Results tagged ‘ Brian Slocum ’

Rays 4, Pirates 2

Thumbnail image for Wilson 09ST 02-17 (296.jpgJack Wilson (pictured left) left Wednesday’s game after just one inning, but there’s no need for concern. It was just his asthma giving Wilson problems.

He said that his allergies and asthma started bothering him while he was taking groundballs pre-game. Wilson stopped fielding and stood in the outfield to shag fly balls but still said he never was really able to catch his breath. The dry Port Charlotte air was part of the problem.

Wilson had a first-inning at-bat and didn’t make any plays in the field, but was taken out when he continued to struggle to get good breaths of air.

“I felt like I played 15 innings,” he joked afterward, noting the difficulty in breathing. 

Brian Bixler finished the game at short.

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Injury Report:

  • As I noted in the earlier blog posting, Andy Phillips (lower back stiffness) participated in workouts on Wednesday and plans to do so on Thursday, possibly standing in at the plate when Phil Dumatrait throws live batting practice over at Pirate City. Phillips said the injection he had has worked wonders on the pain and that if all goes well, he should be back in games on Friday. Manager John Russell said that Phillips will likely play at least one Minor League game before returning to Grapefruit League action.
  • Russell said that Evan Meek (tired shoulder) is doing much better and should be in action soon.
  • As mentioned above, Dumatrait (left arm injury) is set to throw another round of live BP on Thursday. The Pirates have not yet determined what will come next for the left-hander in his return to game-play.

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With the Pirates needing to extend some of their other starters, Paul Maholm will make his next start in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Friday. Maholm has a pitch limit of 90. Jesse Chavez is also scheduled to pitch in that game.

***

Minor Matters: Former Pirate and No. 1 Draft pick Bryan Bullington pitched against his former team in a Minor League game on Wednesday. He allowed just two hits and struck out three in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. … Brian Slocum appeared in the game for the Pirates and gave up three earned runs on four hits in three innings. He took the loss.  

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Up Next: We all get to enjoy one more day off this spring on Thursday before the Pirates play the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m. ET at McKechnie Field on Friday.

Virgil Vasquez, who is still fighting for a rotation spot, will make the start for the Bucs on Friday. Vasquez allowed seven hits and six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last Grapefruit League outing (March 17). Vasquez did pitch five scoreless innings in a Minor League game after that outing.

Roy Halladay is scheduled to start for Toronto. There will be a Zambelli fireworks display following the game for those attending. 

Pirates 6, Twins 4

Thumbnail image for Ford, Shelby 1.jpgLet’s go through an injury checklist first. This will all appear in a story on the main site in a bit, but since it often takes quite a while for those stories to get posted after I send them in, here is the update in the meantime…

  • Phil Dumatrait - He has been shut down after experiencing arm soreness while throwing live batting practice earlier this week. GM Neal Huntingon said there is no need to be overly concerned, as this type of soreness is common during the type of rehab work Dumatrait is progressing through. Huntington estimated that it will be about seven to 10 days before Dumatrait can throw live BP again, though depending on how long Dumatrait sits, he may have to first take a few steps back (i.e. play catch and throw side sessions) . Dumatrait is almost certain to start the year on the DL.
  • Andy Phillips - Phillips is sidelined with stiffness in his lower back and will be out at least for another day. Unexplicably, the stiffness started on Saturday and is still bothering Phillips a bit, he said. The Pirates will want Phillips to be able to take part in an entire morning workout before letting him return to the field for a game.
  • Shelby Ford - Ford (pictured above) jammed his wrist while diving for a ball on Wednesday and is going to be out at least a few days. He tried hitting on Thursday, but reported some tenderness in the wrist after taking a few swings. With another round of cuts coming next week, Ford could potentially have seen his last appearance in a Major League Spring Training game. He’s slated to start the year as the organization’s Triple-A second baseman and could be moved to Minor League camp soon.
  • Eric Hinske - Hinske took 60 dry swings on Thursday after taking 30 on Wednesday, and he reported no discomfort in his left rib cage area afterward. Hinske is also slowly increasing his throwing distance. After throwing from 60 feet on Wednesday, he moved back to throw from 90 feet on Thursday. Manager John Russell seemed optimistic that Hinske could be ready to return within a few days.

***

With Craig Monroe’s three-home run day the focus of the game-related story on the main site, we’ll give some props to starter Virgil Vasquez here.

