Results tagged ‘ Brendan Donnelly ’

Throwing out runners 101

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

You can read all about John Russell’s thoughts on the team’s issues throwing out base runners in this story I wrote earlier, but I wanted to expand on a few additional items here

A few points of emphasis before we get into some stats:

  • The fact that the Pirates have thrown out just 12.8 percent of runners trying to steal (this doesn’t count stolen bases with no throws, double steals or caught stealing by pitchers) is a problem that lies with both the pitchers and catchers. Ryan Doumit has had his share of issues, but for the large part, the pitchers aren’t helping him out.
  • When it comes to Doumit, Russell pointed out two things he needs to improve upon. His footwork needs to be quicker/shorter and his throwing motion needs to be shortened.
  • On the pitching end, Russell said he likes what he’s seen from Jeff Karstens and Brad Lincoln both in terms of how they vary their deliveries and how long they hold the ball. He noted that Zach Duke and Paul Maholm struggle in that area, and that when they lift their leg on the delivery it gives runners even more time to take off.
  • The other thing worth noting again is that the Pirates have a program in place from the lowest Minor League level on up to teach pitchers how to better hold runners on. So the expectation is that these pitchers should be better prepared with differing deliveries and timing by the time they get here.

Anyways, this issue has become such a widespread problem this year that it has garnered a ton of scrutiny. But I was interested to see how all these pitchers had done in these same areas in recent years. Have the individual numbers really gotten that much worse? Here are the specifics, which will allow you to see which pitchers are getting taken advantage of the most and which have taken steps back:

Ross Ohlendorf

  • 2010: 13 SB, 1 CS (93% success rate for runner)
  • 2009: 12 SB, 8 CS (60%)

Zach Duke

  • 2010: 6 SB, 1 CS (86%)
  • 2009: 7 SB, 8 CS (47%)
  • 2008: 6 SB, 6 CS (50%)
  • 2007: 5 SB, 5 CS (50%)
  • 2006: 13 SB, 12 CS (52%)

Paul Maholm

  • 2010: 4 SB, 1 CS (80%)
  • 2009: 15 SB, 6 CS (71%)
  • 2008: 5 SB, 7 CS (42%)
  • 2007: 11 SB, 6 CS (65%)
  • 2006: 13 SB, 11 CS (54%)

Jeff Karstens

  • 2010: 3 SB, 3 CS (50%)
  • 2009: 9 SB, 2 CS (82%)

Brad Lincoln

  • 2010: 2 SB, 1 CS (66%)

Octavio Dotel

  • 2010: 4 SB, 1 CS (80%)
  • 2009: 14 SB, 5 CS (74%)
  • 2008: 16 SB, 1 CS (94%)
  • 2007: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2006: 1 SB, 0 CS (100%)

Evan Meek

  • 2010: 9 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2009: 4 SB, 2 CS (66%)

Joel Hanrahan

  • 2010: 5 SB, 1 CS (83%)
  • 2009: 6 SB, 3 CS (66%)
  • 2008: 11 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2007: 4 SB, 2 CS (66%)

Sean Gallagher

  • 2010: 1 SB, 1 CS (50%)
  • 2009: 2 SB, 1 CS (66%)
  • 2008: 5 SB, 4 CS (56%)
  • 2007: 4 SB, 4 CS (50%)

Brendan Donnelly

  • 2010: 6 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2009: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2008: 1 SB, 1 CS (50%)
  • 2007: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2006: 1 SB, 0 CS (100%)

D.J. Carrasco

  • 2010: 7 SB, 3 CS (70%)
  • 2009: 1 SB, 3 CS (25%)
  • 2008: 3 SB, 2 CS (60%)

Javier Lopez

  • 2010: 1 SB, 1 CS (50%)
  • 2009: 1 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2008: 1 SB, 3 CS (25%)
  • 2007: 0 SB, 1 CS (0%)
  • 2006: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)

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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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May 18: Pirates (16-22) @ Phillies (24-13)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

It’s cold and it’s overcast, but maybe we can get this game in tonight without any significant delays. The players certainly don’t want to get home at 3-4 am. And those of us who have to wait until tomorrow morning to fly out would appreciate some sleep. So hopefully the rain cooperates.

