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Cubs minor league recap: 4/28/13

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Brent Lillibridge finished a triple shy of the cycle Sunday with the I-Cubs. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Iowa and Daytona both captured a win Sunday, while rain kept Tennessee and Kane County from taking the field. One of the Smokies’ doubleheader games scheduled for Sunday will now be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Monday; the other game will not be rescheduled. The Cougars’ game, which marks their eighth postponement this season, will also be played as part of a doubleheader Monday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:

Iowa Cubs (8-14)

Iowa collected 13 hits, including four home runs, beating host Omaha, 10-6.

  • CF Brian Bogusevic (.417) extended his hitting streak to nine games, going 3-for-4 with a walk, a home run and three RBI (8). He’s hitting .484 (15-for-31) during the streak.
  • DH Brett Jackson (.232) blasted his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second inning. He finished 1-for-5 with a walk, the home run and a season-high three RBI (7).
  • 1B Brent Lillibridge (.455) finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, a double (2), a home run and one RBI (3).
  • 3B Ian Stewart (.094) went 0-for-2 with three walks, two runs scored and one RBI (4) in the 10th game of his rehabilitation assignment.
  • RF Ryan Sweeney (.369) belted his team-leading sixth homer, going 1-for-4 with a walk, the home run and two RBI (16).

Daytona Cubs (11-12)

Daytona hitters walked eight times and stole four bases in a 7-4 victory over visiting Palm Beach.

  • SS Javier Baez (.263) recorded his team-leading fifth longball of the season, going 2-for-4 with the home run and two RBI (15). He has hit safely in five of his last six contests.
  • 3B Ben Carhart (.289) recorded his third three-hit game of the campaign, going 3-for-4 with a season-high three RBI (11). The 2012 draftee is hitting .385 (10-for-26) with runners in scoring position.
  • 2B Tim Saunders (.216) registered his third multi-hit game of the year, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a RBI (5) and two stolen bases (7).
  • RHP P.J. Francescon earned his second win, recording his first quality start of the campaign. The righty has a 2.45 ERA (3 ER/11.0 IP) over his last two starts.

First Pitch/Seventh-Inning Stretch Lineup: 4/29-5/8

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Comedian Julia Sweeney sang the seventh-inning stretch during a game earlier this month. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs kick off a nine-game homestand Monday, as the Padres, Reds and Cardinals come to town. If you’re headed to Wrigley Field over the next week, here’s your first pitch and seventh-inning stretch lineup:

Monday – 4/29
First Pitch & Stretch: John Egan, Rich Rochelle & Chuck Wood from the 1963 Loyola Men’s Basketball championship team (celebrating their 50th anniversary)

Tuesday – 4/30
First Pitch & Stretch: Corey Wootton (Chicago Bears)

Wednesday – 5/1
First Pitch & Stretch: Jeff Mauro (“The Sandwich King”/ Chicago Food Network star)

Thursday – 5/2
First Pitch: Emmylou Harris (12-time Grammy winner)
Stretch: Steve Trout (Cubs alumni)

Friday – 5/3
First Pitch: Shea McClellin (Chicago Bears)
Stretch: TBD

Saturday – 5/4
First Pitch & Stretch: TBD

Sunday – 5/5
First Pitch & Stretch: Gary Sinise (Actor/Musician)

Monday – 5/6
First Pitch: Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
Stretch: TBD

Tuesday – 5/7
First Pitch & Stretch: Nick Cannon (America’s Got Talent)

Wednesday – 5/8 “Pink Out”
First Pitch: Breast cancer survivor
National Anthem: Sing to Live Chorus (40 members affected by breast cancer)
Stretch: Breast cancer survivors

Have a drink with David DeJesus and Anthony Rizzo

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

If you’re in the Phoenix area this week for Spring Training, join Cubs outfielder David DeJesus, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and other big league ballplayers for a drink—for a good cause, of course.

The David DeJesus Family Foundation will be hosting a Celebrity Bartending Night on Wednesday, March 20, at the American Junkie Bar in Scottsdale, Ariz., to benefit families in need. Featured celebrity bartenders include Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo, Travis Wood, Adam Eaton, Javy Guerra, David Hernandez, Casey Kelly, George Kontos and Wade Miley.

The event goes from 9-11 p.m., and general admission tickets are available for purchase at the door for $50 per person. VIP tickets are $150 and include a preparty cocktail hour from 8- 9 p.m. with food and a private mix-and-mingle as the players learn how to bartend.

“We are excited to raise funds to support our mission from this fun event,” said DeJesus. “My wife, Kim, and I started the David DeJesus Family Foundation and are excited to be continuing its growth here in Arizona.”

The event is being hosted in conjunction with Issues Concerning Athletes and MiCamp Merchant Services. American Junkie Bar is located at 4363 N. 75th St., in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The David DeJesus Family Foundation was created by Cubs outfielder David DeJesus and his wife, Kim, in order to help families in crisis in Chicago and in parts of the world where people lack basic human needs.  DDFF is committed to helping alleviate suffering for those that face devastation due to illness, poverty or disaster as well as those who seek a voice to be heard. In particular, DDFF has been actively involved in the fight against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Cubs sign 21 pre-arbitration players

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs agreed to terms with all 21 pre-arbitration eligible players currently on the organization’s 40-man roster Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

Right-handed pitchers Michael Bowden, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Trey McNutt, Hector Rondon, Arodys Vizcaino and Robert Whitenack; and lefties Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin and Travis Wood were all signed to new deals.

Catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger; infielders Darwin Barney, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo, Christian Villanueva, Josh Vitters and Logan Watkins; and outfielders Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt and Matt Szczur also earned updated contracts.

Cubs acquire two minor league RHPs for Campana

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Chicago Cubs today acquired minor league right-handed pitchers Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo from the Arizona Diamondbacks for popular outfielder Tony Campana.

“Both of them we like a lot, both are projectable,” said Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. “We did a lot of work with our scouts down in the D.R. and a had lot of contact with Arizona. But we feel really good about getting two projectable arms for Tony. Obviously, it’s difficult to lose Tony from the organization. [He's] a great person, a fantastic base stealer and a guy we really enjoyed getting to know. But ultimately you can only protect 40 guys on the roster, and he got caught up in that roster crunch.”

Leal, 17, went 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA (19 ER/70.0 IP) in 14 appearances (12 starts) for the Dominican Summer League Diamondbacks last season. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder struck out 70 and walked only 11 batters in 70.0 innings—an average of 9.0 strikeouts and only 1.4 walks per nine innings. Leal also allowed only one home run in 70.0 innings pitched and posted a 0.99 WHIP. He is a native of Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela.

Castillo, 17, went 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA (28 ER/46.2 IP) in 14 appearances (eight starts) for the DSL Diamondbacks last season. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Castillo struck out 41 and walked 17 in 46.2 innings pitched, while allowing only three home runs. He is a native of San Feliz, Tachira, Venezuela.

Hoyer said Leal is expected to pitch in the U.S. this year, but Castillo will likely stay and play in the Dominican Summer League for another year.

Campana, 26, batted .262 (83-for-317) with nine doubles, one home run, 54 stolen bases, a .306 on-base percentage and a .300 slugging percentage in 184 games with the Cubs covering the last two seasons. He was crowded out of the Cubs outfield this year following the acquisitions of Nate Schierholtz and Scott Hairston.

‘You never want to lose players you think have value, and Tony certainly has value,” Hoyer said. “But as you get more and more good players on your 40-man roster, you’re going to have to make harder and harder decisions. And I hope we have a lot of hard decisions ahead because that means our roster is getting better.”

Cubs Convention LIVE: Stats Sunday with WGN

Last one of the 2013 Cubs Convention: Len Kasper, Jim Deshaies and Bob Vorwald of WGN talking about some more meaningful statistics that they’ve introduced to their broadcasts. Here we go!

10:32 Deshaies, the Cubs’ new TV color commentator, saw the transition to advanced stats when he was with Houston, as they overhauled their front office under GM Jeff Luhnow. He’s a believer in the kind of impact they can make on a team.

Kasper talks about how some statistics can be misleading, specifically citing Rob Deer who had great on-base percentages despite high strikeout totals and low batting averages. He compares him once again to Adam Dunn and says that, if Deer were to play today, he’d probably have been valued much more.

10:35 Vorwald brings up former Orioles manager Earl Weaver, who passed away yesterday. He was ahead of his time in many ways, preaching a philosophy of preserving outs and taking bases. Known to be more about three-run homers than small ball, Weaver understood how outs were a team’s most precious resource.

10:36 Vorwald introduces the so-called “baseball card stats”: home runs, runs batted in, batting average. They’re important to fans and not going anywhere, but Kasper emphasizes that RBIs are a function of opportunities. Deshaies says that he doesn’t want to diminish a guy who gets 100 RBIs—that probably means he had a good year regardless—but that it tends to be overvalued. “If you’re hitting in the middle of the order, you’re probably a pretty good guy to begin with. But you have to separate the good from the very good [by looking at some more meaningful numbers].”

(more…)

1000 Words: Matt Garza at the Cubs Convention

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Now Playing: Cubs, Kerry Wood break ground on new field

For years, Chicago Public League baseball teams haven’t had a true home-field advantage when the high school playoffs come around. Without a serviceable field to play on, city teams have been forced to trek out to the suburbs when the single-elimination tournament starts up each May. But that’s all about to change.

The Chicago Cubs Charities and the Wood Family Foundation broke ground on Kerry Wood Cubs Field Thursday, a high school baseball diamond located at Clark Park near Lane Tech High School about a mile west of Wrigley Field. The $5 million project should be completed in the first half of 2013. The stadium will seat 1,100 people and will have lights for potential night games.

Vine Line was there for the ceremony, where former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and Cubs co-owners Tom and Laura Ricketts spoke of the excitement surrounding this new venture.

1000 Words: Alfonso Soriano gives back to fans

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Prior to Wednesday’s season finale, Cubs players gave back to the fans by tossing baseballs into the stands. While Alfonso Soriano handed balls out to the front row, Anthony Rizzo, Shawn Camp and others showed off their arms by hurling balls into the upper deck.

1000 Words: Starlin Castro is gunning to play 162


(Photo by Stephen Green)

With only three games remaining, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is poised to put his name in the franchise record books. Castro has appeared in 159 games this season, and has started all but one.

No Cubs shortstop has ever played in all 162 games of the regular season. Ivan DeJesus holds the franchise record at shortstop, playing in 160 games in both 1978 and 1979.

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