Results tagged ‘ Bobby Crosby ’

Pirates, D-backs announce five-player deal

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

With the Pirates’ Deadline deal now official.. here is the full story in advance of it going on pirates.com shortly:

The Pirates have acquired catcher Chris Snyder and Minor League shortstop Pedro Ciriaco from the D-backs in exchange for three of the team’s veterans – Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby and D.J. Carrasco.

The deal was officially announced by Pittsburgh just three hours before Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Pirates also received $3 million from the D-backs, according to a baseball source, to help compensate for part of Snyder’s salary.

Snyder won’t be the only player joining the Pirates in St. Louis before Saturday’s game. The club has also recalled shortstop Argenis Diaz and first baseman Jeff Clement. The pair will take the roster spots left vacant by Church and Crosby. Diaz can serve as a backup middle infielder, and Clement provides some insurance at first in case the Pirates need to plug Garrett Jones into an outfield spot.

The acquisition of Snyder gives the Pirates another option behind the plate, where Ryan Doumit – currently on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion – has been the everyday starter since 2008. Snyder has filled mostly a backup role for Arizona this season behind Miguel Montero, who took over the starting job when Snyder missed time in ’09 with a back injury.

In 65 games this year, Snyder is hitting .231 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs. He is a career .233 hitter in parts of seven seasons with Arizona. Snyder has never played anywhere else, having been drafted by the organization in the second round of the 2002 First-Round Player Draft.

“Chris Snyder is a solid Major League player who will provide us with a quality catching option for this year and next year,” general manager Neal Huntington said.  “He brings leadership to the club, along with a game calling and receiving ability that will help our pitching staff mature. Additionally he will add some home run power to our lineup.”

One of the biggest questions with the acquisition is how Snyder’s arrival might affect Doumit’s future in Pittsburgh.

Snyder is under contract for $5.75 million next year with a club option for 2012 worth $6.75 million. There is a $750,000 buyout attached to that option. That means that if the Pirates hold on to both Snyder and Doumit next year, Pittsburgh would be paying $10.85 million to its catching tandem in 2011.

There are some other options, though. The Pirates could deal either catcher before next season, or there is the possibility that Pittsburgh could consider using Doumit at another position. He has played some outfield and first base in the Majors.

In Ciriaco, the Pirates receive a 25-year-old shortstop who was hitting .259 with 28 extra-base hits and 51 RBIs in 87 games with the D-backs’ Triple-A affiliate. Ciriaco, has stolen 14 bases this year after swiping a combined 78 in his last two seasons.

Ciriaco’s skill set is fairly comparable to that of the team’s current starting shortstop, Ronny Cedeno. This is the first full Triple-A season for the Dominican Republic native, who is known primarily for his defense and speed.

The fact that Pittsburgh targeted a shortstop makes perfect sense given the organization’s lack of middle infield talent at the high Minor League levels.

The Pirates did not lose any critical pieces in the deal, as none of the three players acquired by Arizona was expected to be a long-term fit in Pittsburgh. All three had been signed as free agents during the winter

Both Crosby and Church had a chance to earn more playing time either this season, but neither seized the opportunity. Church hit just .182 with 18 RBIs in 69 games, while Crosby batted .224 in 61 games.

Church was under contract for $1.5 million this season and has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining. Crosby, who was earning $1 million, was to be a free agent again at the end of the season.

Carrasco, who was hopeful of being dealt to a contending team, has been a key piece in the Pirates’ bullpen. Used often as a long reliever, the righty accumulated 55 2/3 innings and posted a 3.88 ERA. He is under contract for $950,000 this season – with another $300,000 possible in incentives – and the D-backs can now retain his rights through 2012.

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July 1 Odds and Ends

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Catching up on some recent news….

