Results tagged ‘ Brad Lincoln ’

Game 35: Dodgers (16-19) @ Pirates (17-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

.500

I’ll admit that I still have a hard time understanding the joy over this number being that it is May 9. Yes, I understand that a little more than 20 percent of the season is in the books. But I also am very much aware that there is close to 80 percent left. That said, is the hoopla really justified?

I am in my fifth season covering this team, and during my time on the beat I have come to understand why .500 is a benchmark. I get it. However, other than .500 being a step to a bigger, better goal, I have a hard time believing this is the biggest news to come out of the first 34 games. Feel free to disagree (and I know some of you will), but I feel the excitement shouldn’t necessarily be over the record, but over the way this team is playing.

The pitching has been much better than most expected, and that is significant. This franchise won’t have winning baseball without major steps forward on the pitching side, and we’re seeing some of those steps forward already. The offense, on the other hand, has not played up to its expectations or capabilities. The fact that the team is 17-17 without an offense that has clicked from top to bottom at the same times means that this can actually get better. That should be encouraging to those of you who are wondering whether .500 or better baseball can be sustained.

So feel free to get excited about .500 if you want. But more than any record, pay attention to what you’re seeing on the field. Appreciate those improvements.

Some other news and notes…

  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is back in the lineup on Monday. He ended up missing four full games because of that right quad tightness.
  • Pirates starters allowed two earned runs in 21 innings in the recently-completed series against the Astros. The rotation has posted a 2.79 ERA in its last seven games.
  • Had a really candid conversation with Chris Resop a little while ago, the contents of which you can find on pirates.com tonight.
  • With his homer on Sunday, Ryan Doumit now stands alone in third place for home runs among Pirates catchers. He has hit 50. Jason Kendall (66) and Tony Pena (63) are the only two still ahead of him.
  • Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his third start — and longest one yet — for low-A West Virginia on Sunday. Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
  • On the subject of the ’10 Draft, second-rounder Stetson Allie remains in extended Spring Training. GM Neal Huntington said on Sunday that the club has not finalized whether Allie will begin his professional career in short-season State College (season opens in June) or with West Virginia. The organization wanted to keep Allie down in Florida just for development purposes. Unlike Taillon, Allie was not as advanced a pitcher when he was drafted.
  • The Pirates were out working specifically on bunt defenses earlier this afternoon. As was evidenced on Sunday, there is still some need for work in this area. The Pirates have had a few slip-ups with their bunt defenses this season — including two in the past week.
  • Righty Evan Meek threw from 150 feet on Monday. He continues to feel good.
  • Brad Lincoln had a nice performance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. That’s two solid starts in a row for Lincoln, who could put himself in position to be considered for a call-up if he continues to pitch well. Lincoln picked up a win on Sunday by scattering six hits and two walks and allowing one run. He struck out seven in the six-inning outing.
  • Also down in Triple-A, Alex Presley only continues to hit. He had three more hits on Sunday, scored twice and drove in one.
  • Jose Ascanio is scheduled to make his final rehab appearance with Indianapolis tonight. Ascanio, who has been working his way back from right shoulder surgery, is slated to throw two innings in the outing. The last day Ascanio can pitch is May 10 (rehab assignments can only last 30 days for pitchers), so the Pirates will have to take him off the DL this week. Because Ascanio is out of options, he would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Triple-A. I anticipate that Ascanio will be joining the big league bullpen.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), J. Sands (LF), R. Barajas (C), C. Billingsley (RHP)

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Lincoln heads to Triple-A

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Initially scheduled to make a rehab start for Class A Advanced Bradenton on Sunday, Brad Lincoln will instead be on the mound in Indianapolis. The Pirates changed plans after Daniel McCutchen had to be recalled to Pittsburgh. McCutchen was slated to be Triple-A Indianapolis’ starter on Sunday.

This will be Lincoln’s first game appearance since he was struck on the right forearm by a line drive late in Spring Training. He is expected to throw about four innings (65 pitches).

