Results tagged ‘ gregg ritchie ’
Left-hander Brian Burres had his first rough outing of the spring on Wednesday’s 10-6 loss to the Houston Astros in Bradenton, Fla.
Burres entered the game without allowing a single run over nine spring innings. But that didn’t last long as Burres allowed two in the first inning after allowing a lead-off hit, a four pitch walk (six straight balls thrown), a RBI double by Hunter Pence and a sac fly by Brett Wallace.
The Pirates quickly tied the game at two in the bottom of the first after a walk by Neil Walker and a home run by Andrew McCutchen off of J.A. Happ — his first of the spring.
The Bucs tacked on two more runs to take a 4-2 lead in the second, but Hunter Pence homered off Burres in the third to cut the lead to just one run.
More trouble came in the fifth for Burres. Angel Sanchez and Pence hit back-to-back doubles and Tony Manzella, who pinch ran for Sanchez, scored on a fielding error by Matt Diaz in right field. Jason Michaels doubled, but advanced to third on a bad throw by Diaz. Wallace hit a sac fly scoring Michaels and taking a 6-4 lead.
Burres combined to allow six runs on 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings.
Burres told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “Even when I was throwing strikes, it wasn’t where I wanted them all the time. Little bit wild with the strike zone today. I wasn’t keeping the ball over the plate enough and when I was, it was up and they did a pretty good job taking advantage of it.”
Pedro Alvarez hit his first home run of the spring in the sixth –and it was crushed to deep center field.
The Astros combined to score four more runs off the Pirates relievers, three off of Tyler Yates in the ninth inning.
- Lyle Overbay continued his hot spring, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk. He seems to feel pretty comfortable as a Bucco (He’s batting .425 ).
Manager Clint Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, “This man is determined this spring. He has made a conscious effort of getting out of the blocks clean. The confidence should have been built up. I think he’s found an approach that is going to work. It’s good to see.”
- Ronny Cedeno had a good day at the plate, he went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
- Ryan Doumit went 2-for-4 with a run scored but he allowed two passed balls (one scored a run in the seventh) and was picked off twice, at both first and second base.
- Mike Crotta pitched a scoreless ninth inning and has yet to allow an earned run this spring (10.1 innings).
- Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. He will pitch six innings followed by Evan Meek (one), Garrett Olson (one or two) and Chris Leroux (one). The O’s will send Jake Arrieta to the mound.
- The members of the 2010 Eastern League champion Altoona Curve received their rings in a pre-game ceremony held at McKechnie Field.
- On Monday, Pedro Alvarez, Josh Fields and Josh Rodriguez stayed after the game for additional batting practice with Manager Clint Hurdle, hitting coach Gregg Ritchie, and several other coaches. Today after the game, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Alvarez stayed after again, but this time he was joined by Neil Walker and Ronny Cedeno.
Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, It’s something I’ve always done. I would have preferred to have done it a few times earlier, but we waited because of the workload these guys have been carrying. It’s just more practice is all it is.”
So what exactly is the focus of the session? Manager Clint Hurdle said, “Sometimes you have to find a way to slow the game down. When you’re behind the fastball and ahead of the soft stuff, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. Sometimes you get up there and just have too much going on. All the thinking needs to be done on-deck. Once you get in the batter’s box, you need to compete.”
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that James McDonald (left side) is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, most likely in a minor league game. McDonald has not pitched more than three innings in a start this spring and has been sidelined since March 11th. If all goes well on Saturday, he could remain in Florida to pitch a minor league game on the 31st –putting him in line for an April 6th start for the Pirates. If he suffers any set backs, Jeff Karstens or Brian Burres could be used as a spot starter.
Biertempfel of the Trib also reports that Chris Snyder (back soreness) who has been sidelined since March 9th will be in the lineup on Thursday against the Orioles.
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.
Manager Clint Hurdle addressed the media on Wednesday for a 30-minute gathering. Here are some of the things he addressed:
- Hurdle was asked on the projected lineup for next season but he did not give his thoughts on it. He did, however, say he has made up a few lineups for fun. Hurdle did mention Paul Maholm, James McDonald and Ross Ohlendorf as key pieces to the starting rotation.
- Hurdle, who has spent seven seasons in the majors as a hitting coach, will work often with Gregg Ritchie directly.
“I have some ideas,” Hurdle said. “There will be days when I’ll be in the cage. It’s just something I love to do. I’m not going to get in the way, but I also think I can help make a difference along those lines.”
- Hurdle said that both Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are still being considered for the closers role. He prefers to choose one before opening day, rather than have them share duties throughout the season.
- Hurdle has been doing extensive homework on shortstop Ronny Cedeno and has gotten mixed reviews.
