Pierce Johnson

Denorfia and Dunston Help Cubs Salvage Tie at Riverview

Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - strained hamstring) belted an RBI double, walked, and scored a run and Shawon Dunston Jr (on Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-day DL - right shoulder injury) doubled, stole two bases, and scored a run for the Cubs, and Jesus Lopez drilled a two-run single, doubled, and walked and Vicmal de la Cruz singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Athletics, as the Cubs and A's played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee7-day DL with a lat strain) continued his EXST rehab, working three innings (37 pitches) for the Cubs and allowing two runs on four hits (two doubles and two singles) and no walks, with three strikeouts (all three swinging) and a 4/2 GO/FO. Johnson had excellent command today and threw a high percentage of strikes (71%). His fastball velocity sat consistenty at 92 MPH (max), with only an occasional drop-off to 91.  

18-year old Colombian RHP Erling Moreno (2014 TJS) made his second game appearance in a week. The 6'3 righthander allowed two hits (a single and a double) in 1.2 IP, and successfully escaped a "runner at 3rd and out out" situation. Moreno's fastball velocity sat at 89-90 (down a couple of MPH from last week), but he displayed outstanding command of all of his pitches, most noteworthy an advanced change-up (unusual for an 18-year old) 

Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS) also made his second game appearance in a week (he faced the A's at Fitch Park last Monday), but he did not fare as well as Moreno. While he only allowed one run, he also allowed six of the ten batters he faced to reach base (three singles and three walks, plus a WP) in just 1.1 IP. Cease's fastball velocity was at 95-97 MPH in both innings, down a couple of ticks from his outing last week when he touched 99.

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHP Marcelo Carreno (post-2013 shoulder surgery) and RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) squared-off in a two-iining "sim" game on Field #3.   

Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League EXST game (Cubs players only): 

Chris Denorfia & Pierce Johnson Rehabbin' at Riverview

Marcos Derkes belted a bases-loaded triple and RHSP Taylor Black tossed three innings of no-hit ball, leading the Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

The Cubs Cactus League EXST record dropped to 16-15-5 with today's loss. 

Jose Paniagua drilled an RBI triple and a single and Ho-Young Son ripped an RBI double, singled, reached base on an HBP, and stole a base for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Son is now hitting a robust 417/520/561 (and the .417 batting average leads the EXST Cubs for players with at least one PA per Cactus League EXST game), with four doubles and a triple, five walks and four HBP (so he is the Anthony Rizzo of the EXST Cubs), only three strikeouts (none in his last 33 PA), and five SB (albeit with two CS and four PO) in 18 Cactus League EXST games (50 PA). He also leads the EXST Cubs in multi-hit games with six (Frandy de la Rosa and Kevonte Mitchell have five a piece), and he made just his second error of the Cactus League EXST season today. Son will very likely be the starting shortstop for the Eugene Emeralds once the Northwest League season begins play next month. 

OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day with a hamstring strain) was a DH in today;s game and batted four times, once in each of the first four innings.

He struck out (swinging) on three pitches his first time up (and looked bad doing it), then grounded out 6-3 on the first pitch he saw the second time up, walked on four pitches in his third AB, and roped a line-single to left on the first pitch of the AB in his fourth and final Plate Appearance.

Denorfia jogged to 1st base when he ran (that's called "fuck 90 when I'm rehabbing my hamstring"), and Kevonte Mitchell was inserted into the game as a Designated Pinch-Runner the two times Denorfia reached base. Mitchell took advantage of the two opportunities by stealing a base and scoring two runs (Herb Washington, eat your heart out!).

RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee DL with a lat strain) got the start on the mound for the Cubs today and looked a lot better today than he did in last Thursday's intrasquad game, working two innings of no-run/no hit ball (25 pitches - 19 strikes), and allowing just one baserunner (he hit the first man he faced) before easily retiring the last six in a row (4-3, P-4, K, K, F-8, 3-1).

His fastball velocity was better than last time, too, as he was working mostly at 92 MPH, and he touched 94 (the very first pitch of the game). He threw 12 consecutive strikes at the end of his outing (including all ten pitches he threw in the top of the 2nd), and was able to command all of his pitches (something he was not able to do last time out).

RHP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Tony Campana deal a couple of years ago) followed Johnson to the hill and had a very poor outing, allowing three runs on two walks and two hits (one of which was the Derkes bases-loaded triple) in just one-third of an inning.

Usually a starting pitcher, LHP Jose Paulino had his outing pushed-back to the middle innings to accomodate Johnson and Castillo, and although he did allow three runs (two earned) on three hits, four walks, an HBP, and a balk in 3.2 IP, he was throwing his two-seamer harder than usual, working at 91-93 and touching 94-95 while getting a ton of ground balls (8/0 GO).  

