Results tagged ‘ Adam LaRoche ’

Adam LaRoche traded to Boston for two Minor Leaguers

The Pirates have traded first baseman Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox in exchange for Double-A shortstop Argenis Diaz and Single-A right-hander Hunter Strickland, Boston radio station WEEI has reported.

Pittsburgh was known to be looking for a suitor for LaRoche, who is earning $7.05 million this season and will be a first-time free agent next season. The Pirates were not expected to make a strong attempt to resign him in the offseason.

Speculation that LaRoche was on his way out surfaced on Wednesday morning when the Pirates did not post their lineup until less than one hour before the 12:35 pm scheduled first pitch.

Diaz, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2003, is hitting .253 with 24 RBIs in 76 Double-A games this season. Diaz, 22, split last season between Single-A and Double-A. He’s a defensively-minded guy, with a questionable bat.

Strickland, an 18th-round pick in 2007, is 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 18 appearances (12 starts) at the low Single-A level. He has 51 strikeouts and 13 walks in 83 1/3 innings.

LaRoche was hitting .247 with a team-best 12 homers and 40 RBIs this season. LaRoche likely would have been a Type B free agent this offseason at best, meaning the Pirates would have gotten one compensation pick in next year’s Draft if they had held onto him for the final two months of the season.

By the way, LaRoche was just shown on the television as being in the dugout and in uniform. That likely means nothing will be announced until after this game.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

July 8: Pirates (38-46) @ Astros (40-42); Sanchez takes BP

The Pirates can claim a series win with a victory on Wednesday, which would be a feat for a few reasons. The team has not won any of its last seven road series and has not won a series tied at 1-1 on the road since doing so late in April against San Diego.

The Pirates still sit at 12-24 against teams from the NL Central this season and taken just one series against an division opponent all year. That came from May 12-14 when the Pirates tok two of three from the Cardinals.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Still no Freddy Sanchez in the lineup, though the second baseman is still optimistic for a Friday return date. He is out on the field right now throwing, as he did on Tuesday. UPDATE: For the first time since injuring his back on Friday, Sanchez took BP on the field with his team. That’s certainly an encouraging sign for a Friday return.
  • Catcher Ryan Doumit went 0-for-5 as the designated hitter with Indianapolis on Tuesday in his fifth rehab game. GM Neal Huntington was on hand to watch the game in Columbus, Ohio. Doumit is now 0-for-17 in five rehab games.
  • Wednesday’s game against Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez marks the first of three games in which the Pirates will face a southpaw starter leading into the All-Star break. They have lefties Cole Hamels (Saturday) and J.A. Happ (Sunday) on the docket in Philly.
  • Pedro Alvarez hit his third homer with Altoona on Tuesday during a 1-for-5 night. Alvarez is hitting just .200 in 12 games, but has those three homers and seven RBIs.
  • Adam LaRoche is hitting sixth for the first time this season. Prior to Wednesday he had made 59 starts as the cleanup hitter and 19 as the No. 5 hitter. The move down in the lineup was prompted by LaRoche’s recent struggles. He is just 3-for-24 this month. But if you’re looking for any good news, LaRoche is 5-for-12 in his career against Wandy Rodriguez.
  • As noted in last night’s game story, shortstop Jack Wilson reached 60 career homers with his blast on Tuesday. Ten of those home runs have come here at Minute Maid Park. Those 60 homers rank fourth all-time among Pittsburgh shortstops behind Arky Vaughan (84), Jay Bell (78) and Honus Wagner (68).
  • Oh, and thanks a million to the Pirates’ medical staff for providing me with bug spray and hydrocortisone cream to get me through the game. The mosquitos here in the press box apparently have taken quite the liking to me this week.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Jack Wilson (SS)
  3. Delwyn Young (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Astros lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn (CF)
  2. Miguel Tejada (SS)
  3. Lance Berkman (1B)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Geoff Blum (3B)
  6. Hunter Pence (RF)
  7. Kazuo Matsui (2B)
  8. Humberto Quintero (C)
  9. Wandy Rodriguez (LHP)

July 6: Pirates (37-45) @ Astros (39-41); Sanchez remains out

So I go to meet a friend of mine, who now lives in Houston, for lunch earlier today and he greets me with: “You picked the right time to come to Houston. It’s finally cooled down.” Um, really? I found that a bit odd considering I just checked the temperature and found it to be 95 degrees. I guess it’s all about perspective.