You’d have to think, too, that if this game starts, the Phillies are not going to want there to be any sort of delay since Roy Halladay is on the mound. Worst-case scenario for them is to send Halladay out and then have a lengthy delay shortly after that takes him out of the start.

This isn’t the first time Zach Duke and Halladay have matched up. The last was a dandy one, too. You can revisit it here.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Forgot to note this yesterday, but with all the questions I get about when Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata will be up, I felt it appropriate to write a story on the subject. If you missed it on Monday, here’s that piece. While I know Alvarez is the biggest name in the bunch, my guess is that he won’t be the first up. My guess is that it will be Lincoln. The right-hander is meeting the organization’s development goals consistently these days, and Brian Burres’ hold on the fifth spot in the rotation isn’t exactly firm. If Burres slips up on Wednesday or in the start after that, I can see the Pirates making the move.
  • As mentioned on Monday, the Pirates are still looking for their first winning road trip under manager John Russell. No easy task with Halladay on the mound, but Pittsburgh can clinch that with a win tonight.
  • Reliever Brendan Donnelly threw a pain-free side session indoors on Tuesday. His simulated game couldn’t happen because of the crummy weather. All went well, Donnelly said, and the Pirates plan to activate him off the DL on Thursday or Friday.
  • Who is the most likely to go when Donnelly returns? My guess is it would be either Jeff Karstens or Burres. If the Pirates want to make a change in the rotation, Burres could be sent out and the club would have a few extra days before making a decision about the rotation. That might be why the Pirates aren’t planning on activating Donnelly until after Burres’ start on Wednesday. Just thinking outloud here…
  • Delwyn Young is back in the leadoff spot on Tuesday for the second straight night. And why not? He had as much success last night as anyone. And again, the Pirates really don’t have a prototypical leadoff-type hitter with Aki Iwamura out.
  • Take away his absence with a bruised wrist, and Ryan Church has now started 10 straight games. I asked Russell if Church is going to be a regular in the lineup moving forward. Russell said it won’t necessarily be every day, but he does like having Church flexible to play in left and right so Russell can play the best matchups with everyone else.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche has just three hits in his last 34 at-bats. This comes after a 20-for-53 stretch he had right before.
  • The Pirates announced the signings of six Latin American players on Tuesday. Those players include LHP Angel Sanchez, OF Willy Garcia, RHP Oderman Rocha, RHP Brayan Almonte, RHP Jose Luis Acosta and 1B Jose Roman.
  • The Pirates announced that OF Starling Marte had successful surgery on Tuesday to remove the hamate bone in his left hand. No tendon damage was found, so Marte should be ready to return in 8-10 weeks.

Pirates lineup:

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

Phillies lineup:

  1. Shane Victorino (CF)
  2. Placido Polanco (3B)
  3. Jimmy Rollins (SS)
  4. Ryan Howard (1B)
  5. Jayson Werth (RF)
  6. Ben Francisco (LF)
  7. Carlos Ruiz (C)
  8. Juan Castro (2B)
  9. Roy Halladay (RHP)

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May 17: Pirates (16-21) @ Phillies (23-13)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have arrived in Philadelphia just in time for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins to be activated off the disabled list. That’s not exactly going to make things easier for Charlie Morton tonight or Zach Duke on Tuesday.

Well, it’s not like anything has come easy to the Pirates here at Citizens Bank Park in recent years. Pittsburgh has lost it’s last five games at CBP and 10 of the last 11. Overall, the Pirates a 4-14 here, dating back to the ballpark’s 2004 opening.

