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.
RHP Pierce Johnson (hamstring rehab) got the start for the Cubs and threw five shutout innings (75 pitches - 48 strikes), allowing three hits (all three singles) and a walk while striking out seven. Johnson's fastball velocity was clocked as high as 97 in the 2nd inning and his killer-slider was virtually unhittable, but he did struggle to throw his change-up for strikes. Johnson retired ten A's in a row at one point over innings 1-2-3-4, striking out five of the six batters he faced in the 2nd & 3rd innings.
After he left the game, Johnson went out to the LF bullpen and threw another 15 pitches, so he's definitely stretched-out. It would appear that his rehab is complete (although it actually appeared that way last Saturday, too), but it's very possible that Johnson's move to the AA Tennessee starting rotation is related directly to Jake Arrieta completing his Minor League Rehab Assignment at Tennessee this weekend.
No question Johnson has been impressive in his two Cactus League EXST game starts, allowing just one unearned run, seven hits, and one walk in 10.0 IP, while striking out 15 and throwing 71% of his pitches for strikes.
Veteran RHSP Joel Pineiro followed Johnson to the mound (just like he did last Saturday) and worked the final four innings (66 pitches - 43 strikes), allowing two runs on three hits (two singles and a two-run double) and two walks. He only struck out two (his fastball velocity is 87-88), but once again he was able to induce lots of ground balls (7/2 GO/FO). Pineiro probably needs just one more EXST start before he'll be ready to move up to AAA Iowa (presuming the Cubs are happy with what they have seen from him).
The game was called after 7-1/2 innings because the A's ran out of pitchers, but the A's batted in the top of the 9th even though the Cubs did not bat in the bottom of the 8th or 9th innings so that Pineiro could get his scheduled work.
Prior to the game RHP Josh Conway (2013 elbow stress fracture) and RHP Hector Perez threw a two-inning "live" BP session (40 pitches thrown by each pitcher - 20 pitches thrown each "inning") on Field #5, with Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab), Ricardo Marcano, and Shamil Ubiera the three hitters. Soler was swinging freely and without any visible discomfort, although he still is not participating in outfield or baserunning drills.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (4-3, BB, BB, K)
2. Charcer Burks, LF: 1-3 (BB, 1B, 5-4 FC, F-9, CS)
3. Justin Marra, 1B: 1-3 (2B, K, F-7)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH: 0-3 (F-9, 5-4 FC, K)
5. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 0-2 (BB, 5-3, K, R)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 1-3 (3-U, F-8, 1B)
7. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 0-2 (F-7 SF, F-9, 6-3, RBI)
8. Alberto Mineo, C: 1-2 (1B, BB, F-8)
9. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, P-6, 2B)
1. Pierce Johnson: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 2/6 GO/FO, 75 pitches (48 strikes)
2. Joel Pineiro: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's
Arizona Phil 9 hours 45 min ago (view)
Dillon Maples does not have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but he will be automatically declared an MLB Rule 9 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if he is not added back to the 40 in the meantime.
crunch 9 hours 59 min ago (view)
p.wisdom is the new cubs all-time rookie HR leader.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 16 min ago (view)
The Cubs will very likely be splitting the AZIL position players into two 14-man squads (like they did last year), with each squad playng in every other-game, and with the other squad having a Camp Day instructional work-out on a back-field when that squad is not playing in a game. There will also be five combined Camp Days during the course of the four weeks for all players from both squads.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 38 min ago (view)
DJL: No. Signing a 2022 minor league successor contract would only matter with regard to a player in the Arizona Fall League, because the AFL schedule goes past the date when minor leaguers are declared free-agents.
AZ Instructs ends on October 16th, which is about two or three weeks before minor league free-agency, so the three guys at Cubs Instructs who are eligible to be free-agehts after the World Series (Dakota Chalmers. Nicholas Padilla, and Eury Ramos) do not need to sign successor contracts in order to play in AZIL games.
Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 42 min ago (view)
Sorry to hear about your dad, Charlie. I lost my father almost 2 years ago now, some of my fondest childhood memories are going to Wrigley with him.
All the best wishes to you, sir.
First.Pitch.120 13 hours 56 min ago (view)
If you had Bote in the '11-'12- '13 Cubs draft dead pool, then you are a winner!
Dolorous Jon Lester 14 hours 29 min ago (view)
Dakota Chalmers... interesting. He's scheduled to be a MILB FA, correct? Would this be a good sign he has signed a successor deal?
Cubster 15 hours 3 min ago (view)
Maples dfa. Double Martini too. Hoerner and Thompson back and Keegan to start today. Hoerner bats 5th.
crunch 15 hours 13 min ago (view)
it's never a good time to be in the hospital, but things are extra complicated right now.
hope everything goes well for everyone.
Charlie 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Listening to this in a hospital room because we are blacked out on MLB.tv. I don't know which surprises me more, that the Cubs haven't beaten the Brewers since April or that the Cubs beat the Brewers in April.
crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
m.rodriguez to 10d IL, a.morgan returns.
Jackstraw 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
I like that the team was absolutely committed to not losing back-to-back games on a walk-off passed ball.
Eric S 3 days 4 hours ago (view)
And the funny thing is Rucker was the only Cubs pitcher tonight to post 0 runs allowed in the box score. You know things are really out of hand when Ross gives the okay for a Maples appearance.
George Altman 3 days 5 hours ago (view)
Is there a reason Preciado hasn't been in an ACL game in about a month?
crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)
i'd like the 2021 version of whatever d.ross is smoking bringing m.rucker into a bases loaded, 2 run lead in the 4th situation.
dude saw the situation and said "gimmie that guy with the 8.44era 1.59whip" as the first pen option to protect a lead.
rucker has been in 13 games and given up runs in 8 of them.
crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
hendricks last 7 starts...
9er, 1er, 4er, 8er, 6er, 1er, 7er
3.68era - 1.29whip ...to... 4.81era - 1.35whip