Results tagged ‘ bullpen ’
- The Pirates will face the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 today at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fl.
Ross Ohlendorf will be starting for the Bucs. He will also be making his Grapefruit League debut.
Tony Watson (two innings), Joel Hanrahan (1), Jose Veras (1), Mike Crotta (1) and Chris Leroux (1) will follow.
- The Twins will send left-hander Brian Duensing to the mound. Former Bucco Matt Capps is scheduled to make an appearance.
- Scott Olsen is scheduled to throw on Wednesday. Olsen made a few comments to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette on Tuesday that had several bloggers and fans mad.
General Manager Neal Huntington said on Sunday that if Olsen (or any of the other pitchers) do not make the 5th starter role, they would be moved to the bullpen –something apparently he believes he is too good for.
“He hasn’t told me that, I don’t know anything about the bullpen, I’m a starter,” Olsen told the Post-Gazette Tuesday.”
They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy,” Olsen said. “They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it.”
Huntington addressed Olsen’s comments on Tuesday saying, “During our recruitment of Scott, it was our clear belief and his clear belief that he would be given every opportunity to compete for the fifth starter spot. We feel like, not just with him, but for some other pitchers, if they don’t win that spot, the next logical step could be a bullpen role.”
Olsen has a very bad past. Read this post by Rumbunter.
- Joe Beimel had an MRI on Tuesday but the results have not been made available. Beimel was shutdown on Tuesday after suffering tightness in his forearm after a 10 pitch session.
- Today is Pirates Jim Negrych‘s 26th birthday.
- Charlie Morton will pitch the first three innings Thursday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Brad Lincoln will pitch two innings, followed by Tyler Yates (one), Jeff Locke (one or two) and Jose Valdez (one).
Revere CF, Plouffe SS, Kubel DH, Valencia 3B, Hughes 2B, Bailey 1B, Dinkelman LF, Holm C, Repko RF
Pitchers: Duensing, Capps, Neshek, Dumatrait, Manship, Hughes
Tabata LF, Wimberly SS, A. McCutchen CF, Alvarez 3B, Walker 2B, Overbay 1B, Pearce DH, Doumit C, Lambo RF
Pitchers: Tony Watson, Joel Hanrahan, Jose Veras, Mike Crotta and Chris Leroux.
The Pirates made several announcements on Wednesday, leaving just a few spots open in the ‘pen during the final six weeks until opening day.
Manager Clint Hurdle named Joel Hanrahan the Bucs closer and Evan Meek as the eighth-inning set up man.
He also announced that Joe Beimel will become the Pirates lefty specialist for the 2011 season. Beimel signed a minor league contract with a non-roster spring training invite. The Pirates will need to remove someone from the 40-man roster in order to make room for the southpaw.
“We didn’t go get him to try him out,” Hurdle said. “We wanted to have a left-handed option that can bridge innings for us toward the back end of the game. He’s going to play a significant role as well.”
The leaves four spots open in the bullpen.
After great success with the Pirates in 2010 (in 19 innings, 22 appearances, Resop posted a 1.89 ERA with 24 strikeouts), Chris Resop will most likely land a job.
Jose Veras seems like another favorite in the ‘pen. In five seasons and 176 appearances, Veras has a career 4.24 ERA (3.75 ERA in 2010 with the Cleveland Indians).
“He was a good get for us,” Hurdle said of Veras, who signed a Minor League deal with the team in January. “[General manager] Neal [Huntington] was very aggressive to go get Veras. He’s got a big arm.”
The Pirates have many options for the remaining spots. Jeff Karstens and Brian Burres could fill in as the long reliever. Whoever doesn’t win the fifth spot in the rotation, Charlie Morton or Scott Olsen, could also fill that role.
Some other options include: Tyler Yates, Kevin Hart, Chris Leroux, Justin Thomas, Sean Gallagher, Jose Ascanio, and Fernanado Nieve.
“I want these guys to have a clean shot,” Hurdle said. “It’s not always about the results in Spring Training, but it’s about the quality of the stuff. I think we’ve got enough educated eyes around here to get a better read on that, rather than just the numbers as they play out.”
In Part two, here is the list of the Pirates starting rotation and bullpen projected stats for the new season according to MLB.com Fantasy.
- Paul Maholm (LHP) Ranked: 440
2011 projections: 9-13, 190 IP, 211 H, 74 BB, 112 K, 4.45 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
*Notes: Opponents batted .263 off the lefty in 2008, .290 in ’09 and .303 in ’10. He’s also fallen well below the league average in strand rate since ’09, finishing last amongst all qualified starters last season. At 28, he appears in the wrong direction.
