Results tagged ‘ Luis Dorante ’

Beasley, Banister, Long express desire to return

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Three coaches from the Pirates’ 2010 staff said on Monday that they would consider returning to the organization next season under a new manager.

Shortly after the Pirates announced that John Russell had been removed as the team’s manager, hitting coach Don Long, third base coach Tony Beasley and interim bench coach Jeff Banister told MLB.com that they would welcome the opportunity to return to the Major League coaching staff and see the organization’s rebuilding process through.

General manager Neal Huntington left that door open, too, saying that the coaches would each be evaluated individually, with the possibility that they could be brought back. But since the Pirates’ next manager will have a significant say in hiring his coaching staff, no coaching decisions will be made until after that hire.

In the meantime, Huntington has told each coach that he is welcome to pursue other opportunities.

Reached at his home in Virginia, Beasley expressed a strong desire to return for a 19th season in the Pirates’ organization. He has spent the last three serving as the team’s third base coach and baserunning instructor.

Beasley is also under contract through the 2011 season, so that could be a factor as the organization assembles its next staff.

“I would definitely love to be back, especially with where we are with the young kids,” Beasley said. “I’d definitely love to be a part of that and a part of the growth. The process that we talked about is kind of coming to an end. I see that in the near future, and hopefully I can be a part of that. I know it’s out of my hands, but until I’m told otherwise, I hope to stay.”

Beasley said that Huntington spoke with members of the coaching staff during the team’s most recent road trip and informed them that the immediate future was uncertain for everyone.

“I’m willing to be patience and see how it works out,” Beasley said.

Like Beasley, Long was hired shortly after Russell was named manager in November 2007. Though the team finished last in the National League in batting average (.242) this season, Long has been credited by numerous players for the work he’s done with them over the past three seasons.

Most recently, he oversaw the rookie success of Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. Two years ago, he helped Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth take significant strides forward in their approaches and swings.

“The competitive side of me says we started that process and we’ve been through major overhaul on the roster,” Long said. “We’ve gotten to the point that guys who you thought would have the chance to come up here did, and they showed big signs of what they’re capable of doing. I would want to see through.

“For the people on the outside looking in, the most dominant stat is the record,” he added. “But to watch a group of players – where there is a lot of youth and not a lot of experience – go from where they started to where they finished, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. People on the outside looking in can scoff at that. But for me, as a coach, the most important thing is you take care of the things you can take care of and one of those is how you prepare and how you show up.”

Long said a decision on his future will come after he spends some time with his family. He also said he realizes that returning might not even be an option in the end.

“I’m going to take some time to absorb it a little bit and then take some time to look at the options and what I want to do,” he said. “You never know, there is always the opportunity to stay. Or there is the potential that whoever they hire will want someone they are more familiar with. And I understand that.”

Banister joined the Major League staff as the club’s interim bench coach in early August, following the dismissal of Gary Varsho. He has been with the organization for the last 25 years and began his eighth season as the Pirates’ Minor League Field Coordinator earlier this year.

Though Banister may not retain his Major League coaching job, his rapport with players and coaches in the Minor League levels would seem to suggest that the Pirates would welcome having him return in some capacity. The Pirates, however, have not announced such a decision.

Asked if he would like to continue working with the organization, Banister said: “That’s an obvious yes. There’s a lot of guys I know very well who’ve come up through our system that are there. They’ve developed, they continue to develop. They’re not finished by any stretch of the imagination. I’d love to continue that if Neal, [president] Frank [Coonelly] and [owner] Bob [Nutting] allow that to happen.

“My passion is for this organization and where I think we can go and where I think we are going. It’s unfinished for me. Until somebody tells me they don’t need my services anymore, I’ll always feel that way. I grew up in this uniform and there are a lot of things I think we can and will do. I’m sure some people think we are a ways away. I see it every day, and I know we’re not that far away. There’s a really strong nucleus of talented athletes that take the field every day. There is some finishing that needs to go along with their Major League experience before they truly know what it takes to win on an every-day basis. Hopefully, I’m part of that, in whatever capacity that is.

