Results tagged ‘ Luis Cruz ’

August 15: Pirates (46-69) @ Cubs (59-55); Bixler recalled, Bautista selected, Salazar DFAed, Ascanio to DL

Well, we have quite the checklist to go through on this early morning in Chicago… Since Friday’s 17-2 trouncing by the Cubs, the Pirates have made four roster moves. Right-hander Denny Bautista and shortstop-turned-utilityman Brian Bixler walked into the clubhouse at about 9:30 CT this morning, fresh off a flight from Columbus, Ohio, where the Triple-A Indians are playing a series.

Bautista takes a spot in the bullpen that was freed up by having to place righty Jose Ascanio on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. Manager John Russell said that Ascanio first start feeling some soreness during his Aug. 11 appearance in Colorado and continued to feel the tightness while throwing lightly on Friday.

The Pirates have had all sorts of issues keeping their bullpen arms healthy this year. Craig Hansen hasn’t pitched since April and is out for the year. Tyler Yates is out for the season after having to undergo Tommy John surgery in July. Evan Meek suffered a left oblique strain already on this road trip. Donnie Veal is just returning to throwing after being sidelined with a sprained left index finger. And Phil Dumatrait is finishing up a rehab assignment in Triple-A, though he is expected to join the Pirates’ bullpen next Friday.

Bautista had a 4.88 ERA in 36 appearances with Indianapolis this season. In 48 innings, Bautista struck out 58 and walked 34. It’s that control that plagued Bautista during his time with the Major League club last season.

With Bautista needing to get on the 40-man roster and that roster full, the Pirates were forced to designated outfielder Jeff Salazar for assignment. The Pirates now have 10 days to trade, release or outright Salazar to the Minors if he passes through waivers. Salazar went 1-for-26 with the Pirates, playing primarily as a pinch hitter.

Salazar’s exit led to Bixler’s entrance, as the Pirates needed to call up a position player already on the team’s 40-man roster. Bixler has recently been converted to a utility player, splitting time at short, second and in center field since the beginning of July. In all, Bixler has started 60 games at short, 24 at second and 11 in center since the start of the season.

Bixler is not expected to get substantial playing time, though Russell said he hopes that Bixler’s recent offensive success in Triple-A will be sustained off the bench here. Bixler had a 15-game hitting streak with Indianapolis at the time of the call up and had hit .335 since July 1. He was recently named Indianapolis’ July Player of the Month.

Phew… got all that?

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

  • Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and Charlie Morton, who gave up 10 runs in his one-inning start here on Friday, had a lengthy discussion early this morning out on the bullpen mound. They also talked at length Friday afternoon after Morton met with the media postgame.
  • Veal threw his second side session on Saturday, with Russell watching. Veal is still expected to be reexamined in Pittsburgh on Monday. 
  • Catcher Ryan Doumit is back in the lineup after a two-game hiatus. Doumit’s right wrist is said to be just fine.
  • Luis Cruz is getting a start at second and Ramon Vazquez is getting the start at third this afternoon. Just a day off for Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young, so nothing more there.
  • This isn’t a pretty stat: The Pirates are just 4-52 when trailing after six innings. That doesn’t say much for late-inning comeback chances.
  • Saturday is Zach Duke’s fourth go at 10 wins, though had he had some bullpen and offensive help, he’d be well past that mark already. He’s had some success at Wrigley Field, though not recently. In his first five starts here, Duke went 3-1 with a 1.43. In his last two, he’s 0-2 wiht a 6.33 ERA. His last win at Wrigley: May 2, 2006.
  • Double-A third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 3-for-3 with a home run for Altoona on Friday night. The homer was his 23rd of the season. Alvarez has hit .468 in August.
  • Lefty Daniel Moskos pitched eight strong innings in that Double-A game. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight. The start was the longest of his career.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Luis Cruz (2B)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Milton Bradley (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Jake Fox (3B)
  5. Jeff Baker (2B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Sam Fuld (CF)
  9. Tom Gorzelanny (LHP) 

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

July 28: Pirates (43-56) @ Giants (53-46); Sanchez out b/c of knee, Wilson gets day off

As promised, here are some pictures I snapped while taking a short (self-guided, of course) tour around AT&T Park yesterday. By the way, the view from the open outfield concourse is fabulous, though freezing. Apparently July is the coldest month to be at the ballpark during the season (go figure…) and you definitely needed a warm coat to sit in those outfield seats last night.

