Results tagged ‘ Lastings Milledge ’
It’s finally here: Major league baseball 2011 opening day. Although the Pirates opening day doesn’t kick off until tomorrow, there are several games being played today.
The Pirates had workouts at Wrigley field this afternoon.
News and notes:
- The Pirates made several roster moves today: Right-hand pitcher Jose Veras was added to the 40-man roster. To make room for Veras, the Pirates designated Ramon Aguero for assignment.
Catcher Chris Snyder, Right-hand pitchers Jose Ascanio and Brad Lincoln and left-hander Scott Olsen were placed on the 15-day disabled list.
- Right-hand pitcher James McDonald threw 69 pitches today vs. NYY Triple-A team. He allowed just one run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts over five innings. McDonald (left side soreness) remains on track to pitch on April 5th in St. Louis.
Manager Clint Hurdle said J-Mac will be on about a 85-90 pitch count on Tuesday’s start.
General Manager Neal Huntington told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “The ball was coming out of his hand real well. He threw healthy. He had some sharp pitches at times. He had some other pitches that weren’t quite as crisp. But yeah, we believe he’s ready to go.”
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates have not yet determined where right-hand pitcher will begin the season in extended spring training or with Triple-A Indianapolis. Lincoln has been sidelined with a right forearm contusion.
- Manager Clint Hurdle also announced the Pirates opening day lineup for Friday. Ryan Doumit will be the starting catcher for the fourth straight season.
He explained his decision of picking Doumit over Jason Jaramillo, who had a great spring, was because of experience. Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I think we’ve got enough young guys breaking in [on Friday] that we’ll rely upon Ryan with some experience behind the plate, We’ll use both. I know both of them have worked very hard, and both of them are trying to take ownership of trying to be the best catcher they can be to handle the staff.”
- Right-hander Kevin Correia, who will be the Pirates opening day starter, told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com the importance of the team starting off strong, “It is nice to get off to a good start. It just kind of gets your confidence rolling going into the year. If you start off losing games, it’s just not conducive to getting on a good streak. When you’re in a position like we are, any time we can win a series, it’s going to be important – especially against division rivals.”
- The Pirates also released seven minor leaguers: Adenson Choruio, Christian Colonel, Casey Erickson, Pat Irvine, Gerlis Rodriguez, Jose Solano and Mike Williams.
- In honor of Hall of Fame Manager Chuck Tanner, who passed away in February, the Pirates will wear a commemorative patch this season. The patch will be black No. 7 enclosed in a gold “Stargell Star”
- Former Buccos Andy LaRoche and Lastings Milledge have made the major league club this season. LaRoche batted .333 in 29 games with the Oakland Athletics. He hit three doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI. Laroche will be an utility infielder.
Milledge batted .305 in 19 games this spring with the Chicago White Sox. He hit one double, four home runs and 12 RBI. Milledge will be a back up outfielder.
- John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus and the Beaver County Times believes right-hander Kevin Correia could be the Pirates’ treasure.
- Outfielder Jose Tabata was replaced by pinch runner John Bowker in the 5th inning of Wednesday’s game against the Phillies. Tabata, who stole second base, hit his right ankle on the bag. It was reported that “he had only discomfort.”
- The Pirates have signed pitcher Tim Wood according to MLB Trade Rumors. Wood was released by the Washington Nationals.
The 28-year-old allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over 4.1 innings this spring.PNC Park has some new food items at the ballpark this year. Stuffed Pepper Hoagie, Meatball subs, Pulled Pork Perogie snacker; to name a few.
For Vegetarian and Gluten Free people like me, new this year is a Gluten-free beer and a veggie cup with hummus at the Levy Restaurants and a veggie toaster sandwich at Aramark. I love that PNC Park is continuing to cater to Vegetarian and Gluten Free fans.
You can read about all the delicious new foods here.
*Photo credit: @Colin_Dunlap
- Thursday marked the final day of workouts held at Pirate City for the Pirates. They will be held at McKechnie Field with the Grapefruit league opener starting on Saturday.
