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Cubs Minor League Wrap -- April 10

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We're two days in to the minor league season this year and after today, every Cub affiliate's record stands at 1-1.

Here's my first attempt to post these things directly to the front page. You can apparently do a lot of cool things when Al gives you the power (mwah, ha, ha), but for right now, I'm going to concentrate on not messing everything up. Hopefully, I'll be able to integrate the cool stuff into the minor league wraps later.

Oh, I changed my avatar to the logo for the Boise Hawks for now. I was thinking the old baseball card of Mordecai Brown was a little confusing.

About 30 of you think it's worth your while to get MLW updates on Twitter. If you follow me there, you'll get the big story about 45 minutes to an hour before they get posted on the front page. I won't plug this again for a while, but if you want the headlines early, they are at http://twitter.com/Cubsminorswrap.

I love my one-year old daughter. She brings books for me to read to her. As I'm typing this, the book she wants me to read to her is Baseball Prospectus 2009. Good girl! Just don't rip it.

And away we go!

Iowa Cubs


The Iowa Cubs derailed the Round Rock Express, 6-2.

The experiment to move Jose Ascanio into the rotation got off to a great start today as Ascanio threw four shutout innings, He allowed only two singles, didn't walk a batter and struck out four. Of course he didn't get the win because of the silly "must throw five innings" rule, so J.R. Mathes, who allowed two runs over two innings, was rewarded with the victory.

Jeff Stevens, Chad Fox and Kevin Hart each threw a scoreless inning of relief.

First baseman Jake Fox hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Fox was 2 for 3 with a walk and four RBI. Shortstop Andres Blanco was 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Catcher Chris Robinson was 2 for 3 with a run scored.

Nate Spears played third base tonight and went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI. I really like the Cubs giving Spears a chance at third base. If he can handle the position, he really could be insurance in case of an injury to Ramirez.

Tennessee Smokies

Tony Thomas pounded out eleven total bases tonight as the Smokies snuffed out the Jacksonville Suns, 10-3.

Thomas was the story tonight as he picked up where he left off in the Florida State League playoffs last year, when he was MVP. Thomas was 4 for 5 with two home runs and a double. Thomas scored four times and batted five in.

Shortstop Darwin Barney also homered. He was 2 for 3 with two RBI. First baseman Blake Lalli was 2 for 5 with a run scored. Matt Camp was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Hung-Wen Chen got the win today with a solid start. He pitched 5.1 innings and allowed only two runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out five, which is really good for Chen, who normally doesn't strike out a lot of batters.

Daytona Cubs

The Daytona Cubs edged the Brevard County Manatees, 7-6.

Marcos Mateo was pulled from the game after throwing two scoreless innings. He had allowed only one hit to that point and hadn't walked a batter. He struck out one. I have no idea why Mateo was pulled--I tried to listen to the game over the internet to get an explanation but couldn't get the feed to work. So I don't know if this was planned or whether there was some kind of injury. Hopefully, we'll know tomorrow, but an injury to Mateo would not be good.

Australian Ryan Searle then came into the game and threw three shutout innings of relief. Unfortunately, manager Buddy Bailey sent him out for a fourth inning (which indicates to me the pulling of Mateo wasn't planned) and Searle got hit pretty hard. So his overall line was pretty ugly: 3.1 innings pitched with five runs allowed. Three of the runs were earned. Searle didn't walk or strike out a batter.

Chicagoan David Cales threw the last 1.2 innings of the game and picked up the win. Cales allowed one hit and struck out one Manatee.

Perhaps people will be saying soon that the Cubs were too conservative pushing shortstop Starlin Castro up only three levels. Tonight Castro singled in his first two at bats before Brevard County finally got him out his third and final time up. Actually, they'd gotten him out once earlier with a caught stealing.

First baseman Jovan Rosa hit two doubles in a 2 for 4 night. Rosa scored once and knocked two in. Second baseman Nate Samson was 1 for 3 with a walk, a double and two RBI. He negated a lot of that by getting caught stealing twice.

Peoria Chiefs

Last night the Chiefs were the only team to win. Tonight they were the only team to lose as the Chiefs fell to the Kane County Cougars, 3-2,

Chris Carpenter wasn't as successful as his namesake for the Cardinal was, but he had a solid start nonetheless. Carpenter threw five innings and allowed two runs on five hits. Carpenter showed some nice control by striking out six and walking only one.

Chris Huseby got the loss in relief. He gave up a run in and inning of relief. Huseby allowed two hits, didn't walk anyone and struck out one.

DH Josh Harrison was 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored.

Because someone is going to ask, Josh Vitters got his first hit of the year in a 1 for 4 night. It was an RBI single in the sixth inning.