Results tagged ‘ Eric Hacker ’

Pirates announce Minor League staffs

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates announced the 2010 coaching staffs for all six of their affiliates. There were very few changes from last season as all six managers are returning to their respective clubs. Dean Treanor has been promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, where he will serve as Indianapolis’ pitching coach. That position was most recently held by Ray Searage until Searage was hired to join the Major League staff in October.

Tom Filer has been added to take Treanor’s position in Altoona. The only other new addition is Mike Lum, who will be a coach with the Gulf Coast League Pirates.

Minor League notes: Phil Dumatrait, who became a free agent on Saturday when the Pirates decided not to tender him a contract, has signed a Minor League deal with the Tigers. Eric Hacker signed as a Minor League free agent with San Francisco.

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Vasquez, Hacker, Lerud removed from 40-man roster

By Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates continue to retool the club’s 40-man roster, with three more players being removed from it on Friday. Right-handers Virgil Vasquez and Eric Hacker were outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Catcher Steve Lerud was sent outright to Double-A Altoona.

With the three subtractions, the Pirates now have 36 players on their 40-man roster. Relievers Evan Meek and Jose Ascanio remain on the 60-day disabled list and will take two of those vacant spots soon. The Pirates have until Nov. 20 to finalize their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 10.

None of Friday’s three roster moves comes as much of a surprise. Vasquez and Hacker both spent minimal time on the Major League roster in 2009. Lerud spent all of last season as Altoona’s primary catcher.

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September 8: Cubs (69-67) @ Pirates (54-82)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

In less than three hours, the Pirates will honor golf legend Arnold Palmer in a pregame ceremony. Palmer, a western Pa. native, is celebrating his 80th birthday this week. As part of the festivities, pitcher Paul Maholm, braodcaster Steve Blass and golfer Peter Jacobson will have a chipping shot contest on the field just before the game to raise money for Pirates Charities.

Be sure to check back later for the results of the competition, though considering his career path, Jacobson has to be a 2:1 favorite to land the most balls in the 12-foot radius around the pin.

Oh, and you want baseball? OK. Today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Now that the Pirates have reached that dreaded 82nd loss, the question I’ve been hearing is whether 100 is in reach. To lose 100 loses for the second time during this 17-year stretch, the Pirates would have to win eight or fewer of their remaining 26 games. The seven against the Dodgers and six left against the Cubs could be a bit daunting. But do remember the Pirates have 10 games remaining against the below-.500 Padres and Reds on the docket.
  • The Pirates’ 62-100 team in 2001 is the most recent Pittsburgh club to lose 100 games.
  • The clubhouse got considerably more crowded in the last 24 hours. Added today were Donnie Veal, Eric Hacker, Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz. Jeff Karstens is coming off the DL tomorrow, which is his first date of eligibility. That brings the number of players with the team up to 31.
  • Manager John Russell said that Hacker will not make a start for the club while he’s here. He is simply another bullpen option, which will be helpful considering the Pirates finish the season with 18 games in 17 days.
  • Jose Ascanio (right shoulder tendinitis) is progressing well and will soon be throwing off the mound. The Pirates are still optimistic that he will be healthy enough to contribute before the season ends.
  • Though Diaz likely won’t make many, if any, starts with the club this month, his availability off the bench will allow Russell to use Ryan Doumit as a pinch hitter in games where Doumit does not start.
  • Both Doumit and Delwyn Young were given Tuesday off as a day of rest. Young is mired in a 5-for-51 slump and Russell noted that he can see Young wearing down a bit from the rigors of becoming an everyday player since the end of July.
  • Pirates pinch hitters have quietly gone 11-for-25 with three doubles and a homer in the team’s last 14 games. Even though much of the bench has turned over this season, the Pirates rank third in the National League with a .269 pinch-hitting average.
  • And here’s an interesting note to leave you with: On this date in 1905, the Pirates stranded 18 runners in an 8-3 loss to the Reds.That set an NL record for men left on base.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Milton Bradley (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Jeff Baker (2B)
  6. Geovany Soto (C)
  7. Kosuke Fukudome (CF)
  8. Bobby Scales (LF)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Bucs wrap up Sept. call-ups

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

As expected, shortstop Brian Bixler and catcher Robinzon Diaz will join the Pirates on Tuesday now that the Triple-A season has ended. Also being called up is right-hander Eric Hacker, who had been pitching in Indianapolis’ rotation.

