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Righty Johnson gets Opening Day start

Cougars right-hander Pierce Johnson, a supplemental first-round pick of the parent Chicago Cubs last June, is set to start Thursday's season opener against Vincent Velaszquez of Quad Cities.

Johnson pitched 17 innings between Rookie League Arizona and Short-A Mesa last season after he was selected out of Missouri State. Baseball America rates him as the Cubs' No. 6 organizational prospect.

"He's a smart young man," Cougars pitching coach Ron Villone said. "Pretty much, he absorbs everything, the information we give him, and he knows how to use it."

First pitch at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is slated for 6:30 p.m.

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