Rich Hill Sharp in Final Spring Training Outing
While the rest of his teammates spent the weekend in Las Vegas before heading back to Chicago for Opening Day, Rich Hill remained in Arizona and made his final Spring Training tune-up start versus the Angels' Salt Lake AAA club at the Diablo Park minor league complex in Tempe this morning.
Hill struggled with his control a bit in the 1st and 3rd innings (he walked a batter to load the bases in the bottom of the 3rd and then hit a batter to force-in a run), but he also retired the side in order in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings, including the last eight men he faced.
With a mandate from Larry Rothschild to throw between 80 and 90 pitches, Hill ended up throwing exactly 80 pitches (22-14-23-10-11 in innings 1-2-3-4-5, including 50 strikes and 30 balls).
In his five innings of work, the left-hander allowed one run (earned) on three hits, with two walks, four strikeouts, and a HBP, with a 6/5 GB/FB.
As for the game itself, the Iowa Cubs, playing their final Spring Training game before heading back east, defeated the Salt Lake Bees 6-3, as Micah Hoffpauir crushed a two-run tie-breaking HR over the right-centerfield fence to give the Cubs a lead they never relinquished.
Facing Angels top pitching prospect Nick Adenhart and four relievers, the I-Cubs banged-out 14 hits, as Hoffpauir went 2-5 with the two-run homer and two runs scored, Casey McGehee went 3-4 with a walk and three RBI on two doubles and a single, Jake Fox went 4-5 (all four singles) with two runs scored, 2B Eric Patterson went 2-4 with a walk, and RF Josh Kroeger went 3-5 with an RBI triple and a run scored.
On the negative side, CF Andres Torres went 0-5 with three K, SS Andres Blanco went 0-4 with two K and a GIDP, and catcher Koyie Hill went 0-3 with a K.
The I-Cubs three lefty relievers followed Hill to the mound, with mixed results. While Neal Cotts and Geoff Jones each struck out the side in their one inning of work (and Cotts was especially impressive), Les Walrond gave up two runs on three hits, a walk, and HBP in his two innings, with the second inning being the really bad one, after he had retired the side 1-2-3 in his first inning of work.
With Rich Hill having bumped him out of his scheduled start in the AAA game, LHP J. R. Mathes got the start for AA Tennessee on an adjacent field and had a solid outing, although I do not have the exact numbers since I was mainly watching Rich Hill and the I-Cubs.
With Hill getting his final Spring Training start today, he appears to be on a schedule to start the fifth game of the season next Saturday afternoon versus the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.
Here is Rich Hill's abridged game log from today's game:
single (then stolen base)
single (runner on 2nd advances to 3rd)
HBP (forcing in a run)