MESA, Ariz. _ I arrived back in Arizona in good time only to make it to Fitch Park and not to Surprise today, where the Cubs are playing the Rangers. It was an eventful day, though, and we'll update in a bit.
First, Randy Wells pitched 6 innings for Class AAA Iowa, giving up 3 hits, no walks and no runs while striking out seven and throwing 84 pitches, 56 for strikes. Xavier Nady, playing right field on the the adjacent diamond for Class AA Tennessee, had to leave the game after his fourth plate appearance as he was struck with a pitch near the bottom of his right hand. Nady grimaced and walked to first base, but was taken out for a pinch runner. He left the field with a trainer. The Cubs said he had full range of motion and that for now, the injury appears to be a bruise. Nady was headed back to HoHoKam Park, but the Cubs said they did not feel X-rays were necessary.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez (triceps injury) DH'd and batted each inning. His final at-bat resulted in a long solo homer over the fence in left-center.
UPDATES: You needed your head on swivel today down at Fitch. On one field, Wells looked sharp, particularly with his breaking stuff, and he said he was ready. Throwing to catcher Welington Castillo, Wells had a good changeup working. He also jammed a couple of hitters for outs.
One occupational hazard here is that foul balls often carry from one field to the next, even in the middle of plays. Wells had just thrown what appeared to be a strike only to have the umpire rule it no pitch. At first, Wells appeared upset, but ended up smiling about it.
Ramirez struck out, grounded out twice and flied out before launching his homer in his fifth and final at-bat.
Over in the Double-A game, Nady played right, but nothing came his way. He's on the mend from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He looked fine before the game warming up, but the Cubs weren't going to let him cut it loose really hard with throws in the game. At the plate, he struck out, hit into a 6-4-3 double play and had an RBI double before getting hit.
The Cubs had a good number of prospects in that Double-A game: Starlin Castro, Brett Jackson, D.J. LeMahieu and Kyler Burke, along with Josh Lansford, the infielder-turned-pitcher.
Ran into one of my favorite agents, Paul Kinzer, and had a nice long chat with him. In addition to A-Ram, Paul also represents Castro. Nice find, eh? Paul's always been great with the media. He's also an agent who answers his own phone most of the time. Got to like that.
On the road to Tucson tomorrow. More in the paper and online later.