Three Hits For Cedeno With Indy; Olson Debuts For Pirates

Iron Pigs  6,  Indians  5

The Indianapolis Indians ended their 4-game spring training winning streak with a loss today to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Pirates’ Ronny Cedeno came to minor league camp to DH in the game and posted 3 hits for the Tribe.  OF Andrew Lambo singled and tripled for the Indians, and his triple in the 4th inning brought in one run.  The score was tied at 4-4 going into the top of the 9th, with reliever Tom Boleska on the mound for the Indians.  He gave up 3 hits, including an RBI single by former Pirate Brandon Moss, plus a sacrifice fly, to give the Iron Pigs a 6-4 lead.  The Indians got within one run when INF Jim Negrych got on and was brought across the plate by INF Josh Harrison’s RBI single.  Lambo’s single loaded the bases with one out.  But a double play ended the inning and the game with the Indians unable to catch up.  

Twins  4,  Pirates  1

Newest Pirate LHP Garrett Olson made his debut with his new team this afternoon, as the Pirates lost to the Twins in Bradenton.  Olson came on in relief to pitch the 8th inning, and retired the side in order with a pop out, a fly out, and a ground out.  
Paul Maholm made the start for the Pirates.  He pitched 6 innings and gave up 9 hits and 2 walks, but allowed only 2 runs.  With two outs in the 3rd, Maholm gave up a single, then made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, which put the runner into scoring position.  A single by C Joe Mauer brought in the run.  The second run scored in the 5th, when a double, a single, and a walk loaded the bases.  A grounder to short started a double play, but the runner from third still scored.  
Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the Indians, allowing just a double.  Anthony Claggett took the 9th, and he gave up the remaining two Twins’ runs.  A walk and a single put runners on the corners, then a ground out plated the first run.  A fielding error by SS Pedro Ciriaco allowed the runner from second base to come around and score.   
The Pirates’ only run scored in the 2nd inning, and was unearned.  A fielding error on a force attempt gave the Pirates runners on first and second.  C Jason Jaramillo lined a single into center field for the RBI, as RF Matt Diaz scored from second base.  
The Pirates had just 6 hits in the game, including one by LF Steve Pearce.  That gives Pearce 9 hits over his last 9 games (9-for-19,  .474), and a .308 average overall.  LF John Bowker and C Dusty Brown also singled.   CF Corey Wimberly, 2B Shelby Ford, 1B Josh Fields, pinch-hitter Starling Marte, and 3B Andy Marte all got into the game.  

The Pirates have a day off on Tuesday. 

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Roster Updates

Gone for a few days, and all kinds of changes going on….

006_06The Pirates have removed starting pitcher Zach Duke, infielder Andy LaRoche, and outfielder Delwyn Young from their 40-man roster.  

Duke (photo) was the starting pitcher for the Indianapolis Indians on Opening Day in 2005, the beginning of the Pirates’ affiliation with the Indians.  Duke faced the rehabbing Curt Schilling, and he and the Indians beat Schilling pretty easily.  

The open spots on the 40-man roster, plus two other already open spots, went to a group of minor league pitchers:  

Mike Crotta, a righty who made 4 starts for Altoona before he was promoted to Indianapolis.  He made 24 starts for the Indians and pitched 131.1 innings, with a 4.93 ERA.
Daniel Moskos,
who split the season between the Indy Indians and the Altoona Curve.  The lefty was outstanding for the Curve, with a 1.52 ERA and 21 saves, though he struggled for the Indians, where he earned a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings of relief.
Tony Watson, another lefty who spent the season with the Curve.  He made a few starts (9) but mostly worked in relief, earning a 2.67 ERA in 111.1 innings.  
Jeff Locke, split the season between Altoona and the Bradenton Marauders.  After earning a 3.54 ERA in 17 starts for Bradenton, Locke was promoted to AA, where the southpaw made an additional 10 starts and earned a consistent 3.59 ERA.   
Kyle McPherson, a right-hander who spent most of the season with A-level West Virginia.  McPherson made 21 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Power, with a 3.59 ERA in 117.2 innings, though he had some hot and cold swings.  McPherson also pitched 4 scoreless innings for Bradenton in September.  

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Roster Moves and Winter Leagues: Rough Night For Morton And Hamman

A few roster moves by the Pirates today:

Several players have been removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Indianapolis:� LHP Justin Thomas, RHP Sean Gallagher, RHP Steven Jackson, 1B Jeff Clement, and OF Brandon Moss.

Of these, Thomas, Jackson, and Moss are now all free to declare themselves minor league free agents.� Clement does not have enough service time to get to be a free agent, so he’s “stuck” on the Indianapolis roster.� He’s had knee surgery, and hopes to be ready by spring training.� Gallagher does have the service time, but the Pirates are probably negotiating with him to try to keep him.

LHP Wil Ledezma has signed a one-year contract with the Pirates for 2011.

RHP Jose Ascanio and 1B Steve Pearce (who has also had knee issues) are officially off the DL and back on the 40-man roster.� RHP Ross Ohlendorf also falls into this category.

