Results tagged ‘ James McDonald ’

Game 11: Brewers (5-5) @ Pirates (5-5)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

With last night a wash out, let’s try this again. Not much news to report on since no game has been played since Sunday afternoon, but here are a few news and notes to run through…

  • Because of the rainout, Jeff Karstens will no longer slot into the rotation behind Kevin Correia (Wednesday) and Paul Maholm (Thursday).  Now, Charlie Morton will start against the Reds on Friday, with James McDonald slated for Saturday. Right now, the Pirates are keeping Sunday’s starter as TBD — though it’s my guess that Karstens will pitch then.
  • That would change if Karstens is needed out of the bullpen one of these next two days. And manager Clint Hurdle said Karstens will be available for relief duty through the end of the series against the Brewers.
  • If Karstens is unable to pitch on Tuesday, the Pirates would almost certainly turn to Brian Burres. Sunday will be Burres’ scheduled day to pitch next.
  • Hurdle talked for a while today about Texas’ Josh Hamilton’s ill-advised headfirst slide yesterday. Hamilton has landed on the DL because of it, and that prompted Hurdle to talk with the club again today reminding them that they do not need to be sliding headfirst, especially into home plate. The risk of injury outweighs the gamble of being safe.
  • Interesting lineup switch in the last 24 hours. On Tuesday, Garrett Jones was slated to play against righty Shaun Marcum. Now, Matt Diaz is inserted into the lineup. Why the change when it’s still Marcum on the mound tonight? Hurdle said after sleeping on it, he opted to go with Diaz for a few reasons. Diaz is swinging the bat better at the moment, and right-handed hitters have actually fared better against Marcum than left-handers.
  • The unexpected righty-lefty splits even prompted hitting coach Gregg Ritchie to talk to the team’s switch hitters about possibly hitting from the right side today. Normally, it would be a given that they’d take their swings left-handed against a right-handed pitcher. It’ll be interesting to see what Ryan Doumit and Neil Walker opt to do.
  • Evan Meek is cleared and ready to pitch out of the ‘pen today.
  • Joe Beimel reported no issues on Wednesday after pitching on back-to-back days earlier in the week. The Pirates are going to see how he is feeling tomorrow, but Hurdle strongly hinted that Beimel could be joining the team as early as Friday. The logisitics would be easy, as Indianapolis is just a two hour drive from Cincinnati.
  • Righty Bryan Morris pitched six shutout innings in his second start for Double-A Altoona this season. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three in the outing on Tuesday. Morris was a candidate to start the year in Triple-A and very well could have if the Pirates didn’t need to keep some Major League arms (Burres, Sean Gallagher) there as insurance.
  • Catcher Chris Snyder played his sixth game in as many days for Class A Advanced Bradenton on Tuesday. He went 1-for-4 with two runs scored.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), L. Overbay (1B), M. Diaz (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (C), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

BREWERS: R. Weeks (2B), C. Gomez (CF), R. Braun (LF), P. Fielder (1B), C. McGehee (3B), M. Kotsay (RF), R. Betancourt (SS), J. Lucroy (C), S. Marcum (RHP)

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Opening Day: Pirates @ Cubs

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Happy Opening Day, folks. Hope you are in a warmer place than I am. I’ll get the bad news out of the way first… and that’s that the rain is coming. Hard to tell if it’s going to be enough to delay or interrupt the Pirates-Cubs Opening Day tilt, but it’s not going to be pleasant for the players on the field either way. Good thing the press box windows remain closed.

For those of you back in Pittsburgh, a reminder that the 2:20 pm ET game will be televised on ROOT Sports (formerly FSN Pittsburgh).

The Pirates come into the season having been victorious on Opening Day in each of the last four years. There have been some exciting Game Ones in that stretch, too — with a pair of extra-inning wins, another last at-bat win and a win over the Dodgers last year that featured two home runs by Garrett Jones. The Pirates haven’t won four straight Opening Day affairs since taking six straight from 1935-40.

Other interesting items of note…

  • The Pirates and Cubs last met on Opening Day in 1985. The Cubs won that game, 2-1, at Wrigley Field. Overall, Pittsburgh is 10-9 against Chicago on Opening Day
  • As announced yesterday, the Pirates will be wearing No. 7 patches on their jersey this season to honor Chuck Tanner.
  • Anyone remember seeing the pitcher bat eighth in last year’s lineup? Yep, I was reminded of that strategy today when I looked back to the 2010 Opening Day lineup. We won’t be seeing that this year — I can assure you of that.
  • Spoke with righty James McDonald, who said he felt fine in his Spring Training camp game on Thursday. He’s ready to go on Tuesday in St. Louis and seems to have no concerns about the time he missed this spring affecting him.
  • Even though the Pirates will not face a left-hander on this opening six-game road trip, manager Clint Hurdle said that Matt Diaz will get into starting lineup. Diaz is expected to start against lefties this season, though Hurdle does not want the right fielder to sit idly for a week until a left-hander takes the mound.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), L. Overbay (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (C), G. Jones (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