The rest of Russell’s former staff included Luis Dorante (bullpen coach), Carlos Garcia (first base/infield coach) and Ray Searage (interim pitching coach).

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

September 23: Reds (70-81) @ Pirates (56-93)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Before getting to baseball news, I thought it would be worth one more update as to how the G-20 Summit is going to affect anyone coming to PNC Park on Thursday or Friday. If you’re in Pittsburgh and didn’t know the G-20 Summit is going this week, shame on you. That means you must not have read a newspaper or turned on the news in months. Anyways, the gathering of world leaders at the Convention Center begins on Thursday and ends the following day.

The good news is that there will be no road closings on the North Shore. All the parking garages that you can normally access for a Pirates game will be open, and all the main interstates will also be open as usual. The Roberto Clemente bridge will still be open to pedestrian traffic.

One word of warning — if you normally come through downtown to get to the ballpark, don’t. Downtown will be shut down almost completely, though buses will be running from downtown if you do want to near the ballpark that way. There will also be protesters all around the city and so it’d be wise to allow some extra time to get to the ballpark in case that causes any unexpected traffic snarls, like it did this morning.

That’s all I’ve got for you. Oh, and expect to see lots of law enforcement around. There have been military helicopters and boats around the ballpark today and plenty of foot police around as well. I’d expect that to only increase as the next two days come and go.

As for today’s non-G20 news, notes and randomness…

  • The Pirates have still not named a starter for Friday’s game, though it will be a situation where the Pirates piggyback various relievers. Manager John Russell said he’d like to see how he needs to use his bullpen these next two games before committing to the starter.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche is still out of the lineup as his health remains less than 100 percent. Russell guessed that LaRoche could play if need be but that another day to rest would do the infielder good.
  • Neil Walker gets the start in place of LaRoche on Wednesday. Walker also confirmed that he will be playing part of his offseason playing winter ball for Luis Dorante’s team in Venezuela.
  • It sounds as if the Pirates will continue to shy away from using righty Joel Hanrahan for the time being. And with the number of available bullpen arms, they have the luxury to do so. The Pirates want Hanrahan to throw another side session after Wednesday to see how his arm reacts.
  • Second baseman Delwyn Young sits again on Wednesday. He said his back is fine, so that’s not the issue. He has been slumping for almost a month now, going 7-for-70 in his last 21 games. When asked if all Young’s extra infield work could have worn him down mentally, Russell said that should be no excuse. 
  • For those interested, the MLB Network will televise the USA vs Cuba World Cup game on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET. The championship game on Sunday will also be shown on the Network. That game has a 9 a.m. ET scheduled start. I bring this up in case you want to catch a glimpse of prospect Pedro Alvarez, who has been the US third baseman during the tournament. Pitching prospect Brad Lincoln is also on the team, though since he just pitched on Tuesday, he will not be throwing in Thursday’s game. Sunday could be a possibility for Lincoln, though. 
  • With his homer to lead off the first on Tuesday, Andrew McCutchen has now hit four first-inning leadoff homers this season. He’s the first Pirate to do so since Al Martin had six in 1999.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  7. Neil Walker (3B)
  8. Luis Cruz (2B)
  9. Kevin Hart (RHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  2. Paul Janish (SS)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Scott Rolen (3B)
  6. Jay Bruce (RF)
  7. Laynce Nix (LF)
  8. Corky Miller (C)
  9. Homer Bailey (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

August 16: Pirates (46-70) @ Cubs (60-55)

As the Pirates get ready for one more game at Wrigley on Sunday, Pirates president Frank Coonelly continues to make his presence known. Coonelly has been in Chicago with a group of corporate sponsors all weekend, but over the last two days he has spent plenty of time in and around the Pirates clubhouse.