Speaking of perspective, this is the best press set-up in baseball — and I’m not alone in that stance. Here’s a photo taken from my seat in the press box. You’ll notice how low we sit, as compared to the usual placement near the top of the stadium. Not to mention, any stadium that serves chips and salsa to the press is OK in my book.

 

IMG00075.jpgSo folks, the Pirates have Mike Hampton in tonight’s series opener, and I’m not sure how well that bodes for the Bucs’ chances. In Hampton’s last nine starts against Pittsburgh, he’s collected nine wins. He’s 13-3 in 19 career starts against Pittsburgh and has a 2.25 ERA. This year has been no different for the 36-year-old lefty. He’s made three starts against the Pirates already in ’09 and has allowed a total of 12 hits and two runs in 20 innings. Ouch.

Breaking down the individual success is even more concerning. In their careers against Hampton… Robinzon Diaz (0-for-3), Jason Jaramillo (0-for-3), Andy LaRoche (0-for-5), Adam LaRoche (1-for-8), Andrew McCutchen (0-for-3), Brandon Moss (0-for-2), Freddy Sanchez (0-for-8), Ramon Vazquez (1-for-9), Jack Wilson (2-for-14) and Delwyn Young (2-for-3).

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Sanchez remains out of the lineup with back tightness. He said it continues to feel better, and there was a chance that he would take some swings in the cage later on Monday.
  • Donnie Veal remains on track to rejoin the Pirates on Wednesday, as his 30-day maximum rehab stint with Triple-A Indianapolis will end then. Manager John Russell confirmed that the club has not made a decision on who to send down when Veal returns. Veal is expected to pitch in tonight’s Triple-A game to give him one more outing before he comes back.   
  • Russell said that if there was a situation where the Pirates lost another infielder or two with Sanchez already out, Diaz could step in and play in the infield. Diaz continues to take infield practice with infield coach Perry Hill. Delwyn Young would obviously be the first option, though.
  • The Pirates took manadatory early batting practice this afternoon, with the whole team congregating on the field from 2:45-3:45. This is something the team tries to do at least once on every road trip.
  • Rudy Owens, who continues to dominate for low-A West Virginia, was named the South Atlantic League pitcher of the week for last week. Owens went 2-0 and didn’t allow a run in 11 innings (two starts). He struck out six. Owens is now 10-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 16 starts this season.
  • Adam LaRoche is getting the day off on Monday, with Steve Pearce stepping in to play first. LaRoche is fine physically and will be back in the lineup on Tuesday. Maybe a day off will do him well, as the first baseman is 3-for-20 this month.
  • Interesting fact on Freddy Sanchez’s All-Star invite: He is the first Pirates infielder to be named to the All-Star team three times since second baseman Bill Mazeroski was named to seven All-Star Games (1958-60, 1962-64, 1967).
  • Here’s an odd one for you… Brian Bixler is hitting leadoff and playing center field for Triple-A Indy tonight. I can honestly say I didn’t know Bixler ever played the outfield. How did Bixler respond? A lead-off homer. He hit a game-winning grand slam on Sunday.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Jack Wilson (SS)
  3. Delwyn Young (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  9. Virgil Vasquez (RHP)

Astros lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn (CF)
  2. Miguel Tejada (SS)
  3. Lance Berkman (1B)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Geoff Blum (3B)
  6. Hunter Pence (RF)
  7. Kazuo Matsui (2B)
  8. Humberto Quintero (C)
  9. Mike Hampton (LHP)   

June 24: Indians (30-42) @ Pirates (31-39); Snell stays in rotation; Morton's status for Friday still undetermined

Welcome back for more Bucs and Indians after a potential thriller last night turned into another disappointing loss, the team’s fifth straight and sixth in last seven games.