CUBS: K. Fukudome (RF), S. Castro (SS), M. Byrd (CF), A. Ramirez (3B), C. Pena (1B), G. Soto (C), A. Soriano (LF), D. Barney (2B), R. Dempster (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Workout news and notes

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

A few newsworthy items to wrap up today’s workout day:

  • James McDonald is (barring any unforseen setbacks) going to start April 5 agains the Cardinals. The Pirates feel good letting him get on the mound after McDonald threw 69 pitches in Spring Training camp game on Thursday morning. McDonald was unable to pitch in a Minor League game against the Triple-A Yankees as planned due to rainy weather; but he did get his work in and is flying to Chicago this evening.
  • While McDonald will be fine to make his scheduled start on Tuesday, he will be limited in how deep he is able to pitch. Manager Clint Hurdle guessed that the right-hander will be limited to 85-90 pitches in the outing. But the Pirates like their chances with McDonald pitching a solid five innings and then leaving it to the ‘pen rather than having to find someone to make a spot start.
  • McDonald’s velocity reached 95 mph on Thursday, Hurdle said. This certainly suggests that McDonald is having no problems with his side.
  • The Pirates have not yet determined whether Brad Lincoln (right forearm contusion) will begin the season in extended Spring Training or with Triple-A Indianapolis. With the Triple-A season still a week from beginning, the Pirates have some more time to determine Lincoln’s assignment.
  • Catcher Chris Snyder (lower back stiffness) has not returned to game action yet. He can come off the DL as early as April 9, but the Pirates won’t reinstate Snyder until after he can prove he can catch consecutive games without any issue.
  • In the meantime, Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo will both get starts behind the plate. Doumit will get the assignment on Opening Day. Hurdle said that decision was made because of Doumit’s experience: “I think we’ve got enough young guys breaking in tomorrow that we’ll rely upon Ryan with some experience behind the plate.” Jaramillo will catch in a game over the weekend.
  • The Pirates have signed right-hander Tim Wood to a Minor League contract. No word yet on where he’ll begin the season — though it will not be in the Majors. Wood was released by the Nationals on Thursday morning.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata has no ankle issues — he was taken out of Wednesday’s game strictly for precautionary reasons. He’s just fine.
  • Also, something that was announced while I was off yesterday that I thought was worth noting: Major League Baseball is implementing a 7-day DL this season for concussion injuries only. The hope is that this will help players from trying to rush back from a concussion prematurely; and it allows teams the benefit of not having to play shorthanded while a player recovers. You can read more about the new policy here.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 43: Pirates @ Twins

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

This is it, folks. Later this afternoon the players will board a flight to Philadelphia. And I will board a flight to Pittsburgh. I am so looking forward to getting back home for 48 hours, regardless of how cold it might be.

I will not be covering the pair of games in Philly, though someone will be there to take care of news. I will rejoin the club in Chicago on Thursday for the day-before-Opening-Day workout and then look forward to being with you for the next six months.

One other note: You might have already noticed that pirates.com underwent a site redesign overnight.  I hope you find the site easier to navigate. One omission, however, is a link to the blog in the headlines section. I’m not sure if that is going to change, so if you are a frequent blog reader and haven’t already, it might be a good idea to bookmark this page.

As for your last Spring Training morning news/notes…

  • Jeff Karstens is scheduled to pitch five innings (80 pitches) today in an effort to make sure that he would be ready to start the year in the rotation if needed. Karstens is a Plan B option in case James McDonald isn’t yet ready on April 5.
  • Speaking of McDonald, he threw a bullpen session this morning without any problems. Next for McDonald will be an outing on Thursday. The goal will be five innings. After that game, the Pirates will know whether McDonald will be able to start the season in the big league rotation.
  • It looks as if the Pirates will not make their final roster moves until the club is in Philadelphia. That means the bullpen remains unsettled.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Josh Rodriguez is on the team and Pedro Ciriaco will begin the year in Triple-A. Also, because it appears as if Chris Snyder is headed to the DL, outfielder John Bowker and Jason Jaramillo win the final bench spots.
  • Might I say that seeing kU lose to VCU yesterday absolutely made my day/weekend/year. That said, our Bucs Bits Bloggers bracket challenge has most of us left with not a single correct Final Four pick (yes, I fit in this category). The current leader is D. Hague.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), R. Doumit (DH), S. Pearce (1B), M. Diaz (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Rodriguez (3B), J. Jaramillo (C)

Pitchers: J. Karstens, G. Olson, C. Resop

TWINS: D. Span (CF), T. Nishioka (2B), J. Mauer (C), J. Morneau (1B), J. Kubel (DH), D. Young (LF), M. Cuddyer (RF), D. Valencia (3B), A. Casilla (SS)

Pitchers: F. Liriano

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Yankees 4, Pirates 2

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

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:

 ***

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.”

