Results tagged ‘ altoona curve ’
Altoona Curve’s starting pitcher, Aaron Thompson, was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. He is the first award winner of the 2011 and it’s his second player of the week award in his career.
From April 7-17th, Thompson went 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his two starts. He allowed just one run on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over 12 innings.
A former first-round pick by the Florida Marlins in 2005, the Pirates claimed the left-hander off waivers this offseason.
- And speaking of great pitching from the Bucs minor leaguers:
Pirates starter Colton Cain pitched a gem on Sunday for Low-A West Virginia Power. He tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with one walk and five strikeouts.
Lefty Brian Burres threw seven scoreless innings for the Triple-A Indians on Sunday. He allowed just four hits and struck out eight in the 13-inning loss to the Louisville Bats.
Aaron Pribanic tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Flying Squirels on Sunday. He picked up his first win of the season with Double-A Altoona Curve.
*Photo credit: Pirate Prospects
The Pittsburgh Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at 2:20 PM/ET today at Wrigley field for the final game of the series. The teams have split the first two games.
Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will start for the Bucs against Right-hander Matt Garza, who is making his Cubs debut.
Ohlendorf did not pitch longer than 4.2 innings in a start this spring. He told Evan Drellich of MLB.com, “I feel really good with where I am right now. Pitching coach Ray Searage] and I worked on some things the last week or so that I think are really going to help. Also, my arm feels good, and that’s very important at this point.”
- If the Pirates win today, it would be their first road series win July 27-29 (Colorado) of 2010. The Bucs only won four road series last season (17 games overall).
- Following today’s game, the team will travel to St. Louis, where they open up a three-game series against the Cardinals.
- The Pirates Double-A team, Altoona Curve, announced it’s opening day roster.
The starting rotation is as follows: left-handers Jeff Locke and Aaron Thompson and right-handers Bryan Morris, Aaron Pribanic and Jared Hughes.
Farm director Kyle Stark told Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror, “I expect that staff to not be there long. Some of those guys have had success in that league and have a couple things they need to do, and if they do that, then we’re gonna look to challenge those guys [in Triple-A].”
Tim Alderson, a first round draft pick in 2009, will start the season in the bullpen.
Some notable position players include: Catcher Tony Sanchez (Pirates No. 2 prospect), Shelby Ford, Starling Marte, Brock Holt and Quincy Latimore.
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Matt Diaz RF, Jason Jaramillo C, Ronny Cedeno SS, Ross Ohlendorf RHPUpdate: McCutchen said he had little soreness in his neck from dive yesterday on ball hit in outfield.
*Manager Clint Hurdle says lineup is not up yet because they are waiting on health status of Andrew McCutchen who has “upper body” injury, according to Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette.
Starlin Castro SS, Darwin Barney 2B, Marlon Byrd CF, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Carlos Peña 1B, Geovany Soto C, Alfonso Soriano LF, Tyler Colvin RF, Matt Garza RHP
*Photo credit: @MikeShaeffer
Ross Ohlendorf’s struggles this spring continued as he threw 94 pitches over four innings as the Pirates lost to the Phillies 8-5 at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Ohlendorf has only thrown five innings in a start this spring once. He allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and a strikeout over four innings.
Ohlendorf has now allowed 24 runs (20 earned) on 34 hits over 18.1 innings this spring.
Ohlendorf told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I wish Spring Training had gone better, but I feel as if I’m ready. I feel like tonight, that even though the results were similar to my other starts, I feel like I threw the ball much better.”
“Where I didn’t do well is I threw too many pitches. I felt that with the exception of a couple of at-bats, I wasn’t getting hit as hard as I was in the last game, and the ball was coming out much better, and [catcher Ryan] Doumit did, too. I’m definitely heading in the right direction.”
Manager Clint Hurdle is not concered with Ohlendorf’s spring struggles. Hurdle told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I have no concerns or misgivings. He’s in our starting rotation. I’ve seen guys have springs in which they didn’t get anybody out, and when the season started they rolled right through it.”
Lyle Overbay came through with a two-RBI double in the 1st inning off of Roy Oswalt to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead. Both Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez walked in the inning.
Jimmy Rollins successfully stole second base in the bottom of the 1st inning. Catcher Ryan Doumit’s throw to second went into center field allowing Luis Castillo to score and put the Phillies on the board.
