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The Pittsburgh Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at 2:20 PM/ET today at Wrigley field for the final game of the series. The teams have split the first two games.
Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will start for the Bucs against Right-hander Matt Garza, who is making his Cubs debut.
Ohlendorf did not pitch longer than 4.2 innings in a start this spring. He told Evan Drellich of MLB.com, “I feel really good with where I am right now. Pitching coach Ray Searage] and I worked on some things the last week or so that I think are really going to help. Also, my arm feels good, and that’s very important at this point.”
- If the Pirates win today, it would be their first road series win July 27-29 (Colorado) of 2010. The Bucs only won four road series last season (17 games overall).
- Following today’s game, the team will travel to St. Louis, where they open up a three-game series against the Cardinals.
- The Pirates Double-A team, Altoona Curve, announced it’s opening day roster.
The starting rotation is as follows: left-handers Jeff Locke and Aaron Thompson and right-handers Bryan Morris, Aaron Pribanic and Jared Hughes.
Farm director Kyle Stark told Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror, “I expect that staff to not be there long. Some of those guys have had success in that league and have a couple things they need to do, and if they do that, then we’re gonna look to challenge those guys [in Triple-A].”
Tim Alderson, a first round draft pick in 2009, will start the season in the bullpen.
Some notable position players include: Catcher Tony Sanchez (Pirates No. 2 prospect), Shelby Ford, Starling Marte, Brock Holt and Quincy Latimore.
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Matt Diaz RF, Jason Jaramillo C, Ronny Cedeno SS, Ross Ohlendorf RHPUpdate: McCutchen said he had little soreness in his neck from dive yesterday on ball hit in outfield.
*Manager Clint Hurdle says lineup is not up yet because they are waiting on health status of Andrew McCutchen who has “upper body” injury, according to Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette.
Starlin Castro SS, Darwin Barney 2B, Marlon Byrd CF, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Carlos Peña 1B, Geovany Soto C, Alfonso Soriano LF, Tyler Colvin RF, Matt Garza RHP
*Photo credit: @MikeShaeffer
Ross Ohlendorf’s struggles this spring continued as he threw 94 pitches over four innings as the Pirates lost to the Phillies 8-5 at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Ohlendorf has only thrown five innings in a start this spring once. He allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and a strikeout over four innings.
Ohlendorf has now allowed 24 runs (20 earned) on 34 hits over 18.1 innings this spring.
Ohlendorf told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I wish Spring Training had gone better, but I feel as if I’m ready. I feel like tonight, that even though the results were similar to my other starts, I feel like I threw the ball much better.”
“Where I didn’t do well is I threw too many pitches. I felt that with the exception of a couple of at-bats, I wasn’t getting hit as hard as I was in the last game, and the ball was coming out much better, and [catcher Ryan] Doumit did, too. I’m definitely heading in the right direction.”
Manager Clint Hurdle is not concered with Ohlendorf’s spring struggles. Hurdle told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I have no concerns or misgivings. He’s in our starting rotation. I’ve seen guys have springs in which they didn’t get anybody out, and when the season started they rolled right through it.”
Lyle Overbay came through with a two-RBI double in the 1st inning off of Roy Oswalt to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead. Both Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez walked in the inning.
Jimmy Rollins successfully stole second base in the bottom of the 1st inning. Catcher Ryan Doumit’s throw to second went into center field allowing Luis Castillo to score and put the Phillies on the board.
Right Fielder Ben Francisco homered off Ohlendorf in the 2nd inning to tie the game at two. Ohlendorf continued struggled in the 2nd. Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Luis Castillo hit a grounder to short, an easy double play to end the inning, but Ronny Cedeno bobbled the ball allowing a run to score. Jimmy Rollins hit a sac fly to score Ruis and give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.
Two more runs scored in the 4th inning off of Ohlendorf, who hit Rollins, his third batter of the night. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins both hit RBI singles in the inning.
Josh Rodriguez and Jose Tabata drew back-to-back walks in the 5th. Neil Walker hit a single, but advanced to third base on an error by the Francisco. Both Rodriguez and Tabata scored. Andrew McCutchen followed with a RBI single to cut the lead to 6-5.
Chris Leroux’s leadoff walk to Victorino scored on a ground out by Rollins in the 6th. Leroux was pulled after just 1/3 of an inning.
Former Bucco Erik Kratz scored off of Evan Meek in the 8th. The Phillies went on to win 8-5.
- Jose Tabata went 0-for-2 with three walks and two runs.