On to Wednesday’s winter league action, with Pirates’ players and friends:

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

Senadores de San Juan� 4,� Gigantes de Carolina� 3� — San Juan rallied from a 3-1 deficit to score one run in the 5th and 2 runs in the 6th for the win.� Los Gigantes scored one run in the 4th on a double and a single.� They added 2 runs in the 5th, on two singles, an error, a walk, and a sacrifice fly.� Benji Gonzalez made a pinch-hitting appearance for Los Gigantes in the 8th inning, but flied out.� He remained in the game at third base for the final inning.

Criollos de Caguas� 4,� Indios de Mayaguez� 0� — 3B Ramon Vazquez and SS Luis Figueroa each had one hit for Los Criollos in their win.� Vazquez’s single in the 5th drove in one of Los Criollos’ runs.� They also scored 2 runs in the 4th on two singles and two errors, and another run in the 6th on two singles and a sacrifice fly.

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The Confusing Case of Matt Walbeck

The confusing case of Matt Walbeck, the Eastern League Manager of the Year, now jobless since the Pirates have declined to renew his contract….� I have no direct knowledge, not being in or around Altoona.

From Corey Giger of the Altoona Mirror:� “It’s simple and complicated”,�� and� it’s going to give Walbeck the opportunity to find a AAA position elsewhere.�� And, “it was a communication issue”, and maybe even a personality issue, with some players really liking Walbeck, and others not liking him at all.

From Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:� “not following the prescribed development programs and a lack of communication”.

There are two sides to every story — and there may even be more than two in this instance.� It does seem like there’s more to this than we’re going to hear about.

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Brad Lincoln needed 15 pitches (11 strikes) to strike out the side in the bottom of the 7th in last night’s Pirates’ game against the Marlins.� Joe Martinez pitched 2 innings in relief for Pittsburgh.� He gave up a 2-out double in the 5th, but left the runner on base.� Then he gave up another double and an RBI single in the 6th.

Brandon Moss was 1-for-19 when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 8th, but he added 2 hits in the game — a slow dribbler down the third base line for an infield single to load the bases.� He came around to score in that inning, then doubled in the 9th, scoring again on Pedro Alvarez’s homer.� John Bowker played both right field and first base, and went 1-for-4, with a walk in the 8th to force in a run.� Argenis Diaz also walked to force in the next run in the inning.� Alex Presley came in to play center field in the bottom of the 7th, but he struck out in the both of his plate appearances.� Pedro Ciriaco had a pinch-hit single in the 5th inning.

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Team USA begins their first game in the Pan American Games/World Cup Qualifying Tournament tomorrow at 7:30 pm in Ponce, Puerto Rico, facing the Puerto Rican team.

The Arizona Fall League, with the Pirates’ farmhands playing with the Mesa Solar Sox, begins play in 11 days.

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Altoona Curve Win Eastern League Championship

Altoona Curve� 5,� Trenton Thunder� 2 …����� (box)

IMG_4068The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League Championship tonight, defeating the Trenton Thunder in Game 4 of the championship series in Trenton.� Starter Tony Watson, who was also the winning pitcher a week ago when the Curve won the divisional series, earned the win again tonight.� Closer Daniel Moskos (photo, while with the Indy Indians), earned his 5th save of the playoffs.� He had a save in each of the Curve’s three wins in the championship series, and also in two of their three wins in the divisional series.� The offensive star of the game was DH Jim Negrych, who went 3-for-5 and led the way with 3 RBI.

Watson pitched 6 innings and struck out 10 Thunder batters.� He gave up 2 runs on only 5 hits and 2 walks.� The Thunder began the bottom of the 1st with a single off the bat of CF Austin Krum, who also stole second base.� After two strikeouts, Watson walked C Austin Romine, but then struck out the next batter, leaving the two runners on base.

Watson gave up two hits and a run in the 3rd.� 2B Matthew Cusick led off with a triple into right field.� Two outs later, he scored on RF Daniel Brewer’s line drive single into right field, and the Thunder had a 1-0 lead.

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IMG_3661The Curve had put one runner on base in the 1st, when 3B Josh Harrison reached base on an error, then stole second base.� In the 2nd, Negrych hit a 2-out single up the middle, then CF Jose De Los Santos walked, but all three of them were left on base.� When the Thunder made another fielding error in the 4th, the Curve were able to capitalize.� 1B Matt Hague led off with a walk, then a fielding error by the Thunder first baseman put LF Andrew Lambo on first and Hague on third.� That brought up the offensive hero, Jim Negrych (photo, with the Indy Indians).� Negrych slapped a grounder into left field for a 2-RBI single, bringing in both Hague and Lambo to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.

The Curve rallied again, with help from Negrych, in the 5th.� Harrison led off with a line drive into center field, and he moved to second base on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out.� Hague lifted a single into right field, and Harrison raced around from second.� When the throw in from the outfield ticked off the catcher Romine’s glove, Harrison scored and Hague advanced to second base.� Hague moved up to third base on Lambo’s ground out.� The Thunder intentionally walked C Hector Gimenez, and Negrych again came to the plate with a runner in scoring position.� Negrych lined into left field, with the Trenton LF Damon Sublett giving chase.� Sublett went for the sliding catch — and missed.� As the ball went on behind Sublett, Negrych was safely into second base with a double, and Hague scored, giving the Curve a 4-1 lead.

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