Results tagged ‘ frank coonelly ’
The Pirates (4-2) will face the Colorado Rockies (3-1) today at 1:35 PM for the first of a four game series. The Bucs kick off the season home opener today. Left-hander Paul Maholm will face right-hander Esmil Rogers.
- Maholm will be making his second start of the season. He’s coming off a great start where he pitched a shutout over 6.2 innings, limiting the Chicago Cubs to just five hits. Maholm walked two and struck out three but picked up a no-decision.
- Rogers will be making his first start of the season after winning the 5th spot in the rotation. Rogers appeared in 28 games (eight starts) and last year with the Rockies where he posted a 6.13 ERA.
- Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle will be facing his former team, the Colorado Rockies, in the home opener. Hurdle spent 2002-09 as the Rockies Manager before getting fired during the 2009 season. He went 534-625 and led the Rockies to their first and only World Series appearance in 2007.
Hurdle was replaced by Jim Tracy, who managed the Pirates from 2005-07.
Hurdle told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, “It drips with irony. I’ll leave all that up to [the media]. It’s perfect. Matter of fact, it’s a layup. The irony of [Jim] Tracy managing over there and I’m managing over here. I haven’t given it any more thought than that. You can’t write this stuff up by yourself. Life takes care of things and sports takes care of things.”
- Reliever Evan Meek pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning during Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Meek was coming off back-to-back bad outings. It was reported that he was under the weather, but Meek did not use that as an excuse. He wanted the ball back to prove himself.
Meek told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “(I wanted the ball) really badly, actually. It was one of those things where I knew I wasn’t far off. You don’t want to sit on it, you don’t want to wait, and that’s one of the good things about being a reliever is you get thrown back out there. I love that (manager Clint Hurdle) put me back out there with a two-run lead, I love that he has the confidence in me and that was big for me. Now I can build off that, take that into my next outing and just get on with it.”
- Happy Birthday to PNC Park, who turns 10-year-old on Saturday, April 9th. Re-live some of the memories from the stadium (read more here).
- President Frank Coonelly hosted a web chat with fans on Wednesday afternoon (you can read the entire transcript here).
- The Pirates currently lead the league in strikeouts. The pitching is picking up the slack and keeping games rather close. I know it still early in the season, but is this of any concern?
Coonelly: “The pitching, particularly the starting pitching, has been strong to date. On the high strikeout totals, yes, that is a concern for Clint [Hurdle] and his staff, and Clint has addressed the issue with the players. Giving the opponent free passes and making outs without putting the ball in play are both issues that we have prioritized”
- Will Pedro move to first base?
Coonelly: “After not taking charge on two infield popups on Opening Day, Pedro’s defense at third base has been solid-to-spectacular at times. It has been very encouraging — even on nights when he has struggled at the plate, he has not taken that to his defense. Again, last night Pedro made several solid plays at third. The best answer to the question has been provided by Pedro himself, as I’m sure you have seen. Pedro is committed to doing what in necessary for him to remain at third base. He has, as we have said many times, all of the tools necessary to remain at third base given his commitment and his tools. A move to first base is hardly inevitable.”
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ryan Doumit C, Garrett Jones RF, Ronny Cedeno SS, Paul Maholm LHP
Dexter Fowler CF, Ryan Spilborghs RF, Carlos Gonzalez LF, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Lopez 2B, Todd Helton 1B, Ty Wigginton 3B, Chris Iannetta C, Esmil Rogers
- 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
General Manager Neal Huntington’s contract ends after the 2011 season. President Frank Coonelly discussed the status of Huntington and if he would be around for years to come.
“He’s under contract for this season, and it’s our expectation that Neal will be here for a long time,” Coonelly said. “We’ll continue to evaluate it as we go forward.”
On his expectations for the season: “I expect to see us compete. We’re all about doing. As Clint said to the guys in there today, trying hard isn’t good enough. This is a doing league and it’s time for us to start doing.”