  • Second baseman Neil Walker has targeted Saturday as a potential return date. He went through Wednesday without any headaches or other concussion symptoms, and that cleared him to be able to play catch and take groundballs on Thursday. Walker suffered a concussion last Friday in Oakland when he collided with right fielder Ryan Church.
  • Bobby Crosby is back in the lineup and starting at short. In all, he missed just two games (and part of a third) after his collision. Manager John Russell hasn’t said as much, but I’d expect Crosby to get regular playing time like he was before the injury. Ronny Cedeno has not been impressive at all lately (six hits in his last 65 at-bats), and Crosby was doing well in the starting role over the last few weeks.
  • Russell said that his decision to move Pedro Alvarez up into the No. 2 hole was done in hopes that he’d see more pitches to hit batting in front of Andrew McCutchen. It’s also a spot where opposing managers will have to think twice before bringing in a situational lefty to face Alvarez. Why? Because hitting behind Alvarez is McCutchen, who is a career .341 hitter against lefties. So you either burn two pitchers in a span of two hitters, or you take your chances against McCutchen.
  • Left-hander Dana Eveland cleared waivers and has been sent to Triple-A Indianapolis. It remains to be seen whether Eveland will pitch in a starting or relieving role with the Indians.
  • Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas will continue his Minor League rehab work in Triple-A now. Jakubauskas last pitched for high-A Bradenton on June 27. He went 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and three earned runs in that outing. He will be used in a multi-inning relief and spot starting role. The Pirates have not announced a specific timetable for a potential return yet.
  • Speaking of timetables, as I noted earlier in the week, don’t expect to see Zach Duke to be back until after the All-Star break. He’s scheduled to throw off the mound for the first time during this homestand and will likely need two side sessions before then making a Minor League rehab start.
  • Happy Anniversary to Garrett Jones, who on this day last year arrived in Pittsburgh and established himself as a key piece in this lineup not long after. In 159 games over the past year, Jones has batted .289 with 38 doubles, 31 homers and 91 RBIs. Only 10 players in the National League have more home runs during that year-long span.
  • With his save on Wednesday, seven of Octavio Dotel’s 16 saves this year have come against the Cubs. That is the most saves against any team before the start of July since saves started being officially recorded in 1969 (thanks Elias Sports Bureau for that tidbit).

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June 2: Cubs (24-29) @ Pirates (22-31)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

MLB released All-Star Game online voting totals on Tuesday, and once again, the Pirates didn’t have a player dent the Top 5 (or Top 15 with outfielders). The glaring omission, obviously, has to be center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

Consider that he entered Wednesday…

  • Ranked 2nd among all NL outfielders with a .310 batting average
  • Ranked 6th among all NL outfielders with a .385 on-base percentage
  • Ranked 2nd among all NL outfielders with 13 stolen bases
  • Ranked 2nd among all NL outfielders with 61 hits

Sure, McCutchen is not among the HR and RBI leaders, but that’s not where he is expected to be. There’s no doubt that McCutchen has caught the idea of players/coaches/managers around the league all year — I’m always getting quotes (unsolicited) about the outfielder from our MLB.com writers covering other teams — but he’s just not getting the public recognition his season deserves. Part of that likely has to do with the fact that he doesn’t play for a big-market team or for a top club. We’ll see if it changes as the month progresses.