“Some of the comments that have been shared with me that he has made, he understands, that he needs to be more consistent,” Hurdle said. “He’s got to get better on the field. There are a whole bunch of us that are waiting for the day we don’t have to talk about what to do, we can just play the game and start doing it. I think he would fall in that category.”
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed the Pirates new hitting coach Gregg Ritchie.
The Bucs finished last in the National League in average (.242) and on-base percentage (.304) and third worse in home runs (126). Ritchie, who has spent the past decade as hitting coach with the white sox, has a huge task at hand but is excited to work with Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata who have plenty of prime years ahead.
“It’s an exciting group,” Ritchie said. “And I’m especially fortunate in that I’ve had a chance to work with all of them closely.”
Ritchie’s plan for the Pirates hitters: “It’s about understanding a guy, having a relationship, having a trust and having a common cause.”
Ritchie expresses the most cautious tinkering with mechanics and has a flexible approach. “What’s in front of your eyeballs? What does the pitcher have to offer? What situation are we in? If there’s a situation where we need to be aggressive, we’ve got to understand that. If it’s a pitcher who doesn’t throw many strikes, we’ve got to understand that. If you work the process and have a team concept that we’re going to be run-producers, all that takes care of itself.”
On whether Pedro Alvarez has a whole in his swing: “If you look at Pedro as he moved from one level to the next, it was a consistent learning process. You’d see him struggle a little bit, then bam! He’d go to the next level, struggle a little bit, then bam! This guy has just made fabulous adjustments. So, no, that’s not a concern at all.”
On whether Neil Walker’s numbers were an aberration: “It’s going to be about repeating the consistency of things. Neil’s a talented guy, and he’s made advances the whole way through the system. There’s no reason why that can’t continue.”
On Jose Tabata hitting only four home runs: “Becoming a consistently good hitter, from a team approach, is everything. All the rest builds and builds. A hitter like Jose, who shows tremendous barrel control, that’s going to be the most important thing. He’s going to continue to get better.”
The Pirates have finally announced their coaching staff for the 2011 season.
Jeff Banister will return for his 26th season in the Bucs Organization as third base coach. Banister took over as bench coach for the Pirates in 2010 when Gary Varsho was fired. He has also served as a coach and manager in the minors as well as a field instructor at both levels.
Ray Searage will return as Pitching coach. Searage took over as pitching coach after Joe Kerrigan was fired in August. He has spent the past seven years as pitching coach in various minor league levels. Searage has been in professional baseball for 33 years.
Heberto Andrade will return as bullpen coach for his eighth season with the club.
The new additions to the coaching staff are: Nick Leyva (third-base coach), Gregg Ritchie (hitting coach), Euclides Rojas (bullpen coach), Luis Silverio (first-base coach) and Mark Strittmatter (coach).
Ritchie joined the Pirates organization before the 2006 season as minor league hitting coordinator. Ritchie previous spent 10 years as the White Sox minor league hitting coach.
Rojas became the Bucs Latin American field coordinator in 2005. He also spent two seasons as the Red Sox bullpen coach,
Levya spent the last three seasons in Toronto as the club’s bench coach and third-base coach. He has a decade of managerial experience in the majors.
Silverio will handle the out fielding and base running for the 2011 season. He has spent the past 35 years in the Royals organization.
Strittmatter will serve as Hurdle’s extra coach as well as work as well as the pitchers hitting coach. Strittmatter will also assist with the catching staff and help with the hitting staff.
Tony Beasley, Luis Dorante, Carlos Garcia and Don Long were asked to not return to the Pirates staff.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, The Pirates are set to make the following four moves to Clint Hurdle’s coaching staff: Ray Searage as pitching coach, Gregg Ritchie as hitting coach, Jeff Banister as third base coach and Nick Leyva as bench coach.
Searage took over as the Bucs pitching coach when Joe Kerrigan was fired. Since then, players have made improvements and spoken out on how they enjoy his “old school technique” where he focuses on things one pitch at a time. (Brad Lincoln and Charlie Morton made huge strides while working with Searage)
Ritchie has spent the past three years as the Pirates minor league hitting coordinator. He has worked with the teams young players and according to sources was important to management. This will be Ritchies first job in the major leagues.
Banister has spent the past 25 years in the Pirates system and took over as bench coach after Gary Varsho was fired. Banister was also the other finalist for the Manager position.
Leyva served under Cito Gaston in Toronto since 2008. He is a former minor league player and has spent over a decade as a major league baseball coach.
The Pirates still need to fill positions for first base coach and bullpen coach, as well as the titles for infield and outfield instructors.