Results tagged ‘ Jesse Chavez ’

Pirates acquire 2B Akinori Iwamura from Rays for RHP Jesse Chavez

By Jenifer Langosch/

On Tuesday, the Pirates acquired second baseman Akinori Iwamura from the Rays in exchange for right-hander Jesse Chavez. The Pirates will take on Iwamura’s $4.85 million salary in 2010, a dollar figure that actually makes Iwamura the Pirates’ highest paid player at the moment. No cash changed hands in the deal.

With Iwamura in tow, the Pirates now have their immediate answer at second base for 2010. After trading away Freddy Sanchez in July, the Pirates were left with no strong internal replacements. Delwyn Young got his chance to be the team’s everyday second baseman for the final two months, but even after intensive daily defensive work with infield coach Perry Hill, he was still not seen as the optimal choice to be the everyday player there next season.

“It was a chance more to get an established player,” GM Neal Huntington said. “It returns Delwyn to a role that he’s excelled at. Ultimately, we felt Iwamura was a better fit for long term.”

For Young, that role will be on the bench, where he hit. .316 in 38 pinch-hit appearances in 2010.

Iwamura, 30, comes to Pittsburgh after hitting .281 with 103 RBIs in 344 career games over three seasons with the Rays. He has also spent a considerable amount of his time in the Majors as a third baseman, though the Pirates do not have a need to use him there.

Huntington said that ideally Iwamura would be a solid fit to hit second in the batting order behind Andrew McCutchen. The left-handed hitter batted primarily from the leadoff spot in his time with the Rays.

Iwamura was limited to only 69 games in ’09 and needed left knee surgery to repair a partially torn ACL. Huntington said that the Pirates have not independently examined Iwamura’s knee, but that all the medical reports suggest that there will be no lingering issues.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

September 26: Dodgers (92-62) @ Pirates (57-95)

Jenifer Langosch/

So here’s a good story for you…

With the G-20 Summit in town for the past few days, hotels all over the area played host to delegates and heads of state. The Renaissance hotel just across the Allegheny River from PNC Park was no different, as three heads of state (France, Turkey and Germany) stayed there overnight on Thursday. Thing is, that’s where the Dodgers also stay when they come to town.

A scout in town to watch the series called over to the hotel to make sure that there would be a room ready for him in the hotel even with all the hoopla the Summit brought. His contact at the hotel said there would be as usual, and then they got into a conversation about the number of important visitors staying at the hotel. 

“There’s only one problem,” the women said toward the end of the conversation. “We have just one presidential suite to give out.”

The scout then asked the obvious question.

“Well, who did that go to?” 

Her answer?

“Joe Torre. He comes here much more often than they do.”

Now we know who holds the power in this world.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • The city is back functioning as normal. The absence of police and military-looking vehicles is a nice change of pace for sure. Fortunately, as far as I know, there were no G-20 related incidents at or around PNC Park that caused an issues.
  • Right-hander Jeff Karstens is the only reliever that is totally unavailable on Saturday, though the Pirates would love to have to not have to call on Donnie Veal or Jesse Chavez either. Both pitched two innings of relief on Friday.
  • Karstens will make another start next week as the Pirates cover Ross Ohlendorf’s final scheduled start. Though it’s not official, that start will likely come in the second game of the team’s double header against the Cubs next Wednesday. Karstens would be pitching on four days rest if that’s the case.
  • Manager John Russell said that Ronny Cedeno’s hamstring issue is improving, but Cedeno is again out of the lineup for the third straight day.
  • After recording only 27 outfield assists last season, the Pirates have 44 this year. If only that translated to more wins.
  • The Pirates still have a chance — albeit a wee one — to finish above .500 at home. They’d have to win each of the next three games against the Dodgers to do so. Before this series, the Pirates had only beaten the Dodgers seven times in 30 games at PNC Park. Hard to imagine this group reeling off four straight wins against the NL’s best team. But stranger things have happened, I’m sure…I just can’t think of any examples off the top of my head.
  • Assuming that this overcast and rainy day doesn’t delay and/or postpone Saturday’s game, PNC Park will host its final SkyBlast concert and fireworks show after the game’s completion. Tonight’s band is Foreigner — yet another group that I am mostly unfamiliar with. I’m spotting a theme here, and it involves my ignorance and music.
  • Lefty Paul Maholm has just one 10-win season in his career (that came when he went 10-15 in 2007), but he still has the chance to reach that mark this season. He’ll have to win Saturday’s start and then his final one as well to get there. Maholm has won just one of his last five starts.
  • The Pirates haven’t won back-to-back games since Aug. 21-22. They can do so tonight.
  • L.A. can still clinch a playoff spot with a win on Saturday or a Colorado loss. The Dodgers’ magic number to wrap up the NL West title remains at four.

