Results tagged ‘ ray searage ’
Pirates play-by-play annoucer Tim Neverett interviewed Right-hand pitcher Charlie Morton prior to Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Here is what they discussed:
Tim Neverett: “Charlie, an interesting 365 days I guess when you look back at the last year for yourself. You head into the season last year with high hopes. Things don’t go your way. You end up going down to Triple-A. Had all kinds of things happen…From where you were a year ago, to where you are now, how far do you think you’ve come?”
Charlie Morton: “I think the struggles forced me to move forward. And taught me a lot about myself, taught me a lot about what really is important. Not only in the game [but] off the field. Going to the Dominican [for winter ball], getting to spend time and play with the guys that I’ve known, a culture that I haven’t really been too familiar with, and getting to see where guys that I’m playing with all these years are coming from. At this time last year, I thought I was ready. I was excited. I worked hard, prepared. To be honest with you, I really don’t know what more I could have done last year coming into the season. Like you said, it just didn’t work out. But what I’m doing is moving on and learning from it.”
Neverett: “Well I know last year certainly was full of disappointments. You probably had some of those moments where you thought you were doing everything right and then, the results weren’t there. How tough was that on you mentally?”
Morton: “It was hard because I know for a fact last year I put more into baseball emotionally, physically and mentally than I ever had before…It wasn’t one of those things were you kind of shake it off. You hit a wall, you get back up and you go again and you go through it. It wasn’t like that. It was like, I hit a wall and I didn’t know what to do because I had put so much time into it, I invested so much time into it –In between starts, bullpens and video studying, working out. I really didn’t have much more to offer to preparation or anything like that. It was more like I was beating my head against the wall opposed to run through it. In that sense it was really difficult. There was a lot of soul searching. I wondered what I wanted to do with my life. If this was where me dedicating everything I had to baseball was going to leave me, what am I going to do? If it’s not working out, what am I going to do? The one thing that I did learn was despite struggling, guys from the other side were telling me that I have all the talent in the world to do what I want to do in this game…The direction I wanted to go was made more clear especially when I came back and had some success at the end of the year. Trying to figure out what worked and what kind of individual I wanted to be on the field. Who I wanted to be. What kind of pitcher I wanted to be. And in that sense, I guess it was kind of necessary because up into that point last year, I was trying to be what other people thought I was trying to be, what other people wanted me to be. As opposed to really embracing what I could do with a baseball. The results have yet to be seen but I’m really looking forward to this year because I feel like I’ve kind of been given the reins a little bit more. I feel like I’m more in a position to do what I feel is right and what I feel I am and who I am. Last year definitely forced me to determine who I was because it was sink or swim.”
Neverett: “Your spring this year, a lot of folks said you approached it like a different guy, like a different pitcher. What have you done differently in terms of the mental preparation. I know last year one of the criticisms that maybe you thought a little bit much. You had a too much in your head instead of going out there and pitching…What have you done differently this year that has turned into a very good results in spring training heading into the season?”
Morton: “I think I kind of narrowed down what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be…There are so many things that happened last year…I basically lived at the ballpark. Even when I wasn’t there, I was thinking about baseball, how to get better. I think it was necessary for me to think about things…I think in terms of, ‘don’t think just throw’, theoretically you can do that but I wouldn’t be learning anything. There were times last year where that’s what I was doing. It didn’t work out. You can’t really change the nature of a person. I understand the desire for people to perceive me as an over thinker or overly analytical and that leading to struggles. Really the only thing that’s going to allow me to fully get to where I want to be is for me to do it. Is for me, not someone else to do it. Would it be nice to go out there with a blank mind, not remember what happened before. Not be thinking about mistakes. Not to be thinking about possible negative outcomes. Would that be great? Yeah. It would be great, but it wouldn’t be human. I learned last year that it’s okay to have fears and to be anxious and all that stuff. Whereas before it was perceived as some type of weakness or something like that. I learned you really have to embrace what you are and allow that to give you what you need to succeed. You have to take those failures and embrace what happened as opposed to trying to shut them away somewhere. For me, Yeah, I wish I could have. I wish I could have come to the ballpark after giving up 10 runs in an inning or two innings, or whatever it was, and just move on but it’s not realistic.”
Neverett: “We’ve seen some really good results already this year. We’ve seen a guy who’s out there determined to win. Working with pitching coach Ray Searage, what has he told you? What advice has he given you going into the season?”