On if there is an expectation that the record improves: “I sure hope so. I think that we’re poised to make a significant improvement. We don’t want to put any limits on ourselves in terms of putting a number out there. We don’t want to be limited by a number or a thought on February 19. The expectations with the club better be championship expectations. Then we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. I’m confident we’re going to be far better than we’ve been the last several years.”
On his early observations of Camp Hurdle: “Lot of energy. Getting to know the guy. Good quality work. I’m very happy that most of the guys were in early getting work in. Good communication. Clint has the ability to let the players know that he cares about them. But he also expects things to be done right. The few times that I’ve been out here and things weren’t done right, we did it over again. And the players will also know when Clint is not pleased with the work ethic.”
Paul Maholm is entering his final year of his contract and it’s unlikely the Pirates would exercise his 2012 option of $9.75m (plus up to $1.1 million in incentives).
Maholm has made it clear, he wants to remain in Pittsburgh.
When I spoke to Paul at Piratefest he discussed trade rumors and said he would love to discuss a contract extension.
“I’m here,” Paul Mahom said. “My number one goal is to win. But I also want to be the team that wins here. I think the fans deserve it. I want to be here but I have no control over it. It’s not bothering me, I’m going to prepare. If Neal [Huntington] and them [President Frank Coonelly and Owner Bob Nutting] want to approach to me about staying, I’m all for it. It’s in their hands. I’m here until otherwise.”
Maholm was asked Tuesday at spring training on trade rumors and he once again said he wants to stay in the Steel City.
“I’m coming to the end of my contract, so I’m sure there’s going to be more (rumors). We’ll see. I expect to be here and pitch well. It’s up to those guys (in the front office). I look forward to getting to work with (manager) Clint (Hurdle), Ray (Searage, pitching coach) and all those guys. Hopefully, I’ll have a great year and get to stay around for a while.”
Maholm went 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA during the 2010 season.
Former Pirates’ manager Chuck Tanner passed away on Friday at the age of 82.
Tanner managed the Pirates from 1977-85, and led the “We are family” Bucs to a World Series title in 1979 by defeating the Baltimore Orioles. The Pirates rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win the title in seven games.
Tanner also managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves. He retired with a managerial record of 1352-1381.
A native of the Pittsburgh suburb of New Castle, Tanner’s playing career lasted eight years. He played the outfield for the Braves, Angeles, Indians and Cubs.
Tanner most recently served as a senior adviser to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.
“The news of Chuck’s passing at the age of 81 was met today with heavy hearts by everyone within the Pirates organization,” team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “Chuck was much more than a highly successful major league manager who guided the Pirates to the World Series championship in 1979, he was an integral and loved member of the Pirates family.”
“Chuck was a class act who always carried himself with grace, humility and integrity. While no one had a sharper baseball mind, Chuck was loved by his players and the city of Pittsburgh because he was always positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about his Bucs and life in general,” said Pirates president Frank Coonelly.
“My early memories of the Pirates organization are of Chuck’s teams, the way they played the game and the genuine affection they seemed to have for each other,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “This made an impression on me and never did I imagine that I would have a chance to work with Chuck himself.”
Tommy Lasorda tweeted upon hearing the news of Tanner’s death: “Rest in Peace Chuck Tanner. I loved you like a brother. You taught me a lot about managing, and I always appreciated it.”
“The Tanner family would like to express their sincere thanks to friends, fans, and the entire baseball community for their thoughts and prayers during Chuck’s recent illness,” Bruce Tanner said. “He will forever be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather to his family, and a good friend to every life he touched. In baseball we will remember his eternal optimism and his passion for the game.”
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was a guest on MLB Network radio’s Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Thursday. He discussed priorities, expectations for the 2011 season, the “oh no’ coach, his time in Colorado and Michael Young’s impact with the Texas Rangers.
