Results tagged ‘ Miles Durham ’
In case you missed it earlier, the Pirates made two roster moves prior to Wednesday’s game. Jose Ascanio was reinstated from the DL and is here and available for Wednesday’s game. Mike Crotta was placed on the 15-day DL with right posterior elbow inflammation. More details on those moves can be found here.
More news and notes for the day:
- UPDATE: Neil Walker was scratched from the lineup just before gametime due to flu-like symptoms. Ronny Cedeno took Walker’s place at second, while Brandon Wood stepped in to play short.
- Jose Tabata is out of the lineup to take a day to work on specifics with his swing. It’s no secret the last few weeks have not been kind to Tabata, who was the most consistent hitter at the start of the season. Tabata’s season average has dropped to .226 as he has just nine hits in his last 67 at-bats.
- Crotta said that he had been bothered by the elbow discomfort for about a week. He didn’t, however, let anyone know until after his outing last night. An MRI done on his elbow came out fine today, and maybe this is an explanation as to why Crotta was having so much trouble keeping his pitches down lately. Crotta is headed to Bradenton on Thursday, where he will remain to rehab his arm.
- The plan is not to throw Ascanio into late-inning, high-leverage situations right away if at all possible. The Pirates would like to ease him into a bullpen role, particularly to see if his numbers during a Triple-A rehab stint are indicative of his command and stuff. Ascanio did not fare all that well in the rehab assignment, though sometimes those results can mean nothing. As Ascanio said on Wednesday, he starts with all zeroes now.
- Chris Resop, who threw 41 pitches on Tuesday, is the only reliever not available for the Pirates tonight.
- With Andrew McCutchen’s two homers last night, he sure looked like the No. 3 hitter manager Clint Hurdle envisioned heading into the season. To this point, though, Hurdle has no intention of moving McCutchen back down in the order. “He seems to be more comfortable now. His swing is playing right there. I’m going to leave him right there.”
- If Hurdle did want to move McCutchen down in the order, who would he even be able to put in the leadoff spot, especially with Tabata struggling?
- Ross Ohlendorf is not currently throwing — not off the mound, not off flat ground. After throwing his session of live batting practice on Friday, Ohlendorf felt some shoulder soreness and opted to take a few days off to rest his arm. He said he expects to resume throwing in Milwaukee. Ohlendorf’s timetable just keeps getting pushed back by one thing after another. I don’t see any way he is back by the end of the month.
- Evan Meek said he felt good during a 25-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. He’ll play catch on Thursday, long toss Friday and throw another side session on Saturday. Then he’ll head out to Triple-A Indianapolis for two rehab appearances.
- Brian Burres was a hard-luck loser in Triple-A Indianapolis’ game earlier today. Burres allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings, but Indianapolis’ offense never scored.
- Altoona, on the other hand, had a huge offensive day in their morning contest. The Curve scored 13 runs for starter Jeff Locke, who allowed two runs in six innings. Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer and Miles Durham all had three hits in the win. Mercer had two homers and drove in five.
- The Pirates have brought back their “You Score as the Bucs Score promotion” for this weekend’s series against the Brewers. For those who are unfamiliar with how the promotion works, all the details can be found here. The discounted tickets are for the upcoming series against the Tigers (May 20-22). Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke will both be pitching for Milwaukee during that series.
- General manager Neal Huntington will hold a pirates.com chat with readers at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. The chat was initially scheduled for Wednesday, so sorry for any confusion.
PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), G. Jones (RF), L . Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), P. Alvarez (3B), B. Wood (SS), R. Cedeno (2B), P. Maholm (LHP)
DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), I. DeJesue (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), R. Barajas (C), J. Sands (LF), R. Mitchell (1B), H. Kuroda (RHP)
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Brian Burres deserves mention here, and serious consideration for one of the Pirates’ 25 roster spots. I understand that Spring Training results aren’t everything, but Burres has pitched quite well this spring. He shouldn’t be under the radar anymore.