Right Fielder Ben Francisco homered off Ohlendorf in the 2nd inning to tie the game at two. Ohlendorf continued struggled in the 2nd. Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Luis Castillo hit a grounder to short, an easy double play to end the inning, but Ronny Cedeno bobbled the ball allowing a run to score. Jimmy Rollins hit a sac fly to score Ruis and give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.
Two more runs scored in the 4th inning off of Ohlendorf, who hit Rollins, his third batter of the night. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins both hit RBI singles in the inning.
Josh Rodriguez and Jose Tabata drew back-to-back walks in the 5th. Neil Walker hit a single, but advanced to third base on an error by the Francisco. Both Rodriguez and Tabata scored. Andrew McCutchen followed with a RBI single to cut the lead to 6-5.
Chris Leroux’s leadoff walk to Victorino scored on a ground out by Rollins in the 6th. Leroux was pulled after just 1/3 of an inning.
Former Bucco Erik Kratz scored off of Evan Meek in the 8th. The Phillies went on to win 8-5.
- Jose Tabata went 0-for-2 with three walks and two runs.
- Neil Walker reached base four times tonight. He went 3-for-4 with a RBI, a walk and two runs scored.
- Right-hander Kevin Correia, who will be the Pirates opening day starter in Chicago, is eager to get the season started right. He will be facing the Cub’s Ryan Dempster on April 1st.
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I’d trade in an Opening Day start for a good start. If we’re going to turn this thing around, it would be nice to win that first game. It’s exciting, but you can’t get caught up too much in it. You’ve got to approach it like any other start.”
- Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Mike Crotta has made the Pirates 25-man roster according to reports. Crotta, who has never pitched above AAA, has had himself a great spring. He’s allowed just two earned runs over 12.1 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Crotta told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I feel like [Spring Training] couldn’t have gone better for me. I [went to Florida] in the beginning of December because I had some elbow issue to work through. From the first day, I’ve just worked with [Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage] on getting the right mentality to be a reliever, and working on getting the ball down in the zone.”
“I’ve learned a lot this spring, and it’s something I can take with me into my career. It’s awesome to be here, and the whole experience is awesome. From the plane ride to playing in a game, it’s all just awesome. I’m ready to go.”
- Corey Giger of the Altoona Mirror reports that Pirates pitching prospects Jeff Locke and Bryan Morris will start the season with Double-A Altoona. Left-hander Justin Wilson is still undetermined whether he will go back to Altoona, or start the year with Triple-A.
Catcher Tony Sanchez and Starling Marte, ranked as the Pirates No. 2 and No. 4 prospects by Baseball America, will start in Double-A.
Another interesting move will be with shortstop Chase D’Arnaud. If the Pirates decide that Pedro Ciriaco will be the everyday shortstop in Indianapolis, then D’ARnaud will start the season at Double-A again.
- The Pirates will face the Phillies again tomorrow for the final exhibition game before opening day kicks off on Friday. Charlie Morton will start for the Bucs against Cole Hamels.
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
The Pirates will face the Houston Astros for the first time this spring in Kissimmee, Fla., at 1:05 pm. Charlie Morton is making his third start (fourth appearance) this spring and is scheduled to throw five innings. He will face Ryan Rowland-Smith.
You can listen to the game live here.
- Chris Snyder is eyeing Tuesday as his return to action since he’s been sidelined with lower back stiffness.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Snyder took swing in the batting cage on Saturday and said his lower back was giving him no problems.
Snyder will do more cage work on Sunday and hopes to be cleared for batting practice on Monday. If all goes well and he does not suffer any set backs, Snyder could play and catch in a minor league game on Tuesday.
Snyder said he should be ready for Opening day (April 1st).
Snyder told Langosch, “If it was any later than early next week then it would have been pushing it. Hopefully everything goes well and stays on track and I can stretch it out. Hopefully get nine innings one of those days. Get rolling.”
- Langosch also reports that James McDonald threw long toss on Saturday (50 throws, 120 feet) and said he felt fine afterwards. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday.
- Members of the 2010 Eastern League Champion Altoona Curve will be honored on Wednesday during a pre-game ceremony at McKechnie Field.
- The Pirates will face the Minnesota Twins on Monday at 1:05 in Bradenton, Fla. Paul Maholm will get the start against Brian Duensing. Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Sean Gallagher will follow.
Newest Bucco Garrett Olson throws in the bullpen at McKechnie Field.
