Results tagged ‘ charlie morton ’
Former Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan may not be on the staff anymore, but yet he continues to be a story from all the tinkering he did to the pitchers last season.
We’ve heard about the issues between Brad Lincoln’s mechanics that were tweaked by Kerrigan, this time Charlie Morton says he was advised to stop throwing his sinker –a pitch he threw two seasons prior. Morton has also been throwing the sinker this spring, and the results are very encouraging.
“I think when I get that good sinker action, it allows me to be more aggressive in the zone,” said Morton, who has induced three double plays in five innings this spring. “I don’t have to be too fine. I can be more over the plate, just down in the zone.”
“He’s letting the ball work for him now,” Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s kept the ball down with great regularity. It’s great to see him out there competing and feeling good about himself.”
The battle for the 5th spot in the rotation gets even more competitive after impressive innings by both Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln in the 4-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fl. On Thursday afternoon.
Charlie Morton gave up a lead off double to Rajai Davis in the first inning then former Bucco Jose Bautista hit an RBI single to give the Blue Jays an early 1-0 lead. Morton settled down and didn’t allow any more hits or runs over the rest of his outing.
Morton faced 10 batters through three innings, needing just 25 pitches.
“He’s letting the ball work for him now,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Morton. “He’s kept the ball down with great regularity. It’s great to see him out there competing and feeling good about himself.”
Brad Lincoln was even more impressive. Lincoln was scheduled to throw two innings but stayed in for a third. Lincoln finished the day facing the minimum nine. No runs, no hits, no walks, one strikeout.
“Brad was very good today,” Hurdle said. “Much better with his command than his first time out. The ball was coming out of his hand a little more crisper. He had some sink to the ball. He pitched very efficiently as well.”
The rest of the pitchers behind Morton and Lincoln were solid as well.
Tyler Yates and Jeff Locke did not allow a hit nor a run during their inning of work.
Caesar Valdez allowed two hits but struck out two and didn’t allow a run during his inning.
- Andrew McCutchen batted lead off for the first time this spring. Manager Clint Hurdle is still unsure of whether McCutchen will bat lead off or third this year. Hurdle said spring training is the time to figure it out.
- Brett Cecil struck out the side (McCutchen, Steve Pearce and Matt Diaz) in the first inning. He then went on to strike out four Bucks in a row (Alvarez in 2nd inning) and six of the seven batters he faced (Cedeno in the 3rd).
- Ronny Cedeno 0-for-11 so far this spring.
- Pedro Alvarez hit a two RBI triple in the fifth inning. He is batting .357 so far this spring.
- The Pirates pitchers continue to pick off runners at first base this spring –something they have been working on a lot during Camp Hurdle. Cesar Valdez picked off John Tolisano in the ninth inning.
- Evan Meek will make his spring training debut on Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays (pitching one inning).
Meek will throw a 20 pitch bullpen on Friday.
- Olsen appears to be a week to 10 days away from making his grapefruit league debut as a Bucco.
Olsen is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. Then throw two rounds of live batting practice on Monday to see if he’s ready to go.
- The Pirates return home (McKechnie Field) on Friday to play the Phillies.
Kevin Correia will get the start for the Bucs followed by Brian Burres, Fernando Nieve, Bryan Morris, Kyle McPherson and Daniel Moskos.
Joe Blanton is scheduled to start for the Phillies.
- The Pirates travel to Dunedin today to face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05.
You can watch the game live for free on MLB.com here
- Injury updates:
Evan Meek is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Friday. Meek has been sidelined with a tight right calf.
Scott Olsen is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. Olsen has been sidelined with a left hamstring strain.
Joe Beimel will test his arm this am by throwing soft toss at 8:30 am. Beimel’s MRI showed no acute injury on his left forearm.
- Lyle Overbay will be facing his former team (Toronto Blue Jays) for the first time since the Pirates signed him this offseason. Overbay spent five seasons with the Jays.
- The Pirates have been focusing a lot this spring on pick off’s at first base and cutting down on runners stealing bases.
I’ve noticed that most of the pitchers have been throwing to first, trying to keep the runner close and unable to steal –something the Pirates were not so great at last season.
“We have all been working on that stuff a lot down here [at spring training],” Pirates right-handed reliever Chris Resop said of the shorter, quicker delivery to the plate when a runner is on base. “We have to give our catchers a chance. We don’t want to be known as a pitching staff you can run on. Nobody wants that.”
“I think if you look at it, it can get embarrassing,” said left-hander Paul Maholm, who cut down from 15 players stealing off him in 2009 to eight in ’10. “Everyone on the staff, it doesn’t matter if you are a righty or a lefty, you need to do what you can to stop it. You need to just realize that this is something that is important if we want to win ballgames.”
