GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Albert Almora Jr. led off the first inning by jumping on a 2-0 fastball from right-hander Tony Santillan and driving it over the fence in left-center for his first homer of the spring. He finished 1-for-3.
Hamels at home
Starter Cole Hamels, who stayed behind in Mesa rather than face the division-rival Reds, threw 45 pitches in three innings in a simulated game, facing teammates Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward and Ian Happ. Hamels didn’t allow a hit in the “scoreless” outing but at one point cursed at himself over a pitch he left up that caught Happ looking for strike three.
“I take it seriously even though it’s a backfield game,” said Hamels, who worked mostly on offspeed pitches. “I’ve got a lot of work I’m trying to get done.”
Facing many of the Reds’ regulars, right-hander Alec Mills pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and a walk. He struck out three, including Yasiel Puig with a runner on in the first and — after an error put two men on — Scott Schebler to end the threat.
Left-handed swingman Mike Montgomery pitched two innings of the simulated game (29 pitches) for his first game action of the spring. He expects to make his Cactus League season debut Saturday in one of the split-squad games.
“I just wanted to feel good,” said Montgomery, whose was delayed by a sore shoulder as camp opened. “It felt pretty smooth, definitely better than I anticipated.”
Montgomery said he’ll be ready for anything the team needs when the season starts.
On deck: Cubs at Angels, Tempe, 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, cubs.com radio, Kyle Hendricks vs. Tyler Skaggs.