Left-hander Donnie Veal has finished his Minor League rehab assignment and been reinstated off the DL. Righty Jeff Karstens will return off the DL on Wednesday, the earliest day that he is eligible to.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

August 28: Pirates (58-72) @ Brewers (61-66)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

OK, we’re going to keep this short and sweet since I’ve been dealing with computer issues for the last four hours and am still working with IT to get everything fixed.

Today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Manager John Russell said he has not yet determined who will start Monday’s extra doubleheader game in Cincinnati. Paul Maholm will obviously start one of the two (since it’s his normal day to pitch), though it hasn’t been decided if that will be the day game or the night cap. Phil Dumatrait is still a candidate to start the second game, though his availability will depend upon if he is needed in the bullpen this weekend. The Pirates would like to avoid having to call someone up from Triple-A to make the start knowing that rosters expand the next day
  • Ronny Cedeno remains out of the lineup with the pinky injury. Though the Pirates were most concerned about how it would affect his ability to grip a bat, it’s actually bothering him fielding and on short throws more than anything else. Obviously, he’s hitting just fine, evidenced by the two pinch hits in as many at-bats during the Phillies series.
  • No word yet from Russell about when Jose Ascanio (right shoulder injury) will resume tossing again.
  • Luis Cruz got hit in the head with a line drive off Garrett Jones’ bat during batting practice this afternoon and had to come off the field briefly. Fortunately, a few minutes later Cruz was up and bouncing around as normal, joking that he was just practicing his soccer skills. He remains in the lineup.
  • While I was off the last few days, Team USA announced its World Cup team. Both third baseman Pedro Alvarez and right-hander Daniel McCutchen were selected from the squad and will be participating. This eliminates any possibility that McCutchen will be a September call-up. He’ll have to wait until next spring to fight for a big-league rotation spot, and yes, he’ll certainly be in the mix. Double-A right-handed reliever Dustin Molleken has been selected to play for Team Canada. The Pirates also expect that Lynchburg righty Tom Boleska (Canada), Lynchburg right-hander RJ Rodriguez (USA) and GCL Pirates shortstop Gift Ngoepe (South Africa) to also be on their respective country’s final rosters. 
  • The Pirates have decided to stick with a five-man rotation in September, even as Kevin Hart and Ross Ohlendorf creep closer to what managment has deemed their maximum innings counts. GM Neal Huntington, who made the trip to Milwaukee with the team, said that once Hart and Ohlendorf hit their innings count, they will be shut down. That likely won’t be but one or two starts before the end of the season. 
  • Huntington listed Virgil Vasquez and Dumatrait as the most likely candidates to spot start when needed. Eric Hacker was an outside possibility, but not the most likely.
  • Huntington said that third baseman Neil Walker is still being considered for a call-up in September based on merit. The concern, though, is finding him enough at-bats to make it worthwhile. Regardless, spending September with the Major League team would at least allow Walker the chance to work with infield coach Perry Hill.
  • Oh yeah, and in case anyone forgot — which I doubt you have — the Pirates haven’t won here at Miller Park since  May 3, 2007. I started covering the team less than two weeks after that, so no, I have never seen the club win in Milwaukee. Altogether, the Pirates have lost 18 straight.
  • And I guess that wasn’t too short afterall. Oh well.. had to get all the news in.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Felipe Lopez (2B)
  2. Jason Bourgeois (RF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Mike Cameron (CF)
  7. Jason Kendall (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Manny Parra (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

August 18: Brewers (58-60) @ Pirates (47-70)

I’ll admit it was quite nice to be able to sit on my couch last night, turn on ESPN and wait to hear if Strasburg and Co. signed by the midnight deadline, knowing that in Pittsburgh we didn’t have to deal with anything similar to the Pedro Alvarez/Scott Boras/Pirates nightmare from a year ago. Too, I was intrigued by how those negotiations would work out. There are sure to be long-term implications since the Draft system has to be scrutinized and possibly revised in the near future based on how the slot system is failing.

