The Cubs made a trade today, acquiring catcher P.J. Higgins from the Diamondbacks for cash considerations. Obviously the Cubs are quite familiar with Higgins. They drafted Higgins in the 12th round in 2015 and he played 83 games in the majors between the 2021 and 2022 seasons. After the Cubs designated him for assignment at the end of last year, Higgins elected free agency and signed with the Diamondbacks. He hit .317/.407/.473 in 58 games in Triple-A Reno. Although those numbers are inflated by playing at 4500 feet, Higgins did hit .280/.366/.411 on the road.
Higgins will report to Triple-A Iowa. The deal was probably made because of the injury to Dom Nuñez, who was hit in this throwing hand with a foul ball on Friday.
The Cubs also announced the signing of seven recent MLB Draft picks, including first-round pick Matt Shaw. Shaw signed for a bonus of $4,848,500, which is the slot value of the pick.
The other players who signed are catcher Michael Carico (5th round), outfielder Alfonsin Rosario (6th round), outfielder Brett Bateman (8th round), first baseman Jonathon Long (9th round), right-handed pitcher Luis Martinez-Gomez (10th round) and third baseman Brian Kalmer (18th round). Bonus amounts for those players are not yet known.
The Iowa Cubs powered past the Columbus Clippers (Guardians), 4-3.
Starter Hayden Wesneski pitched three innings and allowed three runs on four hits. One of the three runs was unearned. Wesneski struck out five and walked just one, so that’s a positive sign. The big issue was that he gave up a two-run home run to Bryan Lavastida in the second inning.
Ryan Jensen, Chris Clarke, Jeremiah Estrada, Cam Sanders, Bailey Horn and Manuel Rodríguez each threw one scoreless inning to finish out the game. They allowed a grand total of one hit (by Horn) and one walk (by Sanders).
Sanders got the win. He walked one and struck out one. Rodríguez got the save with a perfect ninth, striking out two.
All four Iowa runs scored on home runs. Third baseman David Bote hit a solo home run in the second inning, his ninth of the year. Bote went 1 for 3 with a walk.
In the eighth inning, left fielder Yonathan Perlaza connected with the bases empty for his tenth home run of 2023. Perlaza went 1 for 4 with a walk.
Later in the eighth inning, DH Jake Slaughter hit his 16th home run with a man on. Slaughter was also 1 for 4.
First baseman Matt Mervis went 3 for 4. He scored on Slaughter’s home run.
Slaughter’s home run.
The Tennessee Smokies burned the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays), 11-1.
Kohl Franklin dominated the Biscuits for five scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits. He struck out nine and walked no one for his third win of the year.
The Smokies had the score 11-0 after 3 1⁄2 innings and then took the foot off the gas. Left fielder Cole Roederer hit a solo home run in the second inning, his eighth of the year and fifth in July. However, Roederer was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and left the game.
Roederer went 1 for 1 with a walk and the hit-by-pitch. He scored twice.
DH Bradlee Beesley hit a two-run home run in the fourth, his sixth. Beesley was 2 for 4 with four runs batted in.
Center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong had a pair of doubles in a 2 for 5 game. He scored twice.
Roederer’s home run.
The Cole Roederer revival continues. HR and a BB already today. .867 OPS right now. pic.twitter.com/wJJOGNjk1d— Brad (@ballskwok) July 16, 2023
South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs got robbed by the Quad Cities River Bandits (Royals), 5-4 in ten innings.
Starter Connor Noland surrendered three runs on five hits over 4.1 innings. A two-run home run in the bottom of the first was the big blow. Noland struck out one and walked no one.
Brailyn Marquez threw a 1-2-3 inning of relief, striking out one.
The Cubs gave Frankie Scalzo Jr. a 4-3 lead heading to the bottom of the tenth, but he gave up two runs and took the loss. Scalzo’s final line was two runs, one earned, on three hits over 1.2 innings. He walked one and struck out one.
Left fielder Yohendrick Pinango was 3 for 5 with a double. He scored one run,
Shortstop Kevin Made hit a two-run double in the fourth. He went 2 for 4 with a stolen base.
Center fielder Kevin Alcántara was 2 for 5 with a double and one run scored.
Second baseman James Triantos was 2 for 5 with an RBI.
DH Ezequiel Pagan was 2 for 5.
The Alcántara double. After an .897 OPS in June, Alcántara has a 1.039 OPS in July.
Kevin Alcántara rips a double to extend his on base streak to 21 games. pic.twitter.com/rWvwDxgleC— Brad (@ballskwok) July 16, 2023
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans scrubbed the Carolina Mudcats (Brewers) clean, 8-0.
Three Pelicans pitchers combines on a one-hitter. Starting pitcher Marino Santy allowed no hits. He did walk four while striking out six.
Scarlyn Lebron then pitched three perfect innings, striking out two.
Starlyn Pichardo came on to pitch the eighth and allowed a single to the first batter he faced, breaking up the no-hitter. But Pichardo then retired the next six batters in order to end the game. Pichardo had one strikeout.
DH Andy Garriola hit a three-run home run as part of a six-run fourth for the Birds. It was his eighth home run of the year. Garriola was 1 for 4.
Second baseman Cristian Hernandez went 2 for 4 with a double. He scored once.
Right fielder Rafael Morel doubled and walked in a 1 for 3 game. He scored two times.