Results tagged ‘ rangers ’
- The Texas Rangers claimed right-hander Ramon Aguero off waivers from the Pirates on Friday. Aguero was designated for assignment last week in order to place right-hander Jose Veras on the 40-man roster.
Aguero did not appear in any regular season games for the Pirates. He allowed two runs on two hits over 1.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts during spring training.
Lefty Joe Beimel (left elbow) made a rehab appearance in the High-A Bradenton Marauders game on Friday. He pitched a scoreless inning of work, allowing all groundouts.
Catcher Chris Snyder (lower back) caught the High-A Bradenton Marauders game on Friday. He went 3-for-3 with a double, home run and six RBI.
Snyder is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday.
- Jason Jaramillo is currently serving as the Bucs backup catcher. His fate with the ball club could be effected once Snyder is reactivated from the DL.
Jaramillo told Colin Dunlap of the Post-Gazette, “You don’t wish any ill will on anyone. I hope he gets healthy, he is a big part of the club. But, at the same time, I feel like I can be a big part of the club as well.”
Jaramillo is 4-for-13 in three starts this season (.308 avg) with a RBI, walk and a stolen base. He also hit the game tying run in the 6th inning of Friday’s game.
- Rockies Manager Jim Tracy managed the Pirates from 2005-07. He was aware of Andrew McCutchen, who was in Triple-A by the time Tracy’s tenure came to an end.
Tracy told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I’ve never seen the guy go to first base where I didn’t see a full, 100 percent effort every time he hit the ball. That’s a great place to start. When he plays the game, you don’t really know whether the Pirates are winning, losing or whatever. You just know that Andrew McCutchen is out there, this is how he plays, and this is how he’s going to continue to play for nine innings. You’ve got to love that type of player.”
“I was with him when he was 18 years old, walking around in our clubhouse when he wasn’t allowed to have a razor. He wasn’t old enough to have a razor. To see this guy grow into becoming the player he has become, he’s a special kid and he’s been that way since the first day I ever met him. When you sart talking about championship-caliber players, in my opinion that’s the criteria that has to be fulfilled in order to become that type of guy. That’s exactly who he is.”
Clint Hurdle was announced as the new Pirates Manager on November 15th, 2010. Just four months later and Hurdle has already played a huge effect on the young team. It’s noticeable in the players confidence, attitudes and approach during games.
Ask any player about their new skipper and you are bound to hear a list of great comments –nothing at all negative.
Hurdle is loud and honest, but what’s most important, he is positive and inspirational.
I’ve been a big fan of Hurdle’s for many years and believe the best decision the Pirates made this offseason was hiring him.
Hurdle is an amazing person . His positivity is captivating. He’s an inspiration, to not just the players, but to everyone.
Kyle Stark of ESPN wrote an excellent story on Hurdle’s task ahead of him. And his approach is simple. “Why not us? Why not now?”
I encourage everyone of you to read this article, despite who you root for (Be sure to watch the video on ‘pressure facing prospects as well).
*photo credit: Yahoo! Sports
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was a guest on MLB Network radio’s Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Thursday. He discussed priorities, expectations for the 2011 season, the “oh no’ coach, his time in Colorado and Michael Young’s impact with the Texas Rangers.
On Hurdle’s priorities as the Pirates manager: “Priority No. 1 for me was getting to know personnel. Getting to know the front office. More than just the interview process. Getting to know the people up top. Getting to know Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington along with all the other employees. Also then reaching out to the player personnel group. Finding out who we have, who they are. One of the things I’ve really tried to do, probably the last 10 or 12 years of my coaching career and managerial career, get to know people and try to capture their heart. Not capture their skill set. I was a player a long, long time ago…The coaches that impacted me, actually reached out to me, got to know me and the skill set would follow…Getting to know our players. Getting to know the people I’m working with and for. Just trying to capture their hearts and get this thing focused on a winning mentality, a championship mentality and re-bond the city with the baseball team.”
