Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

Game 38: Dodgers (18-20) @ Pirates (18-19)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Manager Clint Hurdle made a point when he benched Ronny Cedeno for one game last month after Cedeno didn’t run out a ball. Hurdle made a POINT on Thursday when he left Andrew McCutchen out of the lineup for the same reason. Sitting a guy who has been in the doghouse before and isn’t one of the integral pieces in the lineup can be pretty easy to do. But to make an effective point, Hurdle needed to be consistent — and he’s being just that by letting the team know that he’ll call out anyone for a lack of effort.

“We are focused on winning, but we are focused on building something greater and better as we go forward,” Hurdle said. “I think there are certain things that are non-negotiable along those lines.”

McCutchen did not run to first in the eighth inning after striking out. He will, Hurdle said, be available off the bench on Thursday.

Other news and notes:

  • Second baseman Neil Walker is back in the lineup… for now. Walker was going to go through batting practice and see how he felt closer to game time. Those flu-like symptoms that kept him out on Wednesday (Walker was sent home before the game began) aren’t completely gone — but he is improving.
  • If Walker can’t play — or whenever he gets future days off — it sounds like Cedeno would be the first choice to play second. Cedeno and Brandon Wood have been getting work there for the past week, but the Pirates felt more comfortable using Cedeno at the position and he did nothing last night that has changed anyone’s mind.
  • Steve Pearce has actually been getting work at second over the past two days as well. This is a case of, well, just in case. Pearce isn’t going to be making starts at second, and he remains behind Walker, Cedeno and Wood on the depth chart at the position. But if the Pirates get into a bind, they like having Pearce as an emergency option.
  • Right-hander Kevin Hart threw 25 pitches in a simulated live batting practice session. It was an encouraging sign for a guy who hadn’t thrown to hitters since having shoulder surgery in May 2010.
  • For those not in the local market, tonight’s Dodgers-Pirates game is the MLB.TV free game of the day. Log on to MLB.com and watch the game online.

Lineups:

PIRATES: X. Paul (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Morton (RHP)

DODGERS: T. Gwynn Jr (LF), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), D. Navarro (C), J. Carroll (SS), J. Garland (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 37: Dodgers (17-20) @ Pirates (18-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

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.

Lineups:

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)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 35: Dodgers (16-19) @ Pirates (17-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

.500

I’ll admit that I still have a hard time understanding the joy over this number being that it is May 9. Yes, I understand that a little more than 20 percent of the season is in the books. But I also am very much aware that there is close to 80 percent left. That said, is the hoopla really justified?

I am in my fifth season covering this team, and during my time on the beat I have come to understand why .500 is a benchmark. I get it. However, other than .500 being a step to a bigger, better goal, I have a hard time believing this is the biggest news to come out of the first 34 games. Feel free to disagree (and I know some of you will), but I feel the excitement shouldn’t necessarily be over the record, but over the way this team is playing.

The pitching has been much better than most expected, and that is significant. This franchise won’t have winning baseball without major steps forward on the pitching side, and we’re seeing some of those steps forward already. The offense, on the other hand, has not played up to its expectations or capabilities. The fact that the team is 17-17 without an offense that has clicked from top to bottom at the same times means that this can actually get better. That should be encouraging to those of you who are wondering whether .500 or better baseball can be sustained.

So feel free to get excited about .500 if you want. But more than any record, pay attention to what you’re seeing on the field. Appreciate those improvements.

