The Pirates reassign Infielders Andy Marte and Corey Wimberly, Left-hand pitcher Brian Burres and Catcher Dusty Brown to minor league camp on Saturday morning.
Marte signed a minor league contract with the Pirates this offseason. Once a highly regarded prospect, he was ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 15 from 2004-2006.
Marte, 27, hit .229 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 170 at-bats with the Cleveland Indians in 2010.
This spring Marte batted .364 with six doubles, five RBI, five walks and six runs scored.
Wimberly was acquired by the Oakland Athletics’ in exchange for right-handed pitcher Ryan Kelly in late December.
Wimberly, 27, hit .284 with three home runs, 57 RBI in 135 games for the A’s Triple-A team in 2010. Wimberly stole 56 bases last season, 259 bags in 563 career games.
This spring he hit .212 with two RBI, six walks and stole four bases in 21 games.
Burres signed a minor league contract this offseason with the Pirates.
Burres went 4-5 with a 4.99 ERA in 13 starts (20 appearances) with the Pirates last season. In his final seven games, Burres had a 1.89 ERA.
This spring Burres had a nine scoreless inning streak. He allowed six runs on 15 hits over 14.0 innings with five walks and seven strikeouts.
Brown signed a minor league contract this offseason with the Pirates.
Brown, 28, spent the majority of the last three seasons catching with the Red Sox’s Triple-A team. During 2010, he batted .218 with 19 doubles and seven homers.
This spring Brown batted .321 with one double, four RBI in 28 at-bats.
Steve Pearce has won the backup corner infielder position according to Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune.
Pearce recently eliminated his leg kick from his swing in hopes it would help him earn him a bench spot. Looks like the adjustment payed off.
This spring Pearce batted .283 with five doubles and three RBI in 46 at-bats.
Pearce told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I’ve surprised myself a little bit, honestly. Going over to third after not having played for so long, it came naturally. In the outfield, I’m moving a lot better. I’ve felt good everywhere they’ve moved me. I think I have exceeded expectations.”
Although the Pirates have not yet made anything official, just one man stands in for the job. Garrett Atkins (released), Andy Marte and Josh Fields (reassigned to minor league camp) were battling for the backup corner infielder position.
Pearce also has the ability to play the corner outfield positions as well. This will mark the first time in his career he has made the opening day roster.
With Burres cut from camp, you would assume that Garrett Olson will be in the Pirates bullpen, he is the only lefty remaining.
That leaves Right-handers Chris Leroux and Mike Crotta fighting for the final spot in the ‘pen.
The Pirates still have not determined whether they will keep a third catcher this season. It all depends on the future of Ryan Doumit (will he be traded or will he be used just as a bench guy). Jason Jaramillo and John Bowker are final two competing for a bench spot.
The are 32 players left at camp.
*Photo credit: Derick Hingle
Charlie Morton had his first bad outing of the spring in the Bucs 9-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Morton allowed five runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts over five innings. His 1.29 ERA is no more, as it jumped to 3.32.
Morton told Rob Biertempfel of the tribune, “Walks and hit batters,” Morton said with a frown.
“What’s troubling about today is I kept missing with my sinker in and wasn’t making adjustments. I just couldn’t get a good feel for it. Instead of concentrating between the knees, trying to get it down there over the plate, I was trying to pick with it in, trying to get him to ground out to third.”
Pedro Ciriaco showed off his speed in the first, with a lead off single off of Jeff Neimann. He then quickly swiped second base. Ryan Doumit hit his fourth double of the spring to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
The Rays defense struggled in the 2nd. A bad throw by Dan Johnson advanced Matt Diaz to third base and then scored on a wild pitch by Neimann. Andy Marte doubled and was driven home by Charlie Morton, who hit a soft fly ball to left, putting the Bucs up 3-0.
Morton ran into trouble in the bottom of the 2nd. Morton hit Kelly Shoppach to load the bases with no outs. Sam Fuld drove in two with a double and Ben Zobrist hit a sac fly to tie the game at 3.
The Bucs battled back in the 4th, putting two runs on the board off of a single by Josh Rodriguez.
There was more trouble in the 5th for right-hander Charlie Morton as he had the bases loaded with no outs for the second time in the game. Morton escaped the inning with just two runs scoring –an Evan Longoria hit by pitch and a walk to Manny Ramirez — which tied the game at 5.