“I think that there’s a whole bunch of things that come with it, as you start to prioritize. I try to keep things simple at the same time. No. 1 it’s to get to know people. I think that by getting to know people you establish trust. Without trust you got no shot at anything…It’s my job to establish trust. These people know who I am, what I am, want to be transparent. From there, you try to engage in the human part of it. Then you go to the professional part of it. What do our priorities need to be to improve our ball club, to set our sights on a championship organization. First and foremost, it’s off the mound. So much good work has been done here in Pittsburgh the last three seasons. Greg Smith, the scouting director, Kyle Stark, our farm director, and all our player development people and scouts. They’ve spent more money in baseball then anybody in baseball in the last three years in the draft. Those players are pluged into our development system. Now we have some people in the major league level that are making noise. We need to start focusing on our major league club winning ball games…We need to focus on a championship mentality winning ball games. How do we do that, first and foremost, off the mound.”
On getting to know the players and their feelings on the club and organization: “I think one of the things that when I walked away from every conversation, it was very refreshing…More often than not, when you ask about a season, more specifically a season with a 105 losses which everybody took ownership of. Not one person, not one man pointed the finger at another man, another coach, another manager, anybody in the front office…I’ve been in great situations, but I don’t know if I could ever say I’ve had those conversations across the board. Nobody threw somebody under the bus…These guys took ownership of it. They’re young men and a few guys with some leadership skills and been around, but they took ownership of it. We just got to get better, I need to do this. I need to do that. We need to do this. That was as refreshing as any coversation I could have had.”
On Hurdle’s realistic expectations for 2011: “…We’re going to develop a championship mentality. I talked with these players about winning the NL Central. Where that ends up, I don’t know but that needs to be our sight. That needs to be where we set the bar. We need to hold ourselves to major league championship level of execution across the board. What, are we going to get shirts printed up that say ‘hey, Let’s break the streak’ ‘let’s finish 3rd‘. I don’t got no time for that, they have no time for that. That is the kind of conversation that’s been had. People are going to believe, people aren’t going to believe. We understand the emotions here in the city with the fan base. It’s been tough sledding for a long time…I need to put the responsibility on my shoulders. This is what we are going to do, this is how we are going to this, this is why we are going to do it. And if that doesn’t happen, then look to me and look no further. I don’t want our men trying to…let’s play .500, let’s when 84 games. No, we don’t need men on our club that got that mentality going.”
On his experience playing with different managers in his career: “…A lot of managers I had did really well, basically a lot of managers did this really well, they did get to know you. They got to know what you liked to do. They maybe find out your wife’s name, or your kids name, or hobbies. We’ve all had that coach…When you saw him coming, you went, ‘oh no.’ We’ve all had ‘oh no’ coach. I’ve been encouraged, I’ve encouraged my coaches, and myself, I don’t want to be the ‘oh no’ guy. When I walk up to a player I want him to be, eye’s open…gosh, I wonder what he’s got today. He’s got something for me today.”
“I don’t have an ‘oh no’ coach. All these guys got clean slates. That’s one of the refreshing things about putting a staff together and actually having another opportunity to do this. You hope you learn some lessons over time. You hope there are some things you can improve upon and encourage my coaches. This is all about coaching men up. This is all about helping them grow up help build their talents. I believe on and off the field. That’s truly something we are holding fast to here…There are two kind of coaches I don’t want; I don’t want the ‘oh no’ coach and I don’t want the ‘cool coach’. I’ve probably been both coaches. But it was brought to my attention very early and you realize the error of your ways…There are certain things a manager needs to know and there are certain things he doesn’t need to know. I think one of the real blessings I got last year was, I think I was in the best position to coach hitters last year than I ever have been in the five previous years, because I got to sit in that managers seat for seven years.”