- Pirates President Frank Coonelly chatted with fans on Wednesday. You can read the entire chat transcript here.
If the injury to Joe Beimel is more than what it seems, and Scott Olsen is already not doing all baseball-related activities, are you comfortable with Daniel Moskos and whomever in the lefthanded reliever position?
Coonelly: “We do not believe the injury to Joe will keep him from competing this spring. Scott Olsen is performing baseball activities and has already thrown several bullpens. Scott seems to be well on his way to pitching in games, possibly as early as next week. Daniel Moskos and Tony Watson are two young exciting left hand arms who are in camp and competing for a spot in the bullpen. It’s early, but both have looked strong. Brian Burres is also a veteran lefthander who can pitch out of the pen if he is not in the starting rotation.”
Pitchers: Morton (two or three innings), Lincoln (two), Yates (one), Locke (one or two) and Valdez (one).
Lineup: McCutchen CF, Pearce 1B, Diaz LF, Alvarez DH, Jones RF, Atkins 3B, Cedeno SS, Friday 2B, Jaramillo C
Pitchers: Cecil (Three innings) Followed by Rauch, Villanueva, Richmond, Ray
Lineup: Davis CF, Thames LF, Bautista 3B, Lind DH, Rivera RF, Cooper 1B, Mcdonald SS, Budde C, Diaz 2B
On Tuesday morning I arrived at Pirate City just after 9:30 am. It was drizzling throughout the practices and workouts but luckily cleared up in time for the game at 1:05 against the Yankees (I’m hoping for better weather tomorrow so I can get better coverage).
A friend told me that during batting practice, Pedro Alvarez was hitting bombs out of the field –hitting several palm trees. Lyle Overbay joked saying it was “too high” as the ball sailed over his head (major league joke).
Luis Heredia (front), Stetson Allie, Jameson Taillon and other pitchers taking part in some drills.
Chris Leroux throwing in the bullpen.
A group of pitchers (Charlie Morton, Justin Wilson, Brad Lincoln, Mike Crotta, etc.) took part in bunting drills and throws to second base during workouts. They also worked on tagging out the runner at first base.
I took a video of Brad Lincoln and Charlie Morton during drills. You can watch it here.
Be sure to follow me on twitter:(@kristpie) for live game updates and more pictures and info throughout the day.
- The Pirates will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the home opener at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fl. On Sunday.
- The Flags will fly at half staff in honor of Chuck Tanner. There will also be a moment of silence before the game as well.
- Evan Meek threw a 30 pitch bullpen session Sunday and it was reported that he felt great.
Meek will take Monday off from throwing and either pitch live batting practice or to make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday.
- Charlie Morton’s debut in Saturday’s game against the Rays went very well.
“(Morton) pitched well,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He made pitches out of the stretch. He was aggressive. It was a very good outing for him.”
“I am confident, after seeing how they were beating the ball into the ground, that my sinker is definitely a pitch I should be using,” Morton said.
“What we’re concerned about is getting (the fastball) in the strike zone and down,” Morton said. “I would’ve loved to have struck people out today, but I’m glad I got contact and the balls were on the ground. I would much rather go nine innings that strike out 10 people. If I could do both, that’d be awesome.”
- Monday’s games will be a split squad.
- Paul Maholm will be starting for the Pirates at home on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. He will be followed by Jeff Karstens, who will also pitch two innings. Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Justin Wilson and Cesar Valdez will all pitch one inning a piece.
- In Port Charlotte, Bryan Morris will start for the Bucs against the Rays, followed by Fernando Nieve. They will both pitch two innings of work. Sean Gallaher, Aaron Thompson, Kyle McPherson will pitch one inning.
An early 2-0 lead blown as the Pirates fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-5, in the Grapefruit League opener.
Charlie Morton started for the Bucs, and he looked solid. He allowed just one hit and one walk through two innings of work.
The Pirates quickly took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Ronny Cedeno, with the bases loaded, hit a fielders choice scoring a run. Jose Tabata followed with an RBI single.
Brad Lincoln, who is also battling Morton for the 5th spot in the rotation, allowed one run on three hits, striking out one through two innings. The lone run he allowed was a solo-home run by Third baseman Evan Longoria in the fourth inning. Lincoln also picked off Sean Rodriguez from second base –something that the pitchers have been working heavily on this spring training.
“It was the right timing, and I was fortunate enough to make a good throw,” Lincoln said. “It got me out of a big situation right there.”
Daniel Moskos pitched a scoreless, hitless inning, walking just one.
