Results tagged ‘ Brian Bixler ’

Alderson demoted; Bixler re-acquired

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Before witnessing balls launched out of Angel Stadium, here are some Pirates Minor League news and notes for the day:

  • Right-hander Tim Alderson, the only player acquired from San Francisco in the Freddy Sanchez trade, has been demoted to high-A. Alderson, 21, had been in Double-A since early in the 2009 season. Before allowing five earned runs on seven hits in three innings of a suspended game on Monday, Alderson was 7-5 with a 5.30 ERA in 17 games. He had walked 26 and struck out 57. Here is what farm director Kyle Stark said about the demotion: “We felt like we needed to get Alderson off the treadmill of surviving and trying to get Double-A hitters out, and shifted to focusing on taking the steps necessary to get on track to getting Major League hitters out. This is a big picture move focused on his delivery, mentality, and understanding of who he needs to be as a pitcher.”
  • As Alderson was sent down, lefty Jeff Locke was promoted to Altoona from high-A Bradenton. Locke, who was acquired as part of the Nate McLouth trade, was 9-3 with a 3.54 ERA in 17 games with the Marauders. He walked 14 and struck out 83 in 86 1/3 innings. He will take Alderson’s place in the Curve’s rotation.
  • The Pirates have re-acquired infielder Brian Bixler from the Indians organization. The Pirates traded Bixler to the Indians for Minor Leaguer Jesus Brito back in January. Bixler was hitting .278 with 13 doubles, three homers and 27 RBIs in 64 games with Triple-A Columbus at the time of the trade. Why did the Pirates take Bixler back? GM Neal Huntington: “He became available, Kyle was looking for a versatile right-handed hitter for Triple-A, and it was a good fit.”
  • West Virginia’s Nathan Baker was named the South Atlantic League’s Pitcher of the Week on Monday after not allowing an earned run in 14 innings last week. The left-hander pitched 14 innings, striking out 12 and walking just two. On Tuesday, Baker threw eight no-hit innings. The fifth-round Draft pick in 2009 is 6-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 16 starts this year.
  • Kevin Decker (State College) also earned Pitcher-of-the-Week honors, his for the New-York Penn League. He pitched 10 scoreless innings for the Spikes last week, allowing only five hits, two walks and striking out nine. The left-hander was a 39th-round pick for the Pirates this year out of the College of Charleston.

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While I was out…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Just wrapped up my final vacation before I bunker down for Spring Training and the 2010 season. So here we go, folks. Anyways, while I’ve been MIA since the end of the day on Thursday, plenty of news has surfaced and I wanted to catch you up on all that right here:

  • The Pirates finished their four-day mini-camp on Saturday. Many of the pitchers have since gone back to their respective homes for a few weeks before they are required to report at Pirate City by Feb. 17. Yes, Spring Training is now less than a month away.
  • Pittsburgh announced its deal with reliever D.J. Carrasco on Saturday. Carrasco signed a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training. Based on his 2009 results, the right-hander has to be a favorite to land a spot in the bullpen next year.
  • The Garden Island newspaper in Hawaii broke a story on Sunday morning that Pirates reliever Tyler Yates had been arrested on a family abuse charge late in December. Those charges have since been dropped, and the Pirates were aware of them before re-signing Yates in early January.  
  • On Monday, the Pirates traded infielder Brian Bixler to Cleveland for Minor League infielder Jesus Brito. We’ll see how Bixler fares in another organization, but it was clear that he didn’t have a spot on this year’s Pirates team or in the organization’s future. Remember, he was a second-round Draft pick back in 2004. And oh were there a lot of strikeouts in his big league stints.
  • Trading Bixler opened a spot on the 40-man roster for the Pirates to sign reliever Brendan Donnelly. The 38-year-old right-hander is expected to be an integral part of the club’s late-inning relief corps.
  • Reliever Octavio Dotel has been close to reaching a deal with the Pirates since last week, and if the Pirates can finalize the deal, that would likely complete their search for bullpen help. An announcement regarding Dotel could very well come in the next few days.
  • Today marks the day when teams and arbitration-eligible players who haven’t yet agreed to a contract exchange salary figures. Zach Duke and the Bucs are expected to do so, though that doesn’t mean that the two sides can’t still reach an agreement before actually going to a hearing. Hearings begin in February.
  • And lastly, I’ve begun a pre-Spring Training position-by-position outlook that will continue through mid-February. The “Around the Horn” series examined the catching situation first. You’ll find an analysis on the corner infield positions later this week as the series continues.