On Hurdle’s priorities as the Pirates manager: “Priority No. 1 for me was getting to know personnel. Getting to know the front office. More than just the interview process. Getting to know the people up top. Getting to know Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington along with all the other employees. Also then reaching out to the player personnel group. Finding out who we have, who they are. One of the things I’ve really tried to do, probably the last 10 or 12 years of my coaching career and managerial career, get to know people and try to capture their heart. Not capture their skill set. I was a player a long, long time ago…The coaches that impacted me, actually reached out to me, got to know me and the skill set would follow…Getting to know our players. Getting to know the people I’m working with and for. Just trying to capture their hearts and get this thing focused on a winning mentality, a championship mentality and re-bond the city with the baseball team.”
“I think that there’s a whole bunch of things that come with it, as you start to prioritize. I try to keep things simple at the same time. No. 1 it’s to get to know people. I think that by getting to know people you establish trust. Without trust you got no shot at anything…It’s my job to establish trust. These people know who I am, what I am, want to be transparent. From there, you try to engage in the human part of it. Then you go to the professional part of it. What do our priorities need to be to improve our ball club, to set our sights on a championship organization. First and foremost, it’s off the mound. So much good work has been done here in Pittsburgh the last three seasons. Greg Smith, the scouting director, Kyle Stark, our farm director, and all our player development people and scouts. They’ve spent more money in baseball then anybody in baseball in the last three years in the draft. Those players are pluged into our development system. Now we have some people in the major league level that are making noise. We need to start focusing on our major league club winning ball games…We need to focus on a championship mentality winning ball games. How do we do that, first and foremost, off the mound.”
On getting to know the players and their feelings on the club and organization: “I think one of the things that when I walked away from every conversation, it was very refreshing…More often than not, when you ask about a season, more specifically a season with a 105 losses which everybody took ownership of. Not one person, not one man pointed the finger at another man, another coach, another manager, anybody in the front office…I’ve been in great situations, but I don’t know if I could ever say I’ve had those conversations across the board. Nobody threw somebody under the bus…These guys took ownership of it. They’re young men and a few guys with some leadership skills and been around, but they took ownership of it. We just got to get better, I need to do this. I need to do that. We need to do this. That was as refreshing as any coversation I could have had.”
On Hurdle’s realistic expectations for 2011: “…We’re going to develop a championship mentality. I talked with these players about winning the NL Central. Where that ends up, I don’t know but that needs to be our sight. That needs to be where we set the bar. We need to hold ourselves to major league championship level of execution across the board. What, are we going to get shirts printed up that say ‘hey, Let’s break the streak’ ‘let’s finish 3rd‘. I don’t got no time for that, they have no time for that. That is the kind of conversation that’s been had. People are going to believe, people aren’t going to believe. We understand the emotions here in the city with the fan base. It’s been tough sledding for a long time…I need to put the responsibility on my shoulders. This is what we are going to do, this is how we are going to this, this is why we are going to do it. And if that doesn’t happen, then look to me and look no further. I don’t want our men trying to…let’s play .500, let’s when 84 games. No, we don’t need men on our club that got that mentality going.”
On his experience playing with different managers in his career: “…A lot of managers I had did really well, basically a lot of managers did this really well, they did get to know you. They got to know what you liked to do. They maybe find out your wife’s name, or your kids name, or hobbies. We’ve all had that coach…When you saw him coming, you went, ‘oh no.’ We’ve all had ‘oh no’ coach. I’ve been encouraged, I’ve encouraged my coaches, and myself, I don’t want to be the ‘oh no’ guy. When I walk up to a player I want him to be, eye’s open…gosh, I wonder what he’s got today. He’s got something for me today.”