Some other news and notes…

  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is back in the lineup on Monday. He ended up missing four full games because of that right quad tightness.
  • Pirates starters allowed two earned runs in 21 innings in the recently-completed series against the Astros. The rotation has posted a 2.79 ERA in its last seven games.
  • Had a really candid conversation with Chris Resop a little while ago, the contents of which you can find on pirates.com tonight.
  • With his homer on Sunday, Ryan Doumit now stands alone in third place for home runs among Pirates catchers. He has hit 50. Jason Kendall (66) and Tony Pena (63) are the only two still ahead of him.
  • Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his third start — and longest one yet — for low-A West Virginia on Sunday. Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
  • On the subject of the ’10 Draft, second-rounder Stetson Allie remains in extended Spring Training. GM Neal Huntington said on Sunday that the club has not finalized whether Allie will begin his professional career in short-season State College (season opens in June) or with West Virginia. The organization wanted to keep Allie down in Florida just for development purposes. Unlike Taillon, Allie was not as advanced a pitcher when he was drafted.
  • The Pirates were out working specifically on bunt defenses earlier this afternoon. As was evidenced on Sunday, there is still some need for work in this area. The Pirates have had a few slip-ups with their bunt defenses this season — including two in the past week.
  • Righty Evan Meek threw from 150 feet on Monday. He continues to feel good.
  • Brad Lincoln had a nice performance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. That’s two solid starts in a row for Lincoln, who could put himself in position to be considered for a call-up if he continues to pitch well. Lincoln picked up a win on Sunday by scattering six hits and two walks and allowing one run. He struck out seven in the six-inning outing.
  • Also down in Triple-A, Alex Presley only continues to hit. He had three more hits on Sunday, scored twice and drove in one.
  • Jose Ascanio is scheduled to make his final rehab appearance with Indianapolis tonight. Ascanio, who has been working his way back from right shoulder surgery, is slated to throw two innings in the outing. The last day Ascanio can pitch is May 10 (rehab assignments can only last 30 days for pitchers), so the Pirates will have to take him off the DL this week. Because Ascanio is out of options, he would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Triple-A. I anticipate that Ascanio will be joining the big league bullpen.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), J. Sands (LF), R. Barajas (C), C. Billingsley (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 34: Astros (13-20) @ Pirates (16-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Most importantly, Happy Mother’s Day to all the readers who fall in that category. In particular, wishing my mom (who reminds me often that she is a faithful blog reader), my sister (who is probably huddled up studying for finals) and my grandmothers (who, unfortunately, will never read this because neither has learned to operate a computer) a terrific day. Thanks especially to my mom for unwavering support and unconditional love — I’m sure I didn’t always deserve both.

And, since my mom will likely spend the day watching baseball, let’s honor her with some Sunday morning Pirates news…

  • Pedro Alvarez is still not ready to return to the lineup, but he is currently out taking grounders at third. That’s the first I’ve seen him do any defensive work since the right quad tightness crept up on Tuesday. Alvarez was also supposed to do some running this morning.
  • Evan Meek just completed a session of long toss on the outfield grass. He is eligible to come off the DL on May 12, though I’m guessing he won’t be ready by then since he hasn’t yet resumed pitching off a mound.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle talked this morning about Jose Tabata losing his swing lately. And that has really put a dent in his production after such a strong season start. Tabata is is 2-for-25 since April 25. The injury probably didn’t help his timing, but even before that, Tabata’s swing was getting long — as if he was purposefully trying to hit for more power.
  • Pink bats, wristbands and batting gloves were spotted around the clubhouse this morning. Donning pink is an annual Mother’s Day tradition. Garrett Jones, Ronny Cedeno, Chris Snyder, Tabata, Lyle Overbay, Steve Pearce, Matt Diaz and Neil Walker will all be swinging pink bats. Walker and Joel Hanrahan will be wearing pink cleats. Under Armour will have over 170 Minor League and Major League players and coaches sporting the bright shoes.
  • Once again, the Pirates have a shot at returning to .500 with a win this afternoon.
  • Triple-A starter Rudy Owens has been handed a three-game suspension and will have his next start pushed back to Tuesday (from Monday) as a result. Owens was ejected from his last start for hitting a batter after giving up a home run.
  • Outfielder Alex Presley continues to do little wrong in Indianapolis. With three more hits on Saturday, Presley now has a league-leading 40. He has driven in 15, scored 19 and stolen seven bases, too. Working against Presley, though, is the simple fact that the Pirates don’t need an outfielder. The recent addition of Xavier Paul only further hurt Presley’s chances of earning a big league call-up anytime soon.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), R. Doumit (C), B. Wood (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. McDonald (RHP)

