Results tagged ‘ Neal Cotts ’

Alvarez, Tabata among eight Bucs cut

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates optioned top prospects Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday morning as part of eight cuts made in Major League camp. Jonathan Van Every and Doug Bernier were reassigned to Minor League camp.

The Pirates also reassigned Jimmy Barthmaier, Neal Cotts, Craig Hansen and Tyler Yates to Minor League camp. All four have spent the spring rehabbing from various injuries and will begin the year on the DL.

GM Neal Huntington made it clear that the Pirates would have preferred to have kept Tabata and Alvarez at big league camp, but the organization’s hand was forced by a roster status rule. Friday was the last day that a team can option a player that is on the 40-man roster and didn’t play in the Majors last year and is hurt. Neither Alvarez, nor Tabata, are hurt, of course, but if they stayed in Major League camp and were to get hurt here, they would lose a full year of Major League service time. It’s a risk the Pirates didn’t want to take.

More reax from Alvarez and quotes from Huntington to come on the main site later.

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Day 12: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/

final day at Pirate City.jpgWe’re moving on to bigger and better things, folks. Like real games. OK, maybe it’s unfair to call them real games since they don’t count. But at least there is something to start evaluating. Today was the last day of workouts at Pirate City (sad times) as everything moves over to McKechnie Field from now through April 1.

The transition was evident, too. As the 66 guys in Major League camp were packing up the clubhouse, all sorts of Minor League players begin filing in. Early camp for Minor Leaguers began on Monday and about 75 players showed up. Pitchers and catchers are required to report by March 5, though farm director Kyle Stark said that just about everyone will be at Pirate City by then.

Here’s your last workout daily squeeze until 2011…

  • Short workout days are always good and Monday was one more of those. Live batting practice has ended, so most pitchers finished their PFPs and were done. A group of nine — Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Steven Jackson, Brad Lincoln, Virgil Vasquez, Paul Maholm, D.J. Carrasco, Jack Taschner and Chris Jakubauskas — threw a 25-40 pitch side session.
  • Position players had another session of defensive drills and all took batting practice. The day ended with some practice sliding, though the absence of Nyjer Morgan made that a bit less entertaining than usual. Some observations from watching the infielders. …
  • Andy LaRoche and Neil Walker sure can hold their own defensively. You would never know Walker wasn’t always a third baseman. …
  • Jeff Clement looks just fine most of the time, but then there are moments where you see that he has much more work to do to get comfortable at first. I think that’s one of the biggest obstacles — feeling comfortable there. How he looks defensively during games will be very telling. … 
  • Though he continues to wear a knee brace, Aki Iwamura does not seem hampered by his surgically repaired left knee. He’ll be monitored as Grapefruit League play begins, but GM Neal Huntington said Iwamura will not be limited.
  • Infielder Ramon Vazquez also looks just fine running around fielding groundballs even after being minimally limited when camp opened. Manager John Russell said he might limit Vazquez’s playing time for the first few games, but that’s all.
  • I saw four rehabbing Pirates — Jose Ascanio, Tyler Yates, Neal Cotts and Jimmy Barthmaier — throwing long toss today. All continue to slowly progress.
  • For any of you who watched the USA-Canada hockey game and heard broadcaster Doc Emrick mention the Pirates gathering for a hockey watch party in Bradenton yesterday, it wasn’t true. Not sure where that false fact originated, but there was no such event. Now, plenty of players did watch the game on their own, though.
  • Atlanta announced that it will start Kenshin Kawakami against the Pirates on Thursday. The Orioles will start Chris Tillman under the lights on Friday. The Yankees had already tapped Chad Gaudin as Wednesday’s starter.
  • For those of you who enjoy the Jumbotron content at PNC Park, you may enjoy checking out this video. It goes behind the scenes to see how all of that is filmed during Spring Training. You’ll also get a sneak peek into what is in store for 2010.

UP NEXT: The Pirates open up against the State College of Florida on Tuesday with a seven-inning exhibition game. It doesn’t look like the weather is going to cooperate, though, so the Pirates might never get the chance to avenge last year’s loss. If there is a game, the following pitchers are scheduled to throw for an inning: Bryan Morris, Donnie Veal, Ronald Uviedo, Justin Thomas, Ramon Aguero, Jeff Sues and Anthony Claggett.

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Day 2: Daily Squeeze

By Jenifer Langosch/

Octavio Dotel (Small).jpgWith physicals out of the way, players had an earlier start to workouts on Friday. Everyone was on the field by 10 am and off by 12:30 pm. That included position players, who continue to work out in advance of the first full squad gathering.

Sorry, but there won’t be a new video today. But here are your highlights from Pirate City:

  • Right-hander Jean Machi, who has held out of workouts on Thursday for a follow-up to his physical, participated in full on Friday. He also threw his first side session.
  • In addition to Machi, another 15 pitchers took the mound for the first time in Spring Training. That group included: Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Brendan Donnelly, Octavio Dotel, Evan Meek, Vinnie Chulk, Ronald Uviedo, Jeff Sues, Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Powell, Wil Ledezma, Brian Bass and Ramon Aguero.
  • Another two pitchers — Jimmy Barthmaier and Neal Cotts — took the mound after the scheduled side sessions ended. Both are rehabbing from elbow surgery. Barthmaier, who is expected back in mid-May, threw 30 pitches. Cotts, who is just seven months removed from his procedure, threw 60.
  • Two other rehabbing pitchers — Craig Hansen and Tyler Yates — each did long toss for about 15 minutes.
  • First baseman Jeff Clement continued to get extra on-field attention from infield coach Carlos Garcia. Garcia really seems to be emphasizing the positioning of the glove when Clement fields ground balls. Clement will be the focus of my spring feature on Saturday, so look for more on him then.
  • Spotted Ryan Church this morning as he arrived at Pirate City for the first time. He met a number of his new teammates but did not participate in on-field activities with other position players.
  • With Church here, only seven position players — Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno, Delwyn Young, Jonathan Van Every, Gorkys Hernandez and Argenis Diaz — are unaccounted for.
  • After donning his catching gear briefly a few days ago, Neil Walker fielded ground balls at second base on Friday. He’s going to continue to improve his versatility with the hope that it can eventually land him a role on the big-league club.
  • Andy LaRoche might want to consider having his first name stiched onto the back of his jersey for the time being. As LaRoche came off the field, he was hounded by fans yelling: “Adam, can I have your autograph?” “Who?” LaRoche responded, smiling. Some fans caught their mistakes. Others didn’t. Regardless, Andy happily signed his name to everyone for asked.
  • All pitchers spent 40 minutes taking part in fielding drills again. The group that then did not throw off the mound spent time practicing bunts in the cages.
  • One of the pitchers to throw his first side session on Friday was Dotel (pitcured above). When asked about his early impression of the team’s new closer, manager John Russell said: “He was very professional about his side today. He did everything right. That’s the veteran he is.”
  • Saturday’s workouts are expected to again begin around 10 am.

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Hanrahan out with elbow injury; Vazquez undergoes knee surgery

Jenifer Langosch/

General manager Neal Huntington went through a list of injured Pirates this morning and among them are RHP Joel Hanrahan and INF Ramon Vazquez. More details and reax coming later, but here are your nuts and bolts:

  • Hanrahan has a flexor-pronator strain in his right elbow that will cause him to miss the opening part of the season. How long Hanrahan will be out is not yet known. He is scheduled to see Dr. Patrick DeMeo today in Bradenton and is scheduled to be examined by Dr. James Andrews next week. Hanrahan said he felt some discomfort at the end of the last season and that it flared up again in mini-camp and hasn’t gotten better. Hanrahan said that early reports have not detected any sort of structural damage.
  • Vazquez had a knee scope around Thanksgiving  to repair some cartilage. Everything is progressing with his rehab and he is expected to be ready on Opening Day. He will be monitored this spring and is limited with the fielding and running he can do right now. Vazquez, who has never had issues with his knee before, said he started feeling discomfort after doubling off Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro in early August.
  • RHP Jose Ascanio (right shoulder surgery) is progressing well and is targeting an early June return. He is scheduled to have a check-up with Dr. Andrews next week.
  • LHP Neal Cotts (left elbow surgery) is eyeing a return in mid-June to early-July. His rehab work is going very well.
  • RHP Craig Hansen (upper, mid-back nerve damage) has begun throwing and is scheduled to have his first mound session on March 10. His strength is coming back, though he still has a long way to go before being close to returning. The Pirates have not yet set a target date for that return.
  • RHP Tyler Yates (right elbow surgery) is on track to return in July. He is progressing as expected.
  • RHP Jimmy Barthmaier (right elbow surgery) is progressing fine and is looking to return sometime in mid-May.

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Non-roster invitations

Jenifer Langosch/

Before I head out of town for my last short vacation before another baseball season consumes the next eight months of life, I wanted to give you an updated list of the non-roster players that the Pirates have invited to Spring Training:

Pitchers (14)

  • Jimmy Barthmaier (RHP)
  • Brian Bass (RHP)
  • Brian Burres (LHP)
  • Vinnie Chulk (RHP)
  • Neal Cotts (LHP)
  • Craig Hansen (RHP)
  • Jeff Karstens (RHP)
  • Wil Ledezma (LHP)
  • Jean Machi (RHP)
  • Jeremy Powell (RHP)
  • Jack Taschner (LHP)
  • Justin Thomas (LHP)
  • Virgil Vasquez (RHP)
  • Tyler Yates (RHP)

Catchers (3)

  • Luke Carlin
  • Erik Kratz
  • Tony Sanchez

Infielders (0)

Outfielders (2)

  • Brian Myrow
  • Jonathan Van Every

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Pirates sign Yates, Burres, Cotts

Jenifer Langosch/

UPDATE 10:20 pm: Here are your contract details:

  • Yates: $975,000 Major League salary with incentives worth another $325,000
  • Cotts: $900,000 Major League salary with incentives worth another $350,000
  • Burres: $550,000 Major League salary with clause that he can leave and sign with Asian team if not on Opening Day roster

The Pirates have agreed to terms on Minor League deals with right-hander Tyler Yates, left-hander Neal Cotts and left-hander Brian Burres. Each player will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, though Yates and Cotts will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season because each underwent Tommy John surgery last July.

The updated list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training now includes these three pitchers plus: RHP Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP Vinnie Chulk, RHP Craig Hansen, RHP Jeff Karstens, LHP Wil Ledezma, RHP Jean Machi, RHP Jeremy Powell, LHP Jack Taschner, LHP Justin Thomas, RHP Virgil Vasquez, C Erik Kratz, C Tony Sanchez, OF Jonathan Van Every.

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