Category Archives: Custom Chicago Cubs Jerseys

Rafael Ortega Jersey

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MESA, Arizona — Rafael Ortega is not a power guy. In 410 career MLB at-bats, he has three home runs.

He did hit 21 homers at Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system in 2019, but that’s nearly a third of his 68 career minor league home runs in 4,135 at bats.

Ortega might never hit a regular-season Chicago Cubs Jerseys China home run for the Cubs. Heck, he might not play a regular-season game for the Cubs.

But he will certainly cherish the memory of hitting a walkoff grand slam Tuesday afternoon in Mesa before an enthusiastic gathering of 3,423 at Sloan Park, giving the Cubs an unexpected 9-8 win over the Athletics.

Walkoff wins are pretty rare in spring training; I can’t remember the last time the Cubs had one, must be six or seven years ago.

Before I get to the rest of this game, let’s watch the walkoff homer [VIDEO]!

Now, let’s rewind tho the beginning. Trevor Williams threw three innings today and two of them were quick, efficient 1-2-3 innings. In the other, he allowed back-to-back doubles to Mitch Moreland and Chad Pinder and the A’s took a 1-0 lead. Overall, though, I thought Williams threw well and that gives him two consecutive good spring outings. It’s only spring training, but I think the Cubs got themselves a steal in Williams.

The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the second. Jason Heyward singled and David Bote walked, and that brought up new Cub Eric Sogard for his first Cubs at-bat [VIDEO].

Nice piece of hitting for Sogard to tie the game.

Unfortunately, that brought Craig Kimbrel into the contest. Kimbrel wasn’t as bad in this one as he was in his first outing, but that one was horrific. In this one, he allowed only one run, a solo homer by Matt Chapman. But of the three outs he recorded, two were hit hard, including a screaming line drive by Elvis Andrus that David Bote made a nice snag on at third base.

Clearly, Kimbrel is still a work in progress.

The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth, the first of the two runs on another home run by Joc Pederson [VIDEO].

Pederson’s a hot hitter, now batting .429 this spring with a 1.672 OPS.

Jonathan Holder, who’s trying to hold on to a bullpen slot, didn’t do himself any favors, allowing two runs and not finishing the inning he was assigned, the fifth. The A’s had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.

The Cubs then tied the game up. Ian Happ doubled and Willson Contreras singled him to third. Pederson’s double made it 5-4, and after pinch-runner Chase Strumpf was thrown out at the plate on a ground ball by Jason Heyward, Bote doubled in Pederson with the tying run, but pinch-runner Ortega was thrown out trying to score.

The A’s put together a run off Dillon Maples in the sixth. It wasn’t all Maples’ fault. He tried to field a ground ball that bounced off his hand and Strumpf couldn’t finish the play. Tyler Soderstrom doubled to make it 6-5 A’s and Oakland added two more off Jake Jewell in the top of the seventh.

But that just set up Ortega’s heroics. It was all subs by the time the bottom of the seventh happened. With one out, Jose Lobaton singled and Strumpf walked. Abiatal Avelino put together a nice at-bat and blooped a single to left to load the bases, and then Ortega followed with the home run.

You usually don’t get that much entertainment value out of a spring training game. Most of the crowd hung around for the end and gave Ortega a nice ovation. It wasn’t quite an “ultimate grand slam” like the one Bote hit in 2018 because there was only one out, but it was exciting nevertheless.

Wednesday, the Cubs head to Scottsdale Stadium to face the Giants. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Nick Tropeano will start for San Francisco. Game time is again 2:05 p.m. CT. There’s no TV for Wednesday’s game. There will be an audio webcast on MLB.com with the Giants announcers. If you didn’t see today’s walkoff win, it will be rebroadcast on MLB Network Tuesday evening at 10 p.m. CT.

P.J. Higgins Jersey

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Willson Contreras had some fun on his trot around the bases on Friday afternoon out in Arizona. The Cubs’ catcher flipped his bat, pointed to the heavens around first and did some slow exaggerated strides into third base on his way home.

That second-inning homer in Chicago’s 6-1 win over the A’s was just the latest example of Contreras’ high-energy play as one of baseball’s elite all-around catchers. His status with the Cubs is cemented. What the team Stitched Chicago Cubs Jerseys needs to solve before Opening Day is who will serve as the All-Star’s backup.

It looks like that job could wind up in the hands of P.J. Higgins.

“Higgy is a guy that we’ve talked [about] a couple times already,” Cubs manager David Ross said on Friday morning. “He’s made an impression on me.”

