Results tagged ‘ Robinzon Diaz ’

Bautista hits No. 50; reflects on Pittsburgh

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

In what has become one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 season, former Pittsburgh third baseman Jose Bautista punctuated his breakout season by connecting for his 50th home run of the season for the Blue Jays on Thursday.

In doing so, Bautista became only the 26th player in Major League history to hit that many homers in a single season. What’s arguably most incredible about the whole feat is that Bautista entered the year never having hit more than 16 home runs in any of his previous big-league seasons.

The Pirates selected Bautista in the 20th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and, after circling around to four other teams in 2004, he returned to Pittsburgh that summer.

Bautista earned significant playing time in 2006 before becoming the Pirates’ starting third baseman for the 2007 season. He began 2008 in that same role but eventually lost his spot to Andy LaRoche at the Trade Deadline. A demotion to the Minors followed, and the Pirates then dealt Bautista to the Blue Jays for Robinzon Diaz, a Minor League catcher that is no longer in the organization.

Shortly after hitting his milestone home run on Thursday, Bautista addressed that time he spent with the Pirates.

“To tell the truth, I don’t really know what caused me to fall out of favor in Pittsburgh,” Bautista said. “I was given an opportunity to play every day in 2007, and I didn’t have the best year. Coming into the next season, I was told that I was going to be the starting third baseman. Then, a lot of things changed after the second week of the season. I don’t think I was given a fair chance to be an everyday player and put up the type of numbers that they would’ve hoped. But, I feel pretty confident that I did an adequate job at it.

Bautista hit .242 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 107 games with the Pirates in 2008. The previous year, he had batted .254 with 15 homers and 63 RBIs in 142 games.

“Given the inconsistency of the playing time I received, I think I had pretty good contributions to the team’s wins and I think I had pretty good production,” he said. “If I would’ve been given a chance to play on a daily basis that season — with more maturity and my second time around the division, knowing all the pitchers and all the other stuff like that — I really don’t know that I would’ve done better or not, but chances are that I would think that I would’ve done better.”

Bautista credited the Blue Jays for giving him the second chance he needed and for believing in his ability. He noted how a change in his approach and swing under Toronto’s watch led him to this type of production.

Bautista was also asked if he hoped anyone in the Pirates’ front office staff was watching what he accomplished on Thursday.

“No,” he answered. “I don’t hold grudges.”

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Karstens, Thomas outrighted to Triple-A; Diaz gone

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Both Jeff Karstens and Justin Thomas cleared waivers and have been outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. The two pitchers had been taken off the team’s 40-man roster on Nov. 20 when the Pirates needed to add some Minor League players to it.

Karstens and Thomas will both be invited to Spring Training as non-roster invitees. And each will be given a chance to compete for a spot in the Major League bullpen.

Catcher Robinzon Diaz also cleared waivers but was given his unconditional release. Diaz now becomes a Minor League free agent and is not expected to resign with the organization.

UPDATE 4:37 pm: One other important note worth making — Though Karstens remains with the organization, he is no longer arbitration eligible because he was outrighted off the Major League roster. Karstens had narrowly qualified for abitration as a Super Two player.

What this means is that the Pirates will not owe Karstens, who is now technically a Minor League player, as much even if he makes the Major League club out of Spring Training.

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Bucs make flurry of roster moves on Friday

By Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

First off, my apologies for the tardiness in this. Jury duty got in the way. Anyways, you can find a full recap of all the roster moves that the Pirates made on Friday right here. The full story includes comments and explanations from GM Neal Huntington, too.

In review, the Pirates added seven players to the 40-man roster on Friday:

  • Jose Ascanio and Evan Meek were taken off the 60-day disabled list and added
  • Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas was claimed off waivers from Seattle
  • Brad Lincoln, Bryan Morris, Gorkys Hernandez and Ramon Aguero were prospects so that they could be protected from Rule 5 Draft.

In order to have enough room for all these additions, the following players were removed from the 40-man roster:

  • Jeff Karstens, Robinzon Diaz and Justin Thomas were all designated for assignment.

