Results tagged ‘ Bryan Morris ’

Double-A Altoona roster set

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates’ Double-A Altoona affiliate has announced its anticipated Opening Day roster. Highlighting the group of players beginning the year in Altoona is catcher Tony Sanchez, outfielder Starling Marte and a starting rotation that will should include Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, Aaron Pribanic, Aaron Thompson and Brian Leach.

The full roster is below:

Pitchers: Tim Alderson, Tom Boleska, Anthony Claggett, Mike Colla, Michael Dubee, Jared Hughes, Noah Krol, Brian Leach, Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, Aaron Pribanic, Aaron Thompson

Catchers: Eric Fryer, Tony Sanchez, Kris Watts

Infielders: Miles Durham, Jeremy Farrell, Shelby Ford, Brock Holt, Jordy Mercer

 Outfielders: Brad Chalk, Jose Hernandez, Quincy Latimore, Starling Marte

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MLB.com’s Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

All month, MLB.com is slowly rolling out its Top 10 prospects list for each club. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh’s list was revealed. The full story is here for you to read more about each prospect. If you’re just looking for the list, it is as follows:

  1. RHP Jameson Taillon
  2. RHP Stetson Allie
  3. C Tony Sanchez
  4. LHP Rudy Owens
  5. RHP Bryan Morris
  6. RHP Luis Heredia
  7. LHP Jeff Locke
  8. OF Starling Marte
  9. RHP Zack Von Rosenberg
  10. LHP Colton Cain

You agree or disagree with any of the placements? Feel free to discuss…

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Day 27: Phillies @ Pirates (ss); Pirates @ Blue Jays (ss)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Let’s jump right into news…

  • Andrew McCutchen is back in the lineup on Saturday after being pulled from Friday’s game with soreness in his left wrist. McCutchen said he wasn’t sure how he hurt his wrist, but that he woke up Friday morning with it feeling sore. He had X-rays for precautionary reasons, but the issue was believed to be nerve related.
  • James McDonald is not doing any on-field work on Saturday, he said, after leaving Friday’s game with discomfort in his left side. McDonald said he isn’t entirely sure when he’d be cleared to do light work again. The Pirates sent out a statement saying he will be re-evaluated over the next few days. McDonald said he was unsure whether he’d have to miss a spring start or not. No other specifics on the injury have been given.
  • The Pirates made four cuts on Saturday morning, whittling down camp from 58 to 54. Bryan Morris was optioned to Triple-A; Kyle McPherson was optioned to High-A; Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson were reassigned to Minor League camp.
  • Tyler Yates, whose is from the Hawaiian island of Kauai, reported that his family was feeling no effect from the earthquake/tsunami.
  • Jose Ascanio and Fernando Nieve are both on the field as I type working through some delivery motion work.
  • Since I was off on Friday, I will pass along this note from the club regarding Ryan Doumit: Doumit was diagnosed with a right oblique strain and is unavailable in games until further notice. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday, and the team will provide its next update then.
  • Scott Olsen threw batting practice on Friday without any issue. The team has not announced what his next step will be, though I’d imagine he’ll be making a game appearance soon. Monday, perhaps?
  • Chris Snyder was a late scratch from the game in Dunedin because of soreness in his back. The team announced Snyder’s status as day-to-day.

Lineup for Phillies @ Pirates:

PIRATES: A. Presley (CF), G. Jones (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), J. Bowker (LF), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Jaramillo (C), R. Ohlendorf (RHP)

Pitchers: R. Ohlendorf (four innings), J. Veras, A. Thompson, T. Yates

PHILLIES: P. Orr (2B), R. Gload (DH), R. Ibanez (LF), R. Howard (1B), B. Moss (RF), J. Mayberry (CF), W. Valdez (3B), E. Kratz (C), F. Galvis (SS)

Pitchers: V. Worley, D. Herndon, S. Mathieson, M. Zagurski

Lineup for Pirates @ Blue Jays:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), J. Rodriguez (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), M. Diaz (RF), A. Marte (3B), J. Fields (1B), G. Atkins (DH), C. Snyder D. Brown (C), C. Wimberly (SS)

Pitchers: J. Locke (2 innings), S. Gallagher (2/3 innings), D. McCutchen (2 innings), R. Aguero, M. Crotta

BLUE JAYS: S. Podsednik (LF), R. Davis (CF), T. Snider (DH), J. Rivera (RF), E. Encarnacion (1B), B. Lawrie (3B), JP Arenibia (C), M. McCoy (SS), J. Diaz (2B)

Pitchers: R. Romero

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Orioles 6, Pirates 4 (ss); Pirates 6, Rays 5 (ss)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates split the split-squad affairs, with the road group claiming a victory against the Rays in Port Charlotte. I didn’t see that game, obviously, but a few things stand out in the box score:

  • Garrett Atkins had a three-run homer, his second homer of the spring if you count the one he hit off the college kids on Friday. Both of Atkins’ hits in Grapefruit League play have been for extra bases.
  • The line wasn’t pretty for Fernando Nieve, one of many guys fighting for a bullpen spot. He was scheduled to pitch two innings and only made it through one. In that frame, Nieve allowed five hits and three earned runs. Two of those hits were doubles and four of the knocks were line drive hits.
  • Bryan Morris appeared to have a strong first inning and worked his way out of trouble in his second inning of work. He struck out Evan Longoria in a 1-2-3 first and induced a key double play in the second. A wild pitch allowed one run to score against him.