With less than two weeks left until the Cubs’ April 1 opener against the Pirates, it is looking increasingly improbable that veteran catcher Austin Romine (right knee sprain) will be ready. And on Friday, Chicago reassigned Jose Lobaton to Minor League camp, leaving Higgins as the de facto backup in Romine’s absence.

Willson Contreras’ solo home run
Mar 20, 2021 · 0:30
Willson Contreras’ solo home run
Romine last played on March 6, while Higgins has started the five non-Contreras Cactus League games since that depth setback. Higgins has caught Jake Arrieta and Zach Davies twice each, including the latter’s four-inning start (one unearned run, four hits, three walks and two strikeouts) against Oakland on Friday. Higgins has also caught starts by Alec Mills and Trevor Williams.

In some recent games, Higgins was instructed to follow scouting reports for specific batters. Ross was impressed by how the 27-year-old catcher handled those tests.

“I love his ability to run a game behind the plate,” Ross said. “He’s really taken to it.”

Higgins — not currently on the 40-man roster — has been in MLB camp with the Cubs for the past few springs, and Ross also got to know the catcher during Summer Camp last year. Beyond catching, Higgins also offers a backup option for both infield corners, and has even logged innings at second base.

“He’s got great hands,” Ross said. “If you listen to the people around in player development, he’s one of the better third basemen we have in the organization, just as far as reliability on defense.”

Ross also praised Higgins’ communication and feedback with pitchers, as well as the catcher’s ability to make consistent contact in the batter’s box. All of these traits have positioned Higgins to make the Opening Day roster, if Romine’s injury lingers.

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Rafael Ortega, who’s probably not going to make the Opening Day roster, continued his hot hitting with a two-hit game Wednesday afternoon. P.J. Higgins added a solo homer, but it wasn’t enough and the Cubs came up short Chicago Cubs Jerseys China against the Giants 7-6 at Scottsdale Stadium.

Alec Mills gave up a run in the first inning after retiring the first two hitters, but the Cubs got the run back in the top of the second.

Anthony Rizzo walked and advanced to second on a groundout, after which he scored on a single by Ortega:

One out later, Taylor Gushue walked and Higgins was hit by a pitch, but the inning was then called because Nick Tropeano had thrown 29 pitches.

Mills was removed with one out in the third, having allowed three hits and a run. It seemed like a successful outing for him, but the jury’s still out on whether he’ll be the fifth starter or whether he’ll be in a hybrid starter/long relief role. Here’s one of the seven outs Mills recorded:

In the fourth, Rizzo reached base again with a single, but was thrown out at the plate on a double by Ortega, who took third on the play and scored on a single by Matt Duffy to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Brandon Workman, likely to be the Cubs’ primary setup man, issued two walks in his inning of work, but got out of it without a run thanks in part to a double play.

Higgins homered off Wandy Peralta in the top of the fifth to make it 3-1:

But the Giants took the lead back in the bottom of the fifth on a single, a throwing error, another base hit and a two-run homer by Wilmer Flores off Andrew Chafin, not a good day for Chafin.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Cubs starting players departed en masse, but Dan Winkler, who is expected to be in the Opening Day bullpen, served up a two-run homer to Jason Krizan to make it 6-3 Giants. A couple of walks and a single by Andy Weber in the seventh made it 6-4.

Manuel Rodriguez, a 24-year-old righthander who throws up to 99 miles per hour, threw a scoreless inning (the seventh) in his first outing of the spring. He faced two former Cubs, Arismendy Alcantara (walk) and Jason Vosler (strikeout), and eventually walked the bases loaded before David Ross ended the inning on a pitch count. Rodriguez has talent — he averaged 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 35 appearances at High-A in 2019 — but is clearly a work in progress.

The bottom of the eighth, thrown by Robert Stock, was also halted on a pitch count after Stock walked in a run.

The Cubs put a pair of runs across in the ninth inning on a bases-loaded double by Alfonso Rivas that bounced into the stands. Had it not done that, it would have cleared the bases and tied the game, but the runner on first had to hold at third. The last out of the game was made on a spectacular catch on a line drive by Brennen Davis that would have given the Cubs the lead.

The overall good news, though, is that Cubs starting pitchers are having an outstanding spring to date:

Keep up the good work, guys.

Thursday, the Cubs continue their two-day excursion to Scottsdale ballparks as they take on the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and former Giant Dereck Rodriguez will go for the Rockies. Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain with the Rockies announcers.