Results tagged ‘ pittsburgh ’
Former Bucs Manager John Russell spent six years in Pittsburgh . He endured some of the worst seasons in Pirates history, including a 105-loss 2010 season. He made coaching gaffe’s that sometimes made you scratch your head. He was often criticized for his lack of emotions both on the field and with the players. But despite the blowouts and the base running mistakes, Russell has no regrets.
“I’ll never forget my (six) years in Pittsburgh as a coach and manager. It’s a great city with great fans. I’ll never regret it. I wish I could still be there as a manager. But I’m very happy where I am now. I’m looking forward to this season and what the future holds for me.”
“I thought the last quarter of the (2010) season we played pretty good baseball,” Russell said. “Guys started to come on a little bit. I thought it was very much headed the right way. But you can’t negate the losses.”
Just three weeks after being fired by the Pirates, Russell was hired by the Baltimore Orioles as their third base coach and catching instructor.
The Bucs and Orioles face each other five times during spring training, as well as a interleague series this season.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you probably don’t want to go back there,’ ” Russell said. “It doesn’t affect me. It was a part of my career that I’ll always remember and cherish. I have a lot of friends over there.”
Russell also believes the Pirates can turn thing around and end those consecutive losing seasons.
“There’s hope for any franchise,” Russell said. “The biggest thing is patience, and that’s tough in Pittsburgh because of the number of years they haven’t won.”
If he could do it all over again, would he second guess anything?
“You can always second-guess,” he said. “But you have to believe in what you do. That’s the way I tried to approach it every day in Pittsburgh. I tried to do what’s right not only for the players but for the organization to make sure we stayed on track with the major plan. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew we were going to have to be patient to make it work. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me.”
For some pitchers the offseason flies by, for others, like Pirates prospect Logan Pevny, it can’t get here fast enough.
After pitching three games for the Bucs Gulf Coast League, Pevny’s season ended early due to an injury. Now healthy, he is anxious and ready to head down to Bradenton, FL. For spring training.
“I feel great now,” Logan Pevny said during a phone interview on Saturday. “I wish I could have left months ago. I’m leaving on Friday. I’m really excited to go. I can’t wait.”
Pevny was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 49th round of the 2010 draft out of West Milford high school. A day, that he and his family won’t ever forget.
“[I was] Ecstatic. Shocked, really. I had only been pitching, at the time I was drafted, for about a year. Everything happened so quick. It just all blew up right in our faces –in a good way. It was really amazing to tell you the truth. “
What’s also shocking is the reason he became a pitcher. After playing shortstop for years, Pevny found his future on the mound, by an accident.
“My coach had the radar gun out for practice and we were kind of just messing around. All the pitchers were throwing their stuff. I just kind of hopped on the mound and threw a ball. It read 88 I believe. We were like, ‘that’s pretty good for someone who doesn’t pitch. Maybe I should switch positions.’ I never really was a fielder. I was meant to be there as a wall and have a good arm that’s all.”
The decision wasn’t hard for him and his father to make.
The right-hander average’s a fastball is in the high 80′s –and has even reached 92 according to several reports from last season.
This offseason, Pevny has been working hard training at several different facilities to get ready for the 2011 season.
“I’ve been working out at Cannonball gym in Pompton Lakes. It’s some really high intense cardio. My trainers name is Austin Wall. He was a former wrestler at Indian Hills High School. He’s a great guy. He really pushes my body to the limit and he gets the most out of me. I’ve been working out there since November.”
Pevny has also been working out at PBI (Professional Baseball Instruction) as well as training instructor.
“[Teaching] Mostly younger kids. Probably the oldest, 13. Just giving a lot of pitching lessons, running camps and clinics. PBI have been great to me there. I’m always down there everyday using their facilities. Throwing with another professional, Steve Fox. He’s in the Red Sox farm system.”
At just 19, he is already a good example to young kids and fans. When I asked him who his favorite player was, it was no surprise that he said ‘the captain’.
“Derek Jeter. Just the way he carries himself on and off the field. He’s a great guy. He looks to play for the people, put on a good show. He has the right attitude. He goes out there everyday and works hard.”
Pevny didn’t tell me his favorite artist, but from the sound of his ring back tune (Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”) I’d say, he’s a big fan. “A little bit,” he joked.
With less than a week until the Bucs minor league players report to Pirate city for camp. Pevny already has his goals made for the season.
“One of my big goals I’ve set for myself was to start off at State College in Pennsylvania, Short season A this year. I’m really pushing myself hard so hopefully everything works out.”
