I’m somewhat optimistic about the 2007 Pirates to be respectable. But optimism for me is a birth defect. I can’t do anything about it. So, I read with interest Bob Smizik’s recent column comparing the 2007 Pirates with the 1987 Pirates. That 1987 club went on to win 80 games and give people hope after some pretty miserable seasons. I’m going to break one of my rules and pick apart the work of a newspaper...
Rejoining the�Indians yesterday…..�
born: 10/26/1974 in Kettering, Ohio
Ht: 6′ 3″��� Wt: 225 lb������� B: Right��� T: Right
Cincinnati Reds’ radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman reported on the air this week that Marty McLeary introduced himself to Brennaman recently, and related that his parents, who lived in Ohio and were Reds’ fans, named him “Marty” after Mr. Brennaman.� Mr. and Mrs. McLeary have probably become fans of a few other teams in the past several years, as their son has moved around in baseball.� Marty McLeary was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 1997 draft.��He began playing professionally in Lowell (A- ) in 1997, in Michigan (A) in 1998, and Augusta (A) and Sarasota (A+ ) in 1999.� At the end of 1999, McLeary was taken from the Red Sox by the Montreal Expos in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft — and was later returned to the Red Sox in the spring of 2000.� He continued to play in�the Red Sox system, and spent all of 2000 with Trenton (AA), where he went 2 – 9 and had a 4.56 ERA.��He started�the 2001 season�back with Trenton,�but this time posted�a 3.46 ERA and a 9 – 6 record with 2 saves in 35 appearances, all in relief.� He�was named to the Double A All-Star game, and then was promoted to Pawtucket (AAA) on July 13th.� He finished the remainder of the season with the PawSox, ending with a 3.00 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 30 innings, again in relief.� He started the 2002 season in extended spring training, but then joined Trenton, where he pitched 16.2 relief innings with a 4.86 ERA.� He was again promoted to the PawSox in July, but struggled, going 2 – 9, and posting a 7.32 ERA over 35.2 innings (one start), with 23 walks.�
McLeary was released by the Red Sox in April 2003, but signed at the end of April as a free agent with the Florida Marlins.� He split the year between Carolina (AA) and Albuquerque (AAA), with a 1 – 1 record at both levels.� He pitched in 11 games for Carolina (2 starts) and had a 1.80 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 30 innings.� At AAA, he had a 4.32 ERA in 20 games (one start).� In April 2004, the Marlins traded McLeary to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Bryan Gaal.� He started 2004 with Portland (AAA), and did well there, posting a 5 – 4 record with 13 saves in 44 games (7 starts), with a 2.99 ERA, and 81 strikeouts in 84.1 innings.� He was promoted to San Diego and made his MLB debut on August 22, 2004.� He pitched in three games for the Padres, for a total of 3.2 innings, striking out 4, but allowing a total of 6 runs.� He again signed with San Diego for 2005 as a free agent, and spent the entire season with Portland.� He split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, and had a career high number of innings pitched, with 110.� Of his 41 appearances, 12 were starts.� He finished the season with a 4.75 ERA and 104 strikeouts.
McLeary signed as a free agent with the Pirates for the 2006 season.� He joined the Indianapolis Indians, where he split his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen.� In his first six relief appearances, he did not allow a run to score.� He got two starts in May, losing both, before returning to the bullpen for another month.� From mid-June until the end of August, he had three relief appearances and ten starts.� On July 9th, he struck out his season-best 11 batters in 6.1 innings.� By the end of his time with the Indians, he had pitched 104 innings in 35 appearances, posting a 3 – 4 record with 2 saves.� He had a 2.68 ERA, with 115 strikeouts and only 33 walks.��On August 28th, McLeary was recalled to the Pirates.� He had 5 appearances with the Pirates, two starts and three in relief.� In his second start, against Cincinnati, he pitched 7 scoreless innings.� He pitched a total of 17.2 innings for Pittsburgh, giving up 4 earned runs and striking out 8.
McLeary is on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, and reported to the major league camp for spring training.� He was considered for either a starting role or a spot in the bullpen.� He pitched in 7 of the Pirates’ spring training games, going a total of 12 innings and giving up 10 earned runs while striking out 7 batters.��McLeary was optioned to the Indians yesterday, though the Pirates’ staff made it clear that this is not necessarily a permanent assignment, and it is certainly possible that he could be recalled later in the season.�
The Pirates reassigned relief pitcher Dan Kolb to minor league camp yesterday.� However, due to stipulations in his contract, Kolb has the right to shop around to see if any other major league team is interested in him.� If there is no other interest, then he would stay in the Pirates organization and pitch in Indianapolis.
The Pirates also released utility infielder Jose Hernandez and outfielder Luis Matos today.� Like Kolb, Hernandez and Matos were invited to the Pirates’ minor league camp if they find no one else is interested in their services.
Dejan dropped the ax this morning: Dan Kolb will not make the Pirates’ bullpen. Management informed him late last night that it would not place him on the 25-man roster by the midnight deadline stipulated in his minor-league contract, and Kolb will exercise his right in that contract to declare free agency today. And the makeup of the bullpen becomes a bit more apparent: [Kolb's] elimination apparently clears the way for two...
Yesterday, the Reds used back-to-back homers by Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion to beat Zach Duke and the Pirates, 6-4. Today, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell went back-to-back off Shawn Chacon. If you’re a Post-Gazette subscriber, you know that the pre-season coverage is coming on full blast from now until Monday. For you online readers, links to Dejan and co.’s most recent work: Five reasons the Bucs could win … and...