Voting will continue online at MLB.com for another month. You can cast your vote here. Updated NL voting totals will be released weekly.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • This moustache and high socks fad has caught on in the clubhouse, but I’m going to make you read more about Bobby Crosby’s initial challenge to grow out the facial hair in the Pirates Beat on the main site a little later. Don’t expect to see any razors until the team loses.
  • In case you missed it after last night’s game, lefty Jack Taschner has been activated off the DL and Steven Jackson was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis.
  • First baseman Steve Pearce (sprained right ankle) was cleared to hit off the tee on Wednesday for the first time. “Moving on up,” he said, smiling. He has not yet begun any sort of running. That will be last on the list.
  • Starter Chris Jakubauskas is headed to Bradenton, Fla., tomorrow to continue his throwing program. He threw two sides here and will throw at least two more sides and two sessions of batting practice down there before the Pirates continue a Minor League rehab assignment. The best news continues to be that he is feeling no more effects from being hit in the head on a line drive.
  • Outfielder Ryan Church may have come back from a bruised right wrist injury weeks ago, but he said on Wednesday that this series has marked the first time since the initial injury (May 7) that the wrist hasn’t affected him.
  • Jeff Karstens is likely to start for the Pirates on Sunday, though manager John Russell hesitated to say that was etched in stone. Newly-acquired Dana Eveland is unlikely to be ready to join the rotation by then. And Brian Burres is being skipped.
  • As for Burres, Russell said he’d be a bullpen option tonight, but the plans for him moving forward were fuzzy. That sure seems to suggest that he might be on his way out when Eveland arrives on Friday. The numbers just don’t seem to add up otherwise.
  • Pirates president Frank Coonelly held his monthly online chat on Wednesday, and here is the transcript. Coonelly discussed the Draft throughout, and to complement that, I’ll have two Draft stories coming out over the next two days to go into more detail on the Pirates’ Draft plans.
  • While we’re talking Draft, MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo made his latest first-round predictions on Wednesday. His guess at who the Pirates will take with the No. 2 pick? High school shortstop Manny Machado. Though he cautions everyone not to count out high school pitcher Jameson Taillon. Here is Mayo’s full list.
  • For those of you not close enough to get FSN Pittsburgh, MLB Network has announced that it will be telvising Stephen Strasburg’s Major League debut against the Pirates next Tuesday. You had to figure that was coming…
  • Recently benched second baseman Aki Iwamura was out taking groundballs at third base this afternoon. Iwamura played third during his time in Japan, and the Pirates are refamiliarizing him with the position so that he can be an option there off the bench.
  • How good have the Pirates been against the Cubs this year? Well, the team is 7-1 and has won five straight games against Chicago at PNC Park. That comes after the Pirates went 1-8 in their previous nine against the Cubs. Garrett Jones and McCutchen have been especially potent against Chicago pitching — the two have combined to go 27-for-53 with four homers, 17 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Pirates’ seven wins this season while scoring three or fewer runs trails only the Padres, who have won 12 times while scoring no more than three runs.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Neil Walker (2B)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (1B)
  5. Ryan Church (RF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (2B)
  2. Jeff Baker (RF)
  3. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  4. Xavier Nady (1B)
  5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Carlos Zambrano (RHP)

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May 19: Brewers (15-24) @ Pirates (17-22)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

A few housekeeping items to take care of before getting to the afternoon’s news and notes…

  1. I wanted to introduce you to Matt Fortuna, who, beginning today, will be helping with Pirates coverage throughout the summer. You’ll be seeing his byline a lot, and you can follow him on twitter (@Matt_Fortuna) as he tweets Bucco-related news, too.
  2. So no one panics, I also wanted to let everyone know that this is the last game I will be covering until May 31. I am leaving tomorrow to head to Europe for 10 days and so I’ll be off the beat for a bit. Hopefully the break will get me refreshed enough for the grind of four more months of baseball when I return. You’ll be in good hands while I’m MIA, but the blog will obviously be on hiatus.

Now on to the important stuff…

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Manager John Russell confirmed that RHP Brendan Donnelly will be activated off the DL on Thursday. A corresponding move will have to be made, and I’m still thinking it’s possible that the move could hinge on Brian Burres’ performance tonight. Another subpar outing and Burres could be nixed from the rotation.
  • Second baseman Aki Iwamura is still day-to-day with the tight right hamstring. He can pinch hit, as he did on Monday and Tuesday in Philly, but the running is still an issue. Bobby Crosby gets the start in Iwamura’s place tonight after Delwyn Young made the last two.
  • Maybe redemption isn’t the best word, but the Pirates are sure looking to fare better against the Brewers in this brief two-game series than they did when Milwaukee came to town last month. You might remember that the club was outscored 36-1 then. We won’t repeat that again.
  • OF Quincy Latimore hit another grand slam for the Bradenton Marauders last night, which gives him three already this season. That ties a Florida State League record. The outfield prospect entered Wednesday hitting .253 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 37 games this year.
  • The Brewers enter PNC Park having been swept in their last three series (0-8). For whatever reason, though, most of their problems have been at home. The Brewers are 4-14 at Miller Park, yet 11-10 on the road. Go figure.
  • After spending most of the season with the league’s worst ERA, the Pirates (5.68) have now climbed above the D-backs (5.75). The next target is Milwaukee (5.25).