***

The most important development in Paul Maholm’s outing on Monday — and what I highlighted in the Beat item on the left-hander – was his attention to throwing inside. Be sure that this is going to be key not just for Maholm, but for this entire rotation to take significant steps forward. This and first-pitch strikes are going to be crucial.

Maholm learned long ago the importance of setting aside spring results and focusing on particulars. That said, he seemed hardly concerned about his final line — which included four hits and two runs.

“I would say I’m getting a lot more comfortable on the mound right now and getting in better rhythm,” Maholm said. “My rhythm is good. Everything is good. It’s just being able to do it consistently for a long stretch. For me, that’s what spring is for.”

Spring Training is also a pretty loose environment, and Maholm made sure to give Orioles catcher Craig Tatum some friendly flack. Maholm and Tatum were battery mates at Mississippi State, and Tatum tagged Maholm for a single when they faced each other in the second inning on Monday. Maholm responded by promptly picking Tatum off first.

“He can only pull the ball. I made him look good by throwing him a fastball in,” Maholm said, grinning. “I picked him off to make him look bad. We’re somewhat even. I’ll send him a text later asking him what he was thinking.”

***

Split-squad days, in particular, allow a handful of players from Minor League camp to get an opportunity in front of the Major League coaching staff. A number of those players spend the day with the big-league club and serve as late-inning substitutions when the starters take their early exits.

On Monday, Mel Rojas Jr., Miles Durham and Jim Negrych had their chance to make a first impression on new manager Clint Hurdle. For Durham, the impression was an especially good one.

Durham came to the plate twice, drawing one walk and launching a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth.

“First day and I just wanted to come here and help them out a little bit, and I did pretty well,” Durham said afterward. “[Hurdle] had never seen me play before, so it’s good to get a good first impression.”

The homer came after Durham fell just short on what would have been a sensational diving catch in the eighth. Durham laid out as the ball just missed his glove.

“I got real close,” Durham said. “It hit off the end of my glove and once I hit the ground, I lost it.”

Durham was the Pirates’ 22nd-round pick in 2006. He hit .259 with Double-A Altoona last season and went 3-for-10 in six Major League Spring Training games last year.

***

On the main site, you will find the following tonight:

  • The main story takes a look at Pedro Alvarez, who has showcased a terrific work ethic and has a serious motivation to not rely solely on his natural talent to be good. Let me emphasize for the last time that a report about Alvarez gaining 15 pounds this winter was entirely inaccurate. Alvarez did gain muscle this offseason (not nearly 15 pounds worth), but it’s been unfair that he has had to answer questions this spring about a weight issue that isn’t an issue at all.
  • Bucs Beat has an update on Joe Beimel, as well as a closer look at Maholm’s outing. From Port Charlotte, MLB.com’s Evan Drellich contributes a note about Morris’ outing. Interesting, too, that Morris faced Manny Ramirez, who was a part of that three-team trade that sent Morris to Pittsburgh and Ramirez to the Dodgers back in 2008.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Beginning the assessment…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

We get the same warning each time a trade is made that includes a proven player going elsewhere for prospects or unproven young players. We are told to be patient, to wait years before evaluating if there is a clear cut winner or loser in the deal.

There are some trades that don’t appear to need any more time for analysis. The Pirates’ deal with the Yankees (in which the club acquired Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen) in July 2008 can laud Pittsburgh as the winner. The Pirates surely seem to have come out ahead in the Octavio Dotel trade that happened just months ago, too 

The Jason Bay trade (July 2008) was one of the biggest that GM Neal Huntington has made in his time here. And after Friday’s developments, we are closer to being able to evaluate the return. I’ll agree that there is still a big unknown looming — as the success or lack thereof of Bryan Morris in the big leagues could make the Pirates definite winners or losers in the trade. However, the other three players the Pirates acquired for their star outfielder all turned out to be flops.

First, let’s take a look at what the Pirates had with Bay as a trading chip in 2008:

  • After a down year in 2007, Bay rebounded as he began working with hitting coach Don Long in ’08. At the time he was traded, Bay was hitting .282 with 22 homers, 23 doubles and 64 RBIs in 106 games. He was one of the biggest pieces available at the Deadline. 
  • Bay had one more year left on his contract before he would be a free agent. He was going to be plenty affordable tpo, as that 2009 salary was $7.5 million.