Pirates lineup:

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

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Rafael Furcal (SS)
  2. Juan Pierre (CF)
  3. Manny Ramirez (LF)
  4. Matt Kemp (RF)
  5. Casey Blake (3B) Ronnie Belliard (3B)
  6. Ronnie Belliard (2B) Mark Loretta (1B)
  7. Mark Loretta (1B) Russell Martin (C)
  8. Russell Martin (C) Orlando Hudson (2B)
  9. Randy Wolf (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

September 14: Pirates (55-86) @ Dodgers (85-59); Young out with lower back tightness

Jenifer Langosch/

I’m back. My apologies for the blog inactivity for the last few days, but I was enjoying my last few days off this season and now will be with you every day through October 4.

Not many newsy items coming out of the already-small and now extra-cramped visitor’s clubhouse today other than that Delwyn Young is out because of some lower back tightness. He said he felt his back spasm while running to first on his pinch-hit groundout on Sunday and could barely make it to the bag.

He is not taking any sort of BP today and is questionable for the rest of the series. That has the LA native bummed out since he’s expecting about 25 family and friends in the stands this week.

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

  • While I was away, the Lynchburg Hillcats came from behind to win a Carolina League playoff series over Wilmington. Lynchburg won the deciding game on Sunday with Bryan Morris (part of the Jason Bay trade) allowing one run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings and earning the win. Third baseman Josh Harrison (John Grabow/Tom Gorzelanny trade) went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in the 5-2 win.
  • The Hillcats are now taking on the Salem Red Sox in the Mills Cup Championship, with Game 1 scheduled for tonight. Those interested in following the game and each of the next ones can do so here.
  • Triple-A pitching coach Ray Searage has joined the club and will be with the Pirates for about a week. Then he gets ready to head down to Venezuela where he will coach this offseason.
  • Manager John Russell wouldn’t commit to whether Ross Ohlendorf’s start on Saturday would be his last of the season or not. Ohlendorf is about 10 innings away from what the Pirates have set as his desired maximum innings count for the season.
  • There are all sorts of LA connections on the Pirates club right now. Obviously, as mentioned above, Young grew up in LA and still resides around here. He was also with the Dodgers until LA traded him to Pittsburgh back in April. Andy LaRoche came up through the Dodgers’ system, as did reliever Joel Hanrahan. Reliever Jesse Chavez graduated from high school about 40 miles east of the city.
  • Here’s an interesting one for you from the Elias Sports Bureau: The Pirates became the first team this season to turn a double play in the last three innings of a one-run victory when they did so on Sunday by getting double plays in the seventh, eighth and ninth against Houston. Before Sunday, the last time the Pirates did this was Sept. 21, 1990, in a 1-0 win over the Cardinals. Thank goodness someone somewhere keeps track of this stuff.
  • Monday’s starter Daniel McCutchen is still looking for his first Major League win. This will be his third start. 