- Pirates game against the State College of Florida will start at 12:05 tomorrow and will be available to watch live at: www.scf.edu
- Kevin Correia will get the start on Sunday against Tampa Bay Rays. He will be followed by Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan, Joe Beimel and Jose Veras .
- Scott Olsen threw a 25 pitch fastball bullpen session on Thursday and didn’t have an any reported discomfort afterwards.
- Former Bucco Lastings Milledge spoke to Chicago Breaking Sports about being non-tendered by the Pirates.
“They have their reasons,” said Milledge, who cut his long hair. “They got a good guy in right field, a guy who they wanted. That’s that. That’s part of the business. We’re both in different places, and I’m sure Matt (Diaz) is happy to be there. And I’m happy to be here.
“Obviously, it was a little disappointing. Definitely being a first-year arbitration guy to fight and scratch and claw to get to arbitration to get a change of money. At the same time, I’m on a team that’s a playoff contender and can do big things.”
- Baseball America predicts that Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie will make the majors in 2013.
- The entire team crowded around home plate to watch Joe Beimel edge Kevin Correia, and win the Pirates bunt drill championship.
“Just gets everybody focused,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Everybody’s got a shot, everybody’s got a chance. … You can hear the cheers and the oh’s and the ooh’s and the aahs.”
Kevin Correia squares up for a bunt in the bunt competition finals in front of the entire team (photo via @BucsInsider)
- As I reported earlier, Evan Meek has been limited to workouts due to a tight right calf. He is listed day-to-day.
“It’s nothing major,” Meek said. “I’ll miss maybe another day or two, that’s it.”
“We’ll just keep monitoring him day-to-day. It’s still early for him,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s no red flags or anything, and we’ll get him out there when we can.”
- Kevin Correia, Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan, Joe Beimel and Jose Veras threw bullpen sessions today.
- James McDonald did not have control during his last bullpen session on Tuesday. It’s still early in spring training, so I wouldn’t look too much into it, but still thought it was worth noting. McDonald will pitch a simulated game on Friday.
“He was rushing it a little bit, and we talked about it,” Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage said. “He was pulling his head out, trying to overthrow stuff, which is normal [at this time of year]. He felt really strong, which is good. But he’s got to make sure that he channels that energy.”
- There have been several reports that Pedro Alvarez hit a ball past the right field wall, hitting a palm tree. He may have gained weight this offseason, but it seems like he is stronger than ever.
- Alex Presley is still focused on making the big league roster. The Pirates already have the outfield set; Jose Tabata in left field, Andrew McCutchen in center, and Garrett Jones/Matt Diaz platoon in right field.
If Presley were to make the roster it would be as a fifth outfielder.
“I like what I’ve seen from Alex,” Hurdle said. “I like the conversations I’ve had with the people within our organization. I like the conversations I’ve had with the people who have had him previous to even last year.
“The ability to play all three outfield positions and the ability to utilize some speed on the bases. He is not a guy, who when you look at him, you think, ‘We can bring everybody in.’ There is some barrel to that bat. It will play a little bit. He can drive a baseball.”
The Buccos walk off the Pirate City fields for the final time in 2011 (photo via @BucsInsider)
Lastings Milledge signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. He also receives an invite to spring training.
Milledge, who turns 26 on April 5th, hit .277 with four home runs, 34 RBIs and five stolen bases in 113 games with the Pirates.
The White Sox will be his fourth major league team (Milledge made his debut with the New York Mets in 2006).
MLB’s beat reporter Scott Merkin thinks Milledge has a shot at making the big league roster. He tweeted the news on Thursday afternoon: Lastings Milledge also was signed to Minor League deal, with a ST invite. Would not be surprised if Milledge earns final reserve OF job
Incase you missed Hot Stove from Wednesday night, or perhaps you don’t get the channel, here is what the analysts from MLB Network had to say about the Pirates 2011 season (P.S. It’s not pretty).
Matt Yallof: “The Pirates. Every single year. It seems to get worse. 57 wins last year. That seems difficult to do.”
