Coleman Steady in Iowa Rotation

NEW ORLEANS – Cubs pitching prospect Casey Coleman did a little of everything Monday night.

Coleman (2-2) held the New Orleans Zephyrs to one run on four hits in a season-high seven-inning pitching performance, picked up two hits with the bat and even gave it a go on the bases with an attempted steal of second base.

The right-hander did his part in a 3-2 Iowa (10-14) victory at Zephyr Field.

Coleman, ranked the Cubs' 13th best prospect by entering 2010, threw 86 pitches, 55 strikes while picking up his second straight Triple-A victory.

"Try to throw strikes and challenge the hitters," Coleman said of his performance afterward. "It's a big ballpark and the wind was blowing out a little bit. Early on, I got some groundballs and my defense made some great plays behind me. I knew to just challenge them, force bad contact and they (would) get out for me."

Coleman struck out three batters and lowered his ERA to 3.69 in five starts for Iowa. He retired the final seven batters he faced after allowing his only blemish of the game – a solo home run to New Orleans' Donnie Murphy in the fifth inning.

With three quality starts under his belt, Coleman hasn't seemed overwhelmed in making the adjustment from Double-A to Triple-A.

"I'm not a big strikeout guy," Coleman said. "(When) you get yourself in trouble, some guys can just get out of it like that, but I rely on contact so minimizing the walks (is important). Last year when I got in trouble, it was because of the walks. This year I've been working hard on attacking right away. I had some three-ball counts tonight but I bore down, and made some pitches deep in the count."

"I've heard some of these ballparks, flyball pitchers really tend to struggle. It's really made me focus more on getting ahead and keeping the ball down. It's tough to hit a groundball over the fence. Just go out there and attack and pitch the way I have my whole life."

With Iowa leading 1-0 in the second, Coleman helped his cause at the plate with a sharply hit RBI single to right, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. He later reached first on a bunt single down the third base line in the fifth, part of a 2-for-2 night at the plate.

"I know how it is to face pitchers," he said. "It's not fun and you want to get ahead. I said, ‘All right, first pitch fastball' and I sat on it. I hate when pitchers do that to me; swing at the first pitch. But it was just something I felt like I had to do. Then (Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg) gave me a great idea (with the bunt sign) and I was able to get it down."

Coleman, who regularly sets 88-92 mph in games, said he has spent time this season working on the development of a cutter, which he used often in Monday's win.

"The home run was a cutter, but the cutter is good," he said. "When you throw a two-seamer, it's something to show. I threw a few good ones tonight. I got a strikeout and a few jammed broken-bat groundouts. It's a work in progress."


  • Iowa took a 1-0 lead six pitches into the game. Sam Fuld led off with a triple into the right field corner for his first extra-base hit of the season, and Darwin Barney brought him home with a softly hit single to shallow center. Barney (2-for-3) had two hits, his third straight multi-hit game, and raised his average to .270.

  • Cubs pitcher Esmailin Caridad made his first rehab appearance with Iowa since going on the disabled list. The right-hander threw 19 pitches, nine strikes in the eighth inning. He allowed two hard-hit balls -- including one for a double to Lee Mitchell -- and a walk but escaped without allowing any runs.

  • The same could not be said of Jeff Samardzija, who ran into trouble after retiring the first two hitters he faced in the ninth inning with relative ease. Samardzija allowed two singles, walked the bases loaded and then hit a batter to force in a run before being getting the hook by Sandberg. He had set down 11 straight batters dating back to his Iowa debut on April 25 before the two-out trouble.

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