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  9. Daniel McCutchen (RHP)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Rafael Furcal (SS)
  2. Matt Kemp (CF)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Manny Ramirez (LF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Casey Blake (3B)
  7. Russell Martin (C)
  8. Orlando Hudson (2B)
  9. Jon Garland (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

July 7: Pirates (37-46) @ Astros (40-41); Sanchez swings

Spoke to GM Neal Huntington on a number of topics earlier today, one of which was Ryan Doumit. I’ve heard from many of you who want Doumit to return sooner (this weekend) rather than later (after the All-Star break), but all indications are that it’s still going to be July 17.

Huntington called it “a long shot” that Doumit would be back with the Pirates during their series in Philadelphia, which begins on Friday. Health-wise, Doumit is just fine. Actually, he has had not a single setback at all during this recovery process. It’s more the concerns about swinging the bat — getting the bat speed back, getting his timing down, etc. — that is the reason for the hold up.

So far, Doumit is 0-for-12 in four rehab games (two with the GCL Pirates and two with Indianapolis).

As for your other news, notes and randomness, with a lot of medical updates to share….

  • Freddy Sanchez spent some time doing long toss earlier on Tuesday and also took his first swings since Friday. Sanchez, who has been sidelined with back spasms, also hit off the tee and off coaches flips on Tuesday. He is shooting for a return to the field on Friday.
  • Huntington said to expect to see Brian Bixler to continue to play some center field with Triple-A Indy. Before Monday night, Bixler had never played anywhere but in the infield. While Huntington emphasized that the organization has not given up on Bixler potentially becoming an everyday Major League shortstop down the road, there is now the belief that he may be better suited as a utility player. He can already play across the infield and by getting Bixler repetitions at center, he’ll be a more versatile option long term. With how things have gone for Bixler in his two Major League stints thus far, that very well may be his best shot.
  • Huntington also confirmed that Donnie Veal will rejoin the team in Philadelphia on Friday. Veal made his final rehab stint for Indianapolis on Monday night and struggled. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on two hits and four walks. In all, Veal walked 16 and struck out 13 in 14 rehab innings.
  • With Veal on his way back, the Pirates will have to send out a reliever to make space for him on the roster. The decision on who that will be has not yet been determined. Evan Meek, Jesse Chavez, Joel Hanrahan, Steven Jackson and Jeff Karstens all have options remaining and could be sent out.
  • Third baseman Neil Walker (sprained PCL ligament in left knee) has begun his rehab assignment with the GCL Pirates. Walker went 1-for-3 with a double and strike out for the GCL club in his first game on Tuesday. He is progressing back as expected.
  • Tyler Yates (right elbow inflammation) continues to throw down in Bradenton, Fla., and Huntington reported that Yates has been pain-free since resuming the throwing program.
  • Phil Dumatrait (left shoulder injury) is scheduled to throw three more simulated games by the end of next week, after which he will join one of the Pirates’ Minor League affiliates for his rehab assignment. He, too, has had no setbacks since returning to the mound.
  • Craig Hansen (neck/back spasms) has still not been cleared to throw. Huntington said that Hansen is “progressing” and can resume light exercises, but that he’s still not completely healthy. While doctors have yet to be able to nail down the cause of Hansen’s ailment, the consensus is that it is something viral.
  • With Triple-A Indianapolis having lost a number of its outfielders over the past month, could Jose Tabata be on his way up there soon? “No”, Huntington said. “There’s still time left.” In Double-A, that is. Tabata has hit .262 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 39 games with Double-A Altoona so far this year. Remember, he did miss extensive time while nursing a hamstring injury.
  • The Pirates lead the Majors with 25 outfield assists. That total is five higher than Cincinnati, which has a second-best 20.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Jack Wilson (SS)
  3. Brandon Moss (RF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Garrett Jones (LF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Astros lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn (CF)
  2. Miguel Tejada (SS)
  3. Lance Berkman (1B)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Hunter Pence (RF)
  6. Ivan Rodriguez (C)
  7. Kazuo Matsui (2B)
  8. Jeff Keppinger (3B)
  9. Brian Moehler (RHP) 

May 26: Pirates (21-24) @ Cubs (21-22); Capps not throwing, but no DL yet

“It could have been a whole lot worse.”