Joel Hanrahan allowed back-to-back walks and Justin Ruggiano took advantage of it by hitting a single to give the Rays a 7-5 edge.
The Rays tacked on two more runs off of Chris Resop in the 8th for a 9-5 lead, and went on to win by that score.
- Andy Marte, who is battling for a corner infield position, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double.
- The Pirates stole four bases today. They have 25 steals this spring –last year they had just 16. The San Diego Padres lead the leagues with 36.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that James McDonald (left side) is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Saturday. He will throw about 50 pitches in the outing.
Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. Lincoln threw from 120 feet today and felt fine afterwards.
- Biertempfel of the Trib reports, Right-hander Jose Ascanio threw 24 pitches in one inning of work today during a minor league game at Pirate City.
- The Pirates will face the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday at 1:05. The game will be broadcasted on FSN Pittsburgh. Kevin Correia will start for the Bucs.
As it was reported earlier, Joe Beimel will not start the season with the club. Beimel (left elbow) threw a bullpen session on Thursday without issue and is scheduled to throw again on Sunday. He says he is 100 percent healthy but needs time to get into game shape.
Beimel told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I started looking at the calendar and realized it was going to be pretty hard to do,” Beimel said. “I’m not going to go out there if all my stuff isn’t working. I don’t want to have to rush to get ready for a date that doesn’t really mean anything. It is Opening Day, but I’m looking to be healthy for the entire season. I think this will work out to be best for myself and for the team.”
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Beimel will remain in Florida when the team heads to Philadelphia for two exhibition games. He will continue to get work in minor league games. If Beimel is not ready by April 7th, when the minor league season starts, he could join one of the Pirates minor league affiliates to get work there.
Although the team has not officially announced who will make the ‘pen, Manager Clint Hurdle said there are some relievers who are “definitively in.”
Joel Hanrahan has been named the closer and Evan Meek was named the set-up man. Long reliever Jeff Karstens, Chris Resop and Veteran Jose Veras are most certainty in the bullpen as well.
With Beimel out of the mix, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports the following relievers are in the mix for the two open bullpen spots: Left-handers Garrett Olson and Brian Burres, Chris Leroux and Rookie Mike Crotta.
Olson has made two appearances with the Pirates since being acquired from Seattle. He’s allowed three runs on three hits over two innings with two walks and one strike out.
Burres has made five appearances this spring (two starts). He’s allowed six runs on 15 hits over 14 innings with five walks and seven strikeouts.
Leroux has allowed four runs on 10 hits over 8.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
Crotta has not allowed an earned run this spring (10.1 innings). He’s allowed just four hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
The Pirates will face the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte today at 1:05. You can listen to the free webcast here.
Charlie Morton will start for the Pirates and throw about 80 pitches. He will face right-hand pitcher Jeff Neimann. Joel Hanrahan and Jose Veras are also scheduled to pitch.
- Morton, who was named into the Bucs rotation on Thursday, told Langosch of MLB.com, “I feel different from last year in the sense that I feel more confident going into the season,” Morton said. “I think there were some questions last year in my mind going into the season, but I think getting beat up last year kind of taught me a lot of things. I’m really looking forward to getting on the mound. I’m really excited.”
- Earlier this morning, the Pirates cut five players from camp: pitchers Sean Gallagher, Daniel McCutchen and Tyler Yates, Infielder Josh Fields and Catcher Wyatt Torregas (read more here).
- The Pirates also announced that left-hander Joe Beimel will not be ready to start the season with the club. He’s been struggling to get healthy due to left elbow soreness. General Manager Neal Huntington told Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette, “The goal is to have Joe healthy for not just the start of the season, but for a large portion of the season for us. As it stands now, the best way for that to happen is to approach things this way.
Biemel is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday.
- Brad Lincoln threw from 120 feet today and it was reported that he felt fine afterwards. Lincoln is sidelined due to a right forearm contusion (line drive by Jimmy Rollins).
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune tweeted some interesting information today. Pirates source tells me team will NOT release Doumit ($5.1M this yr) if trade cannot be worked out. “He still has offensive value to us.”