ASTROS: M. Bourn (CF), C. Barmes (SS), H. Pence (RF), C. Lee (LF), B. Wallace (1B), C. Johnson (3B), B. Hall (2B), H. Quintero (C), J.A. Happ (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 31: Pirates (14-16) @ Padres (12-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I wasn’t covering the game last night, but I found one post-game comment from manager Clint Hurdle particularly interesting and figured we could revisit it briefly. Asked about Brandon Wood’s attempt to move to third with one out on a ball in the dirt, Hurdle had this to say (by the way, Wood was thrown out): “You’re already in scoring position. If you’re safe, we’re happy, but he pushed the envelope a little bit and the catcher made a nice play. It put a damper on an inning with a chance to tie it.”

Maybe it’s not the smartest decision that could have been made, but I certainly saw more of a benefit of trying to be aggressive in this instance than the one lauded by Hurdle on Easter Sunday — you remember, Andrew McCutchen trying to score on a sacrifice fly with the team down by three. If Wood had been able to make it to third, there would have been a number of ways for him to score the tying run.

As it turns out, neither baserunning decision looked all that sensible because of the outcome. Hurdle will continue to preach aggressive baserunning. Moving forward, though, it will be interesting to see which instances he praises and which he criticizes.

A few news and notes…

  • Outfielder John Bowker has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Know that this is not what Bowker wanted. He made it plenty clear the night he was told he was being sent out that he was hoping to be picked up by another club. Turns out he’s now additional outfield depth for the Pirates, who already have Alex Presley, Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew Lambo in Triple-A.
  • Pedro Alvarez is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup. He exited Tuesday’s game with tightness in his right quad and said there was enough tightness still on Wednesday not to want to test it with any exercises.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata was out running sprints and routes in the outfield this afternoon — certainly a good sign for as he tries to make his way back from hamstring tightness. Tabata will be available “in a limited role” for Wednesday’s game, Hurdle said.
  • For anyone who might have watched Tuesday’s game and is curious, the bunt down the third base line that neither Joe Beimel or Wood went for late in the game was supposed to be Wood’s ball. The infielders had been told on a mound meeting just before the bunt that the play was to go to first. And the coverage was yelled from the dugout right after. “For whatever reason, when the ball was hit, he took a step back and went to the base,” Hurdle said. “He missed his coverage. There was no way to make any excuses for him.”
  • Righty Ross Ohlendorf will throw another session of live batting practice on Friday, and, assuming all goes well, then move onto a Minor League rehab start. The club hasn’t announced how many rehab outings are in order for Ohlendorf, but given his time missed, I’d expect it to be at least two.
  • Today is a homecoming of sorts for Kevin Correia — though he is entirely downplaying his first start back at PETCO Park since leaving the Padres. You can read his thoughts here.
  • This afternoon’s Pirates-Padres game (6:35 pm ET start) is the MLB.TV free game of the day. So if you’re not in the Pittsburgh market and rarely get to see the Pirates live, today is your chance.
  • If you’re interested here is the feature column I wrote on San Francisco hitting coach Bam Bam Meulens for MLB.com. Many of you might remember that Meulens served as a hitting instructor in the Pirates’ Minor League system for a few years. And if that’s not reason enough for you to want to read, maybe this will be: Bam Bam is going to be an astronaut.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), R. Doumit (C), B. Wood (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

PADRES: J. Bartlett (SS), W. Venable (RF), R. Ludwick (LF), C. Headley (3B), C. Maybin (CF), B. Hawpe (1B), N. Hundley (C), E. Patterson (2B), C. Richard (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 30: Pirates (14-15) @ Padres (11-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

A quick note on coverage for tonight’s game. I am at PETCO Park, but I will not be taking care of game coverage (pre or post). Don’t worry — you’ll have plenty to read. It just won’t be with my byline.

As you may or may not have noticed, I have also been doubling as a part-time columnist for MLB.com, writing columns on various teams, players and topics since late in the 2010 season. While I very much enjoy getting to cover unique stories from other clubhouses, I have to make time for the reporting and writing involved. As a result, from time to time I will take a day to devote to column and feature writing.

