Results tagged ‘ Gorkys Hernandez ’

Game 31: Pirates (14-16) @ Padres (12-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I wasn’t covering the game last night, but I found one post-game comment from manager Clint Hurdle particularly interesting and figured we could revisit it briefly. Asked about Brandon Wood’s attempt to move to third with one out on a ball in the dirt, Hurdle had this to say (by the way, Wood was thrown out): “You’re already in scoring position. If you’re safe, we’re happy, but he pushed the envelope a little bit and the catcher made a nice play. It put a damper on an inning with a chance to tie it.”

Maybe it’s not the smartest decision that could have been made, but I certainly saw more of a benefit of trying to be aggressive in this instance than the one lauded by Hurdle on Easter Sunday — you remember, Andrew McCutchen trying to score on a sacrifice fly with the team down by three. If Wood had been able to make it to third, there would have been a number of ways for him to score the tying run.

As it turns out, neither baserunning decision looked all that sensible because of the outcome. Hurdle will continue to preach aggressive baserunning. Moving forward, though, it will be interesting to see which instances he praises and which he criticizes.

A few news and notes…

  • Outfielder John Bowker has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Know that this is not what Bowker wanted. He made it plenty clear the night he was told he was being sent out that he was hoping to be picked up by another club. Turns out he’s now additional outfield depth for the Pirates, who already have Alex Presley, Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew Lambo in Triple-A.
  • Pedro Alvarez is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup. He exited Tuesday’s game with tightness in his right quad and said there was enough tightness still on Wednesday not to want to test it with any exercises.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata was out running sprints and routes in the outfield this afternoon — certainly a good sign for as he tries to make his way back from hamstring tightness. Tabata will be available “in a limited role” for Wednesday’s game, Hurdle said.
  • For anyone who might have watched Tuesday’s game and is curious, the bunt down the third base line that neither Joe Beimel or Wood went for late in the game was supposed to be Wood’s ball. The infielders had been told on a mound meeting just before the bunt that the play was to go to first. And the coverage was yelled from the dugout right after. “For whatever reason, when the ball was hit, he took a step back and went to the base,” Hurdle said. “He missed his coverage. There was no way to make any excuses for him.”
  • Righty Ross Ohlendorf will throw another session of live batting practice on Friday, and, assuming all goes well, then move onto a Minor League rehab start. The club hasn’t announced how many rehab outings are in order for Ohlendorf, but given his time missed, I’d expect it to be at least two.
  • Today is a homecoming of sorts for Kevin Correia — though he is entirely downplaying his first start back at PETCO Park since leaving the Padres. You can read his thoughts here.
  • This afternoon’s Pirates-Padres game (6:35 pm ET start) is the MLB.TV free game of the day. So if you’re not in the Pittsburgh market and rarely get to see the Pirates live, today is your chance.
  • If you’re interested here is the feature column I wrote on San Francisco hitting coach Bam Bam Meulens for MLB.com. Many of you might remember that Meulens served as a hitting instructor in the Pirates’ Minor League system for a few years. And if that’s not reason enough for you to want to read, maybe this will be: Bam Bam is going to be an astronaut.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), R. Doumit (C), B. Wood (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

PADRES: J. Bartlett (SS), W. Venable (RF), R. Ludwick (LF), C. Headley (3B), C. Maybin (CF), B. Hawpe (1B), N. Hundley (C), E. Patterson (2B), C. Richard (LHP)

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Pirates cut 10 from camp

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates trimmed down the number of players in Major League camp from 54 to 44 this morning. Here are the cuts:

  • Andrew Lambo reassigned to Minor League camp
  • Brian Friday reassigned to Minor League camp
  • Chase d’Arnaud reassigned to Minor League camp
  • Aaron Thompson optioned to Double-A Altoona
  • Ramon Aguero optioned to Double-A Altoona
  • Jeff Locke optioned to Double-A Altoona
  • Tony Watson optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • Gorkys Hernandez optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • Alex Presley optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • Daniel Moskos optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis

Now for some specific notes on these players and their assignments:

  • Plan on Lambo being used as a corner outfielder in Indianapolis. It sounds like first base is going to be a fallback option for him. He really made an impression defensively this spring. Heck of an arm.
  • Friday should spend most of his time at second, with d’Arnaud getting the majority of the starts at short. The Pirates value versatility, though, so expect the two to flip flop places from time to time to stay sharp at multiple positions. d’Arnaud, general manager Neal Huntington said, might also play a little at third.
  • Both Presley and Hernandez have played extensively in center field, though now both are headed to Indianapolis. Huntington said Hernandez is likely to be the team’s primary centerfielder, while Presley will bounce around.
  • Though Thompson and Locke were both optioned to Double-A, either one could actually start the year in Triple-A. It all depends on how the pitching shakes out by the end of camp.
  • The organization has not determined whether Watson will be starting or relieving this season.
  • Watson and Moskos were named as two lefty candidates for the Pirates’ bullpen, though the Pirates ultimately determined both could use more seasoning in the Minors before making the jump to Pittsburgh.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Orioles 11, Pirates 8

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Ryan Doumit has been scratched from the Pirates’ travel roster for Friday after feeling soreness in his right oblique during batting practice on Thursday. He will receive treatment on Friday, and more should be known about his status after that. The Pirates have listed his status as day-to-day, but oblique injuries often linger. If Doumit misses substantial time, that would hurt the Pirates’ ability to trade him and alter the makeup of the bench.