Working against Burres is the fact that he would fit into a role much like the one Jeff Karstens is expected to hold — spot starter, long relief guy, etc. But since Karstens is on the roster and due to make $1.1 million this year, it’s hard to see the Pirates not bringing Karstens north.
If Charlie Morton gets the fifth spot in the Pirates’ rotation and the other four starters are healthy, there isn’t a place for Burres to start. There is at least one spot left in the bullpen, so maybe that is a place where Burres can fit.
To this point, the thinking seems to have been that Scott Olsen would land as the second lefty in the ‘pen if he didn’t crack the rotation. But Olsen hasn’t done all that well in his first two appearances, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that Burres could have an edge over Olsen. The fact that the Pirates owe Olsen very little in guaranteed salary would mean that the club wouldn’t be on the hook for that much money if Olsen doesn’t stick.
This is certainly something to keep an eye on as the last two weeks play out. Of course, Burres could also be asked to accept an assignment in Triple-A, where he would start and wait until the Pirates need a fill-in starter.
Speaking of Burres, he pitched four shutout innings in the Pirates’ intrasquad game on Thursday. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out five.
“It went well,” Burres said. “I felt good and got the pitch count up. I worked with the fastball pretty good.”
In addition to those results, Burres has pitched nine scoreless innings in Grapefruit League action.
“There are a couple things that I still want to continue to do,” Burres said. “But as far as where I am now, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job this spring trying to do the things that I’ve wanted to do.”
Karstens hasn’t had as good of results as Burres has, but the right-hander is nonetheless pleased with his progression to this point. Pitching mostly against players from the Pirates’ Latin American teams, Karstens didn’t allow a hit and struck out six in three innings in the intrasquad game.
“With some of the young guys it’s a little bit easier because their approach is a little bit different,” Karstens said afterward. “When you’re over here [in big league camp], you know the guys have an idea of what they’re trying to do. But I tried to come in with some fastballs after the first inning. I made some mistakes with it – got away with them – and I made some good pitches. It’s a positive note. I was able to get ahead. Just nice to get back out there and throw more than two innings.”
Karstens has made four Grapefruit League appearances, three of which have been two-inning outings. In those seven innings, Karstens has allowed nine hits, two earned runs and walked three.
There was good and bad to Ross Ohlendorf’s start on Thursday — though Ohlendorf would attest that there was more good. The pitching line is ugly — six earned runs on eight hits in three innings. But it wasn’t, Ohlendorf said, as bad as it might have seemed.
“I was actually really happy with how I threw the ball today,” he said. “The results, obviously, weren’t very good in that last inning, but a lot of the early hits weren’t hit that well. I felt like I kept the ball down when I wanted to much better than the game before. I threw the ball much better than I did before even though the results weren’t really indicative of that.”
Ohlendorf did make a mistake on a slider to Jake Fox, and that resulted in a two-run homer. The only other ball hit pretty hard in that six-run third inning could easily have been caught by Jose Tabata in the outfield.
“The challenge at this level is putting innings away,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I thought there were times when he was throwing the ball really well – getting the ball inside when he wanted to. He spun the ball OK on occasion. But the one inning got away from us. There was some positive in it, but the inability to put away the inning that’s where we have to get better.”
Still, it’s not pretty when you consider that Ohlendorf has allowed 10 earned runs in his last two games (five innings). And probably the biggest concern is that Ohlendorf has yet to go more than three innings in any of his starts.
Yes, he is throwing the pitches needed to build up his arm. But there is something to be said for pitchers using those pitches efficiently to get through four or five innings by this point in the spring.
Right now, only Paul Maholm and Kevin Correia have made a five-inning spring start.
“We’ve got work to do,” Hurdle said. “We’re not throwing enough strikes. We don’t have good enough command right now. I have no idea what our pitch count was today, but we threw way too many pitches today. We’d like to see our starters lengthen things out. There is work to be done. That’s what Spring Training is for. That’s why you have the amount of games that you have, and that’s why these starters have to keep building up their pitch counts.”
