Results tagged ‘ jeff locke ’
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
- The Pirates have a split squad on Monday. Both games will have a 1:05 pm start.
- At McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Paul Maholm will start for the Bucs against the Baltimore Orioles, pitching two innings. He will be followed by Jeff Karstens who will also pitch two innings of work.
Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Justin Wilson and Cesar Valdez will all pitch one inning a piece
- At Charlotte Sports Park, 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.
Jeff Neiman will start for the Rays.
- This will be the first meeting of the Pirates and former Skipper John Russell on Monday since he was fired over the offseason. Russell was hired by the O’s as a third base coach.
Russell finished his tenure with a 186-299 record.
- Lefty Scott Olsen is scheduled to throw his third side session on Monday. Olsen is recovering from a left hamstring strain.
- Joe Beimel said he woke up experiencing pain in a muscle near the elbow, but it isn’t anything serious.
“It’s not too big of a deal,” Beimel said. “When I was playing catch, I over-extended on one (throw) and it got a little sore. I was a little worried because it’s something I never felt before. They’ve done all the tests and there’s nothing (wrong) with the ligament. It’s one of those things where I can move it, like, 10 times and on the 11th it will hurt. Since (Sunday), it’s become less and less (painful), to the point now that I don’t really feel it.”
Orioles: J.J. Hardy SS
Felix Pie RF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Adam Jones CF
Nolan Reimold LF
Brandon Snyder 1B
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis 2B
RHP Brad Bergesen
Jose Tabata LF
Josh Rodriguez SS
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Garrett Jones 1B
Ryan Doumit DH
Chase d’Arnaud 2B
Jason Jaramillo C
LHP Paul Maholm
- The Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Madden announced that David Price will start on the home opener against the Pirates on Saturday. Manager Clint Hurdle has not announced who will start for the Bucs yet.
- MLB Network will be airing three spring training games.
Sun March 6 Blue Jays vs. Pirates
Thursday March 10 Orioles vs. Pirates
Mon March 28 Pirates vs. Twins
- Pedro Alvarez, who missed Monday’s workouts due to necks spasms, was at workouts on Tuesday. He took swings and participated in defensive drills.
- The Pirates will use seven pitchers for one inning a piece in during the game on Saturday against State College of Florida. They are as followed: Aaron Thompson, Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Justin Wilson, Kyle McPherson and Rudy Owens.
The workouts ran 15 minutes longer than usual, according to Rob Biertmepfel of the Trib.
“The only way to increase stamina is to work when you’re a little bit fatigued,” Hurdle said. “That’s how marathon runners work. You’ve got to run to a distance you haven’t run before. One of the separators at the major league level during a game is finding a way to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s something you spend a lot of time with in a game. How many times in a game do you go to the plate where you’re locked in, the ball’s big and your swing’s right? We need to push them. Where we want to go is going to take work. It’s not going to take putting a couple hours in and going through a traditional routine.”
- The position players worked on hit and runs on Tuesday, while the catchers took practice blocking balls in the dirt.
- Pitchers and position players worked on signs and stolen base attempts.
- The players continued to work on base running drills at Camp Hurdle –a huge focus this year. Hurdle also emphasized runners going from first to third base on singles.
“Our goal is to be the best in the National League at this,” coach Nick Leyva said.
- Tyler Yates will throw a supervised side session to pitching coach Ray Searage on Wednesday. Yates did not throw live batting practice to the players this week.
“I want to work on him again and make sure that he feels comfortable mechanically,” Searage said. “This is my call. He’s ready to go. He would probably get something out of the BP, but I think I can get more out of working with him on the sideline.”
- Jose Ascanio is sidelined with a tight right elbow. The discomfort came a day after throwing his bullpen session on Monday. His status is day-to-day.
Matt Diaz swinging in the cage. Chris Snyder watches on beautiful day in Bradenton, Fl. (photos via @Colin_Dunlap)
Pedro Alvarez, along with other Pirates players practicing drills.
Now that the superbowl is over we can all focus on our national pastime. Just seven days until pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton, FL. And 21 days until I head down for coverage.