Lineup: Ciriaco CF, Rodriguez SS, Bowker LF, Doumit C, Pearce 3B, Diaz RF, Marte 1B, Wimberly 2B, Morton RHP
Pitchers: Morton, Hanrahan, Veras
Lineup: Zobrist RF, Johnson 2B, Longoria 3B, Ramirez DH, Johnson 1B, Upton CF, Shoppach C, Brignac SS, Fuld LF
Pitchers: Neiman, Cruz, Farnsworth, Peralta
The Pirates cut five players from their major league camp on Friday morning.
Right-hand pitchers Sean Gallagher, Tyler Yates and Daniel McCutchen, Infielder Josh Fields and Catcher Wyatt Toregas.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports the allocation of the following players:
Yates reassigned to Minor League camp
Gallagher reassigned to Minor League camp
McCutchen optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
Fields reassigned to Minor League camp
Toregas reassigned to Minor League camp
Gallagher signed a minor league contract this offseason. He went 2-1 with a 6.03 ERA in 31 games (34.1 innings) last season with the Pirates.
This spring, Gallagher allowed two runs on five hits over eight innings (2.25 ERA) with two walks and four strikeouts.
Yates has not pitched in the majors since May 15th, 2009 due to Tommy John Surgery.
Yates pitched in 15 games for the Bucs in the 2009, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA. He allowed 14 hits, 12 runs (10 earned) through 12 innings.
This was his first spring back since recovering. Yates allowed six runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings (12.46 ERA) with three walks and three strikeouts.
McCutchen spent the 2010 season bouncing back and forth between Triple-A Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. He went 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA in nine starts (28 appearances).
McCutchen allowed five runs on 10 hits over eight innings (5.63 ERA) with three walks and three strikeouts.
Fields signed a minor league contract with the Pirates this offseason. Fields missed most of the 2010 season, recovering from hip surgery that he had in April. He played in 13 games (with the Kansas City Royals), post surgery, where he went 15-for-49 (.306 avg) with three homers and six RBIs.
This spring, Fields batted .172 with one double, two RBI and struck out 11 times in 29 at-bats.
Torregas signed a minor league contract with the Pirates in January. He spent the 2010 season with three teams (A, AA, AAA) in the Indians minor league system. In 38 games combined he batted .227 with five home runs and 14 RBI. Toregas had four passed balls and a .991 fielding percentage.
This spring, Torregas batted .455 in 11 at-bats.
36 players remain at big league camp.
Lyle Overbay and Neil Walker homered back-to-back off of Jake Arrieta in the 1st inning to take a 3-0 lead. But the Pirates pitching staff, lead by Ross Ohlendorf, combined to allow 11 runs on 15 hits in the 11-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday evening.
Ohlendorf didn’t give the Pirates much opportunity to stay in the game as he was charged for six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 4.2 innings. Four of those runs came from the long ball. Ohlendorf allowed three –Luke Scott, Mark Reynolds and Felix Pie– (He allowed just one homerun over his previous four starts).
Ohlendorf told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It is still not as good as I would like it to be, but I still thought it was better than last time. I’ve been up in the zone too much. I feel like I was better today, but still not as good as I need to be. The fourth inning I was really happy with. The third inning, I thought, went pretty well. But I still need to pitch better.”
Two runs scored during Evan Meek’s outing (1.1 innings) but neither were earned as one was charged to Ohlendorf and Pedro Alvarez made a throwing error.
Garrett Olson made his second appearance as a Bucco in the 7th, but it didn’t go as well his first. The Orioles tacked on three more runs on three hits giving Baltimore a 11-4 lead.
After a walk by Overbay and a single by Walker, Alvarez drove in one in the 8th inning.
Josh Rodriguez hit his first home run of the spring in the ninth inning making it 11-7.
- Walker had a big night at the plate while batting cleanup. He went 4-for-4 with two home runs, two RBI and two runs scored.
- It was announced earlier today that Kevin Correia will be the Pirates opening day starter. He will face Ryan Dempster on April 1st in Chicago. Paul Maholm is slated to pitch the PNC Park home opener on April 7th. The rotation is as follows: Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, James McDonald.
- James McDonald is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Saturday. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports the Pirates are hoping for McDonald to extend his pitch count to 50 pitches. McDonald would then stay in Florida to pitch another minor league game on March 31st (about 80 pitches). If he suffers no set backs, McDonald would be ready to start on April 6th in St. Louis.
