Matt Diaz On Board; Ascanio And Tabata Reappear

Day Three of the Winter Meetings…the Rule 5 Draft will be tomorrow (Thursday)
Today, the Pirates added another player to their 40-man roster.  Matt Diaz is an outfielder who was drafted by the Rays in the 17th round of the 1999 draft.  He reached the major league level for the first time in 2003, but played in only 14 games for the Rays over the 2003 and 2004 seasons, and went 5-for-30 at the plate.  The Oregon native was released by the Rays in February 2005 and a few days later was claimed off waivers by the Orioles, then signed by the Royals the next day.  His 2005 season was shortened by injury, but he did hit .281 in 34 games for the Royals.  The Royals traded Diaz to the Braves after the 2005 season, and he remained in their organization for the next 5 years.  Diaz played full-time in 2006 and 2007, but a left knee injury prevented him from playing for most of the 2008 season.  He was back in full swing in 2009, when he hit .313 with 13 homers and 58 RBI for the Braves.  An infected thumb limited Diaz again in 2010.  He was able to play in 84 games for the Braves, and hit .250, with 7 homers and 31 RBI.  Diaz will turn 33 in early March.  He’s expected to play in right field for the Pirates.

Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Wednesday’s winter league action:
VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Leones del Caracas  7,  Navegantes del Magallanes  0  –  Corey Hamman
had a better outing tonight than he did yesterday.  He pitched 2 innings, taking the mound with a runner on second and no outs in the 7th.  Hamman gave up a single and a sacrifice fly, to bring in one run (charged to the previous pitcher), then another single and a double play.  In the 8th, Hamman worked around a single to keep Los Leones from scoring.  Jose Ascanio pitched his first competitive inning since recovering from injury.  He gave up a double to the first batter he faced, then retired the next three batters.  Caracas’s 5-run 5th inning was all the firepower they needed.

Tiburones de La Guaira  4,  Caribes de Anzoategui  3  –  Jose Tabata made his Venezuelan debut, OK’ed by the Pirates, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks.  Los Caribes scored 2 runs in the 4th and another in the 5th, to take a 3-1 lead. Tabata’s RBI single drove in the run in the 5th.   But Los Tiburones bit back with a 3-run 8th inning for the win.  

Bravos de Margarita  7,  Cardenales de Lara  3  –  A 5-run rally in the bottom of the 1st inning, including a grand slam, gave Los Bravos a lead they would not give up.  Starter Yusmeiro Petit pitched 7 innings for Los Bravos, allowing one run.  He was relieved to begin the 8th inning, by Bobby Livingston (who pitched in one game for the Indy Indians in 2009.  Livingston gave up 2 runs on two singles and a double, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett.  Claggett ended the inning with a strikeout, then retired the side in the 9th.  

Aguilas de Zulia  2,  Tigres de Aragua  1  –  SS Ronny Cedeno scored Los Tigres’ only run in the bottom of the 1st.  After a double, Cedeno reached base on a fielder’s choice, then stole second base, and scored on an RBI single.  Back-to-back home runs in the top of the 4th gave Zulia the lead in the 4th inning.  Cedeno was hitless in his other 3 plate appearances.  1B Hector Gimenez singled in the 4th, when Los Tigres loaded the bases, but did not score.  LF Lastings Milledge went 0-for-4, and C Raul Chavez went 0-for-2 for Los Tigres.  

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