Both Joe Beimel and Olsen pitched again on Thursday, and the results weren’t too pretty.
Beimel was charged with three earned runs on three hits and a walk in an inning of relief. This was his second spring appearance.
As for Olsen, he was unable to finish two innings, as he had to be taken out after pitching 1 1/3. Olsen gave up three runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out one.
“We’ll keep feeding them the ball, too,” Hurdle said. “They started out behind. Neither one of them are complaining about any injuries or any arm fatigue or anything like that, so just keep feeding them the ball.”
I’m still skeptical that Olsen is truly in that fifth starter mix, and Hurdle didn’t exactly affirm that Olsen was when I asked the question afterward.
In response to a question about whether Olsen was still a candidate for the rotation, Hurdle answered: “I don’t know. He could be. I can’t say no. I’ll leave the speculation out there for people who want to speculate. I’ll keep giving him the ball and see where it takes him.”
That’s not exactly a yes.
Catcher Ryan Doumit (mild oblique strain) is scheduled to play in Friday’s game against the Phillies. Doumit went 3-for-4 with a double and home run in a Minor League game on Thursday.
Though Doumit hasn’t played since March 8, he will have plenty of time to get ready for Opening Day assuming there are no further setbacks.
Outfielder Miles Durham said he was OK after a nasty collision with the right field wall in the ninth inning. He was down for a while, but walked off the field without any help. And he seemed just fine about 20 minutes later when he was leaving the ballpark.
“A big man hit the wall really, really hard,” Hurdle said.
On the main site tonight, you can read more about the changes Steve Pearce is making to his swing and how those changes might help him in his case for a bench spot. There will also be items on Burres/Karstens, Pedro Ciriaco’s day in centerfield and Olsen’s focus on staying healthy.
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The Pirates split the split-squad affairs, with the road group claiming a victory against the Rays in Port Charlotte. I didn’t see that game, obviously, but a few things stand out in the box score:
- Garrett Atkins had a three-run homer, his second homer of the spring if you count the one he hit off the college kids on Friday. Both of Atkins’ hits in Grapefruit League play have been for extra bases.
- The line wasn’t pretty for Fernando Nieve, one of many guys fighting for a bullpen spot. He was scheduled to pitch two innings and only made it through one. In that frame, Nieve allowed five hits and three earned runs. Two of those hits were doubles and four of the knocks were line drive hits.
- Bryan Morris appeared to have a strong first inning and worked his way out of trouble in his second inning of work. He struck out Evan Longoria in a 1-2-3 first and induced a key double play in the second. A wild pitch allowed one run to score against him.
The most important development in Paul Maholm’s outing on Monday — and what I highlighted in the Beat item on the left-hander — was his attention to throwing inside. Be sure that this is going to be key not just for Maholm, but for this entire rotation to take significant steps forward. This and first-pitch strikes are going to be crucial.
Maholm learned long ago the importance of setting aside spring results and focusing on particulars. That said, he seemed hardly concerned about his final line — which included four hits and two runs.
“I would say I’m getting a lot more comfortable on the mound right now and getting in better rhythm,” Maholm said. “My rhythm is good. Everything is good. It’s just being able to do it consistently for a long stretch. For me, that’s what spring is for.”
Spring Training is also a pretty loose environment, and Maholm made sure to give Orioles catcher Craig Tatum some friendly flack. Maholm and Tatum were battery mates at Mississippi State, and Tatum tagged Maholm for a single when they faced each other in the second inning on Monday. Maholm responded by promptly picking Tatum off first.
“He can only pull the ball. I made him look good by throwing him a fastball in,” Maholm said, grinning. “I picked him off to make him look bad. We’re somewhat even. I’ll send him a text later asking him what he was thinking.”
Split-squad days, in particular, allow a handful of players from Minor League camp to get an opportunity in front of the Major League coaching staff. A number of those players spend the day with the big-league club and serve as late-inning substitutions when the starters take their early exits.
On Monday, Mel Rojas Jr., Miles Durham and Jim Negrych had their chance to make a first impression on new manager Clint Hurdle. For Durham, the impression was an especially good one.
