Results tagged ‘ national league ’
- 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.
Pirates Neil Walker was named the 10th best second baseman right now by MLB Network on Thursday. Here is what the analysts had to say:
Hazel Mae: “Drafted by his hometown Bucs, Neil Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates cracks our list [at number 10]. Quite a MLB debut for Walker. One in which he finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting by posting a .296 average, 12 home runs and 66 RBI’s in 110 total games. Walker also put together a 18 game hitting streak in late August. That .296 average was second amongst all National League second baseman with the minimum of 400 plate appearances. Harold, not sure anyone really expected Walker to be on our list. What do we know about this guy?”
Harold Reynolds: “That’s the funny thing. It is right now. If you look at what he did last year in the little bit of time he had up, he’s got an incredible skill set. That’s why he was the number one pick. He’s got nice range. He can go get a ball in the outfield. He’s a switch hitter. He’s not afraid to get rid of the ball, turn double plays. He seems to be learning how to play the game. He’s kind of lost in Pittsburgh right now. They’re building with a lot of young talent. Had he be in a bigger market, I think a lot of people would have been saying, ‘this Neil Walker kid can play a little bit.’”
Mitch Williams: “When you look at what he’s capable of doing. At the plate, he’s a switch hitter hitting for average. It’s not easy to break into the big leagues and hit for average, being a switch hitter. You’re going to be stronger one way or the other. In 110 games, this kid drove in 66 runs as a second baseman. This is where the game is changing. Back when you were a second baseman [referring to Reynolds], you were a get em’ over guy, a two hole hitter, advance runners, do the little things right and field your position.”
Reynolds: “The thing I like, 87 hits after the all-star break. That means, the second half when everyone started adjusting to him, he made great adjustments. I remember the injury he had on the west coast trip [referring to when Walker and Ryan Church collided during a play] and he was able to come back. This kid is going to put up numbers. He’s a nice player.”
The Pirates are making their mark amongst the best in the game right now. Andrew McCutchen was named the #1 Center Fielder. Pedro Alvarez (third base) and Jose Tabata (left field) did not make the top 10 but did receive honorable mentions.
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.”
MLB Network rated Andrew McCutchen as the #1 Center Fielder right now on Thursday’s countdown. Here is what the analysts had to say:
Greg Amsinger: “It’s time to find out the number one center fielder in major league baseball is right now and he resides in Pittsburgh. The Pirates Andrew McCutchen is #1. He’s just 24-years-old. In 2010 in 154 games, he hit .286, 16 home runs, 56 RBI and scored 94 runs for a team that didn’t win all that much, 33 stolen bases. Now he did have five errors, tied for second most (Matt Kemp of the Dodgers). But was fifth in the National League in the stolen base department. Eight outfield assists, third best in the National League. Andrew McCutchen right now, is he the number one center fielder in major league baseball?”
Billy Ripken: “When you start looking at the overall package. The year before he was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting. That makes you stand up and take notice. All those other categories you talked about in, you can put him in with the league leaders with his center fielders in those categories. So, when you look at a complete player and shall we say, ‘Mr. Excitement’. I think what people overlook was the 16 bombs. I mean he ran into some balls and hit some balls of the ballpark. He’s got a complete package.”
Amsinger: “So he’s number one right now?”
Ripken: “Okay, Right now he is.”
Dan Pleasac: “I would say right now there are a lot of teams, Greg, that would like to pencil his name in in center field. One of the things, he’s another guy if you look at his body type, he’ll surprise you with some pop in his bat. You would think he’s going to get bigger, he’s going to get stronger. What I really like about him, he plays with a lot of energy. He makes his team better. But I’ll tell you what he’s going to need: he’s going to need some help. The Pirates are going to have to do a much better job surrounding some talent on the corners to take a little bit of that pressure off because right now, he’s a mark man in that Pirate lineup. He’s a good player and I think right now if you were looking at the skill set; ‘Can he run? Yes.’ Can he hit? He’s going to hit for some power.’ He’s not a .300 hitter, but pretty darn close to it. I think when you look at all the things combined, right now, he might be the best.”
