Results tagged ‘ Brian Friday ’

Pirates cut 10 from camp

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates trimmed down the number of players in Major League camp from 54 to 44 this morning. Here are the cuts:

  • Andrew Lambo reassigned to Minor League camp
  • Brian Friday reassigned to Minor League camp
  • Chase d’Arnaud reassigned to Minor League camp
  • Aaron Thompson optioned to Double-A Altoona
  • Ramon Aguero optioned to Double-A Altoona
  • Jeff Locke optioned to Double-A Altoona
  • Tony Watson optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • Gorkys Hernandez optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • Alex Presley optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • Daniel Moskos optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis

Now for some specific notes on these players and their assignments:

  • Plan on Lambo being used as a corner outfielder in Indianapolis. It sounds like first base is going to be a fallback option for him. He really made an impression defensively this spring. Heck of an arm.
  • Friday should spend most of his time at second, with d’Arnaud getting the majority of the starts at short. The Pirates value versatility, though, so expect the two to flip flop places from time to time to stay sharp at multiple positions. d’Arnaud, general manager Neal Huntington said, might also play a little at third.
  • Both Presley and Hernandez have played extensively in center field, though now both are headed to Indianapolis. Huntington said Hernandez is likely to be the team’s primary centerfielder, while Presley will bounce around.
  • Though Thompson and Locke were both optioned to Double-A, either one could actually start the year in Triple-A. It all depends on how the pitching shakes out by the end of camp.
  • The organization has not determined whether Watson will be starting or relieving this season.
  • Watson and Moskos were named as two lefty candidates for the Pirates’ bullpen, though the Pirates ultimately determined both could use more seasoning in the Minors before making the jump to Pittsburgh.

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Injury report

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have implemented a new policy this year as it relates to disclosing injury information and it involves issuing team statements on injuries. In the past, more often than not, media members got injury information by asking questions.

Anyways, the Pirates sent out an injury update this morning, and I’ve copied and pasted it below. I’m not sure how much information is really in here, given how vague and unspecific a number of these updates are. But I give you what I receive and you can do your best to decipher…

  • RHP Jose Ascanio threw a bullpen yesterday without any issues.  He will continue on his return to pitch progression. 
  • LHP Joe Beimel continues on his return to pitch progression without issue. 
  • OF John Bowker - his left wrist feels better and his status remains day to day.
  • INF Brian Friday - his left hand feels better and his status remains day to day.
  • RHP Kevin Hart continues on his return to pitch progression without issue.
  • LHP Scott Olsen continues on his return to pitch progression without issue. 
  • INF Josh Rodriguez - his right quadriceps feels better and his status remains day to day.

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Day 5: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Prospects.jpgOfficially, the first full-squad workout isn’t scheduled until Saturday. As it turned out, though, all 62 players were here this morning and all that were healthy took the fields for workouts on Friday. The one noticeable absentee on the field was lefty Scott Olsen, who has a mild left hamstring strain. He’ll be re-evaluated daily, the Pirates said, and we expect to have an update on his status in a week.

By all indications, Olsen won’t be able to do anything until then. He had already told me that he was building his arm up a little slower-than-usual this spring given his past shoulder issues. With this setback, you now have to wonder if Olsen is going to be able to log enough innings to be ready as a starter by Opening Day.

Though Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Brian Burres would contend otherwise, the Pirates have been hinting for a while now that the fifth spot in the rotation would likely come down to Olsen and Charlie Morton. Now, Morton might have the leg up. This would be the time, too, where one of those other guys sneaks up and becomes a serious part of the discussion.

We should have a better grasp on Olsen’s timetable by the end of next week.

As for the rest of your daily notes:

  • Many of the pitchers were called in for early work this morning, and they broke up into groups to focus on a number of specific things — delivery, side steps, pick off moves and bunt plays. This all happened before the 10 am workout.
  • Ronny Cedeno and Brian Friday arrived at Pirate City and participated in workouts for the first time. They were the only two position players that hadn’t yet reported.
  • Cedeno talked at length with reporters about his desire to prove he is an everyday shortstop at the Major League level. Clint Hurdle and Nick Leyva (infield instructor) also spoke about what they hope to see from Cedeno this spring. You can find all this in today’s feature on the main site.
  • Speaking of Cedeno, he’ll be wearing No. 5 this year. He gave Hurdle No. 13 and goes back to a number that he wore with the Cubs.
  • Leyva has done his homework on Cedeno and the rest of the infield group he has inherited. He has spoken extensively with Carlos Garcia, who was the Pirates’ infield instructor last year. He has also spoken to Perry Hill, who was with the Pirates in 2009. Leyva said he will be incorporating many of the same defensive drills that Hill introduced here during his one-year stay.
  • Jose Ascanio (28 pitches) appeared in camp, as those visa issues have now been fixed. He began his work to catch up to the rest of the pitchers by throwing his first side session.
  • Lefty Donnie Veal (34 pitches) also took the mound to throw on Friday. Remember, he’s on a more limited throwing program this spring as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
  • The rest of the pitchers had the day off from throwing and worked mostly on defensive drills. The first group of pitchers will throw live batting practice to the hitters on Saturday, with the second group then scheduled to go on Sunday.
  • Steve Pearce spent the day working with the outfielders. Before today, I had only seen Pearce doing defensive drills at first base. He is going to get extensive work at both spots all spring.
  • Three spectators stood out on the Pirate City grounds. Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia – your big three pitching prospects — wandered around watching the morning workouts. You can see the three in the photo above, which was taken by team photographer Dave Arrigo. All three pitchers are participating in the Pirates’ early Minor League camp.
  • Position players ended workouts by working on situational bunting and hitting. A coach would give them a play (squeeze, slap bunt, drag bunt, hit-and-run, etc.) and each hitter had to execute. Not that it’s fair to make firm evaluations this early in spring, but Pedro Alvarez was definitely off with his timing during the drill. A lot of swings and misses. I didn’t see everyone hit, but of those who did, Neil Walker and Ryan Doumit looked pretty sharp.

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McCutchen progressing/other Tuesday notes

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Andrew McCutchen said that he is feeling much better — better than he expected to feel this quickly — after spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder on Sunday. He’s not in the lineup today and is not taking batting practice or throwing. McCutchen is doing some light running on the field now and will catch flyballs during BP.

He’ll continue to be reevaluated each day until cleared to start swinging again. Swinging and throwing will be the last things he can do since those motions rely so heavily on the extension of his shoulder.

Some other stuff to pass along…

  • Ryan Doumit is out of Tuesday’s lineup in order to give him a breather after he was hit in the mask by a foul tip on Monday. He didn’t sustain a concussion, and the Pirates aren’t even labeling him as having concussion-like symptoms. But he wasn’t 100 percent after the game and manager John Russell says he sees no reason to run him out there. Erik Kratz will make his second Major League start. 
  • Infielder Brian Friday (ankle) has rejoined Triple-A Indianapolis after a short Minor League rehab stint with Bradenton.
  • Pittsburgh had two representatives in Monday’s Dominican Summer League All-Star team: LHP Angel Sanchez and C Samuel Gonzalez. Sanchez is 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings pitched. Gonzalez has hit .348 with 15 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 38 games.
  • Speaking of All-Star Games, this is old, but I forgot to pass along the link last week. After being a late addition to the Eastern League All-Star team, infielder Chase d’Arnaud hit a grand slam in the game and earned MVP honors. Altoona catcher Hector Gimenez won the Eastern League Home Run Derby as well. The full story on d’Arnaud’s big game can be found here.
  • Infielder Shelby Ford has been placed on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle. Ford was hitting. 242 in 55 games with Double-A Altoona at the time of the injury.

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Bucs make six cuts

The Pirates made their first cuts of the spring after Sunday’s 10-5 win over the Yankees, sending six players out of Major League camp.

Outfielder Brandon Jones and infielder Argenis Diaz were both optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pitchers Ronald Uviedo and Ramon Aguero, as well as outfielder Gorkys Hernandez were optioned to Double-A Altoona. Infielder Brian Friday was reassigned to Minor League camp. Friday is expected to be Indianapolis’ starting shortstop this season.

None of the six came into Spring Training expecting to be in competition for an Opening Day roster spot. Jones, who the Pirates claimed off waivers in January, is the only one of the group who has prior Major League experience.

With the cuts, Pittsburgh now has 54 active players in Major League camp.

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Rays 4, Pirates 3 (ss)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The more exciting game of the two on Monday turned out to be in Port Charlotte, where I wasn’t. Figures.

Anyways, here are a few highlights that have been reported back to me…

***

Brad Lincoln made the start and allowed one run on two hits and three walks. The three walks is a bit surprising given Lincoln’s good control. He only walked 28 hitters all of last season (136 1/3 innings). However, only one ball (a sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist) was hit hard against him today.

“I was able to keep the ball down, and when I missed, it was down,” Lincoln said. “I had some control issues, and the result were the walks. I have to limit those. I’m pretty good at that, but today I got away from it. I’m got caught up in the moment a bit too much, but I limited the damage. Other than that, I felt good out there. I felt energized. I’m happy where I’m at.”

It’s still unlikely that Lincoln can dent the Pirates’ rotation out of Spring Training, but be certain that he’s approaching every outing like it’s a tryout.