Durham came to the plate twice, drawing one walk and launching a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth.
“First day and I just wanted to come here and help them out a little bit, and I did pretty well,” Durham said afterward. “[Hurdle] had never seen me play before, so it’s good to get a good first impression.”
The homer came after Durham fell just short on what would have been a sensational diving catch in the eighth. Durham laid out as the ball just missed his glove.
“I got real close,” Durham said. “It hit off the end of my glove and once I hit the ground, I lost it.”
Durham was the Pirates’ 22nd-round pick in 2006. He hit .259 with Double-A Altoona last season and went 3-for-10 in six Major League Spring Training games last year.
On the main site, you will find the following tonight:
- The main story takes a look at Pedro Alvarez, who has showcased a terrific work ethic and has a serious motivation to not rely solely on his natural talent to be good. Let me emphasize for the last time that a report about Alvarez gaining 15 pounds this winter was entirely inaccurate. Alvarez did gain muscle this offseason (not nearly 15 pounds worth), but it’s been unfair that he has had to answer questions this spring about a weight issue that isn’t an issue at all.
- Bucs Beat has an update on Joe Beimel, as well as a closer look at Maholm’s outing. From Port Charlotte, MLB.com’s Evan Drellich contributes a note about Morris’ outing. Interesting, too, that Morris faced Manny Ramirez, who was a part of that three-team trade that sent Morris to Pittsburgh and Ramirez to the Dodgers back in 2008.
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So when the Pirates opened their series against the D-backs in Phoenix back on July 23 (no, that wasn’t that long ago), Arizona was sitting in position to pick higher in the Draft than Pittsburgh. In other words, the Pirates had the better record of the two with a 42-52 mark compared to Arizona’s 40-55. Obviously, you can see Arizona has since surpassed the Pirates in that area.
The Pirates went 1-3 in that series and have been 3-10 since the first game in Phoenix. Two of those wins came against the lowly Nationals. Arizona, on the other hand, has put together nine wins in 13 games. And as things sit now, only the Royals, Nationals and Padres have worse records than the Pirates.
So what has happened?
The pitching has slipped some, but it’s the offense that has really sunk. I’m likely not telling you anything you didn’t already know, but here are some numbers for statistical purposes.
- Pre-All Star break: 4.33 ERA (17th in MLB), .265 batting average against (22nd in MLB)
- Post-All Star break: 4.40 ERA (20th), .287 batting average against (25th)
- Pre-All Star break: .261 batting average (15th), 4.25 runs per game (21st), .326 OBP (21st)
- Post-All Star break: .235 batting average (29th), 3.5 runs per game (30th), .292 OBP (29th)
Not much more needs to be said.
As for todays other news, notes and randomness…
- Andrew McCutchen is back in the lineup after sitting out on Wednesday. He did some light running, took batting practice and threw earlier in the afternoon before being cleared to return.
- Lefty Phil Dumatrait makes his rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis later this evening. More to come after he does obviously.
- Altoona first baseman Miles Durham has a 14-game hitting streak after getting a hit in the Curve’s game earlier this afternoon. Durham’s streak is the longest by an Altoona player this season and matches his 14-game hitting streak with Single-A Hickory last season.
- The Pirates have been outscored by opponents in five of the nine innings when combining the results from the team’s first 107 games. No bigger is that discrepency, though, than in the eighth when opponents have scored 62 times to the Pirates’ 37.
- As mentioned in my game story last night, the Pirates are 37-6 this season when leading after seven innings. They were 50-2 in similar situations last year. That’s certainly a hit against the bullpen, and without John Grabow to anchor it the rest of the way, there likely will be a few more snags.
- The last time the Pirates faced Max Scherzer (who will take the mound for Arizona in about two hours), Scherzer pitched seven shutout innings and struck out eight.