- Joe Biemel (left elbow) threw a bullpen session today without any issue according to Greg Brown, Pirates Broadcaster.
- With just one week until opening day, expect cuts to be happening very soon. 41 players (10 non-roster) still remain at big league camp.
- Chris Snyder, who was in the lineup for the first time since March 9th (lower back soreness), caught for five innings today.
- Chris Leroux was the only pitcher that did not allow a hit or run during his outing (one inning).
- Charlie Morton will start Friday against the Rays in Port Charlotte (1:05 start) and is scheduled to throw six innings. Also scheduled to pitch: Joel Hanrahan (one inning), Jose Veras (one inning) and Daniel McCutchen (one inning).
Manager Clint Hurdle announced on Thursday that Kevin Correia will be the Pirates opening day starter in Chicago on April 1st. Paul Maholm is slated to pitch the PNC Park home opener on April 7th.
The rotation is as follows: Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, James McDonald.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette, “There are two significant dates for every team, Opening Day and the home opener. Kevin and Paul have piggybacked each other throughout spring. We actually had pretty much of a spilt house internally. … For every [stat] that would make you think this, there was another one that would make you think that. At the end of the day, I wanted these two guys leading the pack and thought this way.”
Correia, who signed a two-year contract with the Pirates this offseason, went 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA with the San Diego Padres last year.
This spring Correia has allowed 14 runs (13 earned) over 18.1 innings with six walks and 15 strikeouts.
Correia allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts his last start against the Boston Red Sox. He even went 2-for-2 with a RBI at the plate.
This will be his first career opening day start in his nine year career.
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s a good honor for me, but I know there is a lot of work that is going to be involved with every five days. It’s not just one start. Every one is important. It is nice to go out there on a day that kicks off the season, but like I said in the past, in our rotation we need every one of these guys to pitch like they’re the best pitcher on the staff at some point in the year for us to do what we need to do. I am excited about it, but I do know that there is a lot of work.”
Maholm is the longest tenured Pirate on the team. This will be his seventh season with the Bucs. Maholm went 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA last year. Maholm allowed two runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings his last start against the Minnesota Twins. Maholm has allowed just four walks over 20 innings of work this spring, while striking out 13.
After the news was annouced, Maholm (@Maholm28) tweeted: Found out that I get to start the home opener and get the year started right at pnc. Very honored #letsgobucs
Maholm told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “You’re not going to see me bitter. I’ve started Opening Day and it’s definitely an honor and fun, but to get to start the opener at home — hopefully it’s a sellout and a packed house — to get the season started off right there is going to be big. I think it’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
Ohlendorf is coming off an injury plagued season in which he only threw 108.1 innings. The right-hander went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA.
This spring, he has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) over 9.2 innings (4 starts) with five walks and nine strikeouts.
Ohlendorf allowed six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts over three innings his last start against the Orioles. He was scheduled to throw six innings but was pulled early due to a high pitch count.
Morton’s struggled during the 2010 season going 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA. Morton gained his confidence back after working with pitching coach Ray Searage and has had himself a great spring training. Over 14 innings, Morton has allowed just two runs on nine hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Morton is also back to throwing his sinker (who former pitching coach Joe Kerrigan told him to stop using) which has been referred to as a “Roy Halladay type sinker” by ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian.
Morton threw six shutout innings allowing just four hits, no walks, with five strikeouts his last start. His ERA this spring is just 1.29.
Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, “Charlie has pitched better than anybody in camp, and good for him. That’s why the next step will be the more interesting step. The season will come and we’ll see what that brings. But confidence has been built.”
McDonald was acquired from the Dodgers at the trade deadline last July. He went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA over 11 starts with the Bucs.
This spring McDonald has allowed six runs (three earned ) on 10 hits with three walks and two strike outs over 6.2 innings.
McDonald has been sidelined since March 11th with left side soreness. He is scheduled to throw in a minor league game on Saturday.
*Photo credit: (Corriea, Maholm, Ohlendorf, Morton, McDonald) Yahoo! Sports
Clint Hurdle was announced as the new Pirates Manager on November 15th, 2010. Just four months later and Hurdle has already played a huge effect on the young team. It’s noticeable in the players confidence, attitudes and approach during games.
