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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Noris Homers, MIlledge Hitting Well

Saturday’s winter league action for the Pirates’ players and friends.� The Puerto Rican League had their Ponce/Caguas game postponed.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

Bravos de Margarita� 11,� Cardenales de Lara� 1� — Despite 10 hits, Los Cardenales were able to score just one run, which came in the 3rd inning.� Los Bravos piled up 12 hits and 11 runs, with two big innings.� Margarita began with one run in the 1st, then added another in the 2nd.� With all of the hits Lara was collecting, the Margarita starter, Will Savage, was relieved in the 5th inning, with one on and one out.� Jhonathan Ramos came in for Savage, and ended the inning by getting a double play.� He only pitched to one batter, but with the Bravos’ rally in the bottom of the inning, Ramos was awarded his second win of the season.� Margarita scored 4 runs in the 5th.� 3B Andy LaRoche singled and stole second base in the inning, then scored on a later RBI single.� LaRoche also walked in the 7th, and scored on another RBI single, for the first run of what would be a 5-run inning.

Navegantes del Magallanes� 6,� Tigres de Aragua� 3� — LF Lastings Milledge singled twice and walked once for Aragua, but it wasn’t enough for a win.� Milledge led off the bottom of the 4th with a single, and a fielding error, a single, and a grounder force out gave Aragua 2 runs, for a 3-1 lead.� Milledge also singled to lead off the 6th and stole second base, but was left on base when Corey Hamman came on in relief for Magallanes and struck out the only batter he faced.� Another pitcher relieved Hamman and ended the inning with Milledge still on third base.� Milledge also reached third base in the 8th, when he walked, and advanced to third on a single.� Magallanes scored 3 runs in the 6th inning, then two more in the 7th, to take the lead and the win.� Jean Machi earned his 2nd win for Magallanes when he struck out the side (all swinging) in the 9th inning. � LF Mike Ryan went 0-for-4 for Magallanes.� C Hector Gimenez went 0-for-4 for Aragua.

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Pirates’ Pitchers Busy In Winter Leagues; Morton’s Debut

Wednesday’s winter league games with Pirates’ players and friends…

VENZUELAN LEAGUE

Bravos de Margarita� 6,� Leones del Caracas� 4 — Margarita starter Justin Thomas gave up 2 runs in the 2nd inning on a walk and a home run.� He zipped through the 3rd inning, then allowed a single and a walk in the 4th before being relieved, though both of those runners were left stranded.� Caracas scored 2 more runs in the 5th on three walks, a single, and an error.� Los Bravos had been scoreless for the first 4 innings, then exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the 5th.� 3B Andy LaRoche followed a lead-off single with an RBI double.� Three consecutive walks by a new Caracas pitcher forced in LaRoche with the second run of the inning, leaving the bases loaded.� Another new Caracas pitcher was greeted by LF Frank Diaz’s grand slam, to give Margarita a 6-4 lead.� Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th to earn the save.

Navegantes del Magallanes� 2,� Cardinales de Lara� 1 — Los Cardenales were held to just 4 hits in this game, while Los Navegantes posted 11 hits.� Magallanes scored their first run in the 3rd inning, on an RBI single by 1B Mark Trumbo (Angels).� Their starter Anthony Lerew (Royals) pitched 6 innings and allowed the 4 hits, one of which was a solo home run in the 6th inning, to tie the score and make Lerew ineligible for the win.� Corey Hamman came on in relief, and pitched a perfect 7th inning.� Jean Machi followed with a perfect 8th, and Yoel Hernandez retired the side in order in the 9th.� In the top of the 8th, DH Mike Ryan broke the tie with a solo home run, which became the game-winner.� That gave Hamman the win and Hernandez his 2nd save.� Ryan went 3-for-4 in the game, raising his batting average to .389.� SS Argenis Diaz went 1-for-4 for Magallanes.

Caribes de Anzoategui� 3,� Tigres de Aragua� 2� –� Brian Bass gave up 2 runs on 2 hits in his start for Los Tigres, and he was lucky that it wasn’t more runs, because he walked 5 batters.� He gave a free pass to 2 batters in each of the 1st and 2nd innings, and both times left them on base.� In the 3rd, he gave up a 2-out walk, and the next batter smacked a 2-run homer.� He gave up a single in the 5th, and was relieved after getting a ground out.� Aragua tied the game in the 5th inning when former Indy Indian LF Jorge Cortes walked, then a hit batter and a ground out pushed Cortes to third.� he scored on an RBI single.� The score remained tied until the bottom of the 10th, when Los Caribes got a lead-off single.� Adenson Chourio came in as a pinch-runner, and he stole second base.� A walk-off double plated Chourio with the winning run.� 1B Hector Gimenez singled and walked twice for Los Tigres, and C Raul Chavez singled and walked, but neither scored.