Bill Ripken: “You wonder what direction they’re heading in. Our friend Clint Hurdle is taking over this club. I think he’s going to bring an attitude and a positive mentality to this club. But for me, I look at the pitching staff. In all these years that they’ve finished down to the bottom of baseball, I’m wanting to know where that number one is. We mentioned [Steven] Strasburg when we talk about the Nationals. Now, he blew out his elbow and he got hurt. But when you draft, you draft a number one. You draft some cheddar. When I look at the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation, I’m kind of wondering, ‘where’s the heat’? I’m not saying heats everything because you can pitch to spots and you can locate. When everybody on your staff is throwing 91, 92, then you drop down below 90, throwing 86, 88. There’s not that one guy that actually wows me. [Charlie] Morton throws the hardest. When you’re looking at 93 topping out, I’m wanting to know, ‘where the heat is?’ If you didn’t draft it, and you go out and you pick out other guys that are kind of throwing the same, ‘where’s the heat?’ I want somebody in that rotation that’s going to make somebody swing and miss at a fastball and maybe get yourself out of a jam instead of giving up big innings.”
Pirates projected rotation (according to MLB Network)
James McDonald (4-6, 4.02 ERA in 2010)
Paul Maholm (9-15, 5.10 ERA in 2010)
Kevin Correia (10-10 5.40 ERA in 2010)
Scott Olsen (4-8, 5.56 ERA in 2010)
Ross Ohlendorf (1-11, 4.07 ERA in 2010)
Mitch Williams: “There has to be a guy on every staff that at some point in the game, can reach back and throw the ball 95, 96. If you’ve got two outs and the bases loaded, two strikes on a hitter, you have got to have that guy that can blow that hitter up. Pittsburgh does not have that guy. They have guys that throw hitting speed.”
Matt Yallof: “You know what, they’ve had their chances to draft guys of note and guys that do what you’re taking about but they’ve missed. They’ve had high draft picks over and over. That hurts. Look at the guys they’ve passed on. They’ve missed those type of guys.”
Pitchers drafted in first round by Pirates since 2002:
Drafted – Right hand pitcher Brad Lincoln
Missed on – Left hand pitcher Clayton Kershaw, right hand pitcher Tim Lincecum, Right hand pitcher Matt Scherzer
Drafted – Left hand pitcher Paul Maholm
Missed on – Left hand pitcher John Danks, Right hand pitcher Chad Billingsley
Drafted – right hand pitcher Brian Bullington
Missed on – Right hand pitcher Zach Greinke, left hand pitcher Cole Hamels
(*As a note: Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield were the General Managers during this time. Since Neal Huntington took over as GM in September of 2007, the drafting and minor league system has done a complete 180. Huntington really hasn’t gotten enough credit for what he has done so far and how much better the organization is heading.)
Harold Reynolds: “That’s the easy stuff they’ve missed on. Those are the number one picks. It’s the guys in the fifth round, six round, that your scouting is suggesting and going after. They’ve done a nice job with some players that have come up as of late (Williams: “position players”). But they’ve really missed it on the pitching.”
Ripken: “That term that comes into baseball now: Sign ability. Some of that might be their hands are tied a little bit but boy when you see that list and some of those players they’ve passed up on, wow! They’d look a lot different.”
Reynolds: “If you look back at the ‘we are family pirates’ they were international. They were: Puerto Rico, Dominican, they may not have had the funds back then but they went in those countries and developed players. I still think they had the market cornered. That’s when everybody wanted to be a pirate.”
Williams: “They won the World Series with the ugliest hats in the history of baseball.”
Yallof: “Last winning season: 1992. It’s really hard to believe.”
Notable Transactions (by MLB Network)
First baseman – Lyle Overbay
Outfielder – Matt Diaz
Right hand pitcher – Kevin Correia
Left hand pitcher – Scott Olsen
Left hand pitcher – Zach Duke
Right hand pitcher – Chan Ho Park
Outfielder – Lastings Milledge
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, Lastings Milledge was involved in a fight during winter ball in Venezuela.
