Tony and the Big Four

First came the argument, posed by the Post-Gazette’s “Stats Geek,” Brian O’Neill, that the Pirates have a chance—however slim—of winning a weak NL Central Division in 2007. Charlie from Bucs Dugout didn’t agree, and he made his opinion known. So known, in fact, that Stats Geek found out and published a re-rebuttal, if such a concept exists. (And, for what it’s worth, Charlie fired back...

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Bucs Clip Five

The Pirates trimmed the Spring Training roster by five yesterday. Brian Rogers, a member of the 40 man roster, was sent to AAA. He had whiffed seven in less than four innings of spring work, but had an ERA approaching five. Reassigned to the minor league camp were Jesse Chavez (2.25 ERA in four innings), injured infielder Nick Green, outfielder Chris Aguila (5 for 26 with no XBH) and utility guy Mike Edwards. My money says that...

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Spring Training Update: You're Kidding Me

From and The Star-Ledger: In addition to [closer Armando] Benitez, the Giants are shopping utilityman Mark Sweeney, who could make sense for the Pirates. This should inspire a list of some sort, something along the lines of “Ten signs you don’t know anything about the Pirates.” Last year, as a 36-year-old, Sweeney hit .251/.330/.382 in limited duty on Felipe Alou’s bench. In 2002, he was traded along...

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Nyjer Morgan

A promising prospect on his way up:
born: 7/2/1980��� in San Francisco, California
Ht: 6′ 0″���� Wt: 170 lb��������� B: Left��� T: Left
Nyjer Morgan started�playing baseball around the age of 5, like most little boys in California.� But at age 7 his imagination was captured by the 1988 Olympic hockey competition.� He dreamed of flying on the ice — and learned to skate and play hockey.� He was soon among the best around, and at age 16 he moved to Canada where he was invited to play junior hockey.� He advanced as far as the major junior level, playing mostly in western Canada.� After his daughter was born, though, it became clear that hockey was not going to be a viable way for him to support a family.� He returned to the US, to attend Walla Walla College, and to return to baseball.�
After two seasons with the Walla Walla College team, Morgan was selected by the Pirates in the 2002 draft.� He started his professional baseball career in 2003 in Williamsport, where he hit .343 AVG/.439 OBP, and stole 26 bases.� He was named to the New York – Penn League All-Star Team.� The 2004 season found Morgan in Hickory, where he found more of a challenge.� He hit .255 AVG but struck out more often, while still stealing 55 bases.� Morgan injured his shoulder, requiring surgery, which delayed the start of his 2005 season in Lynchburg.� He was able to play in only 60 games in 2005, though hit .286 AVG and stole 24 bases, and cut back on the strikeouts.�
Morgan began the 2006 season again with Lynchburg, where he hit .303 AVG/.390 OBP�and 22 RBI with 38 stolen bases in 61 games.� He was promoted to Altoona�on June 29th, and played with the Curve until August 27th, when his season ended with a hamstring injury.� In Altoona, he hit .306 AVG/.359 OBP, with 21 strikeouts, including 19 multi-hit games.� He improved his strikeout rate over the season, and did a better job of hitting the ball on the ground, so that he could use his speed to get hits.� He finished second in the Carolina League in stolen bases, and tied for the Curve team lead for stolen bases — despite spending only�part of the season with each team.� He was named to the mid-season Carolina League All-Star team and started the game in center�field.� He played well all over the outfield, starting 37 games in left field, 15 games in center field, and 2 games in right field.� Morgan played winter ball for the Honolulu Sharks of theHawaiian Winter Baseball League.� In 32 games with the Sharks, he hit .294 AVG, and led the league with 25 runs scored, 5 triples, and 20 stolen bases.�
�In November 2006, Morgan was added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster to protect him in the�upcoming Rule 5 Draft.� He reported to the Pirates’ big league camp for�spring training, and appeared in three of the�Pirates’ Grapefruit League games, getting one hit and two RBI in 6 at bats.� On March 12th, he was assigned to the Altoona Curve’s roster.� In three minor league spring training games with the Indy Indians’ squad, Morgan has been outstanding at the plate, with eight hits in ten at bats.� He is slated to start 2007 in Altoona, but expect to see him in Indianapolis later in the season.�
The Indy Indians and the Norfolk Tides played to a tie, each team putting up 8 hits and 2 runs.� The Tides also made 3 errors.� Indians’ CF Nyjer Morgan continued his magic by going 2 for 2 with a stolen base.� 1B Daniel Rios also hit two singles.� The Indians’ runs were scored in the 4th and 8th innings.� In the 4th, 3B Chris Truby scored on an error.� In the 8th, 1B Carlos Ruiz scored on a double steal (one of manager Trent Jewett’s favorite tricks).� The Indians play the Pawtucket Red Sox in Fort Myers on Monday.
The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the New York Yankees 8 to 1.� DH Michael Ryan, 3B Neil Walker, and SS Brian Bixler each got hits.� Shane Youman pitched 1.1 innings, entering the game in relief of Zach Duke.� He gave up one hit and struck out one, and gave up no runs, to preserve his non-existent ERA.
The Pirates sent five players to the minor league camp today:� pitchers Jesse Chavez and Brian Rogers, outfielder Chris Aguila, infielder Nick Green, and utility man Mike Edwards.� Edwards,�Chavez,�and Rogers played for the Indians for part of the 2006 season.
Go Tribe!

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Spring Training Game 21: Bucs/Phils Thread

Game over.  Bucs win, 5-1, and Snell shines.  Read about it in the P-G here. —- You can follow’s live box score here. If you’re reading the live thread after the fact, you’ll want to start from the bottom and work your way to the top. 2:18: Rowand pops up to Jack to end the inning (and my live blog). Sounds as if Ian was sharp today. Not sure if he’ll go back out for the fifth or not, but it seems...

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Spring Training Update: The State of the 'Pen

In Sunday’s Post-Gazette’s “Spring Scorecard,” Jack Wilson spoke about the Pirates’ lineup: I would think it’s a pretty easy lineup to fill out right now as a manager because of the players we have. Maybe that’s so for the starting nine, Jack, but there’s plenty of room for debate when it comes to the bench and the bullpen. Since I’ve already spent time handicapping some of the...

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