Amsinger: “You know what I like about him? He’s got this swagger of a winning player on a losing team. [Showed video of McCutchen's walk-off home run] That is swagger, that is flash, that is excitement and he’s playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s a beautiful story.”
Ripken: “You like to see a player have a chance at redemption and when you miss play a ball like that [referring to the video of McCutchen's error prior to the walk-off home run] you certainly hope you get an opportunity to come up and do damage. He didn’t nod his head. He didn’t feel down on himself. He went up to home plate and hit a ball out of the ballpark.
Pleasac: “Pirate fans really haven’t had a lot to get happy about the last 15 or 20 years. It’s been a long streak of losing for the Pirates but this is one guy, if you’re a fan of the Pirates, or you live in the Pittsburgh area, he’s worth going out to see play. He plays with a lot of energy, he plays with a lot of passion, and you would hope that if he gets a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, he’s going to hit some balls out of the ballpark. Has a chance to be one of those franchise type players for the Pirates.”
President Frank Coonelly took part in his monthly chat on Wednesday. Some of the topics were on the manager vacancy, payroll increase and off-season plans. You can read the entire chat here. These are a few of the questions I thought were interesting.
I support this rebuilding process and am excited for the team in 2012 and beyond. That said, without giving a canned answer, are you going to add enough payroll to support a better team in 2011? Can we hope for at least a $50M payroll?
Coonelly: “I appreciate your support of our plan to return the Pirates to a championship caliber club and your recognition that such a plan necessarily takes time.”
“Notwithstanding what was a very disappointing season in 2010, we have made meaningful progress in upgrading the talent in our organization and over the last two years have added several of the most exciting young players in the National League, including Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.”
“Speaking candidly, I have said that we have the capacity to add meaningfully to our 2011 payroll if we are able to secure players who will help us win in Pittsburgh. We have the capacity to have a payroll over $50 million and we’ll add those payroll dollars if we are able to bring in players that can help us win.”
What do you plan on doing to help the pitching situation for next year, as it was clearly our biggest weakness?
Coonelly: “There is no question that we need to improve our pitching in 2011, particularly our starting rotation. We have identified the starting rotation as a priority this off-season and we’ll aggressively pursue adding at least one starting pitcher during the off-season, either through a free-agent signing or a trade. Of course, the free-agent market for starting pitchers is rather thin this off-season and thus there is no guarantee that we will be able to add a free-agent starter who will be able to impact our roster.”
“Part of the solution, therefore, must be getting better performances from pitchers like Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, and, possibly, Charlie Morton and/or Brad Lincoln. James McDonald pitched well for us following his acquisition. Ohlendorf was pitching very well prior to being shut down with shoulder soreness and Charlie Morton, who is currently pitching in winter ball, looked like he was beginning to figure some things out as the season closed.”
“These pitchers and any offseason acquisitions should be pushed hard by the young arms (Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke) who helped the Altoona Curve win the Eastern League championship this year. In summary, we must pitch far better in 2011 and I am confident that we will.”
How confident is the organization with Hanrahan or Meek as the closer in 2011? Or will you shop for a veteran closer again (like 2010 with Dotel) until you feel one is ready?
Coonelly: ”Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek both have shown that they have the tools necessary to be quality closers. As a result, we would be comfortable relying on Joel and/or Evan closing games for us in 2011. Having said that, we are looking to add to our bullpen and if we were able to add an experienced closer, we would certainly consider making such an addition to the back of our bullpen.”
Current Brewers hitting coach, Dale Sveum interviewed with the Pirates on Wednesday for the open managerial position.
Sveum, 46, was drafted in the first round (25th pick) of the 1982 draft and spent 12 seasons in the majors with seven different teams (Pirates 1996-97, 99). Unfortunately, his career was ended early due to an career-threatening collision in 1998 and never fully recovered. Sveum had a career .236 average with 69 home runs and 340 RBI.
From 2001-2003 Sveum managed the Pirates’ Double-A Altoona Curve and was named Top Managerial Prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America. (213-211)
Sveum was the third base coach for the Boston Red Sox from 2004-05. He has spent the last five years as part of the Brewers coaching staff that included bench coach, third base coach, and hitting coach. Sveum was named the Brewers interim manager after Ned Yost was fired and during those 12 games they went 7-5, winning the National League Wild Card.