Countdown to Spring Training: 29 more days.

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Winter ball update

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Here are the most recent stats from some of the organization’s more notable winter ball participants. It’s also worth noting that the Mexican and Dominican leagues wrapped up their regular season at the end of December:

  • Brian Bixler (Mexico): 35 G, .300 BA, 5 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 13 BB, 42 SO
  • Ronny Cedeno (Venezuela): 40 G, .300 BA, 4 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 20 RBI
  • Argenis Diaz (Venezuela): 47 G, .194 BA, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 9 BB, 26 SO
  • Gorkys Hernandez (Venezuela): 33 G, .245 BA, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI
  • Erik Kratz (Dominican Republic): 16 G, .065 BA, 1 2B, 4 RBI
  • Starling Marte (Dominican Republic): 11 G, .231 BA, 2 SB 
  • Neil Walker (Venezuela): 34 G, .267 BA, 9 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI
  • Ramon Aguero (Dominican Republic): 15 G, 0-1, 15 IP, 5 ER, 7 BB, 16 K, 2 SV 
  • Wilfredo Ledezma (Venezuela): 11 G, 2-4, 49.2 IP, 27 ER, 20 BB, 44 K
  • Jean Machi (Venezuela): 31 G, 2-0, 36 IP, 5 ER, 6 BB, 27 K, 16 SV
  • R.J. Rodriguez (Puerto Rico): 18 G, 1-0, 22.1 IP, 9 ER, 6 BB, 12 K, 2 SV
  • Ronald Uviedo (Venezuela): 21 G, 3-0, 24 IP, 7 ER, 6 BB, 24 K

Winter ball update

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Figured it was worth another look at how the organization’s players are faring down in winter ball. Here are some updated stats on the more notable names:

  • Brian Bixler (Mexico): 35 G, .300 BA, 5 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 13 BB, 42 SO
  • Ronny Cedeno (Venezuela): 33 G, .292 BA, 3 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 16 RBI
  • Argenis Diaz (Venezuela): 43 G, .195 BA, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 9 BB, 23 SO
  • Gorkys Hernandez (Venezuela): 33 G, .245 BA, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI
  • Erik Kratz (Dominican Republic): 16 G, .065 BA, 1 2B, 4 RBI
  • Starling Marte (Dominican Republic): 10 G, .333 BA, 2 SB 
  • Neil Walker (Venezuela): 34 G, .267 BA, 9 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI
  • Ramon Aguero (Dominican Republic): 14 G, 0-1, 14 IP, 5 ER, 7 BB, 15 K, 2 SV 
  • Wilfredo Ledezma (Venezuela): 9 G, 2-3, 40 IP, 22 ER, 16 BB, 31 K
  • Jean Machi (Venezuela): 28 G, 2-0, 33 IP, 5 ER, 5 BB, 24 K, 15 SV
  • R.J. Rodriguez (Puerto Rico): 11 G, 1-0, 12 IP, 6 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 SV
  • Ronald Uviedo (Venezuela): 19 G, 2-0, 21.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 BB, 23 K

There are no injuries to anyone playing in winter ball to report either, which is encouraging.