Morton: “One of the things we’ve been working on early in spring training was my mechanics. Ray and Jim Benedict, our pitching coordinator, they got together, I’m not sure who else was involved but we lowered my arm angle a little bit. Trying to make the way I was throwing a little more natural. Get my timing better because mechanically I’m rotational except for my arm angle which is trying to be over the top. I’m trying to be 6’5″, 230. I throw 95, so let it fly. But the thing is, I tried that last year and it just didn’t work. We dropped my arm angle a little bit. Ray has kind of stepped back and give me some space. I think he knows I care. I think everybody here that knows me, knows I care. I almost care so much that it might not be beneficial. What Ray has done is focused on one or two things. And that was fastball down and away to a righty, a go-to pitch when I’m behind in the count and just staying aggressive. I’ve been throwing a lot of sinkers down in the zone and getting a lot of ground balls.”
*Photo credit: Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, 1490 News blog
During the third inning of Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, right-hander Brad Lincoln was struck in the right arm by a line drive hit by Jimmy Rollins. Lincoln proceed to field the ball and tag out Rollins.
Brad Lincoln told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “(Rollins) was slowing down and asked me if I was all right before I even tagged him,” Lincoln said with a laugh.
Manager Clint Hurdle, pitching Coach Ray Searage and the training staff met with Lincoln at the mound. According to Bob Walk, the Pirates Broadcaster, Lincoln was trying to convince them to let him stay in. He was taken out of the game after pitching 2.2 innings.
Lincoln was diagnosed with a right forearm contusion.
Lincoln told Biertempfel of the Tribune, “It got all meat. There was no bone-on-bone or anything like that, which is a good sign. It’s a little tight right now, so we’ll put some ice on it and re-evaluate it tomorrow. Right now, I feel OK to go about my business and do what I need to do. The real test will be how it feels tomorrow.”
Bad timing for Lincoln who was pitching a good game and is also battling for the 5th spot in the rotation. Over 2.2 innings (he was scheduled to throw four) he allowed one run on one hit with two walks. The lone run scored from a leadoff walk to Michael Martinez. Chris Resop replaced Lincoln and gave up an RBI double to Shane Victorino.
Lincoln told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, It is bad timing, but it’s not like we’re ruling out my next start already. I’m not overly concerned about it right now.”
Brian Burres could be making a push for the No. 5 starter’s job. He’s thrown nine scoreless innings this spring and has allowed just five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Burres, a non-roster invite, went 4-5 with a 4.99 ERA in 13 starts (20 appearances) with the Pirates last season. In his final seven games, Burres had a 1.89 ERA.
“I’ve been feeling really good this spring,” Brian Burres told FSN Pittsburgh after Thursday’s outing.” It’s kind of being showing on the mound. I’m just hoping to continue to pitch well when I get the chance to get out on the mound.”
On what’s been working well for Burres this spring: “Getting ahead. Trying to keep the ball down. Really just trying to be as aggressive as I can in the zone.”
On the effect of pitching coach Ray Searage: “Ray really helped me last year, in September. I was really excited to find out that he was going to be the pitching coach this year. You got to know yourself but it really does help when you get along with your pitching coach as well as I get along with Ray.”
When asked if Burres would rather be a starter or a reliever he said, “Wherever I can fit in and help the team is where I like to be.”
Former Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan may not be on the staff anymore, but yet he continues to be a story from all the tinkering he did to the pitchers last season.
We’ve heard about the issues between Brad Lincoln’s mechanics that were tweaked by Kerrigan, this time Charlie Morton says he was advised to stop throwing his sinker –a pitch he threw two seasons prior. Morton has also been throwing the sinker this spring, and the results are very encouraging.
“I think when I get that good sinker action, it allows me to be more aggressive in the zone,” said Morton, who has induced three double plays in five innings this spring. “I don’t have to be too fine. I can be more over the plate, just down in the zone.”
“He’s letting the ball work for him now,” Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s kept the ball down with great regularity. It’s great to see him out there competing and feeling good about himself.”
The Pirates will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday at 1:05 PM.
Charlie Morton will be taking the mound against David Price in Port Charlotte in the Grapefruit league opener. Morton will pitch two innings, followed by Brad Lincoln who will also pitch two innings.
This gives the staff a good look at both starters who are in the running for the 5th spot in the rotation.
So what is pitching coach Ray Searage looking for? “All I’m looking for right now is the aggressive approach, first-pitch strikes and attacking the bottom of the zone.”
They will be followed by Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Daniel McCutchen and Justin Thomas and Cesar Valdez, who will all pitch one inning each.
Here is the Pirates starting lineup:
Jose Tabata 7
Neil Walker 4
Andrew McCutchen 8
Pedro Alvarez 5
Matt Diaz 9
Lyle Overbay 3
Ryan Doumit DH
Chris Snyder 2
Ronny Cedeno 6
Charlie Morton 1
The Rays starting lineup:
John Jaso 2
Johnny Damon 7
Evan Longoria 5
Manny Ramirez DH
Ben Zobrist 9
BJ Upton 8
Dan Johnson 3
Sean Rodriguez 4
Reid Brignac 6
David Price 1
The Pirates will be facing Ace David Price of the Rays. He went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA last season.