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Injury updates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates passed along injury progress reports on a number of players:

  • RHP Jose Ascanio pitched one inning in an intrasquad game on Tuesday
  • LHP Joe Beimel pitched one inning in an intrasquad game on Tuesday
  • RHP Brad Lincoln pitched three innings in an intrasquad game on Tuesday
  • LHP Scott Olsen threw a bullpen session on Tuesday
  • C Chris Snyder caught five innings and had three at-bats in an intrasquad game on Tuesday

Also, the Pirates announced on Tuesday night that the club had sign LHP Dan Meyer and RHP Tim Wood to Minor League deals. Both have been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Keep an eye on Meyer, as he could be a decent left-handed option if Garrett Olson does not work out for the club.

The Pirates have also released Craig Hansen, who made five appearances in 2009 before a nerve issue in his back/neck shut him down. Hansen has not appeared in a Major League game since. He was one of four players the club acquired in the Jason Bay deal in July 2008. Two of those four players — Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche — had already been let go.

I’ll be back on the beat on Thursday for the home opener.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Workout news and notes

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

A few newsworthy items to wrap up today’s workout day:

  • James McDonald is (barring any unforseen setbacks) going to start April 5 agains the Cardinals. The Pirates feel good letting him get on the mound after McDonald threw 69 pitches in Spring Training camp game on Thursday morning. McDonald was unable to pitch in a Minor League game against the Triple-A Yankees as planned due to rainy weather; but he did get his work in and is flying to Chicago this evening.
  • While McDonald will be fine to make his scheduled start on Tuesday, he will be limited in how deep he is able to pitch. Manager Clint Hurdle guessed that the right-hander will be limited to 85-90 pitches in the outing. But the Pirates like their chances with McDonald pitching a solid five innings and then leaving it to the ‘pen rather than having to find someone to make a spot start.
  • McDonald’s velocity reached 95 mph on Thursday, Hurdle said. This certainly suggests that McDonald is having no problems with his side.
  • The Pirates have not yet determined whether Brad Lincoln (right forearm contusion) will begin the season in extended Spring Training or with Triple-A Indianapolis. With the Triple-A season still a week from beginning, the Pirates have some more time to determine Lincoln’s assignment.
  • Catcher Chris Snyder (lower back stiffness) has not returned to game action yet. He can come off the DL as early as April 9, but the Pirates won’t reinstate Snyder until after he can prove he can catch consecutive games without any issue.
  • In the meantime, Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo will both get starts behind the plate. Doumit will get the assignment on Opening Day. Hurdle said that decision was made because of Doumit’s experience: “I think we’ve got enough young guys breaking in tomorrow that we’ll rely upon Ryan with some experience behind the plate.” Jaramillo will catch in a game over the weekend.
  • The Pirates have signed right-hander Tim Wood to a Minor League contract. No word yet on where he’ll begin the season — though it will not be in the Majors. Wood was released by the Nationals on Thursday morning.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata has no ankle issues — he was taken out of Wednesday’s game strictly for precautionary reasons. He’s just fine.
  • Also, something that was announced while I was off yesterday that I thought was worth noting: Major League Baseball is implementing a 7-day DL this season for concussion injuries only. The hope is that this will help players from trying to rush back from a concussion prematurely; and it allows teams the benefit of not having to play shorthanded while a player recovers. You can read more about the new policy here.

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Pirates make final roster moves

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates’ roster is officially set after the club made these final roster moves on Thursday morning:

  • RHP Jose Veras was added to the 40-man roster; space was opened by designating RHP Ramon Aguero for assignment
  • The following players were placed on the 15-day disabled list: catcher Chris Snyder, righty Brad Lincoln, right-hander Jose Ascanio and lefty Scott Olsen

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Day 40: Pirates @ Rays; Bucs cut five

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates cut five players from big league camp on Friday morning, in turn dwindling the number of players still around to 36. That still means that 11 players will have to leave in the next week. But the roster is beginning to take shape with some clarity.

The following moves were made on Friday:

  • RHP Tyler Yates reassigned to Minor League camp
  • RHP Sean Gallagher reassigned to Minor League camp
  • RHP Daniel McCutchen optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • INF Josh Fields reassigned to Minor League camp
  • C Wyatt Toregas reassigned to Minor League camp

Also, general manager Neal Huntington confirmed that lefty Joe Beimel will not be ready to begin the season with the Major League club. Beimel will throw another bullpen session this weekend, but that does not give him time to get enough innings in before next week’s season opener. Beimel will remain in Florida for extended Spring Training and could even pitch a bit in Indianapolis, if he still needs to build his innings count by the time the Minor League season begins.

