Michael Ryan, veteran experience

… Add to the mix some veteran experience…..and a name appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day!
MICHAEL RYAN
outfielder
born: 7/6/1977��� in Indiana, Pennsylvania
ht:� 5′ 10″����� wt: 182 lb��������� B: Left�� T: Right
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Ryan is a western Pennsylvania native, who was drafted in 1996 by the Minnesota Twins.� He progressed steadily upward in the Twins’ minor league system, hitting for�a solid average, mostly singles and doubles, and not a large amount of power.� He played the 2002 season with�Edmonton (AAA), where he did develop some power.� He led the team�with 31HR�homers and tied for the lead with 36 doubles, with a .261 AVG, and was named to the Pacific Coast League post-season All-Star team.� After Edmonton’s season, he was called up to the Twins, and made his MLB debut on Sept 20, 2002.� He appeared in 7 games, and had one hit.� Ryan began 2003 again in AAA, though with the Rochester Red Wings because the Twins had changed affiliates.� In Rochester, his average slid to .225, but with 20 doubles, 15 HRs, and 60 RBI.� He was promoted to Minnesota on August 12th, and had a stellar remainder of the season, hitting .393 AVG, with 5 HR and 13 RBI.
The 2004 season was tough for Ryan.� He started the year with the Twins, but played mostly as a pinch-hitter.� He struggled at the plate, hitting .239 AVG in 36 games.� Then he sustained a shoulder injury while sliding into first base.� When he returned from the injury, he was sent to Rochester, where he also struggled, hitting .205 AVG, with 6 HR and 16 RBI.� Ryan also started the 2005 season in Rochester, but working harder and determined to do better.� His average rose to .283, with 6 HR and 26 RBI, and he was recalled by the Twins on May 31st.� Back in the major league again, he hit .231, with 2 HR and 13 RBI for the remainder of the season.� After the season, the Twins removed him from their 40-man roster, and Ryan became a free agent.� The 2006 season found him with the Richmond Braves (AAA Atlanta affiliate), under a minor league contract.� He started off strong, hitting .296 AVG in the month of April, then slumped a bit in May and June.� �In July he�rebounded, hitting .278 AVG with 18 RBI.� He finished the season with a .242 AVG, 6 HR, and 39 RBI.
Ryan signed with his hometown Pirates for the 2007 season, and he has been in camp as a non-roster invitee, competing for a spot on the major league roster.� He has had an outstanding spring so far, doing well in the field and showing off his skills at the plate.� He has played in 14 of the Pirates’ “A” games, hitting .429 AVG, with 6 doubles, a triple, and 7 RBI.� The Pirates have been impressed, and manager Jim Tracy has said that Ryan is in contention for a roster spot.� If he loses out in the numbers game, then Ryan will be hitting for us in Indianapolis.�
Paul Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was also thinking Irish today:� here
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OTHER NOTES:
In yesterday’s Pirates’ game, Ryan went 2 for 4 with a double, and Neil Walker went 1 for 4, also with a double.� Don Kelly went 1 for 3 with a home run.
�The Indians did not have a spring training game yesterday.� They will be playing against the Norfolk Tides this afternoon.�

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Jesse Chavez

Another pitcher who could be returning to the Indy Indians for 2007:
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JESSE CHAVEZ
relief pitcher
born:� 8/21/1983� in Victorville, California
Ht: 6′ 1″��� Wt: 160 lb.
B: Right���� T: Right
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Chavez was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2001, but elected not to sign at that point.� After one year at Riverside�Community College, he was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2002 draft, and signed with them.� He worked his way up through the Rangers’ minor league system, with stops in Spokane (Low A)�in 2003, and Clinton (A) in 2004.��Over those two�seasons, he started in 30 of�his 44�appearances.��He split 2005 between Bakersfield (High A) and Frisco (AA), appearing in 42 games between the two clubs, and pitching 81.1 innings over the season, all in relief.� He had a 4.65 ERA, giving up 87 hits, walking 34, with 58 strikeouts.�
Chavez returned to Frisco to begin the 2006 season.� In 59.0 innings, all in relief, he struck out 70 and had a 4.42 ERA with 2 wins and 5 losses.� He was promoted to Oklahoma (AAA) and in his first and only game with the Red Hawks on July 29th, he pitched 2 innings, giving up 3 hits, one earned run, and striking out three.� Two days later, at the trading deadline, Chavez was traded to the Pirates’ organization in exchange for RHP Kip Wells.� Chavez reported to Indy, where he finished the season.� He pitched in relief in 12 games for the Indians.� In 17 innings, he gave up 18 hits, 9 walks, and struck out 15, for a 4.24 ERA, two wins and one loss.� He spent the fall of 2006 with the Grand Canyon Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, where he performed quite well.� He pitched 14 innings in relief, giving up only 6 hits and 3 walks, with 11 strikeouts, for a 0.64 ERA, 3 wins and 4 saves with no losses.� Opposing players were able to hit only .122 AVG against him.
Chavez has been a non-roster invitee to the Pirates’ spring training camp.� He has seen action in 4 Grapefruit League “A” games, pitching an inning each time.� He’s given up 7 hits and 2 earned runs, with 3 walks and 2 strikeouts.� Unless he has been doing significantly better in the “B” games, this isn’t likely to keep him with the major league club.� Look for him to return to Indy for the start of the 2007 season, as a key member of Trent Jewett’s bullpen.
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OTHER NOTES –
The Indians put up 10 hits but only scored 2 runs, as they lost their first Spring Training AAA game to the Louisville Bats, 8 – 3.� The Indians’ outfielders scored first, on a single by LF Nyjer Morgan, a triple by CF Rajai Davis, and a ground out RBI by RF Adam Boeve.� Morgan hit 4 singles in the game, and SS Javier Guzman went 2 for 3 with a home run.� Louisville’s Earl Snyder and Chris Dickerson let the Bats’ scoring with a home run each.� Indians’ pitcher Felipe Garcia was the losing pitcher.
Remember that the rosters have in no way been set at this point — so just because a player appears in one of these AAA-level spring training games, does not necessarily mean that he has been assigned to the Indians’ roster.
Go Tribe!

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Stat Rats #2 — Answers

How did you do?
For each of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2006:
1. Which pitcher had the lowest ERA?
AAA-Indy — Matt Whiteside� 1.69 ERA (26.2� IP); second- Scott Strickland� 2.09 ERA (73.1 IP)
AA-Altoona — Josh Sharpless �0.86 ERA (21.0 IP); second – Shane Youman �1.51 (95.1 IP)
A-Lynchburg — Derrik Moeves� 3.16 ERA (25.2 IP); second – Wardell Starling� 3.18 ERA (73.2 IP)
A- Hickory — Derek Drage �0.72 ERA (25 IP); second -�David Davidson� 1.93 ERA (56 IP)
A/SS– Williamsport (last year’s affiliate) — Jason Herman� 2.00 ERA (27 IP); second – Patrick Bresnahan� 2.25 ERA (68 IP)
GCL– Yoffri Martinez� 1.32 (27 IP); second – Matthew McCullen� 2.05 (22 IP)
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2. Which pitcher had the most strikeouts?
AAA-Indy — Marty McLeary� 115; second – Tom Gorzelanny� 94
AA-Altoona — Jorge Vasquez� and Micheal Connolly, both with 87
A-Lynchburg — Kyle Bloom� 108; second – Derek Hankins� 70
A- Hickory — Todd Redmond� 148; second – David Davidson� 72
A/SS-Williamsport — Patrick Bresnahan�and Henry Cabrera, both with 59
GCL — Dionis Rodriguez� 41; second – Eric Ridener� 34
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3. Which batter had the most strikeouts?
AAA-Indy� — Yurendell de Caster 100; second – J.J. Furmaniak� 85
AA-Altoona — Simon Pond� 121; second – Ray Sadler 88
A-Lynchburg — Pedro Powell� 87; second – Vince Rooi��83
A-Hickory — Steve Lerud� 146; second – Brad Corley� 109
A/SS-Williamsport — Alexander Presley� 55; second – Miles Durham� 49
GCL — Yonelvy Canal� 47; second – Victor Igsema� 34
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OTHER NOTES –
The Pirates were having a hit-o-rama today, with a total of 31 hits in the two games against Cincinnati.� Among those getting a piece of the action were:� Yurendell de Caster 2 for 2, with a double; Chris Truby 1 for 1; Michael Ryan 3 for 5, with a double; Don Kelly 2 for 3, with a double; Andrew McCutchen 2 for 5; Brian Bixler 2 for 5.� In the second game, Sean Burnett pitched 4 innings, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts, but no runs.
Three more weeks until the Indians’ Opening Day!
Go Tribe!