Here are several pictures of Pevny throwing at PBI.
*(Special thanks to Logan Pevny for the interview and Jim Monagham at PBI)
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.
On Tuesday’s edition of Front Burner on MLB Network, the Analysts named their ‘best ballparks in major league baseball’. Harold Reynolds and Billy Ripken had great things to say about PNC Park.
Reynolds: “The best ballpark for me, believe it or not, is Pittsburgh. PNC Park is beautiful…You got the bridge. The ballpark is a stone throw away from the hotels that are right around the area. I think its phenomenal. I was there for the All-star game, called a couple games there. I really like that ballpark.”
Ripken: “I saw it there as well [All-star game]. And it’s a shame that Pittsburgh has kind of been away from us for a while, as far as the baseball team is concerned. The tradition of the Pirates and the history of the Pirates, that ballpark is incredible. That’s a nick pick right there.”
After a rough 2010 season in the majors with the Pirates, Charlie Morton decided to pitch in the winter leagues in the Dominican to work on some of his struggles.
What he didn’t realize he would learn was a different perspective.
“Meeting people down there really helped me appreciate what I have here,” Morton said. “I would leave the park and a kid would come up to me and ask me for water or food. I’m like, ‘Serious?’ It’s tough.”
“I think I have seen enough of the world to have appreciated that and know that I don’t have it that tough,” Morton said. “But going down there where the people don’t really have much and driving by fields where you see 15 kids with one baseball on something that doesn’t even look like a baseball field, it’s like, ‘Wow.’
“There were times when I wish I had stayed longer. But at the same time, it was such a long year.”
Morton will be battling for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training and is ready to rebound from last season. After a month of resting his arm, Morton has started throwing in December.
“I’m ready to get on the mound against hitters and see where I am,” Morton said. “I’m just going to go out and pitch and do what I can do.”
ESPN writer Jayson Stark graded the National League Central on Tuesday and gave the Pirates a C+. Here is his thoughts on the Bucs offseason moves.
BIGGEST ADDITIONS: Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Garrett Atkins, Joe Beimel, manager Clint Hurdle.
BIGGEST SUBTRACTIONS: Zach Duke, Lastings Milledge, Chan Ho Park, manager John Russell.
The task of making the Pirates respectable now falls to Clint Hurdle.
Look, it’s all relative. You don’t evaluate a Pirates offseason by the same standards you use to evaluate, say, a Yankees offseason, just the way a good year for Joe’s Computer Repair Shop isn’t quite the same thing as a good year for, say, Microsoft. So judged against what the Pirates were attempting to do, they did OK.
Jorge De la Rosa and Carl Pavano — both of whom they chased — would have been better rotation upgrades than Correia and Olsen. But Overbay, while he’s not exactly Adrian Gonzalez, should be an improvement over last year’s first-base hodgepodge. Diaz is a career .301/.350/.456 hitter. And there are potential bargains in their nonroster free-agent crop (Beimel, Atkins, Jose Veras, Fernando Nieve, Josh Fields).
Then there’s Hurdle, who will represent about as dramatic a change in the manager’s office, when you compare him with the soft-spoken Russell, as this team could have hired. So while it would be a monumental upset if this turns into the year the Buccos climb above Mount .500, they at least inched northward.
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.
On Tuesday’s edition of Hot Stove on MLB Network, they showcased the Pittsburgh Pirates in part of the 30 Clubs in 30 Recaps.
Here is what the analysts had to say:
“1992 was the last season in which Pittsburgh finished with a winning record. For a once proud franchise the Buccos have become somewhat of a forgotten team in their own city. It also doesn’t help the Penguins won a Stanley cup two years ago, and Sunday, the Steelers can win their third super bowl in six years. We look back at the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates.”
*Video clips through out the season were showed. Garrett Jones two run homerun on opening day, Evan Meek’s first career save (against the Dodgers), Andrew McCutchen’s hot month of May (.327 avg), the rookie debuts of Neil Walker, Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez, the 12 straight losses, Alvarez’s walk-off three run homer against the Rockies, notching the 18th consecutive losing season, John Russell getting fired, and the hiring of Clint Hurdle.
