Results tagged ‘ Brandon Wood ’

Game 38: Dodgers (18-20) @ Pirates (18-19)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Manager Clint Hurdle made a point when he benched Ronny Cedeno for one game last month after Cedeno didn’t run out a ball. Hurdle made a POINT on Thursday when he left Andrew McCutchen out of the lineup for the same reason. Sitting a guy who has been in the doghouse before and isn’t one of the integral pieces in the lineup can be pretty easy to do. But to make an effective point, Hurdle needed to be consistent — and he’s being just that by letting the team know that he’ll call out anyone for a lack of effort.

“We are focused on winning, but we are focused on building something greater and better as we go forward,” Hurdle said. “I think there are certain things that are non-negotiable along those lines.”

McCutchen did not run to first in the eighth inning after striking out. He will, Hurdle said, be available off the bench on Thursday.

Other news and notes:

  • Second baseman Neil Walker is back in the lineup… for now. Walker was going to go through batting practice and see how he felt closer to game time. Those flu-like symptoms that kept him out on Wednesday (Walker was sent home before the game began) aren’t completely gone — but he is improving.
  • If Walker can’t play — or whenever he gets future days off — it sounds like Cedeno would be the first choice to play second. Cedeno and Brandon Wood have been getting work there for the past week, but the Pirates felt more comfortable using Cedeno at the position and he did nothing last night that has changed anyone’s mind.
  • Steve Pearce has actually been getting work at second over the past two days as well. This is a case of, well, just in case. Pearce isn’t going to be making starts at second, and he remains behind Walker, Cedeno and Wood on the depth chart at the position. But if the Pirates get into a bind, they like having Pearce as an emergency option.
  • Right-hander Kevin Hart threw 25 pitches in a simulated live batting practice session. It was an encouraging sign for a guy who hadn’t thrown to hitters since having shoulder surgery in May 2010.
  • For those not in the local market, tonight’s Dodgers-Pirates game is the MLB.TV free game of the day. Log on to MLB.com and watch the game online.

Lineups:

PIRATES: X. Paul (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Morton (RHP)

DODGERS: T. Gwynn Jr (LF), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), D. Navarro (C), J. Carroll (SS), J. Garland (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 31: Pirates (14-16) @ Padres (12-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I wasn’t covering the game last night, but I found one post-game comment from manager Clint Hurdle particularly interesting and figured we could revisit it briefly. Asked about Brandon Wood’s attempt to move to third with one out on a ball in the dirt, Hurdle had this to say (by the way, Wood was thrown out): “You’re already in scoring position. If you’re safe, we’re happy, but he pushed the envelope a little bit and the catcher made a nice play. It put a damper on an inning with a chance to tie it.”

Maybe it’s not the smartest decision that could have been made, but I certainly saw more of a benefit of trying to be aggressive in this instance than the one lauded by Hurdle on Easter Sunday — you remember, Andrew McCutchen trying to score on a sacrifice fly with the team down by three. If Wood had been able to make it to third, there would have been a number of ways for him to score the tying run.

As it turns out, neither baserunning decision looked all that sensible because of the outcome. Hurdle will continue to preach aggressive baserunning. Moving forward, though, it will be interesting to see which instances he praises and which he criticizes.

A few news and notes…

  • Outfielder John Bowker has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Know that this is not what Bowker wanted. He made it plenty clear the night he was told he was being sent out that he was hoping to be picked up by another club. Turns out he’s now additional outfield depth for the Pirates, who already have Alex Presley, Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew Lambo in Triple-A.
  • Pedro Alvarez is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup. He exited Tuesday’s game with tightness in his right quad and said there was enough tightness still on Wednesday not to want to test it with any exercises.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata was out running sprints and routes in the outfield this afternoon — certainly a good sign for as he tries to make his way back from hamstring tightness. Tabata will be available “in a limited role” for Wednesday’s game, Hurdle said.
  • For anyone who might have watched Tuesday’s game and is curious, the bunt down the third base line that neither Joe Beimel or Wood went for late in the game was supposed to be Wood’s ball. The infielders had been told on a mound meeting just before the bunt that the play was to go to first. And the coverage was yelled from the dugout right after. “For whatever reason, when the ball was hit, he took a step back and went to the base,” Hurdle said. “He missed his coverage. There was no way to make any excuses for him.”
  • Righty Ross Ohlendorf will throw another session of live batting practice on Friday, and, assuming all goes well, then move onto a Minor League rehab start. The club hasn’t announced how many rehab outings are in order for Ohlendorf, but given his time missed, I’d expect it to be at least two.
  • Today is a homecoming of sorts for Kevin Correia — though he is entirely downplaying his first start back at PETCO Park since leaving the Padres. You can read his thoughts here.
  • This afternoon’s Pirates-Padres game (6:35 pm ET start) is the MLB.TV free game of the day. So if you’re not in the Pittsburgh market and rarely get to see the Pirates live, today is your chance.
  • If you’re interested here is the feature column I wrote on San Francisco hitting coach Bam Bam Meulens for MLB.com. Many of you might remember that Meulens served as a hitting instructor in the Pirates’ Minor League system for a few years. And if that’s not reason enough for you to want to read, maybe this will be: Bam Bam is going to be an astronaut.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), R. Doumit (C), B. Wood (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

