Day Three in Bradenton

Today was a camp day in Pirate City, with two inter-squad games taking place, and all of the action finishing up around 11:30 AM, as opposed to around 4:00 PM on previous days.  Despite the shortened day in camp, there was plenty of action going on. Chris Snyder was back in camp today, and saw ten at-bats, after seeing five yesterday.  The only one that I remembered was at the start of the game, when he struck out on a low and away 91...

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Plan B: Jeff Karstens and Brian Burres

Yesterday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates had Jeff Karstens throwing four innings as the starter in a AAA game at Pirate City.  Today, Brian Burres took the mound at McKechnie, throwing five innings.  Manager Clint Hurdle said this afternoon that the Pirates are trying to stretch both pitchers out incase they need a plan B along the line.  That plan B could be needed sooner, rather than later. James McDonald is currently rehabbing...

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Homers for Alvarez and McCutchen In Pirates’ Loss

Astros  10,  Pirates  6
The Astros and the Pirates had a hit-fest this afternoon in Bradenton, combining for 30 hits (14 for the Pirates).  But even with a solo homer by 3B Pedro Alvarez and a 2-run blast by CF Andrew McCutchen, it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to take the win.   Starter Brian Burres struggled trhough 5 innings and gave up 6 runs on 10 hits.  The Astros jumped right on Burres in the top of the 1st, scoring 2 runs on a single, a walk, an RBI double, and a sacrifice fly.  McCutchen tied the score with his homer in the bottom of the 1st.  The Pirates took the lead in the 2nd inning, when C Ryan Doumit led off with a single up the middle.  SS Ronny Cedeno doubled, putting two runners into scoring position.  Burres chopped an infield grounder that let Doumit score, and LF Jose Tabata’s sacrifice fly brought in Cedeno.  But the Astros kept coming at Burres, with a solo homer in the top of the 3rd, then 3 more runs in the 5th.  Two singles and a fielding error by RF Matt Diaz tied the score, and a double and a sacrifice fly drove in 2 more runs, to give the Astros a 6-4 lead.  Alvarez’s homer got the Pirates within one run again in the bottom of .  2B Neil Walker got the run back in the bottom of the frame with a double, scoring on a single and a sacrifice fly by 1B Lyle Overbay.  The Astros put the game away in the top of the 9th.  With Tyler Yates on the mound, three consecutive singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly gave the Astros 3 more runs.  

Chris Resop gave up a double but kept the Astros from scoring in the 8th inning.  Mike Crotta pitched a perfect 6th inning, continuing his scoreless streak for the spring.  2B Pedro Ciriaco singled and pinch-hitter Steve Pearce doubled in the game, both boosting their cause as they try to make the Opening Day roster.  LF John Bowker, CF Corey Wimberly, C Dusty Brown, and SS Josh Rodriguez all got into the game.  

The Indianapolis Indians did not have a scheduled game today.   
The members of the 2010 Altoona Curve were presented with their championship rings before the Pirates’ game today. 

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Altoona Curve Ring Ceremony

The 2010 Altoona Curve were presented with their 2010 Eastern League championship rings today, prior to the game at McKechnie Field.  I was on-hand to get pictures of all of the players receiving their rings, and have uploaded the photos to an album on the Facebook page.  Check them out and be sure to “Like” the page, to get updates from the site on Facebook. This was a little different than last year’s ring ceremony...

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2011 Prospect Watching: Cain, Black, And More

Continuing to look at some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Colton Cain  –  L/L,  6′ 3″, 225 lb
Cain was the Pirates’ 8th round draft pick in 2009.  He began his pro career in 2010, after having had back surgery in the previous winter.  Cain began with 4 starts for the GCL Pirates, where he earned an 0-1 record and a 3.77 ERA.  In 14.1 innings, he allowed 6 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks, but struck out 15 batters.  He was promoted to State College in July, and appeared in 11 games (9 starts) there.  Two of those starts were very tough, as Cain gave up 6 runs in 2 innings on August 2nd, and 6 runs in 3 innings on August 31st.  The other 9 appearances were much better.  His best was 4 shutout innings on August 20th, when he gave up no hits and just one walk, while striking out 3 batters.  In those other 9 appearances, Cain allowed 7 runs over 29 innings (2.17 ERA), with 9 walks and 31 strikeouts.  Cain, who just turned 20 years old, should be ready to begin 2011 at West Virginia.  He’ll continue to work on fastball command, but also on his changeup.

Victor Black  –  R/R,  6′ 3″,  185 lb 
Black was chosen by the Pirates as a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the 2009 draft.  He signed quickly and got down to business at State College.  In 13 appearances for the Spikes (7 starts), Black earned a 1-2 record and a 3.45 ERA.  He allowed 12 earned runs and 26 hits in 31.1 innings.  His walk rate was a bit high (15, 4.3 walks / 9 innings), but he also struck out 33 batters (15.4 K / 9 innings).  A shoulder injury and subsequent biceps problem plagued Black in the 2010 season, and he was able to make just 2 appearances for West Virginia in May.  Neither start was what Black would have hoped:  he gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings in one, and 2 runs on a hit and 3 walks in 2/3 of an inning in the other.  The 22-year-old Black is healthy and ready to go in spring training for 2011.  He will likely be back to West Virginia, and the Pirates have indicated that they plan to have him pitch in relief, in hopes of limiting the stress on his arm.

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