CHICAGO -- The Cubs' have officially signed right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson, who was the team's second-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, for the recommended slot of $1.196 million, the team announced Wednesday.Johnson of Arvada, Colo., got a head start on the signing, announcing it on June 11 on Twitter: "Just signed with the Chicago Cubs! Thanks to God, family, teammates, coaches, and friends. If it wasn't for you guys I wouldn't be here!" He was the 43rd overall pick in the Draft, selected in the supplemental round as compensation for the departure of free agent Aramis Ramirez. Johnson was selected out of high school by the Rays in the 15th round of the 2009 Draft, but opted to go to attended Missouri State. Johnson, 21, had a 2.53 ERA in 14 starts for Missouri State, recording a single-season school record 119 strikeouts to lead the Missouri Valley Conference. He helped lead the Bears to their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years. The Cubs also have signed four more pitchers and an outfielder who were selected in the Draft. The list includes left-hander Anthony Prieto (fifth round) for $200,000; right-hander Chad Martin (10th round) for $10,000; outfielder Bijan Rademacher (13th); right-hander Michael Hamann (16th) signed for $100,000; and right-hander Eduardo Orozco (22nd) signed for $1,000. The Cubs now have signed 21 of the players selected in the Draft.
Coleman OK after getting hit by broken bat
CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman was hit on the right hand by the barrel of a broken bat in the seventh inning of Wednesday night's 7-0 loss to the White Sox. X-rays were negative.With two outs in the seventh, Eduardo Escobar busted his bat on a grounder to second baseman Darwin Barney. The barrel of the bat struck Coleman on the right hand, despite him trying to jump out of the way. "It's always scary when something like that happens, but I got lucky," Coleman said. "It was the barrel that hit me on the knuckles. It's scary when you don't see it and all of a sudden it gets you." Coleman has had balls come back at him, but couldn't remember getting hit by a bat. "For me, I like to avoid the ball," he said. "I've never had the bat come back at me. It was a situation where I couldn't see it. I was lucky to get the out and lucky to be healthy." Coleman was throwing in the clubhouse and prepared to come in for the eighth inning, but the Cubs decided against it. "I was ready to go," Coleman said. "They didn't want to take a chance." He didn't expect to miss any time. "I think it's just a bruise on his last knuckle there," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "The barrel got him pretty square right on the knuckle. It was pretty swollen right away."
Stewart hopes latest shot speeds recovery
CHICAGO -- Ian Stewart is hoping this time, the cortisone shot works.The Cubs third baseman had his left wrist examined Monday at the Cleveland Clinic, and the doctors confirmed the Chicago medical staff's diagnosis that there was nothing structurally wrong. But the doctors at the clinic did show Stewart that he has an impingement between a couple of bones in his hand, which may be pinching the ligaments and causing the discomfort. "My options now are just to see if this cortisone works and give it four, five days when I'm on the [disabled list] to really let it sink in and work and then slowly get a program going off the tee," Stewart said Wednesday. "If the shot works, then it'll carry me through the season and maybe get another one in another six weeks or so. If it doesn't, then we may have to go the other route. We're just going to see how it feels." The other route is one Stewart is hoping to avoid, which is surgery. The Cleveland Clinic doctors told Stewart that other ballplayers have had a procedure done, but he'd like to avoid it. Stewart injured his left wrist in 2006 on a defensive play, dealt with it, and then aggravated it last August while hitting. This time, the cortisone was injected into a different spot than other doctors have tried, and Stewart is hoping that helps. He will not do any baseball activities until this weekend, when he hopes to resume hitting off a batting tee. Will he have to deal with discomfort the rest of the year? "Hopefully not," Stewart said. "Hopefully, this works and I start playing again and hitting and it's really a non-issue. If it gets to the point where it's affecting my swing still, there are other options we can take, and hopefully we don't have to take that route." This is his second cortisone shot. He also received one before the Cubs left for a 10-game trip on June 1. "It's getting annoying," Stewart said. "It's frustrating. It seems like every time I go in, [doctors say] 'Let's give it a shot, and that should work.' It's definitely been something hard for me to deal with. It seems like the needle is a quick fix, and it hasn't been that way. Hopefully, this time it works and I get past this and we move on."
LaHair not bothered by position carousel
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Bryan LaHair was back at first base on Wednesday after two days in right field, and he said playing the two positions isn't a big deal."If I'm playing right and first, I'm still on the same side [of the field]," LaHair said Wednesday. "I'm comfortable either way." The Cubs wanted LaHair to get some playing time in the outfield as they prepare an opening for first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the team's top prospect, now at Triple-A Iowa. "People make a big deal out of moving around," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "When you're up in the batter's box, you're not thinking about what position you're playing or where you're hitting in the order. You're locked into hitting the pitcher. I don't think it affects anybody, moving around." However, there is a difference between first and the outfield. LaHair admitted his legs were a little sore after two days in the outfield. "The first day, I was a little tight," LaHair said. "I've been doing a little extra running to get ahead of the curve. I feel good."
Baserunning work paying dividends
CHICAGO -- Cubs baserunning coach Dave McKay was all smiles on Wednesday. Geovany Soto did exactly what McKay has been preaching since Spring Training, which is being heads up on the bases.In the third inning on Tuesday against the White Sox, Soto was safe on an error and he moved up on Tony Campana's single that Jake Peavy deflected. Peavy then threw a ball in the dirt for a wild pitch, and both Soto and Campana were quick enough to advance. Now, the Cubs had two runners in scoring position, and David DeJesus followed with a two-run single. The Cubs won, 2-1. "We talked about it in Spring Training, and that is if you do the little things and you're aggressive on the bases, a lot of these close games, we'll win," McKay said Wednesday. "That was one of those games where you could look back and say, 'If I don't do this, we probably don't win that game.'"
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.