A few things to note regarding all of this…

  • Diaz cannot be put on waivers and outrighted to Triple-A (because of his service time), so if the Pirates can’t trade him in the next 10 days, they will release him. Huntington said he doesn’t expect Diaz to be interested in possibly resigning with the club if that’s what happens.
  • Huntington said that the club will explore the trade market for both Karstens and Thomas in the next 10 days. But, if no trade partners are found, the Pirates hope both pitchers will clear waivers and remain with the organization. The team will have the ability to outright both pitchers if no one grabs them off waivers.
  • Why add Jakubauskas and remove Karstens? Huntington said the players would essentially serve the same role on the club and have the same ability. The difference is that Jakubauskas has options remaining and Karstens doesn’t. For that reason, the Pirates found Jakubauskas more appealing of an option.
  • Erik Kratz moves up to third on the catching depth chart. However, Huntington said that he will continue explore the Minor League and Major League free agent catchers this offseason for other options.
  • Huntington said the organization has not determined yet whether it will make a selection in the Rule 5 Draft. If the Pirates decide to do so, they’ll have to open up a roster spot somehow.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB     

Vasquez, Hacker, Lerud removed from 40-man roster

By Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates continue to retool the club’s 40-man roster, with three more players being removed from it on Friday. Right-handers Virgil Vasquez and Eric Hacker were outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Catcher Steve Lerud was sent outright to Double-A Altoona.

With the three subtractions, the Pirates now have 36 players on their 40-man roster. Relievers Evan Meek and Jose Ascanio remain on the 60-day disabled list and will take two of those vacant spots soon. The Pirates have until Nov. 20 to finalize their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 10.

None of Friday’s three roster moves comes as much of a surprise. Vasquez and Hacker both spent minimal time on the Major League roster in 2009. Lerud spent all of last season as Altoona’s primary catcher.

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September 19: Padres (66-82) @ Pirates (56-89); Doumit starting in RF

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

No need to get in a frenzy. It’s not going to become a regular thing, manager John Russell said. But he does have Ryan Doumit playing right field on Saturday. Doumit hasn’t played the outfield since Aug. 13, 2007.

Russell’s explanation for the defensive placement: “We need some offense today.”

Delwyn Young is out with lingering back tightness. Andy LaRoche is sick and at home (questionable whether he’ll even come to the park today). And Garrett Jones is nursing a banged up right shoulder, the result of landing on it while making a diving play in Friday’s game. All three are questionable even to be able to pinch hit on Saturday.

With those three out, Lastings Milledge in left and Steve Pearce at first, that left Russell with either Doumit, Brandon Moss or Luis Cruz to play right field. Russell said he didn’t like the matchup of Moss vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard. And he chose Doumit over Cruz simply because he hopes it will boost a watered down lineup.

Russell said that unless these starters don’t start healing soon, he doesn’t expect Doumit to be out in right field again after Saturday. And he certainly won’t be there with any regularity.

As for today’s other news, notes and randomness…

  • Doumit has made 41 career appearances (36 starts) in right prior to Saturday. Of those starts, 33 came in 2007. This is his first outfield appearnce since Russell began managing the club.
  • Doumit’s thoughts on being used as a catcher and right fielder: “I’m excited. There are other catchers who do this. Russell Martin’s done it. Jason Kendall used to do it here. I’m all for it. I’m excited for the opportunity to expand my horizons. … It’s an opportunity to run the ball down but, mostly, it’s a chance to show off my arm. I hope people try to run on me. I enjoy that part of it. … As far as I’m concerned, I had my time off by missing 2 1/2 months.”
  • Doumit has hit .357 in September with three doubles, one homer, six RBIs. He has hit safely in 10 of 12 games he has played.
  • In September, the Pirates, before today, hadn’t played a Saturday day game since Sept. 3, 2005. This is also the 17th time that the Pirates and either Pittsburgh Panthers or Steelers have played on the same day. The Panthers face Navy later this evening.
  • With a win on Saturday, the Pirates would, at the least, seal a series split with the Padres. That might not seem notable until you consider that Pittsburgh has never split or won a series against San Diego at PNC Park. The Padres have taken each of the previous eight. Pittsburgh is 9-17 here against the Padres since 2001.
  • Saturday will be the first time Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz have each played since both were recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sept. 8. This season, Bixler has struck out 23 times in 33 at-bats.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  3. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  4. Ryan Doumit (RF)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Neil Walker (3B)
  8. Brian Bixler (2B)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (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. Henry Blanco (C)
  8. Tony Gwynn Jr (CF)
  9. Clayton Richard (LHP)