- Also, going to steal some Minor League notes from Indianapolis broadcaster Scott McCauley who keeps a great blog on your Triple-A team: Reliever Chris Bootcheck has converted 15 consecutive saves in what has been his first season working as a closer… Brian Bixler, now playing as a utility guy, has a seven-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 11 of 12 games. … Over the Indians’ most recent road trip, third baseman Neil Walker went 13-for-32 with 11 RBIs.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF)
- Lastings Milledge (LF)
- Garrett Jones (1B)
- Ryan Doumit (C)
- Delwyn Young (2B)
- Brandon Moss (RF)
- Andy LaRoche (3B)
- Ronny Cedeno (SS)
- Kevin Hart (RHP)
- Stephen Drew (SS)
- Alex Romero (RF)
- Gerardo Parra (CF)
- Mark Reynolds (3B)
- Miguel Montero (C)
- Chad Tracy (1B)
- Trent Oeltjen (LF)
- Augie Ojeda (2B)
- Max Scherzer (RHP)
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In addition to the promotions given to 3B Pedro Alvarez (headed to Double-A) and RHP Brad Lincoln (headed to Triple-A), the Pirates are promoting the following Minor Leaguers from Lynchburg to Altoona: pitchers Dustin Molleken and Michael Dubee and OF/1B Miles Durham.
Durham will first participate in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Infielder Chase D’Arnaud, the Pirates’ fourth-round pick in 2008, has been promoted from low Single-A West Virginia to high Single-A Lynchburg.
The Pirates have also signed three additional 2009 Draft picks: 1B Aaron Baker (11th round), RHP Phillip Irwin (21st round), RHP Ed Fallon (43rd round)
Ross Ohlendorf used his start on Sunday to focus on his slider, though it wasn’t as sharp as he had hoped. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan liked the slider he saw from Ohlendorf pre-game in the bullpen, but it wasn’t until the final few Ohlendorf threw in his 3 1/3 innings that Ohlendorf matched the same sharpness.
Manager John Russell, though, lauded Ohlendorf’s sinker and changeup and his ability to work both sides of the plate in the start.
Some various news and notes:
- GM Neal Huntington said to expect a first round of minor cuts early in the week (Monday, perhaps?) The first cuts would be players who were not expected to compete for a Major League spot. It will be about 7-10 days then before a more significant round of cuts occurs.
- Though it seemed like an already forgone conclusion, Huntington crossed Jimmy Barthmaier’s name off the list of starters competing for a rotation spot with the Pirates. Barthmaier has allowed nine runs, five walks and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
- When asked what it might take for Andy Phillips to make the team out of Spring Training, Huntington said management needs to see Phillips play a successful second base. Phillips had significant time as a second baseman in the Minors, but has made only eight Major League appearances there.
- Because of all the injuries to outfielders, Miles Durham, 25, has been called up from Minor League camp to serve as a backup outfielder. He entered the game to play left field in the top of the ninth.
World Baseball Classic Update:
- Ramon Vazquez went 0-for-4 in Puerto Rico’s WBC win on Saturday. He started at third base. Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell will make the start for the Puerto Rican team on Monday when they face Team Netherlands. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.
Inside the box score:
- Freddy Sanchez hit a towering homer in the game and finished with two hits and a walk in three plate appearances. Sanchez is participating in his first injury-free Spring Training since 2006 and it seems to have him off to a great start: “I’m not just saying this, this is the best I’ve felt in Spring Training,” Sanchez said. “It’s nice to wake up in the morning and feel good about your body, just come to work and do your job.”
- Andy LaRoche reached base four times on Sunday (two singles, two walks) and is now hitting .600 (9-for-15) this spring.
- Conversely, Nyjer Morgan’s batting average is going in the opposite direction. After an 0-for-5 day on Sunday, Morgan is just 4-for-27 this spring. He has one hit in his last 14 at-bats.
Up Next: The Pirates have one more game on tap before their first off-day this spring. The Red Sox come to town on Monday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game at McKechnie Field against the Pirates. Scheduled to pitch for the Pirates: Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, Tyler Yates, Brian Slocum and Chris Bootcheck.
Boston will start Jon Lester