Nice Start For Claggett, Key Doubles For Ciriaco and Noris

MLB’s winter meetings begin tomorrow (Monday).  Stay tuned for news of trades, moves, shifts, Rule 5 draft, etc.  
A few of Sunday’s winter league games with Pirates’ players and friends participating:

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Cardenales de Lara  3,  Bravos de Margarita 1  –  Anthony Claggett
pitched 4 innings in his start for Los Bravos, and allowed one unearned run on a hit and a walk in the night-cap of a double-header.  The run came in the bottom of the 1st, when a single and a throwing error at third base put the lead-off runner on second base.  A sacrifice bunt and an RBI ground out brought in the unearned run.  After a walk, Claggett retired 10 of the 11 remaining batters he faced — he hit one batter with a pitch.  Los Bravos scored their run in the top of the 1st, on a double, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly.  Claggett left the game with the score tied.  He was relieved by Edgar Martinez, who began the bottom of the 5th by allowing a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a 2-run homer, which gave Lara the win.  

Aguilas de Zulia  6,  Tigres de Aragua  1  –  SS Ronny Cedeno and CF Lastings Milledge each had a single in the 8th inning, and Milledge also walked in the 4th, but neither came around to score in Los Tigres’ loss.  Aragua’s only run was scored in the top of the 9th, on a triple and an RBI single.  Zulia scored their 6 runs on 13 hits, scattered over 5 of their 8 at-bats.  C Raul Chavez, C Miguel Perez, and pinch-hitter Jorge Cortes were all hitless for Los Tigres.  

Leones del Caracas   8,  Navegantes del Magallanes  4  –  Corey Hamman pitched a scoreless inning for Los  Navegantes in their loss.  Caracas had already scored 2 runs in each of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings, and Los Navegantes had scored a pair of runs on a 2-run homer in the 4th and one more run in the 7th on a double, a single, and an RBI ground out.  The first batter in the top of the 8th was hit by a pitch, and Hamman entered the game with that runner on first base.  He gave up a walk but retired three batters to get out of the inning without allowing a run to score.  Los Navegantes scored one more run in the bottom of the 9th on a hit batter and two singles, but it wasn’t enough.

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Claggett Wins Again; Singh Reappears

A few signing notes for some former Pirates — LHP Phil Dumatrait has signed a minor league contract with the Twins, and LHP Neal Cotts has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.  OF Rajai Davis was traded from the A’s to the Blue Jays.  

Sunday’s winter league action involving a few Pirates’ players and friends:

DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Aguilas Cibaenas  12,  Tigres del Licey  1 —  
A 6-run 1st inning put the game into Los Aguilas’ pocket right from the start.  Starling Marte came into the game in the 5th inning as a pinch runner (he didn’t score), then remained in the game in left field.  He flied out in the 7th, then hit an RBI single in the 8th.  Denny Bautista was one of the few Licey pitchers who held Los Aguilas scoreless, as he threw a perfect top of the 9th for Los Tigres.  Indy area native Jake Fox went 0-for-4 for Los Tigres.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tiburones de La Guaira  6,  Tigres de Aragua  2 —  
Los Tiburones scored 5 runs over the first 3 innings, and Los Tigres could only manage 2 runs.  In the top of the 1st, SS Ronny Cedeno followed a lead-off single with a sacrifice bunt, then another single brought in the first Aragua run.  Their second run came in the 6th inning, when Cedeno led off with a double into left field, and a few minutes later, 1B Hector Gimenez doubled into right field, bringing in Cedeno.  C Miguel Perez came in as a defensive replacement behind the plate, but flied out in his only plate appearance.  CF Jorge Cortes went 0-for-3 with a walk.  Former Pirate pitcher Chris Hernandez pitched the top of the 9th for La Guaira.  He gave up a walk, but then got Cortes to bounce into a double play to end the game.  

Cardenales de Lara  7,  Navegantes del Magallanes  2  –  Los Navegantes were also only able to put up 2 runs, one in the 2nd, and one in the 7th.  SS Argenis Diaz contributed one of Los Navegantes’ 5 hits, but he did not score.  Corey Hamman pitched the 7th inning for Magallanes, and he gave up a solo home run.

Bravos de Margarita  2,  Aguilas de Zulia  1 —  Anthony Claggett won his second game in two days for Los Bravos, this time with one scoreless inning of work (it was 1.1 innings yesterday).  Los Bravos scored one run in the bottom of the 4th on a double, a single, and a grounder.  Los Aguilas tied the score in the top of the 6th, also with a single and a double.  Claggett took the mound to begin the 7th.  He gave up a lead-off single, then retired the next three batters he faced.  In the bottom of the inning, Los Bravos scored the go-ahead run on a single, a bunt, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly.  That made Claggett the pitcher of record.  Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect 9th inning for Margarita to collect his 10th save of the season.  