- Neil Walker reached base four times tonight. He went 3-for-4 with a RBI, a walk and two runs scored.
- Right-hander Kevin Correia, who will be the Pirates opening day starter in Chicago, is eager to get the season started right. He will be facing the Cub’s Ryan Dempster on April 1st.
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I’d trade in an Opening Day start for a good start. If we’re going to turn this thing around, it would be nice to win that first game. It’s exciting, but you can’t get caught up too much in it. You’ve got to approach it like any other start.”
- Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Mike Crotta has made the Pirates 25-man roster according to reports. Crotta, who has never pitched above AAA, has had himself a great spring. He’s allowed just two earned runs over 12.1 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Crotta told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I feel like [Spring Training] couldn’t have gone better for me. I [went to Florida] in the beginning of December because I had some elbow issue to work through. From the first day, I’ve just worked with [Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage] on getting the right mentality to be a reliever, and working on getting the ball down in the zone.”
“I’ve learned a lot this spring, and it’s something I can take with me into my career. It’s awesome to be here, and the whole experience is awesome. From the plane ride to playing in a game, it’s all just awesome. I’m ready to go.”
- Corey Giger of the Altoona Mirror reports that Pirates pitching prospects Jeff Locke and Bryan Morris will start the season with Double-A Altoona. Left-hander Justin Wilson is still undetermined whether he will go back to Altoona, or start the year with Triple-A.
Catcher Tony Sanchez and Starling Marte, ranked as the Pirates No. 2 and No. 4 prospects by Baseball America, will start in Double-A.
Another interesting move will be with shortstop Chase D’Arnaud. If the Pirates decide that Pedro Ciriaco will be the everyday shortstop in Indianapolis, then D’ARnaud will start the season at Double-A again.
- The Pirates will face the Phillies again tomorrow for the final exhibition game before opening day kicks off on Friday. Charlie Morton will start for the Bucs against Cole Hamels.
The Pirates will face the Houston Astros in Bradenton, Fla., at 1:05 pm. You can listen to the free webcast of the game here.
Left-hander Brian Burres is making his second start (fifth appearence this spring) and will face another south paw today, J.A. Happ.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that Joe Beimel played catch yesterday and will again today. Beimel (elbow inflammation) said he felt fine. There is no timetable as to when he will throw off a mound.
With just one week until the season opener, is it possible for the lefty to be ready?
Beimel told Biertempfel of the Trib, “I’m not going to go out there if I’m not ready. I wouldn’t do that to the team. I wouldn’t count myself out for being ready, but I’m not going to do anything stupid.”
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports the several injury updates:
Right-hander Jose Ascanio threw a bullpen session on Tuesday without any issues. Ascanio has been sidelined with right elbow discomfort.
Brad Lincoln threw long toss this morning. Lincoln is sidelined with a right arm contusion after being hit by a line drive on Friday’s game against the Phillies.
James McDonald is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. McDonald’s (left side) next step has not been announced yet.
Chris Snyder (lower back) caught three innings in a minor league game on Tuesday and is said to be feeling fine.
- Be sure to read this great article by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com on prospect Bryan Morris, who isn’t far from making his major league debut. He discusses what he learned from spring training and the year ahead.
Mayo also breaks down the Pirates top 10 prospects:
1. Jameson Taillon, 2. Stetson Allie, 3. Tony Sanchez, 4. Rudy Owens, 5. Bryan Morris, 6. Luis Heredia, 7. Jeff Locke, 8. Starling Marte, 9. Zack Von Rosenberg, 10. Colton Cain.
- The story about right-hander Craig Hansen is an inspiring one. If he’s fell off your radar, you’re not alone. Acquired in the Jason Bay Trade, Hansen has not thrown a pitch in the majors since April 19, 2009. The 27-year-old is learning how to pitch with a rare condition called Parsonage-Turner syndrome.
Working out at Pirate City this spring, Hansen is slated to pitch at Triple-A this season. Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette has a story on his recovery.
- Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. He will pitch six innings followed by Evan Meek (one), Garrett Olson (one or two) and Chris Leroux (one). The O’s will send Jake Arrieta to the mound.
*If my memory is correct, this will mark the first time Meek has thrown on back-to-back games this spring.
