Pirates.com recap here; nothing available at the P-G yet. Cincinnati 9, Pirates 8. Tom Gorzelanny, Marty McLeary, Josh Shortslef and John Grabow threw for the Bucs, and all struggled. No walks for Tom this time out, but he did allow six hits in three innings. To his credit, he also struck out four. Jason Bay finally made an appearance in left field, so it’s safe to assume that his knee’s okay. He went 1 for 3 at the plate...
A pitcher who�had a short taste of the Pirates’ at the end of last season….
born: 10/11/1979� in New Iberia, Louisiana
ht: 6′ 4″���� wt: 220 lb
B: Left���� T: Left
Shane Youman (pronounced YOU-min) was first selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1997 draft, but elected not to sign.� Instead, he went to college at Louisiana State University, and played with the LSU Tigers in the 2000 College World Series.� In 2001 he was drafted again, this time by the Pirates.� In his first three years in the Pirates’ minor league system, in Williamsport, Hickory, and Lynchburg, Youman was almost exclusively a relief pitcher, making only one start, but earning 19 saves, with 12 of those coming at Hickory in 2003.� In 2005 with Altoona, he was also primarily a reliever, earning a 4.46 ERA in 39 relief appearances.� He also started 5 games towards the end of the season, winning 4 of the games (no losses) with a 2.54 ERA.� He finished the year with 101.0 innings pitched, 3.92 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 48 walks, and 77� strikeouts.
Youman started the 2006 season again in the Altoona bullpen.� After 7 outings, he had pitched 22.2 innings, with a 1.59 ERA, 3 walks, and 10 strikeouts.� He was called up to Indianapolis on May 11th, to make a spot appearance in relief.� He pitched two innings and gave up 4 runs.� He returned to Altoona and made his first start with�the Curve on May 16th.� He made a total of 11 starts for the rest of his time with Altoona, and won his last 7 decisions, for a record of 7 wins and 2 losses.� He was named to the Eastern League’s Southern Division All-Star team, and was the starting pitcher for the Southern Division.� He pitched the first inning of the All-Star game, retiring the side in order, including two strikeouts.���Youman returned to Indianapolis on July 31st, where he made 7 more appearances, all starts.� He finished with 4 wins and no losses, and a 4.46 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 42.1 innings, with 10 walks and 19 strikeouts.
�Youman was promoted to the Pirates at the end of Indianapolis’s season, and made his MLB debut on Sept 10th.� He pitched five shutout innings, scattering three hits (one was a double) and three walks.� In the bottom of the 6th, though, he started off the inning by giving up a four-pitch walk followed by two singles and a sacrifice fly, and he was removed.� A subsequent single meant that Youman was charged with three earned runs and the loss.� He made two more starts and two relief appearances for the Pirates, finishing with no wins and 2 losses, for a 2.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 21.2 innings, with 10 walks and 5 strikeouts.� He also hit a bit: 3 hits in 7 AB’s, for a .429 AVG, with one RBI.� Youman also pitched for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League, but only appeared in two games, both starts and both for losses, giving up 8 earned runs in only 3 innings.�
In spring training so far, Youman has appeared�in two Grapefruit League games for�the Pirates.� He has pitched 5 innings and given up 4 hits but no earned�runs, with two strikeouts.� He is still very much in contention for a spot on the Pirates’ Opening Day roster.� It could be either as a starter or a reliever –and Youman doesn’t care, as long as he’s there.� If not, then he’ll be back at Indianapolis, but probably not for long.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Youman yesterday:� http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07069/768354-63.stm�.���Apparently Youman can cook too!
Bucs lost to the Evil Empire today, 5-3, at McKechnie Field. Pirates.com has a recap here. Dejan’s on vacation from the P-G for a couple of weeks, so their coverage is lagging behind a bit. Paul Maholm got the start and went three innings. Not brilliant work, but acceptable for his first true competition of the spring (although he did pitch in a shortened “B” game against Cincinnati last week). Ian Snell, Josh...
Entering Spring Training, I thought these issues were important. Let’s get a status report after ten official games (and one slaughtering of the Manatee Lancers). 1. Can Adam LaRoche hit left-handed pitching? Like it or not, a manager bound for Cooperstown thought it best to sit Adam down against southpaws for the majority of 2006. The Pirates acquired Lefty McThump to be their everyday first baseman; if he struggles, though, it...
A look at a possible middle infielder for the Indianapolis Indians….
born: 10/22/82��� in Sandusky, Ohio
Ht: 6′ 1″�� Wt: 190 lb
B: Right���� T: Right
Bixler was drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2004 draft.� He got off to a slower start than expected in Williamsport in 2004 and in Hickory in 2005.� His batting average was decent, .276 and .281 respectively, and he stole a 21 bases with Hickory, but he showed poor discipline at the plate, averaging about one strikeout per game in both years.� His fielding was also a problem, committing 33 errors at Hickory.
Things began to turn around in 2006 for Bixler.� He began the season at Lynchburg, where he hit .303 AVG with 5 HR’s and 33 RBI, and he stole 18 bases in 73 games.� He drew more walks and struck out a bit less.� He continued to make progress with the glove too, and he was named to both the mid-season and post-season Carolina League All-Star teams.� In mid-season, Bixler was promoted to Altoona.� There he continued to hit well, for a .301 AVG, with 3 HR’s and 19�RBI,�and he stole 6 bases.��He had a particularly strong August, hitting .353 with 10 doubles and one home run.� He continued to improve in the field and in his patience at the plate.� Bixler played winter ball in the Hawaiian Winter League, where he appeared in 17 games for the Honolulu Sharks.� He hit for a .304 AVG and stole 2 bases.�
Bixler was invited to Pirates’ spring training as a non-roster invitee.� So far, he has appeared in 4 Grapefruit League games,�and�hit .500, including a triple and a home run, in 12 AB’s.� Pirates’ director of player development, Brian Graham, has called Bixler “the most improved player in the system”.� He continues to hit, though not with a lot of power.� His plate discipline has improved, as has his fielding.� He appears to be heading for Indianapolis to begin the 2007 season, where he should be expected to work on plate discipline and fielding, and continue to hit well and steal bases.�
I’ll be here throughout the day, off and on, providing updates of the black and gold baseball. Feel free to leave a few comments with your insight and/or questions, and I’ll do my best to address everything in a timely fashion. Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves, 1:05 p.m. EST Zach Duke (and Masumi Kuwata) vs. Chuck James. Gameday Audio webcast and FM NewsTalk 104.7 feeds are available.Bucs trail 1-0 in the bottom of...