Oh, and the Phillies have Roy Halladay — who has already thrown three complete games this season – going on Tuesday.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Aki Iwamura (tight right hamstring) is improving, but he still feels some pull walking and doing side-to-side movement. Iwamura did participate in some extra hitting on Monday and could be used to pinch hit, if necessary. Given that he can’t run and that he has struggled offensively for a while now, I can’t imagine Iwamura making a pinch-hit appearance unless it’s one of those extra-inning, no-one-left-on-the-bench situations.
  • Right-hander Brendan Donnelly will throw a simulated game on Tuesday, assuming the rain holds off. If all goes well there, Donnelly (left oblique strain) will be reevaluated on Wednesday and is likely to come off the DL during the next homestand. He is not going to be sent down to make a Minor League rehab start.
  • With Iwamura out, the Pirates are using Delwyn Young at the leadoff spot on Monday. It is his second time hitting leadoff this year. The Pirates have used five different leadoff hitters this season.
  • This will be the Pirates’ first game against a team from the NL East in 2010. On the other side, the Phillies are 9-1 against the NL Central (3-0 vs. Houston, 3-1 vs. St. Louis, 3-0 vs. Milwaukee).
  • Right-hander Daniel McCutchen has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list due to arm fatigue. He is expected to miss just one or two starts. McCutchen went 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in four starts (three appearances) with Pittsburgh before being demoted.
  • As noted yesterday, the Pirates have promoted righty Bryan Morris (3-0, 0.60 ERA) from high-A to Double-A. Pittsburgh has now also promoted starter Hunter Strickland (acquired in Adam LaRoche trade) from low-A to high-A, presumably to take Morris’ rotation spot.
  • In other Minor League news, Altoona starter Jared Hughes was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week. He leads all Minor League pitchers with seven wins this season.
  • I realized the Pirates’ road record these last few years has been pretty forgettable… But can you believe that the club has not had a winning road trip since 2007? Yes, in manager John Russell’s tenure as manager, the Pirates have never finished above .500 on a road trip. They can do so with a win either on Monday or Tuesday.
  • Charlie Morton enters this start having worked at least six innings in each of last two. After allowing 27 earned runs in his first 19 1/3 innings this year, Morton has given up just five in his last 12 frames (two starts).
  • The Pirates have expanded their “You score as the Bucs score” promotion due to high demand. The limited number of $7 tickets for the May 21-23 series against the Braves sold out so quickly that the Pirates have made additional tickets available for the $7 promotional price. Until they sell out, those tickets can be purchased here.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Delwyn Young (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Phillies lineup:

  1. Shane Victorino (CF)
  2. Placido Polanco (2B)
  3. Jimmy Rollins (SS)
  4. Ryan Howard (1B)
  5. Jayson Werth (RF)
  6. Raul Ibanez (LF)
  7. Greg Dobbs (3B)
  8. Carlos Ruiz (C)
  9. Kyle Kendrick (RHP)

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May 14: Pirates (14-20) @ Cubs (15-20)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Friday’s game begins a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, which will take the team into June. Depending on how things go — particularly if it’s to one extreme or the other — this three-week period could also set the season on its final course.

The Pirates enter this series on the heels of four straight losses, the last three to a Cincinnati team that gave up just one earned run. The Pirates haven’t scored since Monday, and they’ve had just 10 hits since Sunday’s game ended.

The numbers are not pretty. And since I feel like I’ve rehashed them enough already, I’ll stop there. Maybe the only bit of good news is that the wind is currently blowing out of Wrigley Field.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • You’ll notice that shortstop Ronny Cedeno is back in the lineup after nursing a sore wrist these last few days.
  • Ryan Church’s wrist is improving, too, enough to where Russell said the outfielder could likely have started today if needed. Plan on seeing Church start Saturday’s game.
  • Right-hander Brendan Donnelly threw 25 pitches off the Wrigley Field mound on Friday as he works his way back from an oblique strain. Donnelly is scheduled to throw another side session on Sunday and then pitch a simulated game in Philadelphia early next week. That has him on target to come off the DL when the Pirates return home next week, as expected.
  • You heard it here first: Pirates broadcaster John Wehner has predicted home runs from Lastings Milledge and Andy LaRoche today. The fact that the two have a combined three all season makes me a bit skeptical, but I wanted to make sure to document the prediction so Wehner can get credit if he’s right.
  • Here’s another one of those not-so-pretty notes from Elias: Three times this season a team has been outhit by 14 hits. Two times the Pirates have been involved. They were outhit, 25-8, by the Brewers on April 22. The Reds then outhit the Pirates, 15-1, on Tuesday.
  • Second baseman Aki Iwamura remains atop the Pirates’ lineup despite his .169 average and .267 on-base percentage. Even worse, Iwamura has gone 2-for-35 since the beginning of May. Still, the struggling infielder is going to stay in the lineup for now — which you can read more about on pirates.com in a bit. I know that many of you (since I have heard from you) disagree, but you can find manager John Russell’s explanation for sticking with Iwamura in today’s story.
  • Left-hander Brian Burres enters Friday having pitched 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Only Evan Meek, who didn’t allow a run during a 15-inning stretch from April 15 to May 7, has gone longer for the Pirates this season.
  • A Pirates alumni update: Former closer Matt Capps has as many saves for Washington as the Pirates have wins (14).
  • Another former Pittsburgh pitcher, Tom Gorzelanny, makes the start against the Pirates on Friday. He has allowed one earned run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh since being traded to Chicago.