Those were the first words from closer Matt Capps when I saw him in the clubhouse this afternoon. And indeed, it could have been worse. X-rays on Capps’ right elbow came back negative (no fracture), and for now, the Pirates are holding off on putting Capps on the disabled list.

When might he be able to throw again?

“I don’t know,” Capps said. “I’m pretty sore right now. There is no way I could play catch today. I don’t know if I could play catch tomorrow. Who knows? We’ve done a good job of icing it and keeping the inflammation down, so hopefully when I come out tomorrow the range of motion will be better and I’ll be able to pick up a ball.”

Manager John Russell suggested that it might be on Friday when the Pirates decide if Capps is going to have to go on the DL. The hope is that the bullpen can get through these next two games with just six relievers, and then there is the off-day on Thursday. Come Friday, though, if it looks like Capps is still a while from returning, the Pirates are likely going to have to bring someone up to take his spot in the ‘pen.

Capps is still scheduled to meet with the Cubs’ orthopedic surgeon sometime before Tuesday’s game.

It was a pretty scary incident to witness, and as Capps showed pictures of what his elbow looked liked yesterday — you could see the seam marks branded onto his arm — his initial thought was that the prognosis would be much worse.

“My elbow didn’t hurt me until I got in [the clubhouse],” Capps explained. “I just had a shooting pain going down my forearm and then my ring finger and my pinkie finger. It hurt and tingled. By the time I got in here, they were completely numb. I couldn’t feel them at all. And my elbow was starting to hurt. When it first happened, it sounded like a shotgun going off beside me. I thought my elbow was just blown up.”


With Capps out, closing duties will likely fall on left-hander John Grabow. That’s not a definitive, though, as Russell said he’ll use Grabow in the eighth if he feels he has to and then figure out how to piece together the ninth from there.

If Russell needs a right-hander, Jesse Chavez would seem to be the most likely candidate, with Tyler Yates still on the DL.


The Pirates moved up batting practice about an hour to try and get it in before the rain started. Just as the team took the field, though, the skies opened up just enough for the grounds crew to pull the tarp back onto the field. It looks like we were in for on-and-off rain all night, but from the looks of it, this game should (eventually) get played.


No word yet on Craig Hansen, who apparently had the tests on his back/neck today as opposed to on Monday, as we were originially told. That said, it might not be until Wednesday before we get word on what’s next for him.

Boy, the bullpen sure is beat up…


Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Craig Monroe (RF)
  5. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Ian Snell (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  2. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  3. Kosuke Fukodome (CF)
  4. Milton Bradley (RF)
  5. Micah Hoffpauir (1B)
  6. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  7. Koyie Hill (C)
  8. Ryan Freel (3B)
  9. Sean Marshall (LHP)

May 19: Pirates (17-21) @ Nationals (11-26)

Little in the category of news today, so let’s run through it quicky:

  • Manager John Russell said he would like to avoid using Matt Capps, Jesse Chavez and John Grabow if possible tonight. However, when asked who he would call on if a save situation presents itself, Russell didn’t rule out using Capps.
  • Speaking of Capps, though his one inning of work on Monday wasn’t entirely pretty, Russell said he is seeing improvement. Capps’ slider was especially sharp on Monday night and his velocity is just fine. The struggling closer continues to work on some slight mechanical changes while throwing on flat ground.
  • Nyjer Morgan reported no discomfort in his left hamstring after mid-afternoon, on-field running. He’s back in the lineup.
  • A number of Pirates players and coaches are taking a tour of the White House on Wednesday, one day before the Steelers, Super Bowl Champions, are to visit president Obama at the White House on Thursday. However, Russell said he is not joining the tour: “I’d rather go with a ring on my finger,” he said, alluding to the annual visits made by championship teams.
  • I noticed that the Pirates made ESPN’s Top 10 plays twice last night — #10 being Andy LaRoche’s snare and throw and #5 highlighting Jack Wilson’s phenomenal stop and off-balanced throw from the outfield grass. In case you missed the highlights, here is Wilson’s gem.
  • And some leftovers from Monday’s win: The 12 runs scored marked a season-high. … The double-digit run totals on Sunday (11) and Monday (12) marked the first consecutive games in which the Pirates have scored 10 or more runs since doing so in May 2006. … And looking ahead at the possibility — not since 1930 have the Pirates scored 10 or more runs in three straight games. 