- Kevin Correia (RHP) Ranked: 410
2011 projections: 8-12, 181 IP, 164 H, 84 BB, 131 K, 4.38 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
*Notes: Correia posted 12 wins and a 3.91 ERA in his first year as a full time starter back in ’09…The right hander will no longer have the luxury of pitching home turns in PETCO Park, so don’t expect a full return to form.
- James McDonald (RHP) Ranked: 208
2011 projections: 10-11, 171 IP, 165 H, 72 BB, 153 K, 3.53 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
*Notes: After arriving in the Steel City, McDonald showed why he was considered one of LA’s top prospects, ratting off a fantastic September, highlighted by a 2.31 ERA and a 30/13 K/BB ratio over 35 frames…He throws hard and has proven that he can miss bats consistently. The Bucs will look to McDonald to be the ace of a developing young staff.
- Ross Ohlendorf (RHP) Ranked: 441
2011 projections: 7-13, 155 IP, 169 H, 43 BB, 103 K, 4.01 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
*Notes: The right-hander made 21 starts for the Bucs last season and came away with just one win and a GB/FB rate that has plummeted from 1.31 in 08′ to just 0.68 last year.
Split Duties: Starter/Bullpen/Minors
- Scott Olsen (LHP) Ranked: 607
2011 projections: 3-7, 111 IP, 125 H, 42 BB, 76 K, 4.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
*Notes: At 27-years-old, the right-hander is unlikely to ever become the dominant force that many envisioned him as several years ago. A few more strikeouts, however, could make him a serviceable mid-rotation hurler.
- Charlie Morton (RHP) Ranked: 626
2011 projections: 5-6, 90 IP, 106 H, 34 BB, 62 K, 4.30 ERA, 1.56 WHIP
*Notes: Morton’s soaring 2009 K/BB ratio had some tabbing the 27-year-old right-hander as a possible breakout candidate last season, but the strides he made at Triple-A never translated to the major leave level. Morton’s chances of starting the season in Pittsburgh rotation were dealt a serious blow by the team’s acquisition of Scott Olsen and Kevin Correia this offseason.
- Brad Lincoln (RHP) Ranked: 760
2011 projections: 2-5, 60 IP, 66 H, 14 BB, 36 K, 5.10 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
*Notes: The fourth overall selection of the 2006 first-year player draft has had to play catchup after recovering from Tommy John Surgery that coast him all of ’07. His velocity has fully returned after the procedure, but high strikeout totals haven’t followed…He’ll need to have a standout spring to avoid starting the year back with Triple-A Indianapolis.
- Jeff Karstens (RHP) Ranked: 617
2011 projections: 3-4, 94 IP, 106 H, 23 BB, 63 K, 4.60 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
*Notes: Karstens gave the Bucs innings as both a starter and reliever last year with slightly better results than in 2009. His 2.0 BB/9 ratio an improvement, but the advanced control was offset by a .300 average against and a 1.5 HR/9 mark.
- Joel Harahan (RHP) Ranked: 215
2011 projections: 2-4, 26 SV, 66.2 IP, 60 H, 25 BB, 82 K, 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
*Notes: A spring training competition with Evan Meek for the Pirates closing gig awaits, but Hanrahan’s far superior strikeout rate should give him the early edge.
- Evan Meek (RHP) Ranked: 259
2011 projections: 4-3, 7 SV, 74.1 IP, 62 H, 28 BB, 63 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
*Notes: The emerging righty pitched to a 1.11 ERA and 1.05 WHIP before the All-Star break and finished the year with stellar all-around umbers, collecting a handful of saves in the process. Should serve as a key late-inning contributor even if he doesn’t assume the stopper role.
- Chris Resop (RHP) Ranked: 747
2011 projections: 1-2, 53.1 IP, 49 H, 27 BB, 44 K, 4.22 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
*Notes: In 22 appearances for Pittsburgh, Resop registered a nifty 1.89 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The right-hander figures to fill a larger bullpen role for the club in ’11.
***Neither Joe Beimel or Jose Veras, both who I project to be a part of the Pirates bullpen, were ranked in the MLB.com Fantasy projections.
The fifth spot in the rotation is still up for grabs heading into spring training. Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Kevin Correia and James McDonald round out the top four (not necessarily in that order). Charlie Morton, Scott Olsen, Brad Lincoln are among the top to battle for that spot. Left out in the mix, is Jeff Karstens who in 19 starts (26 appearances) went 3-10 with a 4.92 ERA.
What is Karstens ideal role for Pittsburgh?
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to start,” Karstens said. “Because [that way] I’d know when I am pitching. But, what it honestly comes down to is whatever they want me to do to help the team succeed. That’s all I want to do.”
With only two weeks until Pitchers and Catchers report to spring training, Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered fans questions in this weeks inbox (You can read the entire article here).
Of all the non-roster players invited to Spring Training, which ones probably have the best chance of sticking with the Bucs?
