Results tagged ‘ Nyjer Morgan ’

Two trades: A final wrap…

Now that I can take a breath, figured we could revisit Tuesday’s happenings here one more time. Here are links to all the stories written about the deal…

I’ve read a lot of mixed reactions from Pirates fans — some obviously sad to see Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett go, others intrigued by the potential upside in Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan. Natiionally, the Pirates are largely being identified as the winners in the deal, though of course that will require Milledge and/or Hanrahan reaching their upside.

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…  

Pirates deal away Morgan, Burnett; acquire Milledge and Hanrahan

It’s official.

The Pirates and Nationals have agreed to a deal that sends outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-hander Joel Hanrahan to Pittsburgh and outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-hander Sean Burnett to Washington.

 

Nyjer Morgan next to go?

It appears so.

I’ve confirmed that a deal is in the works between the Pirates and the Nationals that would send Nyjer Morgan to Washington and outfielder Lastings Milledge to Pittsburgh. The deal is NOT a one-for-one exchange, I’ve been told, but it’s not clear who else (from either side) would be included.

The deal, which has not been finalized, could come down as soon as today, though as of about 1:45 p.m., Morgan said he had not been informed of anything.

Also, the rumblings out of Indianapolis are that Jeff Salazar is going to be summoned to Pittsburgh, which would only further confirm that Morgan is on his way out. 

UPDATE 2:38 pm: Two baseball sources have confirmed that Washington’s Joel Hanrahan and Pittsburgh’s Sean Burnett will be a part of the deal, if it is finalized.

Nothing has officially been agreed upon yet, as final details are being worked out. Other names have been discussed by the two teams, though it doesn’t appear as if the trade will get any bigger.

UPDATE 2:47 pm: A few details on Hanrahan and Milledge…

Milledge has been working back to full health after breaking his right index finger and having surgery back in mid-May. He was expected to miss six to eight weeks, so would likely be nearing his return soon.

Though Milledge has appeared in only seven games for Washington this season, he does actually have more Major League experience than Morgan. In 897 at-bats, Milledge has a .261 average, 25 homers and 113 RBIs. Milledge was a first-round Draft pick back in 2003, but has yet to reach the hype that has followed him while with the Mets and with the Nationals.

Milledge just began his rehab work with the GCL Nats over the weekend and played his third game down there on Monday.

Hanrahan, 27, has spent the last three seasons with the Nationals. Though he was used as a starter in 2007, Hanrahan has been used exclusively out of the bullpen in the last two years. He is a combined 11-9 with 5.30 ERA in 115 appearances (11 starts).

This season has not been kind to Hanrahan, who has allowed 28 earned runs in 32 2/3 innings of relief (34 appearances).

Nationals pursuing Nyjer Morgan

A baseball source has confirmed that the Nationals are interested in Pirates left fielder Nyjer Morgan and have talked with the Pirates about a potential deal.

According to other reports, Washington is willing to offer outfielder Lastings Milledge for Morgan, though the Pirartes reportedly have also asked for starter Craig Stammen to be included in the deal. That’s not a price that the Nationals are not willing to pay now, and it’s doubtful that they would later either. Washington views Stammen as a critical part of its young rotation.

Milledge, who is currently working his way back in the Gulf Coast League after suffering a broken finger, is five years younger than Morgan. After two seasons with the Mets, Milledge hit .268 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs in 138 games for Washington last season. He was a first-round pick in 2003.

Morgan learned about the rumors shortly before arriving at PNC Park on Saturday and addressed those rumors with a group of reporters this afternoon.

“I guess it’s one of those business things,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and keep playing. If something happens, it happens. I can’t really worry about it. I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing and try to keep improving this organization.

“This is kind of new to me even mentioning something like that. I just can’t worry about that. I’ve got to worry about what I can do and help this organization the best way I can.”

Morgan is hitting .267 with five triples and 18 stolen bases this season, his first as an everyday starter. Though he’s currently hitting second for Pittsburgh, the Nationals need a leadoff-type hitter, which could explain their interest in Morgan.

“It is most definitely [flattering] because it means that I opened up some other team’s eyes and they think that I can help out their organization, too,” Morgan said. “But I really can’t worry about that. I can only worry about what I can take care of here with the Buccos.” 