Lineup: Tabata LF, Walker 2B, McCutchen CF, Overbay 1B, Diaz RF, Alvarez 3B, Doumit C, Cedeno SS, Burres LHP
Pitchers: Burres, Meek, Resop, Crotta, Yates
Lineup: Bourgeois CF, Sanchez SS, Pence RF, Michaels LF, Wallace 1B, Johnson 3B, Quintero C, Hernandez 2B, Happ LHP
Pitchers: Happ, Valdez, Del Rosario, Chacin, Wright, Wolf
- Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that the Pirates will make the following substitutions around the fifth inning:
John Bowker LF, Pedro Ciriaco 2B, Corey Wimberly CF, Steve Pearce 1B, Garrett Jones RF, Andy Marte 3B, Dusty Brown C, Josh Rodriguez SS
16-year-old Luis Heredia throwing a bullpen session at Pirate City this morning.
*Photo credit: @BucsInsider
It was much better weather on my second trip to Pirate City. No rain today, thank goodness.
The major league players had a three hour MLB Players Association meeting in the early am so most of the fields were occupied by the minor leaguers.
A funny moment happened later in the morning (after the major leaguers arrived) when a fan called over Matt Diaz for an autograph. He handed him a picture of John Bowker, who wore No. 23 last year. Diaz said, “That’s not me. That’s Bowker.” The fan said that he was wearing No. 23, but Diaz laughed and told him that when your old like me you can take the younger players numbers.
Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Rodriguez took grounders at shortstop this afternoon.
Justin Wilson throwing a bullpen session.
Minor leaguers taking batting practice.
Players practicing drills (Brock Holt, Jim Negrych, Starling Marte)
Players stretching before workouts.
As I pointed out on Wednesday, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the Pirates system No. 21 out of the 30 major league clubs.
On Thursday, Law delivered his Top 100 list, and two Buccos made the list.
Pitcher Jameson Taillon was named No. 30, and catcher Tony Sanchez was named No. 63.
Law mentions Taillon’s tendency to overthrow and the need for a changeup as the critiques in his write-up.
“[Sanchez has] above-average raw power and would have a chance to hit for average at the same time, making him a fringe All-Star at that position. He’s an extremely hard worker who ended up at Boston College without a scholarship but improved his body to the point where he not only made the team, but became its best player. I wouldn’t bet against him at this point.”-Keith Law on ESPN Insider Top 100 Prospects
Law’s Top 10 in the Pirates minor league system:
1) Jameson Taillon, RHP (30)
2) Tony Sanchez, C (63)
3) Luis Heredia, RHP
4) Stetson Allie, RHP
5) Rudy Owens, LHP
6) Jeff Locke, LHP
7) Justin Wilson, LHP
8) Bryan Morris, RHP
9) Starling Marte, OF
10) Zach Von Rosenberg, RHP
Law on the Pirates minor league system: “This system consists of a few high-end prospects, including three teenage power arms, followed by a dropoff. The big investment in prep arms in 2009 hasn’t yielded any major prospects yet, although it’s early.”
Law’s thoughts on Luis Heredia, who just missed the list: “will sit in the low 90s (mph) already with a good feel for the fastball. He’s very well-developed physically for a 16-year-old, with a big frame and the potential to get heavy, which is more of a long-term concern.”
- The Tampa Bay Rays have eight players in the top 100. The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals each have six. The Houston Astros have only one player and The Milwaukee Brewers have zero, zilch (YIKES!). Every other team has at least two in the top 100.
Baseball America ranked the Pirates Top 10 Prospects of 2011:
1. Jameson Taillon, rhp
2. Tony Sanchez, c
3. Stetson Allie, rhp
4. Starling Marte, of
5. Luis Heredia, rhp
6. Bryan Morris, rhp
7. Rudy Owens, lhp
8. Jeff Locke, lhp
9. Zack Von Rosenberg, rhp
10. Chase d’Arnaud, ss/2b
I asked Tony Sanchez how it feels to be the #2 ranked prospect in the Pirates system. He said, “pretty damn good. still lots of work to be done tho.”
Minor league baseball.com ranked the top 20 Pirates prospects for 2011. Although most of the players received C’s, John Sickle’s says, “I like the trends here and I think they are on the right track.”