Speaking of last night, ran into Ian Snell this afternoon who said he was headed out to work with Joe Kerrigan on some sort of mechanical change. Snell didn’t elaborate, but with the way things have gone for him through much of the season, trying an adjustment probably couldn’t hurt.

Did speak with GM Neal Huntington earlier, primarily regarding Snell’s status in the rotation, and Huntington confirmed that Snell will make his next start. More details on Huntington’s thoughts about Snell and the options the Pirates see with him to come on the main site shortly (how’s that for a tease).

***

The Pirates are still not certain whether righty Charlie Morton will be able to make his start as scheduled on Friday. He’s still being bothered by that nagging hamstring, so the Pirates may elect to skip over him and call up Triple-A starter Virgil Vasquez to make the start.

Morton said he feels pretty good, but the Pirates are going to evaluate him later on Wednesday afternoon before making a decision either later Wednesday or on Thursday.

Vasquez pitched just one inning for Indianapolis on Tuesday before being pulled so that he’d be fresh enough to pitch on Friday if needed.

***

So how good has Andrew McCutchen been since being called up on June 4? Well, he’s only hit safely in 16 of 18 games played. Oh, and should I mention that he has an 11-game hitting streak headed into Wednesday’s game. That’s the longest hitting streak by a rookie this season.

Oh, and in case he needed another feather in his cap, McCutchen was just deemed the faster of the two (McCutchen and Nyjer Morgan) by manager John Russell. You won’t find me disagreeing on that front.

***

And for some Bucs Bits…

  • Kudos to Calvin Anderson, the Pirates’ 12th-round pick in the ’08 Draft, who drove in the winning run last night in the South Atlantic All-Star Game. Among last year’s Draft picks, Anderson has shined this year. He’s hit .286 with 41 RBIs in 56 games for the low-A West Virginia club.
  • Adam LaRoche’s home run on Tuesday bounced off the sidewalk and into the Allegheny River, making it the 26th homer in PNC Park history to come to rest in the water.
  • With his start on Wednesday, Jack Wilson assumes sole possession of fourth place for most appearances made as a shortstop with the Pirates. With Wednesday’s appearance, Wilson will have played in 1,104 as a Pirates shortstop.
  • The Pirates acquired first baseman Brian Myrow from the White Sox in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. Myrow, who hit .277 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 49 games with Chicago’s Triple-A Charlotte affiliate, has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

***

The Pirates announced that they will be celebrating African American Heritage at the ballpark this weekend. The main event is the African American Heritage Day luncheon on Friday that will include the presence of author and journalist Larry Tye. Tickets to the luncheon are $45 and can be purchased by calling Chaz Kellem at 412-325-4731.

Other events going on: the Royals and Pirates will wear Negro League throwback uniforms on Friday and Saturday; fans in attendance on Friday will receive a Homestead Grays cap; and an African American Heritage festival will be held outside the ballpark from 4:30-6:30 pm on Saturday.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Indians lineup:

  1. Jamey Carroll (2B)
  2. Grady Sizemore (CF)
  3. Victor Martinez (1B)
  4. Shin-Soo Choo (LF)
  5. Mark DeRosa (RF)
  6. Jhonny Peralta (3B)
  7. Luis Valbuena (SS)
  8. Kelly Shoppach (C)
  9. Carl Pavano (RHP)  

 

 

June 18: Piratets (31-34) @ Twins (33-34)

As much as I may despise watching baseball under a dome, it might be a blessing today with rain in the forecast for much of the day. Speaking of weather, I hope that everyone back in Pittsburgh weathered last night’s storms OK. From what I saw, it got quite nasty in and around the city for a few hours.

***

So… we’ve rehashed how bad the Pirates have traditionally been in Interleague Play over and over, but how’s this for you? Pittsburgh has not won an Interleague series on the road since (drum roll please) 2003. Yes, they’ve lost their last 12 (six of those were sweeps) since taking a series in Tampa Bay in ’03. A win here today would snap that skid.

Also, keep in mind that the Pirates have had a winning Interleague portion of the season just once since 1997. The club sits at 4-4 right now, and with six of their last seven Interleague games at home, the Pirates have a legitimate shot of finishing out a winning campaign against the AL this season. Stay tuned.

***

One follow-up to last night’s LaRoche homeruns — the Pirates have now had brothers hit home runs in the same game four different times in franchise history. Paul and Lloyd Waner did it the other three times (9/15/1938, 9/4/1927, 6/9/1929).

Those two home runs on Tuesday were the sixth and seventh times the Pirates have gone deep in the team’s last six games. Interestingly enough, six different players have accounted for those seven home runs. Adam LaRoche has two of the long balls.

***

Think Tanner Scheppers wishes he had taken the Pirates’ signing bonus offer last year? The right-hander who opted not to sign with the Bucs last summer after being a supplemental round pick continues to have arm issues. And now he’s possibly looking at surgery.

***

One note for the upcoming homestand: The organization is set to honor the 100-year anniversary of the opening of Forbes Field on June 30th. Forbes Field played host to the first Pirates game on June 30, 1909, against the Cubs, who also happen to be Pittsburgh’s opponent on June 30th of this year.

As part of the celebration, the Pirates are offering a limited number of $4 tickets, which was the price of box seats at Forbes Field when it closed in 1970. A number of Pirates alumni who played at Forbes Field will be in attendance.

***

And on a side note, the blog will go on hiatus over the weekend, as I am not joining the team in Colorado. And, since apparently I don’t feel like I watch enough baseball as it is, I’m spending my weekend off with friends at the College World Series in Omaha. Never been to the “greatest show on dirt” as they call it, so I’m looking forward to my first CWS experience. I’ll try to post pictures on here after my trip for those of you who’d be interested in the sights.

Speaking of the CWS, the Pirates’ lone Draft connection in the tournament has played his last game. Pittsburgh’s 41st-round Draft pick, Tyler Cannon, started all three games for the Virginia Cavaliers, who were eliminated by Arkansas in 12 innings on Tuesday night.

Cannon went 6-for-10 in the series with 3 runs scored, one RBI and three walks. He hit leadoff twice.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  3. Eric Hinske (DH)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  9. Jack Wilson (SS)

LHP Zach Duke

Twins lineup:

  1. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  2. Brendan Harris (SS)
  3. Justin Morneau (1B)
  4. Michael Cuddyer (RF)
  5. Jason Kubel (LF)
  6. Joe Crede (3B)
  7. Brian Buscher (DH)
  8. Mike Redmond (C)
  9. Nick Punto (2B)

RHP Nick Blackburn 

June 11: Pirates (27-32) @ Braves (29-29); Bucs in power drought

_Device Memory_home_user_pictures_IMG00062.jpgA quick snapshot of Turner Field to get your day started. Check out the video board in centerfield, which certainly puts the jumbo in JumboTron. When it was put up at Turner Field a few years back, it was the largest at any ballpark or stadium. Not sure if that’s still the case across the board, but it’s certainly the biggest I’ve seen at an MLB park.

Charlie Morton, who was removed with left hamstring tightness after one inning on Wednesday, still reported some tightness on Thursday morning, though to a lesser degree. The club remains optimistic that Morton will be able to make his scheduled start on Thursday, though that will be determined for sure over the next few days.

Other than that, there’s really not much to pass along in terms of news from the Buccos clubhouse this morning other than the fact that I have to question the team’s movie taste. Bad Santa? Really?