As it concerns the Pirates’ Draft class, though, 23 of 51 players were signed. And you can find an overall Draft assessment with reaction from GM Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith on the main site now.

To highlight a few main points:

  • The Pirates, who came in with a Draft budget of about $10 million, spent $8.919 in signing bonuses for 23 players.
  • By his latest calculations, Huntington said the Pirates ranked sixth in the Majors in spending on Top 10 picks, even though nine teams signed their first-round pick for more money than the Pirates gave catcher Tony Sanchez ($2.5 million).
  • Without naming names, Huntington said that there were three drafted players that the team came real close to signing but was unable to in the end. One had gone so far as to come to a verbal agreement with the organization before backing out. The other two were ready to sign, but the delay in the signing process because of Major League Baseball discouraging above-slot signings caused each player to change his mind. Huntington said there were steady discussions with another six players or so, but nothing was close to happening on those fronts.
  • On the opposite end, Huntington cited Colton Cain, Zachary Von Rosenberg, Jeffrey Inman and Trent Stevenson as players who the Pirates initially felt they had only an outside chance of signing when drafted.

Huntington seemed well-please with the final results, though I guess we’ll have to come back in five years or so to do an even more thorough assessment.

As for today’s other news, notes and randomness…

  • Manager John Russell dropped catcher Ryan Doumit to the fifth spot in the order on Tuesday. Doumit had hit in the No. 4 hole in all 38 of his starts before today. The move was done to try and relax Doumit, who has just three hits in his last 24 at-bats and showed visible frustration during his 0-for-5 showing on Monday.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio had further tests done on his right shoulder and it looks like he’ll be sidelined longer than initially expected. Ascanio has been shut down from throwing until the soreness goes away. Russell didn’t have a timetable for when Ascanio could pick up a ball again, but said it would likely be more than 10 days.
  • The Pirates were looking at using Ascanio in the rotation in September, though those plans are likely now scratched. Still, Russell said that he will likely need to use an extra starter or two during the last month to get through the two doubleheaders and because the Pirates will eventually start limiting pitch counts.
  • While no limitations have been set yet, the club will start to limit innings in September so no starter has more than a 20 percent increase in innings thrown. Ross Ohlendorf and Zach Duke are the two to keep an eye on in this respect.
  • Who could be the candidates to make some spot starts in September? Phil Dumatriat, Eric Hacker and Daniel McCutchen would seem the most likely choices.
  • Speaking of Dumatrait, Huntington said that he will make another relief appearance for Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday, which is the last day he can be on his rehab assignment. Afterward, Huntington said, Dumatrait will be evaluated to see if he’s Major League ready. Judging by Huntington’s expression, though, I’d say the Pirates are right now very hesitant to add Dumatrait to the big league roster. His numbers sure haven’t been good, and I’ve not heard very positive reports about his stuff in Indy. Since Dumatriat is out of options, the Pirates could put him on waivers and assign him to Triple-A once he passes through.
  • The Pirates have hit eight homers in the team’s last two games against the Brewers. Consider this, though: the Brewers lead the league in home runs allowed this season with 159.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Felipe Lopez (2B)
  2. Craig Counsell (SS)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Mike Cameron (CF)
  7. Frank Catalanotto (RF)
  8. Mike Rivera (C)
  9. Manny Parra (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

August 17: Brewers (58-59) @ Pirates (46-70)

