Arquimedes Lorenzo, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher in the Pirates organization, has been suspended for 50 games for violating the minor league drug program. The suspension will take effect during the 2011 season.
Lorenzo pitched for the Bucs Dominican Summer League team. He was signed as a non-drafted free-agent on Nov. 11, 2009. Lorenzo started 13 games last season and finished 2-4 with a 6.56 ERA in 48 innings.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, Lastings Milledge was involved in a fight during winter ball in Venezuela.
Lastings Milledge involved in big team fight in winter ball. Venezuelan friend says: Heated game. After he doubled in 4th, he made like he was throwing grenade to his dugout. Other team didn’t like-hit him in 7th. Then he took 2B. Other team went after him. BOOM-Big Fight
Milledge was non-tendered by the Bucs on December 3rd. He batted .277/.332/.380 during the 2010 season.
The Pirates officially announced on Friday a one-year deal with left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen.
Olsen became a free-agent in November after being out righted by the Washington Nationals.
He will make $500,000 for the 2011 season with the chance to earn up to $3 million in performance bonuses. The deal also includes a club option for 2012.
Olsen, 27, went 4-8 with a 5.56 ERA through 81 innings pitched with the Nationals. He struck out 52 while walking 23.
In six major league seasons, Olsen is 37-49 with a 4.85 ERA in 130 games (127 starts). He has struck out 528 and walked 239 in 723 innings.
On Wednesday (day three) of the Winter Meetings, new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stopped by MLBNetwork’s live coverage for an interview. Here is what they discussed:
On being the new manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Hurdle: “I’m humbled by the opportunity. It is an exciting time for me personally but I think professionally, there’s not a better opportunity in sports across the board. To rebound a city with a team, like there is in Pittsburgh with the Pirates baseball team.”
Chris Rose: “Some people may say, ‘you know the numbers. 18 straight loosing seasons. It’s been tough. It’s a football town’. And you are telling me, it’s the greatest opportunity? Explain.”
Hurdle: “The fact that they’ve lost 18 consecutive seasons, its just bound to turn. Like I talk to hitters: ‘so you’re not hitting, but you’re due to get hot.’ These young kids, they can play. We’re learning lessons. I think we’re adding pieces. It’s an organization that’s committed from the top down. Through that interview process, I found that out from Bob Nutting, Frank Coonelly, and Neal Huntington. We got work to do, there’s no doubt about that but we are excited about the players that are in place and we’re actually finding ways to be creative. I think, [we need to] find some grown men to come in and help us do this. We have internal, we’re adding external.”
On what Hurdle says to the players to get them to believe:
“Well, the first thing that I talked to any player about developing a relationship, because I was a player once, a long time ago, and I’ve had new coaches and I’ve had a new manager from time to time. Anybody entering that door for the first time, I have three questions for the man walking through the door: ‘Can he make me better?, Does he care about me?, and Can I trust him?’ I’m going to lay that out to those guys. I need to find a way and my coaching staff needs to find a way to answer those three questions. Sooner or later for those men. We answer those questions, they will bring the skill sets with them. Too many times in this sport we try to capture the skill set first. We need to capture the players heart first, I believe, and we have got some players who are passionate about playing better and doing good things and doing big things.”
On who are the guys the organization can build around:
“Well, I’m still going through that filing. Watching tape, asking questions, talking to people. I’ve talked to a lot of people outside our organization about the team. Got to watch them play myself for three games last year. But for me, these internal conversations I’m having one-on-one, I’m finding out a lot more. With Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Joel Hanrahan, I had one yesterday with Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones is still on my to do list. I’ve talked to Paul Maholm, Chris Snyder. One-by-one I’m taking them down but there is a core group in place. On the offensive side, we need to add to some of the skill guys we got already, our number one focus is improve off the mound. Number two focus is catch the ball, put away outs on defense. We’ve all been around the game long enough. Pitching and defense will win you championships.”
Tony Beasley was hired by the Washington Nationals as manager for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Beasley will replace Randy Knorr who was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse.
Beasley previously managed the Bucs Double-A Altoona club from 2004-05 and was named Double-A manager of the year in 2004. In five seasons managing the Pirates minor league system, he compiled a 374-258 record.
Beasley spent the past three seasons (2008-10) as the Pirates third base coach.
For the month of November, I was #15 for MLBlogs. I just wanted to thank everyone who reads and for all the support. I really appreciate it. I was the highest of the Pirates bloggers and up from October (23rd).
The Pirates selected infielder Josh Rodriguez with the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday from the Cleveland Indians.
Rodriquez, who can play shortstop, second base, third base and outfield, has the opportunity to make the Pirates opening day roster for 2011.
It cost the Bucs $50,000 to acquire Rodriguez and must remain on the 25-man roster the entire season or he will be offered back to the Indians.
If the Pirates do not sign an upgrade for shortstop, he could be used as a utility guy.
