Results tagged ‘ diamondbacks ’
The Pirates (6-7) will face the Cincinnati Reds (8-5) at 1:10 PM ET today for the second of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Right-hander James McDonald (0-0, 5.56 ERA) will start for the Bucs against righty Mike Leake (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
McDonald threw 38 pitches in the first frame against the Colorado Rockies in his previous start, but settled in and pitched 6.2 innings. The four runs McDonald allowed in the first were the only runs the Rockies scored off him until the 7th inning (Two runs scored off Rookie Mike Crotta, one earned by McDonald). He struck out three and walked three during his outing.
Leake allowed six runs on nine hits over 4.2 innings his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He walked two and struck out four.
Leake was scheduled to throw on Sunday but was bumped up a day. Edinson Volquez was pushed to because of a stiff neck.
- With the Pirates 6-1 win last night over the Reds, the Bucs snapped a four-game losing streak. They also improved their road record to 5-2.
- The Pirates pitching staff ranks third in the National League with a 3.23 ERA. The only two staffs with better numbers are the San Diego Padres (2.70 ERA) and the Milwaukee Brewers (2.96 ERA).
- Second baseman Neil Walker batted cleanup for the first time in his career. He went 1-for-4 with a two-run homerun and a walk.
- Jose Tabata had his first career four-hit game in Friday’s game. He also swiped his seventh bag (in eight attempts).
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com pointed out that earlier this morning, Andrew McCutchen’s name plate above his locker read: McKKKKutchen (He struck out four times in yesterday’s game). McCutchen took the gag in good spirits. It’s great to see the players and the clubhouse so loose.
- The Pirates named Right-hander Jeff Karstens as the starter for Sunday’s game against the Reds. Although it was assumed, Manager Clint Hurdle made the announcement on Friday. Karstens will be taking the place of Ross Ohlendorf, who went on the disabled list with right shoulder posterior strain.
- Manager Clint Hurdle threw out the same lineup top of the order today. Andrew McCutchen will bat leadoff, followed by Jose Tabata second, Lyle Overbay third, Neil Walker fourth and Pedro Alvarez fifth.
Hurdle told Doug Miller of MLB.com, “I try to be more proactive than reactive. Normally, whenever I make a move with a player or group of players, I have a conversation with them about it. I thought about it overnight. We had a good first week, we had a bad second week. I pay attention to numbers, but I also rely quite a lot on my eyes and my gut. In watching those four guys, I thought if I could rearrange them, it would be best for the group.”
- Right-hander Charlie Morton threw his second career complete game last night. He allowed just one run on five hits over nine innings. He also threw 110 pitches, 73 for strikes.
Morton told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It was a day that I will remember forever.”
Andrew McCutchen CF, Jose Tabata LF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ryan Doumit C, Garrett Jones RF, Ronny Cedeno SS, James McDonald RHP
Drew Stubbs CF, Miguel Cairo 2B, Joey Votto 1B, Jonny Gomes LF, Jay Bruce RF, Juan Francisco 3B, Ramon Hernandez C, Paul Janish SS, Mike Leake RHP
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.
Tony Sanchez, was among four players to get cut from Pirates spring training on Saturday. They are reassigned to the minor league camp. Catcher Eric Fryer and pitchers Cesar Valdez and Donnie Veal were the others.
Sanchez, who was the Bucs first round pick in the 2009 draft, appeared in just one grapefruit league game where he went 1-for-2 with a double as a designated hitter. I spoke to Sanchez prior to the game on Friday and he told me that Manager Clint Hurdle wanted him to get experience from the big league club.
“In the beginning meetings he said that I was one of the guys he’d use more for the atmosphere. It’s fine with me. I have a lot of fun here. I’m getting as much work in as I can and learning from the guys, getting as much swings and defensive work as anybody else. There’s eight of us [catchers] here. Those guys obviously have a better shot of making the team or contributing to the big league team than I do right now at this point. My feelings are is that it’s just not my time to get any time in the games. Maybe next year.”
“This was an opportunity for him to get to experience a Major League clubhouse environment,” Hurdle said. “As we put this new group together, we wanted him in here for a few weeks to embrace him, to encourage him on the heels of last season.”
Sanchez was batting .314 with four home runs and 38 RBI’s before suffering season ending surgery after being hit in the face by a pitch. He was required to have his jaw wired shut for a month.
Now healthy, Sanchez will start the 2011 season at Double-A Altoona.
Fryer, like Sanchez played for the Bradenton Marauders last season. The 25-year-old catcher played in 83 games in High-A where he batted .300 with 16 doubles, five triples, eight home runs and 48 RBI. Fryer battled several injuries including a left ankle sprain and a left eye socket fracture after being hit in the head with a pitch.