- First pitch strikes are important. The league average for the pitching staff throwing an 0-1 count is 59 percent –the Pirates last season did it at 58 percent.
Pitching coach Ray Searage is looking to improve that rate by several percentage points this season.
Searage told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I don’t want us to be 60 (percent). Sixty is average. I want us to be above average.”
Read more on Biertempel’s piece on the importance of first pitch strikes –Good Stuff.
- Manager Clint Hurdle has not yet named an opening day starter, but he has narrowed it down to two: Right-hander Kevin Correia and lefty Paul Maholm.
Hurdle told Biertempfel of the Tribune, “We’re going to watch Paulie pitch Monday and go from there. We’ve looked at a lot of different things. We’ve categorized all the numbers — trajectory ERAs, history in ballparks, history against (hitters). It’s not so much (who’s) our No. 1; it’s what is the best way to set up our rotation as we move forward.”
- Rob Biertempfel of the tribune also reports that Brad Lincoln’s bullpen session was canceled today. His arm remains swollen and painful.
Lincoln was struck with a line drive by Jimmy Rollins during Friday’s game against the Phillies.
Lineup: Tabata CF, Pearce 3B, Walker 2B, Diaz RF, Marte 1B, Doumit C, Fields LF, Cedeno SS, Morton RHP
Pitchers: Morton, Crotta, Leroux, D. McCutchen
Lineup: Bourn CF, Hernandez 2B, Pence RF, Lee 1B, Bogusevic LF, Downs SS, Oswaldo 3b, Quintero C, Rowland-Smith LHP
Pitchers: Rowland-Smith, Lyles, Pendleton
*Photo credit: @BucsInsider
On Saturday morning Daniel Moskos, Alex Presley (along with eight others) were cut from big league camp.
Both Moskos and Presley were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis where they will start the season, but not necessarily end it there.
Moskos, a former 1st round pick by the Pirates in 2007 draft, was competing for a spot in the ‘pen. The 24-year-old lefty allowed four runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts over five innings.
Reliever Daniel Moskos told Jenfier Langosch of MLB.com, “Anytime you get sent down, it’s not a good day, not a good thing. As hard as I worked this offseason, I did expect to compete for a big league spot. That didn’t work out. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. I’ve got things to work on and I’ll continue to do that down in the Minors, and hopefully I’ll be back up shortly.”
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It very well could play out this year for him,” Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said when asked how close Moskos appears to being big league ready. “It would not surprise me at all, if there is a need and he pushes the envelope.”
To Moskos, those comments made by Hurdle meant a lot.
“That’s definitely encouraging to hear him say those kind words about me,” Moskos responded. “I did a lot of hard work this offseason to put myself in that position. It didn’t work out the way I wanted, but for him to say that I’m close is very encouraging. That will help me deal with today.”
Used primarily as a closer last year, Moskos will spend his time with the Indians getting a feel for multiple innings and perhaps a “lefty specialist” role.
General Manager Neal Huntington told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “The key for him is going to be command,” Huntington said. “He’s going to have to attack the strike zone and be ahead in the count. When he is, he has a couple very good off-speed pitches that he can get Major League hitters out with. It’s just a matter of refining the command of his motions, the command of his delivery, which will result in the command of his stuff.”
Presley had an incredible 2010 season. The 25-year-old quickly climbed the minor leagues. He played in 67 games with the Altoona Curve where he batted .350 with 13 doubles, seven triples, six home runs and 47 RBI before being called up to Triple-A. There with the Indians he batted .294 in 69 games with 15 doubles, six triples, six home runs, 38 RBI and stole eight bases. Presley made his debut with the Buccos in September and in 23 at-bats he batted .261.
After getting a short taste of the big leagues, Presley took the news of being optioned to Triple-A hard.
Outfielder Alex Presley told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s tougher when you’ve actually been up there and you’re not going back. You don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s definitely a motivator knowing what you could have or what you’re going to have at some point. I’ll just move forward to get to where I want to be.”
His specific goals he will need to work on in order to get re-called are better plate discipline and better use of his speed.
General Manager Neal Huntington told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “He has speed to impact the game on the bases. Base stealing is something we definitely have to refine. Just the confidence. He can get the good read. He can get the good jump. There’s just a little bit of hesitation that we can work out.”
“I just need to get to where I can steal a base at any time,” said Presley, who finished 2-for-17 in Grapefruit League play. “The speed is there. It’s just a matter of getting it done and finding a way. And I’ll just continue to do what I did last year and build off that as much as possible.”