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Winter ball update

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

You’ll find a story wrapping up the Arizona Fall League here, but in addition to that, I wanted to pass along numbers from other winter ball leagues. Here is a list of notable organizational players currently playing winter ball and how they are faring:

  • Brian Bixler (Mexico): 35 games, .300 BA, 22 R, 5 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 42 SO
  • Ronny Cedeno (Venezuela): 18 games, .216 BA, 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
  • Luis Cruz (Mexico): 24 games, .302 BA, 9 R, 8 2B, 8 RBI
  • Argenis Diaz (Venezuela): 34 games, .206 BA, 13 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI
  • Gorkys Hernandez (Venezuela): 19 games, .233 BA, 7 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 17 SO
  • Erik Kratz (Dominican Republic): 7 games, .125 BA, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Starling Marte (DR): 9 games, .333 BA, 2 R, 2 SB
  • Rogelios Noris (Mexico): 16 games, .366 BA, 4 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Neil Walker (Venezuela): 34 games, .267 BA, 23 R, 9 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI
  • Ramon Aguero (DR): 10 games, 10 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 K
  • Derek Hankins (Venezuela): 5 games, 20 2/3 IP, 25 H, 21 ER, 10 BB, 12 K
  • Jean Machi (Venezuela): 21 games, 11 saves, 25 2/3 IP, 19 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 18 K
  • Ronald Uviedo (Venezuela): 9 games, 10 1/3 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 10 K 

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Decisions, decisions…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

At 11:59 pm ET on Friday, all teams must have 40-man rosters set in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft, which will be held in Indianapolis on Dec. 10. That means the Pirates have some decisions and moves left to make in the next two days.

Currently, the club’s 40-man roster has 36 players on it. Evan Meek and Jose Ascanio are both still listed as being on the 60-day disabled list, but they will both need to be added this week. Once they are, the Pirates will then have 38 players on that roster.

Given GM Neal Huntington’s track record so far, you’d have to believe that the Pirates are planning to go into the Rule 5 Draft with the expectation of making a selection in it. That would mean that the club needs to leave a roster spot available for that Rule 5 pick. In essence, that gives the Pirates the ability to really only protect 39 players.

So who needs to be added before Friday? Members of the 2006 Draft class that were 19 or older when they signed are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year. You can find the full list of Pirates draft picks from ’06 here if you’re interested. Players who were signed at the age of 18 of younger get an extra year before they are eligible, which means that those signed out of high school or Latin America at 18 or younger in 2005 are now Rule 5 eligible.

The obvious add to the 40-man will be right-hander Brad Lincoln. He’s the top pitching prospect in the system and would be snatched up in a heartbeat if left unprotected.

I think you can put outfielder Gorkys Hernandez in that category, too. While he may still be a bit further from the Majors than Lincoln, he is a prospect that the Pirates will protect.

Though right-hander Bryan Morris took a step back in Single-A this season, he’s a likely addition to the 40-man because of his potential. It’s hard for me to believe that the Pirates would leave one of the main pieces in the Jason Bay trade at risk to be taken. Can you imagine how that would look if he was.

Some of the other players (this is not an exhaustive list) that are Rule 5 eligible include: Shelby Ford, Miles Durham, Jim Negrych, Ramon Aguero, Michael Dubee, R.J. Rodriguez, Jared Keel and Michael Crotta.   

If he’s not protected, Kyle Bloom will again be among those eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. I’m noting him specifically because he was taken in the 2008 Rule 5 Draft by Detroit, but given back to Pittsburgh late in Spring Training.

Now, who is susceptible to being removed from the 40-man to make room for these additions? The Pirates would seem to have a sufficient amount of potential options. I’d list (in no particular order) Anthony Claggett, Phil Dumatrait, Steven Jackson, Brian Bixler and Argenis Diaz as the most likely to be removed. All would seem to be fairly easy to replace if lost.

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September 27: Dodgers (93-62) @ Pirates (57-96)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Saturday’s comeback win by the Dodgers will prevent the Pirates from being able to finish the season above .500 at PNC Park this season since the team is now 38-41 with just two games remaining.

After winning a late Aug. series against the Phillies at home, the Pirates’ record in Pittsburgh was 35-29. At the time it looked pretty likely that for only the second time since the park opened the Pirates would finish the season with more wins and losses at home.