***

The Pirates’ prospects were apparently on display against the Rays. Wish I could have seen it, too.

Jose Tabata had two hits, including a triple and a run scored. Pedro Alvarez hit a 410-foot triple that short-hopped the center field fence. That was his second triple in as many days.

Two batters later, infielder Brian Friday hit a 390-foot, two-run homer. That scored Alvarez, who finished with another multi-hit game.

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Minor League news and notes

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Alvarez 2 02-20 _068.jpgWe’ll get back to big league stuff in a minute, but for those of you with one eye on the organization’s Minor League system heading into 2010, here are some notes you might be interested in. Information is courtesy of farm director Kyle Stark (I’ll thank him for you)…

  • Pedro Alvarez: The plan is to keep him at third base, though that could eventually change for one of two reasons. One, how Jeff Clement and Andy LaRoche fare at the big league level could play a role in whether the Pirates think about using Alvarez at first. Two, he has to continue to shore up his defense and conditioning to stick at the hot corner.
  • Neil Walker: For all the talk about where Walker might be able to play, the key is this: If Walker is going to get a strong look from Pittsburgh, he’s going to have to hit. As Stark put it, “If Neil’s bat progresses, we’ll find a spot for Neil.” The plan is to try him out in a few spots this spring to improve his versatility. He’ll keep playing third, but will also likely get continued work at second and learn the corner outfield spots.
  • Jose Tabata: Though Tabata’s most likely spot in Pittsburgh is right field, he’ll keep getting a lot of work in center as long as he’s in the Minors. The Pirates have not ruled out using Tabata in left field eventually because of how spacious it is at PNC Park.
  • Chase d’Arnaud: After splitting the ’09 season between the two Single-A levels, d’Arnaud is projected to begin the year with Double-A Altoona. It’s an agressive move, but the organization wants to get him hitting against Double-A pitching. D’Arnaud will likely have to split time between short and second there because of the number of middle infield prospects expected to be with Altoona. But long-term, the Pirates see him as a shortstop.
  • Brian Friday: He spent all of 2009 at Altoona, but is expected to open the season as Indianapolis’ everyday shortstop.
  • Daniel Moskos: I asked the usual Spring Training question… is Moskos going to start or relieve? The answer: TBD. Stark: “That is a discussion every day. I think that Danny has put himself in position where he’s trying to make 1 of 12 spots as opposed to 1 of 5 (starting spots) or 1 of 7 (relief spots). There are some things that say the starter role will be the best value and have the best upside. Then there are some things that make you think this guy needs to go pitch in the bullpen. I think that regardless of what we do, we’re going to try and get at the bullpen mentality of competing. Last year going through starting, there was some sense of trying to pace himself to get through six or seven innings, and so I think that regardless of whether it’s in that role or in the bullpen, that the attack mentality is the thing that we’re going to focus on with him.”
  • Rudy Owens: The left-hander is in the mix to start at Double-A this year, though it’s not a certainty. Even if he does start at high-A Bradenton, the expectation is that Owens will be in Altoona before the end of the season.
  • Stark noted three Minor Leaguers who are going to be sidelined to start the season. Colton Cain (8th round, 2009) has dealt with a back injury this winter which will keep him from being ready on Opening Day. However, Cain has been cleared to begin workouts, so the injury is not expected to linger. Brett Lorin (acquired in the Seattle trade) will miss the start of the season because of a hip injury. Zac Fuesser (34th round, 2009) is also out with an injury.

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Day 4: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Sanchez,T (2) 02-20 _230.jpgOne thing I learned in journalism school was that you know you’ve done your job as a reporter when you have so many notes for one story that you are forced to throw three-fourths of them out because you don’t have enough space. That was close to the case this afternoon as I was working on a feature about Tony Sanchez, the Pirates’ first-round Draft pick last year.

First off, Sanchez is a delight to talk with. Very engaging. Very cordial. Seems genuinely appreciative for the chance to be at Major League camp. But the praise he has already been receving from others was what really struck me. You’ll find much of that in the story on the main pirates.com site shortly.

But because I wasn’t able to use half of the information I collected, I wanted to share one thing from Sanchez that didn’t make it into my main story. We got to talking about his opportunity to join the high-A Lynchburg team at the very end of its season (Sanchez had been playing for low-A West Virginia) just in time to help the team in the playoffs.

Yes, he talked about how neat it was to win the Carolina League Championship. But Sanchez spent most of the time lamenting the fact that because he got called up for the playoffs, the catchers who had helped Lynchburg get there were forced to sit on the bench:

“It wasn’t the position I wanted to be in, though I know it’s a business now. Those catchers have caught those guys for 142 games. They were putting in the work to get to the playoffs. Then I showed up and ended up catching the playoffs. It was kind of bittersweet. I loved to move up and I loved to help that team win a championship, but I know that those catchers had worked so hard for their team to get to the playoffs. I kind of felt bad. But I did whatever I could to help them win.”