“The guy on the mound tomorrow can spin it a little bit, he’s got some plus [velocity],” manager Clint Hurdle said on Friday. “We could be behind a little bit. So you just got to wait and show up and find out what’s going to happen.”
The starters will most likely play five innings, two at-bats each.
- 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.
The 2010 season for Brad Lincoln was a difficult road.
After making his major league debut on June 9th, he went 1-2 in five starts (31 innings) allowing 16 earned runs, striking out 14 and walked nine.
He best start came against the Chicago Cubs in which he pitched a seven inning shutout striking out a career high six –picking up his first major league win.
Then pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan, tinkered with Lincoln’s mechanic’s and things started to spiral. Lincoln only made four more starts before being sent back to Triple-A Indy.
“Last year made me realize, ‘Hey, this is my career,’” Lincoln said. “I am the determiner of my career. That’s the way I have to look at it. That’s what I took most out of last year — just be who you are and don’t let anybody dictate how you go about your business.”
Since Ray Searage took over as pitching coach, he has been working with Lincoln, trying to get his mechanic’s back to the way he was before.
“Mechanically, he’s there,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “He’s back to where he was and we’re not going to fiddle around with him. Here is the ball. Go get him.”
“I don’t want [Searage] to go and not say anything to me,” Lincoln said. “But in the same sense, he’s going to let me be who I am and get that aggressiveness back and be a more physical pitcher. Last year, I felt like I was using a lot of my upper body instead of using what God gave me, and that’s big legs.”
Lincoln has been working hard this offseason, focusing on his core and his lower half during his conditioning programs.
Lincoln may have a check list of things to accomplish before the Pirates will give him a chance back in the starting rotation: consistency, his changeup has to develop and a better mindset on the mound, but that doesn’t stop him from believing he can make the Pirates team as a starter by the end of camp.
“I’m going to take the approach that I’m going to make the team out of spring,” Lincoln said. “I don’t want to go to Triple-A. I want to be at the top. That’s the way I’m going to approach it. The cards may fall as they do, but I’m going to have the attitude that I’m going to make this team and I’m going to be the guy to help out this team.”
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.
Long gone this season in Bradenton, FL. Are the strings that marked the bottom of the strike zone –a tool used by former Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.
Ray Searage will still be using the life sized batting dummies during batting sessions this year –but only sparingly.
“If you need a visual to get the ball down, then you need to go back to the minor leagues,” Searage said. “This is the can-do league. This is the majors leagues. Get the ball down. Make it happen. What I’m trying to get them to concentrate on is the execution of the pitch and not so much on how you’re doing it. We can take care of that later if we need to. In the game, you need to focus on executing the pitch — not where your front shoulder is or anything else. Get the ball to where you want it to be”
Searage is pleased with the pitchers, especially Evan Meek, Tyler Yates and Mike Crotta, who he says stood out during their bullpen sessions.
“Yates looks like he could pitch (in a game) tomorrow,” Searge said. “That was the best ‘pen I’ve ever seen out of Meek. Good gosh, it was solid. “Crotta, a young kid, looked sharp.”
“I’m really happy,” Searage said. “Not that I’m going to go out and buy a case of champagne, but I’m very happy with the progression and what transpired during the winter (throwing) program.”
Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington chatted with Jim Duquette and Jody McDonald of MLB Network radio’s Baseball Today on Sunday. He discussed: Clint Hurdle’s energy, the impact by the new Veterans, the closers role, young prospects who could make their debuts, and a possible long term extension with Andrew McCutchen.
On Clint Hurdle’s energy: “It’s great to know that we got Clint leading this group and the excitement, the enthusiasm, knowledge, the passion, and the intensity he brings, it’s going to be different for our players. We felt like we needed a new voice, new direction and not only with Clint but with our staff. We got a great staff in place. Our guys are excited. They are looking forward to this year. Looking forward to surprising some people.”
On the reason Huntington sough out Veterans Matt Daiz and Lyle Overbay: “Obviously, coming off a tough season, we wanted to get better. We knew we needed to upgrade our rotation, try to upgrade our bullpen, wanted some offensive ability. We wanted to improve our defense. When you win 57 games you pretty much need to improve everywhere. We had a lot of great young players who we’re excited about. This group of 25 and under both at the major league level and through our system is going to be the foundation of our future success. We are hoping we can have some current success. Guys like [Kevin] Correia, [Scott] Olsen, can add some veteran presence to our rotation. We got some guys that are competing to make our bullpen whether, it’s [Joe] Beimel or [Jose] Veras, that can help out [Joel] Hanrahan and [Evan] Meek, who were so good for us last year. Overbay, we upgrade defensively at first base with Garrett Jones in a platoon situation in right field…We put Garret in a position to be successful. Then we added Matt Diaz and all of a sudden we have a very productive right field…You talk to the people that were around that Atlanta [Braves] club, whether it’s front office people, people in the dugout, people around that club, Matt was one of their leaders last year. Lyle is a constant professional. And we needed to help Neil Walker and Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen, take some of the pressure off them. Let them go play and provide some of that veteran leadership to help them mature both on the field and off.”