June 26: Royals (31-40) @ Pirates (33-39)

So I know accuracy is not in the job description of weather forecasters, but I find it a bit odd that thunder is crackling outside while the forecast says there is 0% chance of precipitation. Huh? I guess credibility is just a news journalism thing…

Anyways, just got back up from a somewhat upbeat clubhouse — a trickle-over effect from last night’s walk-off win perhaps? I have my other suspicions as to why the mood was quite cheery, but those aren’t for publication.

Speaking of a club in a good mood, don’t begin to think that this team, which has had its share of adversity (injuries, ineffectiveness, trades..), is giving up on the season. In fact, the attitude suggests anything but…

“We know that we’ve had a lot of games that we should have won and didn’t,” shorstop Jack Wilson said. “So we definitely think that we should be in a lot better situation than we’re at. That’s good. No one’s giving up.”

Right now the Pirates sit at 33-39, six games behind the Central-leading Cardinals and in the bottom of a tight division.

***

The Charlie Morton watch continues. The latest: He’s throwing another side sessions today, after which he expects to be cleared to start on Sunday. If it were up to Morton, there would be no question that he’d pitch on Sunday. The Pirates, though, continue to insist they are going to err on cautious side.

“We’re not going to do anything to hurt the player,” manager John Russell said. “He’s progressed very well and really wants to pitch.”

Russell did confirm that Morton felt some tightness in his left hamstring during his five-inning start last Saturday. I guess we’ll know for sure tomorrow about Morton’s status.

***

As for tonight’s starter, Virgil Vasquez, I saw him briefly in the clubhouse today, trademark grin and all. It’s an unspoken courtesy that you don’t talk to the starting pitcher on the day he is pitching, so you’ll have to wait postgame to hear his thoughts on the promotion.

Scouting report on Vasquez — He’s a command guy that has done a better job of using his off-speed pitches effectively in Triple-A this season. The Pirates challenged him to not use his cutter so much, which has helped him be a more aggressive strikethrower as of late. His changeup is also coming along as a more reliable pitch for him.

“I think coming out tonight he’s going to be very excited,” Russell said. “The one thing I’ll have to watch is that he isn’t too vamped too early and we’ll have to watch him from the fifth inning on to make sure he maintains his strength and velocity.”

***

I have a gotten a slew of emails encouraging an All-Star ballot write-in campaign for McClutch Cutch (a.k.a. Andrew McCutchen), and go at it guys, if you wish. Only problem is that voting ends next Thursday, which means even the most ardent write-in campaign will fall short.

(on an aside as we speak of All-Star Game balloting.. how is it that Freddy Sanchez is fifth in the league in hits and has yet to dent the Top 5 in voting for second baseman this summer? Something’s not right…) 

As for McCutchen, if he can’t dent the All-Star roster, we’ll have to settle for giving him some more props here. Thank you Elias Sports Bureau (where they dig up this stuff, I’ll never know) for confirming that McCutchen is the first Pirates player to have 30 or more hits in his first 20 games with the big-league club. The other was Bob Elliott, who had 31 in 1939.

More ego-fodder for McCutchen: His 13-game hitting streak is the longest by a rookie this season. He also leads all Major-League rookies in hits (30), triples (5) and RBIs (18) this month. McCutchen and Nyjer Morgan each have five triples this year, tops in the National League.

“We knew he was a special player,” Russell said of McClutch. “He’s really hit the ground running. I think it’s great that he got off to a great start. That really took a lot of pressure off himself. He’s pretty even-keel and doesn’t get overly excited.”

Over the last few days, Russell has been asked about the possibility of moving McCutchen down to the No. 2 spot or keeping him at leadoff and putting Morgan in the No. 9 hole (aka Tony LaRussa style). Russell shot down both ideas, at least for the time.

He likes having Morgan near the top of the order to ensure he gets more at-bats. And the Pirates have groomed McCutchen to be a leadoff hitter for a while and have no plans to move him from that spot anytime soon.

***

So the experiment of having Brandon Moss start against a left-handed starter on Thursday (it being Cliff Lee nonetheless) went as well as could have been expected with Moss finishing 1-for-3 with a single and walk. Asked if Moss earned himself the chance to face lefty starters more frequently, Russell was noncommital, but hinting toward a yes.