In return, the Pirates acquired Andy LaRoche and Morris from the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox. The results have been as follows:

Moss: In 95 games, he hit .228 with 31 doubles, 13 homers and 66 RBIs. He was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster this month after spending the year in Triple-A. Moss has since signed with the Phillies.

LaRoche: In 301 games, he hit .226 with 41 doubles, 19 homers and 92 RBIs. He was the starting third baseman before Pedro Alvarez arrived, but never proved he deserved a chance to be an everyday player. LaRoche was designated for assignment on Friday and is close to becoming a free agent.   

Hansen: In 21 relief appearances, he allowed 17 earned runs in 22 innings. Hansen walked 24 and struck out 12. He has been slowly recovering from a nerve injury near his neck and just began pitching again in the Minors last season. 

Morris: After a terrible 2009 season that included a suspension, Morris rebounded to have a strong showing in 2010. That put Morris back on the radar as a prospect. He was stellar in eight starts with High-A Bradenton and then made his last 19 appearances in Double-A. If Morris has a strong start next year, it’s not unrealistic to think he could be a potential September call-up.

Again, no team is a winner in every trade it makes, though you particularly want to make sure you get adequate return in the deals where you’re sending off one of your best chips away — and Bay was just that. Again, Morris’ development will go a long way in helping us make a final assessment many years from now. But to this point, the Pirates missed completely on those first three players.

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All-Star Futures Game

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I’ll be reporting from Anaheim for the next few days, and this year’s All-Star events kicked off with the Futures Game this afternoon. Pittsburgh had two representatives: RHP Bryan Morris (US Team) and OF Gorkys Hernandez (World Team).

Morris’ appearance in the game was brief, one pitch to be exact. He entered with two out in the seventh and got Hernandez to ground out to end the inning. Hernandez played the entire game, finishing 0-for-3 with a walk. This was Hernandez’s third Futures Game appearance.

I talked with both players at length prior to the contest (which the U.S. team won, 9-1). You’ll find a lengthy feature on Morris here, but I’ve included some stuff from Hernandez on the blog so he doesn’t get left out.

Hernandez flew to Anaheim after hitting .264 with 41 runs scored, 16 stolen bases 10 doubles, four triples, two homers and 23 RBIs in 81 games with Double-A Altoona. Those numbers have largely benefited from the 13-game hitting streak that Hernandez still carries. He has hit .313 since May 28.

Hernandez, 22, talked on Sunday about being disappointed with where he is at this point in the season and admitted that focus (well, a lack thereof) has been the biggest factor. The Pirates have mentioned this at being an issue in the past, too.

“Before, I really struggled with my concentration,” Hernandez said. “It wasn’t very good. Now, I think it’s much better. I’m doing better. I’m paying more attention at the plate and I’m hitting more. I think it’s helping me now that I’m hitting the ball to right field and up the middle more.”

It was because of these disappointing early season numbers that Hernandez was particularly caught off guard when he received a Futures Game invite. (The fact that there aren’t many top non-US outfield prospects is the reason Hernandez was here.)

“When I see that I got the invitation to the All-Star Futures Game, it was a surprise for me and my family, too,” Hernandez said. “It’s exciting.”

I’ve talked to Hernandez a few times before, and I’ve described him in the past as confident-borderline-cocky and that came out again today. Well, maybe it was more on the cocky end of the spectrum.

When he talked about playing in this game, Hernandez said: “This game should help me a lot. If something happens [here], maybe Pittsburgh will rush me and see that I’m ready to play in the big leagues.”

Well, not quite, Gorkys. An 0-for-3 day won’t get you a call up. Hernandez did make a nice defensive running catch at the wall in the fifth, I’ll give him that.

Later in our conversation, Hernandez had this to say about still being in Double-A for the second straight season.

“I think I’m ready to play in Triple-A,” he said. “I just have to wait for the team to let me know. I thought I’d be at Triple-A park by now. But I have to keep working.”

Hernandez, who was one of three players the Pirates received in the Nate McLouth trade, still has a long way to go before anyone starts seeing him as a long-term piece in the franchise.

He is seen as an above-average defender, and Hernandez has made improvements on the basepath — he’s stealing more and being caught less.

But the offensive production just hasn’t consistently been there, and the focus issues are widespread.

***

Tomorrow, you will find coverage of Evan Meek (who will enjoy his first All-Star press gathering) and the Home Run Derby here. I’ll also be sure to snap some photos over the next few days to share for anyone wishing to experience the All-Star fun from afar.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

Morris invited to Futures Game

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Morris, Bryan 2.jpgLots of eyebrows were raised when Bryan Morris’ name wasn’t on the initial All-Star Futures Game roster, announced late last month. As it turns out, Morris is going after all.