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

McDonald throws three innings in Minors game

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Right-hander James McDonald threw 44 pitches (28 strikes) in a Triple-A game against the Yankees on Saturday. This marked McDonald’s first time back on the mound since leaving his March 11 start with left side soreness. McDonald said he felt just fine and seems on track to have a good chance at being able to open the season in the rotation.

McDonald’s line: 3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K

“I still need to build a little more stamina,” he said afterward.

McDonald is slated to throw again in Florida on March 31st. At that point, the Pirates would like to get him stretched out to where he can pitch five innings deep. The hope is that then McDonald will be ready to make his season debut on April 5 in St. Louis.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 40: Pirates @ Rays; Bucs cut five

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates cut five players from big league camp on Friday morning, in turn dwindling the number of players still around to 36. That still means that 11 players will have to leave in the next week. But the roster is beginning to take shape with some clarity.

The following moves were made on Friday:

  • RHP Tyler Yates reassigned to Minor League camp
  • RHP Sean Gallagher reassigned to Minor League camp
  • RHP Daniel McCutchen optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • INF Josh Fields reassigned to Minor League camp
  • C Wyatt Toregas reassigned to Minor League camp

Also, general manager Neal Huntington confirmed that lefty Joe Beimel will not be ready to begin the season with the Major League club. Beimel will throw another bullpen session this weekend, but that does not give him time to get enough innings in before next week’s season opener. Beimel will remain in Florida for extended Spring Training and could even pitch a bit in Indianapolis, if he still needs to build his innings count by the time the Minor League season begins.

With Beimel out of the Opening Day mix, the following relievers are competing for two open spots: Garrett Olson, Brian Burres, Chris Leroux and Mike Crotta.

Other morning news and notes…

  • Huntington said that the team has not yet finalized whether it will take two or three catchers north. A decision on that should come soon, Huntington added. The makeup of the bench really hinges on which way the Pirates go with this.
  • Before leaving McKechnie Field on Friday, Fields say he was unsure whether he’d report to Triple-A Indianapolis or ask for his release.
  • With Fields out of the mix for the corner utility bench spot, that leaves Steve Pearce and Andy Marte as the last two standing. Huntington said that there really is no scenario in which both Pearce and Marte make the club.
  • Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) threw from a distance of 120 feet on Friday and said he felt fine. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday.
  • James McDonald remains scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game on Saturday.

On a side note, MLBlogs is changing its software (hopefully for the better) today, which means this blog is expected to be down during the afternoon hours. It might still be able to be accessed by you, but it won’t be able to be updated by me. Wanted to give you a head’s up so that you weren’t searching for anything new on here this afternoon. Once the update is done, I’ll get to learning the new program.

Lineups:

PIRATES: P. Ciriaco (CF), J. Rodriguez (SS), J. Bowker (LF), R. Doumit (C), S. Pearce (3B), M. Diaz (RF), A. Marte (1B), C. Wimberly (2B), C. Morton (RHP)

Pitchers: C. Morton, J. Hanrahan, J. Veras

RAYS: B. Zobrist (RF), E. Johnson (2B), E. Longoria (3B), M. Ramirez (DH), D. Johnson (1B), B.J. Upton (CF), K. Shoppach (C), R. Brignac (SS), S. Fuld (LF), J. Niemann (RHP)

Pitchers: J. Niemann

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 39: Pirates @ Orioles

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The news of the day came just about two hours ago, when manager Clint Hurdle named Kevin Correia the Opening Day starter. My guess had been that Paul Maholm would get the assignment and that Correia would pitch the home opener at PNC Park for a handful of reasons, one being Maholm’s tenure with the club. But the Pirates decided to go in a different direction.

Correia will face Chicago’s Ryan Dempster in that April 1 game at Wrigley Field.

Hurdle also announced that the rotation would go in this order: Correia, Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.

All this is set assuming that McDonald can get his arm built back up in time. The hope is that he can extend himself to 50 pitches in an outing on Saturday. Then, McDonald would stay in Florida to pitch on March 31 — with the goal being 80 pitches. If McDonald can reach both of those thresholds without any setback, Hurdle said the team would be comfortable having McDonald start on April 6 in St. Louis.

