July 24: Pirates (42-53) @ D-backs (41-55)
With all that happened on Wednesday and the fact that I wasn’t 100 percent coherant for much of the day on Thursday after having to wake up at 3 am to catch a flight out here, I failed to pass along some very good news, at least as it concerns those of us who cover the team on a daily basis.
The Orioles and Sarasota County agreed on a 30-year lease earlier this week to move the Orioles’ Spring Training home to Ed Smith Stadium. You’ll remember that the Reds said goodbye to Sarasota this spring and are moving to Goodyear, Ariz.
Those in Pittsburgh might not care, but having a team in Sarasota is a huge benefit to the club. McKechnie Field and Ed Smith Stadium are only about 15 minutes apart, which makes the “away” games in Sarasota virtually home contests. The Pirates will likely play the Orioles three to four times in Sarasota, which is three to four fewer one hour+ drives the club has to make elsewhere. The Pirates are also able to do all their morning workouts, batting practice and fielding work in Bradenton on days where they play in Sarasota. And for those of us who cover the team, any break we can get from having a short drive is critical to our sanity.
As for today’s news, notes and randomness…
- Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez both sat out on Friday, and no, it had nothing to do with either packing their bags to join another team. Let’s get that straight. Sanchez has an achy left knee, but is expected to be OK to return on Saturday. Wilson took early batting practice and fielded grounders on Friday and should be ready to return by the end of this series.
- Even with the middle infielders getting breathers, don’t expect Luis Cruz to get a start soon. With Cruz’s versatility, manager John Russell likes having him on the bench late in games.
- The Tigers had a scout watching the Pirates in Pittsburgh recently, which could be a sign that Detroit is looking at Pittsburgh as a possible trade partner. The Tigers are looking for a bat, and rumor has it that they have looked at middle infield options as a way to acquire some offense. Could Sanchez be a fit?
- And on that note, Larry Corrigan is still in Detroit, presumably scouting the Tigers.
- Catcher Ryan Doumit still has not taken a game off since returning from the DL shortly before the All-Star Break and there are no plans for him to have one right now. He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup, and Russell doesn’t see a need to give him a day off just yet.
- The Pirates are 2-8 in their last 10 games at Chase Field. The club is also 16-34 on the road this season. Only the Padres (13-33) and Nationals (10-35) have worse road records in the league.
- Garrett Jones has seven more days to accomplish something that hasn’t been done by a Pirates player in 43 years. No Pittsburgh player since Donn Clendenon in ’66 has hit 10 home runs in July. Jones currently sits at nine total this month. The last three Pirates players to hit nine homers in July were: Reggie Sanders (2003), Brian Giles (2002) and Willie Stargell (1976 and 1966).
- Third base coach Tony Beasley is expected to rejoin the team sometime over the weekend. He has missed the last three games because of a family matter. Rich Donnelly has assumed the third base coaching duties in Beasley’s absence.
- Shortstop Argenis Diaz made his organizational debut on Thursday with Triple-A Indianapolis. Diaz went 0-for-2 with a walk and sacrifice bunt.
- Catcher Steve Lerud has been placed on the disabled list after suffering a concussion in Double-A Altoona’s game on Wednesday. Lerud was hit by a backswing.
- In the last two games, the Pirates’ No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters have combined to hit .583 with four doubles, four homers and eight RBIs.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF)
- Delwyn Young (2B)
- Garrett Jones (RF)
- Ryan Doumit (C)
- Steve Pearce (1B)
- Brandon Moss (LF)
- Andy LaRoche (3B)
- Ramon Vazquez (SS)
- Zach Duke (LHP)
- Stephen Drew (SS)
- Ryan Roberts (2B)
- Justin Upton (RF)
- Mark Reynolds (3B)
- Miguel Montero (C)
- Gerardo Parra (LF)
- Chris Young (CF)
- Chad Tracy (1B)
- Yusmeiro Petit (RHP)
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