Results tagged ‘ Perry Hill ’

October 4: Pirates (62-98) @ Reds (77-84); Season finale

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s been close to eight months since the team descended on Bradenton, Fla., to begin the 2009 season. Now it’s about to end here in Cincinnati in a few hours.

Instead of spending time looking back on the season here (you’ll see end of the season stories coming out on the main pirates.com site throughout the week for that), I wanted to use this forum to let you all know what to expect from me this offseason.

I am actually headed to Los Angeles tomorrow to assist with coverage of the Cardinals-Dodgers NL Division Series. Later in the month, I’ll be helping cover the World Series for MLB.com as well, wherever that might end up being. That said, you can expect to see NLDS and WS related Twitter updates from my account, and I’ll do some blog postings about it as well — likely photos and interesting anecdotes from the postseason. Obviously none of it will be Pirates related, but I hope that as baseball fans, there will be something there for you to appreciate.

My playoff duties, though, won’t stop the Pirates coverage from coming (I just won’t sleep, that’s all). Here’s some of what you can expect this offseason:

  • Through October, you should likely find at least three new Pirates stories on the site every week. That count will likely rise to at least four or five a week after the postseason comes to an end.
  • Obviously, news will always be on there, but I’ve also got some features and series that prepared to for the site. There will soon be a seven-part series that highlights the highs and lows of each Minor League affiliate this season. Also, as everyone starts to look ahead to 2010, I have a number of stories ready to give you regarding position battles, position changes, the free agent market and the overall outlook. Arizona Fall League and winter ball updates will also come out weekly once those leagues get into full swing.
  • I’d like to give you all an Inbox edition every week, assuming I get enough questions to stay afloat. I know your minds wander as the free agent market develops, so this will be a good means for interaction between you all and me. Inbox questions can be sent to me at Jenifer.Langosch@MLB.com. Don’t forget to include your first name, last initial and hometown. Also, it would be a big help if you put “Inbox” in the subject line.
  • This blog will continue to be updated regularly and I’ll use my Twitter account all offseason, too, especially for breaking news. If you are not already a follower, the account name is @LangoschMLB.

I think that hits the most important points for the time being. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around as faithful blog followers through a trying season. Hope this blog was able to supplement the coverage to your liking, and if you have any suggestions on how I continue using it moving forward, I’m always willing to listen.

Enjoy game No. 161.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Catcher Ryan Doumit is out of the lineup on Sunday because of that minor concussion he sustained on Friday. Doumit had his mask knocked off on a foul tip, stayed in the game, but was a little woozy afterward. He did not play on Saturday either. Assuming he won’t get in Sunday as a pinch hitter, Doumit finishes the season with a .250 average, 10 homers and 38 RBIs.
  • There has still been no decision made about whether first base coach Perry Hill will return for another season with the team. Expect that decision to be made in the next few days.
  • GM Neal Huntington said that Jose Ascanio, at best, would be able to begin his rehab program from right shoulder surgery in four months. He is not expected to be ready at the start of the season. June 1, Huntington said, would be a more realistic, though still optimistic, date. 
  • The Pirates’ errorless game on Saturday was their 100th such game this season. That sets a franchise record. The previous high was 99 games in 2007. The Pirates also have made the fewest amount of errors (73) in the Majors. That, too, is a franchise low.
  • The Pirates enter this game 62-98, while the Orioles are 63-98. Why is this important? The two are battling it out for Draft picks No. 2 and 3. If the Pirates lose OR the Orioles win, the Pirates will pick second next summer. The only way the Orioles would get that No. 2 pick is if the Pirates win AND the Orioles lose.
  • With Anthony Claggett’s appearance on Saturday (1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER), the Pirates finish the 2009 season with 49 different players used. That ties a club record. The team used 26 pitchers, also tying a club record.
  • The Pirates will hold two conditioning camps (one in November, one in December) this offseason, as well as their January mini-camp. Also, players will have the opportunity to go travel to see Joe Kerrigan, Don Long and Hill (if he returns) this offseason for specialized work.
  • 182: That’s the number of days until the Pirates’ April 5 season opener against the Dodgers at PNC Park. Get your winter coats and ski caps ready, folks.
  • And here are some dates to get you through the next few months: MLB General Manager’s Meetings (Nov. 9-11), MLB Winter Meetings (Dec. 7-10), Pirates Mini Camp (Jan. 12-16), Pirates Caravan and PirateFest (Jan. 24-31).