Let’s look at the position players first. Depending on whether the Pirates opt to carry three catchers or not, there will be two or three bench spots left to fill. You can already pencil in Ryan Doumit and one of Matt Diaz/Garrett Jones into two of the bench openings. That makes finding some backup infielders the immediate priority.
Corey Wimberly is an intriguing non-roster invite, in my opinion, because he has the versatility to play across the infield and outfield. His speed would be a major asset off the bench, and he has hit well at each Minor League level. Wimberly’s chances of making the roster will be directly affected by what the Pirates see in Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez.
It’s also looking like the Pirates’ backup corner infielder will come out of the non-roster invite list. Garrett Atkins, Josh Fields and Andy Marte are all candidates to win that spot. I might give Atkins the slight edge simply because he has proven himself at the Major League level and has a prior relationship with manager Clint Hurdle.
On the pitching side of things, the Pirates could be poised to add a number of non-roster players by the time Spring Training ends. Joe Beimel, who signed a Minor League deal on Friday, is almost a lock. With so many vacancies in the bullpen, look for Justin Thomas, Fernando Nieve, Sean Gallagher and Jose Veras to make pushes for open spots.
What do you think of Charlie Morton coming out of the bullpen?
While the Pirates are going to give Morton every chance to make the starting rotation, the club is ready to consider him for the bullpen as a fallback option. A large reason for that is because Morton is out of options and cannot be sent to the Minors without being exposed to other clubs on waivers. So if Scott Olsen wins the job as the team’s fifth starter, expect Morton to be fighting for one of the open spots in the ‘pen.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered questions in this weeks inbox where she discussed the search for lefty bullpen help, contract extension with Neil Walker and more (You can read the entire transcript here).
- When Hurdle took over as manager, he said he felt we needed a couple of left-handers in the bullpen. Do you see any left-handers on the horizon other than Scott Olsen?
Assuming that Olsen remains in a starting role, the Pirates do lack proven left-handed options in the bullpen. Lefties Justin Thomas and Brian Burres both signed Minor League deals with the club and could be possibilities for the bullpen. Internal options include Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos, though neither has any previous Major League experience.
The Pirates continue to scour the market to see if there are other left-handed options available, and don’t be surprised if some additions are made in the next few weeks. It would be a substantial risk to begin the season without a reliable left-handed option, even if management insists that it doesn’t see a strong benefit in having a lefty specialist.
- Is there any chance that both Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo make the team out of Spring Training? The Pirates have already said that they are going to play Doumit more than just as a backup catcher, so could we carry three catchers into the season?
Yes, I believe there is a chance that the Pirates will carry a third catcher this season, though such a decision has not yet been made. As you mentioned, the Pirates’ plans for Doumit are not to plug him solely into a backup role. In order to have the flexibility to liberally insert Doumit in as an outfielder, first baseman or pinch-hitter, the Pirates would need to have a third catcher available in case of an emergency.
This decision is certainly one to keep an eye on as the makeup of the bench comes into better focus during Spring Training. It will also be intriguing to see how Doumit’s new role develops, and how he handles the decrease in playing time.
- With all the talk about the fifth spot in the rotation going to Olsen and Brad Lincoln, is there a chance that Rudy Owens could be rewarded with the job instead?
It’s unlikely that Owens will make the jump from Double-A to the Majors without first stopping in Triple-A to begin the 2011 season. This will be Owens’ first taste of big league camp, and he will technically be competing for a rotation spot with the Pirates as camp gets under way. However, I just don’t see the Pirates slotting Owens into the rotation on Opening Day no matter how well he pitches this spring.
I’d project that Owens will start the year in Indianapolis, and it is certainly possible that you could see him in Pittsburgh sometime midseason. That will depend on how the rotation is faring at the Major League level and how Owens continues to develop in the Minors. I will say that, from a selfish standpoint, I’m looking forward to getting my first look at Owens in person this spring. The numbers that he has put up over the last two seasons are sensational, and he is a left-hander to get excited about.
And as you mention possible fifth starter candidates, don’t forget about Charlie Morton. He, along with Olsen and Lincoln, seem the three likeliest options.
- Neil Walker was great last year and, in my opinion, was one of the bright spots for the Pirates last season. Do you see the Pirates signing him long-term?
While there is definitely reason to be excited about Walker’s potential, it is too early to begin talking about a long-term contract for the former first-round Draft pick. The reality is that Walker has had just four months of success at the Major League level. That’s not to say that his 2010 success was a fluke. It’s just to point out that Walker must consistently produce for another few seasons before the Pirates would feel comfortable offering multi-millions his way.
- Ross Ohlendorf and Joel Hanrahan filed for salary arbitration on Friday. They are the only two Pirates to file, just 119 players in major league baseball.