San Fransisco 001.jpg

Willie Mays greets guests at the front gate.

San Fransisco 002.jpg

Loved the mural that is on the facade of the park where the players enter. Not until I was reading some of the panels did I realize the Giants (New York and San Fran) have more players in the Hall of Fame than any other team. But when you start going through the list, it is an impressive bunch.

San Fransisco 003.jpgThis is the view from the press box. The location of where we sit is, along with Houston, the best anywhere.

San Fransisco 008.jpgThat’s Levi’s Landing wall in right, though I have to admit I’m a bigger fan of the Clemente Wall in Pittsburgh. No, that’s not a biased opinion. I ventured behind the wall to see if I’d spot a kayaker, but there was not one to be spotted in the water. Maybe they’ve found other hobbies since Barry Bonds left.

San Fransisco 005.jpgI didn’t realize the Coca Cola bottle had a slide down the middle of it. I also didn’t realize the slide was meant for adults, since that’s the only ones I saw sliding down when I walked by. Poor kids.

San Fransisco 011.jpgLast one — this is the view of the bay from the outfield concourse. This park certainly has one of the most unique settings of any in baseball. This picture was snapped right by some little seafood shack that had a dungeness crab sandwich that was to die for. In fact, that might just be dinner again tonight.

OK, more from the baseball realm…

Don’t pack away those No. 2 and No. 12 jerseys just yet. Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson are not in Tuesday’s lineup, but it is not because a deal is done to send them elsewhere. Sanchez is still bothered by a tender left knee and is expected to sit until Friday at the earliest. Wilson is getting a scheduled day off just to let him rest.

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

  • Ryan Doumit will get his first day off since coming off the DL on July 10 on Wednesday. It’s because Russell planned on giving Doumit the day off on Wednesday that he sat Wilson on Tuesday. Russell said he didn’t want both out of the lineup on the same day.
  • Luis Cruz made the start in place of Wilson at short on Tuesday, giving Cruz his first start since being recalled. Wilson was thrilled for Cruz and said he was looking forward to watching him from the dugout. The two have been doing some work together, and apparently, Cruz’s quick hands have Wilson quite impressed. Between working with Wilson and Perry Hill, I’d say Cruz is in good hands.
  • The Pirates have signed fifth-round pick Nathan Baker, a left-handed pitcher out of Ole Miss. He is believed to have signed for around slot, though that hasn’t been definitively confirmed. The Pirates have now signed 18 of 51 Draft picks.
  • For those who missed it, that “catch” by Delwyn Young (the one that hit off Garrett Jones’ glove, knee and foot) was SportsCenters’ top play from Monday. How many times does a ball that is ruled a single earn the #1 spot?

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (RF)
  3. Garrett Jones (LF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Giants lineup:

  1. Andres Torres (CF)
  2. Randy Winn (RF)
  3. Pablo Sandoval (3B)
  4. Bengie Molina (C)
  5. Fred Lewis (LF)
  6. Ryan Garko (1B)
  7. Eugenio Velez (2B)
  8. Juan Uribe (SS)
  9. Barry Zito (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB  

July 24: Pirates (42-53) @ D-backs (41-55)

With all that happened on Wednesday and the fact that I wasn’t 100 percent coherant for much of the day on Thursday after having to wake up at 3 am to catch a flight out here, I failed to pass along some very good news, at least as it concerns those of us who cover the team on a daily basis.

The Orioles and Sarasota County agreed on a 30-year lease earlier this week to move the Orioles’ Spring Training home to Ed Smith Stadium. You’ll remember that the Reds said goodbye to Sarasota this spring and are moving to Goodyear, Ariz.

Those in Pittsburgh might not care, but having a team in Sarasota is a huge benefit to the club. McKechnie Field and Ed Smith Stadium are only about 15 minutes apart, which makes the “away” games in Sarasota virtually home contests. The Pirates will likely play the Orioles three to four times in Sarasota, which is three to four fewer one hour+ drives the club has to make elsewhere. The Pirates are also able to do all their morning workouts, batting practice and fielding work in Bradenton on days where they play in Sarasota. And for those of us who cover the team, any break we can get from having a short drive is critical to our sanity. 