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Delwyn Young (2B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (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     

September 18: Padres (66-81) @ Pirates (55-89); UPDATE: Andy LaRoche scratched

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

If you’re reading this, you must be a diehard. Well, or else you’re my mom. It’s been a rough two months for the Pirates (the team has won just 12 of 48 games since July 25) and there’s really been little in the way for fans to get excited about. Of course, Andrew McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf and Garrett Jones have given you a hopeful glimmer of the future, but being that this is a game that is ultimately results-oriented, it’s been a trying stretch for all.

Maybe you’re still reading this because you’re eager to see how the player development continues. Maybe you’re curious as to whether this team will hit 100 losses. Maybe you, too, hate the kansas jayhawks and so you feel some sort of attachment to me (my personal thanks to those who fit into this category). Or maybe you’re trying to find a distraction at work and this is the best you can do.

Whatever the reason, hope you can find some nuggets on the blog during these final 18 days to satisfy whatever your level of interest is. Don’t worry, I’ll still be writing. And maybe the Pirates will treat you faithful fans to some wins.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • UPDATE: Andy LaRoche is sick and has been scratched from Friday’s lineup about an hour and a half before game time. As a result, Ronny Cedeno moves up in the lineup and is hitting second. Neil Walker will bat seventh and play third. 
  • Second baseman Delwyn Young remains out of the lineup on Friday since his back is still tight. He’s doing some light work this afternoon to see if he can at least be cleared to pinch hit. It’s just a day-to-day injury right now, but one that manager John Russell did not contribute to the amount of extra work that Young has been putting in with infield coach Perry Hill in recent weeks.
  • Speaking of the Hill-Young duo, Russell said the Pirates have plans to send Young to the coach’s home 2-3 times this offseason to get in some extra work. The organization is also considering sending other infielders to Hill as well, though Young was the only one named on Friday.
  • Even with those plans, Hill has not yet confirmed that he is actually returning to the organization. On Friday, Russell reiterated that he would like both Hill and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan to return next season, though neither coach has yet to commit.
  • Jose Ascanio threw another side session on Friday and looks to be about a week out from throwing to live hitters in a simulated game. The Pirates are then hopeful of getting him back for the final week of the season. Whether or not Ascanio will pitch somewhere this winter has not yet been determined. But it is being considered.
  • Evan Meek is back in Pittsburgh and will be with the team at least through this homestand. He has resumed throwing and will continue to pitch bullpen sessions.
  • In case you missed it, the Pirates’ high-A affiliate in Lynchburg took home the Carolina League Championship on Thursday. A full recap of the final game can be found here.  
  • Pedro Alvarez’s three-homer game for Team USA in a World Cup game on Thursday set a USA Baseball World Cup record. Prior to Alvarez’s day, 12 USA baseball players had homered twice in a World Cup game.
  • Paul Maholm will be honored prior to Friday’s game for being the club’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B) Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Ronny Cedeno (SS) Neil Walker (3B)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Padres lineup:

  1. Everth Cabrera (SS)
  2. David Eckstein (2B)
  3. Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
  4. Chase Headley (3B)
  5. Will Venable (RF)
  6. Drew Macias (LF)
  7. Nick Hundley (C)
  8. Tony Gwynn Jr. (CF)
  9. Tim Stauffer (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

August 28: Pirates (58-72) @ Brewers (61-66)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

OK, we’re going to keep this short and sweet since I’ve been dealing with computer issues for the last four hours and am still working with IT to get everything fixed.