Pirates lineup:

  1. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  2. Bobby Crosby (2B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Brian Burres (LHP)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Corey Hart (RF)
  7. Gregg Zaun (C)
  8. Jody Gerut (CF)
  9. Randy Wolf (LHP)

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April 22: Brewers (7-7) @ Pirates (7-7)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I realize that there is still a game to be played on Thursday, but since I won’t be with the team in Houston (Friday-Sunday), I wanted to throw this thought out there now…

After Thursday’s contest, the Pirates will hit the road for 10 games. Could this be a make-or-break trip for the Pirates? Well, I don’t think any team can “make” its season in April. Sure, you can gain some momentum or turn some heads from doing well early. But April records don’t equal playoffs.

I would contend, though, that this trip could “break” the Pirates. Not necessarily in the sense that they will be looking ahead to five months of irrelevant baseball, but a bad road swing could certainly put a dent in some of the early-season optimism.

I’ve had this road trip circled since the schedule came out last year. It could very well be a harbinger for what’s to come. Do OK and people might believe this team can sustain some success longer than maybe previously expected. Do poorly and that “here-we-go-again” feeling is likely to surface in Pittsburgh.

Stop 1 is in Houston to play an Astros club that has won four straight heading into Thursday. Then, it’s off to Milwaukee, where the Pirates have lost their last 21 games. Then the team has four games in Los Angeles, never an easy venue to steal some wins at.

“We need to play better on the road,” manager John Russell said. “We won a couple nice games on the road the last time. Unfortunately we got kind of boat-raced in a couple other games. It is important that we start to play better on the road, and this is a good time for us to go out and play well.

“Last year we weren’t very good anywhere. It’s a new season, a new outlook. Let’s just see how we go this year. We’re just trying to move on from that and not worry about it and play good baseball and see where we go.”

And one more thing: Don’t underestimate how big a win on Thursday could be leading up into this grueling road trip. The Pirates certainly don’t want to go on the road on the heels of being swept.

Other news and notes of the day…

  • Andy LaRoche (back spasms) and Bobby Crosby (left shoulder) continue to improve. Manager John Russell said the team hopes to have both back and available this weekend. Neither will be used on Thursday unless it is an absolute emergency.
  • Russell shifted Ryan Doumit down to the sixth spot in the order and put Ryan Church in the No. 5 hole. Russell said that the change was more due to getting the hot-hitting Church (7-for-16 this season) into a good spot than it was pushing Doumit down because he’s struggling. Doumit has just three hits in his last 25 at-bats.
  • The Pirates need a win on Thursday to ensure a winning homestand. And get this… you have to go back to 1994 to find the last time the Pirates opened a season with back-to-back winning homestands.
  • Andrew McCutchen still leads the league with nine stolen bases. He has also earned some praise from Brewers manager Ken Macha this series: “The guy’s got a chance to do just about anything he wants. He’s got great speed, he’s been stealing bases left and right [and] he’s got pop in his bat. I was extremely impressed with his defense last year when he came up. So he’s got speed, power and defense. Am I missing anything?”
  • Key in on the number 4. When the Pirates have scored that many runs this season, they are 7-1. When they’ve been held to less than 4, the Pirates are 0-6. More on the offense’s deficiencies in deficits on the main site shortly.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (1B)
  5. Ryan Church (RF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Delwyn Young (3B)
  8. Daniel McCutchen (RHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Jim Edmonds (RF)
  7. George Kottaras (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Randy Wolf (LHP)

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April 21: Brewers (6-7) @ Pirates (7-6)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have a pretty banged up infield, which necessitated the call-up of infielder Argenis Diaz today.

Bobby Crosby tweaked his left shoulder making a diving play the other day and is out at least 2-3 days. The Pirates are hopeful it’s no longer, but Crosby was the only other shortstop the club had behind Ronny Cedeno.

