A bunch of bad news today, although we do get to end on a good note…
-First, the Pirates have reacquired Brian Bixler from the Cleveland Indians. The Pirates traded Bixler back in January, and received Jesus Brito in return. They got him back for a player to be named later, to serve as AAA depth. Apparently the team was lacking strikeouts and bad defense.
-To make room for Jeff Locke’s promotion to AA, the Pirates have demoted Tim Alderson from Altoona to Bradenton. Alderson is having a rough season, with a 5.30 ERA in 86.2 innings, and a 5.9 K/9 ratio, plus a 2.7 BB/9 ratio. Alderson got rocked today for six runs, five earned, in three innings of work of a game suspended by rain. I saw Alderson on May 13th (video recap), and wasn’t really impressed. I don’t make a big deal out of one start, but that start, combined with his poor numbers and everything I’ve read on his lack of velocity has me really down on him as a prospect. He is only 21 years old, turning 22 in November, so he’s kind of age appropriate for high-A, despite the move being a demotion. Hopefully he can get his career back on track.
-Tony Sanchez, who is out after being hit in the face with a pitch, is now out for the rest of the season. That’s a big bummer, as Sanchez might have had a shot at the majors next year if it wasn’t for his injury filled year this year. My guess is that he starts out at AA next year after getting some time in during the off-season in instructional leagues. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the Pirates’ choice for the Arizona Fall League as the player to send below the AA level (teams can only send one player below the AA level).
-Finally, the only good news today: Nathan Baker has been named the pitcher of the week in the South Atlantic League, and Kevin Decker has been named the pitcher of the week in the New York-Penn League. Baker made two starts, combining for 14 innings, two hits, one unearned run, two walks, and 12 strikeouts. In his first start, Baker pitched eight no-hit innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks. Decker combined for 10.1 shutout innings, allowing five hits, two walks, and striking out nine in two starts.