It’s unclear whether Fryer will start the season with Double-A or back with the Marauders.
Valdez was acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Zach Duke trade. He appeared in two games (2.1 innings) this spring allowing just two hits and no runs with two strikeouts.
Valdez is most likely heading to Triple-A Indy. The Pirates are still unsure whether as a starter or a reliever.
Veal is still recovering from Tommy John Surgery (June 2010) and will continue to work on his throwing rehab program with the minor league camp.
Veal is throwing off the mound and participating in fielding drills. He is expected for a May or June (at the earliest) return.
There are currently 58 players at big league camp.
- All 62 players (both 40-man and non-roster invites) have arrived Pirate city for workouts.
- Tom Krasovic of Fanhouse.com reported that the Pirates (along with the Mariners, Diamondbacks and Padres) were scouting UCLA’s Hoss Cole on Friday.
- Ronny Cedeno, who arrived at camp on Friday, was spotted wearing the No. 5 since now Manager Clint Hurdle is No. 13.
“Last year was tough for me,” Cedeno said. “This year is going to be different for me because I’ve got a different mentality. I want to prove something. I’ll come every day and work hard and work on what I need this year.”
“I’m happy to be here right now,” Cedeno said. “I’ve been working hard this winter.”
- Many of the Pirates pitchers were called in for early work this morning, Jenifer Langosch reports.They broke up into groups to focus on a number of specific things — delivery, side steps, pick off moves and bunt plays. This all happened before the 10 am workout.
- Jose Ascanio finally reported to Pirates city for his first day of workouts, including his first side session, on Friday. He was held up due to issue’s with his visa.
- The first group of pitchers will throw live batting practice to the hitters on Saturday. The second group will throw on Sunday.
- First baseman Steve Pearce worked with the outfielders on Friday. The Pirates plan to give him work at both positions this year.
Right-hander Kris Benson has announced his retirement.
The 36-year-old, and former #1 selection by the Pirates in the 1996 draft, decides to leave the game after nine big league seasons.
“I’m done,” Benson told the FOXSports.com via phone from his home near Atlanta. “I decided pretty much after this past season that I wasn’t going to pursue anything. I’ve been putting way too much into it and not getting enough out of it, as far as the rehab, working out, training, and then not getting the type of results I expect from myself.”
“I wanted to make this decision now, rather than go into another season on another Minor League deal. I didn’t want to go through the head games of, ‘Am I going to make the team?’ I don’t mind the pressure. I just don’t want to fall into another situation like I had the last couple years, where I busted my tail getting back and then got hurt again shortly after I made the team.”
“This is a chance for me to be at home with my kids and enjoy the family life, which I’m not used to,” Benson told FOXSports.com. “It’s something a lot of guys welcome once their career is over.”
Benson spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1999-04). He also played with the New York Mets (2004-05), Baltimore Orioles (2006-07), Texas Rangers (2009) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2010).
Benson’s best year came in 2000, when he posted career high’s in strikeouts (184), innings pitched (217.2) and games pitched (32). Benson finished with a 3.85 ERA that year –his best over his nine major league seasons. He also broke the record for most strikeouts in Pirates history for a right handed pitcher.
Injury plagued seasons, shoulder and elbow injuries have prevented him from continuing his career. Benson had a 70-75 record with a 4.42 ERA in 206 games (200 starts).
Zach Duke was interviewed on MLB Network Radio on Thursday night and here are some of the highlights:
On the current contract negotiations with the Arizona Diamondbacks: “I think there is something in the works. I don’t think anything is actually official. But we have agreed. Looks like a one year with a possible option.”
On how a change of scenery could be good for him: “I’m certainly hoping so. All I’ve known is Pittsburgh. The Pirates have struggled for so long and we weren’t able to turn it around when I was there.”
On how all the losing can effect the players: “It can be a little tough. But that’s part of the job of being a professional.”
Duke said that his struggles from the 2010 season was mainly because of his health and the problems he had with his elbow. “Inconsistent mechanics and ended up fighting myself throughout the season.” He also said he feels completely healthy now.
On the possibility of being a reliever: “Obviously I’d love to continue starting. I’ve been starting my whole career. I know I am capable of becoming a successful starter in the major leagues.”
On conditioning during the offseason: “I haven’t started throwing yet. I’ll be starting in a few weeks. You can’t take off very long anymore. There are all these young guys trying to take my job now.”