***

For all that went wrong on the mound for the Pirates on Thursday, Paul Maholm was immune. It was a strong four-inning outing for the left-hander, who I have to believe is the favorite to be the team’s Opening Day starter.

Other than giving up a solo homer to Vladimir Guerrero on a slider that was supposed to be in the dirt and wasn’t, Maholm had a pretty easy night. He was efficient to the point where he had to go throw extra pitches in the bullpen after he exited to get his pitch count up.

“I was aggressive, able to get some groundballs,” Maholm said. “The last two [I] have been [throwing] the kitchen sink and trying to get outs. Just kind of getting into the rhythm of mixing sequences and reading hitters’ swings.”

Maholm allowed just three other hits — all singles — in the outing. He had a lot of success, too, going inside to hitters — and remember, that is something that Maholm is really focusing on this spring. Especially encouraging is that when Maholm is missing on those inside pitches, he’s not missing over the plate. That was an issue for the lefty last year.

“Paul was excellent,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Paul threw very, very well tonight. Command, the cutter, changeup, sinker, he looked good today. Very crisp.”

***

The Pirates’ aggressive baserunning was on display early in Thursday’s game, and it played a large role in the 4-1 lead the team briefly enjoyed.

Jose Tabata’s gutsy decision (I think it’s still for debate whether it was necessarily a wise one) to try to move from first to third on a groundball to the third baseman paid off in the first. He caught Baltimore off guard, and came all the way around to score when Brandon Snyder’s throw went past the bag at third.

In the second, Ronny Cedeno pushed it to go from first to third on a single, and that led to an errant throw that allowed Gorkys Hernandez move up to second. Both were in position to then score on Jason Jaramillo’s single.

The Pirates are surely going to run into some outs being so aggressive. But Thursday’s early innings also showed the chaos that agressiveness can create.

“We looked good there for a spurt,” Hurdle said. “We ran the bases well. We put the barrel on the ball. We had better at-bats. That’s the kind of game we have to play. Speed, surprise and variety. Use the skills that we have.”

***

For those of you who might have been watching the game on TV, you saw an interesting occurrence in the bottom of the seventh. Baltimore’s Matt Angle went to steal second and Jaramillo made an attempt to throw him out. Only problem was, no one was covering second. Jaramillo’s throw went straight to the center fielder, allowing one run to score and Angle to move to third.

So what exactly went wrong?

“That’s [Neil] Walker’s ball,” Hurdle explained afterward. “JJ started the play in a bad way. He’s got to peek, stop the runner at third base. The runner is coming like a freight train. There was no look to third, then the throw to second, sloppy.”

***

Gotta love Spring Training baseball. The O’s and Bucs combined for 19 runs, 27 hits and six errors on Thursday. Not the prettiest of March games, and figures that it would be one of the four TV games.

On the positive side, the Pirates did only strike out seven times in the game. This, after the club fanned 16 times on Wednesday. And give the offense credit for battling to make the game close with a four-run eighth. Most of those who hit in that frame are fighting to make an impression, which meant they had no interest in simply going through the motions and getting to a late dinner.

***

On the main site tonight, you’ll find a mid-Spring Training report, of sorts. It’s a look at what we’ve learned so far and what questions remain. There are also notes about Joel Hanrahan’s rough night, Doumit’s injury, Cedeno’s work to cut down on his strikeouts and a thorough injury report.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

Bucs make six cuts

The Pirates made their first cuts of the spring after Sunday’s 10-5 win over the Yankees, sending six players out of Major League camp.

Outfielder Brandon Jones and infielder Argenis Diaz were both optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pitchers Ronald Uviedo and Ramon Aguero, as well as outfielder Gorkys Hernandez were optioned to Double-A Altoona. Infielder Brian Friday was reassigned to Minor League camp. Friday is expected to be Indianapolis’ starting shortstop this season.

None of the six came into Spring Training expecting to be in competition for an Opening Day roster spot. Jones, who the Pirates claimed off waivers in January, is the only one of the group who has prior Major League experience.

