Results tagged ‘ Dusty Brown ’
Most everything you are going to want to read today is written fairly in-depth on the main site. So let me give you those links first:
- Catcher Chris Snyder is at risk to miss the start of the season after a reoccurrence of back soreness. If Snyder is out, Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo will open the year as the team’s two catchers.
- With Andy Marte among those dismissed from camp, Steve Pearce appears to have himself a big league bench spot.
- Brian Burres was sent down, leaving three relievers fighting for two bullpen spots.
- James McDonald successfully threw three innings in a Triple-A game on Saturday, which sets him up to pitch again on Thursday.
- With Corey Wimberly and Dusty Brown out of the mix, the bench is coming into better focus. John Bowker, Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Rodriguez are competing for two spots (assuming Jaramillo begins the year as Doumit’s backup).
- Manager Clint Hurdle has solidified his lineup. And it has Jose Tabata batting first, Andrew McCutchen hitting third, Lyle Overbay in the fourth spot and Pedro Alvarez at No. 5.
You won’t find Kevin Correia complaining much about his start on Saturday — a start in which he threw 92 pitches (59 strikes) in six innings. This was his first six-inning outing of the spring, and it puts Correia in perfect position to be ready for his Opening Day start next Friday.
The results were pretty good, too. He served up a two-run homer to Alex Rodriguez in the first inning after narrowly missing with a two-strike slider to Mark Teixeira right before. Correia then limited the Yankees (who played mostly their “A” lineup) to just four more hits and one other run in his last six innings.
“I thought it was definitely my best outing in spring,” Correia. “I felt strong the whole time. You want your last Spring Training outing to be good. You don’t want to go into the season thinking about how you didn’t pitch well the time before. I felt pretty good about this one.”
The one thing the Pirates don’t have to worry about is Correia not being stretched out to begin the year. He has done as well as anyone on the staff in terms of getting in the spring innings necessary to pitch deep at the onset of the regular season. With 92 pitches on Saturday, Correia should be good to go over 100, as needed, on Opening Day.
“I thought he got stronger as he went on,” Hurdle said. “He expects a lot of himself. He never shuts himself down on an inning or an outing. He takes a lot of pride in getting the ball and pitching deep and getting as many innings as he can get. I thought it was a very good way for him to finish up.”
Correia will get five days of rest (instead of the normal four) before his next outing.
Michael Crotta allowed one run on two hits in an inning of relief, but he remains very much in the mix for a bullpen spot in Pittsburgh. One of three relievers fighting for two openings in the bullpen, Crotta hadn’t allowed an earned run (10 innings) until this game.
“He is a big guy,” Hurdle said. “He repeats his delivery pretty well. He’s got good downhill plane. It’s hard sink and he’s added a complementary breaking ball to it at times. He’s pounded the strikezone. He has done everything that he can possibly do to at least build his confidence.”
Don’t look now, but the Pirates have dropped five in a row and nine of the last 11. That’s not exactly the way I’d imagine the club wants to head into the regular season. Hurdle, however, downplayed the importance of needing some wins this week when asked about the losing afterward.
“We play every game to win but if we don’t, we don’t,” he said. “We’re going to start the season and we’re not going to have any. You’ve got to play good baseball to win and we haven’t played complete games for the last 10-11 games. You have to throw a complete package out there. I’ll be more concerned when we’re running our regular team out there. Winning is always the intent, but again the focus will obviously shift to a higher degree of that once the season starts.”
With four spring games remaining, the Pirates are 10-19.
“We’ve got to go out and win ballgames and find ways to win ballgames,” first baseman Lyle Overbay said. “I think we need to do a little better job of picking each other up when things go wrong. It seems like it starts snowballing, and someone needs to pick us up – whether it’s a pitcher or a great defensive play – to snap us right out of it.”
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Tampa Bay now has two spring wins and both have come at the expense of Pittsburgh. Of course, the Pirates also have their own two wins over the Rays. The best-of-seven spring series continues in Port Charlotte on Friday.
One thing that could turn out to be different this year is how long the club waits to announce its final bench spots. That’s because so much hinges on what the team decides to do with Ryan Doumit. And I’m not just talking about whether or not the Pirates deal him elsewhere.