Pirates lineup:

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

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (2B)
  2. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Xavier Nady (RF)
  5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Tom Gorzelanny (LHP)

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May 9: Cardinals (19-12) @ Pirates (14-16)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Some of my best baseball memories came from my mom.

Of course, there is the story she tells so proudly about how she dove over three people to grab a foul ball and then yelled at the people piled on top of her to get off because she wasn’t letting go. I can’t completely vouch for the veracity of the story since I was walking around Comiskey Park with my sister trying to find blue cotton candy while this happened. But I will say, mom did have the ball when we returned.

For whatever reason, Mom tolerated my infatuation for baseball when I was a kid. And yes, sometimes I could be extreme. She provided me with all the notebooks I ever needed to keep score. She began a library of videotapes of games I asked her to record — She still has every game from the ’95, ’96 and ’99 World Series’ on VHS. She has Mark McGwire’s 62nd and Cal Ripken’s 2,131st in the archive, too.

Mom agreed to the family vacations to old Busch Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Wrigley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Cooperstown. She even encouraged me to convince my fourth grade teacher that for our “pirates” unit in school, I should do my project not on Blackbeard or Captain Kid, but on the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It worked. I still have the project as proof.

Most importantly, though, Mom encouraged me to pursue my dream of covering baseball. Maybe it’s because she’s my Mom, but she always believed in me. And for that I am truly thankful.

Mom, thanks for everything you’ve done to mold me into the person I am. Happy Mother’s Day. And I hope your Chicago White Sox can give you a win today.

NYC_January_2010_006.jpg

Also wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all other moms out there.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Right-hander Jeff Karstens will move to the bullpen for the time being, meaning that Brian Burres will remain in the rotation. Burres will make his next start on Friday in Chicago. Karstens can give the Pirates length in the ‘pen, though Russell emphasized that Karstens’ versatility will allow for him to be used in a variety of roles.
  • With Karstens moving to the bullpen, you can expect Brian Bass to be sent down tomorrow to make room for Ross Ohlendorf to come off the DL.
  • The Pirates will eventually have to make another pitching decision when Brendan Donnelly comes off the DL, though the Pirates don’t expect that to be until the next homestand. Donnelly played catch on Sunday and is progressing. He still needs to throw a few side sessions and maybe in a simulated game, though, before the Pirates activate him. That means he will not be ready when he’s eligible to come off on Thursday.
  • Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas has had a little bit of a setback on Friday when he began experiencing some more dizziness after doing some exercises. He is going to see a doctor again and will continue to take things very slowly.
  • After going 24-52 against teams from the NL Central last year, the Pirates have gotten off to a 9-8 start against division foes this season. A win on Sunday would give the club a fourth series win over a team in the Central.
  • The Pirates have gone 3-1 in their first four series at home this year, which is the team’s best start at home since going 3-0-2 in the first five series of the ’94 season.
  • Matt Holliday remains out of the Cardinals’ lineup still with a slight groin strain.
  • In support of the MLB and Susan G. Komwn for the Cure program that raises breast cancer awareness, you’re going to see all sorts of pink around the ballpark today. All players will be wearing pink phiten titanium necklaces, pink wristbands and pink ribbons on their uniforms. Lastings Milledge, Steve Pearce and Paul Maholm will wear pink batting gloves. Nine players — Bobby Crosby, Jason Jaramillo, Ryan Church, Andy LaRoche, Delwyn Young, Aki Iwamura, Garrett Jones, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno – will swing pink bats.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Joe Mather (CF)
  2. Ryan Ludwick (LF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. David Freese (3B)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. Nick Stavinoha (RF)
  7. Brendan Ryan (SS)
  8. Adam Wainwright (RHP)
  9. Tyler Greene (2B)