Things turned sour in the sixth inning when Daniel McCutchen allowed three earned runs on two hits and two walks.
Justin Thomas allowed four more runs to score in the seventh inning after Josh Fields made an error at first base.
The Pirates tried to rally in the ninth inning. Garrett Atkins hit a RBI double scoring Garrett Jones. Ryan Doumit grounded to second base scoring Atkins. But Josh Rodriguez striked out with two men on, to end the game.
The Pirates will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday at 1:05 PM.
Charlie Morton will be taking the mound against David Price in Port Charlotte in the Grapefruit league opener. Morton will pitch two innings, followed by Brad Lincoln who will also pitch two innings.
This gives the staff a good look at both starters who are in the running for the 5th spot in the rotation.
So what is pitching coach Ray Searage looking for? “All I’m looking for right now is the aggressive approach, first-pitch strikes and attacking the bottom of the zone.”
They will be followed by Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Daniel McCutchen and Justin Thomas and Cesar Valdez, who will all pitch one inning each.
Here is the Pirates starting lineup:
Jose Tabata 7
Neil Walker 4
Andrew McCutchen 8
Pedro Alvarez 5
Matt Diaz 9
Lyle Overbay 3
Ryan Doumit DH
Chris Snyder 2
Ronny Cedeno 6
Charlie Morton 1
The Rays starting lineup:
John Jaso 2
Johnny Damon 7
Evan Longoria 5
Manny Ramirez DH
Ben Zobrist 9
BJ Upton 8
Dan Johnson 3
Sean Rodriguez 4
Reid Brignac 6
David Price 1
The Pirates will be facing Ace David Price of the Rays. He went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA last season.
“The guy on the mound tomorrow can spin it a little bit, he’s got some plus [velocity],” manager Clint Hurdle said on Friday. “We could be behind a little bit. So you just got to wait and show up and find out what’s going to happen.”
The starters will most likely play five innings, two at-bats each.
- Steve Pearce has been getting workouts at third base this year. During the 2010 season, Pearce played five games at third with the Triple-A Indians –the only time he’s played that position since college.
Pearce has been working out at third, right field and first base to become a more utility guy in hopes of making the Pirates roster.
“It definitely is a boost because they see it,” Pearce said. “They see how hard I work. They see I have good hands and footwork. For me, being a guy who’s been in Triple-A in parts of the past four years, this gives me a better chance to stick in the big leagues.”
“It’s been an easy transition because I played (third) in college,” Pearce said. “I’m comfortable over there. I just have to get my reps so it becomes a little bit easier getting reads on hops and stuff like that.”
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated and MLB Network reports that the Pirates offered Carl Pavano two years/ $13 million this offseason before he decided to re-sign with the Minnesota Twins.
Charlie Morton will be starting on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays David Price in Port Charlotte in the Grapefruit league opener. Morton will pitch two innings, followed by Brad Lincoln who will also pitch two innings.
This gives the staff a good look at both starters who are in the running for the 5th spot in the rotation.
They will be followed by Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Daniel McCutchen and Justin Thomas/Cesar Valdez
- Kevin Correia will start at McKechnie Field on Sunday against James Shields.
- On Monday it is a split squad; Bryan Morris will start for the Pirates against the Rays in Port Charlotte. The Bucs will face the Baltimore Orioles in Bradenton but the starters have not yet been announced.
- Jose Ascanio missed workouts again on Wednesday with tightness in his right elbow. He’s listed as day-to-day.
- Scott Olsen threw on flat ground. He is still sidelined with a left hamstring strain.
- Thursday will be the last workout held at Pirate City. Camp will be relocated to McKechnie Field.
“We still have much work to do,” Hurdle said. “But at this point, we’ve covered what we wanted to cover.” Hurdle said more team fundamentals and specialty defenses will be added to the mix in the next few days. We’ll be ready to roll on Saturday.”
- Pitchers threw a session of live batting practice to the players on Wednesday. They included: Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, Daniel Moskos, Sean Gallagher, Brad Lincoln and Brian Burres.
- Manager Clint Hurdle is very happy with what he’s seen so far from the Pirates four locked starters Kevin Correia, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald and Paul Maholm.
“I’m seeing the things that I want to see out of the guys that we already have lined up in the starting rotation,” Hurdle said. “There are a number of other guys who are throwing well through this period. They are all working extremely hard. That’s the thing I’m most optimistic about.”
Baseball America released its list of Top 100 prospects on Wednesday. Three Pirates made the list: Jameson Taillon (No. 11), Tony Sanchez (No. 46) and Stetson Allie (No. 79) .