LHRP Andin Diaz had his fastball gas consistently up to 94-95 MPH over the last two innings of the game (no runs/no hits allowed) 

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, RHP Marcelo Carreno (post-2013 right shoulder surgery) and RHRP Corbin Hoffner threw a one-inning "sim" game on Field #4. This was the first time Carreno (acquired as the PTBNL from the Tigers in the August 2012 deal that sent IF-OF Jeff Baker to Detroit) has faced hitters this year, while Hoffner is trying to perfect his new exteme sidearm (almost "submarine") delivery by getting extra work throwing against hitters on days he would normally just throw a bullpen side-session.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

Joey Martarano Reports to Extended Spring Training, Pierce Johnson Gets Rocked

First-baseman Joey Martarano has reported to Cubs Extended Spring Training, after spending the 2014-15 school year attending Boise State University.

Martarano was the Idaho High School Baseball Player of the Year at Fruitland HS in his senior year, and was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft). He was offered a $100K bonus by the Phils but did not sign, instead opting to enroll at Boise State and play football.

The 20-year old 6'4 235 Martarano is a linebacker on the Broncos football team, and he is a promising football player. (He had his best game when it really mattered most, in Boise State's 38-30 victory over the University of Arizona in last January's Fiesta Bowl).

Because Boise State does not have a baseball program, Martarano was the rare "Freshman eligible" in the MLB 2014 First-Year Player Draft, and the Cubs took him in the 22nd round. The Cubs convinced him to sign by offering him a chance to play pro baseball during summer vacation (as sort of a "summer job"), with no restrictions on attending college and playing football the rest of the year.

Although he was drafted as a third-baseman, the Cubs immediately moved him to 1st base when he reported to Riverview Park last July, and it looks like 1st base is where he will stay. He spent one month with the AZL Cubs in Mesa last year after signing, but got into only six games before going back to school. (He hadn't played baseball in more than a year, so it took him a while to get back into shape). He will likely spend the months of June and July playing baseball in the Cubs organization this year (probably with the AZL Cubs again), before going back to Boise for pre-season football camp in August.

It's unfortunate for Maratano that the Cubs moved their Northwest League affiliate from Boise to Eugene this year, because otherwise he might have had a chance to play minor league baseball in his college's hometown.

It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an EXST intrasquad gane this morning on Field #6 at Riverview Park. Joey Martarano did not play in the game (he's taking BP and participating in fielding practice and baseruning drills while he gets into "baseball shape"), but the tilt did feature the first game action since Spring Training for RHP Pierce Johnson (on AA Tennessee 7-day DL with a lat strain).

And Johnson got rocked, too, allowing nine hits (six singles, two doubles, and a triple) and three runs in just 2.1  IP (44 pitches). His fastball was sitting at only 90-91 MPH and topped out at 92, although his breaking ball had some nice bite. He didn't register any strike outs, and if it wasn't for two timely pick-offs, his line surely would have been much worse.
While Pierce Johnson was getting hammered, LHP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick - North Florida Christian HS - Tallahassee, FL) was throwing 4.2 IP of shutout ball. 

Significant offensive contributions were provided by Jose Paniagua (two doubles), Danny Gutierrez (a solo home run, a single, and a stolen base), Carlos Sepulveda (a triple, a single, and a run scored), Ricardo Marcano (single, double, and a run scored), and Varonex Cuevas (two-run single and a stolen base).

Here is the abridged box score from today's EXST Cubs intrasquad game: 

It's WBC Japan vs South Korea (Wada vs. Tseng) at Riverview Park

Ho-Young Son singled twice, tripled, and scored two runs, Roney Alcala belted an RBI double, singled, and reached base on an HBP, Varonex Cuevas smacked an RBI double, singled, and drove-in another run with an RBI GO (E-1), Carlos Jimenez tripled and singled and scored a run, and Eloy Jimenez singled and doubled and scored a run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #4 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.  

The game was called after 9-1/2 innings with the score tied 4-4. 

Chicago Cubs LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (15 -day DL - groin) continued his Mesa rehab, getting the start for Squad "A". He worked four innings (64 pitches) while allowing two runs on four hits (a triple, a double, and two singles), one HBP, and one WP, with no walks and four strikeouts (three swinging), one GIDP, and a 4/3 GO/FO. Wada threw 47 pitches in his first Spring Training Minor League Camp rehab start last Thursday, so barring a setback he should be on target to throw about 80 pitches in his next rehab start (wherever that may be), probably next Sunday or Monday. (Like the other three players on the Cubs 15-day DL, Wada is eligible to reinstated from the DL on Saturday 4/11).  

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5th starter & 2014 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year RHP Jen-Ho Tseng got the start for Squad "B"  and threw 6.1 IP (77 pitches), allowing four runs on seven hits (five singles, a double, and a triple) and one HBP, with no walks allowed and seven strikeouts. He seemed to get stronger and more unhittable as the game progressed, striking out five of the last six hitters he faced (four swinging). Like fellow Pelican rotation starter Tyler Skulina (who threw 81 pitches in an Extended Spring Training intrasquad game yesterday), Tseng was left behind when his teammates left town on Sunday so that he could remain on his rotation schedule and stay sharp (Tseng was due to pitch today, and he isn't scheduled to start his first regular season Carolina League game until next Monday). 

