Results tagged ‘ Lastings Milledge ’

Bucs re-sign two; non-tender four

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Tonight’s roster moves:

  • Ronny Cedeno agreed to a one-year contract with a club option for 2012
  • Jeff Karstens agreed to a one-year contract
  • Joel Hanrahan and Ross Ohlendorf were tendered contracts
  • Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Brian Burres and Donnie Veal were not tendered contracts; they become free agents

From GM Neal Huntington:

On Milledge: We spent a lot of time analyzing Lastings Milledge as compared with the potential alternatives for the expected role and determined it was worth further exploration of the alternatives.  We remain open to continuing dialogue with Lastings.”

On Veal: “Everything is on schedule with Donnie’s rehabilitation.  We made a tough business decision, but we are optimistic we will be able to re-sign Donnie.”

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Winter ball update

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Here is another winter ball update for you:

Venezuela Winter League

SS Ronny Cedeno: 19 G, .279 BA, 9 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI
2B Adenson Chourio: 11 G, .000 BA, 2 R
SS Argenis Diaz: 19 G, .186 BA, 6 R, 3 RBI
C Hector Gimenez: 26 G, .247 BA, 12 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI
OF Lastings Milledge: 20 G, .260 BA, 13 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI
RHP Gabriel Alvarado: 2 G, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER
LHP Sean Gallagher: 3-2, 8 G (5 GS), 29 IP, 28 H, 12 ER, 4 HR, 17 BB, 25 K
LHP Corey Hamman: 1-0, 14 G, 1 SV, 10.2 IP, 14 H, 8 ER, 4 HR, 4 BB, 10 K
RHP Jean Machi: 3-0, 15 G, 5 SV, 17 IP, 13 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 15 K
RHP Diego Moreno: 4 G, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
LHP Jhonathan Ramos: 2-0, 10 G, 8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 5 K
LHP Justin Thomas: 1-2, 9 G (4 GS), 19.1 IP, 22 H, 11 ER, 3 HR, 10 BB, 14 K

Dominican Winter League

SS Pedro Ciriaco: 14 G, .204 BA, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 R
C Jason Jaramillo: 16 G, .217 BA, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI
OF Starling Marte: 21 G, .224 BA, 7 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
RHP Michael Dubee: 1-0, 14 G, 17 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 7 BB, 14 K
RHP Charlie Morton: 0-1, 3 GS, 15 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 14 K

Australian Baseball League

OF Quincy Latimore: 12 G, .400 BA, 12 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI
LHP Rinku Singh: 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K  

Puerto Rican Winter League

SS Benji Gonzalez: 13 G, .160 BA, 6 R, 1 2B  

Mexican Winter League

OF Rogelio Noris: 27 G, .266 BA, 11 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI 

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May 31: Cubs (24-27) @ Pirates (20-31)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The blog is back, as am I after a much-welcomed getaway to Europe over the past two weeks. And as Lastings Milledge informed me in the clubhouse this morning, there will not be any more European adventures in my future since the team didn’t do so well during my absence. We’ll see about that…

