Pirates Notebook: Leroux Losing Changeup

PITTSBURGH, PA. — After striking out two batters over a perfect inning of relief against the Baltimore Orioles at McKechnie Field on Saturday, Chris Leroux said after the game that he is dropping the change-up.

Leroux was told to lose the change, and will look to going back to being a power pitcher.

 “It’s kind of one less thing to worry about,” Leroux said. “I’m kind of just going at hitters and here’s what I’ve got.”

Over nine appearances during spring training this season, Leroux has allowed nine runs on nine hits over 9.1 innings. He’s walked five and struck out 14. Five of those outings were scoreless, and seven of his nine earned runs came from two rough outings where he walked three and gave up two long balls.

The right-hander is battling with several arms in the ‘pen in Jared Hughes, Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, Daniel Moskos to break camp with the club. If Leroux doesn’t make the team out of spring training, the team could face another team claiming him because he is out of options. Leroux was solid for the Pirates last season, posting a 2.88 ERA over 23 appearances in Pittsburgh.

 “I feel like I’ve made the most of my last three outings,” Leroux said. “So, we’ll see what happens Tuesday. I just want to be part of that seven-man pen.”

McKenry Makes First Opening Day Roster

Catcher Michael McKenry will make the Pirates Opening Day roster for the first time in his professional career.

The 27-year-old appeared in 58 games with Pittsburgh last season where he hit for a .222 clip with 17 runs, 12 doubles, two home runs, and 11 RBI.

“It’s a little kid dream,” McKenry said. “It’s something I’ve always talked about as a little kid. It’s something that I feel fortunate and blessed to be a part of. This team is very special.”

McKenry was acquired from the Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A Pawtucket in June of last season after the club took multiple hits with their starting catchers getting injured.

This spring training has been a different experience for McKenry. He went into camp prior to the 2011 season with the Colorado Rockies, and was traded to Boston before camp ended. This year, McKenry entered spring familiar with the club he caught 58 games for. He will be the backup catcher to Rod Barajas.

“Its been nice because there hasn’t been any panic or any urgency,” McKenry said how this spring training was different from the year prior. “Just getting an opportunity. [Pirates Manager Clint] Hurdle has done a good job. We made some adjustments with my swing. We made some adjustments with my catching. It’s been an opportunity to work on them instead of panicking all the time. Just worrying about having quality at-bats, and not worrying about the result right now is nice. It’s been a good spring. This clubhouse overall is full of high character, high moral guys, so its been special just to be a part of it. I feel like part of a family here.”

So far this spring, McKenry is batting .226 (7-for-31) with one home run and three RBI over 15 games.

Cruz Exits Early

Right-hander Juan Cruz was hit by a comebacker in his right forearm during his outing against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers on Saturday. Cruz was removed from the game as a precaution. The Pirates will update his status on Sunday.

Burnett to Take Another Step Forward

Right-hander A.J. Burnett continues to take steps forward after undergoing right eye surgery in February. He is scheduled to pitch three innings on Sunday in a minor league spring training game.

Burnett last pitched a two inning, 48 pitch simulated game at Pirate City without issue on Tuesday.

“I talked to [Pitching Coach] Ray [Searage],” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said on Tuesday. “Ray said it was very good, very efficient. The breaking ball, his off-speed stuff came into play better the second inning. Just replicated the delivery and arm slot and things like that. He was very encouraged by the outing.”

Burnett threw his first live BP a week ago, and threw a side on Thursday at McKechnie Field.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Prospect Notebook: Starters Getting Ready For the Season

Next Story »

Pirates Option Lincoln, McCutchen to Triple-A

  • James S

    Refreshing this year to hear and read of a lot of different Pirates players saying they are close-knit and feel like they have a good report with each other. Many of them have said it’s like a family. Almost makes me excited about what could come of it, considering that type of atmosphere had a lot to do with the ’71 and ’79 world champion teams. I remember it well.
    Hurdle is a good man to lead these guys too.

  • Kristy Robinson

    They really are. It’s a good bunch of guys who really pull for each other. Great chemistry in the clubhouse. 

  • Lee Young

    Happy First Opening Day to the Fort!!

  • pirates21

    we are family, i got all my bloggers with me!

Latest Analysis

  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    17 hours ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    3 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    4 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    4 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    6 days ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    1 week ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Jason Creasy

    Another Pitcher to Watch From the Pirates’ 2011 Draft

    2 weeks ago

    The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things ...

    Read More
  • Peacock Nevarez

    Will One of These Pirates Minor League Pitchers Be the Next John Holdzkom?

    2 weeks ago

    By now you probably know that John Holdzkom rose from independent ball last year and made it to the majors. It was one of the best stories in ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles