SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Cole Hamels ran out of pitches (58) after retiring the first batter he faced in the fourth but finished 3.1 scoreless innings as the Cubs blanked the Giants 8-0 on Saturday in a Cactus League split-squad game at Scottsdale Stadium. The Cubs’ other split squad beat the Angels 11-4 at home in Mesa, Arizona.
Hamels needed 20 pitches in the first and 21 in the third to pitch out of jams, but the four-time All-Star seems to be right where he needs to be at this point in spring training.
“It’s just being able to get out there and knowing that at least I get four ups and downs,” said Hamels, who struck out three, walked two and allowed three singles.
“It’s something good to build off of. You get over that 50-pitch mark and then you add the warm-up pitches before the game and now you’re getting into the 100-throw [range]. That’s good for the body in general just to get those reps.”
Infielder Nico Hoerner, the 2018 first-round draft pick who keeps earning additional invitations from minor-league camp, followed up a 3-for-3 performance Thursday with another big game against the Angels in his only other Cactus League start.
Hoerner walked and scored in the second, hit a two-run homer to left-center in the third, was hit by a pitch in the fifth and doubled to center and scored in the seventh on Saturday.
In his two starts for Cubs big-leaguers this spring, he’s 5-for-5 and has reached base in all eight PAs.
Right-hander Alec Mills was scratched from the start against the Angels because of back stiffness.
Right-hander Duane Underwood started in his place and worked one inning, allowing just one hit – a solo homer to Justin Bour.
Mills is day-to-day.
Outfielder Mark Zagunis was scratched from the lineup for the Giants game because of soreness that increased overnight after being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday night’s game against the Mariners.
“It’s not awful,” manager Joe Maddon said.
He’s also day-to-day.
The Cubs made their first cuts of the spring, sending out 15 players to reduce the spring roster to 55.
That included right-hander Rob Scahill, who was released; right-handers Adbert Alzolay and Jen-Ho Tseng, who were optioned to Class AAA Iowa; and right-hander Oscar De la Cruz and lefty Justin Steele, who were optioned to Class AA Tennessee.
Ten others were reassigned to minor-league camp: pitchers Duncan Robinson, Ian Clarkin, Alberto Baldonado, Craig Brooks, Carlos Ramirez and Colin Rea; outfielders Jacob Hannemann, Charcer Burks and Evan Marzilli; and catcher Ian Rice.
Cubs at Brewers, Phoenix, 3:05 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 9, 670-AM, Kyle Hendricks vs. Corbin Burnes.