In Cubs minor league news, catcher Will Remillard (Cubs 2013 19th round pick - Coastal Carolina U.) underwent "Tommy John" elbow UCL transplant surgery (TJS) last month and will miss the 2015 season.

Remillard was considered to be the best defensive catcher in the Cubs system, and in fact he was so highly thought of that he received an NRI to big league camp last season after signing the previous June.

Also, Cubs minor league RHP Pierce Johnson is at Extended Spring Training, although he is not active at this time. He strained a latissimus dorsi muscle (lat) about ten days ago. 

Here is the box score from today's intrasquad game:

Angels Net Nada from Pierce, Kyuji, and Rosscup at Riverview Park

RHP Pierce Johnson (AA Tennessee 7-day DL - calf - hadn't thrown in a game since May 19th), RHP Kyuji Fujikawa (Cubs MLB 60-day DL - 2013 TJS - hadn't thrown in a Cactus League EXST game since last Monday), and LHP Zac Rosscup (Cubs 15-day DL - shoulder - hadn't thrown in a game since May 9th) combined to toss 3.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball and Danny Canela belted a double and a triple for the Cubs, and LHP Jonah Wesely threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts for the Angels, as the two teams played to a 2-2 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

42-year old OF Manny Ramirez (signed by the Cubs last week to be a player-coach at AAA Iowa) has arrived at Riverview Park to get into playing shape, and so security has been increased. There was a definite uptick in attendance today (most-likely related to Manny's expected arrival), although ManRam did not play in the EXST game.

17-year old OF Eloy Jimenez was at Riverview Park today, too, watching the game from the bleachers (he hasn't played in a game since last Tuesday). Whether his trip to the DSL has been indefinitely postponed or just temporarily delayed remains to be seen. It would be nice if Eloy could play in at least one or two more Cactus League EXST games, though, since he leads the EXST Cubs in RBI and is (was) in the middle of a hot streak (hitting 360/385/640 since May 14th). 

LHP Andin Diaz (who was assigned to the DSL Cubs last Friday) was not present at Riverview today and presumably has reported to the DSL Cubs, although (who knows?) maybe he'll pop up again, too.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):   

Pierce Johnson Wows 'em at Riverview, But A's Rally to Edge Cubs

Vicmal de la Cruz ripped a two-run double as the Athletics rallied for two runs in the top of the 7th inning and edged the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Pierce Johnson Racks Up the Punch-Outs at Riverview Park

Gleyber Torres ripped an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, Charcer Burks singled twice, drove-in a run, and stole three bases, Roney Alcala reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, and starting pitcher Pierce Johnson (hamstring rehab) struck out eight in five innings of work, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Cubs Can't Solve Socratic Problem (Speed)

Socrates Brito rifled a line-drive into the RF corner and then raced around the bases for a two-run inside-the-park home run, and Ben Eckels threw three innings of one-hit ball and combined with four relievers to toss a shutout, as the Diamondbacks blanked the Cubs 2-0 in Arizona Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.

Vogelbomb Sinks Snakes at Salt River Fields

Dan Vogelbach crushed a towering three-run home run over the right-centerfield fence in the top of the 6th to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead, and a two-run Diamondback rally in the bottom of the 9th fell just a bit short as Nathan Dorris struck out Justin Bianco looking on a 3-2 pitch with the potential tying and winning runs on base, earning the Cubs a 5-4 victory in Arizona Instructional League action at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale this morning.

In addition to Vogelbach’s Big Fly, Shawon Dunston Jr drilled a double and an RBI single, stole a base, and recorded an outfield assist, and RHP Pierce Johnson threw three innings of one-hit ball.

The Cubs Way a Path to Victory at Indian School Park

Jorge Soler and Chadd Krist blasted solo home runs, and Marco Hernandez ripped a double and an RBI single, scored a run, and stole a base, leading the Cubs to an 8-3 victory over the Giants in Arizona Instructional League action this afternoon at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale.

Recent comments

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  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.

  • TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.

    I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.

  • ...joe.

  • "Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.

    Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.

  • Rizzo has been slumping the last couple weeks of the season. Very disappointed it has continued during his penultimate moment of his career to date.

  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester pulled and Strop pulled in. Should of left Lester in. oy.

  • Sweet merciful fuck, I hate the Cardinals.

  • *flips table*


  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester out for the 8th. Down 1-0, at 100 pitches, seemed better to give a very fresh bullpen a little work.

    Oh well...Throw away game, although in a 5 game series there is no luxury afforded to do that.

  • This game is not on Lester - he did his job

  • Had a lot of hope hanging on that deep Fowler fly in the sixth.

    Really despise the Cards

  • aside from one swing, this 1-0 game feels like a blow out. Still nice to know one swing can change everything.

    We need Rizzo and Bryant to show up.

  • schwarb leadoff bunt single...lulz.

  • thanks. it was odd. supposedly the dodgers had him signed earlier in the year, then a lot of nothing, then the giants thing a few days ago, then the cubs get him for a bargain. i'll take it.