Here are some Bucco news and notes:
- General Manager Neal Huntington told Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch that the pieces are finally in place for the organization to move forward in a positive direction.
“We’ve talked a lot about where we’ve been,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “I feel stronger about our plan. I feel stronger about our vision. I feel stronger about our execution than I’ve ever felt. I stand in front of you more excited about our season than I have ever in the three other times I’ve stood here. We’re beginning to now talk about the Major League team.”
- Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez, who arrived at spring training early, caught his first bullpen this season on Monday. He said on twitter, “First time catching pens today since Nov. It’s like riding a bike. Caught Jeff Locke and Hunter Strickland, both looked pretty damn sharp.”
Have you ever wondered what those semi trucks that are heading down to spring training are full of? Well, MLB Network’s Monday edition of Hot Stove revealed some of the items that the Phillies sent to sunny Florida.
15 cases of gum (regular and sugarless)
12 cases of sunflower seeds
Half a pallet of powerade mix
250 batting practice tops
250 pairs of shorts
450 pirates of socks
600 pairs of pants
150 pairs of gloves
As I pointed out on Wednesday, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the Pirates system No. 21 out of the 30 major league clubs.
On Thursday, Law delivered his Top 100 list, and two Buccos made the list.
Pitcher Jameson Taillon was named No. 30, and catcher Tony Sanchez was named No. 63.
Law mentions Taillon’s tendency to overthrow and the need for a changeup as the critiques in his write-up.
“[Sanchez has] above-average raw power and would have a chance to hit for average at the same time, making him a fringe All-Star at that position. He’s an extremely hard worker who ended up at Boston College without a scholarship but improved his body to the point where he not only made the team, but became its best player. I wouldn’t bet against him at this point.”-Keith Law on ESPN Insider Top 100 Prospects
Law’s Top 10 in the Pirates minor league system:
1) Jameson Taillon, RHP (30)
2) Tony Sanchez, C (63)
3) Luis Heredia, RHP
4) Stetson Allie, RHP
5) Rudy Owens, LHP
6) Jeff Locke, LHP
7) Justin Wilson, LHP
8) Bryan Morris, RHP
9) Starling Marte, OF
10) Zach Von Rosenberg, RHP
Law on the Pirates minor league system: “This system consists of a few high-end prospects, including three teenage power arms, followed by a dropoff. The big investment in prep arms in 2009 hasn’t yielded any major prospects yet, although it’s early.”
Law’s thoughts on Luis Heredia, who just missed the list: “will sit in the low 90s (mph) already with a good feel for the fastball. He’s very well-developed physically for a 16-year-old, with a big frame and the potential to get heavy, which is more of a long-term concern.”
- The Tampa Bay Rays have eight players in the top 100. The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals each have six. The Houston Astros have only one player and The Milwaukee Brewers have zero, zilch (YIKES!). Every other team has at least two in the top 100.
General Manager Neal Huntington is in his final year of his current contract and the performance from the team this season could determine whether he will have a job in October.
In the three years Huntington has been GM, the Pirates have gone: 67-95 in 2008, 62-99 in 2009 and 57-105 in 2010. We have seen fan favorites traded away, but even more talent acquired.
Huntington discussed his future with the Trib’s beat reporter Rob Biertempfel.
How would you assess the job you’ve done to this point? Will your contract be extended beyond 2011?
The simple answer is, we’ve won fewer games in each of my three years here. That’s not acceptable. We have to get better. We have to win more games. But I wasn’t brought here only to manage the 25-man roster. I was brought here to overhaul the baseball operations department. I am proud of what we’ve done in scouting on the pro and amateur side and on the international side, with the talent we’ve flooded the system with, with the way we develop players. I am tremendously proud of all of that. The depth and talent system, both on the field and in the scouting arena and coaching arena … we’ve taken huge steps forward. Because we have so many at the major league level, our prospect depth may not be (ranked) in the top 10, but we don’t focus on that. We focus on how do we win games at the major league level — and not just for one year. How are we going to do it, year in and year out? The complicated answer to your question is, I am very proud of everything we’ve done except for the won-loss record at the major league level. I get that (wins and losses) are all that people care about. It’s only been three years. We think we’ve made a significant impact on creating the foundation and building the first level of the house that will allow us to be a consistent championship-caliber organization. As far as my job, I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability until they tell me not to do it anymore. My contract is irrelevant. The day I start making moves to save my job is the day I should be man enough to resign. That’s not what I’m about; that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to put a championship team back on the field in Pittsburgh, and that doesn’t happen with quick fixes.