Vasquez made his first spring start (second appearance) and pitched three shutout innings. He allowed just two baserunners and struck out one.

“He attacked the zone, used both sides of the plate,” Russell said. “Made a couple of mistakes up, but when you hit your spots, you can make a couple of mistakes. I thought he threw the ball very well. Overall, using both outings together, he’s shown the ability to attack the zone.”

Vasquez is being listed as a candidate for one of the Pirates’ open rotation spots, though it still seems most likely that he’ll start the season in the Triple-A Indianapolis rotation. Still, Vasquez’s competitveness on the mound has drawn praise already this spring and has opened some eyes for future consideration.

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Up Next: The Pirates make their only trip to Clearwater, Fla., on Friday to play the Phillies in a 1:05 p.m. ET affair. Scheduled to pitch for the Pirates: Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Matt Capps, Brian Slocum and Dave Davidson. This will be the first appearance for Davidson since he returned from playing in the World Baseball Classic.

Philadelphia is scheduled to start righty Joe Blanton.     
 

Pirates 11, Astros 4

Ross Ohlendorf used his start on Sunday to focus on his slider, though it wasn’t as sharp as he had hoped. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan liked the slider he saw from Ohlendorf pre-game in the bullpen, but it wasn’t until the final few Ohlendorf threw in his 3 1/3 innings that Ohlendorf matched the same sharpness.

Manager John Russell, though, lauded Ohlendorf’s sinker and changeup and his ability to work both sides of the plate in the start.

***

Some various news and notes:

  • GM Neal Huntington said to expect a first round of minor cuts early in the week (Monday, perhaps?) The first cuts would be players who were not expected to compete for a Major League spot. It will be about 7-10 days then before a more significant round of cuts occurs.
  • Though it seemed like an already forgone conclusion, Huntington crossed Jimmy Barthmaier’s name off the list of starters competing for a rotation spot with the Pirates. Barthmaier has allowed nine runs, five walks and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
  • When asked what it might take for Andy Phillips to make the team out of Spring Training, Huntington said management needs to see Phillips play a successful second base. Phillips had significant time as a second baseman in the Minors, but has made only eight Major League appearances there.
  • Because of all the injuries to outfielders, Miles Durham, 25, has been called up from Minor League camp to serve as a backup outfielder. He entered the game to play left field in the top of the ninth.

***

World Baseball Classic Update:

  • Ramon Vazquez went 0-for-4 in Puerto Rico’s WBC win on Saturday. He started at third base. Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell will make the start for the Puerto Rican team on Monday when they face Team Netherlands. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

***

Inside the box score:

  • Freddy Sanchez hit a towering homer in the game and finished with two hits and a walk in three plate appearances. Sanchez is participating in his first injury-free Spring Training since 2006 and it seems to have him off to a great start: “I’m not just saying this, this is the best I’ve felt in Spring Training,” Sanchez said. “It’s nice to wake up in the morning and feel good about your body, just come to work and do your job.”  
  • Andy LaRoche reached base four times on Sunday (two singles, two walks) and is now hitting .600 (9-for-15) this spring.
  • Conversely, Nyjer Morgan’s batting average is going in the opposite direction. After an 0-for-5 day on Sunday, Morgan is just 4-for-27 this spring. He has one hit in his last 14 at-bats.

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Up Next: The Pirates have one more game on tap before their first off-day this spring. The Red Sox come to town on Monday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game at McKechnie Field against the Pirates. Scheduled to pitch for the Pirates: Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, Tyler Yates, Brian Slocum and Chris Bootcheck.

Boston will start Jon Lester

Pirates 6, Tigers 4

McLouth 09ST 02-12 (032.jpgIf nothing else, centerfielder Nate McLouth was just glad that he finally got a hit. It was a bonus that it went over the fence for a three-run homer.

After going 0-for-5 this spring, McLouth connected on a 3-2 fastball in the fifth for the home run.

“At least I can’t hit .000,” he joked later.

Freddy Sanchez called it wind-blown and Ryan Doumit labeled it as wind-aided, but McLouth called it legit.

“I hit it well,” he said, not giving all credit to the wind.

***

Speaking of the wind, it played havoc with the outfielders on Sunday. Both McLouth and Nyjer Morgan were victims of the wind as they tried to make running, over-the-head outfield grabs. The wind came after a morning thunderstorm that brought in significantly cooler temperatures.