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Nationals lineup:

  1. Cristian Guzman (SS)
  2. Nick Johnson (1B)
  3. Ryan Zimmerman (3B)
  4. Adam Dunn (RF)
  5. Josh Willingham (LF)
  6. Willie Harris (CF)
  7. Anderson Hernandez (2B)
  8. Wil Nieves (C)
  9. Shairon Martis (RHP)

April 19: Braves (5-6) @ Pirates (6-5)

Your pregame news and notes…

  • Jack Wilson is back in the lineup after sitting Friday and Saturday. The swelling on his sprained left middle finger has gone down, and he’s out there fielding grounders at short as I type.
  • As mentioned in Friday’s game story, Andy LaRoche is benefitting from a change in his batting stance. After working with hitting coach Don Long on Friday, LaRoche had one hit on Friday and three on Saturday after starting the season 1-for-20. Long noticed that LaRoche was closing his body during the set-up of his swing, which led to serious difficulty in hitting inside pitches. LaRoche has now opened up his stance a bit, which makes it easier for LaRoche to get his hands out in front and get his bat through the desired bat path.
  • Manager John Russell said that he did consider getting Donnie Veal in Saturday’s blowout win, but ultimately went with Jesse Chavez because Chavez needed some work. It’s evident that the Pirates are going to continue to hide Veal in that bullpen and develop him as much as possible outside of game situations for as long as possible. He hasn’t made an appearance since making his Major League debut on April 7. 
  • The Pirates enter the game with a streak of 21 scoreless innings and with three shutouts this year. That’s the highest such total in the Majors. The staff’s 2.63 ERA is also best in the big leagues. Everyone expected the pitching to improve after last year’s disastrous results, but I don’t think anyone expected a start this good.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Braves lineup:

  1. Oman Infante (SS)
  2. Martin Prado (2B)
  3. Chipper Jones (3B)
  4. Garret Anderson (LF)
  5. Jeff Francouer (RF)
  6. Casey Kotchman (1B)
  7. David Ross (C)
  8. Jordan Schafer (CF)
  9. Javier Vazquez (RHP)   

Day 49: Twins @ Pirates; 25-man roster set

The Pirates filled the last spot on their Opening Day roster on Friday by informing Jesse Chavez that he was in and letting Evan Meek know that he is out. There is no question that Meek pitched better this spring than Chavez (3.48 ERA vs. Chavez’s 11.45 ERA), but Meek was ultimately denied a spot because of a series of unfortuante events. After a March 20 appearance, he missed a week with a tired shoulder. Just as he was cleared to come back, the righty was hit with the stomach flu and then with bronchitis.

As a result, the Pirates didn’t feel like they saw enough from Meek, who was the last player to make the roster last spring. He didn’t pitch multiple innings this spring and he never pitched in back-to-back games. Those are two things that the club wants to see from Meek in Triple-A Indianapolis before feeling good enough to call him back up to the big leagues, which could very well happen early in the season.

“It was ultimately that logic won out over emotion,” GM Neal Huntington said of the decisions. “In this case, Evan threw the ball very well. He threw it with velocity, with stuff, with command and he had gotten results. That was tough to walk away from, given especially how things have gone this spring.