Today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Manager John Russell said he has not yet determined who will start Monday’s extra doubleheader game in Cincinnati. Paul Maholm will obviously start one of the two (since it’s his normal day to pitch), though it hasn’t been decided if that will be the day game or the night cap. Phil Dumatrait is still a candidate to start the second game, though his availability will depend upon if he is needed in the bullpen this weekend. The Pirates would like to avoid having to call someone up from Triple-A to make the start knowing that rosters expand the next day
  • Ronny Cedeno remains out of the lineup with the pinky injury. Though the Pirates were most concerned about how it would affect his ability to grip a bat, it’s actually bothering him fielding and on short throws more than anything else. Obviously, he’s hitting just fine, evidenced by the two pinch hits in as many at-bats during the Phillies series.
  • No word yet from Russell about when Jose Ascanio (right shoulder injury) will resume tossing again.
  • Luis Cruz got hit in the head with a line drive off Garrett Jones’ bat during batting practice this afternoon and had to come off the field briefly. Fortunately, a few minutes later Cruz was up and bouncing around as normal, joking that he was just practicing his soccer skills. He remains in the lineup.
  • While I was off the last few days, Team USA announced its World Cup team. Both third baseman Pedro Alvarez and right-hander Daniel McCutchen were selected from the squad and will be participating. This eliminates any possibility that McCutchen will be a September call-up. He’ll have to wait until next spring to fight for a big-league rotation spot, and yes, he’ll certainly be in the mix. Double-A right-handed reliever Dustin Molleken has been selected to play for Team Canada. The Pirates also expect that Lynchburg righty Tom Boleska (Canada), Lynchburg right-hander RJ Rodriguez (USA) and GCL Pirates shortstop Gift Ngoepe (South Africa) to also be on their respective country’s final rosters. 
  • The Pirates have decided to stick with a five-man rotation in September, even as Kevin Hart and Ross Ohlendorf creep closer to what managment has deemed their maximum innings counts. GM Neal Huntington, who made the trip to Milwaukee with the team, said that once Hart and Ohlendorf hit their innings count, they will be shut down. That likely won’t be but one or two starts before the end of the season. 
  • Huntington listed Virgil Vasquez and Dumatrait as the most likely candidates to spot start when needed. Eric Hacker was an outside possibility, but not the most likely.
  • Huntington said that third baseman Neil Walker is still being considered for a call-up in September based on merit. The concern, though, is finding him enough at-bats to make it worthwhile. Regardless, spending September with the Major League team would at least allow Walker the chance to work with infield coach Perry Hill.
  • Oh yeah, and in case anyone forgot — which I doubt you have — the Pirates haven’t won here at Miller Park since  May 3, 2007. I started covering the team less than two weeks after that, so no, I have never seen the club win in Milwaukee. Altogether, the Pirates have lost 18 straight.
  • And I guess that wasn’t too short afterall. Oh well.. had to get all the news in.

Pirates lineup:

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

Brewers lineup:

  1. Felipe Lopez (2B)
  2. Jason Bourgeois (RF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Mike Cameron (CF)
  7. Jason Kendall (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Manny Parra (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

GM Neal Huntington's Sunday's thoughts…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Listed below are a variety of topics covered by general manager Neal Huntington during his weekly Sunday gathering with the media…

