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.
Working fast, throwing strikes, and mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a hard breaking-ball and a change-up, Johnson allowed one unearned run on four hits (two singles and two doubles) in his 5.0 IP (66 pitches), with no walks and eight strikeouts, 4/1 GO/FO, and a 78% strike percentage (70% is considered outstanding). I would think this will probably be Johnson's last EXST outing, and so I would not be surprised to see him get a start for AA Tennessee next Friday.
Veteran MLB RHP Joel Pineiro followed Johnson to the mound and worked four innings (64 pitches - 48 strikes), allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits (two singles, a double, and a triple), with no walks and four strikeouts and a WP. The 35-year old Pineiro last pitched in MLB in 2011, but he made a comeback in Liga de Beisbol Roberto Clemente (the Puerto Rican Winter League) post-2013 (and he started a game for Team Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series in January). He did not receive an NRI to Spring Training with an MLB club, but the Cubs signed him to a minor league contract after the conclusion of Spring Training and assigned him to Extended Spring Training, where he is getting back into playing shape and being stretched-out as a starting pitcher. Like Pierce Johnson, Pineiro displayed excellent command today, throwing 75% of his pitches for strikes. His fastball velocity was only 87-88 MPH, but he got a ton of ground balls (8/0 GO/FO, plus two more grounders that were played into errors), and he displayed effective off-speed stuff (curve & change-up), too.
RHP Josh Conway (2013 elbow stress fracture) threw another 25-pitch "live" BP session prior to the game, facing Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab), Elliot Soto (serving a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension), Eloy Jimenez, and Erick Castillo. Conway sailed through his "inning," but Soler grabbed his right upper hamstring after only two AB in his first round and left the cage. He did eventually return for one five-pitch round, however, facing 19-year old Venezuelan RHP Adbert Alzolay (the other pitcher who threw a "live" BP session prior to the game).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Charcer Burks, CF: 2-5 (4-3, 1B, E-6, 1B, 4-6-3 DP, RBI, 3 SB)
2a. Kevin Brown, LF: 0-4 (3-U, 4-3, K, K, RBI)
2b. Tyler Alamo, PH: 0-1 (K)
3. Rony Rodriguez, RF: 1-4 (F-7, K, 1B, K, SB)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH: 1-4 (E-5, F-9, K, 1B, CS)
5. Antonio Valerio, C: 1-4 (5-4-3 DP, 2B, F-9, 4-3, R)
6a. Gleyber Torres, SS: 2-2 (1B, 3B, R, RBI)
6b. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-2 (L-6, P-4)
7. Roney Alcala, 3B: 2-3 (1B, BB, 1-3, 2B, R, SB)
8. Zak Blair, 2B: 0-4 (L-8, 4-3, 3-U, K, RBI)
9. Matt Scioscia, 1B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K+E2, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
1. Pierce Johnson: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 8 K, 1 PO, 4/1 GO/FO, 66 pitches (52 strikes)
2. Joel Pineiro: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 8/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (48 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 4
1. 2B Zak Blair - E-4 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely and runner to score from 2nd base)
2. 2B Zak Blair - E-4 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. 3B Roney Alcala - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
4. 3B Roney Alcala - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Antonio Valerio: 1-1 CS
WEATHER: Mostly sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
bradsbeard 19 min 56 sec ago (view)
Arizona Phil, some folks (mostly me!) were wondering if you had any thoughts/info on Luis Devers, who seems to be having a nice ACL season despite being a bit old for the level. Got touched for a HR last night but hadn't given up multiple runs in a start before then and has struck out a healthy number of batters while limiting walks. Many thanks in advance!
Hagsag 5 hours 19 min ago (view)
Rizzo wasn't a cancer, he HAD cancer!
Arizona Phil 8 hours 48 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released AAA Iowa C-INF Tony Wolters so that he can sign a minor league deal with a contending club (if the opportunity presents itself).
Because he was outrighted earlier this season he was not eligible to be traded after 7/30, even though he was on a minor league reserve list and (generally speaking) a player on a minor league reserve list can be traded up until one week prior to the scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season.
Arizona Phil 9 hours 21 min ago (view)
So #11 (Ziehl), #12 (Banks), and #19 (Avitia) were the only three 2021 Cubs draft picks who did not sign.
crunch 12 hours 59 min ago (view)
similar story, similar quotes, different site/author
QuietMan 13 hours 20 min ago (view)
Cubs: Jed Hoyer clarifies comments about extension talks with former core players - Marquee Sports Network
Sorry I'm having trouble posting the link.
@TonyAndracki23 with the story.
Wrigley Rat 14 hours 32 min ago (view)
Second contract player Michael Arias, a former infielder-turned-pitcher, made his Cubs system debut today in relief. 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB for DSL Cubs Blue.
Charlie 18 hours 47 min ago (view)
A GM or owner saying a player "didn't want to sign" or "didn't want to negotiate" should always be read as "we didn't want to pay them."
That said, a GM or owner can always show more finesse by saying, "I hope we can have productive talks this offseason" or something along those lines. Seems like Jed is trying to burn those bridges.
crunch 19 hours 13 sec ago (view)
while not known as a clubhouse cancer, there's more than a few stories about his "leadership qualities" lacking or otherwise being a bit of a jerk at points in time. they're mostly rumor, and none of the rumors are awful...
reminded a bit of this justin wilson/rizzo exchange back in 2018...
videographer 19 hours 33 min ago (view)
/With all the player movement in the last week, I wonder if the Cubs are now 85% compliant for vaccinated players. We know Sogard and Rizzo were not vaccinated and I can assume the players taking their place of the 40 man roster are vaccinated. It will be an interesting story going forward when all trade noise settles down.
Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 28 min ago (view)
Agreed on every point. I think Jed is trying to create "his" team, a fully separate entity than Theo. Probably targeting 2023 or 2024 to return to actual contention.
He absolutely shouldn't have aired that out. He ends up looking like the bad guy. This is a good way to burn those bridges.
crunch 21 hours 57 min ago (view)
jed shouldn't have aired things out so blatently, even if true.
"I don't know why guys didn't want to sign. I don't know why guys didn't want to even counteroffer, oftentimes. Every one of these guys would say they wanted to stay in Chicago, 'we wanted to be a Cub,' but then we would sit down and do negotiations, that wasn't how they acted."
...dude, no. keep that to yourself.
Dolorous Jon Lester 22 hours 8 min ago (view)
After the feel-good videos and goodbyes, Jed decided to say the players didn't seem to want to negotiate and place blame at their feet. Rizzo responded today, basically saying "wtf man, shut up, that's a lie."
I haven't really blamed Jed for much of this as I feel mgmt forced his hand but this... definitely a misstep Jed. And it also makes me wonder, the next core, if they don't want to sign below market extensions, are we gonna see a similar tear down?
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
yeah. i think it would have worked better if they weren't local boys. better sell on having a built in "friend" in a new, far away place. still not a bad move for an incentive, though...
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
Was clearly just a signing as an incentive to sign his brother
crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
david can go ahead and not sign with the cubs if he wishes.
there is absolutely nothing about his game that looks like he could even play A-ball. his low-division college game is weak and his summer league wood bat game is abysmal.