“Jesse’s stretched out. The results aren’t where they need to be or truthfully where we want them to be, but as we get in to St. Louis and get into Cincinnati, it’s tough for JR to call down Evan asking him to do something that the Major League level that he hasn’t done in Spring Training yet. We wanted to hang on as long as we could because he had shown signs of improvement. But in the end, we decided we needed to do the right thing for him and for us and go get him stretched out and go get him some back-to-back outings.”

Because Meek was one of the best relievers (consistency wise) in camp, you can understand why he was in a bit of shock this morning at the news.

“I don’t even know how to explain to you guys what that feels like this,” Meek said of the horrible timing of his illnesses. “It was really out of their hands. I couldn’t pitch. I was looking forward to throwing today. It didn’t matter, I guess. With things still fresh, there are still things going through my head. But the bottom line is I missed two weeks. In my opinion, I was one of the best guys this spring. I guess that doesn’t matter. Bottom line is it’s been two weeks and they want me to build it back up.”

The two official moves the Pirates made on Friday morning — optioning Meek to Triple-A and placing Phil Dumatrait on the 15-day DL — set the Pirates’ roster at 25 players.

In other news… Ian Snell will throw two innings in a Triple-A game on Saturday. He was feeling better (finally) on Friday. He is still scheduled to then pitch his first regular season game on Tuesday.

Skies are overcast here and thunder is crackling in the distance, so I’m not sure what that portends for the game this afternoon. Tarp is on the field right now. Oh, and now it’s raining. But assuming we do get this game in, here’s your starting lineup.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  6. Craig Monroe (DH)
  7. Brandon Moss (RF)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  9. Jack Wilson (SS)

Pitcher: Zach Duke

Twins lineup:

  1. Denard Span (RF)
  2. Alexi Casilla (2B)
  3. Michael Cuddyer (1B)
  4. Delmon Young (LF)
  5. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  6. Brian Buscher (DH)
  7. Brendan Harris (3B)
  8. Mike Redmond (C)
  9. Matt Tolbert (SS)

Pitchers: Kevin Slowey 

Pirates 6, Reds 5

After Thursday’s game, manager John Russell said that the pitching schedule for Ian Snell will depend on how Snell feels when he shows up at the clubhouse on Friday. Snell was scratched from his start on Thursday because of illness.

If he’s well enough, Snell will pitch a short outing in a Minor League game on Friday. That would be sufficient enough for Snell to stay on track to make his first regular season start on Tuesday in St. Louis.

If not, though, the Pirates will then begin to look at possible alternate scenarios with their rotation order. No changes to the rotation order (Paul Maholm, Snell, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens) have really been discussed yet, but be sure that they will if Snell misses another day or two.

It’s actually the World Baseball Classic that is working in Snell’s favor right now. Because he stretched himself out earlier than the rest of the pitchers to prepare for the tournament, Snell was already ahead of schedule and did not necessarily need another tune-up.


The Pirates staff will not make its final roster decision necessarily based on most recent outings, but reliever Jesse Chavez didn’t help his cause during his one-inning appearance on Thursday. Chavez is competing with Evan Meek for the last bullpen spot.

All indications are that the Pirates are ready to hand that spot over to Meek, but that they don’t want to do so without seeing Meek on the mound one more time. He hasn’t pitched since March 20 because of a tired shoulder then the flu then bronchitis. But Chavez certainly had a chance on Thursday to give management a little bit to think about by having a good outing. He didn’t.

Chavez allowed three earned runs on three hits and three walks in one inning. He pitched the first inning since starter Snell was scratched due to illness.

“I never got in a rhythm to throw strikes,” Chavez said. “That’s how the spring has been going. I’ve just never gotten in a rhythm at all.”

Chavez has allowed 14 earned runs now in 11 spring innings. He continues to battle through problems with his slider, which had always been a reliable pitch for the right-hander.