The Pirates still have not decided whether they want to carry two or three catchers into the season. If the club takes three, Jason Jaramillo or Dusty Brown will head north. If not, it doesn’t matter what either one of them do — they will be headed to Triple-A Indianapolis together. How Brown and Jaramillo are handling the unknown was the focus of my main story on pirates.com today, and you can get to that here.
Ross Ohlendorf left balls up in the second of his three innings on Monday and that was to blame for the one shaky inning he endured. After needing only five pitches (all fastballs) to retire the side in the first, Ohlendorf allowed three straight hits and a walk to begin the second.
He got some help getting out of the jam when Manny Ramirez’s foot hit one of the singles. Catcher Chris Snyder also threw out B.J. Upton as Upton tried to swipe third. As a result, Ohlendorf limited the damage to just one run.
Ohlendorf bounced back to pitch a clean third and said afterward that he felt like the start was another step in the right direction.
“I probably felt a little stronger in the first one just because I had a little more adrenaline,” Ohlendorf said. “But I still felt good about today.”
Ohlendorf mixed in a lot more changeups and a few sliders in the outing. Now it’s a matter of sharpening the command of all his pitches.
The Rays were off and running against the Pirates. But in their four attempts to steal bases, they were only successful twice. Snyder threw out two of three runners taking off against him.
The Pirates’ struggles throwing out runners last year has been incessantly noted. But it was a serious issue, and it is one that is being addressed this year. Ohlendorf, in particular, knows he needs to do a better job varying his rhythm and getting the ball to the plate quicker to keep runners more honest.
Could improvements already have been made?
“If I had been slower, he wouldn’t have had a chance,” Ohlendorf said, referring to Snyder’s ability to throw out Upton. “He made as good of a throw as he could have made and it was still pretty close. And Upton is a fast runner. I was quicker [today] than I would have been last year on most of my pitches, especially with a guy on second.”
The pitchers are working on slidesteps and ways to break up the timing of the runner — whether that be holding the ball longer, being quicker to the plate, etc. Be sure that the work is going to continue. But also give credit to Snyder for a pair of great throws.
“They’ve worked hard at it. It’s paying off,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “And both his throws were very, very accurate. He does a good job back there for us.”
A few tidbits:
- Ronny Cedeno returned to the lineup on Monday and got his first hit of the spring. He had been 0-for-11. Cedeno told me he has been dealing with some timing issues, but maybe he was right when he followed that up by saying he felt he would be breaking through soon.
- The Pirates have scored two runs in their last 21 innings. That’s not reason for huge concern right now given that pitchers are typically ahead of hitters early in spring. However, most of the starting position players are playing in Tuesday’s game against the Twins, so that would be a group that you would want to see some offense from.
- None of the three bullpen candidates who pitched on Monday — Jose Veras, Tyler Yates, Daniel Moskos – fared exceptionally well. Veras and Yates each allowed two walks. Moskos walked one but also allowed three hits.
On the main site later, you will find notes about Evan Meek’s spring debut, Pedro Ciriaco’s favorable early impressive and minor injuries to Josh Rodriguez (right quad tightness) and John Bowker (left wrist soreness).
On a side note, I have the day off on Tuesday, so you’ll have to rely on my capable colleague Evan Drellich for your daily news. I will be spending most of the day not at the beach, but working on a lengthy feature story that is set to run on Wednesday. It’s a story that I hope will bring some perspective about how important winning and losing a baseball game really is. I hope you will read and enjoy.
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One of the unique aspects of Spring Training is the fact that the day start so early. For the rest of the year, players, coaches and the media are trained to be nocturnal. Down here, it is early to bed, early to rise.
The clubhouse opens to the media at 7:30 am and by then, most players are already in. Some have already worked out. Early work commences at that hour and runs until the regularly scheduled 9 am workout.
For those who don’t have early work, they pass the time in varying ways. Today, second baseman Neil Walker sat down with a stack of fan mail. He signed baseball cards that had been sent to him and read every letter that was written.
Catcher Dusty Brown has a morning routine that involves crossword puzzles. For the last four years, Brown has done a crossword every morning. He says he finishes them every time, too. It was something Brown said he saw Tim Wakefield do every day during Red Sox Spring Training.
The practical joke of the morning was played on James McDonald, who had a rubber snake placed in his pants by a teammate who will remain unnamed. Unfortunately, I was conducting an interview on the other side of the room when McDonald headed to his locker so I missed his reaction.