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez both sat out on Friday, and no, it had nothing to do with either packing their bags to join another team. Let’s get that straight. Sanchez has an achy left knee, but is expected to be OK to return on Saturday. Wilson took early batting practice and fielded grounders on Friday and should be ready to return by the end of this series.
  • Even with the middle infielders getting breathers, don’t expect Luis Cruz to get a start soon. With Cruz’s versatility, manager John Russell likes having him on the bench late in games.
  • The Tigers had a scout watching the Pirates in Pittsburgh recently, which could be a sign that Detroit is looking at Pittsburgh as a possible trade partner. The Tigers are looking for a bat, and rumor has it that they have looked at middle infield options as a way to acquire some offense. Could Sanchez be a fit?
  • And on that note, Larry Corrigan is still in Detroit, presumably scouting the Tigers. 
  • Catcher Ryan Doumit still has not taken a game off since returning from the DL shortly before the All-Star Break and there are no plans for him to have one right now. He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup, and Russell doesn’t see a need to give him a day off just yet.
  • The Pirates are 2-8 in their last 10 games at Chase Field. The club is also 16-34 on the road this season. Only the Padres (13-33) and Nationals (10-35) have worse road records in the league.
  • Garrett Jones has seven more days to accomplish something that hasn’t been done by a Pirates player in 43 years. No Pittsburgh player since Donn Clendenon in ’66 has hit 10 home runs in July. Jones currently sits at nine total this month. The last three Pirates players to hit nine homers in July were: Reggie Sanders (2003), Brian Giles (2002) and Willie Stargell (1976 and 1966).
  • Third base coach Tony Beasley is expected to rejoin the team sometime over the weekend. He has missed the last three games because of a family matter. Rich Donnelly has assumed the third base coaching duties in Beasley’s absence.
  • Shortstop Argenis Diaz made his organizational debut on Thursday with Triple-A Indianapolis. Diaz went 0-for-2 with a walk and sacrifice bunt.
  • Catcher Steve Lerud has been placed on the disabled list after suffering a concussion in Double-A Altoona’s game on Wednesday. Lerud was hit by a backswing.
  • In the last two games, the Pirates’ No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters have combined to hit .583 with four doubles, four homers and eight RBIs.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Brandon Moss (LF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

D-backs lineup:

  1. Stephen Drew (SS)
  2. Ryan Roberts (2B)
  3. Justin Upton (RF)
  4. Mark Reynolds (3B)
  5. Miguel Montero (C)
  6. Gerardo Parra (LF)
  7. Chris Young (CF)
  8. Chad Tracy (1B)
  9. Yusmeiro Petit (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB   

Thursday's Minor Matters; Cruz to be recalled

It seemed likely, and now it’s official. Luis Cruz will be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and join the Pirates in Philadelphia on Friday. He takes the roster spot that had belonged to Steve Pearce, who was sent down on Wednesday.

Cruz started the season on the Major League roster as a utility player, but was sent down on April 21 after the Pirates acquired Delwyn Young from the Dodgers. Cruz had only two at-bats while with Pittsburgh. With Indianapolis, Cruz hit .253 in 66 games.

And some Minor League notes to pass along…

  • Ryan Doumit caught nine inning for Triple-A Indy on Thursday. It was the first time Doumit has caught a full game since he began his rehab assignment. It also came on the heels of Wednesday’s game in which Doumit caught seven innings. Doumit finally also broke through offensively and went 2-for-4 with two singles. Those were his first hits since beginning his rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League.
  • Triple-A Indianapolis had two players – RHP Chris Bootcheck and C Eric Kratz – selected to play in the league’s All-Star Game next week. However, only Kratz will be participating. Bootcheck’s father recently had surgery and the reliever is going to spend the All-Star break with his family as a result. The Triple-A game will be played next Wednesday. 