Assuming that Meek can show he’s healthy and his arm is ready, Chavez will likely begin the year in the Triple-A bullpen. The Pirates are expected to make a decision on that 25th roster spot on Friday.

“It’s good to be here this long,” Chavez said. “I feel like I’m close. This whole spring I’ve been working on some stuff. If I can do what I’ve been doing on the side than it’s a good day.”


The Pirates announced on Thursday that standing-room tickets are the only remaining tickets for the team’s home opener on April 13. Those tickets can be purchased here at for $8 apiece. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 1-800-Buy-Bucs or at the PNC Park box office.

There are also a limited number of available home opener seats for those who purchase full or partial (at least 20 games) season ticket packages.

The Pirates will play the Astros in a 1:35 p.m. ET game on their April 13 home opener.


Up Next: The Pirates will face the Twins in their final spring game at McKechnie Field this year. Lefty Zach Duke will make the start against Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey in the 1:05 p.m. ET game.

Because most other teams in Florida have left or are leaving by Friday to play exhibition games elsewhere, the Pirates and Twins will see each other both on Friday and Saturday. They typically end every spring with that schedule.

Day 48: Pirates (ss) @ Reds; Veal, Hansen, Burnett make roster

Relievers Donnie Veal, Craig Hansen and Sean Burnett were summoned into manager John Russell’s office on Thursday morning and officially told that they will begin the season on the Major League roster. The team has now officially filled 24 of its 25 roster spots, with Evan Meek and Jesse Chavez fighting for the final one.

Meek wasn’t sure on Thursday morning whether or not he’d be able to pitch in Thursday’s game in Sarasota, as he is still recovering from bronchitis. If he’s not able to, the hope is that Meek can pitch on Friday. GM Neal Huntington said that he’d like to make the final cut by the end of the day on Friday, but that the staff would like to see Meek pitch first. It looks like Meek has the upper hand, meaning that he should be on the club as long as he can show adequate arm strength and command in his next relief appearance.

Huntington admitted that the “business side” of the game came largely into play in the three decisions made official on Thursday. The Pirates would have lost Veal, a Rule 5 pick, if they hadn’t taken him north. And both Hansen and Burnett were out of options. Since no other relief candidates seized the job, these business decisions — making sure the club didn’t lose these pitchers yet — became the deciding factor.

In other news… Ian Snell will not make the start for the Pirates since he is still down with flu-like symptoms. As of this morning, Huntington said a new pitching schedule for Snell had not been devised yet. I’ll try to get that postgame. Snell was scheduled to pitch his first regular season game on Tuesday and right now, no decision has been made as to whether that schedule will be altered, too.

As a result, the Pirates will use all relievers in Thursday’s game against the Reds.

While the Major League team is playing in Sarasota, the Pirates will also be playing host to Manatee Community College in a charity game at McKechnie Field. Virgil Vasquez is scheduled to make the start.

Here are lineups for both games…

Pirates @ Reds

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (CF)
  2. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  3. Ryan Doumit (C)
  4. Eric Hinske (1B)
  5. Craig Monroe (LF)
  6. Brandon Moss (DH)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Larry Broadway (RF)

MCC @ Pirates

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Brian Bixler (SS)
  3. Neil Walker (3B)
  4. Jose Tabata (RF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  7. Brad Corley (LF)
  8. Ryan Mulhern (DH)
  9. Jim Negrych (2B)

Pitcher: Virgil Vasquez

MCC lineup:

  1. Kelvin Clark (CF)
  2. Taylor Wrenn (SS)
  3. Hunter Ovens (RF)
  4. Jonathan Griffin (1B)
  5. Gus Schlosser (P/DH)
  6. Jonathan Rodriguez (3B)
  7. Tony Mitchell (LF)
  8. Derek Luciano (2B)
  9. Logan Moro (C)

Pitcher: Gus Schlosser