*Photo Credit (Moskos): Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, (Presley) Pittsburgh-Post Gazette
The Pirates cut 10 players from camp on Monday Morning: Andrew Lambo, Brian Friday, Chase D’Arnaud, Aaron Thompson, Ramon Aguero, Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Gorkys Hernandez, Alex Presley and Daniel Moskos.
Lambo was reassigned to minor league camp. Expect him to play a corner infield (with first base as a fall back option) with the Triple-A Indians this year. Lambo was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2007 draft (He was acquired in the Octavio Dotel trade last July). In 26 games with the Altoona Curve, Lambo batted .275 with two homeruns and10 RBI.
Friday was reassigned to minor league camp. He should spent the most of his playing time at second base. Friday was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft by the Pirates. In 93 games with the Triple-A Indians, the 25-year-old batted .257 with two home runs and 28 RBI.
D’Arnaud was reassigned to minor league camp. He will spend the season playing short, but General Manager Neal Huntington said he will also play some time at third base. D’Arnaud was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft by the Pirates. In 132 games with the Altoona Curve, the 24-year-old batted .247 with 33 doubles, nine triples, six home runs and 48 RBI.
Thompson was optioned to Double-A Altoona. Although he was optioned to the Curve, he could start the season at Triple-A, depending on how the pitching shakes out. Thompson was drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) by the Florida Marlins in the 2005 draft. The Pirates claimed the lefty off waivers from the Washington Nationals. Last year, combined with Double-A and Triple-A for the Nats, the 24-year-old went 5-13 with a 5.64 ERA in 141.2 innings.
Aguero was optioned to Double-A Altoona. Aguero had an injury plagued 2010 season (elbow soreness and back stiffness) and only pitched in 25 games. He had a 6.14 ERA combined with the High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.
Locke was optioned to Double-A Altoona, but like Thompson could start the season with Triple-A. Locke was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft (He was acquired in the Nate McLouth trade). The 23-year-old went 12-5 with a 3.56 ERA combined with High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona last year. He also struck out 139 batters in 144 innings.
Watson was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The organization is still undecided on if he will be used as a starter or a reliever. Watson was drafted by the Pirates in the 9th round of the 2007 draft. The 25-year-old went 6-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 games (nine starts) with Double-A Altoona in 2010.
Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and will be the Indians primary center fielder. Hernandez batted .266 with 11 doubles, two homers, 26 RBI and 10 stolen bases with Double-A Altoona.
Alex Presley was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Presley will bounce around in the outfield with Hernandez being the teams primary center fielder. Presley was drafted in the 8th round of the 2006 draft. In 136 games (combined with Double-A and Triple-A) last season, the 25-year-old batted .320 with 28 doubles, 13 triples, 12 home runs 85 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Presley also made his major league debut with the Bucs where he batted .261 in 19 games.
Daniel Moskos was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Although he and Watson were two lefty candidates for the Bucs bullpen, the organization believes they could use more seasoning in the minors before making their debuts. Moskos was drafted in the 1st round (4th overall) of the 2007 draft. He had a 4.14 ERA in 56 games (1.52 ERA with Double-A Altoona) with 61 strikeouts over 58.2 innings. Moskos also picked up 22 saves.
44 players remain at big league camp.
The Pirates made four cuts on Saturday morning: Kyle McPherson was optioned to Bradenton (High-A), Bryan Morris was optioned to Indianapolis (Triple-A) and Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson were reassigned to minor league camp.
McPherson appeared in one game this spring where he allowed one hit and no runs through two innings. McPherson was drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2007 draft. The 23-year-old right-hander went 9-9 in 28 games (21 starts) with a 3.48 ERA combined with West Virginia Power and Bradenton Marauders last season.
Morris allowed two runs on four hits with one strike out through three innings (two games) this spring. Morris was drafted in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 2006 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers (He was one of the players acquired in the Jason Bay trade). He went 6-4 in 19 games (16 starts) with a 4.25 ERA with the Altoona Curve in 2010. Morris struck out 124 batters in 133.2 innings combined with Double-A and High-A last season.
Owens allowed three runs on six hits this spring through four innings (two games) and walked two. Owens was drafted in the 26th round by the Pirates in the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old lefty went 12-6 with a 2.46 ERA with Double-A Altoona last year. He struck out 132 batters in 150 innings, walking just 23.