With Beimel out of the Opening Day mix, the following relievers are competing for two open spots: Garrett Olson, Brian Burres, Chris Leroux and Mike Crotta.

Other morning news and notes…

  • Huntington said that the team has not yet finalized whether it will take two or three catchers north. A decision on that should come soon, Huntington added. The makeup of the bench really hinges on which way the Pirates go with this.
  • Before leaving McKechnie Field on Friday, Fields say he was unsure whether he’d report to Triple-A Indianapolis or ask for his release.
  • With Fields out of the mix for the corner utility bench spot, that leaves Steve Pearce and Andy Marte as the last two standing. Huntington said that there really is no scenario in which both Pearce and Marte make the club.
  • Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) threw from a distance of 120 feet on Friday and said he felt fine. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday.
  • James McDonald remains scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game on Saturday.

On a side note, MLBlogs is changing its software (hopefully for the better) today, which means this blog is expected to be down during the afternoon hours. It might still be able to be accessed by you, but it won’t be able to be updated by me. Wanted to give you a head’s up so that you weren’t searching for anything new on here this afternoon. Once the update is done, I’ll get to learning the new program.

Lineups:

PIRATES: P. Ciriaco (CF), J. Rodriguez (SS), J. Bowker (LF), R. Doumit (C), S. Pearce (3B), M. Diaz (RF), A. Marte (1B), C. Wimberly (2B), C. Morton (RHP)

Pitchers: C. Morton, J. Hanrahan, J. Veras

RAYS: B. Zobrist (RF), E. Johnson (2B), E. Longoria (3B), M. Ramirez (DH), D. Johnson (1B), B.J. Upton (CF), K. Shoppach (C), R. Brignac (SS), S. Fuld (LF), J. Niemann (RHP)

Pitchers: J. Niemann

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 38: Astros @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

MLB Network’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days special on the Pirates was on the clubhouse TV this morning. I wasn’t able to hear much of what was said, but a number of the players watched it fairly intently. I did catch a graphic in which Baseball Prospectus predicted the Pirates will finish in 5th place with 71 wins. 

As for your morning news…

  • In case you missed it on the day off yesterday, right-hander Fernando Nieve was released by the Pirates on Tuesday. The move came one day after Nieve had been reassigned to Minor League camp.
  • Also, MLB.com released its list of Top 10 Pirates prospects on Tuesday. You can find the list here.
  • The Pirates will honor their 2010 Double-A Altoona club in an on-field ceremony prior to the game against the Astros today. Altoona won the Eastern League Championship last season.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio (right elbow discomfort) threw another bullpen session on Tuesday without any issue.
  • Lefty Joe Beimel (left elbow soreness) threw on flat ground on Tuesday and again today. He said his arm is feeling much better but it’s still up in the air whether Beimel has enough time to get ready by Opening Day. There is no schedule yet for what Beimel will do next, and he expressed a willingness to start the year on the disabled list if it means that Beimel will be healthy for the remainder of the season. The big picture — not April 1 — is the focus here.
  • Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) grabbed his glove on Wednesday morning and headed out to the field to play long toss. The Pirates haven’t announced anything official, but I don’t see a scenario in which Lincoln is headed anywhere but Triple-A Indianapolis to begin the season.
  • Righty James McDonald (left side soreness) is slated to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday. His next step has not been announced, though he would have to get into a game pretty soon, I’d imagine, in order to build himself back up to where he can begin the year in the rotation.
  • Chris Snyder caught three innings and took several at-bats in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Tuesday. He is not in the lineup on Wednesday, but said he is doing fine.
  •  The following pitchers will throw in Thursday’s night game against the Orioles: Ross Ohlendorf (five or six innings), Evan Meek, Garrett Olson, Chris Leroux

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), L. Overbay (1B), M. Diaz (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (C), R. Cedeno (SS), B. Burres (LHP)

Pitchers: B. Burres, E. Meek, C. Resop, M. Crotta, T. Yates

ASTROS: J. Bourgeois (CF), A. Sanchez (SS), H. Pence (RF), J. Michaels (LF), B. Wallace (1B), C. Johnson (3B), H. Quintero (C), A. Hernandez (2B), J.A. Happ (LHP)