Bucs send RHP Steven Jackson, 1B/OF Steve Pearce to Triple-A; Donnie Veal reinstated off DL

After the Pirates’ 5-0 loss to the Astros on Wednesday, the Pirates made two roster moves. As expected, the club reinstated left-handed reliever Donnie Veal off the disabled list. He will rejoin the team in Philadelphia on Friday. In order to make room for Veal on the 25-man roster, the Pirates sent Steven Jackson back down to Indianapolis.

The Pirates also are sending Steve Pearce down, a move that doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering he was not getting many at-bats up here and had little chance of starting either in the outfield or at first. The Pirates have not made a corresponding roster move yet. That will come on Friday.

“It’s tough hitting off the bench,” Pearce said. “I tried my hardest. I’m just going to try and go down and get hacks and try my hardest. I’ve got to get my swing. I have to find it again. Right now, the only way to do that is to go down. It’s definitely tougher not playing every day. It’s a completely different outlook on the game. I’ve got to keep working and get my bat hot again.”

Added manager John Russell: “He was kind of spinning his wheels here. We don’t forsee him being a bench player right now. He needs to go down and get his swing back.”

With the number of outfielders already on the roster, it would seem most likely that the Pirates would call up someone who could be a backup infield option. Luis Cruz would be the most likely candidate to fill that role.

July 4: Pirates (37-43) @ Marlins (41-40); Happy 4th of July

Happy July 4th, everyone. Not sure why you’re busy reading this blog when you should be grilling out, headed to watch a fireworks show or enjoying time with family. But since baseball is America’s Pastime, I guess there’s a built-in excuse to check in for some baseball news, too.

There won’t be any BBQ for me (unless the press dining ladies here are so kind…), but I do get to look forward to a fireworks show and a concert from KC and the Sunshine Band later while I’m trying to write my gamestory. Maybe that would be more exciting if I actually knew who KC and the Sunshine Band was. Sorry for those who are now shaking their heads or wondering what planet I live on. But unless it’s country, I’m just not up on the music scene. At all. Past or present.

Well, folks, today also marks another milestone besides just our country’s 233rd birthday. It’s game #81, effectively marking the halfway point of the season. There have been huge steps forward made in some case (Zach Duke) and steps back by others (Ian Snell). Some have been consistent (Freddy Sanchez), while others have labored to show they belong as an everyday player (Brandon Moss). Some have arrived (oh boy, where do I start… Andrew McCutchen, Charlie Morton, Delwyn Young…), only to see others depart (Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett among them).