PADRES: J. Bartlett (SS), W. Venable (RF), R. Ludwick (LF), C. Headley (3B), C. Maybin (CF), B. Hawpe (1B), N. Hundley (C), E. Patterson (2B), C. Richard (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 30: Pirates (14-15) @ Padres (11-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

A quick note on coverage for tonight’s game. I am at PETCO Park, but I will not be taking care of game coverage (pre or post). Don’t worry — you’ll have plenty to read. It just won’t be with my byline.

As you may or may not have noticed, I have also been doubling as a part-time columnist for MLB.com, writing columns on various teams, players and topics since late in the 2010 season. While I very much enjoy getting to cover unique stories from other clubhouses, I have to make time for the reporting and writing involved. As a result, from time to time I will take a day to devote to column and feature writing.

Tonight, actually, I’ll be finishing up a column for tomorrow (you should remember the subject, as he has ties to the Pirates) and writing a Pirates feature for Thursday. I was also able to spend some time in the Padres clubhouse this afternoon to collect material for an upcoming Pirates story. That’s your tease…

I can still give you a few new and notes for the day even though I did not sit in on manager Clint Hurdle’s media session:

  • Ross Ohlendorf threw live batting practice on Tuesday to a handful of hitters. He seemed to have no issue during the session, though check back at pirates.com later tonight for full details on his own assessment.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata is not in the lineup again tonight. Hurdle had said that Tabata would be re-evaluated today, so there should be some news on that later.
  • Brandon Wood was out taking grounders at second base this afternoon. The Pirates said they wanted the infielder to get some work at the position so that the club can evaluate whether Wood could be a future option there.
  • Let me direct your attention to a new MLB.com prospect feature. It’ll be very handy for those of you who like to keep up with the organization’s best Minor Leaguers. The link is here, and you can sort based on MLB.com’s top 50 overall prospects, top 10 prospects by position,  or top 10 lists by team.
  • Owner Bob Nutting will be in attendance tonight with some family members.
  • Lefty Rudy Owens was ejected from his start for Triple-A Indianapolis this afternoon. He allowed a three-run homer and hit the next batter, Chris Carter. Carter had already homered earlier in the game. Owens was ejected by the home plate umpire, ending his day after 2 1/3 innings.

Lineups:

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

PADRES: J. Bartlett (SS), O. Hudson (2B), R. Ludwick (LF), J. Cantu (3B), C. Maybin (CF), B. Hawpe (1B), R. Johnson (C), W. Venable (RF), M. Latos (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 23: Giants (10-11) @ Pirates (10-12)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The defending World Series champs are in town, which means former Pirates Freddy Sanchez and Javier Lopez are visiting for the next three days. Oh, and it’s been raining. Weather could be a factor each of the next two days.

News and notes…

  • In case you missed it, the Pirates claimed Xavier Paul off waivers today from the Dodgers. He’s an outfielder, so you’d have to think that either John Bowker or Steve Pearce are going to be on their way out soon. More on that here.
  • Paul is likely to arrive in Pittsburgh either Wednesday or Thursday. He has 72 hours to report, so technically he could also meet the team in Colorado on Friday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf will throw his first bullpen session on Wednesday. He threw from a distance of 120 feet today. Ohlendorf will throw 2-3 bullpens and then a live batting practice session. Once he gets through all those steps, he’ll begin a Minor League rehab assignment that will likely last one or two starts.
  • In case you missed it last night, it was confirmed that Jameson Taillon (No. 2 overall pick in 2010) will make his professional debut on Wednesday. He is joining the low-A West Virginia rotation. And as the schedule would have it, Taillon will be facing Bryce Harper’s Hagerstown team. So it’ll be No. 1 vs. No. 2.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle mentioned yesterday that he wanted to find a day off for Jose Tabata and Neil Walker pretty soon. For Tabata, that day ended up being Tuesday. Matt Diaz moves to left and Garrett Jones sticks in right. Walker’s day off will have to wait, though Brandon Wood is spelling Ronny Cedeno a day.
  • With his save on Monday, Joel Hanrahan is 6-for-6 in save opportunities this month. The last Pittsburgh closer with more than six April saves was Salomon Torres. He had eight in April 2007.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio (who was struck in the head by a line drive last Friday) returned to the mound for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. It was not a stellar outing (1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB), but certainly a good sign that he was OK after a scary incident.
  • All-Star ballots have been released and you can find more information on how to vote online here. This year’s game will be played in Phoenix.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), M. Diaz (LF), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (RF), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), B. Wood (SS), C. Morton (RHP)

GIANTS: A. Rowand (CF), F. Sanchez (2B), A. Huff (1B), B. Posey (C), P. Sandoval (3B), P. Burrell (LF), C. Ross (RF), M. Tejada (SS), M. Cain (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 22: Nationals (10-10) @ Pirates (9-12)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

So let us revisit Sunday for a few minutes before we look ahead to tonight’s makeup game since manager Clint Hurdle took some time to do so this afternoon.