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May 4: Cubs (13-13) @ Pirates (10-15)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I had brief flashbacks to Spring Training this afternoon as the entire Pirates team took the field for extra work at 3:20 pm. It didn’t help us (the media) since we typically have a small window (beginning at 3:30) to talk to players pregame… but manager John Russell felt that after a 3-7 road trip, some extra work is needed.

The work ran the gamut — pickoffs, fielding drills, cutoffs, etc — much like it does in the spring. It’s not all that often that there is this type of full-team workout on the field during the season, but the Pirates have done it from time to time to time before, especially when they’re at home.

The most notable observation of the session was that Andrew McCutchen (mild right ankle sprain) stood on the side watching. He was out on the warning track talking with the team’s trainers for a while before moving toward the dugout and playing spectator. McCutchen is out of the lineup tonight, saying that the ankle was still feeling a bit tender when he tested it out. 

McCutchen is optimistic that he’ll be back in the lineup on Wednesday. 

Here’s the rest of your news and notes…

  • Reliever Brendan Donnelly has been placed on the DL with a left oblique strain. Donnelly has not pitched since April 27, which is when he suffered the injury. He expects to be off as soon as he’s eligible (May 13).
  • With Donnelly on the DL, the Pirates have recalled 1B/OF Steve Pearce from Triple-A. Pearce has been raking down there this season, hitting .349 with 16 extra-base hits before the call-up. The question is whether that production can finally translate at the Major League level. To this point, it hasn’t. In 342 big-league at-bats, Pearce has a .237 average, eight homers and 37 RBIs with the Pirates.
  • Pearce isn’t starting against RHP Ryan Dempster tonight, but Russell said to expect Pearce to play first against a left-handed starter tomorrow night. If Jeff Clement continues to struggle and Pearce produces, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a platoon situation evolve. That will be something to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.
  • GM Neal Huntington has not yet gotten word about Kevin Hart’s surgery, which was performed by Dr. James Andrews this morning. Assuming all goes well, Hart is looking at about a nine-month recovery period.
  • The Pirates have lost outfielder John Raynor. Raynor was claimed back by the Marlins, who had to pay the Pirates $25,000 for the purchase. Huntington confirmed that a trade attempt was made, but the Marlins’ asking price was too high.
  • LHP Brian Burres has been named Thursday’s starter.
  • Ross Ohlendorf will make his second Minor League rehab start tomorrow with Altoona. If all goes well, he will start for the Pirates on May 10.
  • Congratulations to Octavio Dotel and his wife Massiel, who welcomed their first child, Eduardo, on Monday. Dotel was beaming today when asked about the new addition.
  • Chris Jakubauskas (head contusion and concussion) remains in good spirits as he continues to slowly work his way back. He was able to begin light exercises on Monday and reported no recent headaches or dizziness.
  • You’ll notice again that Russell has the pitcher batting ninth again, which makes sense given McCutchen’s absence. Remember that the reasoning behind having the pitcher bat eighth was to get three hitters in front of McCutchen.
  • So here’s a good one: Paul Maholm got his ERA to drop from 4.83 to 4.26 before ever throwing a pitch on Tuesday night. How, you might ask? Well, Houston’s official scorer went back and changed a hit to an error in Maholm’s start there on the April 23, and that took away two earned runs from Maholm’s line.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Ryan Doumit (C)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (CF)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

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

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Pearce headed to Pittsburgh

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

First baseman Steve Pearce has been told that he will be joining the Pirates on Tuesday as the club gets ready to open a nine-game homestand. In 23 games with Triple-A Indianapolis this season, Pearce hit .349 with 12 doubles, two triples and two homers. He has driven in eight.