***

No matter where you stand with your feelings about the Pirates’ decision to deal Nate McLouth, this much is certain. The Pirates have had a complete power shortage since. The team has not hit a single home run since McLouth was dealt — that totals to 309 plate appearances, assuming I did my math correctly. Jason Jaramillo’s surprising blast off Johan Santana on June 2 was the last Bucco home run.

The power was already lacking before McLouth was dealt, as the Pirates have homered in just two of their last 14 games. And until catcher Ryan Doumit returns there’s not going to be much power to be found. Really, the only legitimate power threat is first baseman Adam LaRoche and even he is only on pace to go deep 19 times this year. He’s hit at least 20 homers in each of the last four seasons.

Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche, both of whom were expected to provide some pop in the middle of the lineup, have combined for three — yes, three — home runs in 352 at-bats this year. While Andrew McCutchen had done just fine during his first week in the Majors, he hasn’t replace McLouth’s power, nor will he.

Concerned, folks?

UPDATE 2:19 pm: Delwyn Young took care of this powerless skid with a fifth-inning solo homer on Thursday. That stopped a streak of what had escalated to 323 plate appearances for Pirates hitters sans a homer.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Delwyn Young (RF)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Braves lineup:

  1. Nate McLouth (CF)
  2. Yunel Escobar (SS)
  3. Chipper Jones (3B)
  4. Barbaro Canizares (1B)
  5. Matt Diaz (LF)
  6. Jeff Francoeur (RF)
  7. David Ross (C)
  8. Kelly Johnson (2B)
  9. Javier Vazquez (RHP)

May 30: Astros (19-27) @ Pirates (21-27)

It’s the first of three SkyBlast nights here at PNC Park. In the past, SkyBlast has been three consecutive nights. That has since been changed, and the next two dates come in August and September. Country music’s Zac Brown Band (you might know them for their hit: Chicken Fried) is performing postgame and will be complemented by the usual fireworks show.

***

Speaking of fireworks, manager John Russell is trying to spark something — anything — with his offense by switching around much of his lineup order and stacking it with right-handed bats. It’s safe to say that the ineptitude shown by the offense on Friday certainly encouraged some sort of change.

Getting a night off on Saturday: Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Jason Jaramillo

In the lineup: Eric Hinske, Delwyn Young, Craig Monroe, Robinzon Diaz

Russell’s logic has much to do with the season that opposing starter Wandy Rodriguez is having. Rodriguez (5-3, 1.71 ERA) has limited left-handed hitters to a batting average of .125 this year.

Shuffled up in the lineup is third baseman Andy LaRoche, who will be hitting from the second hole for the first time this season. Little explanation needed here since LaRoche is the only one the has hit consistently through all the ups-and-downs of the offense. He’s reached base safely in 13 straight games, hitting .435 during that span.

“We’ve been swinging hot and cold so I figured we’d get one of our hotter hitters up there and hopefully see it if works,” Russell said.

***


0000009099_20060920160602.jpgMcLouth, a die-hard Red Wings fan, will certainly be in line to receive some jabs should the Pens steal Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals from Detroit later tonight. (McLouth has made it no secret who he is rooting for). But any ridicule he might get because of his hockey allegiance was already matched by the jabs he got earlier this afternoon.

Sporting a new hair cut — much much shorter — McLouth walked up to his clubhouse stall to find a picture of Spencer Pratt of MTV’s The Hills reality show (pictured left) taped on his locker. A bit of a resemblance between the two for sure.

Maybe the laughs can loosen McLouth back up at the plate as well. He has just one hit in his last 25 at-bats and nine strikeouts during that span.

“Nate’s going through a little bit of a struggle,” Russell said. “He’s a guy we’re going to count on tremendously. He’s going to be out there tomorrow to give him a break to regroup mentally. He’s swinging the bat much better. I think he’s getting closer. I think giving him a day off will be good for him.”

