Angels’ staff ace Bartolo Colon gave Rancho Cucamonga four scoreless frames in a rehab assignment Thursday night, setting the Quakes up for a 1-0 victory over Lake Elsinore.
The big righty gave up just one single - an infield chopper that second baseman Nate Sutton couldn’t get out of his glove - while striking out five and walking one on 61 pitches. He retired the last 10 hitters he faced.
In a statement after his outing, Colon said "I felt good out there and I'm really looking forward to my next outing."
That outing may come with the Quakes or he could head to the Pacific Coast League, depending on weather conditions in Salt Lake City.
Aldridge isn't the only Quakes pitcher who wasn't ready to leave camp at the end of Spring Training. Starter Stephen Marek is working on a few mechanincal issues to limit injury risk and is expected to join the club within a few weeks. Fellow righty Tommy Mendoza, 19, is trying to avoid surgery for a labrum problem and is early in a rehab throwing assignment. If he is able to avoid the knife - a precident set by Angels' lefty Joe Saunders - he might be in the California League by the middle of the season. Surgery would push him back to some time in the 2008 season.
Outfielder Drew Toussaint didn't even make it into the game, but apparently had a rough go of it anyway. About an hour before gametime, the Epicenter scoreboard reported that Toussaint had already opened his season with a groundout and he was sporting an 0-for-1 going into the season opener.
As impressive as Colon looked, Quakes righty Brok Butcher matched his performance, retiring the first five batters and working four scoreless innings as wekk. The 2005 25th-round pick gave up just two singles to a Storm lineup that will score a lot of runs this season.
"He was outstanding," said manager Bobby Mitchell. "He keeps the ball down really well and he threw a couple real good changeups tonight and threw strikes."
Sutton, returning to the Quakes after he posting a .278 average in 2006, opened the fourth with a triple just inside the first baseline, then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Midwest League homerun champ Jordan Renz.
"I like the fact that we were able to get him in," said Mitchell. "We struggled some last year getting guys in from third with less than two outs. So it was a good sign."
With closer Ryan Aldridge working through a slight arm strain and still in Tempe, Darren O'Day closed out the game, using his sidearm delivery and biting slider to induce two meek groundouts and a strikeout against three right-handed batters.