First Pitch: Is Gregory Polanco’s Move to Right Field a Sign?
Aug25

First Pitch: Is Gregory Polanco’s Move to Right Field a Sign?

The Pittsburgh Pirates can’t seem to catch a break offensively this year. All year the outfield has had one hole: right field. You might not have noticed this, but after standing pat at the trade deadline, the Pirates have seen Jose Tabata hit for a .298/.365/.491 line in 57 at-bats. That’s a small sample size, and Tabata has been known to have streaky performances where he will go on hot streaks, then fail to sustain that...

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First Pitch: Charlie Morton Should Be the Number Three Playoff Starter
Aug24

First Pitch: Charlie Morton Should Be the Number Three Playoff Starter

It’s hard to believe that it was only about three weeks ago that I was arguing for Charlie Morton to stay in the rotation. At the time, Morton was coming off a horrible start where he gave up five runs on ten hits in six innings, sending the Pirates to a brutal loss against St. Louis. That outing raised his ERA to a 4.07 mark, which for some reason was completely unacceptable for some Pirates fans. Morton bounced back in his...

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First Pitch: Why Don’t Pitchers Speak Up Sooner About Injuries?
Aug23

First Pitch: Why Don’t Pitchers Speak Up Sooner About Injuries?

Earlier today I spoke with James McDonald at Pirate City, talking about his injury this year and his rehab work. McDonald mentioned that he had trouble getting his arm loose early in the year, and felt “constricted”. He originally thought it was dead arm, then told the Pirates when the condition got worse. Later this evening, it was announced that Wandy Rodriguez would visit Dr. James Andrews after experiencing pain during...

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First Pitch: Pirates’ Hitting will Become a Playoff Problem If Not Addressed
Aug22

First Pitch: Pirates’ Hitting will Become a Playoff Problem If Not Addressed

SAN FRANCISCO — If you are in my age group or are a frequent visitor of a service called The Internet, you know about “First-World Problems.” (Hi, I’m James Santelli and this is the hackneyed start to my First Pitch column.) Starbucks is no longer serving your favorite frappuccino? First-world problem. New printer not working? First-world problem. Want to watch episodes of Sports Night, but the show is no...

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First Pitch: The Conflicting Reports on Justin Morneau
Aug21

First Pitch: The Conflicting Reports on Justin Morneau

Earlier tonight I started getting “Morneau to the Pirates?” tweets. I had no idea where they were coming from, since none of my other Twitter columns were mentioning Morneau. I did a search and found that Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press had this opinion on Morneau. Pittsburgh Pirates still seem the best bet if the Twins trade Justin Morneau before Aug. 31. — Charley Walters (@Charley_Walters) August 20, 2013...

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First Pitch: The Reason the Pirates Could Be Successful For Many Years
Aug20

First Pitch: The Reason the Pirates Could Be Successful For Many Years

Baseball teams pay ridiculous prices for pitching. The Texas Rangers just traded a top 50 prospect and three Grade B pitching prospects a month ago for two months of Matt Garza. Zack Greinke got $147 M over six years over the off-season. Anibal Sanchez got $80 M for five years, while Edwin Jackson got $52 M for four years. Even a 36-year-old starter like Ryan Dempster landed $13 M a year on the free agent market. The Pirates have...

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