3/3/2013 5:36 P.M. ET
Seeking roster spot, Bogusevic stays hot at plate
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels starter Joe Blanton gave up only a solo homer in his spring debut and outfielder Brian Bogusevic, competing for one of the Cubs' bench spots, had three hits in the Cubs' 4-2 win at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Sunday.
Bogusevic hit a solo homer with two outs in the first inning, giving the Cubs' split squad the early lead, but Blanton mostly cruised through his two-inning outing, striking out two without allowing any additional baserunners.
Cubs pitching prospect Nick Struck, who won 14 games and posted a 3.18 ERA in Double-A last season, breezed through the first three innings, giving up just two hits and striking out one to put his Cactus League ERA at 1.80.
Josh Hamilton, serving as the Angels' designated hitter, hit two hard line drives to right field, one of which fell in for a single. Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos, comprising the top two spots in the Halos' lineup, combined to go 0-for-6.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the fourth off prospect A.J. Schugel, when Dioner Navarro's single scored Bogusevic, who has reached base safely in seven straight plate appearances. But the Angels came right back, scoring a run on Andrew Romine's double-play groundout in the bottom half, then tying the game in the sixth an RBI groundout by Alex Yarbrough following a leadoff triple by Brendan Harris.
The Cubs retook the lead on a sacrifice fly in the seventh by Alberto Gonzalez, scoring Johermyn Chavez after he led off the frame with a double. Brad Nelson made it a two-run lead in the eighth on a solo homer off Hiroyuki Kobayashi.
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol threw a scoreless fourth and Chris Rusin followed with three shutout frames.
Cubs up next: Right-hander Alberto Cabrera will make his first Cactus League start on Monday at 2:05 p.m. CT when the Cubs host the Indians at HoHoKam Stadium. With Matt Garza not expected to be ready for the first month of the season and Scott Baker sidelined until mid-April, the Cubs need to get a good look at other pitchers for the bullpen spots. Cabrera, who appeared in 25 games in relief last season, could be one.
Nelson will start at first base as Anthony Rizzo joins Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic. Jorge Soler will be the designated hitter and Steve Clevenger, who could win a job as a utility player, will start at catcher. The game will be broadcast free on an exclusive audio webcast on cubs.com.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.