What are your expectations for manager Clint Hurdle this season?
The expectation for Clint are for him to be the manager, the voice in the clubhouse, the one who comes in and makes an impact. We’re going to be better this year; it’s just a matter of how much better. It’s an exciting time. We expect there to be a lot of energy in spring training. It’s going to be a fun camp but also a camp where there are a ton of decisions to make, which isn’t ideal. Our guys are going to have to be ready to go from day one. Clint’s personality, energy and communication skills will make players comfortable, but at the same time, with a little bit of edge. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to get better and win some games this year.
Some of the younger players, Andrew McCutchen in particular, are reaching the point where contract extensions might be in order. What are the risks in that process?
It takes two parties to reach a deal. Both sides have to compromise. The club takes on a tremendous amount of risk because, as we’ve experienced here already, it doesn’t always work out to the club’s benefit. The player takes the risk that he might be underpaid for three or four years. But if he is underpaid, he’s about to make $60 million, $80 million, $130 million, so the player really has almost no risk in a multiyear contract. He just doesn’t want to be underpaid for years four and five of his arbitration eligibility, but then he’s going to be rewarded as a free agent. The club takes on most of the risk, but there is cost-certainty and hopefully some savings. Maybe we (buy out) a year or two of free-agent (eligibility) for a player who we believe is going to have a quality career. It is part of the plan. It is part of what we hope to do going forward. But it’s always going to require a compromise on both sides
Can the Pirates compete with the other starting rotations in the NL Central?
There’s no question it’s a pitching-strong division. The nice part is most of those guys aren’t here for three, four or five years unless their clubs extend them and commit significant resources. In terms of this year, there’s no doubt we need guys to step up. We’ve got to figure out how to score some runs for Ross Ohlendorf, who last year was the best 1-11 pitcher I’ve seen in a long time. Is James McDonald for real? We need a bounce-back year from Paul Maholm. Looking at Kevin Correia, the numbers behind the numbers gave us comfort that he’s going to come back this year closer to the pitcher he was in ’09. To go through what he did last year, losing his brother, I can only imagine how tough that must’ve been for him. His strikeout-to-walk ratio, his ground ball rate … we feel there’s a good chance he bounces back. For the No. 5 hole, can Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton or Brad Lincoln step up? Looking down the road, there’s Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke — and that doesn’t include all the arms we drafted (in 2009 and 2010). We believe we need to be strong in pitching. But we’re not prepared to give up our absolute best prospects for guys who might only be here a couple of years. We’re in the process of building something for the longer term. We’ve got to develop our own starting pitching because it’s just so expensive on the free agent market.
Baseball America ranked the Pirates Top 10 Prospects of 2011:
1. Jameson Taillon, rhp
2. Tony Sanchez, c
3. Stetson Allie, rhp
4. Starling Marte, of
5. Luis Heredia, rhp
6. Bryan Morris, rhp
7. Rudy Owens, lhp
8. Jeff Locke, lhp
9. Zack Von Rosenberg, rhp
10. Chase d’Arnaud, ss/2b
I asked Tony Sanchez how it feels to be the #2 ranked prospect in the Pirates system. He said, “pretty damn good. still lots of work to be done tho.”
Minor league baseball.com ranked the top 20 Pirates prospects for 2011. Although most of the players received C’s, John Sickle’s says, “I like the trends here and I think they are on the right track.”
