- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Justin Ruggiano hit a two-run homer and an RBI double, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 6-4 win Tuesday over an Oakland Athletics split-squad.

Cubs infielder Mike Olt connected for a two-run shot in a three-run eighth that broke a 3-all tie.

Left-hander Tommy Milone, competing for a spot in the A’s rotation, gave up three runs and five hits, including Ruggiano’s homer, in three innings.

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks gave up one run and one hit, a run-scoring single by Brandon Moss, in two innings. He walked three and struck out two.

“My mechanics were off, even in the bullpen,” Hendricks said. “I couldn’t get a fastball where I wanted to save my life.”

Anthony Rizzo doubled and scored on Ruggiano’s double in the first, then singled and scored on Ruggiano’s homer in the third.

Josh Reddick went 2 for 3 for the A’s, raising his average to .462. Moss finished 2 for 4 to stay at .500.


Top Cubs prospect Javier Baez could be paired with Starlin Castro in the infield soon. Baez is 4 for 9 with a double and a homer. But manager Rick Renteria said he still needs work, and the 21-year-old Baez is expected to spend the season in the minors.

“He has the bat speed to catch up to any fastball that anybody throws,” Renteria said. “Once he starts seeing more breaking balls and off-speed pitches, and they start trying to manipulate the zone with him, do I think he’ll be able to ultimately, make that adjustment? Yes. Do I know he could hit ‘em now? No, I couldn’t tell you that.”

Drafted ninth overall in the 2011 draft, Baez is a shortstop, the same position as Castro. And defensively, Castro and Baez have similar work ahead of them, Renteria said.

As they throw the ball “there are a lot of times where they don’t finish coming through a ball,” he said. “They’ll catch a ball and stay flat-footed and kind of throw flat-footed,” which sometimes results in throwing errors.

“They both have strong arms,” Renteria added. “So they depend on that and they like being able to show it.”

Both need to get to the point where the “routine play is continually made,” he said.


Story Continues →