but Dillon Maples needs to show he can stay healthy. I would rank Dallas Beeler, Chris Rusin, Armando Rivero,Carson Sands, Justin Steele and a few others above him as a pitching prospect right now.