But we all know what happened next — a 4-24 freefall, which includes a 3-12 record at home. The best the Pirates can try to salvage now is to nab their first series win or split this month as the team has two games remaining with the Dodgers.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • There’s not all that much going on here under these overcast skies. Good news is that the rain has stopped long enough that the pitchers are out throwing long toss right now. No outdoor BP, though, as the tarp remains over the infield.
  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno remains out of the lineup again on Sunday because of his hamstring injury. Second baseman Delwyn Young is also sitting. That means that the Pirates are sending out a middle infield duo of Luis Cruz and Brian Bixler, who in 89 combined at-bats this year have driven in four RBIs. I’ll go out on a limb to say that’s not one the most potent of middle infield combinations out there right now.
  • So here’s an interesting note… even though the Pirates are 1-4 against the Dodgers this season, the games have not been as completely one-sided as you might think. The Pirates have led for 20 innings in those five games and L.A. has led for 22. But obviously it’s leading late that makes all the difference, as we saw on Saturday.
  • Team USA won gold with a 10-5 win over Cuba this morning. Pirates pitching prospect Brad Lincoln (No. 4 overall Draft pick in 2006) earned the win with 4 1/3 innings of relief. He allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked one and struck out two.
  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez (No. 2 overall Draft pick in 2008) went 0-for-4 in the game.
  • Mentioned this in the game story last night, but it’s worth a second mention – With another clutch hit on Saturday, Andrew McCutchen is now 6-for-10 with 20 RBIs in at-bats with the bases loaded this season. Six of those RBIs have come with two out. Clutch McCutch, indeed.
  • Only two playes — Albert Pujols (9-for-14) and Todd Helton (5-for-8) have fared better with the bases loaded than McCutchen. That’s pretty good company for a 22-year-old rookie.
  • Second on the team in RBIs with the bases loaded is Andy LaRoche, who has eight. The entire team has 85 this year.
  • Today is fan appreciation day at the ballpark, meaning that the players and coaching staffs will spend about 30 minutes later this morning greeting fans at the front gates.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Luis Cruz (SS)
  8. Brian Bixler (2B)
  9. Daniel McCutchen (RHP)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Rafael Furcal (SS)
  2. Juan Pierre (LF)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Matt Kemp (CF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Ronnie Belliard (3B)
  7. Russell Martin (C)
  8. Orlando Hudson (2B)
  9. Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

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September 19: Padres (66-82) @ Pirates (56-89); Doumit starting in RF

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

No need to get in a frenzy. It’s not going to become a regular thing, manager John Russell said. But he does have Ryan Doumit playing right field on Saturday. Doumit hasn’t played the outfield since Aug. 13, 2007.

Russell’s explanation for the defensive placement: “We need some offense today.”

Delwyn Young is out with lingering back tightness. Andy LaRoche is sick and at home (questionable whether he’ll even come to the park today). And Garrett Jones is nursing a banged up right shoulder, the result of landing on it while making a diving play in Friday’s game. All three are questionable even to be able to pinch hit on Saturday.

With those three out, Lastings Milledge in left and Steve Pearce at first, that left Russell with either Doumit, Brandon Moss or Luis Cruz to play right field. Russell said he didn’t like the matchup of Moss vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard. And he chose Doumit over Cruz simply because he hopes it will boost a watered down lineup.

Russell said that unless these starters don’t start healing soon, he doesn’t expect Doumit to be out in right field again after Saturday. And he certainly won’t be there with any regularity.

As for today’s other news, notes and randomness…

  • Doumit has made 41 career appearances (36 starts) in right prior to Saturday. Of those starts, 33 came in 2007. This is his first outfield appearnce since Russell began managing the club.
  • Doumit’s thoughts on being used as a catcher and right fielder: “I’m excited. There are other catchers who do this. Russell Martin’s done it. Jason Kendall used to do it here. I’m all for it. I’m excited for the opportunity to expand my horizons. … It’s an opportunity to run the ball down but, mostly, it’s a chance to show off my arm. I hope people try to run on me. I enjoy that part of it. … As far as I’m concerned, I had my time off by missing 2 1/2 months.”
  • Doumit has hit .357 in September with three doubles, one homer, six RBIs. He has hit safely in 10 of 12 games he has played.
  • In September, the Pirates, before today, hadn’t played a Saturday day game since Sept. 3, 2005. This is also the 17th time that the Pirates and either Pittsburgh Panthers or Steelers have played on the same day. The Panthers face Navy later this evening.
  • With a win on Saturday, the Pirates would, at the least, seal a series split with the Padres. That might not seem notable until you consider that Pittsburgh has never split or won a series against San Diego at PNC Park. The Padres have taken each of the previous eight. Pittsburgh is 9-17 here against the Padres since 2001.
  • Saturday will be the first time Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz have each played since both were recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sept. 8. This season, Bixler has struck out 23 times in 33 at-bats.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  3. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  4. Ryan Doumit (RF)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Neil Walker (3B)
  8. Brian Bixler (2B)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Padres lineup:

  1. Everth Cabrera (SS)
  2. David Eckstein (2B)
  3. Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
  4. Chase Headley (3B)
  5. Will Venable (RF)
  6. Drew Macias (LF)
  7. Henry Blanco (C)
  8. Tony Gwynn Jr (CF)
  9. Clayton Richard (LHP)

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September 8: Cubs (69-67) @ Pirates (54-82)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

In less than three hours, the Pirates will honor golf legend Arnold Palmer in a pregame ceremony. Palmer, a western Pa. native, is celebrating his 80th birthday this week. As part of the festivities, pitcher Paul Maholm, braodcaster Steve Blass and golfer Peter Jacobson will have a chipping shot contest on the field just before the game to raise money for Pirates Charities.

Be sure to check back later for the results of the competition, though considering his career path, Jacobson has to be a 2:1 favorite to land the most balls in the 12-foot radius around the pin.

Oh, and you want baseball? OK. Today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Now that the Pirates have reached that dreaded 82nd loss, the question I’ve been hearing is whether 100 is in reach. To lose 100 loses for the second time during this 17-year stretch, the Pirates would have to win eight or fewer of their remaining 26 games. The seven against the Dodgers and six left against the Cubs could be a bit daunting. But do remember the Pirates have 10 games remaining against the below-.500 Padres and Reds on the docket.
  • The Pirates’ 62-100 team in 2001 is the most recent Pittsburgh club to lose 100 games.
  • The clubhouse got considerably more crowded in the last 24 hours. Added today were Donnie Veal, Eric Hacker, Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz. Jeff Karstens is coming off the DL tomorrow, which is his first date of eligibility. That brings the number of players with the team up to 31.
  • Manager John Russell said that Hacker will not make a start for the club while he’s here. He is simply another bullpen option, which will be helpful considering the Pirates finish the season with 18 games in 17 days.
  • Jose Ascanio (right shoulder tendinitis) is progressing well and will soon be throwing off the mound. The Pirates are still optimistic that he will be healthy enough to contribute before the season ends.
  • Though Diaz likely won’t make many, if any, starts with the club this month, his availability off the bench will allow Russell to use Ryan Doumit as a pinch hitter in games where Doumit does not start.
  • Both Doumit and Delwyn Young were given Tuesday off as a day of rest. Young is mired in a 5-for-51 slump and Russell noted that he can see Young wearing down a bit from the rigors of becoming an everyday player since the end of July.
  • Pirates pinch hitters have quietly gone 11-for-25 with three doubles and a homer in the team’s last 14 games. Even though much of the bench has turned over this season, the Pirates rank third in the National League with a .269 pinch-hitting average.
  • And here’s an interesting note to leave you with: On this date in 1905, the Pirates stranded 18 runners in an 8-3 loss to the Reds.That set an NL record for men left on base.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Milton Bradley (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Jeff Baker (2B)
  6. Geovany Soto (C)
  7. Kosuke Fukudome (CF)
  8. Bobby Scales (LF)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP)

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Bucs wrap up Sept. call-ups

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

As expected, shortstop Brian Bixler and catcher Robinzon Diaz will join the Pirates on Tuesday now that the Triple-A season has ended. Also being called up is right-hander Eric Hacker, who had been pitching in Indianapolis’ rotation.

Left-hander Donnie Veal has finished his Minor League rehab assignment and been reinstated off the DL. Righty Jeff Karstens will return off the DL on Wednesday, the earliest day that he is eligible to.

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