1) Jameson Taillon, Right hand pitcher, B+
2) Stetson Allie, Right hand pitcher, B
3) Tony Sanchez, Catcher, B
4) Rudy Ownes, Left hand pitcher, B
5) Luis Heredia, Right hand pitcher, B-
6) Jeff Locke, Left hand pitcher, B-
7) Diego Moreno, Right hand pitcher, B-
8) Zach Von Rosenberg, right hand pitcher, B-
9) Justin Wilson, Left hand pitcher, B-
10) Starling Marte, Outfielder, C+
11) Bryan Morris, Right hand pitcher, C+
12) Colton Cain, Left hand pitcher, C+
13) Brock Holt, Infielder, C+
14) Nick Kingham, Right hand pitcher, C+
15) Tony Watson, Left hand pitcher, C+
16) Evan Chambers, Outfielder, C
17) Zach Dodson, Left hand pitcher, C
18) Gorkys Hernandez, Outfielder, C
19) Mel Rojas, Jr., Outfielder, C
20) Chase d’Arnaud, Shortstop, C
Some other honorable mentions: Tim Alderson, RHP; Eric Avila, 3B; Nate Baker, LHP; Jorge Bishop, 2B; Victor Black, RHP; Exicardo Cayonez, OF; Jarek Cunningham, 2B; Matt Curry, 1B;Brian Friday, INF; Robbie Grossman, OF; Josh Harrison, INF; Phil Irwin, RHP; Andrew Lambo, OF; Qunicy Latimore, OF; Kyle McPherson, RHP; Jordy Mercer, INF; Quinton Miller, RHP; Daniel Moskos, LHP; Alex Presley, OF; Trent Stevenson, RHP.To find out why the received the grades they did, read here.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered fans question’s in this months inbox. There are a few below, but you can read the entire chat here.
My question involves the Pirates’ catching situation. Is Ryan Doumit more likely to be traded or kept? If he is traded, who do the Pirates look to? Tony Sanchez is a couple of years away, and Chris Snyder does tend to struggle with the bat. Will the team just try to develop Snyder into a better hitter and stick with him, or look to free agent or trade options?
I know I’ve mentioned this in this forum before, but the Pirates will be willing to listen to offers for Doumit this offseason. The club has the luxury to do so after acquiring Snyder in July, and Doumit is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract. As we’ve seen time and time again, the Pirates aren’t shy in trying to get something for players nearing free agency.
Now, let’s take a look at the two scenarios. If Doumit is gone by the start of the 2011 season, Snyder will get the majority of playing time behind the plate. The Pirates didn’t acquire Snyder for his bat (though they expected a little more production than he showed late in the season), so any lack of offense from ’10 isn’t going to cut into his playing time next season. Jason Jaramillo could serve as Snyder’s backup, or the Pirates could go get a backup catcher pretty easily this offseason.
If Doumit stays, Snyder will still receive most of the playing time. Again, the Pirates acquired Snyder because of his reputation for being an above-average defender and for his ability to work well with pitching staffs. Doumit would get the catching duties on Snyder’s periodic days off and would likely play a lot in right field.
According to Pirates president Frank Coonelly, Pedro Alvarez will stay at third base. Does that rule out the team drafting third baseman Anthony Rendon from Rice and instead going after a pitcher with the No. 1 pick next year?
Without a quote from Coonelly in front of me, I assume you are referencing something he wrote in a recent chat on this website. That said, I can say that the Pirates are still somewhat unsure of whether Alvarez will stick at third base for the entirety of his Major League career. The plans are for him to be the Opening Day third baseman in 2011. But from there, it will be largely dictated by Alvarez’s conditioning habits as to whether he’ll stay there or not.
If the Pirates determine that Rendon is the best available player in the 2011 Draft, the club will take him. Alvarez’s presence won’t stop the Pirates’ chance at getting another impact bat. If Rendon does turn out to be the Pirates’ pick, expect Alvarez to transition to first base when Rendon is Major League-ready.
Do you think that Starling Marte will be on the Pirates’ 40-man roster on Opening Day 2011?
I don’t foresee any reason for the Pirates to use a spot on their 40-man roster for Marte before Opening Day. Yes, the outfielder is one of the top position-player prospects in Pittsburgh’s system. However, he is not eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft this December, and he isn’t going to be ready for the Majors in 2011. Those would be the only two reasons to put Marte on the roster.
Marte was signed in 2007 when he was 18 years old, which means he will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after the ’11 season. So at this time next year, yes, you can expect Marte’s name to be put on that roster.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball prospectus ranked the Pirates system. Here is the list of the top 11 prospects:
1) Jameson Taillon RHP
2) Stetson Allie RHP
3) Luis Heredia RHP
4) Tony Sanchez C
5) Rudy Owens LHP
6) Bryan Morris RHP
7) Starling Marte OF
8) Jeff Locke LHP
9) Diego Moreno RHP
10) Colton Cain LHP
11) Zack Von Rosenberg RHP
…Continue reading for the good, the bad, projections