Let’s jump right back in, but not before I thank all the men and women serving this country in the military. Thank you for what you do. And a special shout out to all you Pirates fans overseas who stay connected by reading this blog. I know there some of you since I have received notes from you. Thank you.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Manager John Russell announced that Neil Walker will be the team’s regular second baseman moving forward. Walker has hit safely in four of his first six games since being promoted last Tuesday. And with Aki Iwamura never finding his footing this season, the switch has been made. Iwamura, who is the highest paid player on the club, will be moved into a bench role after having nearly two months to get back on track.
  • Walker might also spell Andy LaRoche some time at third base if LaRoche continues to have any back issues. But the goal is to have Walker get comfortable at second, a position that he began playing only in Spring Training.
  • With Iwamura out of the lineup, the Pirates will use Andrew McCutchen as their primary leadoff hitter. Russell liked what McCutchen offered out of the No. 3 spot, but they have little other choice than to use him at the top of the lineup. For now, Walker is hitting second. Russell would not commit to him staying there, but said noted that it’s been a good fit thus far.
  • While I was gone, lefty Donnie Veal was placed on the Triple-A DL with soreness above the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews later this week. A visit to Dr. Andrews often isn’t a good thing, as Kevin Hart was reminded of earlier this month.
  • The Pirates reacquired Jonathan Van Every from the Red Sox in exchange for infield Josue Peley. Pittsburgh had dealt Van Every to Boston on April 24. Van Every will join Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday.
  • Spoke with Chris Jakubauskas this morning, and he remains encouraged with his progress. He threw 30 pitches (all fastballs) on Saturday and is scheduled to throw 40-45 in his next session on Tuesday. He’ll likely mis in some sinkers and changeups this time.
  • Steve Pearce (sprained right ankle) has had his protective boot removed and is walking with hardly a limp. Pearce said the ankle is still sensative in spots, but that it is improving.
  • Lefty Jack Taschner will make his second Minor League rehab appearance with Double-A Altoona later tonight. Taschner is eligible to come off the DL later this week.
  • Former Pirates reliever John Grabow has been placed on the DL with a left MCL sprain on Monday. That means the Cubs lefty won’t be facing his former team in this series.
  • A reminder to women interested: Milledge will host a “Bats Against Breast Cancer” baseball clinic from 7:45 am – 1:35 pm before the team’s game against the Giants on Sunday. For those interested in more details, go here.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Neil Walker (2B)
  3. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
  2. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Randy Wells (RHP)

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May 14: Pirates (14-20) @ Cubs (15-20)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Friday’s game begins a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, which will take the team into June. Depending on how things go — particularly if it’s to one extreme or the other — this three-week period could also set the season on its final course.

The Pirates enter this series on the heels of four straight losses, the last three to a Cincinnati team that gave up just one earned run. The Pirates haven’t scored since Monday, and they’ve had just 10 hits since Sunday’s game ended.

The numbers are not pretty. And since I feel like I’ve rehashed them enough already, I’ll stop there. Maybe the only bit of good news is that the wind is currently blowing out of Wrigley Field.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • You’ll notice that shortstop Ronny Cedeno is back in the lineup after nursing a sore wrist these last few days.
  • Ryan Church’s wrist is improving, too, enough to where Russell said the outfielder could likely have started today if needed. Plan on seeing Church start Saturday’s game.
  • Right-hander Brendan Donnelly threw 25 pitches off the Wrigley Field mound on Friday as he works his way back from an oblique strain. Donnelly is scheduled to throw another side session on Sunday and then pitch a simulated game in Philadelphia early next week. That has him on target to come off the DL when the Pirates return home next week, as expected.
  • You heard it here first: Pirates broadcaster John Wehner has predicted home runs from Lastings Milledge and Andy LaRoche today. The fact that the two have a combined three all season makes me a bit skeptical, but I wanted to make sure to document the prediction so Wehner can get credit if he’s right.
  • Here’s another one of those not-so-pretty notes from Elias: Three times this season a team has been outhit by 14 hits. Two times the Pirates have been involved. They were outhit, 25-8, by the Brewers on April 22. The Reds then outhit the Pirates, 15-1, on Tuesday.
  • Second baseman Aki Iwamura remains atop the Pirates’ lineup despite his .169 average and .267 on-base percentage. Even worse, Iwamura has gone 2-for-35 since the beginning of May. Still, the struggling infielder is going to stay in the lineup for now — which you can read more about on pirates.com in a bit. I know that many of you (since I have heard from you) disagree, but you can find manager John Russell’s explanation for sticking with Iwamura in today’s story.
  • Left-hander Brian Burres enters Friday having pitched 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Only Evan Meek, who didn’t allow a run during a 15-inning stretch from April 15 to May 7, has gone longer for the Pirates this season.
  • A Pirates alumni update: Former closer Matt Capps has as many saves for Washington as the Pirates have wins (14).
  • Another former Pittsburgh pitcher, Tom Gorzelanny, makes the start against the Pirates on Friday. He has allowed one earned run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh since being traded to Chicago.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Brian Burres (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (2B)
  2. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Xavier Nady (RF)
  5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Tom Gorzelanny (LHP)

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May 5: Cubs (13-14) @ Pirates (11-15)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

For all the terms laced upon baseball players these days — hero, superstar, larger than life, etc. — sometimes it is nice to be reminded that at the core, these guys are just like anyone else. Being around them so much, I see that. But I know that the public has a tendency to put athletes on a pedestal.