Pitchers: J. Valdez, E. Del Rosario, G. Chacin, W. Wright, S. Wolf

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Day 36: Twins @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

News about roster cuts (Garrett Atkins released; Justin Thomas and Fernando Nieve reassigned to Minor League camp) and about Scott Olsen’s setback can be found in previous blog entries from this morning. Here are the rest of your morning leftovers…

  • James McDonald will throw another bullpen session on Wednesday. After that, I would imagine he’d be ready to resume pitching in games. The Pirates have not said how McDonald’s absence will affect his ability to be ready for the start of the regular season.
  • Brad Lincoln’s right arm is still swollen, but he said his range of motion and strength is coming back. Lincoln, who was hit in that arm on Friday, said he hopes to resume throwing (on flat ground) on Wednesday. This means he is definitely missing at least one turn through the rotation.
  • Lefty Joe Beimel had a cortisone shot in his left arm on Sunday. He is not throwing today and will be reevaluated tomorrow. Beimel said he is feeling much better and seems to think he won’t be sidelined long.
  • Garrett Jones is still dealing with some neck/shoulder soreness, though he doesn’t expect the issue to linger. He said he felt a little pop when running on Thursday and that his neck kept getting tighter. He did take six at-bats in a Minor League game on Sunday, so he’s on his way back. Jones is not in the lineup on Monday.
  • Catcher Chris Snyder will get 3-4 at-bats in a Minor League game on Monday. He’ll also put his gear on and catch a bullpen session. Assuming all goes well, Snyder, who was out with back soreness, will then catch in a Minor League game on Tuesday.
  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno will join Snyder to get at-bats in a Minor League game on Monday. With so many players left in camp, it’s normal for position players to take turn playing in Minor League games simply so they can get their work in.
  • The Pirates announced that they will be having a 3 p.m. workout at Wrigley Field on March 31, the day before the club opens the season. The workout is not open to the public.
  • Steve Pearce is playing left field on Monday. Just another chance for Pearce to showcase his versatility. That corner utility spot is down to Pearce, Andy Marte and Josh Fields. I get the impression that Fields is on the outside looking in.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (LF), L. Overbay (1B), M. Diaz (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), J. Rodriguez (SS), J. Jaramillo (C), P. Maholm (LHP)

Pitchers: P. Maholm (six innings), Garrett Olson, Jose Veras, Sean Gallagher

TWINS: D. Span (CF), M. Tolbert (SS), J. Mauer (C), D. Young (DH), J. Bailey (1B), L. Hughes (2B), B. Dinkelman (LF), C. Lambin (3B), J. Repko (RF)

Pitchers: B. Duensing, M. Capps, C. Gutierrez, J. Hoey, C. James, G. Perkins

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 34: Red Sox @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

As the Pirates meet with a nutritionist this morning, I bring you today’s morning news and notes…

  • Brad Lincoln was walking around the clubhouse with a sleeve on his right arm after getting hit by a line drive near his elbow on Friday. Lincoln said his arm is very stiff and that he will continue to get treatment today. Normally, he’d be scheduled to throw a side session two days after his last outing (so that would be tomorrow), but his guess now is that he won’t be able to do that. How that might affect Lincoln’s next start is unknown at this point.
  • You can read more on pirates.com later, but Kevin Hart was legitimately disappointed to know that he is going to have to open the season on the disabled list. Until recently, the right-hander truly believed he’d be ready to go by Opening Day. Now, he has no chance of being in Pittsburgh until June at the earliest. “You always think you’re going to be the exception,” Hart said, implying that he thought his recovery from surgery would be quicker than most.
  • Right-hander Chris Resop talked this morning about the difficulty of coming in cold yesterday to finish out the third inning after Lincoln left with the injury. He went with all fastballs to get through that frame and loosen up his arm. Resop did mix in a number of changeups in his next two innings and ended up having a pretty good day. He hasn’t been told he has made the club yet, but I just don’t see a scenario in which Resop isn’t on the 25-man Opening Day roster.
  • The Pirates are on Fox Sports Net today for those of you back in Pittsburgh.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio is scheduled to throw batting practice over at Pirate City today. If my memory is right, this will be Ascanio’s second BP session. Usually pitchers are cleared to return to game action after two, so it will be interesting to see if Ascanio makes his first spring appearance next week.
  • Left-hander Garrett Olson, who the Pirates claimed off waivers on Friday, is scheduled to arrive in Bradenton tonight. The tentative schedule is to have him throw a side on Sunday and then pitch in Monday’s game.
  • The following pitchers are scheduled to throw on Sunday: Charlie Morton, Evan Meek, Michael Crotta, Chris Leroux
  • Righty Joel Hanrahan is down to throw one inning in a Triple-A game on Sunday.
  • Steve Pearce is expected to get some playing time at third base today. I have not seen Pearce play third in a game yet, so I’ll be interested to see how he looks there.
  • We’re down to 32 teams in the NCAA tournament after two days of games, and S. Gassert is currently leading the Bucs Bits Bloggers tourney. I’ll update the leaderboard after each round.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), L. Overbay (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), M. Diaz (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), D. Brown (C), K. Correia (RHP)