  • On September call-ups: Huntington said that the number of players called up will be less than was the case last year. (The Pirates added 10 players on Sept. 1 a year ago). Also, Huntington cited the late ending to the Minor League season as throwing a little bit of a wrench in the plans. With the Triple-A season not ending until Sept. 7, there will be a few players who will be called up at the start of the month and a few who won’t join the Pirates until after Indianapolis finishes its season.
  • On Triple-A first baseman Jeff Clement: Huntington all but guranteed that Clement would be among the call-ups, largely because the team wants him to spend a month with infield instructor Perry Hill. Huntington had this to say about Clement’s defense so far: “It’s a work in progress. He’s worked hard at it. He’s shown he hasn’t had a lot of time over there, but he also has a great work ethic and he’s worked to try and get better very quickly. An extra month of special work with Perry Hill should help.”
  • On whether RHP Daniel McCutchen, who is 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA since the Triple-A All-Star break, has earned the opportunity to start for the Pirates in September: “Daniel has put himself on the radar to be a strong candidate for that. His innings work load is OK, so he could take some September starts. We’ll see how things play out with Daniel going forward. He has certainly pitched well these last six weeks. The velocity is back where it was. The command is good. He’s thrown the ball very well.”
  • On rotation plans for the final six weeks of the season: Huntington said that Paul Maholm, Zach Duke and Charlie Morton should be able to finish the season without any sort of inning-count issues. Kevin Hart and Ross Ohlendorf, on the other hand, are going to likely have to be limited in how much they pitch as the season winds down. Huntington said that the organization has not decided if it will go straight with a six-man rotation in September/October or if there will be guys simply making periodic spot starts.
  • On whether Jose Ascanio, who is on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis, is a candidate to still start in September: “It’s going to completely depend on the timing of getting him back. If the soreness goes away, there is a chance we could run him back out there on a limited role. His pitch count would be about 75 his first couple of starts. I think the probable role would be to come back and be a multiple innings reliever out of the ‘pen.”
  • On Arizona Fall League rosters: Huntington said the team has submitted names of players to the AFL, and those rosters should be released later this week. Of that group, Huntington said: “We’re excited about the group that we are projecting to send out there. It’s going to be a group of prospects and some guys we feel very strongly about.”
  • On whether the organization is going to encourage a number of its players on the Major League club to go play winter ball this season: “There are some guys who could definitely benefit from it. It’s getting harder and harder to go get guys to go play winter ball. We have a younger group. There are some guys whose wives are having babies this offseason, who are getting married this offseason. We’ve got to respect that they have personal lives as well. We do have some guys who would benefit significantly from going and who could take steps forward in locking them into positions here. If they don’t go, it certainly won’t count against them. But it could be an asset for them.”
  • On whether Jose Tabata is expected to join the Pirates as a September call-up: “Jose is certainly playing great right now. Part of the equation of a September call-up are what else do we have in the plans for a player in their offseason. With Jose, we’ve got some other things planned for him this offseason that take precedence over 10 games in September. You could argue that he’s deserving of it, but with the questions that we have to answer on our Major League team right now and the other things we have planned this offseason, he might not be a guy that comes up in September.”
  • And some miscellaneous stuff: Huntington said that the Pirates have decided that sending Evan Meek to play this winter is not in his best interest, even though the right-hander is missing the final month and a half of the season. … The Pirates plan to again hold three mini-camps this offseason: voluntary ones in November and December and then the larger one in January. … The Pirates also have a handful of players, likely including Pedro Alvarez, who are under consideration to play for Team USA this fall.

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  

June 10: Pirates (26-32) @ Braves (29-28)

First off, apologies that I’m getting this up later than usual. Been having all sorts of problems getting onto my blog. But now that I’ve got that taken care of, let’s go…

***

RHP Charlie Morton is in Atlanta (he shouldn’t have had any trouble finding the ballpark) and wearing No. 37. All of us media folks kept with the unspoken rule of not talking to the day’s starting pitcher, so I’ll have to wait until postgame to talk with the guy.

The word from the Atlanta people who have talked with him is that Morton has the stuff but can often overthink. And the word from Indy is that Morton was already beginning to feel the weight of being traded for Nate McLouth on his shoulders. All this doesn’t necessarily bode well for Morton, considering he has to make his first start against McLouth and his former team.