Well, no rain in the forecast fortunately. Though, it’s not like it was raining in Chicago when and after Sunday’s game was called by officials. Trying to explain things is part of what I do for a living, but yesterday’s handling of the rain delay and eventual postponement is something I won’t even attempt to explain. I know there were threats of bigger storms (which never came), and I know the Cubs had to catch a flight to San Diego after the game, but you would think that all involved would still want to get the game in. Manager John Russell did:

“Did we need the day off? I don’t think so,” Russell said. “[Starter] Ross [Ohlendorf] has been throwing really well and I would have liked to have seen him pitch yesterday. He thrives in an arena like that. He loves pitching in front of a crowd and even on the road. I was anxious to see him pitch. I wasn’t really looking forward to a day off. But there’s nothing much we can do about it when we’re on the road and they call the game.”

Since he completely warmed up for the game, Ohlendorf treated the day like he would a normal in-between-start side session. He’s scheduled to pitch on Tuesday now.

Still no word on a makeup game yet. Again, you would have thought that at some point during the course of a three-hour, 15-minute delay, that would have been hashed out…

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Triple-A righty Daniel McCutchen was named the International League’s pitcher of the week for his performances last week. McCutchen went 2-0 and pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out 12. With McCutchen’s honor, the Indians claimed back-to-back weekly pitching honors. Starter Eric Hacker won the award the previous week.
  • Speaking of McCutchen, though nothing is definitive yet, don’t be surprised if he is among a small group of players called up from Triple-A once rosters expand in September.
  • GM Neal Huntington said he does not expect any of the call ups to come from the Double-A club. And he said there will not be as many as there were last year.
  • Director of Player Development Kyle Stark said that lefty Rudy Owens (11-1, 1.55 ERA in 21 starts at Single-A this season), will be very limited in his innings count from here on out and will also be periodically skipped in the rotation. Owens has pitched 110 innings already this year, after throwing only 58 in 2008.
  • Stark also said to expect fall and winter ball assignments to be finalized around the end of the month. We know already that Donnie Veal is set to go to the Arizona Fall League, and Gorkys Hernandez will be playing winter ball in Venezuela.
  • Lefty Phil Dumatrait made a rehab appearance out of the bullpen in Triple-A on Sunday, and he continued to struggle as he has through most of his Minor League rehab stint. Dumatrait allowed two earned runs on three hits in two innings. His 30-day assignment is scheduled to end on Wednesday, after which he will have to be taken off the DL.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio was having further tests done on his right shoulder this afternoon, but the results of those tests have not yet been made known. Ascanio was placed on the DL last week with what was diagnosed as right shoulder tendinitis. 
  • Pittsburgh has not hit a home run in 52 innings (five straight games). The team has homered in just 56 of 116 games this season.
  • At this time last season, the Pirates were 53-63. Their current record of 46-70 has the club on pace to go 64-98 if that pace doesn’t not change.
  • After losing 17 straight to Milwaukee, the Pirates have actually won two of the last three. However, the Pirates have gone just 14-31 against divisional opponents this year. 
  • The Pirates are set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their last World Series Championship during the Pirates’ series with the Reds this weekend. All the ins and outs of the celebration and ticket specials can be found here. There’s all sorts of promotions and events so read through it carefully if you plan to come out or are thinking about it. The highlight will come on Saturday when the organization honors 22 players and staff members from the 1979 Championship team. KC and the Sunshine Band will then perform after the game.
  • Tim, who runs a Pirates blog, passed along a link to an interview he did with Lynchburg infielder Chase D’Arnaud, who the Pirates drafted in the fourth round last year. He emailed me this link and I figured I could pass it along to those of you who might be interested.
  • Look for more Minor League updates from me over the next week or so. I’ve done a number of interviews with/about different guys and will be slowly putting those out.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Kevin Hart (RHP)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Felipe Lopez (2B)
  2. Craig Counsell (3B)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Mike Cameron (CF)
  6. Frank Catalanotto (RF)
  7. Jason Kendall (C)
  8. Carlos Villanueva (RHP)
  9. Alcides Escobar (SS)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB   

RHP Eric Hacker earns league honor

Triple-A Indianapolis starter Eric Hacker was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for his performances last week. Hacker made two starts, winning them both, and struck out 14. In 13 total innings, Hacker allowed three runs on 11 hits. He walked four.