“If you can play the outfield and you can hit in wind like that in Florida, you can play anywhere,” McLouth said.

Not only that, but kudos to the corps of relief pitchers, who allowed just one run in seven innings despite the blustery conditions.

“They did a nice job on a tough day to pitch,” manager John Russell said. “Usually your second or third time out is the time when you start to get a little rusty.”

***

Lefty Phil Dumatrait said that he has five more bullpen/live batting practice sessions to throw before he will be ready to begin pitching in a game. That would put Dumatrait’s timetable at about two weeks before he’d be ready to make that first appearance.

With Dumatrait not scheduled to make his first game appearance until mid-March, it still seems most likely that he’ll start the season on the DL. That would give Dumatrait ample time to finish building up his arm as a starter.

***

The Pirates said goodbye to Ramon Vazquez, Ian Snell and Dave Davidson on Sunday, as each headed to join their World Baseball Classic teams. Snell and Vazquez will be training in Fort Myers, Fla., with the Puerto Rican team, while Davidson will be in Dunedin, Fla., with Team Canada.

***

Odds and ends: Luis Cruz (left hip flexor) has been cleared to return to game-play on Monday. He is not expected to start, but he will get in before the end of the game. …Garrett Jones made his first start of the spring at first on Sunday. He spent the first half of the game there before finishing in right field. The Pirates would like to see Jones’ versatility, as that could come into play when the Pirates determine who they want to fill the final two bench spots. … Andy LaRoche has hit safely in all three of his spring appearances after singling home a run on Sunday. … Right-hander Brian Slocum (hamstring) threw a side session on Sunday.

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And no, we will not speak of today’s Mizzou basketball game in this forum.

***

Up next: The Pirates play their Florida neighbors — the Reds — on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET at McKechnie Field. It’s the first of six meetings between the two NL Central foes this spring. Zach Duke will throw the first two innings and is expected to be followed by Daniel McCutchen, Jason Davis, John Grabow and Craig Hansen. The Reds will start Homer Bailey.

 

Day 13: Pirates @ Red Sox pregame

As expected, third baseman Andy LaRoche will be making his Grapefruit League debut with the Pirates on Thursday. As it turns out, the mild back strain really didn’t set him back afterall. A number of the established position players (i.e. those not fighting for position spots) and those not slated to pitch didn’t make the trip to Fort Myers today.

Morning squeeze:

  • Not much news to report as of yet, though both Brian Slocum (strained hamstring) and Virgil Vasquez (arm soreness) are scheduled to throw side sessions on Friday. This will be the second side for Vasquez.
  • The battle for the backup catcher position has begun. Robinzon Diaz came in to relieve Ryan Doumit yesterday, and Jason Jaramillo is getting the start today. Let the competition begin.
  • Former Pirate Jason Bay is not playing for the Red Sox today because he played in  Boston’s night game on Wednesday. However, he did spend part of the morning catching up with manager John Russell and others from the organization

Grapefruit League game 2:

Pirates lineup:

1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)

2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)

3. Andy LaRoche (3B)

4. Eric Hinske (RF)

5. Brandon Moss (DH)

6. Steve Pearce (1B)

7. Jason Jaramillo (C)

8. Brian Bixler (SS)

9. Shelby Ford (2B)

Pitchers: Ian Snell, Ross Ohlendorf, Jimmy Barthmaier, Denny Bautista and Sean Burnett.

Red Sox Lineup:

1. Julio Lugo (SS)

2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)

3. David Ortiz (DH)

4. J.D. Drew (RF)

5. Jason Varitek (C)

6. Jeff Bailey (1B)

7. Paul McAnulty (LF)

8. Nick Green (3B)

9. Chip Ambres (CF)

Pitchers: Jon Lester, Takashi Saito, Hideki Okajima

Day 11 Daily Squeeze

Huntington.jpgAs a spectator, today might have been the most interesting day of these 11 days that the team worked out at Pirate City. On one field you had pitching coach Joe Kerrigan jokingly making bets with pitchers and “playing to 21 points” in a fielding drill game. (After losing to Kerrigan in round one, the pitchers came back and took the final two rounds for the win).

Simultaneously, on another field, Perry Hill, teacher extraordinaire, was leading position players through cut off drills and relay throws. His now infamous “Stop It!” phrase (which he uses when giving a player a compliment) was loud and frequent.