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September 8: Cubs (69-67) @ Pirates (54-82)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

In less than three hours, the Pirates will honor golf legend Arnold Palmer in a pregame ceremony. Palmer, a western Pa. native, is celebrating his 80th birthday this week. As part of the festivities, pitcher Paul Maholm, braodcaster Steve Blass and golfer Peter Jacobson will have a chipping shot contest on the field just before the game to raise money for Pirates Charities.

Be sure to check back later for the results of the competition, though considering his career path, Jacobson has to be a 2:1 favorite to land the most balls in the 12-foot radius around the pin.

Oh, and you want baseball? OK. Today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Now that the Pirates have reached that dreaded 82nd loss, the question I’ve been hearing is whether 100 is in reach. To lose 100 loses for the second time during this 17-year stretch, the Pirates would have to win eight or fewer of their remaining 26 games. The seven against the Dodgers and six left against the Cubs could be a bit daunting. But do remember the Pirates have 10 games remaining against the below-.500 Padres and Reds on the docket.
  • The Pirates’ 62-100 team in 2001 is the most recent Pittsburgh club to lose 100 games.
  • The clubhouse got considerably more crowded in the last 24 hours. Added today were Donnie Veal, Eric Hacker, Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz. Jeff Karstens is coming off the DL tomorrow, which is his first date of eligibility. That brings the number of players with the team up to 31.
  • Manager John Russell said that Hacker will not make a start for the club while he’s here. He is simply another bullpen option, which will be helpful considering the Pirates finish the season with 18 games in 17 days.
  • Jose Ascanio (right shoulder tendinitis) is progressing well and will soon be throwing off the mound. The Pirates are still optimistic that he will be healthy enough to contribute before the season ends.
  • Though Diaz likely won’t make many, if any, starts with the club this month, his availability off the bench will allow Russell to use Ryan Doumit as a pinch hitter in games where Doumit does not start.
  • Both Doumit and Delwyn Young were given Tuesday off as a day of rest. Young is mired in a 5-for-51 slump and Russell noted that he can see Young wearing down a bit from the rigors of becoming an everyday player since the end of July.
  • Pirates pinch hitters have quietly gone 11-for-25 with three doubles and a homer in the team’s last 14 games. Even though much of the bench has turned over this season, the Pirates rank third in the National League with a .269 pinch-hitting average.
  • And here’s an interesting note to leave you with: On this date in 1905, the Pirates stranded 18 runners in an 8-3 loss to the Reds.That set an NL record for men left on base.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Milton Bradley (RF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Jeff Baker (2B)
  6. Geovany Soto (C)
  7. Kosuke Fukudome (CF)
  8. Bobby Scales (LF)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP)

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Bucs wrap up Sept. call-ups

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

As expected, shortstop Brian Bixler and catcher Robinzon Diaz will join the Pirates on Tuesday now that the Triple-A season has ended. Also being called up is right-hander Eric Hacker, who had been pitching in Indianapolis’ rotation.

Left-hander Donnie Veal has finished his Minor League rehab assignment and been reinstated off the DL. Righty Jeff Karstens will return off the DL on Wednesday, the earliest day that he is eligible to.