This is the 27th edition of Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable, a bi-weekly collaboration of Pirates writers and thinkers from around the Internet. If youd like to submit a question to our panel, or if youre interested in learning more about participating, e-mail the moderator here. Question #1: If you were Dave Littlefield, what would you have done with Jose Castillo? Nicolas from “82″: If I were GM, I would have done...
A back-up catcher from Panama:
born: 12/28/1972� in Chiriqui, Panama
Ht: 5′ 10″�� Wt: 200 lb���������� B: Right��� T: Right
Einar Diaz (pronounced ay-NAR) brings major league catching experience to the Indians.� He was first signed by the Cleveland Indians as an undrafted free agent in 1990.� He began his pro career in the Dominican Summer League (Rookie), and moved up through the Cleveland minor league system, making stops in Burlington (Rookie), Columbus SC (A), Kingston (A+ ), Akron (AA), and Buffalo (AAA).� He was primarily catching, though he also played a few games at third base.� He made his MLB debut on Sept 9, 1996, as a back up for Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.� During 1997 and 1998, he played mostly in Buffalo, where he hit .256 AVG with 31 RBI in 1997, and .313 AVG with 63 RBI in 1998.� He played in 5 games with Cleveland in 1997, getting one hit in 7 AB’s, and in 1998 he got into 17 games with Cleveland, hitting .229 AVG with 9 RBI.� In 1999, Sandy Alomar Jr. was injured and Diaz became the starting catcher.�� He played in 119 games for Cleveland, hitting .281 AVG, with 3 HR and 32 RBI.� In 2000, he didn’t play in as many games, but still hit .272 AVG with 25 RBI.� For the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Diaz was again the primary catcher for Cleveland.� In 2001, he hit .277 AVG for the regular season,�but went 5 for 16 with 2 RBI in the division playoffs.� In 2002, his average slid to .206.�
At the end of 2002, Diaz was traded from Cleveland to the Texas Rangers along with Ryan Drese in exchange for Aaron Myette and Travis Hafner.� He�platooned at�catcher along with Rod Barajas�for the Rangers in 2003, and hit .257 AVG with 4 HR and 35 RBI.� He also had only 4 passed balls, fewer than in the previous two years with Cleveland.� At the end of spring training in 2004, Diaz was traded by the Rangers, along with Justin Echols, to the Montreal Expos, for Josh McKinley and Chris Young.� Diaz was back up catcher and appeared in 55 games with the Expos, and hit only .223 AVG with 11 RBI.� He became a free agent at the end of the season, and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2005.� He batted .208 AVG with 17 RBI while backing up catcher Yadier Molina and also played three games at first base.�
Diaz started the 2006 season back with the Cleveland Indians’ organization, assigned to Buffalo (AAA).� In 64 games with Buffalo, he hit .218 and hit 29 RBI.� He also pitched in one game.� On June 4th, Buffalo and Durham played�a double header in which both games were supposed to go 7 innings.� In the first game, which did go seven innings, Buffalo used three pitchers.� In the second game,�Buffalo tied it up at 2 – 2 in the bottom of the 4th inning — and neither team scored for the next 10 innings.� By then, Buffalo had used 5 pitchers, and was running out of options, so Diaz was sent in to pitch in the top of the 16th inning.� He got the first two batters out, a fly ball and a pop up, but then gave up a single, a walk, and a single, scoring a run.� When Buffalo couldn’t come back in the bottom of the inning, Diaz was the losing pitcher.�
In August 2006, Diaz’s contract was purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who sent him to Las Vegas (AAA).� He appeared in two games there, getting 3 hits including�2 doubles in�7�AB’s.� He then played in three games for the Dodgers, where he had 2 hits in 3 AB’s.
Diaz was signed as a minor league free agent by the Pirates, and reported to spring training as a non-roster invitee.� He appeared in 12 of the Pirates’ Grapefruit League games, hitting 6 for 15, with 2 RBI and 2 walks.� He�also allowed 6 stolen bases in 6 attempts.� He was assigned to minor league camp on March 27th, and is expected to come to Indianapolis, where he will back up Carlos Maldonado.� Diaz brings a wealth of major league experience and the ability to help teach young pitchers.
In yesterday’s game, the Indy Indians lost to the Louisville Bats 8 – 3.� In minor league spring training games, some odd things are allowed — such as having one player bat in every inning.� Both the Indians and the Bats did this yesterday.� Pirates’ infielder Freddy Sanchez, who needed to make up for missing plate appearances due to a sprained knee,�batted second in eight�innings for the Tribe, going 3 for 8.� The Reds’ Scott Hatteburg went 3 for 5 with a walk in his extra plate appearances.� Sanchez did not run the bases or play defense.� Indians’ Alay Soler pitched 3 innings and gave up 2 runs, one earned, while striking out 4, and took the loss.� The�Indians have an intrasquad game scheduled for today, with Sanchez slated to get in plate appearances and also play in the field.�The Tribe’s�next spring training game is tomorrow, hosting the Louisville Bats in Bradenton.�
Pitcher Marty McLeary has been optioned to Indianapolis.� The Pirates still have to make at least 4 roster moves to get down to the 25 man limit by Sunday.
Only one more week until Opening Day!