Maybe that’s why I felt inclined to share something Octavio Dotel told reporters after Tuesday’s win. After Dotel was asked a few baseball-related questions, someone asked the closer about his new baby boy, Eduardo, who was born on Sunday. Dotel lit up as any proud papa would do:  

“It’s been great,” he said. “Every hour that I wake up, I see my little one and it makes me really excited and happy. Now I live for someone who needs me. That’s really nice to see my boy every morning when I wake up.”

Baseball isn’t everything to these guys, so maybe we should all make sure not to define them solely by that. Just my thought for the day.

Onto your news and notes for Wednesday…

  • Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is back in the lineup (insert collective sigh here) after missing Tuesday’s game with a mild right ankle sprain. He tested the ankle out this afternoon and was cleared to return. Watching him from this vantage point, McCutchen seemed to be running just fine.
  • Expected to be an everyday player coming into the season, Lastings Milledge has been given his fair share of days off to this point. He’s not in the lineup on Wednesday, marking the fifth time he’s been out of the starting lineup. Manager John Russell’s explanation continues to be that he wants his bench guys (i.e. outfielder Ryan Church) to stay active. But with Milledge hitting just .171 since April 21, Milledge is going to have to start proving that he belongs as a regular.
  • Recently recalled first baseman Steve Pearce will get his first start tonight. As I mentioned yesterday, don’t be surprised if you slowly see a platoon situation develop between the right-handed hitting Pearce and the left-handed hitting Jeff Clement, assuming Pearce fares well. Pearce is 3-for-7 lifetime against Cubs starter Ted Lilly.
  • Clement is hitless in his last 19 at-bats.
  • In case you missed it, Double-A lefty Rudy Owens tossed six no-hit innings and notched 11 strikeouts on Tuesday. You can read his thoughts on the outing here.
  • Ross Ohlendorf will make his Minor League rehab start with Double-A Altoona tonight. First pitch is at 7:05 pm. There will be an update on the outing later tonight, but obviously it wouldn’t be until much later. The club is still hopeful that Ohlendorf will be ready to make a May 10 start in Pittsburgh.
  • Andy LaRoche spent a good part of BP visiting with two local children as a part of his Down Syndrome initiative. LaRoche is involved in all sorts of outreach to local children with Down Syndrome and that includes 6-7 visits that he has set up where he invites kids with Down Syndrome to the ballpark. This was the first of those visits.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Bobby Crosby (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Ryan Church (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  5. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  6. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  7. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  8. Koyie Hill (C)
  9. Ted Lilly (LHP)

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April 30: Pirates (10-12) @ Dodgers (8-14)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Dodger Stadium is proving to be a much more pleasant work setting today than it was yesterday. In addition to having issues with the blog software on Thursday (sorry, that’s why there was no usual pregame blog), the wind here yesterday was brutal. With winds apparently close to 40 mph, even laptops were being moved by the biggest gusts. It’s always a challenge when you’re trying to hold down your scorebook, notebooks, notes and media guide while typing.

And no, there were no windows to shield us from the element.

The winds are just mild today, so Charlie Morton won’t get the same benefit that Brian Burres did on Thursday when home runs were going to be near impossible to get through the wind tunnel. I feel like you could have labeled each of Morton’s last three starts as “critical” given his poor start, and this is yet another.

At some point — and the Pirates need it to be soon — Morton is going to have to prove that having great “stuff” can also make himself an effective big-league pitcher. As Morton told me yesterday, it all starts with his head. He hasn’t made any huge changes to his game plan. He simply wants to be aggressive and execute.