I just can’t shake Hurdle’s response on Sunday afternoon when he was asked if it was smart to have Andrew McCutchen try to score on a sacrifice fly with two out in the ninth. For those of you who were off enjoying your Easter and not in front of the television… the context was this: McCutchen was on third with one out and the Pirates trailing, 6-3. Jose Tabata lifted a fly ball to middle right field. Jayson Werth camped under it for out No. 2. McCutchen tagged, took off for home and was tagged out on Werth’s terrific throw. Game over. With Lyle Overbay on-deck and Neil Walker waiting behind him.

The key to this situation is the club was down by three runs. With two outs. In the ninth.

I thought it was plenty appropriate to ask why McCutchen would run in that situation, so the first question I directed at Hurdle was — “Given that you were down by three runs, would you have preferred that McCutchen stay on third in that situation?”

Hurdle’s response: “No.”

Really?

Hurdle then began his defense: “The only reason we’re asked that question is because he’s out. I bet everybody in the ballpark, including you, thought we were going to send him.”

Actually, I didn’t think McCutchen would be sent. But I thought it might be rude to mention that in a press conference.

More from Hurdle: “You never want to make the last out at home, but sometimes those things are going to happen. It’s not a perfect world. It’s not a perfect game. Our mentality is to play aggressive. That’s going to win us more games. We get one there, who knows where it takes us. We’re going to send that guy.”

I’m still entirely unconvinced. McCutchen’s run in that situation means so little. He should not take off for home unless he is 100 percent — no, 150 percent — positive he is going to be safe. I agree that 9 times out of 10 that fly ball scores McCutchen. I’d advocate for him to run in that situation in innings one through eight. I’d advocate for him to run in the ninth if the team is down by one.  But not when the club was going to need at least two more hitters to come to the plate for the chance to tie the game.

Hurdle’s final comment on the play: “Look what kind of throw it took. There are probably two guys in the league that can make that throw. He’s one of them.”

Hurdle is absolutely correct. But since it’s obviously no secret that Werth has a heck of an arm, isn’t that even more reason not to try and run on him?

I never got the impression Hurdle was giving these answers in an effort not to call out third base coach Nick Leyva or McCutchen for the decision to run. He firmly agrees with it. And he backed that up with what he said on Monday.

“It’s about doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. And I do believe all of those were in place. We got the wrong outcome. … I expected him to go. I would have been more shocked if he wouldn’t have gone. I don’t ever want to wonder if he would have been safe.

“We’re not a conventional team. Things happen within this game that are instinctive and impulsive. Yes, in hindsight, when it’s 30 seconds later, that shouldn’t have happened. But in the heat of the moment with adrenaline fueling and excitement and an aggressive mentality…

“I think now we have a better yard mark on when we go and when we don’t go as far as distance into right field. Was it a gamble? Absolutely. Did it not work out? Absolutely. Am I happy with the aggressive mentality? Absolutely.”

For the record, Leyva told me on Monday that he told McCutchen to run: “It’s very easy to say that wasn’t the right situation, but I thought he could make it. It’s a judgement call. They don’t give you a do-over. He’s probably the fastest guy on the team. I thought the ball carried far enough. I know Werth’s got as good as arm as anybody. I know [Rick] Ankiel has as good an arm as anybody. If I didn’t think he could make it, I wouldn’t have sent him.”

And with that, we turn the page to Monday’s news and notes…

  • Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez are out of the lineup, with Steve Pearce and Brandon Wood taking their places. Hurdle said he wanted to get Overbay a day off simply because the first baseman has started every game of the season so far. Hurdle also wanted Wood to get some playing time and figured sitting Alvarez against a lefty could be a good idea.
  • Sitting Overbay and Alvarez also loads the lineup with right-handed hitters. Nationals pitcher John Lannan is allowing righties to hit .360 against him this season. Left-handed hitters are batting .167. Lannan’s career splits aren’t so drastic, however (.273 batting average for right-handed hitters; .272 mark for left-handed ones).
  • A number of Pirates players have had success against Lannan, led by Matt Diaz (11-for-22)
  • Evan Meek is still sick. It’s a viral thing, he says, but the guy has been under the weather for weeks now. Not that it’s going to stop him from pitching.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), B. Wood (3B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), P. Maholm (LHP)

NATIONALS: D. Espinosa (2B), I. Desmond (SS), J. Werth (RF), A. LaRoche (1B), M. Morse (LF), W. Ramos (C), J. Hairston (CF), B. Bixler (3B), J. Lannan (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

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