Ask any player about their new skipper and you are bound to hear a list of great comments –nothing at all negative.
Hurdle is loud and honest, but what’s most important, he is positive and inspirational.
I’ve been a big fan of Hurdle’s for many years and believe the best decision the Pirates made this offseason was hiring him.
Hurdle is an amazing person . His positivity is captivating. He’s an inspiration, to not just the players, but to everyone.
Kyle Stark of ESPN wrote an excellent story on Hurdle’s task ahead of him. And his approach is simple. “Why not us? Why not now?”
I encourage everyone of you to read this article, despite who you root for (Be sure to watch the video on ‘pressure facing prospects as well).
*photo credit: Yahoo! Sports
The Pirates will face the Baltimore Orioles at 7:05 PM in Sarasota, Fla. Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to pitch six innings followed by Evan Meek (one), Garrett Olson (one or two) and Chris Leroux (one). The O’s will send Jake Arrieta to the mound.
Meek will be pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this spring.
Olson will be making his second appearance since being claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
- As it was reported yesterday, James McDonald (left side) will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday (read more here).
- Joe Beimel is scheduled to throw off the mound today. Beimel (left elbow) has had two successful days of playing catch on flat ground.
- This spring John Bowker is fighting to make the club as the Bucs fifth outfielder, and he’s making the most out of every opportunity. Bowker is batting .313 in 16 games, with three home runs, seven RBI and three doubles. Since missing four games (sore left wrist), he has hit safely in nine of the past 13 games.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “He’s had a good spring. You look for the quality of the at-bats and the ability to see pitches and not burn up at-bats in a hurry. He’s done a lot of that since we gave him that time off. He’s come back and done very, very well.”
The outfielder, who can also play first base, is out of options, so if the Pirates do not keep him on the 25-man roster they could lose him to another club.
Bowker told Biertempfel of the Tribune, I’ve come off the bench before. I think of myself as a good pinch-hitter because I usually give a good at-bat. If I can get a start every once in a while, too, that’s a plus.”
“I’m not trying to think too much about that. I know I’m out of (minor league) options. I’m just trying to make a good impression because this is my first spring training with these guys.”
- According to Forbes.com, the Pirates are ranked last (30th) in baseball in net worth of the franchise at $304 million.
The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high. The New York Yankees (Ranked No. 1) are worth $1.7 billion.
- Charlie Morton will start Friday against the Rays and throw about 80 pitches. Also scheduled to pitch: Joel Hanrahan (one inning), Jose Veras (one inning) and Daniel McCutchen (one or two innings).
Lineup: McCutchen CF, Tabata LF, Overbay 1B, Walker 2B, Alvarez 3B, Jones RF, Cedeno SS, Snyder C Ohlendorf RHP
*Snyder (lower back soreness) is back in the lineup for the first time since March 9th.
Pitchers: Ohlendorf, Meek, Olson, Leroux
Lineup: Roberts 2B, Markakis RF, Lee 1B, Guerrero DH, Scott LF, Pie CF, Reynolds 3B, Wieters C, Hardy SS, Arrieta RHP
Pitchers: Arrieta, TBA
Right-hander Mike Crotta has quietly had himself a great spring. In eight appearances (10.1 innings), Crotta has not allowed an earned run. He’s held the opponents to just four hits (.114 opp avg) with one walk and three strikeouts.
So just who is Michael Crotta? You may, or may not have heard of the 6’6″ righty.
The 26-year-old spent the 2010 season with both Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis where he went 7-10 with a 4.42 ERA in 28 starts (156.2 innings) combined.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com after just two appearances this spring, “He’s definitely got the attention of some people. He’s pitching with purpose.”
Crotta still remains with the big league club but will most likely start the season back at Triple-A.
His future with the Pirates is an interesting one. Crotta is on the 40-man roster, but he will be competing this season with some of the Bucs best starting pitching prospects; Bryan Morris, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke are all either slated to start in Triple-A, or they are not too far behind. Let’s not forget about Aaron Thompson and Tony Watson who can also start. Brad Lincoln, Brian Burres and Daniel McCutchen could all wind up in Indianapolis too.
While he’s not a prospect to keep an eye on (a career 4.61 ERA in five minor league seasons), I’d say his spring stats are more than worthy of some attention.
*Photo credit: Derick Hingle