While we wait for Morton to take the mound, here is your news…

  • In case you missed it earlier, Kevin Hart was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Friday. Pirates medical director Patrick DeMeo has recommended that Hart undergo season-ending surgery. Hart will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week, but even he sounded resigned to the fact that his season is over when speaking by phone on Friday.
  • The Indianapolis rotation continues to be a merry-go-round of pitchers. The Pirates have already borrowed Chris Jakubauskas, Jeff Karstens and Burres. Now Hart is out for the season. Jakubauskas is recovering from a head injury, too. In order to fill Hart’s spot in the Triple-A rotation, the Pirates have promoted RHP Michael Crotta from Double-A Altoona.
  • Ross Ohlendorf gave the Pirates some good news on Friday with a 43-pitch start in an extended Spring Training game. Ohlendorf reported no issues with his back afterward. He was throwing consistently between 88-93 mph and reached 94 a few times with his fastball.
  • Ohlendorf will make a second rehab start on May 5 (location: TBD). If that goes well, he will make his return to the Pirates’ rotation on May 10.
  • That means that the Pirates will need to plug his spot in the rotation one more time. Burres is the most likely candidate to get that final spot start, though the Pirates haven’t written his name in pen yet.
  • Speaking of Triple-A starters, Brad Lincoln had a rocky outing with Indianapolis on Friday. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits in six innings against Pawtucket. He walked four and struck out three.
  • For those who didn’t stay up late last night, Evan Meek recorded his first Major League save on Thursday. Now, that does not mean the Pirates have a closer controversy going on. It was predetermined that Octavio Dotel would have the night off (he pitched two innings the day before), and Meek was simply the freshest arm. That said, you have to like what you saw from Meek in a 1-2-3 inning. He sure does seem to possess the skills — physically and mentally — to be a closer down the road.
  • Aki Iwamura is back in the leadoff spot after sitting with a cold on Thursday. He is 6-for-39 in his last 10 games.
  • Manager John Russell called it “just a day off” for left fielder Lastings Milledge on Friday. Russell has made it a point to keep his bench players active, especially Ryan Church. Russell noted he liked the matchup with Church against Chad Billingsley, though Church is just 2-for-14 against the right-hander. Church has had success at Dodger Stadium, however. Here he is 24-for-62 lifetime.
  • The Pirates’ shutout last night was their first at Dodger Stadium since 9/5/2000 when Jose Silva, Rich Loiselle and Marc Wilkins combined for one.
  • Though the Pirates have endured their share of blowout losses this season, the club is 7-1 in games decided by two runs or less. They’re 8-0 when leading after four innings, which is another sign of how dependant they are on decent starting pitching.
  • If the Pirates can win on Friday, it would mark the team’s first four-game road winning streak since 2007.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Charlie Morton (RHP)
  9. Bobby Crosby (SS)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Xavier Paul (LF)
  2. Russell Martin (C)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Matt Kemp (CF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Casey Blake (3B)
  7. Blake DeWitt (2B)
  8. Jamey Carroll (SS)
  9. Chad Billingsley (RHP)

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April 26: Pirates (7-11) @ Brewers (8-10)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

What a weird game this can be sometimes.

The Pirates go from a thrilling three-game sweep of the Reds to dropping six straight and possibly counting…

The Brewers outscored the Pirates, 36-1, in a three-game series last week, only to then be outscored 25-4 by the Cubs over the next three days…

The Astros have won eight of their last 10 after losing eight straight to open the season. The Cubs have moved up to second place after starting 6-10…

Amazing what can happen in one week. And this is just in the NL Central.