He spoke with manager John Russell on both Saturday and Sunday and has been engaged in conversations with numerous players, including former Pirates pitcher John Grabow just a bit ago. Coonelly arrived at Wrigley on the team bus this morning, grabbed some breakfast in the clubhouse with players, stood alongside bullpen coach Luis Dorante during Paul Maholm’s bullpen session and spoke at length with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan afterward.

Why do I bring this up? Because I think it makes a statement. I don’t know Coonelly’s exact intent or purpose behind being so involved with the club over the last three days, but I would imagine he would like the team to be aware of the fact that he is watching. Coonelly has made it no secret that he has been disappointed with the Major League results this season (who hasn’t?) and his being an active presence should be a reminder that these 25 players (and the coaching staff) have plenty of eyes on them these last few weeks even though there is not playoff chase.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Lefty Donnie Veal will begin his rehab assignment in Double-A Altoona on Tuesday. He likely will be ready to come off the DL as soon as his 15-day stint is completed, but don’t be surprised if the organization waits until Sept. 1 (i.e. September call-ups) to reinstate him.
  • Outfielder Brandon Moss is back in the lineup on Sunday (replacing Lastings Milledge) and could really use a decent offensive showing to get back on track. Since August 3, Moss is just 3-for-22.
  • With a win on Saturday, Triple-A Indianapolis reached the .500 mark for the first time this season. They are 60-60.
  • Starter Daniel McCutchen earned the win in that game for Indy, as he went six shutout innings. McCutchen walked two, struck out five and allowed five hits.
  • First baseman Steve Pearce, who earned a top 10 SportsCenter web gem on Saturday for those of you who missed it, has quietly put together a nice streak at the plate. Pearce has reached base safely in 11 straight games and in 17 of 19 since being recalled from Triple-A.
  • Double-A third baseman Pedro Alvarez is leading the Eastern League with a .440 batting average and 22 hits in August. His 23 home runs this season is also an organizational high. Garrett Jones has 22 combined from Triple-A and the Majors.
  • The Pirates are 3-9 at Wrigley Field since the start of the 200 season. That explains why I feel like every time I’m here that I leave with that “Go Cubs Go” song stuck in my head.

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. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Kosuke Fukudome (CF)
  2. Milton Bradley (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Jake Fox (LF)
  6. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Aaron Miles (SS)
  9. Rich Harden (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

All-Star Monday: Duke, Sanchez get the spotlight; now it's Derby time

IMG00082.jpgWelcome to Busch Stadium on All-Star Monday. I am cetainly an amateur when it comes to photography, but I did snap a shot of the front of the stadium during my walk to the park. It is a sea of red and white everywhere… though you can see that for yourself.
The fans here in St. Louis are among the best anywhere in the country, and they are truly embracing the fact that the All-Star Game is here for the first time since 1966.

Though the NL sluggers participating in the Derby — Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez and fan favorite Albert Pujols — don’t have any ties to the Pirates, Pittsburgh is going to be represented in tonight’s Derby. And in fact, the spotlight on Pirates bullpen coach Luis Dorante is expected to be quite large.

Dorante will be throwing to Pujols on Monday after being approached and asked to do so by the Cardinals slugger back in May. Dorante has never thrown to Pujols before, but Pujols has seen him throwing batting practice in Pittsburgh and in the Dominican Republic before and that was enough. 

“It’s an honor,” Dorante said. “He saw me throwing and said he likes the way the ball came out of my hand. He doesn’t have anybody — his coach can’t be there — and he wanted to have somebody he knows throw to him.”

Dorante knows the pressure on him, and be sure that he’s taking this experience quite seriously. He has spent some time watching film of Pujols’ swing and determining his sweet spot, hopeful that the extra time spend studying will pay off.

“You’ve got to find the hitter’s area and keep throwing to that area,” Dorante said. “You want to stay in one spot where the hitter can do whatever he wants with it. With Albert, his area is anywhere in the strikezone  — in, out, up, down, wherever. So that’s a good thing.”