Morris and Minnesota’s Anthony Slama were added to the U.S. roster on Wednesday. Dan Hudson (White Sox) had to come off because he was called up, and Jarred Cosart (Phillies) can’t participate because he’s on the DL.

Morris, 23, is certainly deserving. He started the year with high-A Bradenton and posted a 0.60 ERA while going 3-0 in eight starts. Morris is 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts since being promoted to Double-A Altoona. In 96 1/3 combined innings, the right-hander has struck out 90 and walked 25.

The Pirates’ other Futures Game representative is outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who will be playing for the World team.

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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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Bucs promote Bryan Morris

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Bryan Morris’ sensational season start has earned the right-hander a promotion to Double-A. The Pirates made the announcement late Sunday afternoon.

Morris, who Pittsburgh acquired in the 2008 Jason Bay trade, had been dominant in eight starts with low-A Bradenton (Fla.). He hadn’t allowed an earned run in any of his past five outings (30 innings) and had given up just three in 44 2/3 innings all year. Morris struck out 40 and walked just seven.

His 0.60 ERA was best among all Minor League starters at any level.

This is all a 180-degree turnaround from where Morris, 23, was a year ago. He spent all of 2009 at the high-A level and struggled through a 4-9 season in which he posted a 5.57 ERA. The year was low-lighted by a 12-day suspension for unprofessional conduct.

Now, though, Morris has put his name back in the mix along with the organization’s best pitching prospects. And Double-A Altoona might not be his final stop this season.

Speaking on his weekly radio show earlier on Sunday, general manager Neal Huntington left the door open for Morris to pitch his way into the Triple-A rotation before year’s end. 

“If he can sustain what he’s doing, he might be able to jump another level by August,” Huntington said. “He’s really made great strides.”

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May 1: Pirates (10-13) @ Dodgers (9-14)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

After spotting Johnny Depp, Charlie Chaplin, Spiderman and Scooby Doo on Hollywood Blvd this morning, I come to Dodger Stadium and find out that Garrett Jones has been in the hospital today after getting food stuck in his esophagus.

What a weird day. Only in LA.

In an attempt to get back to some normalcy, let’s get straight to the daily notes:

  • So here’s the skinny on Jones, as we know it now. Apparently he went to eat something (food unknown) after last night’s game and got it lodged in his esophagus. You know the feeling… we’ve all done it. Though usually some water or big swallows does the trick. Jones wasn’t so lucky. He threw up a few times last night and was still feeling bothered this morning, so he went to the hospital. The Pirates will know more when Jones arrives at Dodger Stadium between 5-6 pm PT, but they aren’t expecting this to be something that keeps him out of the lineup past Saturday.
  • Whether Jones will be available to pinch hit on Saturday night will be determined once he gets here as well.
  • Speaking of pinch hitters, the Pirates continue to play with just four. The team still has a 13-man pitching staff and 12-man staff, though expect that to be changing soon. Assuming the starting pitching continues to stabalize itself, manager John Russell said he expects to send down the extra reliever (my guess: Brian Bass) and bring up an additional position player during the first series of the next homestand.
  • Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit needs a hit on Saturday to match his career-high 11-game hitting streak. In his last 10 games, Doumit is 16-for-34. His .306 season average ranks third among all National League catchers.
  • Bryan Morris (product of the 2008 Jason Bay trade) had another stellar game for the high-A Bradenton Marauders on Friday. Morris allowed four hits and struck out seven in seven scoreless innings. In five starts this season, Morris has allowed just three earned runs in 27 2/3 innings. He’s likely headed to Double-A soon, and you can read more about the pitching prospect on pirates.com later.
  • Speaking of the Marauders, their 14-7 record this season is the best in the 12-team Florida State League.
  • Lefty Zach Duke has to be glad that Saturday’s start won’t be coming against the Brewers. Duke allowed 14 earned runs in nine innings to Milwaukee,which he faced in his last two starts. Now he faces a Dodgers team that he limited to two runs in five innings on Opening Day. Said Russell: “I’m sure he’s ready to turn the page on it. Push the reset button. Face a different team and move on.”
  • All you Pittsburghers who remember Trenni Kusnierek from FSN Pittsburgh (she left after the 2007 season and is now a reporter for MLB Network), I wanted to let you know that she is one of the newest members of the MLBlogs network. You can find her baseball blog here.

Pirates lineup:

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

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Reed Johnson (LF)
  2. Russell Martin (C)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Matt Kemp (CF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Casey Blake (3B)
  7. Blake DeWitt (2B)
  8. Jamey Carroll (SS)
  9. Carlos Monasterios (RHP)

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