On what he took from his experience in Colorado: “The one big nugget I’ve taken from Colorado was It was a very humbling opportunity to be a small part of something that had so much significance to so many people, that 2007 season. There was so much hard work done by so many people that goes unnoticed in an organization when your re-building. To try to re-identify a brand, a logo, a team. To have that level of success is very humbling. At the same time, I think I learned on the way out that it was a very good experience for me…When I was fired from Colorado I felt that it was the most important day of my managerial career. In the fact that, for eight years I preached continuity. I had preached team, unselfishness, organization first. I felt the way I walked out was a say on anything I did on the field for seven years before. If you walk out yelling, kicking and screaming, pointing fingers, that just pollutes the message that I tried to leave seven years before hand. You leave professionally. You hand the keys over to Jim Tracy, who is a good baseball man and a very good manager. And you let everybody go about their business and you find the next thing to do. That’s what I learned from there.”
On Michael Young’s impact to the Rangers: “One of the things you need on a very good ball club, on a championship caliber ball club and in the clubhouse is a guy that will stand up and take heat off all the other guys when its not good. When your not playing well, when your not hitting, whatever’s going on…Michael would always be up front. He was the first guy up. He accessed the situation, honestly. He’d self evaluate himself and the team. And just talk about just what we need to do to get better. Never lay blame. That for me, was as big as anything he did for that ball club throughout the season. He was always up front. Defending the criticism. Taking a stand for the team or owning up when we weren’t playing well. You need that guy.”
- MLB Trade rumors believes 2011 is a make or break year for catcher Ryan Doumit. The 29-year-old went from the Pirates everyday catcher in 2008 to a bench, backup catcher role that he is likely to see this season. The Bucs have publicly made it known they were shopping Doumit, but no trade has been made. Since putting up .318 during the 2008 season, Doumit’s has been struggling at both hitting (.250, .251 average’s in 2009 and 2010) and fielding (.987, .990 fielding percentage’s with nine past balls last season and only 12% caught stealing).
MLBTR believes Doumit is a “defensive liability” as an everyday catcher and thinks he is better suited in the American League where he can serve as a backup and occasion designated hitter role.
- During President Frank Coonelly’s live chat on Wednesday, he was asked ‘what is the plan for Jameson Taillon? Will the injury to Stephen Strasburg last year have any impact on his movement through the Minors?’
“No final decision has been made with respect to where Jameson will begin his professional career, but, given what we’ve seen to date, I would expect that Jameson will begin in Charleston, West Virginia, with the Power. The mayor of Charleston attended our caravan stop on Monday and encouraged a commitment that both Taillon and Allie begin their careers in Charleston, but I was only comfortable indicating that was the most likely scenario.”
- The fans are not the only ones itching for the season to begin. Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez (TSanchez26) had this to say on Wednesday: “cannot wait to start mashing fastballs again.”
- MLB Network will be airing their ‘Top 10 second baseman right now’ Thursday at 8 PM/ET and Pirates fans should be looking for the Pittsburgh Kid. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review said, “Neil Walker is youngest player voted onto MLB Network’s list of Top 10 second basemen.’
When I asked Biertempfel if he had any idea where in the list he would be ranked, he told me, “Neil Walker is ranked somewhere 6-10, along with Kinsler, Weeks, Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sat down for a presser after day one of the mini camp:
On why he preaches an old-school message of preparation and routine: “It’s important from the first time we’re together to put some staples in place that we’ll revisit throughout the season. You don’t hear the term ‘new school’ very often; you hear ‘old school’ more frequently. In our situation, it’s very appropriate because we’re building upon scouting people, going out and finding players, player development. That’s the way we’re going to have to do things. We’ll add some extra parts, when appropriate, when we find good fits. I think the players need to hear a message from the manager that’s clean, clear and accurate.”
On if he worries about trying to do too much, too soon: “The one thing I want to do is get the men out on the field, watch and listen. I have to ask good questions. I have to rely upon my coaching staff to take care of their individual responsibilities with the players their in charge of Really good men have gone before me here. We’re not going to be teaching a whole lot of revolutionary ideas. We’ve just got to get better at the fundamentals of the game. I think that is in place. I also think that when you come in from the outside … I’m sure these guys have made their calls on me and the new coaches. They want to know what you’re about, where you’ve been and things like that. I’ve had enough experience that during a game there’s not too much that’s going to get thrown at me that I haven’t already experienced as a player, coach or manager. Hopefully, I can be a sounding board. Hopefully, I can be someone who can continue to push ‘em, encourage ‘em and guide ‘em towards playing the game at a championship level. It’s not going to happen overnight, but there are going to be some staples in place that we’re going to get down early and they’re going to know what I do want from them.”