Andy LaRoche had a setback on Tuesday when his back tightened up on him while he was doing some on-field activities. As a result, the Pirates are going to take a step back with him and be extra cautious. Though LaRoche told me he feels fine, I wouldn’t expect to see him play any earlier than Friday.

Other items of interest:

  • Brian Burres was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he will go back into the Triple-A rotation. We’ll never know if the Pirates’ Plan A was to have Burres start in Houston on Saturday since he can’t do that now. A four-inning outing on Tuesday took Burres out of contention.
  • Asked when he would name a starter for Saturday, manager John Russell said: “In the next few days.” That really doesn’t tell us all that much given that there are only three days until Saturday. So take your guess.
  • The options remain Chris Jakubauskas, Kevin Hart, Brad Lincoln. Jakubauskas is scheduled to pitch for Indianapolis on Thursday, and if he does, that would take him out of the running. Same goes for Hart, who is scheduled to pitch on Friday.
  • Given Aki Iwamura’s experience at third and Delwyn Young’s lack of it, I asked Russell if he might consider moving Iwamura to third and Young to second in LaRoche’s absence. Russell said the thought had been considered, but the Pirates hesitate to take Iwamura away from second where he’s growing more comfortable.
  • Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf said he expects to throw off the mound on Thursday for the first time since making an April 7 start. That’s definitely an encouraging step in the right direction for Ohlendorf, who threw off flat ground again on Wednesday.
  • Charlie Morton and Zach Duke were engaged in a lengthy conversation today in the clubhouse . I obviously don’t know what it was related to, but it could very well be Duke’s way of showing Morton some support and offering some pitching-related guidance. I will tell you this — while fans have obviously lost some faith in Morton’s abilities over these first three starts, his teammates haven’t. Duke will be the first to tell you Morton has better stuff than any of the other pitchers in the clubhouse. And everyone wants to see Morton succeed.
  • Lost in Tuesday’s lopsided defeat was the fact that first baseman Jeff Clement snapped an 0-for-20 streak with a ninth-inning single. It wasn’t anything special, but for Clement, it was definitely something.
  • Ryan Doumit enters Wednesday with just two hits in his last 23 at-bats. Doumit can change the dynamic of the lineup one direction or the other based upon his production, and the Pirates certainly need more from him.  

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumi (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Delwyn Young (3B)
  8. Zach Duke (LHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Corey Hart (RF)
  7. Gregg Zaun (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Yovani Gallardo (RHP)

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Bucs recall SS Diaz; LHP Burres to Triple-A

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates just announced that they have recalled shortstop Argenis Diaz from Triple-A and optioned LHP Brian Burres back there.

The Pirates’ decision to send Burres back to Indianapolis doesn’t come as much of a surprise. He was here to give the Pirates a multiple-inning option, and he did that on Tuesday night. After pitching four innings on Tuesday, Burres wasn’t going to be available for the next few days or to spot start on Saturday. Now he can get back into the Triple-A rotation and pitch regularly.

We’ll learn more about the Pirates’ decision to summon Diaz when the clubhouse opens in a bit, but the need for an extra middle infielder makes me wonder if Bobby Crosby is hurt more than we know. Crosby was scratched due to left shoulder stiffness on Tuesday. Crosby is really the only back-up option the Pirates have at short (Delwyn Young has never played there), so if he is going to be unavailable for even just a couple more days, the Pirates needed another short-term backu up.

Diaz was on the club’s 40-man roster, so he was an easy option to call up for a temporary fill. The Pirates will need to call a pitcher up from Triple-A on Saturday to start, so Diaz might just be here until then.

Also, third baseman Andy LaRoche is not in the lineup again on Wednesday, presumably because of his recent back problems. That further depletes the Pirates’ infield options if he is still not ready to play. Another reason Diaz might be here.

More definitive answers on the roster moves to come shortly after a visit with manager John Russell

April 20: Brewers (5-7) @ Pirates (7-5)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The All-Star Game is just a little less than three months away, but ballots were revealed on Tuesday. That’s the green light to start voting away. In-stadium balloting at PNC Park will run from May 4 – June 17, but you can get a head start now online. This link will take you to the ballot, which you can fill out up to 25 times.