Greg Amsinger: “Another rough season in 2010 for the Pirates. Hence all of these changes:”
Pirates Notable transactions this offseason by MLB Network:
RP Joe Beimel
SP Kevin Correia
OF Matt Diaz
3B Josh Fields
SP Scott Olsen
1B Lyle Overbay
SS Cesar Valdez
SP Zach Duke
SP Dana Eveland
RP Chan Ho Park
3B Andy LaRoche
RP Joe Martinez
OF Lastings Milledge
Amsinger: “Zach Duke is gone. He’s not going to be in that rotation. Andy LaRoche is not going to be at third base. Lastings Milledge is still a free agent so who knows where he’ll go. But you see all the additions. The biggest addition though, is the skipper of this club, Clint Hurdle.”
Todd Zeile: “I agree with you 100 percent. Clint, you heard him in the press conference say, ‘It’s got to turn eventually. We’re not going to back down to anybody.’ That’s the kind of mentality Clint Hurdle has. I think he truly believes in it. I think he instills that kind of confidence in his players –especially young players. In 2002, Clint took over for Buddy Bell, when Buddy Bell was fired. We were on the ropes. We had a bunch of veteran guys that he just let play. But at the same time, we had a guy named Juan Uribe, who we saw in the world series last year, this guy was as raw and unfettered as you could find. Clint found a way to get him to hone in his skills, but still let him play and didn’t destroy his confidence. He made sure he knew every time he walked out there, Clint believed in him. I think he’s got that same kind of capability. Look, realistically, they are looking to the future. While they got a lot of kids on that team that have a lot of potential in the future, including Pedro Alvarez. You showed the highlight of him, Alvarez had a really rough start but finished really strong. A guy like Clint I think can help take him to the next level.”
Al Lieter: “I agree. I love Clint. You mentioned about Alvarez, Greg Smith their scouting director, whole new deal there. Neal Huntington a whole lot different from Dave Littlefield, cleaning up the mess. You have a $40 million payroll. I think about all the additions and what is important. I think what is important is your starting rotation. No question about it. I go to what the Padres did last year. You have really nice quality pitchers like the Padres did in [Clayton] Richard, [Mat] Latos, and [Wade] LeBlanc. You have to get something out of your guys and look for the future. You got James McDonald, nice pickup with the Dodgers. Paul Maholm, making a lot of money right now for what he’s bringing in. Ross Ohlendorf was 1-11. You bring in a guy with some innings, that you can bring in a Kevin Correia that can maybe hold over for the future. This is about draft picks, this is about your player development. Everything that goes on from the bottom up, to eventually find that diamond. That’s what I would be sitting on and I look to the Padres. Last year, two teams under $40 million dollars in payroll: both the Pirates and the Padres. It starts with pitching.”
Harold Reynolds: “It does. It actually starts with draft also. I love what Clint Hurdle can bring to the table. You got to be positive with the young guys. You heard me say, ‘You got to play the young talent’. Some of the guys they are bringing in, the draft they had last year. They had two top picks, you get [Jameson] Taillon and you also get [Stetson] Allie, who should have been a number one pick as well. So they get those two guys to get it going in the minor leagues. It starts with pitching. You can move pitching and you can add players with having good pitching. But I love the fact that guys they have in the big leagues already. With [Andrew] McCutchen, I love [Neil] Walker the second baseman, and you look at Alvarez. Those three guys are a great core to start with and you go from there. The Pirates are on up!
Amsinger: “It’s a great sports city. They love the penguins, of course they love the Steelers, if they can get a winning product there for the Pirates they will come fill the most beautiful ball park in the game.”
Pirates Projected Rotation (According to MLB Network)
- 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.
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was the main attraction over Piratefest weekend.
“I want you to be proud of the Pirates,” Hurdle told one gathering of fans. “I believe in the city of Pittsburgh. I’m humbled by the reception that I’ve gotten.”
The Q&A sessions during Pirates Management were packed full of fans wanting to ask and listen to what the new skipper had to say.
But the fans weren’t the only ones excited about Hurdle being a part of the future. Several players have spoken out on the impact he brings to the team.
“I think he’s going to be great,” starter Ross Ohlendorf said. “Obviously, everyone talks about his energy, and he has a lot of energy. But he brings a really good attitude and is really positive. He’s doing a great job in getting everyone to believe that we’re going to have a really good team.”
“When he speaks, you listen,” said Garrett Jones, one of Hurdle’s two primary right fielders going into 2011. “He’s the type of guy who, when he walks into a room, he brings energy with him. When he’s talking, you’re listening. He’s the type of coach we need and that guy that is going to kick us in the butt when we need it throughout the season.”
“He just seems like one of the guys,” noted pitcher Charlie Morton. “Obviously, he is the head guy. But you can go up and talk with him. He’s excited, which I think is really, really big for us. I’ve got nothing but good things to say.”