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September 4: Cardinals (79-56) @ Pirates (53-79)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Well, it has to get better, folks. Right? After an 0-7 road trip that included sweeps at the hands of the Brewers and Reds, the Pirates are home for six against division foes St. Louis and Chicago. There are certainly numbers to back the projection that the Pirates are bound to break out of this losing streak quickly… though there are as many ominous stats, too.

The good: The Pirates are 35-29 at home this season, which includes wins in seven of nine games last homestand.

The bad: The Cardinals and Cubs have combined to go 14-6 against the Bucs this season.

The ugly: The Pirates have won just two of their last nine games overall and are 19-39 against teams from the NL Central this year.

Oh, and I guess the inevitable countdown can begin — three more games until loss No. 82. Enough said.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • First baseman Jeff Clement is no longer a given to join the club this month. Clement was initially going to be a part of the second wave of call-ups (next Tuesday after the Triple-A season is over), but has been out since Aug. 27 with an oblique strain. The organization is considering sending him to instructional league for extra work this month rather than bringing him up to the big league club right off the injury
  • It’s expected that catcher Robinzon Diaz and shortstop Brian Bixler are the only other two players summoned from Indianapolis’ roster next week.
  • Reliever Jeff Karstens (lower back strain) made another two-inning rehab appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday. He didn’t allow a run and struck out one. He is scheduled to return to the team as soon as his 15 days is up next week.
  • Lefty Donnie Veal (sprained left index finger) will likely remain with Altoona through the Curve’s final set of games and then return to Pittsburgh next week. He has so far pitched 11 1/3 innings in a rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona. He has allowed two earned runs on four hits, walked nine and struck out 16.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio continues to throw long toss and is close to being ready to throw off the mound. The Pirates are hopeful that he’ll be able to contribute out of the bullpen for the season’s final two weeks or so.
  • Though he’s not in the lineup, Pittsburgh-area native Neil Walker is preparing to play in his first game at PNC Park. He said he expects 20-25 family and close friends to be in attendance on Friday.
  • Altoona named Pedro Alvarez the team’s Most Valuable Player for the season. After starting the year with Lynchburg, Alvarez played his final 60 games with the Curve. He hit .333 with 13 homers and 39 RBIs. The Curve named Yoslan Herrera (11-1, 3.23 ERA in 23 appearances) the team’s Pitcher of the Year. Catcher Miguel Perez (.266 in 28 games) was given Altoona’s “Unsung Hero Award” largely for being a mentor to the young catchers on the team.
  • Indianapolis catcher Erik Kratz was named to the Triple-A Postseason All-Star Team. He led all IL catchers with 11 homers and 42 RBIs this season. Kratz also represented the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in the mid-season All-Star Game.
  • With final rosters for the World Cup not out, the Pirates will be represented by six players. Those include Alvarez (USA), Brad Lincoln (USA), Dustin Molleken (Canada), R.J. Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), Tom Boleska (Great Britain) and Gift Ngoepe (South Africa).
  • Also, for those of you who don’t frequent the Triple-A website — indyindians.com — often, I wanted to point you to something that might be of interest. The Indians are currently having a game-worn jersey auction. The auction ends on Sept. 10 and since a number of these jerseys belong to players who are now in Pittsburgh (Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Daniel McCutchen, Walker, Garrett Jones) or elsewhere (Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, Jack Wilson), I thought some of you might be interested. Here is the auction link.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Brandon Moss (RF)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Kevin Hart (RHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Skip Schumaker (2B)
  2. Colby Rasmus (CF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Matt Holliday (LF)
  5. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  6. Mark DeRosa (3B)
  7. Yadier Molina (C)
  8. Brendan Ryan (SS)
  9. Adam Wainwright (RHP)

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Doumit to rejoin Pirates on Friday

Ryan Doumit has left his Triple-A rehab assignment and will join the Pirates for their Friday night game in Philadelphia. Doumit is expected to be activated from the disabled list as well.

Initially, Doumit was not expected to come off the DL until the Pirates’ first game after the All-Star break. However, after playing in front of GM Neal Huntington and meeting with him after Thursday’s game, Doumit left the Indians to join the Pirates earlier than expected.

