Results tagged ‘ Craig Hansen ’

Beginning the assessment…

Jenifer Langosch/

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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Alvarez, Tabata among eight Bucs cut

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates optioned top prospects Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday morning as part of eight cuts made in Major League camp. Jonathan Van Every and Doug Bernier were reassigned to Minor League camp.

The Pirates also reassigned Jimmy Barthmaier, Neal Cotts, Craig Hansen and Tyler Yates to Minor League camp. All four have spent the spring rehabbing from various injuries and will begin the year on the DL.

GM Neal Huntington made it clear that the Pirates would have preferred to have kept Tabata and Alvarez at big league camp, but the organization’s hand was forced by a roster status rule. Friday was the last day that a team can option a player that is on the 40-man roster and didn’t play in the Majors last year and is hurt. Neither Alvarez, nor Tabata, are hurt, of course, but if they stayed in Major League camp and were to get hurt here, they would lose a full year of Major League service time. It’s a risk the Pirates didn’t want to take.

More reax from Alvarez and quotes from Huntington to come on the main site later.

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Day 2: Daily Squeeze

By Jenifer Langosch/

Octavio Dotel (Small).jpgWith physicals out of the way, players had an earlier start to workouts on Friday. Everyone was on the field by 10 am and off by 12:30 pm. That included position players, who continue to work out in advance of the first full squad gathering.

Sorry, but there won’t be a new video today. But here are your highlights from Pirate City:

  • Right-hander Jean Machi, who has held out of workouts on Thursday for a follow-up to his physical, participated in full on Friday. He also threw his first side session.
  • In addition to Machi, another 15 pitchers took the mound for the first time in Spring Training. That group included: Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Brendan Donnelly, Octavio Dotel, Evan Meek, Vinnie Chulk, Ronald Uviedo, Jeff Sues, Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Powell, Wil Ledezma, Brian Bass and Ramon Aguero.
  • Another two pitchers — Jimmy Barthmaier and Neal Cotts — took the mound after the scheduled side sessions ended. Both are rehabbing from elbow surgery. Barthmaier, who is expected back in mid-May, threw 30 pitches. Cotts, who is just seven months removed from his procedure, threw 60.
  • Two other rehabbing pitchers — Craig Hansen and Tyler Yates — each did long toss for about 15 minutes.
  • First baseman Jeff Clement continued to get extra on-field attention from infield coach Carlos Garcia. Garcia really seems to be emphasizing the positioning of the glove when Clement fields ground balls. Clement will be the focus of my spring feature on Saturday, so look for more on him then.
  • Spotted Ryan Church this morning as he arrived at Pirate City for the first time. He met a number of his new teammates but did not participate in on-field activities with other position players.
  • With Church here, only seven position players — Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno, Delwyn Young, Jonathan Van Every, Gorkys Hernandez and Argenis Diaz — are unaccounted for.
  • After donning his catching gear briefly a few days ago, Neil Walker fielded ground balls at second base on Friday. He’s going to continue to improve his versatility with the hope that it can eventually land him a role on the big-league club.
  • Andy LaRoche might want to consider having his first name stiched onto the back of his jersey for the time being. As LaRoche came off the field, he was hounded by fans yelling: “Adam, can I have your autograph?” “Who?” LaRoche responded, smiling. Some fans caught their mistakes. Others didn’t. Regardless, Andy happily signed his name to everyone for asked.
  • All pitchers spent 40 minutes taking part in fielding drills again. The group that then did not throw off the mound spent time practicing bunts in the cages.
  • One of the pitchers to throw his first side session on Friday was Dotel (pitcured above). When asked about his early impression of the team’s new closer, manager John Russell said: “He was very professional about his side today. He did everything right. That’s the veteran he is.”
  • Saturday’s workouts are expected to again begin around 10 am.

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Hanrahan out with elbow injury; Vazquez undergoes knee surgery

Jenifer Langosch/

General manager Neal Huntington went through a list of injured Pirates this morning and among them are RHP Joel Hanrahan and INF Ramon Vazquez. More details and reax coming later, but here are your nuts and bolts:

  • Hanrahan has a flexor-pronator strain in his right elbow that will cause him to miss the opening part of the season. How long Hanrahan will be out is not yet known. He is scheduled to see Dr. Patrick DeMeo today in Bradenton and is scheduled to be examined by Dr. James Andrews next week. Hanrahan said he felt some discomfort at the end of the last season and that it flared up again in mini-camp and hasn’t gotten better. Hanrahan said that early reports have not detected any sort of structural damage.
  • Vazquez had a knee scope around Thanksgiving  to repair some cartilage. Everything is progressing with his rehab and he is expected to be ready on Opening Day. He will be monitored this spring and is limited with the fielding and running he can do right now. Vazquez, who has never had issues with his knee before, said he started feeling discomfort after doubling off Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro in early August.
  • RHP Jose Ascanio (right shoulder surgery) is progressing well and is targeting an early June return. He is scheduled to have a check-up with Dr. Andrews next week.
  • LHP Neal Cotts (left elbow surgery) is eyeing a return in mid-June to early-July. His rehab work is going very well.
  • RHP Craig Hansen (upper, mid-back nerve damage) has begun throwing and is scheduled to have his first mound session on March 10. His strength is coming back, though he still has a long way to go before being close to returning. The Pirates have not yet set a target date for that return.
  • RHP Tyler Yates (right elbow surgery) is on track to return in July. He is progressing as expected.
  • RHP Jimmy Barthmaier (right elbow surgery) is progressing fine and is looking to return sometime in mid-May.

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About that Top 50 prospects list

Jenifer Langosch/

In case you didn’t see the unveiling of Jonathan Mayo’s Top 50 prospects on MLB Network/ Wednesday night, here are a few links that might be of interest to you. Mayo listed third baseman Pedro Alvarez as the eighth-best prospect in the Minors. Be sure to watch the video that accompanies the story for some additional insight.

If you’re interested in the rest of Mayo’s list, check this out. It also delves into different breakdowns and comparisons that you might find interesting.

It’s worth nothing that no other Pirates made the Top 50 (or even what-would-have-been Top 60) list.

If you want to reminisce, take a look at these lists of’s Top 50 prospects from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. You’ll find that Andy LaRoche was ranked No. 33 in 2008 and No. 29 in 2006. Andrew McCutchen was listed every year since 2007. Back in 2006, Lastings Milledge was put at No. 14 and Craig Hansen sat at No. 44.

In general, it’s pretty interesting to scroll through these Top 50 lists and see which projections were spot on and which players turned out to be not nearly as good as the hype.

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Non-roster invitations

Jenifer Langosch/

Before I head out of town for my last short vacation before another baseball season consumes the next eight months of life, I wanted to give you an updated list of the non-roster players that the Pirates have invited to Spring Training:

Pitchers (14)

  • Jimmy Barthmaier (RHP)
  • Brian Bass (RHP)
  • Brian Burres (LHP)
  • Vinnie Chulk (RHP)
  • Neal Cotts (LHP)
  • Craig Hansen (RHP)
  • Jeff Karstens (RHP)
  • Wil Ledezma (LHP)
  • Jean Machi (RHP)
  • Jeremy Powell (RHP)
  • Jack Taschner (LHP)
  • Justin Thomas (LHP)
  • Virgil Vasquez (RHP)
  • Tyler Yates (RHP)

Catchers (3)

  • Luke Carlin
  • Erik Kratz
  • Tony Sanchez

Infielders (0)

Outfielders (2)

  • Brian Myrow
  • Jonathan Van Every

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Pirates sign Yates, Burres, Cotts

Jenifer Langosch/

UPDATE 10:20 pm: Here are your contract details:

  • Yates: $975,000 Major League salary with incentives worth another $325,000
  • Cotts: $900,000 Major League salary with incentives worth another $350,000
  • Burres: $550,000 Major League salary with clause that he can leave and sign with Asian team if not on Opening Day roster

The Pirates have agreed to terms on Minor League deals with right-hander Tyler Yates, left-hander Neal Cotts and left-hander Brian Burres. Each player will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, though Yates and Cotts will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season because each underwent Tommy John surgery last July.

The updated list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training now includes these three pitchers plus: RHP Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP Vinnie Chulk, RHP Craig Hansen, RHP Jeff Karstens, LHP Wil Ledezma, RHP Jean Machi, RHP Jeremy Powell, LHP Jack Taschner, LHP Justin Thomas, RHP Virgil Vasquez, C Erik Kratz, C Tony Sanchez, OF Jonathan Van Every.

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Injury updates: Ascanio, Hansen

Jenifer Langosch/

A few injuries to bring you up to speed on…

  • Jose Ascanio (underwent arthroscopic surgery on right shoulder on Oct. 2)

Pirates GM Neal Huntington confirmed that there have been no setbacks for Ascanio since that surgery. While players can sometimes recover and return in seven months, Ascanio is expected to be on an 8-9 month timetable. That means that best-case scenario would probably have him back pitching in Pittsburgh in May/June at the earliest. Ascanio is expected to be cleared to start throwing (very lightly) for the first time about the time the Pirates open up Spring Training camp. 