On emphasizing the simple stuff when a franchise is trying to rebuild: “We’re not starting over. I think there’s some good things in place. I’m trying to build upon the positives that already were here. The men who came before me have done some good things. The group that’s been here the past three years, Frank [Coonelly] and Neal [Huntington] and some of the coaches who were brought over, have done hard work. It just hasn’t come across on the playing field like we want it to. So, from that standpoint, we’re going to be professional. We’re not going to fear anything. I’m going to share with them some of the staples that I’ve seen work. It’s not so much that the mentality is different. There’s no such thing as a small thing. Coach [John] Wooden said that, and he’s a pretty smart coach. I let them know from the first day that we’re going to hold ourselves to a championship level of execution. That’s one thing that is not negotiable.”
On the difference between being a coach and a manager: “You’re in a role of leadership, even as a coach. But as the manager, I’m accountable for a very large portion of all the things that go on, on the field. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. When you’re a coach, you’ve got an area of heightened importance. Now, I’ve got to make sure my coaches have the freedom to coach, know the players and get them to know me. I want them to know I’ve got their backs. We’re going to do this together. I need to carry myself in a managerial fashion. I’m not here to be their friend; I’m here to manage the ballclub, first and foremost. I have to get this club up and running in a much better fashion than what we’ve been able to do in the past.”
Right-hander Kris Benson has announced his retirement.
The 36-year-old, and former #1 selection by the Pirates in the 1996 draft, decides to leave the game after nine big league seasons.
“I’m done,” Benson told the FOXSports.com via phone from his home near Atlanta. “I decided pretty much after this past season that I wasn’t going to pursue anything. I’ve been putting way too much into it and not getting enough out of it, as far as the rehab, working out, training, and then not getting the type of results I expect from myself.”
“I wanted to make this decision now, rather than go into another season on another Minor League deal. I didn’t want to go through the head games of, ‘Am I going to make the team?’ I don’t mind the pressure. I just don’t want to fall into another situation like I had the last couple years, where I busted my tail getting back and then got hurt again shortly after I made the team.”
“This is a chance for me to be at home with my kids and enjoy the family life, which I’m not used to,” Benson told FOXSports.com. “It’s something a lot of guys welcome once their career is over.”
Benson spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1999-04). He also played with the New York Mets (2004-05), Baltimore Orioles (2006-07), Texas Rangers (2009) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2010).
Benson’s best year came in 2000, when he posted career high’s in strikeouts (184), innings pitched (217.2) and games pitched (32). Benson finished with a 3.85 ERA that year –his best over his nine major league seasons. He also broke the record for most strikeouts in Pirates history for a right handed pitcher.
Injury plagued seasons, shoulder and elbow injuries have prevented him from continuing his career. Benson had a 70-75 record with a 4.42 ERA in 206 games (200 starts).
Former pitcher and current Minnesota Twins television analyst, Bert Blyleven, finally made it into Cooperstown on his 14th year on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Blyleven’s career spanned 22-years (1970-92) with the Twins, Rangers, Pirates, Indians and Angels.
Blyleven received 79.7 percent of the ballots (463 votes). He received 74.2 percent of the vote in 2010 –just five votes shy.
“Last year, I was surprised that I went from 62 percent to five votes short,” Blyleven said in a recent interview from his home in Fort Myers, Fla. “That was very nice. It just means that hopefully this year there will be enough votes to get me inducted into the Hall of Fame. If that does happen, it will be like icing on the cake for me. I had a pretty big cake throughout my career, but this would be the ultimate.”
Blyleven will join general manager Pat Gillick and Sandy Alomar (the other 2011 Hall of Fame inductee) for the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 24.