“I don’t have an ‘oh no’ coach. All these guys got clean slates. That’s one of the refreshing things about putting a staff together and actually having another opportunity to do this. You hope you learn some lessons over time. You hope there are some things you can improve upon and encourage my coaches. This is all about coaching men up. This is all about helping them grow up help build their talents. I believe on and off the field. That’s truly something we are holding fast to here…There are two kind of coaches I don’t want; I don’t want the ‘oh no’ coach and I don’t want the ‘cool coach’. I’ve probably been both coaches. But it was brought to my attention very early and you realize the error of your ways…There are certain things a manager needs to know and there are certain things he doesn’t need to know. I think one of the real blessings I got last year was, I think I was in the best position to coach hitters last year than I ever have been in the five previous years, because I got to sit in that managers seat for seven years.”
On what he took from his experience in Colorado: “The one big nugget I’ve taken from Colorado was It was a very humbling opportunity to be a small part of something that had so much significance to so many people, that 2007 season. There was so much hard work done by so many people that goes unnoticed in an organization when your re-building. To try to re-identify a brand, a logo, a team. To have that level of success is very humbling. At the same time, I think I learned on the way out that it was a very good experience for me…When I was fired from Colorado I felt that it was the most important day of my managerial career. In the fact that, for eight years I preached continuity. I had preached team, unselfishness, organization first. I felt the way I walked out was a say on anything I did on the field for seven years before. If you walk out yelling, kicking and screaming, pointing fingers, that just pollutes the message that I tried to leave seven years before hand. You leave professionally. You hand the keys over to Jim Tracy, who is a good baseball man and a very good manager. And you let everybody go about their business and you find the next thing to do. That’s what I learned from there.”
On Michael Young’s impact to the Rangers: “One of the things you need on a very good ball club, on a championship caliber ball club and in the clubhouse is a guy that will stand up and take heat off all the other guys when its not good. When your not playing well, when your not hitting, whatever’s going on…Michael would always be up front. He was the first guy up. He accessed the situation, honestly. He’d self evaluate himself and the team. And just talk about just what we need to do to get better. Never lay blame. That for me, was as big as anything he did for that ball club throughout the season. He was always up front. Defending the criticism. Taking a stand for the team or owning up when we weren’t playing well. You need that guy.”
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune, ticket prices at PNC Park will soon be going up.
As it was announced recently, game day ticket prices will cost between $2-$5 more than advanced tickets.
The average cost of a ticket to a Pirates home game in 2010 was just $15.39 –league average was $26.74.
“We need to have a competitively priced product,” President Frank Coonelly said. “We’ve gotten far behind. We need to have a sustainable, competitive team on the field. So we really need to move (ticket prices) in that (upward) direction. When? As soon as we possibly can.”
“From a business perspective, I think they have to raise them,” said John Clark, professor of sport management and director of the MBA program at Robert Morris University. “I’ve been expecting it to happen for the past couple of years. I think Pirates baseball is worth more than what we pay for it right now.”
- MLB Trade rumors believes 2011 is a make or break year for catcher Ryan Doumit. The 29-year-old went from the Pirates everyday catcher in 2008 to a bench, backup catcher role that he is likely to see this season. The Bucs have publicly made it known they were shopping Doumit, but no trade has been made. Since putting up .318 during the 2008 season, Doumit’s has been struggling at both hitting (.250, .251 average’s in 2009 and 2010) and fielding (.987, .990 fielding percentage’s with nine past balls last season and only 12% caught stealing).
MLBTR believes Doumit is a “defensive liability” as an everyday catcher and thinks he is better suited in the American League where he can serve as a backup and occasion designated hitter role.
- During President Frank Coonelly’s live chat on Wednesday, he was asked ‘what is the plan for Jameson Taillon? Will the injury to Stephen Strasburg last year have any impact on his movement through the Minors?’
“No final decision has been made with respect to where Jameson will begin his professional career, but, given what we’ve seen to date, I would expect that Jameson will begin in Charleston, West Virginia, with the Power. The mayor of Charleston attended our caravan stop on Monday and encouraged a commitment that both Taillon and Allie begin their careers in Charleston, but I was only comfortable indicating that was the most likely scenario.”