“Brandon’s really coming along,” Russell said. “I really like his approach and he’s giving himself a chance to hit the ball like he’s done in his career. If he does that, he’s going to be a big part of the offense.”

Delwyn Young and, to a lesser frequency Steve Pearce, will still see some time in right, too, though, so don’t expect Moss to be an every day lineup insert just yet.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Virgil Vasquez (RHP)

Royals lineup:

  1. David DeJesus (LF)
  2. Mitch Maier (CF)
  3. Billy Butler (1B)
  4. Jose Guillen (RF)
  5. Mark Teahen (3B)
  6. Alberto Callaspo (2B)
  7. Miguel Olivo (C)
  8. Tony Pena, Jr. (SS)
  9. Gil Meche (RHP) 

  

June 24: Indians (30-42) @ Pirates (31-39); Snell stays in rotation; Morton's status for Friday still undetermined

Welcome back for more Bucs and Indians after a potential thriller last night turned into another disappointing loss, the team’s fifth straight and sixth in last seven games.

Speaking of last night, ran into Ian Snell this afternoon who said he was headed out to work with Joe Kerrigan on some sort of mechanical change. Snell didn’t elaborate, but with the way things have gone for him through much of the season, trying an adjustment probably couldn’t hurt.

Did speak with GM Neal Huntington earlier, primarily regarding Snell’s status in the rotation, and Huntington confirmed that Snell will make his next start. More details on Huntington’s thoughts about Snell and the options the Pirates see with him to come on the main site shortly (how’s that for a tease).

***

The Pirates are still not certain whether righty Charlie Morton will be able to make his start as scheduled on Friday. He’s still being bothered by that nagging hamstring, so the Pirates may elect to skip over him and call up Triple-A starter Virgil Vasquez to make the start.

Morton said he feels pretty good, but the Pirates are going to evaluate him later on Wednesday afternoon before making a decision either later Wednesday or on Thursday.

Vasquez pitched just one inning for Indianapolis on Tuesday before being pulled so that he’d be fresh enough to pitch on Friday if needed.

***

So how good has Andrew McCutchen been since being called up on June 4? Well, he’s only hit safely in 16 of 18 games played. Oh, and should I mention that he has an 11-game hitting streak headed into Wednesday’s game. That’s the longest hitting streak by a rookie this season.

Oh, and in case he needed another feather in his cap, McCutchen was just deemed the faster of the two (McCutchen and Nyjer Morgan) by manager John Russell. You won’t find me disagreeing on that front.

***

And for some Bucs Bits…

  • Kudos to Calvin Anderson, the Pirates’ 12th-round pick in the ’08 Draft, who drove in the winning run last night in the South Atlantic All-Star Game. Among last year’s Draft picks, Anderson has shined this year. He’s hit .286 with 41 RBIs in 56 games for the low-A West Virginia club.
  • Adam LaRoche’s home run on Tuesday bounced off the sidewalk and into the Allegheny River, making it the 26th homer in PNC Park history to come to rest in the water.
  • With his start on Wednesday, Jack Wilson assumes sole possession of fourth place for most appearances made as a shortstop with the Pirates. With Wednesday’s appearance, Wilson will have played in 1,104 as a Pirates shortstop.
  • The Pirates acquired first baseman Brian Myrow from the White Sox in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. Myrow, who hit .277 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 49 games with Chicago’s Triple-A Charlotte affiliate, has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

***

The Pirates announced that they will be celebrating African American Heritage at the ballpark this weekend. The main event is the African American Heritage Day luncheon on Friday that will include the presence of author and journalist Larry Tye. Tickets to the luncheon are $45 and can be purchased by calling Chaz Kellem at 412-325-4731.

Other events going on: the Royals and Pirates will wear Negro League throwback uniforms on Friday and Saturday; fans in attendance on Friday will receive a Homestead Grays cap; and an African American Heritage festival will be held outside the ballpark from 4:30-6:30 pm on Saturday.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Indians lineup:

  1. Jamey Carroll (2B)
  2. Grady Sizemore (CF)
  3. Victor Martinez (1B)
  4. Shin-Soo Choo (LF)
  5. Mark DeRosa (RF)
  6. Jhonny Peralta (3B)
  7. Luis Valbuena (SS)
  8. Kelly Shoppach (C)
  9. Carl Pavano (RHP)  

 

 

McCutchen to lead off; start in centerfield

Haven’t ventured down to the clubhouse just yet (no one is likely down there yet), but this much I know… Andrew McCutchen will bat in the leadoff spot today and will start in centerfield.