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Stat Rats #2

Are you ready for more stat trivia?� Think back to the 2006 season….
For each of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2006:
1. Which pitcher had the lowest ERA? (based on at least 20 – 25 innings pitched)
2. Which pitcher had the most strikeouts?
3. Which batter had the most strikeouts?
Answers later……
Go Tribe!

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Yurendell de Caster, Mr. Versatility

YURENDELL DE CASTER
infield – outfield
born:� 9/26/1979� in �Curacao, Netherlands Antilles�
�Ht: 6′ 1″��� Wt: 205 lb���������� B: Right��� T: Right
Yurendell de Caster has an unusual name and comes from an unusual place.� His first name is pronounced “SHUR – en – dell” and he says he doesn’t know exactly why his mom chose that name.� His two sisters also have names starting with “Yur-” and are pronounced like “Shur-”.� He was born in Curaco, in the Netherlands Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela.� Indy Indians’ hitting coach Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens is also Curacaoan.� Because the Netherlands Antilles are part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, Curacaoans are Dutch Nationals — and so de Caster was eligible to play for the Netherlands baseball team in the 2004 Olympics and in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.� Like most Curacaoans, de Caster speaks fluent English, Dutch, Spanish, and the local language, Papiamento.�
De Caster was initially signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1996, as a 16-year-old amateur free agent.� He played in the Devil Rays’ system through the 2000 season.� The Pirates selected de Caster in the 2000 Minor League Rule 5 Draft.� He spent most of 2001 with Hickory, and the rest of 2001 plus 2002 and 2003 with Lynchburg.� In his time in Lynchburg, he hit .235 AVG, with 28 HR and 122 RBI.� He advanced to Altoona for the 2004 season, where his hitting improved to a .270 AVG with 15 HR and 42 RBI.� He took most of the month of August away from the Curve in order to participate in the Olympics.�
De Caster spent both the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Indianapolis Indians, and both years he was named the team’s Most Versatile Player.� He moves easily between first, second, and third bases, and left and right field, and plays all these positions well.� In both seasons, he led the team in number of games played.� He was second and third (in respective seasons) in RBI, second and first in hits, and first and second in doubles.� Over the two years, he hit for a .276 AVG, with 53 doubles, 22 HR,�and 112 RBI.��He made his MLB debut in May 2006, when he�was called up to the Pirates for a few days to fill in for Jose Bautista who was on the bereavement list.� He played in two more games for the Pirates in another short stint in�June, but was unable to record a hit.� De Caster has played for Oriente in the Venezuelan Winter League for the past two winter seasons, and�was named the Winter Player of the Year for 2005, when he hit .325 AVG with 17 HR and�47 RBI.
�De Caster�is a non-roster invitee to the Pirates’�spring training camp.� He has made 11 appearances in Grapefruit League games,�as usual playing several different postions.� He has hit .333 AVG, with one RBI.� Manager Jim Tracy is known to value players who�are versatile enough to play�several postions.� This could be key for�de Caster.� He is most likely to start the 2007 season in Indianapolis, where he is a fan favorite — the longest lines on Autograph Night are always at his table — but with his ability to play all over the field could earn him another trip to Pittsburgh.�
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OTHER NOTES — The Indy Indians announced today a “guarantee” of warm weather for their home opener on April 5th.� If the game-time temperature at 2 pm on Thursday April 5th is not 60 degrees or above, then everyone in attendance will receive a free ticket to another Indians’ home game in April.� Hmmm …. first week of April in Central Indiana….. well, the temps could be over 60…. but they could just as easily be in the 30′s.� Or anywhere in between.�
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Go Tribe!

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