Tonight, actually, I’ll be finishing up a column for tomorrow (you should remember the subject, as he has ties to the Pirates) and writing a Pirates feature for Thursday. I was also able to spend some time in the Padres clubhouse this afternoon to collect material for an upcoming Pirates story. That’s your tease…

I can still give you a few new and notes for the day even though I did not sit in on manager Clint Hurdle’s media session:

  • Ross Ohlendorf threw live batting practice on Tuesday to a handful of hitters. He seemed to have no issue during the session, though check back at pirates.com later tonight for full details on his own assessment.
  • Outfielder Jose Tabata is not in the lineup again tonight. Hurdle had said that Tabata would be re-evaluated today, so there should be some news on that later.
  • Brandon Wood was out taking grounders at second base this afternoon. The Pirates said they wanted the infielder to get some work at the position so that the club can evaluate whether Wood could be a future option there.
  • Let me direct your attention to a new MLB.com prospect feature. It’ll be very handy for those of you who like to keep up with the organization’s best Minor Leaguers. The link is here, and you can sort based on MLB.com’s top 50 overall prospects, top 10 prospects by position,  or top 10 lists by team.
  • Owner Bob Nutting will be in attendance tonight with some family members.
  • Lefty Rudy Owens was ejected from his start for Triple-A Indianapolis this afternoon. He allowed a three-run homer and hit the next batter, Chris Carter. Carter had already homered earlier in the game. Owens was ejected by the home plate umpire, ending his day after 2 1/3 innings.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

PADRES: J. Bartlett (SS), O. Hudson (2B), R. Ludwick (LF), J. Cantu (3B), C. Maybin (CF), B. Hawpe (1B), R. Johnson (C), W. Venable (RF), M. Latos (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 28: Pirates (12-15) @ Rockies (17-8)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

One month of the 2011 baseball season is in the books, and I would be curious to hear your assessment of the first 27 games. A few things stand out to me, thus far…

  • I can’t say I necessarily expected the pitching to be carrying the offense. Coming into the year, the Pirates appeared to have a competitive lineup (particularly spots 1-6), but to this point that lineup has produced a .230 batting average and plated just 91 runs (ranking 15th of 16 NL teams). The pitching, on the other hand, is much improved over last year.
  • The degree of success of the Pirates’ bullpen has been a bit surprising, too. Joel Hanrahan has thrived in the closer’s role, though that wasn’t all that unexpected. Evan Meek didn’t have the month most thought he would as the primary set-up man, but the rest of the ‘pen has been terrific. The club finished the month with the lowest bullpen ERA (2.19) in the Majors.
  • Who thought Pedro Alvarez’s defense would be more impressive than his offense to this point? Yes, Alvarez has made some errors. But he’s also made some stellar defensive plays. And there has been much more of the latter than the former. However, at the plate, it has been a struggle since day one. Alvarez has just one homer, and he hit .200 in the month with 31 strikeouts in 90 at-bats. He has driven in seven, though two of those runs scored on an infield hit in the season’s opening weekend.
  • Strikeouts, in general, have really plagued this team. Four players — Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata — already have at least 23 apiece. Only the Padres have struck out more than the Pirates.
  • I thought this could be a breakout year for McCutchen, and it still can be. But to this point, the center fielder has produced well below his career numbers. The last two games have been a step in the right direction, but the dynamic outfielder has just not been consistent. And that’s particularly unusual for him.
  • On a positive note, the starts from Charlie Morton and Kevin Correia have been especially encouraging. Correia came into the year intent on proving he was better than he pitched in 2010. For Morton, this is a year of both renaissance and redemption. The Pirates couldn’t have asked much more of either starter in April.