“It’s been 14 years of praying and waiting,” Blyleven said. “I’d like to thank the Baseball Writers for finally getting it right.”
It’s still undecided which cap he will be wearing on his plaque in the Hall of Fame, although, the Twins is most likely. Blyleven spent 10 of his 22 seasons in Minnesota.
“The Hall of Fame decides what hat I wear,” said Blyleven. “I’m just very fortunate to now be one of the elite members of the Hall of Fame. It’s their decision, but hopefully it’ll be the Minnesota Twins.”
Blyleven spent three seasons (1978-80) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, even winning a World Series Championship title with the 1979 “We Are Family” team.
He has 287 wins –27th on the all-time list, fifth in career strikeouts (3,701). Blyleven’s 60 shutouts are ninth all-time and also ranks 13th all-time in innings pitched (4,970).
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports: Free agent [pitcher] Jeff Francis still drawing interest from 7 clubs — Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies and both NY teams.
Francis, who will turn 30 on January 8th, went 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA for the Colorado Rockies during the 2010 season. Through 104.1 innings, he walked 23 and struck out 67. Francis missed the entire 2009 season recovering from a shoulder injury.
The Pirates are still looking to add starting pitching depth. The projected starters for this season are: Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Kevin Correia and James McDonald with the fifth spot still open. Charlie Morton, Scott Olsen and Brad Lincoln are among the starters who will compete as the fifth starter at spring training.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports: Also Clint Hurdle’s familiarity w Francis’ injury history huge benefit when a guy is trying to rebound with a new team.
Jeff Francis is a pro, great teammate. If healthy, will help someone. If were me, I’d go to pitcher’s park. Give him some margin for error.
Matt Diaz is excited for the opportunity to be a part of something special and believes his roots make him a Pittsburgh kind of guy.
“I can’t wait to earn them as fans,” Diaz said. “They’ve been looking for something to cheer for in the summers. They’ve had plenty to cheer for in the winters. I’m ready to be a part of changing things around.”
Four teams were after Diaz, including the Bucs, but he said Clint Hurdle had a huge role in signing with the Pirates.
“The more I talked with Rangers players, they started singing [Pirates manager and former Rangers hitting coach] Clint Hurdle’s praises,” Diaz said. “Everyone was talking great about Clint.”
“Originally I viewed Pittsburgh as a place to go get at-bats and prove that I’m healthy,” Diaz said. “The more I talked to them, the more I realized that I could get at-bats and be a part of something really great. It was just a comfort thing, just a peace thing.”
The Pirates offered Diaz a one-year contract, but he asked for another year because he knew something good was going to happen in the Steel city.
“I said, ‘I would love to come in and help the young guys out as much as I can. But in 2012, I don’t want to be doing this all over again while you are having the time of your life,’” Diaz said. “We can have some fun in 2011 and really surprise some people with the plan they have in place. But I think 2012 can be special.”
Diaz, who at 32 is the oldest player on the roster, will take on a leadership role. He has played and learned from so many great players, he is happy to help the young bucs.
“I’ve been given so much in this game, and I was groomed by some pretty neat veterans in Kansas City and Tampa,” Diaz said. “If I can have some impact there to where I’m remembered after I’m gone, that will be a wonderful thing.
“The key for this young group is to take ownership of this team. It is going to be imperative for the older guys to really help and aid the young guys taking ownership of this team. They have to show that they’re willing to outwork other teams and leave it all on the field.”
Other News and Notes:
- Jose Tabata is hitting .353 (6-for-17) with a 1.165 OPS after his first six games of winter ball in Venezuela.
- Pirates prospect Jarek Cunningham, who was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, will start the new year by blogging. Cunningham will give viewers an inside look at what life is like as a minor league player.
He made his debut for the Gulf Coast League batting .318 with 5 HR’s, and 22 RBI’s in 43 games. Last season, with West Virginia Power, he hit .258 with 12 HR’s and 49 RBI’s in 121 games.
For more information and where to catch his blog, click here.
- MLB’s minimum salary for 2011 will now be $414,000 per year.
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.”