On the high expectations (after his rookie year in 2005): “I guess that season is going to follow me anywhere. I’m pretty positive I wont be able to duplicate that. There was an expectation placed on me. I’ve learned how to deal with expectations and learn about myself. I’m glad I went through it. I wish things would have went different at times.”
After Duke was traded to the backs he texted Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage and said, “Hey. I owe the pirates a complete game shutout so be prepared.”
He went on to discuss how being traded and jobless was “stressful” especially considering his wife is due in February with their first child, Freddy Sanchez wining the World Series and how he hopes to do good things in Arizona. Check out the interview if you have XM or Sirius Radio.
The Pirates have traded Pitcher Zach Duke to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later on Wednesday.
Duke was designated for assignment on Friday and was arbitration eligible for the third time this offseason. (Duke made $4.3 Million for the 2010 season)
Duke was selected in the 20th round of the 2001 draft. He ends his time in a Pirates uniform with a 45-70 record and 4.54 ERA in 160 games. Duke is coming off a career worst 2010 season going 8-15 with a 5.72 ERA.
Neil Walker and Joel Hanrahan have met with new Manager Clint Hurdle since he was hired by the Pirates. And now, several other Pirates players are looking forward to working with him in the future.
Chris Snyder has the most experience watching Hurdle interact with his players. Snyder –before he was traded to the Pirates spent seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and faced the Rockies 19 games each year.–
Synder saw the steady progression of the young Rockies under Hurdle’s watch.
“It was a steady progression for all those guys, each year they continually got better and better,” said Snyder, who came to the Pirates in a trade with the Diamondbacks July 31.
The Diamondbacks and Rockies shared the same spring training facility in Arizona and Snyder said he saw Hurdle throw batting practice, shag fly balls and interact with his players during warm-ups before games.
“Every time I looked up, I think I saw he had a glove on,” Snyder said.
Zach Duke and Jeff Karstens have not yet met Hurdle but have heard about his intensity.
“They said he’s a very upbeat guy, a very intense guy,” said Zach Duke. “He cares a lot about his players.”
“I’ve heard he’s an intense manager,” Jeff Karstens said, “which I think will be good. I could see him wanting to have fun but knowing when to really crack down on people.”
Neil Walker met his new skipper at the Steelers game on Sunday says the Pirates’ need a lot of guidance. (Something they obviously were not getting from John Russell)
You’re talking about two straight losing seasons of 100-plus [loss] baseball,” he said. “We all can do our job a little better, from pitching to defense to offense to managing to front office. Having a new mentality or having a different way of looking at the game is maybe something that he’s going to try to implement.”
“Us younger guys on the team,” Walker said, “we need a lot of guidance.
“Sometimes, when a manager knows to get on you or leave you alone and back off, or give you some encouraging words of confidence, I think that’s important.
“That’s the kind of thing he prides himself in.”
The Pirates are also reportably after starting pitcher Brandon Webb. The right-hander has spent all seven major league seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is 87-62 with a 3.27 ERA, averages 7.3 strike outs per nine innings. Webb also averages around 200 innings pitched each season.
Webb missed the entire 2010 season and only logged four innings in 2009 due to right shoulder bursitis and had surgery by Dr. Keith Meister of the Rangers on August 3, 2009.
Webb was drafted in the eighth round of the 2000 draft. He won the Cy Young award in 2006 and is a three-time all star and led the National League in wins in both 2006 and 2008.
Webb is known for his sinker and according to Sports Illustrated: “Webb said he probably uses it at least 80 percent of the time, and it used to be closer to 90 percent”
Webb also throws a change that clocks in the mid-80′s as well as a curve in the low 70′s.
Baseball writer at MLBFanhouse.com’s Ed Price tweeted this: #Pirates GM Huntington said “We’ve got some flexibility and are kicking some tires.” Possible high-upside fit is RHP Brandon Webb.
Baseball writer for ESPN.com and Baseball America’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted this:
Teams with an interest in Brandon Webb: Dodgers, Pirates, Twins and Rangers. And don’t rule out Nationals, Reds & Cardinals
You can now add Carlos Tosca to the list of Manager candidates the Pirates have interviewed in the past two weeks.
Tosca, 57, was a minor league Manager for 17 seasons before getting his first Major league managerial experience in 2002 with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was dismissed during the 2004 season compiling a 191-191 record.
From 2005-06, Tosca served as the Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach. Since 2007, he has served next to then manager, Fredi Gonzalez, who was named Braves coach in place of Bobby Cox. Tosca was hired by Gonzalez to serve as Atlanta’s new bench coach.
Tosca is the seventh to be interviewed. The list includes Wedge, Porter, Gibbons, Banister, Macha and Sveum.