This seems to speak to Sanchez character very much. With him, you’re not going to find a guy who feels entitled to anything even though he was a top Draft pick. He wants to earn everything. And he wants to do things right.

Anyways, here’s the rest of your daily squeeze:

  • Gorgeous day here at Pirate City. First real good weather day yet.
  • The 16-pitcher group that threw side sessions on Friday were back throwing off the mounds on Sunday. As you can read here, they have pink strings and strips of rubber to help them out.
  • Position players had the option of taking the day off (remember, there is no official full squad workout until Tuesday) and many of them did. However, the following 10 players still showed up to take part in fielding practice and BP: Jose Tabata, Garrett Jones, Steve Pearce, Doug Bernier, Brian Myrow, Jeff Clement, Brian Friday, Brandon Jones, Aki Iwamura and John Raynor. Of that group, only Iwamura and Jones have already been guaranteed Opening Day starting spots.
  • Bullpen catcher Heberto Andrande has still not been able to arrive to help out with camp. He is stuck in Venezuela with visa issues.
  • I asked Manny Sanguillen, who works with the catchers, how the group looked this year. He answered by singling out Ryan Doumit: “Ryan has really come a long way. I’m happy with his attitude, and he looks good.”
  • When asked if he had given any thought to who might be the team’s Opening Day starting pitcher, manager John Russell succinctly answered: “No.” My guess? Paul Maholm, followed by Ross Ohlendorf, Zach Duke and Charlie Morton. Pure speculation on my part.
  • Did I mention the weather was beautiful today?
  • For those of you who have been asking when another video will be posted, be patient. I’m working on one right now that is going to include a handful of interviews. Hopefully I’ll have it up by the end of the week.

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Bucs add more non-roster invitees

By Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Infielder Brian Friday, catcher Hector Gimenez and infielder Doug Bernier have been added to the list of now 25 non-roster players invited to Pirates Spring Training.

Friday, the team’s third-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, hit .265 with 32 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs in 110 games at Double-A Altoona last year. Friday is not in contention to earn a spot on the Pirates’ Opening Day roster, but participating in his first big-league camp will give him a taste of what that competition might be like as he gets closer to the Majors. 

Gimenez split the 2009 season between Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, where he combined to hit .276 with eight homers and 38 RBIs. Though Gimenez is primarily a catcher, he did play some third base, left field and first base last year. 

Bernier, who signed a Minor League contract with the club, spent last season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in what was his third straight season at that Minor League level. Bernier was limited to 79 games and hit just .181. He made a brief two-game Major League appearance with the Rockies in 2008.

Just wrapped up the media luncheon at the Convention Center and will have much more popping up on the main site later tonight and this weekend from the event. Plans for Bill Mazeroski’s statue were formally announced this afternoon. Also, I conducted a number of player interviews over the past hour, so you’ll see all sorts of stories coming from those leading up to Spring Training.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

Arizona Fall League update

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

While I’m sitting in the cafeteria of Yankee Stadium waiting for the start of Game 6, how about we take a look at how the Pirates’ six organizational players are doing so far in the Arizona Fall League:

  • Daniel Moskos: The lefty is pitching out of the bullpen in Arizona and has so far made seven appearances. He has allowed six earned runs on 14 hits and seven walks in 9 1/3 innings. Moskos has nine strikeouts.
  • Donnie Veal: Veal has gone 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA in four starts. He was named the AFL pitcher of the week last week after throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Veal has walked just two and has 12 strikeouts.
  • Tony Watson: In six relief appearances, Watson has limited opponents to just one earned run in seven innings. He has allowed four hits, walked three and struck out six.
  • Chase D’Arnaud: D’Arnaud is hitting .211 in his first 10 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions. In 38 at-bats, D’Arnaud has four extra-base hits and two RBIs.
  • Brian Friday: The middle infielder has scuffled a bit out of the gate, batting just .194 in his first seven games. Friday has driven in four, but also has 10 strikeouts in 31 at-bats.
  • Jose Tabata: The promising young outfielder has hit .348 in 16 games for the Scorpions. He has six extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. Heading into Wednesday’s action, that average was second best on the Scottsdale club.

Also worth noting: D’Arnaud, Moskos and Tabata have been named to the AFL’s rising stars rosters, which is a showcase game that will be played on Saturday (much like an All-Star Game). A total of 50 players earned the honor. The game will be telecast on the MLB Network at 6:15 p.m. MT.

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