- The fans are not the only ones itching for the season to begin. Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez (TSanchez26) had this to say on Wednesday: “cannot wait to start mashing fastballs again.”
- MLB Network will be airing their ‘Top 10 second baseman right now’ Thursday at 8 PM/ET and Pirates fans should be looking for the Pittsburgh Kid. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review said, “Neil Walker is youngest player voted onto MLB Network’s list of Top 10 second basemen.’
When I asked Biertempfel if he had any idea where in the list he would be ranked, he told me, “Neil Walker is ranked somewhere 6-10, along with Kinsler, Weeks, Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson.”
Kevin Correia had a difficult year both on and off the mound. After finishing the season 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA (he went 12-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 2009) Correia used this offseason to deal with the death of his younger brother.
In May, Trevor Correia fell off a cliff while hiking at Channel Islands National Park in Santa Barbara, Ca. Kevin was scheduled to start the next day against the Houston Astros.
After taking a week of bereavement leave, Correia started against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 15th and allowed four runs in 5.1 innings.
The Padres were in the mist of an unbelievable season, leading the National League West. Correia’s week leave wasn’t enough time to come to grips with the loss of his brother and he felt a responsibility to continue to go out to the mound.
“It was tough,” he said. “It was the middle of the season and I still had work to do, so I had to push it back as far as I could. It’s hard to really focus on the games. It’s hard to put your whole heart into it.”
Correia believes that after coming to peace with his loss, he can live up to his potential.
“I was able to sit back and figure things out,” he said. “In the long run, that will make me stronger and better from a baseball standpoint. I can go out there and know it’s not a do-or-die situation. There are other things in life that are more important. It frees me to go out there and maybe do some stuff I wasn’t able to do before.”
The 30-year-old right-hander was non tendered by the Padres in November, and was on General Manager Neal Huntingon’s radar.
“Our scouts saw almost the exact same stuff they saw during his success in 2009,” Huntington said. “The huge bump in his ERA was due to a lot of factors beyond his control.”
“We saw some very positive signs,” he said. “There’s every reason in the world to believe he’ll have a solid bounce-back year and again be that guy who has a chance to win every time he takes the ball.”
The Pirates signed Correia to a two-year $8 million contract in December.
After spending the weekend at Piratefest, meeting his new teammates and the fans of Pittsburgh, Correia is excited for the new season to start. “Coming to an event like this, it helps me flip the switch,” he said. “I’m excited to get back out there and throw the ball again.”
- President Frank Coonelly spoke out on the success of Piratefest, which set a new record in attendance –16,839.
“Coming off an extremely successful caravan, the fan enthusiasm for Pirates baseball all weekend long has been tremendous,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. “The excitement for the addition of Clint Hurdle and our young core of players was evident with the record turnout. With two weeks before pitchers and catchers report, our players are eager to get the season underway. The entire organization is energized by the incredible passion expressed by our fans over the last week and we are determined to reward that passion with the way we play the game in 2011.”
- Single game tickets went on sale Saturday. The 2011 home opener on April 7th against the Colorado Rockies as well as the interleague series against the Boston Red Sox are limited to single seats and standing room only.
- Charlie Morton will no longer be wearing No. 37, that number will be worn by first baseman Lyle Overbay. Morton was wearing his new No. 50 jersey this weekend at Piratefest.
- Ross Ohlendorf is ready for spring training and to bounce back from last season.
“I am fully recovered and feeling great,” Ohlendorf said. “My throwing, right now, is significantly better than it was a year ago at this time.
“I didn’t have a very good spring training [last year] and I feel like I will be much stronger out of the gate [this season].”
- Kevin Correia explains his decision on why he signed with the Pirates.
“I liked the opportunity to go somewhere where I felt like I could make a difference,” he said. “I was looking for a certain situation. I wanted to be excited about baseball, I wanted to be a part of something that I knew was going in the right direction and I could be a big part of that.”
- 14 days until Pitchers and Catchers report for spring training in Bradenton, FL.