- Garrett Jones arrived at mini camp on Thursday (he was late due to a family wedding in Mexico) noticeably thinner and “a little bit faster, too.” Jones weighed 255 last season and is said to have dropped 10 pounds. This offseason Jones has been diligently working with a speed enhancement and velocity trainer.
- Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch addressed the possible future of five players as spring training approaches us.
Jose Ascanio missed the entire 2010 season due to an injury but has pitched well during the Venezuelan Winter League. Most likely, his role in 2011 will be as a reliever.
Kevin Hart missed the entire 2010 season as well, he underwent labrum surgery after a disastrous spring training. Hart is currently healthy and threw during Pirates mini camp. His role in 2011 would most likely be as a reliever, until he can prove himself as a starter.
Charlie Morton had a horrible first two months of the season, picking up nine losses and then was optioned to Triple-A Indy. He pitched much better toward the end of the season but the Pirates are still unsure whether he is mentally tough enough. Morton will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training.
Chris Resop is one of the leading candidates in the Pirates ‘pen. After being claimed off waivers in August, he allowed four earned runs and struck out 24 in 19 innings.
John Bowker will be competing for a spot as an extra outfielder along with Alex Presley, Steve Pearce, Cory Wimberly and Ryan Doumit (Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz will split the majority of the playing time in right field this season). Bowker was acquired in July by the San Franscio Giants and batted hit .232 in 26 games with the Pirates.
The Pirates designated pitcher Joe Martinez for assignment on Wednesday, to make room for Kevin Correia who was added to the 40-man roster on Friday.
If Martinez clears waivers, the Bucs have 10 days to either trade, release or outright him to the minors (If out righted to the minors, he would receive an invitation to Spring Training to compete for a spot in the Pirates bullpen).
Martinez was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the Javier Lopez trade, where he, along with John Bowker, were sent to Pittsburgh.
In five relief appearances with the Pirates in 2010, Martinez allowed three runs in 8.2 innings while striking out six and walking three.
The Pirates announced four more non-roster spring training invites. Tyler Yates, Jeff Clement, Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson. The non-roster list currently sits at 12. Those already invited are: Justin Thomas, Fernando Nieve, Josh Fields, Dusty Brown, Sean Gallagher, Donnie Veal, Andy Marte and Cesar Valdez.
General Manager Neal Huntington discusses day two of the winter meetings with Pittsburgh media.
- On what the Pirates are looking for in a starter: “At this point, we’d like to find some stability in the rotation. We need a guy who we feel comfortable with, who is going to take the ball every fifth day. You never know with pitchers. But we’ve looked at track records. And maybe there is a guy out there that’s got some upside that is coming back from injury in the last couple of years that may be a fit or maybe we have two stabilizers. We need to eat some innings. We need to lighten the load on our bullpen. We need to get deeper into the games as a rotation. We need to give ourselves some options.”
- On how Huntington wants to build his bullpen: “A little bit of everything. We’re exploring the free agent market. We’re exploring the trade market. We’re looking at the 4-A free agent market. We’ve got a lot of internal options as well. If we add more starters than we need, we’ve got some additional bullpen options. Maybe then that pushes a guy who has had some success as a starter, maybe it pushes him back in the bullpen again and we deepen our bullpen. Maybe it pushes some of our internal options to come into camp in a little bit better shape. Too many options is never a bad thing, and that’s where we’re trying to go. We’re trying to add depth. We’re trying to give ourselves choices to make. We love power with strikeouts, but short of that, sometimes a variety of looks and a variety of stuff can help give a manager options.”
- On whether he expects to have an upgrade at shortstop after the winter meetings: “Maybe not out of the Winter Meetings. We have laid some groundwork on some things that we can improve upon defensively.”
- Ronny Cedeno’s future with the ball club: “Ronny is still the guy, but at some point you have to stop talking about potential and you have to talk about performance. We’re getting to that point with Ronny. The consistency was there for a good portion of the year. He struggled at the end, no question.”
- On the status of Jeff Clement, Steve Pearce and Kevin Hart: “Everybody is on schedule. Nobody has had any significant setback. Everyone is on schedule for where we thought they would be. As we sit here today, yes, [all will be ready for Spring Training].”
- On possible internal bullpen options: “I think a lot of people are beating up our bullpen because of the unknown. There is some power there. There is also some risk. It makes us feel like we don’t have to go seek an upgrade. But if there is one there that makes sense for us, we’ll certainly look.”
- On Kevin Hart and his best fit in the Bucs bullpen: “Given Kevin coming off the injury, it looks that way. It would be awfully hard to stretch him back out and expect him to eat 200 innings. We want to see where he is physically. We want to see where he is as his rehab continues to progress. Sitting here today, it’s a lot harder to envision him as a 200-inning starter next year. Maybe somewhere back down the road, but his quickest path back may be as a reliever. He’s also out of options, and that’s going to be the other challenge.”