Today’s news and notes….

  • Andy LaRoche (back spasms) said that he was going to try and convince manager John Russell to let him into the lineup on Tuesday, though that doesn’t appear to have happened. Right now Bobby Crosby is in there at third. However, Russell did say that LaRoche would likely be available to pinch hit and enter during the game, if needed. Regardless, he should be back in there on Wednesday.
  • Bobby Crosby was initially slated to play third, but he was scratched after BP due to left shoulder stiffness. Delwyn Young is now your third baseman du jour.
  • Ross Ohlendorf (back spasms) threw off flat ground again on Tuesday. He still has not pitched off a mound and if the Pirates know when that’s going to happen, Russell didn’t divulge it. The plan is still to have Ohlendorf make a Minor League rehab start before coming off the DL. He is eligible to come back April 27.
  • Right-hander Vinnie Chulk has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list with what farm director Kyle Stark described as arm soreness. Stark said it was the same injury that forced Chulk to miss some time in Spring Training.
  • First-round pick Tony Sanchez has been hampered by some shoulder soreness the last few days, which has forced him to DH and not catch. Stark said Sanchez should be returning behind the plate soon.
  • Remember when it seemed like the Pirates NEVER beat the Brewers. Well, that’s kinda still the case at Miller Park. But you might have forgotten that the Pirates actually went 5-3 against Milwaukee here at home last year. We’ll get to that Miller Park thing next week.
  • Tuesday’s game will not be televised on FSN as the schedule has it. FSN Pittsburgh has picked up this hockey game that I guess is being played tonight. There appears to be some interest in it around here.
  • Jeff Clement (hitless in his last 18 ABs) is back in the lineup. I focused my off-day story on him yesterday, and Russell reiterated again that the team still sees him as the regular first baseman. Said Russell: “Nobody’s giving up on him. He’s going to be fine. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back. It also allows us to get some other guys in the game, though we don’t always want to do it at Jeff’s expense. We look for him to be a big part of the team. If that means breaking him in a little slower until he gets his feet on the ground then that’s OK. I think he’s going to respond very, very well. We’ll keep giving him the opportunity.”
  • The Pirates still haven’t named a starter for Saturday’s game against the Astros, though they’ll need someone. GM Neal Huntington named four possibilities on Sunday — Brian Burres (already with the team), Brad Lincoln, Kevin Hart, Chris Jakubauskas. Saturday is Lincoln’s day to pitch in Triple-A, though that might not necessarily mean anything.
  • I’ll put in another call for Inbox questions for anyone wanting to submit one. You can email me at Jenifer.Langosch@MLB.com with your question, first name, last initial and hometown listed. If you could put Inbox in the subject line, that would be fantastic.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Bobby Crosby (3B) Delwyn Young
  8. Charlie Morton (RHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie (2B)
  2. Jim Edmonds (CF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Corey Hart (RF)
  7. Gregg Zaun (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Dave Bush (RHP)

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April 18: Reds (5-7) @ Pirates (6-5)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Before getting to the day’s news and notes, here is one leftover quote from reliever Jack Taschner that wasn’t able to make it into the gamestory last night. It came after he was asked about whether getting off to a good start was more important for a team, like the Pirates, that has endured so many consecutive losing years.

“It’s important for any team, and for this team it’s no different,” he said. “It’s easier when things are going well than to kick start midseason. I don’t see a whole lot of reasons to panic in here. We all know the history. I’m sure we’ll hear about it all year. It’s not something that we think about in here.”