As for the rest of your news…

  • Catcher Chris Snyder returns behind the plate on Thursday after missing two weeks with back soreness. He hasn’t had any back issues since resuming hitting and catching over the past few days.
  • Joe Beimel was scheduled to throw off the mound on Thursday. The Pirates haven’t announced what his progression will be from there, as Beimel returns from left elbow discomfort. One thing to keep in mind — if Beimel does not pitch in a Grapefruit League game the rest of the way, the Pirates would have the option of placing him on the DL to begin the season. And the club could make that DL stint retroactive to March 22. This means that Beimel would be eligible to come off on April 6. Going this route would give Beimel — who has made just two appearances so far this spring — a bit more time to prepare for the season but wouldn’t cost him the usual 15 days.
  • The Pirates’ other option is not to put Beimel on the 40-man roster until he’s healthy. Doing this would negate needing a DL stint since Beimel is a non-roster player right now.
  • Hurdle said that the club has already picked additional pitchers to be in the team’s bullpen, but he would not give names at this point. You’d have to guess that in addition to Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan that Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Jeff Karstens are in. So, too, is Beimel once he is healthy. I also get the impression that Garrett Olson has a real strong shot to be the seventh since he would give the Pirates another left-handed option.
  • If Beimel does not start the season with the club, the Pirates can choose any one of the number of right-handers left in camp to take his spot in the ‘pen until he returns.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), G. Jones (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), R. Ohlendorf

Pitchers: R. Ohlendorf (5/6 innings), E. Meek, G. Olson, C. Leroux

ORIOLES: B. Roberts (2B), N. Markakis (RF), D. Lee (1B), V. Guerrero (DH), L. Scott (LF), F. Pie (CF), M. Reynolds (3B), M. Weiters (C), J.J. Hardy (SS)

Pitchers: J. Arrieta, M. Hendrickson, K. Gregg

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Correia named Opening Day starter; rotation set

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Manager Clint Hurdle announced on Thursday that right-hander Kevin Correia will pitch the season opener in Chicago on April 1. The nod was going to go to Correia or Paul Maholm, who will follow Correia in the rotation and will now pitch the home opener (April 7).

The full rotation will be as follows: Correia, Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.

Correia had this to say about being named the Opening Day starter: “It’s a good honor for me, but I know there is a lot of work that is going to be involved with every five days. It’s not just one start. Every one is important. It is nice to go out there on a day that kicks off the season, but like I said in the past, in our rotation we need every one of these guys to pitch like they’re the best pitcher on the staff at some point in the year for us to do what we need to do.  I am excited about it, but I do know that there is a lot of work.”

This will be Correia’s first Opening Day start of his career.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 38: Astros @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

MLB Network’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days special on the Pirates was on the clubhouse TV this morning. I wasn’t able to hear much of what was said, but a number of the players watched it fairly intently. I did catch a graphic in which Baseball Prospectus predicted the Pirates will finish in 5th place with 71 wins. 

As for your morning news…

  • In case you missed it on the day off yesterday, right-hander Fernando Nieve was released by the Pirates on Tuesday. The move came one day after Nieve had been reassigned to Minor League camp.
  • Also, MLB.com released its list of Top 10 Pirates prospects on Tuesday. You can find the list here.
  • The Pirates will honor their 2010 Double-A Altoona club in an on-field ceremony prior to the game against the Astros today. Altoona won the Eastern League Championship last season.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio (right elbow discomfort) threw another bullpen session on Tuesday without any issue.
  • Lefty Joe Beimel (left elbow soreness) threw on flat ground on Tuesday and again today. He said his arm is feeling much better but it’s still up in the air whether Beimel has enough time to get ready by Opening Day. There is no schedule yet for what Beimel will do next, and he expressed a willingness to start the year on the disabled list if it means that Beimel will be healthy for the remainder of the season. The big picture — not April 1 — is the focus here.
  • Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) grabbed his glove on Wednesday morning and headed out to the field to play long toss. The Pirates haven’t announced anything official, but I don’t see a scenario in which Lincoln is headed anywhere but Triple-A Indianapolis to begin the season.
  • Righty James McDonald (left side soreness) is slated to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday. His next step has not been announced, though he would have to get into a game pretty soon, I’d imagine, in order to build himself back up to where he can begin the year in the rotation.
  • Chris Snyder caught three innings and took several at-bats in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Tuesday. He is not in the lineup on Wednesday, but said he is doing fine.
  •  The following pitchers will throw in Thursday’s night game against the Orioles: Ross Ohlendorf (five or six innings), Evan Meek, Garrett Olson, Chris Leroux

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), L. Overbay (1B), M. Diaz (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (C), R. Cedeno (SS), B. Burres (LHP)

Pitchers: B. Burres, E. Meek, C. Resop, M. Crotta, T. Yates

ASTROS: J. Bourgeois (CF), A. Sanchez (SS), H. Pence (RF), J. Michaels (LF), B. Wallace (1B), C. Johnson (3B), H. Quintero (C), A. Hernandez (2B), J.A. Happ (LHP)

Pitchers: J. Valdez, E. Del Rosario, G. Chacin, W. Wright, S. Wolf

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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