Pierce Johnson

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.


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