Here are your pregame notes on another chilly morning in the ‘Burgh:

  • Andy LaRoche remains sidelined with back spasms. He still isn’t swinging a bat, though manager John Russell said there is a chance that he might return on Tuesday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf, plagued by the same injury, didn’t throw on Sunday but is expected to do so again on Monday. If he continues to feel well, he’ll use his delivery motion and throw on flat ground.
  • Russell shuffled his lineup some for the series finale, inserting Delwyn Young, Jason Jaramillo, Bobby Crosby and Ryan Church into it for the day. Nothing more than a day off for the usual starters who aren’t in there.
  • Jeff Clement could use the day off after going hitless in his last 17 at-bats. Russell described him to be pressing, and that’s been pretty obvious. Clement is just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-11 against left-handed pitching this year.
  • With last night’s win, the Pirates have now won consecutive home series to start the season for the first time since 1992.
  • The consecutive walk-off wins marked the sixth time the Pirates have done that at PNC Park. The last time was May 24-25 when Jason Bay delivered in extra innings in both games.
  • I rarely look at the standings this early in the season, but for anyone who cares, the Pirates are currently in second place in the NL Central, one game behind the Cardinals.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Delwyn Young (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (1B)
  5. Ryan Church (RF)
  6. Bobby Crosby (3B)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Paul Maholm (LHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Reds lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  2. Orlando Cabrera (SS)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Jonny Gomes (LF)
  6. Ryan Hanigan (C)
  7. Jay Bruce (RF)
  8. Paul Janish (3B)
  9. Bronson Arroyo (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

04/08: Dodgers (0-2) @ Pirates (2-0)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates are on pace to win 162. Garrett Jones is on pace to hit 243 home runs. D.J. Carrasco, Evan Meek, Brendan Donnelly and Octavio Dotel are on pace to appear in every game this season.

OK, I only say this tongue-in-cheek to remind you that we are only two days in. And obviously it’s hard to make any definitive conclusions after two games. I don’t say this to sap the excitement that two thrilling wins have provided the fan base. I say it just to make sure we all stay in reality.

As for what I do think we can conclude… here are three things:

1. This team has some resolve and fight in them. Now, we’ll see if that maintains through the downs that are inevitable. But for now, you have to like the way the team fights.

2. This bullpen has the potential to be pretty good. Dotel is not going to get out of a jam like he did Wednesday every night. No one does. But the mix of looks and the mix of experience in that ‘pen sure does seem better than what the Pirates have had in recent years.

3. These players are confident that they can compete with anyone. Call it being naive if you’d like, but they don’t feel outmatched. Certainly, that’s part of the battle.

OK, as for your pregame notes…

  • Forecast still doesn’t look exceptionally good for this afternoon. The rain has stalled a bit but is still on its way. A rain delay isn’t what the Pirates need for many reasons, one of which is that their bullpen has already been worked pretty hard these last few days. The Pirates’ freshest arm is Hayden Penn, and his ability to go multiple innings could be critical if the Pirates do endure a rain delay.
  • Manager John Russell did say all relievers are available today if needed, though, for at least a little work.
  • Bobby Crosby, Delwyn Young and Ryan Church get their first starts of the season with the day game coming after a long night game. They are replacing Lastings Milledge, Jeff Clement and Ronny Cedeno. It’s hard to see much of a drop off there, which is a plus.
  • Charlie Morton is preparing for his start in Arizona on Friday and since I didn’t mention it earlier this week, he did throw most recently on Sunday. Morton stayed behind in Bradenton to throw 60 pitches (four innings) in a Double-A intrasquad game on Sunday to give him one more tuneup before the regular season start.
  • Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic (aka Mike and Mike) will be throwing out today’s ceremonial first pitch.
  • The Pirates are 2-0 for the first time since 2007. That Pittsburgh club swept a three-game set with the Astros to start the season.
  • Though the Pirates are just 10-24 against the Dodgers at PNC Park, Pittsburgh has won five of the last six meetings here. That includes taking three of four against LA late last September.
  • Two Minor League notes of interest (repeats from yesterday): Joel Hanrahan begins his Minor League rehab assignment with high-A Bradenton today. Kevin Hart will make the Opening Day start for Triple-A Indy tonight.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Delwyn Young (RF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Paul Maholm (LHP)
  9. Bobby Crosby (SS)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Rafael Furcal (SS)
  2. Reed Johnson (LF)
  3. Matt Kemp (CF)
  4. James Loney (1B)
  5. Ronnie Belliard (3B)
  6. Garret Anderson (RF)
  7. Jamey Carroll (2B)
  8. Brad Ausmus (C)
  9. Chad Billingsley (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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