***

Spoke with Tyler Yates, who was quite relieved with the results of recent tests on his right elbow. Yates went to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion on his elbow and Andrews confirmed that there is no structural or ligament damage. Just inflammation. Yates said he expects to start long toss again soon and then will progress based on how he feels.

He admitted to also having feared the worst — season-ending surgery — earlier this week.

***

During his pregame session with the media, Russell also gave props to reliever Donnie Veal for the job that he did in relief on Friday. It wasn’t all pretty — two innings, 50 pitches, three hits, one walk, one run — but considering Veal hadn’t pitched in 21 days, it wasn’t all that bad.

“It shows he has an idea of what he’s doing,” Russell said. “I think his mechanics have come a long way and give him a chance to compete. To not pitch in three weeks and do what he did last night, that’s pretty phenomenal.”

Russell also said that he expects Veal to be looked at seriously as a starting pitcher in the organization after the Pirates get him through this season as a Rule 5 pick in the bullpen.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Craig Monroe (LF)
  5. Eric Hinske (1B)
  6. Delwyn Young (RF)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Astros lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn (CF)
  2. Miguel Tejada (SS)
  3. Lance Berkman (1B)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Hunter Pence (RF)
  6. Ivan Rodriguez (C)
  7. Jeff Keppinger (3B)
  8. Edwin Maysonet (2B)
  9. Wandy Rodriguez (LHP) 

 

 

May 25: Pirates (20-24) @ Cubs (21-21)

Not exactly the nicest of days here in the Windy City. For some reason, it seems like the weather just can’t turn the page to spring/summer temperatures. The forecast calls for rain tonight, but it looks like there might be a window around game time. Tomorrow’s thunderstorms are a lot more ominous. It’s supposed to rain on Wednesday, too, so we’ll see how all this goes. The Pirates do come back here two more times later in the year, so there will be plenty of time for a make-up, if necessary.

***

A few Minor League notes of interest… I spoke with both GM Neal Huntington and farm director Kyle Stark over the weekend for a story I’m working on later in the week on the pitching depth in the Minor League system. (You can look for that on Thursday). But while talking to both, I also got updates on some guys rehabbing from injuries.

Bryan Morris (right shoulder injury) has thrown two rehab starts in extended Spring Training and has two more rehab starts left. Morris has not had any setbacks since returning to the mound.

Jose Tabata (strained right hamstring) is heading to Bradenton on Tuesday and will begin moving toward game progression there immediately.

While we’re talking Minor Leagues, I wanted to make a plug (shameless, I know) for Scott McCauley’s Indianapolis Indians blog, which can be found here. McCauley is one of the Indians’ two broadcasters, and though I’ve had his blog listed on the links section here for a while, I thought I’d specifically recommend it. Anyone looking for the daily scoop on your Triple-A club, this is a good site to start. He’s got the team covered, and his insight is great for those of us who don’t have the luxury of seeing those guys play…

***

As for your Major League club, no one was complaining about these travel arrangement which had the Pirates go from the South Side to the North Side without having to board a flight or change hotels. That’s an unusual luxury, appreciated by yours truly as well.

After last season’s pace, it’s kind of odd that this is the first time the Cubs and Pirates have met this year. The two teams had faced each other 12 times at this point in the season last year. The Cubs are in the middle of a six game losing streak — good or bad sign? who knows — and have scored only five runs in those six games.

“They can score quickly,” manager John Russell said pregame, putting down the notion that the Pirates can take advantage of Chicago’s slump. “It only takes two or three swings. I don’t think anyone is saying we’ve got them at the right time. Hopefully we can get out of here with a few wins.”