Lyle Overbay takes part in the annual sliding drill (photo BucsInsider)
- Pirates owner Bob Nutting arrived in Bradenton, Fl. On Saturday night and was spotted at Pirate City On Sunday. He will be in town for two weeks.
- Sunday was photo day for the players. The pictures are used for baseball cards to media outlets. You can see a lot of pictures here at Yahoo! Sports
- The players worked on run down drills on Sunday. The outfielders played as baserunners and the pitchers joined the infielders to mimic pickoffs and rundowns.
They also worked on baserunning drills –a huge emphasis during Camp Hurdle.
The Pitchers worked on bunting and slug bunting.
- Group two of the Pirates pitching threw live batting practice on Sunday. They included: Charlie Morton, Tony Watson, Jeff Karstens, Chris Resop, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Brian Burres, Daniel McCutchen, Sean Gallagher, Cesar Valdez, Daniel Moskos, Tyler Yates, Justin Thomas, Ramon Aguero, Fernando Nieve and Bryan Morris.
- Manager Clint Hurdle spent time after practice talking about outfielder Corey Wimberly who will be fighting for a bench spot.
“This could be Corey’s time. That’s why we went out and got him. We had talked him in a couple different avenues over the winter and then we were able to make a trade for him. To his credit, delay doesn’t mean denial. He has persevered. He hasn’t taken feeling being passed over on the field with him. He’s continued to go out and do what he needs to do to make himself attractive to whatever organization has him.”
- Jeff Karstens will be filling many different roles for the Pirates this season. Although he won’t be competing for the 5th spot in the rotation, Karstens is the favorite to be called upon for long relief or to spot start.
“He matured greatly last year, and I hope he continues to do that this year because he has a good instinct when he’s out there on the mound,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “The beauty of Jeff is he can do multiple roles and he knows what those roles entail.”
- In the last several months Tyler Yates has rediscovered his changeup, a pitch he lost when he moved from starter to reliever (only needing the two best pitches).
“I think I’ve learned by watching other pitchers with less stuff than I have get people out and I’m like, ‘How do they do it?’ ” Yates said. “You start watching them and you see that they sink the ball a little bit more, cut the ball a little bit more, change speeds better. It’s something that I’d like to add to my repertoire, so I won’t have to throw the ball 96 mph every time out there.”
Yates is also looking to add a cutter to his repertoire, which would give him five pitches (fastball, sinker and slider are the others).
“If I can add (the change and cutter), it would give me longevity in my career,” he said. “At 33 years old, I’m trying to get everything I can out of it.”
A shot of a beautiful day in Bradenton (photo via @Colin_Dunlap)
Listen to the best Pirates talk here
- Manager Clint Hurdle has the players working on “slug” bunting this year –something John Russell didn’t teach.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com explains further what “slug” bunting is, if your not familiar with the technique.
This type of bunt is executed by showing bunt, drawing the bat back and then trying to chop the ball hard at a defender who is expecting a normal slow-rolling bunt.
A successful “slug” bunt has an element of surprise. And it can be particularly effective when the defense imposes a wheel play, which is when the corner fielders charge toward home while the middle infielders run to cover first and third.
- With less than six weeks away until opening day Manager Clint Hurdle is still mum about a possible lineup for the Bucs.
“We’ve had talks about lineups for a month and running,” he said. “I’m thinking about it, but no pens have been (used). All pencil work, so far.”
In the past, I’ve tried to have the best hitter on the team hit third,” Hurdle said. “We’ve got a number of guys we’re talking about for that. And you don’t want to be a slave to a guy’s comfort level, but some guys have a history of performing better in some places than in others. So, it’s all taken into account.”
- The Pirates minor league camp begins on February 28. The Pirates invited about 30 pitchers and 30 position players to report early. The camp will start in full on March 7.
- Sean Gallagher is a candidate for the Bucs ‘pen, but the club isn’t ruling out using him as a starter –most likely at Triple-A to begin the year.
- The following pitchers threw their second side session on Thursday: Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Fernando Nieve, Chris Resop, Sean Gallagher, Tony Watson, Cesar Valdez, Tyler Yates, Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Daniel McCutchen, Ramon Aguero, Daniel Moskos and Bryan Morris.
- Left-hand pitcher Scott Olsen left workouts early on Thursday due to a left hamstring strain.
Olsen doesn’t believe it’s anything serious and says it’s because of dehydration.
“I don’t foresee it being anything serious,” he said.
Pirates spring training camp: catchers drills (photo via @RobBiertempfel)
ST camp: pitchers fielding drills (photo via @RobBiertempfel)
Young Bucs: Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen waiting to take some swings in batting practice (photo via @BucsInsider)