  • Craig Hansen (sidelined since April with a nerve issue causing spasms in his neck)

Hansen received good news in his check-up last week. The nerve, which needed to regenerate, has gotten closer to the muscle in his back/neck that needs to be strengthened. It’s finally proof of some progress for Hansen, who has been playing the waiting game this whole time. He’s still highly unlikely to be able to compete for a spot in Spring Training, but this at least a sign that Hansen may be able to pitch again at some point in 2010.

  • It’s also worth noting that Huntington said that there were no injuries to report from any of the players currently playing fall or winter ball.

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Hansen, Bautista outrighted to Triple-A; Bootcheck elects free agency

By Jenifer Langosch/

In order to start making additional room on their 40-man roster, the Pirates outrighted right-handed pitchers Denny Bautista and Craig Hansen to Triple-A on Tuesday. Chris Bootcheck was also removed from team’s 40-man roster but informed the Pirates that he will declare free agency since his length of Minor League service time gives him the option to do so.

With those moves, the Pirates now have 38 players on the team’s 40-man roster. Hansen had been on the 60-day disabled list and therefore wasn’t counting as a player on the Pirates’ roster even before being outrighted.

With these three moves, general manager Neal Huntington has begun the process of clearing space for the Pirates to make necessary additions to the roster in advance of the Major League Rule 5 Draft in December. Too, any open space on the roster would allow the Pirates to make a selection in that Rule 5 Draft, which Huntington has done in each of his seasons as the Pirates’ GM.

The Pirates do in fact have some roster shuffling left to do. Right-handers Jose Ascanio and Evan Meek, both of whom ended the season on the 60-day DL, will need to be added in the next few weeks. Those two additions alone would fill the roster back to its maximum.

Right-hander Tyler Yates is also currently on the 60-day DL. However, the Pirates almost certainly won’t tender Yates a contract since the right-hander will not be healthy enough to pitch until midway through the 2010 season at the earliest. Yates underwent Tommy John surgery in July.

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October 2: Pirates (61-97) @ Reds (76-83); Ascanio undergoes surgery

Jenifer Langosch/

The biggest news out of the clubhouse today deals with right-hander Jose Ascanio, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Friday morning. He was found to have a tear in his labrum after originally being diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis back in August. You’ll remember that Ascanio stopped throwing last week as he was trying to work back into position to pitch out of the bullpen before the season ended.

There is no timetable for Ascanio’s return — not even a range apparently for me to pass along. If/when more details are passed on to us, I’ll pass them along to you. The Pirates had intended to build Ascanio up as a starter in Spring Training next year, but a lengthy recovery time might nix that plan. He is out of options.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Manager John Russell announced that Jeff Karstens will start Sunday’s game on three days rest. Karstens threw just 61 pitches on Wednesday, so it isn’t that big of a deal that he’s not getting more than three days in between starts. He’ll likely pitch about 3-4 innings and then give way to a crowded bullpen to do the rest.
  • The decision not to go with Kevin Hart on Sunday was not made due to him reaching any sort of pitch/inning limit. He has a ribcage strain that bothered him a bit in his last start, and the Pirates felt no need to risk greater injury by sending him back out there.
  • Craig Hansen underwent his monthly medical test last week to see if the nerve in his neck had regenerated at all. GM Neal Huntington said that the test showed improvement, but Hansen is still not to the point where he can get ready to start throwing again. I imagine this wait-and-see mode has to be the most frustrating thing for the right-hander, who, too, is out of options.
  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno is unlikely to see any more playing time this year, Russell said.
  • The Pirates are 4-11 against the Reds this season and have gone 1-5 at Great American Ball Park.
  • This will be right-hander Daniel McCutchen’s final chance this year to get his first Major League win. McCutchen is 0-2 in his first four big-league starts. 
  • Oh, and advice for the next time you travel: Don’t leave your credit card in an airport. It turns out to be quite the task to try and track in down. Yes, it’s been that kind of day.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Delwyn Young (2B)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (SS)
  9. Daniel McCutchen (RHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  2. Paul Janish (SS)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Scott Rolen (3B)
  6. Jay Bruce (RF)
  7. Wladimir Balentien (LF)
  8. Craig Tatum (C)
  9. Justin Lehr (RHP)

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