Still, the Pirates sit a respectable six games behind first-place St. Louis, though the team is still six games below .500. It’s still too early to tell if there will be relevant baseball in the second half of the season, though much of that will likely be determined by how these next eight days leading up to the All-Star Break go. If nothing else, the fact that the Pirates currently have eight rookies on the team — the most on any team in the Majors — should at least give us all a glimpse of what’s coming in the next few years.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Freddy Sanchez remained out of the lineup again on Saturday, again because of tightness in his lower back. Sanchez confirmed that the problem is back spasms — not a pulled muscle. He continues to get treatment, though it seemed unlikely that Sanchez would be able to take swings pregame, which makes his availability as a pinch hitter quite questionable.
  • With Sanchez listed as day-to-day, it’s somewhat surprising to me that the Pirates have not opted to call up another infielder for protection — someone along the lines of Luis Cruz. If someone else in the middle infield were to go down, the Pirates really don’t have any replacements ready. And with Steve Pearce unlikely to get any playing time, it’d seem to make sense for him to be the one sent down to open a roster spot. Just me thinking outloud…
  • Ryan Doumit went 0-for-5 with one strikeout as the DH in a Gulf Coast League game on Saturday. He is flying to Indianapolis tonight so that he can join the Triple-A team on Sunday and continue his rehab there. A door has been left open for Doumit to return before the All-Star Break.
  • Both Indian pitchers — Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel — made their professional debuts on Saturday. Pitching for the GCL Pirates, Singh allowed two hits and one run in one inning. The left-hander struck out one and threw 19 pitches. Patel needed just eight pitches to get through his inning of relief. He struck out one and didn’t allow a baserunner.
  • Pedro Alvarez returned to action for Double-A Altoona on Friday and went 1-for-3 with a double and two strikeouts. Alvarez sat out for four days while dealing with left knee tendinitis.
  • Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny continues to shine down in Triple-A, with his latest stellar outing coming on Friday. Gorzelanny pitched eight innings and was charged with just one unearned run. He gave up five hits and walked none while striking out five. He certainly seems to be the next candidate for a rotation spot in Pittsburgh.
  • Speaking of Triple-A pitchers, Ian Snell is taking the mound for Indianapolis later this evening. It is his first start since striking out 17 — including 13 straight — in his 2009 Indy debut.
  • Interestingly enough, the Pirates haven’t played a night game on July 4 since 1990. They lost that game 5-4 in San Diego.
  • Manager John Russell did a bit more campaigning for Sanchez and Zach Duke to be included on the All-Star team. Those selections will be made on Sunday.
  • The Pirates have won five straight (four this season) against the Marlins. That’s the longest streak since the Pirates won seven consecutive games against Florida from July 7, 2004 – June 1, 2005.
  • The Pirates’ win on Friday was the first victory the team has had in Jack Wilson’s four games hitting second in the order. He’s there again on Saturday.
  • As they did on Friday, the Pirates and Marlins will wear the “Stars and Stripes” caps again on Saturday. I was a bit confused to see the caps come out on Friday since we were originally told they’d be worn just on the weekend, but oh well. The caps are also available for purchase at For every cap purchased, will donate at least $1 to Welcome Back Veterans, a program that addresses the mental health and job needs of returning American Veterans. So get shopping!
  • Baseball is also honoring the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech on Saturday. All players and personnel will wear a “4ALS” patch  to raise awareness for the fight against ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Each first base will also have that “4ALS” logo on it, and I’ve heard that Jeff Conine will be at Land Shark Stadium to read Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech before Saturday’s game.
  • Some minor Minor League roster moves: Outfielder Jonel Pacheco and catcher Milver Reyes have been promoted from Double-A to Triple-A. Infielder Ray Chang was promoted from Single-A Lynchburg to Double-A Altoona.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Jack Wilson (SS)
  3. Delwyn Young (RF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Garrett Jones (LF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Marlins lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio (3B)
  2. Jeremy Hermida (LF)
  3. Hanley Ramirez (SS)
  4. Jorge Cantu (1B)
  5. Dan Uggla (2B)
  6. Cody Ross (CF)
  7. Ronny Paulino (C)
  8. Brett Carroll (RF)
  9. Andrew Miller (LHP) 

April 17: Braves (5-4) @ Pirates (4-5)

UPDATE, 5:50 p.m: Shortstop Jack Wilson has just been scratched from the starting lineup. We didn’t get an official diagnosis, but I’m assuming that the bruised left middle finger that kept Wilson out on Wednesday bothered him enough during BP to warrant another day off.

Wilson did play on Thursday, going 0-for-3 with a walk and sacrifice. Ramon Vazquez will make the start in place of Wilson.


I have to admit that I’m intrigued by the pitching matchup tonight with Paul Maholm going against young righty Jair Jurrjens (2-0, 2.45 ERA so far in 2009), and not just because it has the potential to be a quick game. No matter how many games I see with this job, a good pitching matchup never gets old. Let’s just hope it lives up to my expectations.

As for pregame news and notes:

  • Delwyn Young arrived in Pittsburgh this morning after a red-eye from LA and is available to play tonight if needed. Luis Cruz was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for Young on the roster.
  • Manager John Russell had to use five relievers in Thursday’s game, which highlights how much the club could use a deep start by Maholm. Russell said he would like to stay away from having to use Craig Hansen on Friday since Hansen has pitched on back-to-back days.
  • Cruz had been Russell’s emergency third catcher, and with Cruz now gone Russell was asked about his next option. “That’s a good question,” Russell responded. Let’s all hope we never need to know the answer.

Having grown up just outside of Atlanta, I try to still keep an eye on what’s going on with the Braves, and it’s evident that the team taking the field for Bobby Cox on Friday isn’t exactly his ideal nine. SS Yunel Escobar and 3B Chipper Jones are both out with day-to-day injuries. Escobar has a strained abdominal muscle, while Jones is nursing a bruised left thumb. There’s a chance that both could be back in the lineup this weekend.