Wilson allowed three runs on one hit with four walks and three strikeouts this spring in 1.2 innings. Wilson was drafted in the 5th round by the Pirates in 2008. He went 11-8 with a 3.09 ERA in 26 starts with 71 walks and 134 strikeouts.
54 players remain at big league camp.
“[With the] small snapshots that I was able to view, I was impressed with all of them,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It just reinforces everything I heard, everything I felt, everything I had seen about our player development system. These guys are grounded. These guys are focused. These guys are committed. They are professionals. They used their eyes so well, their ears so well here.”
If Sunday’s 13 strikeouts weren’t bad enough, the Pirates managed to top it on Wednesday night –fanning 16 times in a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla.
The Pirates have struck out 106 times through 13 spring training games so far but Manager Clint Hurdle isn’t worried.
“I’m not worried,” Hurdle said. “Worried wouldn’t be an appropriate word. I think one of the things you look at is how we’re getting to two strikes. I think we’re getting balls early to hit in the count and we’re not hitting on them.”
“Nobody likes to strike out 16 times,” Hurdle said. “That’s the challenge in front of our guys which has been presented since the beginning of Spring Training. It’s something they’ve got to continue to work at.”
As it was pointed out, The Arizona Diamondbacks have struck out 102 times in 15 games but no other team in the Arizona or Florida Leagues have struck out more than 87 times this spring.
Kevin Correia made his third appearance this spring, allowing three runs on six hits through four innings (65 pitches). He walked three and struck out four.
“I threw a couple of pitches I didn’t really like, but I feel like I’m getting a ground ball when I need to and a strikeout when I need to,” Correia said. “They hit the one ball hard in the first, and everything else, I kind of made a pitch that I wanted, and they got a hit. I think I’m real close. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done, but we are in early Spring Training. I feel pretty good about where I’m at right now.”
Yankees’ Bartolo Colon struck out the side in the first inning on just 12 pitches (10 for strikes) and allowed two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts through four innings.
Charlie Morton pitched three strong innings –and is really having himself a nice spring. In eight innings he has allowed just two runs.
Pirates beat reporter, Jenifer Langosch said, “Actually, I think it’s fair to call him the favorite [for the 5th spot in the rotation] at this point — both because of what he has done and what Scott Olsen has not been able to do.”
Morton allowed just one run (Andrew Jones homer in the 5th) on two hits with two strikeouts.
“Very aggressive with all of his pitches,” Hurdle said. “I think the comfort is picking up. You’re watching him get on the mound, get set over the mound, get a sign and deliver. There’s not a lot of fidgeting. He’s very confident out there. He’s been very, very aggressive.”
“For the most part I felt pretty aggressive,” Morton said. “I fell behind in some counts, but I managed to stay in those counts and not allow a bunch of baserunners. That’s good. There are some things that I’m working on, but I feel fine. I’m just glad to get out there and compete instead of hanging out in Bradenton like I was all winter.”
Russell Martin hit a solo home run off of Correia in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead early. Steve Pearce hit a sac fly (scoring Matt Diaz) and Chris Snyder hit a RBI single (scoring Garrett Jones) to tie the game at two in the 2nd. The Yankees added two more runs in the third inning. Derek Jeter tripled, Alex Rodriguez singled and Robinson Cano had an RBI single.
- Daniel Moskos, is one of the players most likely moving from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indy this year. Pitchers Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Rudy Owens and Michael Crotta; Position players Chase d’Arnaud, Andrew Lambo and Gorkys Hernandez are in the mix to make the jump as well.
“The team last year in Altoona was really good,” said Daniel Moskos, a former first-round pick and Altoona’s closer for most of 2010. “I think it’s almost to the point where there are so many good ballplayers that I don’t know where they are going to put them all. There is a lot of young talent, and it’s really good baseball talent.
“It’s starting to be exciting. You’ve heard management talk about how the focus was on the Minor League system initially, and now the focus is on the Major League team. They’re right, because they’ve got a lot of talent.”
- Andy Marte doubled in his pinch-hit at-bat. Three of his four hits this spring have been doubles.
- Manager Clint Hurdle could have used a designated hitter in the 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night, but wants to work the pitchers at the plate –and improve last year’s results (pitchers batted just .089).
