Cubs lose 15-3; Rusin, McDonald struggle

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs lost 15-3 to the Los Angeles Angels in their first road game of the spring:

The good: Kris Bryant homered in his first at-bat of the spring after Albert Almora doubled before him. Those two prospects lived up to the hype for one day. Bryant's long ball came after a long at-bat, during which he fouled off several pitches before hitting a slider out to dead center field on a 3-2 count. Darwin Barney went 2-for-2 with a home run, as well. Mike Trout hit a grand slam for the Angels.

The bad: Pitchers Chris Rusin and James McDonald struggled in their second innings of work, as both are vying for a starting spot in case teammate Jake Arrieta can't start the season on time. Rusin said his mechanics got away from him in a four-run second inning for the Angels, and McDonald had the trainer worried about fatigue during a nine-run fourth inning. He was eventually pulled. In fact, the Cubs had to make two pitching changes that inning, as Jonathan Sanchez was ineffective, as well. Combined, Rusin and McDonald gave up 10 runs, eight hits and four walks.

What's next: The Cubs are scheduled to play two games Saturday, but rain in the forecast could cause problems. Travis Wood will make his spring debut against the San Francisco Giants in Mesa, and Edwin Jackson takes the mound at night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. If rain washes out the games, the Cubs will "shift to the cages," according to manager Rick Renteria. The team has indoor pitching mounds so pitchers can get some work in as well. The Cubs are 0-2 in Cactus League play so far.

Notes: Arrieta continues to throw off flat ground, "extending his distances," Renteria said. There is no timetable for his return to the mound as he recovers from shoulder stiffness. ... Mike Olt has been experiencing some shoulder soreness, so he hasn't been playing third base in games yet. Renteria said it's normal stiffness for some guys early in spring training but nothing serious. Olt will DH and play first base until ready.


"There's lightning in that bat. It'll be nice to put our eyes on him in the game." -- Renteria, on top prospect Javier Baez before his first start

"I want to repeat what I'm doing up there. That's the goal. It's Day 1. There's a long spring ahead." -- Barney, after homering in his second at-bat Friday

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for and ESPN Radio 1000.



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Starlin Castro
.292 14 65 58
HRA. Rizzo 31
RBIA. Rizzo 72
RA. Rizzo 82
OPSA. Rizzo .896
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAT. Wood 4.86
SOJ. Arrieta 144