The Braves come into the series with a bullpen ERA of 6.60, giving the Pirates plenty of reason to believe they should be able to score late.

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) Ramon Vazquez
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Braves lineup:

  1. Kelly Johnson (2B)
  2. Omar Infante (SS)
  3. Matt Diaz (LF)
  4. Brian McCann (C)
  5. Jeff Francoeur (RF)
  6. Martin Prado (3B)
  7. Casey Kotchman (1B)
  8. Jordan Schafer (CF)
  9. Jair Jurrjens (RHP)    

Young arrives, Cruz sent down

No surprise here, but the Pirates optioned utilityman Luis Cruz to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday to make room for Delwyn Young on the team’s 25-man roster. Young has arrived in Pittsburgh and will be in uniform for Friday’s game.

Cruz appeared in just one game this year and went 1-for-2.

April 15: Astros (1-6) @ Pirates (4-3)

First off, some follow-up odds and ends to the Delwyn Young trade

  • He’s expected to be here on Friday, which is when the Pirates will make a corresponding move to free up a spot on the 25-man roster. Luis Cruz is the likely odd-man out.
  • The Pirates have seen Young play both corner outfield positions, though they are going to put him to work with infield coach Perry Hill immediately to see how capable he is of playing second base as well. Young has extensive experience at second in the Minors, but very little in the Majors.
  • Young is healthy and will be able to play immediately. The Pirates had a scout watch him during his rehab stint and said that his arm is average to sometimes above average strength-wise.
  • GM Neal Huntington reiterated that the Pirates (and the Indians, when Huntington was still with Cleveland) have been intrigued with Young’s bat for a while now. The Pirates don’t feel like they gave up much to acquire him (two PTBNL or cash), and so they were willing to take the risk on his talent.

As for Major League notes…

  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche is back in the lineup after being benched on Monday. LaRoche is still looking for his first hit of the year.
  • Outfielder Craig Monroe is making his first start for Pittsburgh now that the Pirates are finally facing a left-handed starter (Mike Hampton) for the first time this year. Monroe is 0-for-3 this season off the bench.
  • Today is Jackie Robinson Day across MLB and everyone will be wearing No. 42 in honor of Robinson.

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 (RF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Astros lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn (CF)
  2. Miguel Tejada (SS)
  3. Lance Berkman (1B)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Hunter Pence (RF)
  6. Geoff Blum (3B)
  7. Ivan Rodriguez (C)
  8. Jeff Keppinger (2B)
  9. Mike Hampton (LHP) 

Pirates acquire Delwyn Young; Davidson DFAed

The Pirates have acquired switch-hitting outfielder Delwyn Young from the Dodgers in return for two players to be named later or cash considerations. Though the trade was reported late Tuesday evening, the Pirates made the official announcement late Wednesday morning.

Young, 26, began the season on the Dodgers’ disabled list and had not played for Los Angeles’ big league club this year.  He underwent elbow surgery during the offseason and had just finished his rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque when the Dodgers designated him for assignment to clear a roster spot.

Young, who is out of options, will make an immediate impact on the Pirates’ big league team. The organization designated left-handed reliever Dave Davidson for assignment in order to add Young to the team’s 40-man roster. The club will have to clear a spot on the 25-man roster, too, though that move has not yet been made. That move will be made on Friday. 

Luis Cruz is the most likely choice to be sent to the Minors in order to open up that roster spot. Cruz has not yet had an at-bat off the bench with the Pirates this season.

“Delwyn Young is a young, switch-hitter with some defensive versatility who will give John Russell another weapon off the bench,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “Delwyn’s strength is his bat, but with defensive improvements he has the ability to expand his role. We are pleased to add Delwyn to our Major League team.”

Young, a fourth-round Draft pick in 2002, has a .267 career average with 10 doubles, 10 RBIs and three homers in 110 games. He spent most of the ’08 season on Los Angeles’ Major League club and batted .246 in 83 games. He appeared primarily as a pinch hitter.

Though Young is listed as an outfielder, he does have extensive experience playing second base as well. In the 644 games he has played in the Minors, Young played 398 of them at second.