***

Little else in the way of news… Everyone is available in the bullpen, thanks in large part to the starting pitching over the weekend. … Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche are back in the lineup after a day off on Sunday. … No update yet on Craig Hansen (neck spasms), who was scheduled to have another doctor’s visit in Pittsburgh today. Huntington said he was unsure of whether the results of that visit will come today or tomorrow, but as soon as I’ve got any info., it will be passed along. …And the rain has stopped here. Good news.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  2. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  3. Milton Bradley (RF)
  4. Reed Johnson (CF)
  5. Geovany Soto (C)
  6. Micah Hoffpauir (1B)
  7. Ryan Freel (3B)
  8. Aaron Miles (SS)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP) 

May 24: Pirates (19-24) @ White Sox (19-23)

After another hitter’s meeting this morning (the third of the series), the Bucs have the task of doing to Mark Buehrle what they have not been able to do off any White Sox pitcher this series — score. The Pirates carry a 20-inning scoreless streak heading into the game.

Sure has been a different series here this year as opposed to last. The results — all losses — have been the same, but the method quite different. It’s hard to forget last year’s offensive onslaught by the White Sox. Frustrating as that was to handle, these last two games might have been even more trying. Nearly two complete games from their starters and the Pirates have no win to show for it.

Maybe a little lineup shuffle will get it down for the Pirates. Delwyn Young, Eric Hinske and Craig Monroe are all in there today. Freddy Sanchez has been bumped to the No. 3 hole, despite his 6-for-40 skid. Adam LaRoche gets the day off even though he’s 3-for-7 in his career against Buehrle. Nate McLouth also gets the day off.

Oh and one positive note out of the last few days, manager John Russell’s bullpen has finally had time to rest. See, you can’t say that all has been bad.

Not much in terms of news today. Tyler Yates (right elbow inflammation) threw from 90 feet this morning, his longest distance yet, and said he felt better than he did when he first threw again two days ago.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (RF)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Craig Monroe (DH)
  5. Eric Hinske (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Brandon Moss (LF)
  8. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  9. Jack Wilson (SS)

RHP Jeff Karstens

White Sox lineup:

  1. Scott Podsednik (CF)
  2. Alexei Ramirez (SS)
  3. Jim Thome (DH)
  4. Paul Konerko (1B)
  5. AJ Pierzynski (C)
  6. Carlos Quentin (LF)
  7. Brian Anderson (RF)
  8. Chris Getz (2B)
  9. Josh Fields (3B)

LHP Mark Buehrle     

April 9: Pirates (2-1) @ Cardinals (1-2)

So the rain is coming… but for the time being it looks like we should have enough time to get this one in and get out of town before the thunderstorms hit. Fingers crossed on this end for sure.

First off, thoughts and prayers go out to the Angels ballclub and the family of pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was tragically killed after pitching on Wednesday night. There will be a moment of silence before today’s game at Busch Stadium for Adenhart.

Both LaRoche brothers are taking Thursday off. Adam LaRoche has been bothered by flu-like symptoms for a few days now and was feeling worse on Thursday. Eric Hinske is getting his first start at first base in LaRoche’s absence. Andy LaRoche is getting his second straight day off, with the nod going to Ramon Vazquez.

Manager John Russell said that he plans to give Ryan Doumit his first day off on Saturday, meaning Jason Jaramillo will be making his Major League debut in Cincinnati this weekend.

Russell said he would like to shy away from using John Grabow on Thursday since the lefty has thrown in two of the first three games. Everyone else, including closer Matt Capps, is available if needed.

Minor Matters: Triple-A Indianapolis opens its season with a home game on Thursday evening. The club has announced its final roster, which you’ll notice doesn’t have Shelby Ford’s name on it. As resported yesterday, the second baseman will miss the start of the season because of a lingering right wrist injury. … Also, RHP Romulo Sanchez has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Indianapolis. Sanchez was taken off the 40-man roster to make room for Craig Monroe at the end of Spring Training. He is expected to report to Indianapolis for Sunday’s game.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Eric Hinske (1B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Skip Schumaker (2B)
  2. Colby Rasmus (CF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Chris Duncan (LF)
  5. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  6. Khalil Greene (SS)
  7. Yadier Molina (C)
  8. Joe Thurston (3B)
  9. Chris Carpenter (RHP)
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