September 29: Pirates (59-96) @ Cubs (81-74); Kerrigan returning as pitching coach; Donnelly not asked back; Claggett joins team

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I’m going to keep this somewhat brief so that I can get working on a handful of stories for the main pirates.com site. Those will go into more detail than I will here, so look for those later this evening. But here’s the important news to come out of what has turned out to be a newsy day for us here in Chicago:

  • Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan confirmed that he will return to the organization in 2010. He would not divulge the length of his new contract, though it is believed that it’s short (likely just one year again).
  • Instructor/advisor Rich Donnelly will not be coming back next season, a decision made not by Donnelly, but by the organization. GM Neal Huntington explained that the Pirates will look to fill that seventh coaching position with a more pitching-minded coach and one that can ideally be a successor to Kerrigan in the near future. Huntington said this was a decision dictated more by direction than by performance.
  • Also, manager John Russell went into more depth about his decision to pull Zach Duke from Monday’s game despite Duke being one out away from his fourth complete game of the season. The decision, Russell explained, was made by he and Kerrigan back in the sixth that once Duke gave up a run, that would be it. It just so happened that that came with two outs in the ninth. More on that to come on the main site. 

As for the other news, notes and randomness…

  • Right-hander Anthony Claggett has joined the team for this final stretch, giving the Pirates an extra arm out of the bullpen — something that they’ll need with the double header on Wednesday and no true starter for the second game. Claggett, who pitched in an instructional league game after being claimed off waivers by the Pirates last week, is likely to only be available for an inning stint.
  • The Pirates are still hopeful that shortstop Ronny Cedeno will be able to return from a nagging hamstring injury and start again before the season ends, though it’s not guaranteed that he will. Right now the situation is still a day-to-day one.
  • The Pirates are 1-16 in their last 17 road games. If the team wants to avoid the 100-loss mark, that means it will have to win at least four of these last seven games on the road. The Pirates have won just three road games since the All-Star break.
  • Not the nicest of days here Chicago, as overcast skies and winter weather has rolled in. I guess it is officially fall in these parts.
  • The Cubs are 9-2 against the Pirates this year, with a 4-1 record at Wrigley Field. In the last two seasons, the Bucs have won just six of 29 games against Chicago’s North Side team.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Delwyn Young (2B)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Kevin Hart (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Micah Hoffpauir (LF)
  5. Jeff Baker (3B)
  6. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Sam Fuld (CF)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB  

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