Anyways, your morning news…
- Ronny Cedeno is back in the lineup after missing three games with a bruised right middle finger. He didn’t have any issues gripping a bat on Sunday, so he’ll give it a go.
- Right-hander Evan Meek will make his first spring appearance in this game, too. He’s slated to come in and pitch the fourth.
- Scott Olsen will throw his first session of live batting practice on Tuesday. He is scheduled to pitch two innings. The Pirates haven’t announced whether Olsen will need one or two sessions of live BP before he is ready to pitch in a game.
- I wrote yesterday about the Pirates not using Steve Pearce at third base in a game yet. Well, Pearce’s first test at the hot corner is coming soon. He is scheduled to start at third in the Pirates’ “B” game against the Twins in Fort Myers on Tuesday. The Pirates will play this “B” game three hours before the normally scheduled 1:05 pm game.
- In that “B” game, the Pirates will use the following pitchers: Brad Lincoln, Bryan Morris, Kyle McPherson, Justin Wilson, Ramon Aguero.
- The following pitchers will then throw in the regular game: Brian Burres, Sean Gallagher, Fernando Nieve, Chris Leroux, Jeff Locke and Daniel McCutchen.
PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), R. Cedeno (SS), N. Walker (2B), M. Diaz (RF), G. Atkins (3B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), G. Hernandez (CF), R. Ohlendorf (RHP)
Pitchers: R. Ohlendorf, E. Meek, J. Veras, T. Yates, M. Crotta, D. Moskos
RAYS: J. Jaso (C), J. Damon (LF), E. Longoria (3B), M. Ramirez (DH), M. Joyce (RF), B.J. Upton (CF), D. Johnson (1B), J. Inglett (2B), T. Beckham (SS)
Pitchers: D. Price, M. Ekstrom, R. Delaney, M. Bush, A. Cobb
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Once listed as one of baseball’s top prospects, Andy Marte has signed a Minor League deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to Spring Training. Marte is one of three Minor League signings the Pirates announced on Wednesday. Right-handed pitcher Fernando Nieve and catcher Dusty Brown also inked deals with the club.
Ranked by Baseball America as a top 15 prospects from 2004-06, Marte has yet to find his footing in the Majors. He was the Braves’ No. 1 prospect in 2005 and held that spot in the Red Sox’s organization when he was traded there for shortstop Edgar Renteria in December 2005. Marte was almost immediately flipped to Cleveland, where he remained until being outrighted by the Indians last month.
Marte, 27, has appeared in the big leagues in each of the past six seasons, though he has never played in more than 80 games. After batting .229 in 170 at-bats in 2010, Marte pushed his career average in 301 games to .218. He has a career .277 on-base percentage and 20 home runs.
Marte played third base almost exclusively in the Minors, though he did log significant time at first with Cleveland in each of the past two seasons. First base would seem the most logical fit for Marte in the Pirates’ system, too, given that Pedro Alvarez is right now entrenched as a fixture at third.
The Pirates have been looking for a right-handed hitting first baseman to potentially complement Garrett Jones at first. But because Marte has yet to prove he can be an asset on a Major League roster, that search for first base and/or right field options isn’t likely to stop.
Nieve is expected to compete for a spot in the Pirates’ bullpen. The 28-year-old right-hander appeared in 40 games (one start) with the Mets last season. He allowed 28 earned runs on 37 hits in 42 innings. Nieve issued 22 walks, while striking out 38.
He has a career 4.61 ERA in 99 games with the Mets (2009-10) and Houston (2006, 2008). Nieve’s splits against right-handed and left-handed hitters are fairly equivalent, with right-handed batters owning a .249 career average against him compared to the .256 average compiled by left-handed hitters.
With the recent departures of Erik Kratz and Luke Carlin, the Pirates needed to improve their catching depth this offseason. Brown, 28, appears a candidate to be the organization’s catcher in Triple-A, which is where Brown has spent the majority of the last three seasons.
With Triple-A Pawtucket (R.I.) in 2010, Brown threw out 27 percent of base stealers and batted .218 with 19 doubles and seven homers. He has 15 career at-bats with the Red Sox, who drafted Brown in the 35th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft.
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