Lastings Milledge involved in big team fight in winter ball. Venezuelan friend says: Heated game. After he doubled in 4th, he made like he was throwing grenade to his dugout. Other team didn’t like-hit him in 7th. Then he took 2B. Other team went after him. BOOM-Big Fight
Milledge was non-tendered by the Bucs on December 3rd. He batted .277/.332/.380 during the 2010 season.
Monday kicks off the first day of the Winter Meetings held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The Pirates have several gaps to fill for the 2011 season: a starting pitcher (or two), a first baseman/right fielder, shortstop and bullpen help for Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan.
The young Bucs can be penciled in for next season: Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, and James McDonald.
“We feel it’s important to provide this young group of players weapons that will help them experience success in 2011,” President Frank Coonelly said. “More help is coming quickly through the much improved minor league system, but there are needs that we’re trying to address now to enable us to win in 2011. If we can address these needs without giving up prospects who we believe will be a part of our long-term success and without impeding our ability to lock up the young players who we are developing to long-term agreements, we need to do that.”
“We are targeting players on the market who will address these needs without jeopardizing our longer-term goals,” Coonelly said. “We have the financial resources available to address these needs, and we are looking forward to adding more talent to the improving young talent that has joined the roster over the past two years.”
The Pirates reportably were interested in Jorge De La Rosa (who re-signed with the Rockies) and first baseman Lance Berkman (who signed with the Cardinals). But there are many other players the Bucs could peruse: first baseman Derek Lee and Carlos Pena, right fielders Jeff Francouer, Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, shortstops J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett.
Steve Pearce and Lastings Milledge (who was non-tendered) could also be filled from within the organization to play first base/right field.
We are comfortable with Steve Pearce filling a role on the major league club,” General Manager Neal Huntington said. “We continue to be open to Lastings Milledge returning, too, but we are also exploring other potential fits.”
Starting pitching is the most important for the Pirates to fill. Scott Olsen is rumored to be in serious talks with the Pirates. Other options include: Brandon Webb (reports that the talks have gone cold with the cy-young award winner), Justin Duchscherer and Jeff Francis.
Thursday marks the Rule 5 draft and the Pirates have the first pick. Starter Aneury Rodriguez is the favorite, The right-hander went 6-5 with a 3.80 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 113.2 innings in Triple-A (Tampa Bay Ray’s organization).
The 40-man roster currently has four spots open.
The Pirates had until 11:59 on Thursday to decide whether to tender/non tender a contract for 2011 to Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Ronny Cedeno and Lastings Milledge.
Pittsburgh originally had nine players that were facing arbitration this offseason. Wil Ledezma was signed to a one-year deal, while Zach Duke (who has signed a one-year deal plus a mutual option for 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks), Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young were designated for assignment and removed from the roster.
Jeff Karstens agreed to a one-year $1.1 million contract for 2011 (He made $457,000 last year). Karstens went 3-10 with a 4.92 ERA during 19 starts with the Pirates (26 appearances) through 122.1 innings. It is uncertain whether Karstens will remain a starter for 2011 or if he will be used out of the bullpen as long relief.
Ronny Cedeno agreed to a one-year deal which includes and club option for 2012. He batted .256 with eight home runs and 38 RBI with the Pirates in 2010. “We have identified upgrading our infield defense as a top priority and are working aggressively to accomplish that upgrade,’ Frank Coonelly said on Thursday afternoon. The Pirates are rumored to be interested in J.J Hardy and Jason Bartlett and will continue to explore options. Cedeno could be used in a trade or as a utility infielder if the right guy is found. “He has the ability to play the position,” Huntington said. “He shows flashes of the defense. He shows flashes of the offense. At some point in time, the consistency is either going to come or it’s not going to come. There are stretches of time where we feel like it’s just about there, and then we have some games that are less than ideal.”
Ross Ohlendorf was tendered a contract. He had a few stints on the disabled list and was considered a “very unlucky pitcher” in 2010 (referring to his 1-11 record and 4.07 ERA).
Joel Hanrahan was tendered a contract. He finished the 2010 season with a 3.62 ERA and six saves. Hanrahan also struck out 100 batters (a career high) in 69.2 innings.
