Pierce Johnson Sharp at Sloan Park

RHSP Pierce Johnson (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL since May 5th retro to 5/3 with a lat strain) hurled three innings (30 pitches - 83% strikes) of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, Jose Paniagua belted an RBI double and two singles and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni hammered a triple and a single and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Rockies at Sloan Park, and LHSP Manny Rondon (acquired from LAA last July for C Rafael Lopez) tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts, Chris Pieters (ex-LHP) ripped two two-run doubles (four RBI total), and Andruw Monasterio drilled an RBI single, walked twice, and scored two runs, helping the Cubs defeat the Rockies 5-2 on Field #1 at the Riverview Park Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ. 

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) slugged a solo HR for the Rockies at Sloan Park. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only) 

SLOAN PARK 

CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Robert Garcia, CF: 0-5 (K, K, 3-U, F-9, K)
2. Yeiler Peguero, 2B: 0-4 (5-3, L-6, K, F-8)
3. Kevonte Mitchell, RF: 1-3 (6-3, BB, 1B, K, R, SB)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 3-4 (6-3, 1B, 2B, 1B, R, RBI)
5. Isaac Paredes, SS: 0-3 (6-3, F-9, 6-3, BB, R)
6. Marcus Mastrobuoni, DH #1: 2-4 (1-3, 5-4-3 DP, 3B, 1B, 2 R)
7. Alberto Mineo, C-DH: 0-1 (3-1, BB, F-8 SF, BB, RBI, PO)
8. Roberto Caro, LF: 1-3 (BB, 1B, 3-U, K, 2 R, SB)
9. Vimael Machin, 3B: 0-1 (BB, L-7 SF, BB, K, RBI)
10. Eric Gonzalez, DH-C: 1-3 (1B, 6-3, 6-4 FC, BB, RBI)

CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS
1. Pierce Johnson: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 3/1 GO/AO, 30 pitches (25 strikes) 
2. Luis Aquino: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/AO, 29 pitches (19 strikes) 
3. Jared Cheek: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/AO, 33 pitches (20 strikes)
4. Tyler Peitzmeier: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 0/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (9 strikes) 
5. Mark Malave: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 12 pitches (8 strikes) 

CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

RIVERVIEW PARK BASEBALL COMPLEX - FIELD #1

CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. D. J. Wilson, CF: 1-3 (HBP, P-6, 2B, L-6, 2 R)
2. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 1-1 (BB, 1B, BB, 2 R, RBI, CS)
3. Chris Pieters, DH-1B: 2-3 (2B, K, 2B, 4 RBI, CS)
4. Waldimir Galindo, 3B: 1-3 (4-3, 1B, K)
5. Alex Bautista, DH #2: 0-2 (6-3, BB, F-9)
6a. Gustavo Polanco, C-DH: 0-2 (P-3, 6-3 DP)
6b. Tyler Payne, PH: 0-1 (F-8)
7. Kevin Zamudio, 1B-C: 1-3 (K, 1B, 1-3)
8. Yohan Matos, LF: 1-3 (K, 1B, 6-3)
9. Edgar Rondon, 2B: 0-2 (E-4, 4-6-3 DP, BB, R, PO)
10. Luis Ayala, RF: 0-3 (3-U, 1-3, K)

CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS
1. Manny Rondon: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 60 pitches (41 strikes) 
2. Enrique de los Rios: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/3 GO/AO, 22 pitches (15 strikes) 
3. M. T. Minacci: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2/3 GO/AO, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
4. John Michael Knighton: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GO/AO, 16 pitches (9 strikes)

CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: NONE 

CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Gustavo Polanco: 0-1 CS 

CUBS SQUAD "B" BASERUNNING ADVENTURES
Chris Pieters - thrown out 8-4-5 attempting to stretch double into triple 

ATTENDANCE: 29 (combined both games - some spectators went back & forth between the two venues) 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 

Comments

Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

It will be interestiing to see how the seven perform over the next ten days. 

But whatever happens, Eugene should have one helluva starting rotation.  

AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

BUT (big but) if he can stay healthy, Johnson is a legit MLB pitching prospect, either as a MOR starter, or possibly as a reliever (if he has stamina or durability issues).