With the cuts, Pittsburgh now has 54 active players in Major League camp.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 15: Pirates @ Braves

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I know this pre-game entry is coming to you much later than usual, but I’m just now getting to my computer. After making the two-hour drive to Orlando this morning I thought it might be nice to get some comments from former Bucco Nate McLouth before the game. That turned into a 2+ hour adventure during he which he quite obviously was avoiding the four Pittsburgh writers who just wanted a minute or two of his time.

He finally sent word through a messenger that he would talk after he came out of the game. However, after already wasting two hours of my time and with plenty of other Pirates news to bring you, I think I’ll pass.

Anyways, here’s some stuff that might be of more interest to you…

  • A number of former Braves and former Pirates spent the morning catching up with old teammates. Charlie Morton, Ryan Church and Gorkys Hernandez saw plenty of familiar faces. When one of Atlanta’s spanish broadcasters walked up to Morton and noted that the Pirates jersey looked weird on him, he proudly and sincerely answered: “I feel good.”
  • On the Braves side, Eric Hinske and Jesse Chavez were among those mingling with Pirates players and coaches.
  • Chavez took a minute to discuss this past offseason during which he was traded first to the Rays, then to the Braves: “I didn’t know what uniform I’d be wearing after this offseason. The guys have been great and treating me wonderful. I get to talk to [Billy] Wagner every day and talk baseball. I’m around a lot of veterans. I’ve learned a lot in a couple weeks.”
  • I asked Chavez if he thought Atlanta was going to be a good situation for him and he said: “I think so. I’m not saying it wasn’t over there, but I think it is. Obviously they wanted me. They asked about me before. It’s good to be wanted.”
  • Morton and McLouth, who were a part of the same trade last June, will be facing each other to lead off the bottom of the first. Personally, though, I’m more intrigued by the chance to see Braves first baseman Jason Heyward. He has been pegged as the best Minor League prospect in baseball by many and puts on a great show in BP.
  • It’s always great to have some young guys around who have never enjoyed the Major League Spring Training scene. One of them walked out into the field and passed by none other than Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. His eyes got huge as he walked my way. “How cool is that?” he said. “I’m on the same field as Chipper Jones.” He made me promise not to attribute that comment to him, so I’ll let you have fun guessing who that might have been.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Bobby Crosby (SS)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Ryan Church (RF)
  5. Jeff Clement (1B)
  6. Pedro Alvarez (DH)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Delwyn Young (2B)
  9. Jason Jaramillo (C)

Pitchers: Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Brad Lincoln, Vinnie Chulk, Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, Anthony Claggett

Braves lineup:

  1. Nate McLouth (CF)
  2. Jason Heyward (RF)
  3. Chipper Jones (3B)
  4. Troy Glaus (1B)
  5. Brian McCann (C)
  6. Matt Diaz (LF)
  7. Eric Hinske (DH)
  8. Omar Infante (SS)
  9. Brooks Conrad (2B)

Pitchers: Kenshin Kawakami, Jo-Jo Reyes, Lee Hyde, Erik Cordier, Juan Abreu

Pirates 6, Manatees 1

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The title of best baseball program in Bradenton is back in the Pirates’ hands after the club avenged its ’09 loss to State College of Florida with a win on Tuesday. The seven-inning exhibition game was highlighted by back-to-back-to-back home runs from Steve Pearce, Brandon Moss and Erik Kratz in the fourth.

Also on an important note, with 1,872 fans in attendance, the game raised $13,104 for charity. That money will be split up to benefit the Manatee Education Foundation, Wakeland Elementary and Rogers Garden Elementary.

***

Bryan Morris, who started the game, got the win after pitching a scoreless inning. He struck out two. Morris is the subject of my feature on pirates.com (should be up later this afternoon), so you can read more about the mechanical changes and mental adjustments that he has made since the end of a pretty ugly 2009 season.

As for Morris’ thoughts on his first outing of the spring: “It was good to get back out on the mound since last year and since the mechanical changes we did during the winter. I might have been a little too excited to start, but I fought my aggression and put it together.”

***

Ramon Aguero was the only other one of the seven Pirates pitchers to record a 1-2-3 inning against the junior college boys. Aguero also struck out two.

Jeff Sues gave up a monstrous home run on the first pitch he threw and walked two more in between striking out the side in the sixth. Anthony Claggett managed to give up three hits without allowing a runner to score in the game’s final frame.

Donnie Veal (1 BB, 2 K), Ronald Uviedo (2 H, 1 K) and Justin Thomas (2 H, 2 K) each pitched scoreless innings.

***

There would be no slow start for third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who had three hits (including an RBI bloop double) in his first three at-bats. He finished 3-for-4.

Jose Tabata drilled a 390-foot double off the center field wall in his 1-for-4 performance. Kratz and Moss each finished with two hits.