Dorante has brought his family here to St. Louis to enjoy the two days of festivities as well. It is his first time experiencing a Major League All-Star Game.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the big stars,” he said. “To see all those guys together on the same field will be special. It’s going to be fun.”

***

Earlier this afternoon, all the NL and AL All-Stars were briefly made available to the hoarde — yes, hoarde — of media. I got a few minutes to speak with Freddy Sanchez and Zach Duke, and it’s easy to tell that both are genuinely honored to be here this week.

Phillies manager and NL skipper Charlie Manuel said he sees Duke as being a long relief option, meaning that if the game goes just nine innings (unlike last summer’s 15-inning classic), Duke might not make an appearance. Manuel has also said that he likes the fact that Sanchez can step in at second, third or short if needed, so keep your eyes open for the Pirates’ second baseman to possibly play elsewhere on the diamond for the first time this season.

Both players were on the field not too long ago, taking part in the NL batting practice session.
Oh, and be sure to look for Duke during the Derby tonight. He promised to be sitting on the field, video camera in hand.

June 30: Cubs (36-37) @ Pirates (35-41)

So I know this is way late, but hopefully you can excuse the tardiness knowing that I have been diligently writing up trade-related stories for the main site. There will be more trade-related items on here later, but a few other general daily news bits that I wanted to pass along in the meantime since the games do still go on…

  • As noted on the blog before the Morgan/Burnett trade became official, Jeff Salazar left his Triple-A Indianapolis teammates on Tuesday afternoon to head to Pittsburgh. He will be added to the Pirates’ 40- and 25-man roster on Wednesday, taking Nyjer Morgan’s place. 
  • Ryan Doumit was in the clubhouse this afternoon, but was preparing to leave town later this evening to head to Bradenton, Fla. He’ll begin his rehab work there on Wednesday and said that he will then join Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday to continue his Minor League rehab stint. He’s still shooting for a July 17 return date.
  • The Pirates have placed Craig Monroe on waivers in order to give him his unconditional release. The Pirates had 10 days to try and trade Monroe, but with no takers, he’s expected to clear waivers and become a free agent.
  • Pirates bullpen coach Luis Dorante has been asked by Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols to be his personal pitcher during for the Homer Run Derby on Monday, July 13. Pujols will certainly be the popular pick to win considering the game will be held at Busch Stadium.
  • With a win on Tuesday night (and it currently looks like it is going that way), the Pirates would seal a winning month of June (14-13). The club also finished April above .500 (11-10). If the team can hold on and win on Tuesday, it would have two winning months in one season for the first time since 1994. Yes, it’s been that long.
  • With Tuesday being the 100th anniversary of Forbes Field, the Pirates revealed the top three moments in Forbes Field history, as voted on by the fans. Those are: 1. Bill Mazeroski’s home run to win Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. 2. Roberto Clemente’s Major League debut on April, 17, 1955. 3. The Pirates’ winning their World Series game back on Oct. 8, 1909.
  • Oh, and no need to post lineups now that the game is in the seventh. Tune in if you’re that desperate to know…  

Bucs to send nine to WBC

Final 28-man rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic were released on Tuesday, and the Pirates have nine players that will be participating:

  • Ian Snell (Puerto Rico): Snell is one of three starters for Team Puerto Rico and will be starting the second game his team plays.
  • Ramon Vazquez (Puerto Rico): Vazquez, who signed a two-year deal with the Pirates this winter, is expected to be the team’s starting third baseman.
  • Dave Davidson (Canada): Davidson, who pitched for the Canadian team in the 2008 Olympics, will be coming out of the bullpen for Team Canada again.
  • Joshua Hill (Australia): The right-hander started at Double-A Altoona last year, finishing 4-11 with a 4.53 ERA in 22 appearances (21 starts).
  • Paul Mildren (Australia): Mildren, who was signed by the Pirates this offseason, will be making his second appearance in the Classic.
  • Eliecer Navarro (Panama): Navarro is one of 13 pitchers on the Panamian team. The 21-year-old lefty pitched for the Pirates’ Domincan Summer League team last year.
  • Gift Ngoepe (South Africa): The 19-year-old infielder was signed by the Pirates last fall.
  • Chi-Hung Cheng (Chinese Taipei): Cheng was another offseason acquisition by the Pirates, though he has never pitched above Single-A after being signed by the Blue Jays in ’03.
  • Raymond Chang (China): After being acquired by the Pirates midseason, Chang pitched in five games last year for Double-A Altoona. 

The Pirates will also be represented by bullpen coach Luis Dorante, who will serve in the same capacity for the Venezuelan team.

All information regarding the World Baseball Classic can be found on MLB.com’s official WBC site.       

Day 9 Daily Squeeze

It was a quick day at Pirate City, much to the delight of the players and coaches down here. It meant early tee times out at the course or, in a number of cases, an extra few hours to catch up on sleep. Despite workouts lasting less than two hours, it had been an early morning for most, with all players and coaches rotating through for photo day before taking to the fields. Today’s focus was on throwing out runners, sliding, bunting and fielding comebackers. All players were off the field by noon.

As for the rest of your daily scoop…

  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche (lower back spasms) did not take practice for the fourth straight day, though he did take grounders with first base coach Perry Hill beforehand. LaRoche also took about 50 swings off the tee in the batting cage. He’s optimistic that he’ll be able to take the field with his teammates on Monday and even lobbied to do so today. More details here.
  • Pitchers had the day off from throwing. They will resume on Monday, with a group throwing live batting practice for the second time. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan will have some pitchers throwing one inning (20 pitches) and others throwing two innings (35 pitches).
  • Speaking of Kerrigan, he is expected to post his pitching rotation for the start of Grapefruit League games on Monday. The coaches will also sit down on Monday to piece together lineups for the first week of games. 
  • Manager John Russell did give a little insight into how those pitching assignments will be made. Wednesday’s game will feature nine relievers (pitching one inning apiece). Starting pitchers will then begin their buildup on Thursday. Kerrigan has identified 10 pitchers to build up as starters and you can expect two to throw in every game, one piggybacking after another.
  • As for my guess on the 10 starters: Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Jimmy Barthmaier, Daniel McCutchen, Jason Davis and Virgil Vasquez, perhaps?
  • Speaking of Virgil Vasquez, he will be a little behind since he missed pitching in the first round of live batting practice. He is not on the list to pitch Monday, but is likely to be joining Tuesday’s group. He will need to throw BP twice before entering game play.
  • As for position players, you can expect your experienced starters to play a few innings every other day to start with.
  • Russell confirmed that Phil Dumatrait will continue to be built up as a starter during his rehab program. That would make it easier for the Pirates to flip him to either a starting or relieving role as necessitated.
  • Russell was asked about the possibility of batting the pitcher eighth again this season. You’ll remember that Russell employed the philosophy for about a month last year and liked the results. Russell said the idea will be discussed internally again, but he didn’t appear to be overly convinced that it would be the best move considering his offensive pieces right now. Said Russell: “Looking at our lineup at the end of last year and going into this year, I don’t know if it’s going to be that advantageous for us to do it. But it’s something we’ll look at.
  • Bullpen coach Luis Dorante had to leave camp to be with his wife, who was undergoing a medical procedure. He is expected back soon. In the meantime, Russell, a former backstop, has had to help out in a catching role.
  • Monday’s workouts are scheduled to start around 10 am ET and last for about three hours

Quotable: “You should watch [Jose] Tabata hit. Jose Tabata is kind of going under the radar here, but this kid has a special bat as well.” – Russell said, unsolicited after being asked about the progress of Pedro Alvarez.

Until tomorrow… 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 586 other followers