Nyjer Morgan will shift down to the No. 2 hole, while Freddy Sanchez will take the departed Nate McLouth’s place in the third spot.

Littls surprise that McCutchen is assuming the spot in center, even though GM Neal Huntington would not say on Wednesday night if he’d be in center or left. Groomed as a centerfielder and obviously one of the organization’s premier prospects, that’s where McCutchen would belong.

More to come shortly… including player reaction and the scoop on McCutchen…

Andrew McCutchen on his way to Pittsburgh

3530552614_83a89c5b10.jpgWell, the good news for you Pirates fans is that you no longer have to wonder when Andrew McCutchen is finally going to make his Major-League debut. It’s going to be at 12:35 p.m. on Thursday, folks.

GM Neal Huntington wasn’t yet ready to confirm whether or not McCutchen will be playing center or left (Nyjer Morgan’s outstanding defense has to have him in consideration for that centerfield spot), but we’ll find out tomorrow. My guess is that McCutchen will land in center. He is the guy and has been groomed as a centerfielder. I really can’t see him being anywhere else. And it’s not like Morgan doesn’t have plenty of ground to cover in the spacious PNC Park left field.

From those I’ve talked to in Indy who have seen McCutchen play this season, it sure sounds like he’s ready. Huntington said there is still work to be done on McCutchen’s bunting and in the stolen base area, but his defense in Triple-A has been stellar and he’s improved his discipline at the plate.

Is he going to replace McLouth’s production right away? Nope, so don’t expect him to. He’s not going to put up the same power numbers, but eventually, McCutchen will be an impact bat. I’m also interested to see where he ends up in the Pirates’ order. Batting second behind Morgan would seem to make sense. Manager John Russell could then drop the hot-hitting Freddy Sanchez to the third hole. That’d be quite the speedy duo with Morgan and McCutchen up top.

McCutchen was hitting .303 with 10 doubles, eight triples, four homers, 20 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and 41 runs scored. So Pittsburgh…. the kid you have all been waiting for is here. And don’t worry, I join you in your enthusiasm to see him take the field on Thursday.

McCutchen will be added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster on Thursday. To make room, Pittsburgh will move Craig Hansen from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL

June 3: Mets (28-23) @ Pirates (24-28)

Typical gloomy Pittsburgh day and I’m not sure the rain is going to let up in time to get in tonight’s game. The radar isn’t promising at this point, and any sort of delay is definitely not what anyone wants with a 12:35 pm game on the docket for tomorrow.

NHL play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick, in town obviously for the Penguins-Red Wings series, was making his rounds in the Pirates’ clubhouse earlier. He stopped and chatted with outfielder Nyjer Morgan to learn about Morgan’s hockey background.

Brief injury updates: Tyler Yates (right elbow inflammation) is throwing on flat ground and should be ready to throw off the mound by Thursday. From there he’ll progress to where he can then be sent out on a rehab stint. … Donnie Veal (strained right groin) is improving and is expected to begin a rehab stint with Triple-A Indianapolis beginning next week.

Triple-A third baseman Neil Walker dislocated his left pinkie finger diving into first base in Tuesday night’s game. Fortunately, Walker’s X-rays came back negative and he is listed as day-to-day. He shouldn’t be out for anymore than a week. 

As for the Mets, they get Carlos Beltran back on Wednesday (assuming there is a game). Beltran has been out with a stomach virus. He wasn’t in manager Jerry Manuel’s initial lineup, but he was added in around 4 p.m.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Mets lineup:

  1. Alex Cora (SS)
  2. Luis Castillo (2B)
  3. Carlos Beltran (CF)
  4. Gary Sheffield (RF)
  5. David Wright (3B)
  6. Daniel Murphy (1B)
  7. Fernando Martinez (LF)
  8. Omir Santos (C)
  9. Mike Pelfrey (RHP)
  10.  

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