Pitchers: K. Correia, J. Hanrahan, J. Beimel, F. Nieve, J. Thomas

RED SOX: M. Scutaro (SS), D. Pedroia (2B), J. Saltalamacchia (C), K. Youkilis (3B), M. Cameron (DH), D. McDonald (CF), D. Nava (LF), J. Reddick (RF), N. Spears (1B)

Pitchers: J. Beckett, A. Aceves, D. Wheeler

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Phillies 3, Pirates 2

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Most of what you’re going to want to read today is going to be on the pirates.com tonight, so I’ll refrain from rewriting all of that here. On the main site, you can read about…

  • The Pirates claimed lefty Garrett Olson off waivers and added him to the list of lefties trying to make the bullpen. GM Neal Huntington said the addition was to increase competition. I happen to believe it’s also the the result of the Pirates being worried about their other left-handed relief options.
  • Brad Lincoln left Friday’s game with a right forearm contusion, sustained when he was nailed by a line drive. We’ll know more about the injury on Saturday, but Lincoln didn’t seem to believe the ailment was anything serious. He got lucky that the ball did not hit any bone.
  • Kevin Hart will not be pitching in Pittsburgh until at least June. He has been placed on the 60-day disabled list as the slow recovery from right shoulder surgery continues.
  • Ryan Doumit went 0-for-2, was hit by a pitch and caught five innings in Friday’s game. He reported feeling just fine, so that oblique strain seems to be an issue of the past.

And below are the leftovers, which you will not find on the main site…

***

The Pirates lost this one on a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. Not that the loss means anything, but the club has now dropped six of its last seven games. Results, manager Clint Hurdle said afterward, will start meaning a little more pretty soon.

“I think right now we need to know what our personnel is,” Hurdle said. “We need to make sure that we get the questions answered that we have for ourselves coming in. The last week … there probably will be a heightened awareness of finishing games off at that point in time.”

***

As mentioned in the early blog, today was a day for those fighting for a bench spot to step up. Josh Rodriguez had a nice 2-for-3 day and Steve Pearce would have had two hits if he hadn’t been robbed on a terrific running catch in the sixth. But otherwise, there was little to get excited about offensively.

With an 0-for-3 day, Garrett Atkins has just one hit in his last 21 at-bats. That certainly is not helping his case in a four-man competition for the corner utility job. Andy Marte, on the other hand, had another hit on Friday and is now 9-for-23 this spring.

“I think we’re evaluating internally and we’ll keep it internal,” Hurdle said, when asked if anyone has stood out. “We’ll let people know as we do that. Obviously at this point in time, we’re close to having another round-them-up meeting to decide what we’re going to do with our personnel. I like the way everybody has gone about their work. I like that we have been able to move those guys fighting for the bench positions around.”

In other words, with 44 players in camp, expect another round of cuts to be coming soon. We are t-minus 14 days away from Opening Day.

***

I probably haven’t been giving Michael Crotta enough due this spring, but he has pitched quite well. Now, it should be mentioned that he has mostly faced reserves and Minor Leaguers since he’s been pitching late in games. But Crotta has gotten the ball down and made an impression.

With another scoreless inning on Friday, he has now not allowed a run in eight Grapefruit League innings. I don’t expect him to be in the Pirates’ bullpen right out of camp, but he could be a fit at some point during the season.

“He’s throwing strikes,” Hurdle said. “He continues to hold his own this spring. He’s done well.”

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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