Lastings Milledge was non-tendered by the Bucs, making him a free-agent. Milledge batted .277 with four home runs and 34 RBI (.320 AVG against lefties) His below average offense along with his lack of power were both concerns of the Pirates.
General Manager Neal Huntington: “We spent a lot of time analyzing Lastings Milledge as compared with the potential alternatives for the expected role and determined it was worth further exploration of the alternatives. We remain open to continuing dialogue with Lastings.”
Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal and Brian Burres were also non-tendered by the Bucs, becoming free-agents.
Huntington on Donnie Veal: “Everything is on schedule with Donnie’s rehabilitation. We made a tough business decision, but we are optimistic we will be able to re-sign Donnie.”
During the Pirates live web chat with President Frank Coonelly on Thursday, he was asked if they have made a decision on who they will tender/ non tender.
“We will definitely tender Ohlendorf and Hanrahan. We continue to have discussions with the reps for Cedeno, Milledge and Karstens.”
The Pirates have until midnight on Thursday whether to tender the contracts of: Karstens, Cedeno, Hanrhan, Ohlendorf and Milledge.
The five Buccos are all arbitration-eligible.
Karstens went 3-10 with a 4.92 ERA. He made $401,500.
Ronny Cedeno batted .256 with eight home runs and 38 RBI. He made $1.125 million.
Joel Hanrahan went 4-1 with a 3.62 ERA. He had 100 strike outs in 69.2 innings with six saves. He made $453,000.
Ross Ohlendorf went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA. He made $439,000.
Lastings Milledge batted .277 with four home runs and 34 RBI. He made $452,000.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch will be answering fan’s questions on a weekly basis until Spring Training starts. Below are a few of the questions I thought were interesting from this weeks inbox. You can read the entire transcript here.
What do you think are in the plans for Milledge, Delwyn Young and LaRoche?
This is a good question, but a tough one to answer given that the Pirates are still evaluating how each might fit into the team’s long-term plans. All three of those players are arbitration-eligible, so each is due a decent pay bump as a result. It’s not a guarantee, however, that each will be offered arbitration.
I think it’s a safe bet that Milledge will be tendered a contract given that the outfielder is still just 25 years old and could be an option if the Pirates decide to go with a platoon in right field. He was acquired just a year and a half ago, and I can’t see the Pirates giving up on him just yet.
Young fills a good role off the bench for Pittsburgh, but the club ultimately has to decide if the pinch-hits are worth the increase in salary. If the Pirates believe they can get that offense from other internal options for less money, there’s always a chance Young could be on his way elsewhere.
LaRoche’s situation is most tenuous, and how he fares down in winter ball will weigh heavily in the Pirates’ evaluation about whether to keep the infielder around. LaRoche is playing all four infield positions in Venezuela. His only shot at hanging onto a roster spot with the Pirates is to show them that he can be an effective extra infielder and that he can hit without consistent at-bats. LaRoche definitely didn’t show the latter in 2010; consequently, don’t be surprised if he is gone before Spring Training.
Are the Pirates sure enough on some of their younger players to consider offering them long-term contracts?
It’s not common for teams to begin approaching players with less than one year of Major League service time about signing long-term deals. Yes, it happens occasionally — as it did a few years back with Evan Longoria and the Rays — but it’s not the norm. That said, it’s probably a bit too early to expect extensions being offered to Pedro Alvarez or Jose Tabata, even though each is still viewed as integral pieces of the club’s future.
McCutchen, however, could be a different case. The outfielder has now played more than a year and a half in the Majors and would seem to be a prime candidate for a contract extension in the next year or two. He is still under the team’s control for five more seasons, but by inking him to a long-term deal now, the Pirates would get two things. They would have financial certainty (in other words, they will know exactly how much will be allocated to McCutchen’s salary each season). And they could try to buy out a year or two of free agency from the center fielder.
Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan could also be candidates for multiyear deals, possibly something similar to the two-year deal given to Matt Capps in 2008. Like McCutchen, Meek and Hanrahan have had sustained success for more than one year and have shown signs that such success isn’t a fluke.