If anybody watched our club last year you saw the lack of execution we had from our pitchers,” said Hurdle, who hasn’t used a designated hitter since Saturday. “It was worse than a soft spot in our lineup. So we’ve put the pitcher in play much earlier in the season than they did last year just so they can get acclimated walking up there, digging in, putting down a bunt or swinging the bat, running down the baseline then having to go out and pitch.”
Hitting coach Gregg Ritchie said, Ritchie said. “It’s going to run that pitcher’s pitch count up. It’s going to move a baserunner 90 feet. Every 90 feet we’re one step closer to scoring a run. So if that pitcher can always get in there and move the runner ahead of him 90 feet no matter how he does it — whether it’s a sacrifice bunt, putting the ball in play, drawing a walk — that’s going to give our offense a better opportunity to score runs.”
- Pittsburgh will face the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday at McKechnie Field. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, the game will be televised on FSN Pittsburgh.
Paul Maholm will start, (four innings) followed by Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens and Tony Watson.
On Sunday, the three day indoor baseball carnival –known as priatefest– came to a close. Whether it was the excitement for the young Bucs, the bright future, or the love the city of Pittsburgh has for black and yellow, fans flocked the David L. Lawerence convention center this weekend. 16,839 were in attendance –the highest since 2003.
“That was probably my and [general manager] Neal [Huntington's] greatest recruiting tool to get Clint [Hurdle] to come to Pittsburgh — the fans,” Frank Coonelly said at PirateFest this weekend. “This is not just a great sports town. It’s a great Pirates town.”
“These fans are still passionate about what we do,” Neal Huntington said. “As we start to win, they’re going to come out and fill this place, and it’s going to be an electric place to be.”
Ross Ohlendorf, Garrett Jones, Evan Meek, Neil Walker, James McDonald, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton, Brad Lincoln and Paul Maholm were the players that attended this years Piratefest.
Here are some highlights from the Q&A sessions:
- On what career they would peruse if they weren’t a ballplayer: Charlie Morton- Something in music. Andrew McCutchen- I’d be Morton’s producer (Morton is actually a pretty good singer/guitar player. He played at last year’s pirate fest. Click here for videos from it.)
- On Morton’s rebound season in 2011: “I’m excited and I’m ready to move on from last year.”
- When the players were asked who their favorite football team was, Jose Tabata said: “My name is Jose Tabata and I’m from Venezuela and I like black and yellow.”
*Reports during mini camp were that Jose Tabata had bulked up this offseason in hopes to add more power to his bat. They weren’t kidding. I took a close up of Tabata so you could see just how much muscle he packed on.
Here are some highlights from the Management Q&A sessions:
- General Manager Neal Huntington mentioned pitchers Rudy Owens and Daniel Moskos as two prospects that have a good chance to make major league appearances in 2011.
- Clint Hurdle has known left-hander Joel Beimel for 17 years. “He has a heart for the area. He wants to be a part of the group that turns this thing around.”
- On if the Pirates will break the 18-year losing streak in 2011: “I can’t see why not. Why can’t we?” -Clint Hurdle
- On the way Pittsburgh has really embraced Clint Hurdle as the new Manager: “I’m humbled by the reception I’ve gotten. I’m proud to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.”
- On a comparison of the Pirates to the San Diego Padres team from 2010: “They had a winning mentality, we didn’t.” -President Frank Coonelly
- In order to help the Pirates play better on the road, Hurdle said he was going to have the players write down their home vs. road routines in order to adjust the mind set.
Manager Clint Hurdle and Bench Coach Jeff Banister taught a youth baseball clinic on Sunday.
Some highlights during the young camp:
- “I don’t have a world series ring either (referring to when a fan asked if Bench coach Jeff Banister had a World Series ring) I’ve been to the world series three times. Four times a charm. I’ve heard that somewhere.” -Manager Clint Hurdle
- A fan asked Manager Clint Hurdle about Pedro Alvarez’s recent weight game due to Holidays, offseason and recent honeymoon, “I’d be 40 pounds over weight…Pedro’s going to be fine.”
Here are several more pictures from Piratefest:
These are the new 2011 batting pratice jersey’s for the Pirates.
Pirates Double-A Altoona Curve had a station set up for the weekend. Here is the 2010 Eastern League Championship flag.
*On a side note. I was overwhelmed by how many great fans came up to me that said they are a reader of my blog. I can’t thank you guys enough for all the support. I hope to continue covering the Pirates and bringing you all the buzz all season (and offseason) long.