Stay tuned…

***

Manager John Russell went into a little more detail about the decision to move Jeff Karstens into the bullpen and promote Morton. Apparently the decision was made over the weekend (though no one cared to fill us in), and not after Karstens’ bullpen appearance on Monday.

Russell also emphasized that it wasn’t so much a knock on Karstens as it was just the opportunity to get Morton into a Major League rotation.

“He’s been pitching very well,” Russell said. “He had a stint in the Major Leagues last year and has some struggles. But he went back to Triple-A this year and had some very quality starts. We just felt like it was time to get him up here and let him go. We feel like Charlie is a quality pitcher and would like to get him in the rotation.”

Also, know that Wednesday’s start is not like a tryout of sorts for Morton. He’s here to stay for the time being and will get ample opportunity to show he deserves the fifth spot in the rotation.

***

Karstens is taking the move to the bullpen in stride, though there was still evident disappointment. He will be the long-relief option that the Pirates really haven’t had all year (well, except when Gorzelanny was here), though Russell said he’ll also use Karstens in one-inning situations as needed.

This isn’t Karstens’ first time in a big-league bullpen either. He made six relief appearances for the Yankees in 2006 and 2007.

***

Right-hander Tyler Yates has returned to Pittsburgh, where doctors are going to have another look at his right elbow. Yates had to stop throwing on Tuesday after the pain in his elbow returned. There belief is still that Yates doesn’t have any sort of structural damage in his arm, but everyone is waiting to see what the next course of action now is.

***

Caught up with first base coach Perry Hill earlier, who was still shaking his head about being tossed in Tuesday’s game. In 25 years of professional baseball, Hill had never been ejected from a game.

He was sent to the clubhouse by umpire Doug Eddings in the 8th inning on Tuesday after disagreeing with Eddings, who called Delwyn Young out at first. Replays clearly show that Young was safe.

Needless to say, the ejection caught Hill offguard simply because he didn’t feel he said anything wrong. He didn’t curse. He didn’t say “you” to the umpire. He simply asked to talk with Eddings about the call.

“I was positive,” Hill said. “I didn’t say anything disrespectful. I said I just wanted to talk about the call.”

Eddings told Hill he only talks to managers (Russell was running to first as Hill and Eddings were talking), and Hill was tossed before Russell arrived.

***

Minor Matters:

  • Outfielder Jose Tabata made his return to Double-A Altoona after missing time with a right hamstring strain. He had two at-bats, but then left the game with a hamstring cramp. The injury is not anything serious.
  • The Pirates have acquired outfielder Chris Snelling from the Padres for future considerations. Snelling has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Snelling has appeared in 93 Major League games in his career, but none this year.
  • RHP Jeff Locke, who the Pirates acquired in last week’s trade, made his first appearance for Single-A Lynchburg on Tuesday. He allowed two runs on five hits in four innings. He walked three and struck out two.
  • LHP Daniel Moskos, the Pirates’ first-round Draft pick in 2007, pitched well in Altoona’s loss earlier on Wednesday. He lasted seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits.

 

Morgan ejected by 1B umpire in fifth

Pirates centerfielder Nyjer Morgan was ejected by first base umpire Tim McClelland at the end of the fifth inning in Monday’s game against the Mets. With runners on first and second and one out in the inning, Morgan grounded sharply to pitcher Johan Santana who started a 1-6-3 double play. Only Morgan felt he was safe at first, a claim later backed up by TV replays.

Immediately after being called out by McClelland, Morgan slammed his helmet into the dirt and apparently said enough to warrant an ejection as McClellan tossed him immediately. Morgan had a few more heated words with the first base ump and had to be pulled away by first base coach Perry Hill before leaving the field.

Pirates manager John Russell also came out to argue the call, but to no avail.

Morgan was replaced in left field by Craig Monroe.