“It’s an intriguing combination,” Huntington said. “He does a lot of different things well. He just fills a nice need for us right now. We like him as a guy to compete to make our club as a middle-[infield] utility player with upside to potentially become an everyday player.”
Rodriguez batted .293 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 86 games with Triple-A Columbus during the 2010 season.
The Pirates did lose right-hander Nathan Adcock by the Kansas City Royals (5th overall).
Adcock was acquired by the Seattle Mariners in the Jack Wilson trade in 2009. He went 11-7 with a 3.38 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) with high Class A in Bradenton, Florida.
“He has an average fastball with the ability to get groundballs, and there is a chance that he’ll stick,” Huntington said. “We knew by not protecting him that there was a pretty good chance of him being selected. We’re disappointed to lose him, but we couldn’t protect them all.”
The Pirates also selected two players in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft: center fielder Brad Chalk from the Padres’ and Catcher Travis Scott from the Angels.
Chalk spent 2010 with three levels: Class A where he went .191 in 26 games, Double-A where he went 214 in 65 games and Triple-A where he finished the season with a 313 average in 27 games.
“He’s a former high pick that still showed some tools,” Huntington said of Chalk, a second-round choice in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. “We figured he was worth the acquisition cost.”
Scott was with High A and Double-A for an injury plagued 2010 season where he hit a combined 254 in 37 games.
The Bucs did not select any players in the other levels of the Rule 5 draft.
Manager Clint Hurdle addressed the media on Wednesday for a 30-minute gathering. Here are some of the things he addressed:
- Hurdle was asked on the projected lineup for next season but he did not give his thoughts on it. He did, however, say he has made up a few lineups for fun. Hurdle did mention Paul Maholm, James McDonald and Ross Ohlendorf as key pieces to the starting rotation.
- Hurdle, who has spent seven seasons in the majors as a hitting coach, will work often with Gregg Ritchie directly.
“I have some ideas,” Hurdle said. “There will be days when I’ll be in the cage. It’s just something I love to do. I’m not going to get in the way, but I also think I can help make a difference along those lines.”
- Hurdle said that both Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are still being considered for the closers role. He prefers to choose one before opening day, rather than have them share duties throughout the season.
- Hurdle has been doing extensive homework on shortstop Ronny Cedeno and has gotten mixed reviews.
“Some of the comments that have been shared with me that he has made, he understands, that he needs to be more consistent,” Hurdle said. “He’s got to get better on the field. There are a whole bunch of us that are waiting for the day we don’t have to talk about what to do, we can just play the game and start doing it. I think he would fall in that category.”
Clint Hurdle is aware of the huge challenge he faces: becoming the 39th Pirates manager in history, the fifth straight with a losing record. But he remains positive, and also excited.
“Every one of these players I’m talking to now, externally and internally, I’m reminded there is not a greater sport opportunity available to anybody than rebounding this city with a baseball team,” Hurdle said on Wednesday. “That, to me, is a luxury.”
Since being named as the new Pirates skipper less than a month ago, Hurdle has wasted no time in getting to know the players. In fact, he has either met, or chatted with most of the current players.
“It’s easy for a player to grab and scratch, make an excuse, point the finger somewhere else,” Hurdle said. “I’ve had none of that with one player so far, not one player, not one excuse, not one distraction, not one coaching issue, anything. That has been very energizing.
“My conversation that I’m having right now, that is probably the biggest energizer I’m getting, is listening to the players talk about what they’re doing to prepare, what they’re going to do better for next season and how they’re going to do it together. I think I’m a very fortunate guy to be in the position I’m in it right now with this organization.”
Hurdle has also been spotted at both Steelers and Pens games in the steel city recently. He understands why so many people in Pittsburgh are skeptic of the team and hopes to change things around.
“They don’t want any BS,” Hurdle said. “Tell them the truth. When you’re right, you’re right. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Admit it, don’t repeat it, and learn from it. We want to develop, and it’s already in place in a lot of areas in a no-excuse ball club. Don’t make excuses. I’m the manager — we will not use excuses. We will not use injuries. We’ll play the game. We’ll be respectful of our opponent and respectful of the league. We can’t fear anything. We have to respect everything.
“I truly think the people of Pittsburgh value guys that roll their sleeves up and get some dirt in their cleats and play smart, good baseball and win games. That is the plan.”
The Pirates have acquired right-hand pitcher Cesar Valdez from the Arizona Diamondbacks for the player to be named later in the Zach Duke trade.
In nine games with the Backs (20 innings) during the 2010 season, Valdez allowed 19 runs (17 earned) while walking 10 and striking out 13.
“It’s a right-hander with heavy sink,” Huntington said of Valdez. “He gets a lot of groundballs. He’s going to mix-and-match. He’s going to hit his spots. He’s a guy that we feel can help maybe out of the bottom of the rotation or use as a long man. He’s a guy to add to our depth and our competition to make our club.”