The Pirates had planned to return to a five-player bench this week, and Pearce will be that extra bat. If Jeff Clement continues to struggle, Pearce could also be in line to get more than just pinch hit at-bats.

The official roster move will come on Tuesday. It could be that Brendan Donnelly (left side pain) will go on the DL. If that’s not needed, reliever Brian Bass or starter Brian Burres would likely be sent down.

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Donnelly day-to-day with side injury

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Reliever Brendan Donnelly has been sidelined since Tuesday with what the veteran reliever described as discomfort in his left side. The injury was not publically revealed by the Pirates until Sunday.

Donnelly characterized the ailment as “minor” and his status as day-to-day. The injury occurred on the final pitch that Donnelly threw in a relief appearance against the Brewers on Tuesday. After getting Milwaukee pinch hitter Jody Gerut to fly out, Donnelly grabbed his left side as he walked off the Miller Park mound.

Donnelly was asked earlier afterward if he had hurt himself on that pitch, and at the time, he said that he was fine. The right-hander was not available at all during the four-game series the Pirates just wrapped up in Los Angeles.

Donnelly appeared optimistic that he would not need to go on the disabled list, saying that would likely happen “only if there’s a need” to get another reliever onto the big-league roster. The Pirates have an eight-man bullpen as it is right now, so they may have sufficient arms to cover in Donnelly’s absence.

In 11 relief appearances this season, Donnelly has allowed seven earned runs on eight hits and 10 walks in nine innings.

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May 2: Pirates (10-14) @ Dodgers (10-14)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Garrett Jones spoke about his food-stuck-in-the-esophagus ordeal this morning, and you can read more about that on pirates.com in a bit. In short, it was a piece of beef that got stuck where the esophagus meets the stomach. Doctors had to administer anesthesia to Jones at the hospital yesterday, and while Jones was under, the doctors went down his throat with tubes to dislodge the piece of meat. The procedure lasted about 30-45 minutes.

Jones is back in the lineup today, though he is still battling a sore throat. He said he slept pretty well last night, unlike on Friday.

Now that I’m done playing doctor, here’s the rest of your news…

  • With Jones’ throat now cleared, the larger concern is his production at the plate. Jones’ batting average has dropped to .207 since going 9-for-51 in his last 15 games.
  • Octavio Dotel has left the team to fly to Pittsburgh and be with his wife, who is about to give birth with their first child.
  • Manager John Russell said that closing duties would likely fall to either Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek today if need be. He said it won’t be Brendan Donnelly, who hasn’t pitched since Tuesday. 
  • Speaking of Donnelly, he was somewhat under the weather this morning. Apparently he wasn’t the only one in the clubhouse not feeling great either as he said something was going around.
  • For the first time this season, the Pirates are hitting their pitcher in the ninth spot. You’ll remember that Russell had the pitcher hitting eighth early this season in order to get two hitters in front of No. 2 hitter Andrew McCutchen. Well, with McCutchen now hitting third, that’s accomplished even with a more traditional batting order.
  • Today wraps up the team’s only 10-game road trip of the season. The only other three-city trip the club will make the season comes in late June when they jump from Texas to Oakland to Chicago.
  • This is also the final game that the Dodgers and Pirates will play in 2010. The season series is 3-3 so far, and with a win on Sunday, Pittsburgh would have its first winning season against LA since 2000.
  • Ryan Church is back in the lineup, with struggling first baseman Jeff Clement getting the day off. The move makes obvious sense, too. Church is 27-for-69 lifetime at Dodger Stadium in 20 games. Clement, on the other hand, is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. He has struck out eight times in that span.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  2. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (1B)
  5. Ryan Church (RF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Bobby Crosby (SS)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Xavier Paul (LF)
  2. Russell Martin (C)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Matt Kemp (CF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Ronnie Belliard (3B)
  7. Blake DeWitt (2B)
  8. Jamey Carroll (SS)
  9. Hiroki Kuroda (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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