As the team prepares for a fresh month, here are some news and notes before the Pirates’ series finale against the Rockies:

  • Jose Tabata (tightness in right hamstring) is, as expected, not in the lineup. He said that manager Clint Hurdle told him he will also sit out on Monday. That said, Tabata said he is feeling about 95 percent. He was riding a stationary bike for a while this morning and was walking without any apparent issue.
  • Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf is slated to throw live batting practice on Tuesday. He expects to throw another BP session after that and will then head out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
  • So far, the Pirates have been avoiding the lengthy losing streaks that have been an issue in recent years. But they’re also not enjoying any winning streaks either. The Pirates have not won consecutive games since April 17-19 in Cincinnati. They lost the next three games and then have alternated wins and losses ever since.
  • So how did April 2011 compare to April 2010? The Pirates just finished a 12-15 April. Last year’s club went 10-13 in the first month of the season. The club’s longest winning streak in April was two games; that happened twice.
  • If the Pirates can win on Sunday, the club will notch its fourth road series win of the season. That would match last year’s total.
  • The Rockies have held the Pirates to a .197 batting average in six games so far this year.
  • Outfielder Alex Presley was named Triple-A Indianapolis’ Player of the Month for April. Presley finished the month 30-for-90 with 13 runs scored, five stolen bases and eight extra-base hits. He reached base safely in 20 of the 24 games he played.
  • Xavier Paul is making his third start of the season, though it’s his first since joining the Pirates.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Morton (RHP)

ROCKIES: D. Fowler (CF), A. Amezaga (2B), T. Helton (1B), T. Tulowitzki (SS), C. Gonzalez (LF), S. Smith (RF), J. Lopez (3B), C. Iannetta (C), U. Jimenez (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 27: Pirates (12-14) @ Rockies (16-8)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Daniel Moskos arrived in Denver today, and, as you can imagine, is thrilled about his first Major League call-up. He got summed to the manager’s office while he was taking a post-game shower after Triple-A Indianapolis’ game on Friday. Manager Dean Treanor asked Moskos if he had a suit and followed that up with a Congratulations.

As it turned out, Moskos’ girlfriend had traveled to Indianapolis to see him pitch there this weekend, so now she’s joining him in Denver. Moskos said his parents will be in the Coors Field stands as well on Saturday night. I hope they packed for cold temperatures, as it is supposed to start snowing tonight at some point.

Moskos got the call after the Pirates decided it was finally time to put Evan Meek on the DL. Meek will have an MRI on his shoulder next week just to make sure the issue is nothing more than inflammation. But he seems to think he’ll be able to get the rest he needs in order to come off as soon as he is eligible (May 12).

Other news and notes…

  • With Moskos on the roster, the Pirates have two lefties in the bullpen for the first time this year. That will give manager Clint Hurdle the flexibility to call in either Moskos or Joe Beimel in left-on-left situations and know he still has another lefty available later. That’s a luxury Hurdle has wanted from the start.
  • As for the eighth inning, Hurdle will continue to mix-and-match with what reliever he uses to get to closer Joel Hanrahan. Chris Resop and Jose Veras are the most likely to get the call, though Beimel would be another option.
  • Speaking of Hanrahan, if he is able to get a save on Saturday, he would be the first Pirates pitcher since Mike Williams in 2002 to have more than eight saves in the month of April.
  • Righty Ross Ohlendorf has thrown two bullpen sessions without issue this week. He still has to throw at least one session of live batting practice before a rehab stint would begin.
  • Ronny Cedeno’s triple in Friday’s win was the first three-base hit the Pirates have had all year. As you can imagine, they were the only club without a triple this late into the month. The last club to go this long into a season without a triple was the 2005 Yankees, who hit their first triple in their 27th game. Cedeno’s came in game No. 26.
  • In case you missed the note in last night’s game story, the Pirates hadn’t had a shutout in the city of Denver ever until Friday. The team has played 74 games here (65 in Coors Field).
  • For all the flak the organization takes about failed first-round Draft picks, it’s worth noting that the club now has five of its first-round picks on the Major League roster. Moskos (2007) joins Paul Maholm (2003), Neil Walker (2004), Andrew McCutchen (2005) and Pedro Alvarez (2008).
  • The next road win for the Pirates would give them more than half the total number of road wins they had all last season. Yes, really.
  • Garrett Jones is hitting .341 on the road this year. He’s also batting just .130 at home, though he doesn’t have to worry about that stat for almost another week.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), P. Maholm (LHP)

