Results tagged ‘ Fernando Nieve ’

Bucs release Nieve

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates issued a statement this afternoon saying that they have granted right-hander Fernando Nieve his unconditional release. No other information was given.

The announcement comes one day after the Pirates reassigned Nieve to Minor League camp. He had been invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player and was in the mix for a bullpen spot.

Nieve, who spent the last two years in the Mets’ organization, allowed eight earned runs and 17 hits in 7 1/3 spring innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

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Atkins released; Thomas, Nieve reassigned

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Infielder Garrett Atkins has been unconditionally released by the Pirates, thereby ending his chances to make the team as a backup corner infielder. Atkins was apparently given the news on Sunday and was not in the clubhouse on Monday morning for comment.

Atkins, who signed a Minor League deal with Pittsburgh over the winter, went 4-for-31 and struck out 11 times. It’s unknown whether Atkins is going to try to sign elsewhere or if this will mark the end of his MLB career.

In addition to sending Atkins out, the Pirates reassigned Justin Thomas and Fernando Nieve to Minor League camp. Both signed Minor League deals over the winter and should start out the year in Triple-A Indianapolis’ bullpen. Thomas’ departure means that there is one less left-hander vying for a spot in the Pirates’ bullpen.

The Pirates now have 41 players left in camp.

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Intrasquad results

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Some highlights from this morning’s intrasquad game at Pirate City this morning:

  • LHP Brian Burres pitched four shutout innings. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out five
  • RHP Jeff Karstens threw three scoreless innings. He struck out six and did not allow a walk
  • RHP Evan Meek and RHP Fernando Nieve each tossed two scoreless innings of relief
  • Steve Pearce went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. He played third and had two balls hit to him in the seven-inning game. He made both plays cleanly

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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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Phillies 7, Pirates 4

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

On the main site tonight, you can find a look at Josh Rodriguez, the Pirates’ Rule 5 pick who is trying to make the club as a backup middle infielder. To this point, Rodriguez has looked like he is trying a bit too hard to make an impression. We’ll see if he can get his nerves in check and just allow himself to relax and play as camp continues on.

I’m not really sure who among Rodriguez, Corey Wimberly or Pedro Ciriaco would be considered the favorite for that bench spot yet. Ciriaco is the best defensively of the three, but there are concerns about his bat. Wimberly and Rodriguez have to show that they are strong enough to play short at the Major League level. Wimberly has intriguing speed. Rodriguez probably has the best long-term potential with the bat.

Could be an interesting race over the next three weeks.

Also on the main site, you’ll find notes about Paul Maholm wanting the Opening Day start, Kevin Correia commenting about his outing Friday, Ronny Cedeno being scratched with a finger injury, and Minor League pitcher Michael Dubee talking about the chance to pitch in front of his dad — Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee.

Also, don’t hesitate to send over some fresh Inbox questions over the weekend. If I can get enough good ones, I’ll put out an Inbox sometime next week. Remember to include your first name, last initial and hometown when you send your email to jenifer.langosch@mlb.com.

As for your leftovers…

***

Manager Clint Hurdle’s call for aggressive baserunning have been answered. Today, Neil Walker was thrown out trying to go first-to-third on a hard hit single to right. Phillies outfielder Wilson Valdez made a perfect throw to get Walker by a few steps. The attempt to take the extra base stalled a rally in the inning, but it’s what Hurdle wants to see at this point in spring.

Matt Diaz stole his first base of the spring after getting a single in the second. The Pirates now have 11 steals, a Grapefruit League high. The club has had three runners thrown out attempting to swipe a base.

***

Tony Sanchez, the Pirates’ top position player prospect and a first-round pick, finally got to see some Grapefruit League action. Sanchez had been solely watching from the bench since playing against the college kids, but Hurdle got him in to DH for the final few innings on Friday.

Despite not having played, Sanchez put together two pretty impressive at-bats. He fell into an 0-2 count his first time up, stayed alive and eventually ripped a ball down the left-field line for a double.

He fell into an 0-2 hole in his second at-bat, too, before taking three pitches to work the count full. Though Sanchez eventually was called out on strikes, his ability to work his way back into both at-bats was encouraging.

“Tony is going to be a good player,” Hurdle said afterward. “He is going to be a good hitter. He likes making things happen when he’s on offense. He is fun to watch.”

***

Fernando Nieve is not doing himself any favors in trying to earn a spot in the bullpen. He had another terrible outing on Friday. Nieve gave up five hits, four runs and walked one in 1 1/3 innings. This comes after he allowed three earned runs on five hits in one inning on February 28.

The Pirates signed Nieve to a Minor League deal over the winter. Much can still change, but at this point, plenty of other relief candidates have performed much better early.

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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.

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Pirates eye Nieve as a starter; Marte as corner infielder

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Just spoke with general manager Neal Huntington about today’s three Minor League signs and there were two things he said that I thought would be of particular interest to you:

  • Though Fernando Nieve has been used primarily as a reliever during his time in the Majors, he will come into Spring Training and be stretched out as a starter. The Pirates plan to look at Nieve as a starting pitcher first, with the bullpen as a fallback option.
  • Andy Marte, once a top prospect in multiple organizations, will be competing for an Opening Day roster spot as a corner utility infielder. That means the Pirates plan to get him continued work at both first and third this spring.

Here is the full story.

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Bucs sign three to Minors deals

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

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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