The day then ended with a few rounds of batting practice before players skirted off the field and out of the complex. Everyone will be reporting to McKechnie Field beginning tomorrow as Grapefruit League games get underway.

Other news and notes from the day:

  • Infielder Luis Cruz is likely to be out for about a week after suffering a strained left hip flexor on Tuesday. Cruz is in competition to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster as a backup infielder 
  • It was encouraging to see second baseman Freddy Sanchez making relay throws from the outfield grass on Tuesday. You’ll remember that last year he couldn’t do that all spring because of his arm issues. Under guidance from Perry, Sanchez has changed his positioning a bit and tweaked his mechanics on his throws in order to put less stress on his right shoulder. As a result, Sanchez is throwing comfortably from 120-150 feet now.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche participated in full workouts for the second straight day, and this time he even took cuts during live BP. Pitchers Virgil Vasquez (sore arm) and Brian Slocum (strained hamstring) both were held back from throwing again.
  • Seven pitchers — Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Dave Davidson, Jeff Karstens, John Grabow, Jason Davis and Denny Bautista — threw their second round of live BP on Tuesday. All, except Bautista, threw 35 pitches. Bautista was limited to 20.
  • The MLB Network will be revealing the final World Baseball Classic Rosters later tonight at 6 p.m. ET. You can expect to see Ian Snell and Ramon Vazquez on Team Puerto Rico and Dave Davidson on the Canadian team. There are also a number of Pirates Minor League players who may be on those final rosters.

Quotable: “It’s time [for games]. We’ve accomplished a lot here. We got a lot done. It doesn’t stop, but I think we’ve done what we need to do to start the game process and the evaluations that go along with that. It’s time to take that next step.” – manager John Russell

On Deck: The Pirates will face the defending World Series Champion Phillies on Wednesday as teams open up their Grapefruit League schedule. It’s a home game at McKechnie Field, with the first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Non-roster invitee Chris Bootcheck will pitch the first inning of the game and will be followed by Matt Capps, Donald Veal, Romulo Sanchez, Ronald Uviedo, Juan Mateo, Craig Hansen, Evan Meek and Jesse Chavez. Lefty Jamie Moyer will make the start for the Phillies.

Also of note for those attending Wednesday’s game: the first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a 2009 Spring Training magnetic schedule.

For those in Pittsburgh, the game will be broadcast on WPGB 104.7. Those tuning in will get their first chance to listen to new broadcaster Tim Neverett, who was hired in December to fill the vacancy in the broadcast booth created with the departure of Lanny Frattare.     

Day 10 Daily Squeeze

BP.jpgAnother day down, one more to go here at Pirate City. Tomorrow will be the last day of workouts before we all move to McKechnie Field for good. This is about the time in the workout schedule that we are all itching to get going with the exhibition schedule. It provides a little more variety than watching infield drills and batting practice. And it’s always intriguing to see how some of the new guys perform in actual games.

As for Monday’s news and notes…

  • Lefty Phil Dumatrait threw off the mound for the third time. He threw about 35 pitches — mostly fastballs and changeups, though he threw in about three or four curveballs, too. Dumatrait will throw long toss tomorrow before throwing another bullpen (40-45 pitches) on Wednesday and another then on Saturday. Dumatrait projected that he will be ready to pitch in a game about the third week in March.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche was back on the field with the team on Monday. He did his normal early work, participated in infield drills and tracked pitches in the batting cage during live batting practice. Manager John Russell said LaRoche could maybe be ready to play on Thursday. If not, he should see action Friday or Saturday for sure.
  • Non-roster invitee Brian Slocum was held out of workouts on Monday because of a slight hamstring strain. Slocum’s status is day-to-day, though Russell said it shouldn’t be long before the right-hander can return to the mound.
  • Though he lobbied to take the mound today, Virgil Vasquez (sore arm) was also held out from throwing again on Monday. He should resume either Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • In all, 16 pitchers threw one to two innings of live batting practice on Monday. It was the second time doing so for each of the 16, and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan used Monday to watch the pitchers that he wasn’t able to watch throw on Friday.
  • Indian pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel got to participate (well, kinda) in big-league camp on Monday. The pair were among a group of about six who shagged balls in the outfield during batting practice.

  Until tomorrow… 

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