ROCKIES: D. Fowler (CF), J. Herrera (2B), T. Helton (1B), T. Tulowitzki (SS), C. Gonzalez (LF), J. Lopez (3B), S. Smith (RF), C. Iannetta (C), J. Hammel (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Moskos gets call up; Meek to DL

Nearly four years after being a surprise first-round Draft pick by the Pirates, Daniel Moskos is making his first trip to the Major Leagues.

The Pirates recalled Moskos from Triple-A on Saturday as Evan Meek was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. The placement is retroactive to April 27, meaning that Meek will be eligible to come off on May 12.

Moskos was sent out of big-league camp this spring to start the year in Triple-A Indianapolis, where he appeared in eight games. In 10 2/3 innings, Moskos allowed nine hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out seven.

The results – and particularly Moskos’ command – were much improved from the left-hander’s stint in Indianapolis last season. That 2010 stay lasted 19 games before Moskos was sent back to Double-A Altoona, where he thrived.

“Daniel’s key is just to command,” general manager Neal Huntington said earlier in the week. “When he works ahead in the count, the slider and even the changeup can be a weapon for him. When he works behind in the count, now he’s got to come in with his fastball. While it’s a good [fastball], it’s not overpowering. When he commands the baseball, he’s going to be a very good Major League pitcher.”

The addition of Moskos, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, will give manager Clint Hurdle two left-handed relievers for the first time this season. Without Meek, Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Joe Beimel are expected to split eighth-inning set-up duties.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 23: Giants (10-11) @ Pirates (10-12)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The defending World Series champs are in town, which means former Pirates Freddy Sanchez and Javier Lopez are visiting for the next three days. Oh, and it’s been raining. Weather could be a factor each of the next two days.

News and notes…

  • In case you missed it, the Pirates claimed Xavier Paul off waivers today from the Dodgers. He’s an outfielder, so you’d have to think that either John Bowker or Steve Pearce are going to be on their way out soon. More on that here.
  • Paul is likely to arrive in Pittsburgh either Wednesday or Thursday. He has 72 hours to report, so technically he could also meet the team in Colorado on Friday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf will throw his first bullpen session on Wednesday. He threw from a distance of 120 feet today. Ohlendorf will throw 2-3 bullpens and then a live batting practice session. Once he gets through all those steps, he’ll begin a Minor League rehab assignment that will likely last one or two starts.
  • In case you missed it last night, it was confirmed that Jameson Taillon (No. 2 overall pick in 2010) will make his professional debut on Wednesday. He is joining the low-A West Virginia rotation. And as the schedule would have it, Taillon will be facing Bryce Harper’s Hagerstown team. So it’ll be No. 1 vs. No. 2.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle mentioned yesterday that he wanted to find a day off for Jose Tabata and Neil Walker pretty soon. For Tabata, that day ended up being Tuesday. Matt Diaz moves to left and Garrett Jones sticks in right. Walker’s day off will have to wait, though Brandon Wood is spelling Ronny Cedeno a day.
  • With his save on Monday, Joel Hanrahan is 6-for-6 in save opportunities this month. The last Pittsburgh closer with more than six April saves was Salomon Torres. He had eight in April 2007.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio (who was struck in the head by a line drive last Friday) returned to the mound for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. It was not a stellar outing (1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB), but certainly a good sign that he was OK after a scary incident.
  • All-Star ballots have been released and you can find more information on how to vote online here. This year’s game will be played in Phoenix.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), M. Diaz (LF), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (RF), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), B. Wood (SS), C. Morton (RHP)

GIANTS: A. Rowand (CF), F. Sanchez (2B), A. Huff (1B), B. Posey (C), P. Sandoval (3B), P. Burrell (LF), C. Ross (RF), M. Tejada (SS), M. Cain (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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