April 24: Pirates (9-6) @ Padres (9-6)

PETCO.jpgSo while everyone back in Pittsburgh enjoys 80 degree temps today, I’m still looking for the sunshine in what I thought was supposed to be a trip to sunny, southern California. Temperatures aren’t expected to reach any higher than the low-60s all weekend, so I obviously left the nicer weather behind…Here’s a picture for proof.

And now for your pregame news and notes:

Manager John Russell said that Ryan Doumit’s surgery on Thursday “went really well. The bone fit back together perfectly.” Doumit will rejoin the team in Milwaukee on either Sunday night or Monday.

With Doumit’s absence hurting the power potential in the middle of the Pirates’ lineup, I asked Russell if that could mean more playing time for Craig Monroe, who has power potential similar to Doumit’s. Russell’s answer: yes. However, Russell pointed out that strong starts from Brandon Moss and Nyjer Morgan are making it hard for him to sit either. Still, I’d expect the periodic starts from Monroe and Eric Hinske to be more often than when Doumit was healthy.

The Pirates have lost lefty Dave Davidson on waivers to the Marlins, who have assigned Davidson to their Triple-A affiliate. Davidson was designated for assignment last week to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Delwyn Young. The Pirates had 10 days to trade him, release him or put him through waivers with the hope that he would clear.

Davidson, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2002, had allowed two earned runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. His only appearance with the Pirates came in 2007.

Speaking of Young, he spent time working with infield coach Perry Hill earlier this afternoon. The Pirates hope that Young shows he is can play a good enough second base and a capable third base. Right now, the Pirates are still in the evaluation stage.

As we get ready for Friday’s game, keep in mind that the Pirates are 5-0 in the first game of a series this season. Take that for what it’s worth…

Pirates lineup:

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

Padres lineup:

  1. Jody Gerut (CF)
  2. David Eckstein (2B)
  3. Brian Giles (RF)
  4. Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
  5. Chase Headley (LF)
  6. Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B)
  7. Nick Hundley (C)
  8. Luis Rodriguez (SS)
  9. Kevin Correia (RHP)

 

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) 

April 8: Pirates (1-1) @ Cardinals (1-1)

Busch Stadium.jpgJust finished watching third baseman Andy LaRoche take about 30 minutes of fielding/throwing practice under the watchful eye of almost the entire coaching staff (manager John Russell, base coaches Perry Hill and Tony Beasley and bench coach Gary Varsho). LaRoche’s three errors in the first two games of the season certainly dictated the need for the extra work. And it comes as little surprise that LaRoche was out of the lineup in favor of Ramon Vazquez to give LaRoche a day to regroup. LaRoche will be back in the lineup on Thursday.

The main point of emphasis during the extra infield work was to try to rid LaRoche of a bad habit that Hill just noticed creeping up. The desire is for LaRoche to stop flipping his glove — meaning that it’s facing toward him before the ball is hit and then flips open and down to field a ground ball. It’s something that LaRoche did very minimally during Spring Training, but has done without knowing it these last two days.

Other news and notes for the time being:

  • Catcher Ryan Doumit starts Wednesday’s game still looking for his first hit of the season. He’s 0-for-8 so far. But he has to be pleased to see St. Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer on the mound. Doumit is 5-for-11 against Wellemeyer in his career with a double, homer and three RBIs.
  • Some Minor League notes: Shelby Ford will likely miss the first few games for Triple-A Indianapolis, as he is still recovering from that sprained right wrist he suffered during Spring Training. He shouldn’t be out long, though. … Indianapolis, which starts play on Thursday, has set its rotation through the weekend. Jason Davis will make the Opening Day start and will be followed by Jimmy BarthmaierTom Gorzelanny and Daniel McCutchen.

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. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Colby Rasmus (LF)
  2. Khalil Greene (SS)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. Rick Ankiel (CF)
  7. David Freese (3B)
  8. Todd Wellemeyer (RHP)
  9. Brendan Ryan (2B) 
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