On what Huntington is looking for this spring, compared to last: “I think our guys believe that we’re ready to start taking a huge step forward. In the past we hoped. And we kind of looked around and wondered who the guy was, that was going to put the team on his back and carry it. Now, we got a handful of guys that are capable of doing that…Talking with our guys, reading their quotes in the papers, they believe we can take a huge step forward this year. Clint’s only going to foster that. Our staff is only going to help that. There’s no question; we need to take a big step forward this year.”
On if there is an open competition between Hanrahan and Meek for the closers role at spring training: “We are going to go with one guy. We have not announced it publicly first. We honestly spent more time trying to see if there was a veteran closer, as we have with Octavio Dotel last year. That would come in here and close out some games, and allow Clint to use meek and Hanrahan anywhere through the sixth through the eighth. That worked out really well for us…We weren’t able to do that. Our energy and our focus has been on preparing for spring training. It’s been on trying to recruit some guys to try to come in here and step forward. We will meet as a staff, Clint, and Ray Searage and I will sit down and we will identify who is going to be our closer. No it won’t be an open competition at spring training. It’s too tough…It’s not like we got a bad choice. Whichever guy we go with, we believe can close games at the major league level and believe will do a nice job for us…We will commit to somebody and over an extended period of time and they will get the opportunity to show us that they can hold the job. The other guy is going to be getting big outs for us in the seventh or the eighth inning.”
On what young prospects could make their debuts this year: “Any of that rotation that was in Double-A last year that led that club to the Eastern League Championship. Whether it’s Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, or Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, there may be some of the guys out of the bullpen that get here quicker. Danny Moskos has great stuff from the left side, we just got to build that confidence that allows him to feel like his stuff can compete. There may be a couple guys that kind of surprise some people. Position player wise, there are some guys moving up from that group. Gorkys Hernandez, Andrew Lambo that are probably a little ways away. There is a good wave of talent coming through…If those guys don’t show up instantaneously, it’s not Sidney Crosby or Lebron James, that show up at the highest level on the day that they sign. It takes years. For Pedro Alvarez to get here in essentially in two calendar years is quick decent. We are looking forward to that next group of guys from the ’08 draft and ’08 signing class getting here.”
On Chris Snyder’s key to getting back to past years: “We traded for Chris to help our pitching staff. To stabilize the game calling, to stabilize our young starters, to help them get through tough innings, to help them get through tough outings. Whether it was the pitching coach change or Chris Synder traded for in late July, it did that. Our starting pitchers really threw the ball much better in August and September…He’s excited to get a full offseason of workouts. He’s coming, from what we’ve been told, in very good shape….In last offseason, his offseason was impacted by the back surgery and this is his first real healthy offseason in a while. He’s fired up to come in and help us.”
On potentially doing a long term deal with Andrew McCutchen: “They key to any of those situations is; One: the club wants it to happen, and we do. Two: the player wanting it to happen and that doesn’t always happen. Contracts take a willingness to share a risk of these type of situations. In some cases the club isn’t willing to take on that risk and other cases the player isn’t willing to compromise his potential future earnings value. He’s not interested in the security, he’d rather go out and see how much he can make year in and year out. Or, he doesn’t feel it’s the right time…It is something we absolutely intend to do. But the only way these deals get done is if two sides are interested in it.”
On what starter needs to step up this year: “…We need a multitude of guys to step forward. We need Paul Maholm to do what Paul Maholm did, whether it’s in ’08 or at least in ’09 and not what he did in ’10…Kevin Correia, we are looking forward for him to bounce back two what he was in ’09 given a very tough 2010 season both on and off the field. Charlie Morton has got tremendous stuff, yeah we need Charlie to take a step up. We need Ross Ohlendorf to stay healthy the whole year. We need to give him some run support. James McDonald. Can he do what he did for us the last two months of the season? Can he do that over the course of the season? Scott Olsen. Can we get that stuff to play on a consistent basis and get him back healthy. Can we get Brad Lincoln back to where he was? The nice part is, here comes that Owens, Wilson, Locke, Morris group that if we have some struggles, we’ve got some depth. Jeff Karstens did a nice job through five innings, as pretty much as anybody in baseball, just seemed to hit a wall in that sixth and seventh inning. The reality is, there isn’t just one person that needs to step forward for us to go where we believe we can go. We are going to need a couple guys to step up.”