1) Jameson Taillon, Right hand pitcher, B+
2) Stetson Allie, Right hand pitcher, B
3) Tony Sanchez, Catcher, B
4) Rudy Ownes, Left hand pitcher, B
5) Luis Heredia, Right hand pitcher, B-
6) Jeff Locke, Left hand pitcher, B-
7) Diego Moreno, Right hand pitcher, B-
8) Zach Von Rosenberg, right hand pitcher, B-
9) Justin Wilson, Left hand pitcher, B-
10) Starling Marte, Outfielder, C+
11) Bryan Morris, Right hand pitcher, C+
12) Colton Cain, Left hand pitcher, C+
13) Brock Holt, Infielder, C+
14) Nick Kingham, Right hand pitcher, C+
15) Tony Watson, Left hand pitcher, C+
16) Evan Chambers, Outfielder, C
17) Zach Dodson, Left hand pitcher, C
18) Gorkys Hernandez, Outfielder, C
19) Mel Rojas, Jr., Outfielder, C
20) Chase d’Arnaud, Shortstop, C
Some other honorable mentions: Tim Alderson, RHP; Eric Avila, 3B; Nate Baker, LHP; Jorge Bishop, 2B; Victor Black, RHP; Exicardo Cayonez, OF; Jarek Cunningham, 2B; Matt Curry, 1B;Brian Friday, INF; Robbie Grossman, OF; Josh Harrison, INF; Phil Irwin, RHP; Andrew Lambo, OF; Qunicy Latimore, OF; Kyle McPherson, RHP; Jordy Mercer, INF; Quinton Miller, RHP; Daniel Moskos, LHP; Alex Presley, OF; Trent Stevenson, RHP.To find out why the received the grades they did, read here.
Pirates President Frank Coonelly had his monthly online chat with fans on Wednesday. Here are some highlights:
You can read the entire chat transcript here.
Coonelly opened his chat by saying, “I want to congratulate former Bucco Bert Blyleven, an integral part of our 1979 World Series club, on just being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
If the Pirates have the capacity to make a meaningful increase the payroll, why not offer long-term contract extensions to [Andrew] McCutchen and [Pedro] Alvarez like the Rays have done with [Evan] Longoria?
Coonelly: Reaching long-term contracts with core players such as Andrew McCutchen and, we believe, Pedro Alvarez is an important component to building a sustainable winner. It, of course, takes two parties to reach an agreement but this is a contracting approach that we have implemented.
A year ago at this time we were looking forward to [Pedro] Alvarez and [Jose] Tabata call ups (not anticipating the surprise of [Neil] Walker). Who could we see come up this year? Maybe Gorkys [Hernandez], [Bryan] Morris, [Jeff] Locke, [Jim] Negrych?
Coonelly: You are right that we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Alvarez and Tabata last year while hoping that Neil Walker could also be a part of our future this time last year. It was exciting to watch these three young players become three of the best rookies in the National League in 2010. For us to be successful over the long term, it is critical that we continue to bring such talent to the Major League level from our minor league organizations. From our other players who we believe to have a shot to make a meaningful impact in Pittsburgh this year are Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson, Jeff Locke and Alex Presley. The development of other players may, and probably will, surprise us in 2011.
How do you feel about Charlie Morton going forward?
Coonelly: We continue to feel that Charlie has all of the tools necessary to be an effective starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. Charlie obviously struggled mightily last year but seemed to find a level of confidence during the last month of the season. He continued to make progress during a brief winter league stint and will be given an opportunity to win the 5th starter spot in the rotation.
How is Steve Pearce recovering from knee surgery?
Coonelly: Steve Pearce has been working hard in his rehabilitation and should report to spring Training ready to compete for a job on the Major League club. Steve’s injury last year was unfortunate because he had worked extraordinarily hard to get in the best shape of his career, and that extra work was evident in his play.
Coonelly also went on to say that the Pirates are not done this offseason. “Neal [Huntington] is continuing to work to improve the club and, in particular, is looking to add a bullpen piece or two. Neal continues to talk to representatives for free agents and attempt to identify trades that will improve the club.”