Jon Lester impressive in Cubs’ 6-1 spring-training victory over Angels
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MESA, Ariz. — In just his third start of the spring, Cubs ace Jon Lester was so efficient Friday that he was able to talk his way into pitching a fifth inning against the Angels – and still needed to finish in the bullpen afterward to complete his pitch allotment for the day.
The quick, scoreless five innings led to a 6-1 victory over the Angels at Sloan Park — the Cubs’ quickest games of the spring (2 hours, 25 minutes).
“Fastball command was good,” said Lester, who threw just 53 pitches, allowing one hit without a walk and striking out three. “I got some early outs, which was good. They’re an aggressive team, so I just kept firing heaters and they kept hitting them at people so that makes it easier.”
He starts the season opener on March 29.
The Cactus League-leading Cubs improved to 11-2-2 this spring.
Left fielder Kyle Schwarber delivered the loudest hit of the game, a line-drive, no-doubt, two-run homer to right on a 3-1 pitch in the third.
It was the second homer in as many starts for Schwarber, who is 7-for-21 with five walks this spring.
Big Bat Bote
Infield prospect David Bote, who has played almost every position in the minors, continued an impressive spring with a run-scoring single in the second, and a two-run homer way out to left in the fourth, both against big-league pitcher Matt Shoemaker.
He finished 2-for-3. In 14 games this spring, Bote is 10-for-33 (.303) with three extra-base hits and three walks.
The Cubs cut 13 from big-league camp Friday, including three of their top pitching prospects, who were optioned to Class AA Tennessee: right-handers Adbert Alzolay, Duane Underwood Jr. and Oscar De La Cruz.
Ten non-roster players were reassigned to minor-league camp: pitchers Thomas Hatch, Alberto Baldonado, Craig Brooks, Daniel Camarena, David Garner and Michael Roth; catcher Ian Rice; infielder Jason Vosler; and outfielders Bijan Rademacher and Charcer Burks.
Forty-nine players remain in camp.
Young bruised but OK
The day after a frightening crash with first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a popup, infield prospect Chesny Young appeared to suffer a bruise but no concussion, manager Joe Maddon said.
“But we still want to watch him,” Maddon said.
On deck: Split squad: White Sox at Cubs, Mesa, Ariz., Lucas Giolito vs. Kyle Hendricks, Saturday 2:05 p.m., 670-AM; Cubs at Dodgers, Glendale, Ariz., Luke Farrell vs. Rich Hill, 8:05 p.m., cubs.com audio.
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