Here’s what’s happening in the clubhouse…

  • Not in Pittsburgh anymore“: That’s the headline on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s sports page today. And it found its way onto the bulletin board in the visiting clubhouse. The headline, obviously, was in reference to the Brewers getting outscored 25-4 by the Cubs after they took it to the Pirates last week. And the Pirates were not amused.
  • I’m sure no one needs a reminder, but the Pirates have lost their last 21 games here. That’s the longest home winning streak by one team over another since the Indians beat the Browns/Orioles 27 straight times from 1952-54.
  • The Pirates will name a starter for Tuesday’s game after tonight’s affair. Likely candidate is Jeff Karstens, who has been stretched out in Triple-A for this purpose.
  • Thursday’s starting slot is still TBD and likely will be through Wednesday. Much will depend on whether Brian Burres and Brian Bass will be fresh and able to make the spot start. If the Pirates have no choice but to use both in relief in the next few days, it’s back to Triple-A to find a spot starter — possibly Kevin Hart? Hart is scheduled to pitch next in Indy on Wednesday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to throw one more side session on Tuesday and then will make his first rehab start on Friday in extended Spring Training. He’ll go there so the Pirates have more control over his pitch/innings count. After that, Ohlendorf will be in line for one more rehab start (either with Double-A Altoona or Single-A Bradenton) before he’ll be ready to return.
  • Spent some time talking with Chris Jakubauskas, who is in exceptional spirits considering what happened to him 48 hours ago. Jaku said he had no issues on the plane ride up from Houston, though he is still groggy and dealing with headaches periodically. He was scheduled to have some memory tests done today. The hardest thing right now? He’s not able to get a good night’s sleep. Jaku has to be woken up every few hours to answer questions (it’s a consequence of having a concussion) and so sleep has come only in small chunks. He said he’s watched the replay of the incident a few times but that he thinks he’s now done viewing it for good.
  • Manager John Russell had a little lineup shuffle in store for the club today. For the first time this season, Andrew McCutchen is hitting leadoff. Obviously, he is no stranger to that spot in the order, having hit there last season.
  • McCutchen moving up was the result of Russell wanting Aki Iwamura to move down. Iwamura has just two hits in his last 27 at-bats and has not been working the count as well as he was earlier in the season. He’ll hit seventh on Monday.
  • Just another day off for Lastings Milledge, as Russell opted to go with the left-handed hitting Ryan Church against right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Ryan Church (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  8. Zach Duke (LHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Corey Hart (RF)
  7. Gregg Zaun (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Yovani Gallardo (RHP)

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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.

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Q-and-A time with your Buccos

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Those participating in the hour-long session at PirateFest included hitting coach Don Long, Bobby Crosby, Evan Meek, Garrett Jones, Steve Pearce, Daniel McCutchen, Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Neil Walker, Paul Maholm, Andy LaRoche, Joel Hanrahan, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, Ryan Doumit and manager John Russell.

Here are some of your questions, as best I could transcribe…

To Ryan Doumit and Paul Maholm, what is it like being some of the last guys left in this organization after all that turnover?

Maholm: It’s kind of odd all of a sudden to become the guy with the most time on the team. But it’s fun. We’ve got a great group of guys and we expect to win.

Doumit: It kind of happened real quick from me, being just a guy on the team to being a salty vet. But it’s kind of fun.

To Andrew McCutchen, we saw what you did after your walk-off homer last year, what are your plans for the next one?

McCutchen: No, I don’t have anything planned on the top of my head. Me and [Lastings] Milledge talked about what I would do with a walk-off the night before and I said I wanted to do that. Then I did. Do you have any ideas?

Do you have any superstitions?

A. McCutchen: I think the game itself is very superstitious. You do some things every day that you don’t even know you’re doing, like you’re bat stance. I go up with the Pirate Parrot and jump up before every game.

Milledge: The way we get ready for the game. We have a set routine going to the training room, getting your workout in. You try to get in a set routine and do it so long that if you don’t do something that you’re used to doing every day, it gets weird.

Walker: Me personally, I don’t have any superstitions. Probably the biggest thing is putting clothing on the exact same way. I know Andrew was lying. He doesn’t wash his socks.

Hanrahan: I usually drink a Red Bull about the fifth inning so if he calls me in any earlier than that, I don’t know what I’d do.

Ohlendorf: If I’m pitching at home, I eat the same thing before every game. I go down to Atria’s and get the same thing every day for lunch. Then when I get to the field, I play cards a little bit and then do a lot of reading. I read a lot of history.

Doumit: I think it’s more of just a routine of keeping everything in the same place. I like to have my catcher’s equipment in the same place, put my bat in the same place every day.

D. McCutchen: I have a routine every fifth day. I do the same thing every time I take the mound — throw six warm-up pitches. If I’ve been pitching badly, I’ll bust out new cleats, socks, sliders and see if that helps.

Jones: When I was going through a slump, I took out at Olive Garden one day and then went 3-for-4. Then I started getting the same thing at Olive Garden for lunch every day for about a month and a half.

What do you like to do when not playing baseball?

A. McCutchen: I like video games – Guitar Hero and Call of Duty.

Walker: For me it’s usually the movies and getting dinner at a normal time.