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Claggett Takes A Loss; Homers For Cedeno And Gimenez

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  
Everyone has probably seen that Zach Duke has been traded to Arizona for a player to be named later.
Also, former Pirate Bryan Bullington, who was removed from the Kansas City Royals’ 40-man roster last week, was released by the Royals yesterday.  Then Bullington signed a contract to play in Japan for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp for 2011.

Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in the winter leagues on Wednesday….. 

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tiburones de La Guaira  4,  Bravos de Margarita  1  (Game 1)  –  
This was supposed to be a 7-inning game, but the score was still tied at 1-1 after 7.  A bases-loaded walk forced in Los Bravos’ run in the bottom of the 1st.  Los Tiburones tied the score with a run on a single, a ground out, and another single in the 3rd.  Anthony Claggett had pitched a scoreless 7th inning — he gave up a single, but then picked the base runner off first.  But he started the top of the 8th with a single and a sacrifice bunt, and was then relieved.  The next pitcher loaded the bases with a pair of walks, then he was relieved too.  Two singles and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for Los Tiburones, with the first one charged to Claggett, making him responsible for the loss.  Margarita won the second game 3-0, holding Los Tiburones to just 3 hits in the 7-inning game.  Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario allowed one of the hits along with a walk in the 7th inning, earning his 8th save.

Tigres de Aragua  7,  Navegantes del Magallanes  5  –  Both SS Ronny Cedeno and 1B Hector Gimenez hit 2-run homers for Los Tigres in this win.  Gimenez’s blast got Aragua going in their 4-run 1st inning, and Cedeno’s homer made the score 6-1 in the 2nd inning.  Gimenez also doubled in the game.  CF Jorge Cortes walked and scored for Los Tigres, and C Raul Chavez was 0-for-3 at the plate.  

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Venezuelan League Round-Up

A quick look at what some of the Pirates’ players and friends were up to in the Venezuelan League recently:

Anthony Claggett joined Los Bravos de Margarita, and has made two relief appearances.  On the 17th, he pitched one inning, giving up only a 2-out double, then finishing the inning with a groundout.  On the 21st, Claggett pitched 2 innings and allowed only a single to former Indy Indian Jorge Cortes, who he then erased in a double play.  
Los Tigres de Aragua got two hits each from1B Hector Gimenez, SS Ronny Cedeno, and C Raul Chavez on the 17th.  Unfortunately their only run in the game was Gimenez’s solo home run.  Brian Bass made the start for Los Tigres on the 19th.  He pitched 5 innings and gave up 4 runs — one run on a pair of singles and his own throwing error in the 1st inning, and 3 runs on a homer then two walks and 3 singles in the 3rd.  The score was tied when Bass left the game.  Lastings Milledge contributed a 2-run homer for Los Tigres in the 1st.  Aragua won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off RBI single by Cortes.  
Also on the 19th, Sean Gallagher suffered his third loss of the season for Los Navegantes.  He pitched 4 innings against Los Aguilas del Zulia and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits.  In the 3rd inning, he allowed a 2-run homer, then in the 4th, Gallagher gave up 2 more runs on a walk and 3 singles. 
Justin Thomas earned the win (his first in Venezuela) for Los Bravos de Margarita on Saturday the 20th.  He was first charged with a blown save when he gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th to Los Navegantes del Magallanes.  But he was then credited with the win when Margarita hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 7th.  Corey Hamman also was charged with a blown save for Magallanes in that same game, when he faced 3 Margarita batters in the 5th inning and gave up a homer, a single, and a double.  Jean Machi pitched the top of the 9th for Magallanes and got three ground outs.  

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Van Every Homers As Indians Lose Finale

Louisville Bats� 6,� Indianapolis Indians 3 ..�� (box)

The Indianapolis Indians wrapped up the 2010 season at Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky this afternoon with a loss to the Bats.� The Tribe finished the season just below .500 with a 71-73 record, and they finished the season series against Louisville with the Bats having a 12-10 game advantage.� The Bats’ win, combined with Columbus’ 5-2 loss to Toledo, gives the Bats the International League Western Division title.� The Clippers had been in first place in the Western Division for most of the season, but Louisville had a second-half surge and slipped up behind the Clippers for the win at the finish line.� The Clippers will be the Wild Card team in the International League Playoffs, which begin on Wednesday.

NOTES:

The Indians begin the 2011 season on Thursday April 7th, at home at Victory Field, against the Columbus Clippers.� That’s just 7 months from tomorrow, and 213 days away.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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