Hacker has been in Indianapolis’ rotation since the Pirates acquired him from the Yankees in mid-May. The right-hander is 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts since joining the Pirates’ organization. In his last five starts, Hacker has allowed a total of six earned runs in a total of 33 innings.

Hacker is the second Indianapolis player to win league honors. Lastings Milledge won the Player of the Week award in mid-July.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

August 9: Cardinals (61-51) @ Pirates (45-65)

OK, here’s one for you, thanks to my boyfriend who was evidently bored on Saturday and started crunching numbers:

Albert Pujols — 355 career home runs; 1,077 career RBIs (including nine straight seasons of 100+, a feat he accomplished on Saturday night)

Sunday’s entire Pirates lineup — 104 total home runs, 557 total RBIs. Lastings Milledge leads the group with 25 career home runs. Ramon Vazquez is tops in career RBIs with 173. Pujols had 137 just in 2006 alone.

Just food for thought.

And now on to today’s news, notes and randomness:

  • Zach Duke gets another shot at becoming the team’s first 10-game winner since 2007. Both he and Ross Ohlendorf were unable to reach that plateau in their starts last week.
  • Fresh off being demoted to Double-A, second baseman Shelby Ford had quite the night for the Curve on Saturday. Ford hit the 33rd grand slam in Altoona franchise history and finished with a career-high five RBIs.
  • Not all was good in Altoona, however. Lefty Daniel Moskos came off the DL and lasted only 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the seaosn. And as a whole, the Curve pitching staff walked 10 batters in the 10-6 loss.
  • Shortstop Ray Chang left Altoona’s game on Saturday with an injured left ankle. Farm director Kyle Stark said he expects to know later on Sunday the severity of Chang’s injury.
  • Another Double-A infielder is also out, as Brian Friday missed Saturday’s game after being hit in the head with a pitch on Friday. Stark said Friday is expected to miss only a couple more days.
  • Indianapolis right-hander Eric Hacker took the win for Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday as he pitched seven strong innings. Hacker gave up one earned run and walked seven.
  • For those wanting to keep tabs, former Pirates right-hander Ian Snell made his second start for the Mariners on Saturday and it was a disaster. Snell recorded only four outs before being pulled. He gave up three runs on two hits and six walks.
  • After the Pirates’ off day on Monday, the team begins a six-game road trip that includes stops in Colorado and Chicago. The Pirates have lost five in a row on the road and have won just three of their last 30 road games.
  • One of a few bright spots in the Pirates’ seven-game losing streak: shortstop Ronny Cedeno has homered twice and has seven RBIs while going 11-for-35 since being acquired from the Mariners. He has hit safely in eight of his nine games as a Pirate.
  • This losing streak has put the Pirates 20 games under .500 with 52 games remaining. At this point last year, Pittsburgh was eight games under .500 and on its way to a 67-win season.
  • Oh, and another plug for those who may have missed it earlier this week: Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith wrote a feature on young Pirates infielder and South African Gift Ngoepe in this week’s edition. I got a chance to read the feature in full on Friday and it is absolutely well worth the read.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Delwyn Young (2B)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Julio Lugo (SS) Brendan Ryan (SS)
  2. Mark DeRosa (3B) Julio Lugo (2B)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Matt Holliday (LF)
  5. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  6. Yadier Molina (C)
  7. Colby Rasmus (CF) Khalil Greene (3B)
  8. Brendan Ryan (2B) Colby Rasmus (CF)
  9. Joel Pineiro (RHP)

Note: Mark DeRosa was a game-time scratch with tightness in his upper back.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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