Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 7
MESA, Ariz. (AP)
Thanks to freshly minted Arizona Diamondbacks multimillionaire Justin Upton and a slew of Chicago Cubs prospects, it was an afternoon for youth at HoHoKam Park.
Upton's sixth-inning grand slam, his first hit since signing a $51.25 million, six-year contract, wasn't enough for the Arizona Diamondbacks in an 8-7 loss to Chicago on Friday.
Brad Snyder, one of four first-round draft picks to come through for the Cubs, hit a two-run, ninth-inning double off Esmerling Vasquez in a game that began with Chicago's Carlos Zambrano and Diamondbacks' Dan Haren each pitching two hitless innings.
Tyler Colvin had a two-run single and a double. That gave the Cubs' No. 1 2006 amateur pick three doubles, a homer, a single and three RBIs in six at-bats.
Upton was an All-Star at age 21 last season, batting .300 with 26 homers and 86 RBIs. On Wednesday, he was rewarded with a $51.25 million, six-year contract, the second-richest in franchise history.
He had gone 0 for 4 in the first two exhibitions before Friday's sixth inning, when he sent a Jeff Stevens pitch high off the scoreboard beyond the left-field bleachers for a 5-4 lead.
``He reached the upper deck in Florida last year, so I don't know if anything will surprise me,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ``It was good to see him get his timing down. He was jammed the first time up but he made an adjustment and didn't miss that one, for sure.''
Tyler Colvin, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, had a two-run single and a double, making him 5 for 6 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs in two games. Josh Vitters, the 2007 top pick, singled twice and scored twice. Brett Jackson, last year's No. 1, tripled home a run. And heralded 19-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro doubled and singled.
Snyder, Cleveland's No. 1 pick in 2003, was claimed off waivers by the Cubs in 2008.
``The first day we got together I said, `Look, you guys work hard and get prepared, we're going to play you, especially early,''' said manager Lou Piniella, who rested all of his regulars. ``They're making good on their opportunities, and we'll continue to play them.''
He was especially impressed with Colvin, who has an outside shot at claiming the fifth outfield spot.
As for the pitchers, Zambrano retired all six batters he faced, matching what Randy Wells did Thursday.
``When you work harder, you get better results,'' said Zambrano, who reported to camp in great shape after winning only nine games last year. ``This will be my ninth year in the big leagues, and I'm looking forward to getting better.''
Haren, who like Zambrano is expected to be his team's opening-day starter, walked one but faced the minimum six batters.
``I don't necessarily put in 100 percent effort,'' he said. ``I'm working more on mechanics and getting a feel for all my pitches. I've still got a long way to go.''
NOTES: Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes said RHP Brandon Webb could start the season on the DL after offseason shoulder surgery. Webb, the 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner, has been disappointed with his progress. ``He needs to have four or five spring training starts in order to be ready,'' Byrnes said. ... MRI results on Cubs RHP Angel Guzman's shoulder weren't immediately available. When asked about Guzman's prospects this season, Piniella said: ``It doesn't look good.'' With RHP Jeff Gray also out, Cubs GM Jim Hendry is looking for bullpen help. ... Diamondbacks 3B Mark Reynolds said the club will renew his contract at $500,000 this season while the sides try to work out a long-term deal through 2012. ``It's at a standstill,'' he said. ``We still have until opening day. Having talks during the season would be a distraction.''