“He’s been swinging the bat well,” manager John Russell said of Moss. “It’s tough in the first game no matter who you’re playing. Brandon swung the bat well. We know what he’s capable of doing. It’s just being able to put it all together. Hopefully he can relax enough and let his mind relax enough to where he can do some of the things he’s capable of doing.”

Moss is by no means guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster. He’s fighting for a bench spot and quite possibly, his future on the team.

***

It was not such a great day for center fielder Gorkys Hernandez, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and left five men on base. Remember, though, that pitchers (even junior college ones) are always ahead of hitters this early in the exhibition season. You’ve still got to love the feistiness this kid exudes.

***

Up Next: The Pirates kick off Grapefruit League play with a 1:05 pm ET game against the Yankees in Tampa on Wednesday. Paul Maholm is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh and will be followed by Ross Ohlendorf, Brian Bass, D.J. Carrasco, Chris Jakubauskas, Steven Jackson, Jack Taschner and Jean Machi. The Yankees are starting Chad Gaudin.

Most of the Pirates’ projected starting position players will make the one-hour trip north and Russell said that a number of them will see their first bit of game action. “Get ‘em goin’,” he said.

The game will be broadcast on 104.7 FM back in Pittsburgh. It will also be televised on MLB Network and on MLB.TV.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 7: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Ohlendorf pitches to Clement (Small).JPGWednesday marked the first of four days of live batting practice (meaning pitchers are actually throwing to hitters for a change), which meant the day was a bit longer at Pirate City. But you certainly weren’t hearing any complaints. The quote of the day definitely came out of one of these live BP sessions, courtesy of Brandon Moss.

Moss had just ripped a line drive up the middle, nearly knocking Chris Jakubauskas over. Moss then walked over to the side joking, “That’s a hit! I didn’t have very many of them last year. I’m not going to be picky.”

Got to love his attitude so far in camp after such a disappointing 2009 season.

As for the rest of your daily squeeze…

  • In all, 14 pitchers threw on the first day of live BP. Each pitched two innings (17 pitches per inning). The group included Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Kevin Hart, D.J. Carrasco, Jakubauskas, Jeff Karstens, Brad Lincoln, Steven Jackson, Donnie Veal, Virgil Vasquez, Anthony Claggett, Jack Taschner, Justin Thomas and Bryan Morris.
  • The second group of pitchers to throw live BP will do so on Thursday. The only two pitchers missing from the bunch are Octavio Dotel and Brendan Donnelly. Dotel is still out with left side soreness. Donnelly is throwing a bullpen session on Thursday instead of going straight to BP.
  • It was another round of infield defensive work on Wednesday, but with a bit of shuffling. Bobby Crosby spent the morning working at first base. Garrett Jones was with the outfielders after spending Tuesday focusing on infield work.
  • I’m not sure if you can find it archived at all online, but Ohlendorf was a guest on ESPN’s First Take this morning. Hopefully some of you were able to catch the interview.
  • Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who is participating in his first Spring Training with the Pirates, spent a little extra time getting outfield instruction from Gary Varsho after one of the rotations.
  • As was the case last spring, it’s been fun to watch Jose Tabata hit here at Pirate City. Today, he sent a pitch over the center field batter’s eye (approximately 18-20 ft high and 410 ft away).

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 5: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Walker, Neil 2.jpgEveryone is here and accounted for and was more than 24 hours before the Pirates have their first full squad workout. (That will be Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. There is a full team meeting an hour earlier).

The final few missing position players to trickle in this morning included Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno, Gorkys Hernandez and Argenis Diaz. It might have been a dangerous move to put McCutchen and Milledge in adjacent lockers in the clubhouse. The two are sure to liven up the atmosphere in a hurry.

As for the rest of your notes from a sunny Bradenton Monday:

  • Position players who had not yet undergone physicals spent much of the day in that process.
  • Most of the position players went on the field for workouts, though not all. Two that I did not see on participating in workouts were Brandon Moss and Akinori Iwamura, though both were around the clubhouse afterward.
  • Neil Walker (pictured above) spent time fielding grounders at third and second. Again, he’s getting work in wherever he can. Bobby Crosby also did some moving around. After working on his defense at short, Crosby spent some time fielding grounders at third.
  • Infielder Ramon Vazquez said he has been encouraged by the progress of his surgically-repaired knee these last few days. Vazquez is fielding grounders hit right to him and did some sprints at 70 percent Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He is scheduled to take batting practice for the first time on Tuesday.
  • A handful of the Minor League players have already begun reporting for Minor League camp. I spotted Daniel Moskos (No. 4 overall pick in 2007 Draft) among them.
  • The second group of pitchers had their second side session of spring on Monday after another 40 minutes of defensive drills.
  • Among the Pirates alum who are here helping out at Spring Training are Manny Sanguillen, Kent Tekulve and Bill Virdon. I’ve been told that Bill Mazeroski is set to arrive later this week.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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