After an 0-for-20 start in his rehab, Doumit went 2-for-4 on Thursday.

It is not known who will be optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis — Robinzon Diaz or Jason Jaramillo – once Doumit is activated.

May 30: Astros (19-27) @ Pirates (21-27)

It’s the first of three SkyBlast nights here at PNC Park. In the past, SkyBlast has been three consecutive nights. That has since been changed, and the next two dates come in August and September. Country music’s Zac Brown Band (you might know them for their hit: Chicken Fried) is performing postgame and will be complemented by the usual fireworks show.

***

Speaking of fireworks, manager John Russell is trying to spark something — anything — with his offense by switching around much of his lineup order and stacking it with right-handed bats. It’s safe to say that the ineptitude shown by the offense on Friday certainly encouraged some sort of change.

Getting a night off on Saturday: Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Jason Jaramillo

In the lineup: Eric Hinske, Delwyn Young, Craig Monroe, Robinzon Diaz

Russell’s logic has much to do with the season that opposing starter Wandy Rodriguez is having. Rodriguez (5-3, 1.71 ERA) has limited left-handed hitters to a batting average of .125 this year.

Shuffled up in the lineup is third baseman Andy LaRoche, who will be hitting from the second hole for the first time this season. Little explanation needed here since LaRoche is the only one the has hit consistently through all the ups-and-downs of the offense. He’s reached base safely in 13 straight games, hitting .435 during that span.

“We’ve been swinging hot and cold so I figured we’d get one of our hotter hitters up there and hopefully see it if works,” Russell said.

***


0000009099_20060920160602.jpgMcLouth, a die-hard Red Wings fan, will certainly be in line to receive some jabs should the Pens steal Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals from Detroit later tonight. (McLouth has made it no secret who he is rooting for). But any ridicule he might get because of his hockey allegiance was already matched by the jabs he got earlier this afternoon.

Sporting a new hair cut — much much shorter — McLouth walked up to his clubhouse stall to find a picture of Spencer Pratt of MTV’s The Hills reality show (pictured left) taped on his locker. A bit of a resemblance between the two for sure.

Maybe the laughs can loosen McLouth back up at the plate as well. He has just one hit in his last 25 at-bats and nine strikeouts during that span.

“Nate’s going through a little bit of a struggle,” Russell said. “He’s a guy we’re going to count on tremendously. He’s going to be out there tomorrow to give him a break to regroup mentally. He’s swinging the bat much better. I think he’s getting closer. I think giving him a day off will be good for him.”

***

Spoke with Tyler Yates, who was quite relieved with the results of recent tests on his right elbow. Yates went to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion on his elbow and Andrews confirmed that there is no structural or ligament damage. Just inflammation. Yates said he expects to start long toss again soon and then will progress based on how he feels.

He admitted to also having feared the worst — season-ending surgery — earlier this week.

***

During his pregame session with the media, Russell also gave props to reliever Donnie Veal for the job that he did in relief on Friday. It wasn’t all pretty — two innings, 50 pitches, three hits, one walk, one run — but considering Veal hadn’t pitched in 21 days, it wasn’t all that bad.

“It shows he has an idea of what he’s doing,” Russell said. “I think his mechanics have come a long way and give him a chance to compete. To not pitch in three weeks and do what he did last night, that’s pretty phenomenal.”

Russell also said that he expects Veal to be looked at seriously as a starting pitcher in the organization after the Pirates get him through this season as a Rule 5 pick in the bullpen.

***

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  4. Craig Monroe (LF)
  5. Eric Hinske (1B)
  6. Delwyn Young (RF)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Astros lineup:

  1. Michael Bourn (CF)
  2. Miguel Tejada (SS)
  3. Lance Berkman (1B)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Hunter Pence (RF)
  6. Ivan Rodriguez (C)
  7. Jeff Keppinger (3B)
  8. Edwin Maysonet (2B)
  9. Wandy Rodriguez (LHP) 

 

 

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