Morton: I like to play the guitar and listen to music.

Doumit: I’m a big movie buff.

D. McCutchen: During the season, I like to golf. I’ve also been getting into hunting lately.

Jones: After the season I just go to my bedroom, turn off the lights and wait until next season. I just dream about baseball.

Coming to Pittsburgh you had a bad rap in the media, how have things been different in Pittsburgh?

Milledge: I think I brought a lot of stuff on myself in previous organization. I didn’t take the game very seriously. I was just always blessed with talent and a lot of things were handed to me. Once I came here, I didn’t take the game for granted anymore. I’m working a little bit harder, doing the things that got me drafted. Just not taking the game for granted. It’s a clean slate for me and I’m really taking advantage of everything that’s being offered to me.

Then Ohlendorf added: A lot of us had heard things about Lastings in the past, but I think I speak for everybody when I say that he’s been a great teammate. Things you’ve read about him being lazy or being a bad teammate, he’s not been that way. I think he’ll be one of the leaders.

How do you prepare mentally/physically to endure an entire 162-game season?

Ohlendorf: With physical preparation, you have routines and figure out what works. Mental preparation, a lot of it is just rest and being rejuvenated for the season. Some people read books – I do – about being aware of your thoughts. A lot of us are excited about this season. I think it’ll be different from last year when we trailed off. I think you can expect us to get better as the season goes on. It seems like there will be fewer trades than there have been. We’re all confident that we can be good Major League players.

Andrew, How did it feel to hit three home runs in one game with your parents in the stands?

McCutchen: It was definitely amazing. It was my parent’s anniversary and it was great for them to be there to enjoy that. The funny thing is that they were late coming to the game and missed the first one. They were able to see the next two. Who knows if it’ll happen again.

How do you come up to your at-bat music?

[Insert Andrew McCutchen rapping here]

Morton: I like country music the best. But some of it can definitely put people to sleep, so you have to find something interesting.

Doumit: I’ve always tried to follow Chipper Jones’ lead. He’s come up to Crazy Train his whole career. It’s kind of become his identity. I am doing the same thing and sticking with one song.

D. McCutchen: I don’t have anything really picked out. Maybe I’ll take one of Charlie Morton’s songs.

Jones: As a hitter, you’ve got to get something that people will get into. I might go with that new Miley Cyrus song “Party in the USA.”

Meek: I’m actually more of a Britney Spears fan.

Crosby: I’ve never had a walk-up song. I’ll take requests.

To Garrett, do you prefer to play first base or right field on a given day?

Jones: They are totally different positions. Thank you for saying I am amazing at first base. Those are pretty powerful words. But I don’t care where I play, I just hope to be in the lineup. I try to give 100 percent in every game. I probably feel a little more comfortable at first base because it’s my natural position, but I’ll play wherever they want me to play.

What was it like to get a win with the Nationals on a day off with the Pirates?

Hanrahan: I thought it was pretty cool. I kind of wanted to go to Houston and play that game with the Nationals before I got traded because I was on-deck and would have faced one of my good friends [LaTroy Hawkins]. But I was sleeping when it happened. I had just played 18 holes of golf.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

About that Top 50 prospects list

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

In case you didn’t see the unveiling of Jonathan Mayo’s Top 50 prospects on MLB Network/MLB.com Wednesday night, here are a few links that might be of interest to you. Mayo listed third baseman Pedro Alvarez as the eighth-best prospect in the Minors. Be sure to watch the video that accompanies the story for some additional insight.

If you’re interested in the rest of Mayo’s list, check this out. It also delves into different breakdowns and comparisons that you might find interesting.

It’s worth nothing that no other Pirates made the Top 50 (or even what-would-have-been Top 60) list.

If you want to reminisce, take a look at these lists of MLB.com’s Top 50 prospects from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. You’ll find that Andy LaRoche was ranked No. 33 in 2008 and No. 29 in 2006. Andrew McCutchen was listed every year since 2007. Back in 2006, Lastings Milledge was put at No. 14 and Craig Hansen sat at No. 44.

In general, it’s pretty interesting to scroll through these Top 50 lists and see which projections were spot on and which players turned out to be not nearly as good as the hype.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

 

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