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

Criollos de Caguas� 2,� Senadores de San Juan 1 — San Juan scored one run in the top of the 1st on a walk, a stolen base, an error, and an RBI ground out.� Then they had only 4 hits for the rest of the game.� Caguas tied the score in the 5th inning on a walk, a single, and an RBI single by former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa.� A solo home run by DH Omir Santos gave Los Criollos the winning run in the 7th inning.� Figueroa had 2 more hits in the game — a double to lead off the bottom of the 1st inning, and a single after the homer in the 7th.� 3B Ramon Vazquez singled twice in the game, in the 6th and the 8th innings.

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Hamman Earns A Save In Venezuela

A busy Sunday afternoon and evening in the winter leagues… the Arizona Fall League has the day off on Sundays.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

Navegantes del Magallanes� 2,� Caribes de Anzoategui� 0� –� Corey Hamman earned his first save of the winter season for Magallanes.� Hamman entered the game in the top of the 8th, with pinch-runner Adenson Chourio on first and no outs.� He got a ground out to first to end the inning, then came back out in the 9th, w hen he worked around a lead-off walk for a scoreless inning.� Los Caribes were held to just 4 hits in the game, and Los Navegantes did not hit much better — only 5 hits.� Magallanes scored one run in the top of the 1st on a walk, a ground out by DH Mike Ryan which moved the runner over, and an RBI single.� A walk and a double brought in the run in the 5th.� Ryan also singled in the 8th, but was left on base.

Leones del Caracas� 14,� Tiburones de La Guaira� 5� — The Sharks were clawed up by the Tigers this afternoon, as every member of the Caracas lineup had at least one hit.� La Guaira scored 2 runs in the 3rd inning, but Caracas scored in each of the last 5 innings, including 4-run innings in the 8th and 9th.� C Carlos Maldonado singled in the 2nd inning, but did not factor into any of the late scoring.

Bravos de Margarita� 5,� Aguilas de Zulia� 0 — Los Bravos did all their scoring in the 7th (3 runs) and 8th (2 runs), and held Los Aguilas’ hitters to just 5 hits.� Andy LaRoche did not get into the game.

Tigres de Aragua� 5,� Cardinales de Lara� 3 — DH Raul Chavez, C Miguel Perez, and pinch-hitter Hector Gimenez all went hitless in the game, but Chavez was hit by a pitch and scored in the 2-run 1st inning for Aragua.� A walk and four singles gave Los Tigres 3 more runs in the 3rd.� Lara also had a walk and four singles, plus an Aragua throwing error, in the top of the 5th, when they also scored 3 runs.

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Bass Makes A Venezuelan Start

Just one game in the Mexican Pacific League last night:

Naranjeros de Hermosillo 19, Aguilas de Mexicali 1 — Los Naranjeros did it all on 16 hits, including 2 from former Pirate Humberto Cota, who was playing first base.� Hermosillo scored 11 runs in the 5th inning. They sent 15 batters to the plate, and had 6 singles and 5 walks.� There was one wild pitch and only 2 of Mexicali’s errors occurred in that inning.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE:

Navegantes del Magallanes� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0 — 3B Andy LaRoche had one of Los Bravos 5 hits, and that was a double off fellow Pirate Corey Hamman, who pitched the bottom of the 9th for Los Navegantes.� After a two-out walk in the bottom of the 1st, the next 15 Margarita batters went down in order.� The closest they came to scoring was in the 6th when they loaded the bases on a single, a double, and a walk, but could not score.� LaRoche reached as far as third base in the 9th, when Hamman also gave up a single, but LaRoche was left on base when Hamman ended the inning and the game with a ground out.� Los Navegantes scored one run in the top of the 1st on former Pirate LF Mike Ryan’s RBI single.� Ryan also singled in the 2nd, when Magallanes added another 3 runs.� A solo homer gave them another run in the 3rd, and they scored again in the 7th.� Pirate farmhand Jhonathan Ramos pitched the 8th inning for Margarita, and he struck out three Navegantes in order.� Ramos was followed by former Pirate farmhand RHP Yoffri Martinez, who was a little wild (two walks and two wild pitches) but did not give up a hit or a run in the top of the 9th.

Tigres de Aragua� 9,� Caribes de Anzoategui� 2 — Brian Bass struck out 8 batters in 3.2 innings for Los Tigres and allowed one run on 5 hits and a walk.� He worked around the lead-off walk in the 1st, and a single in the 2nd, then two singles in the 3rd, while striking out two batters in each of those innings.� He gave up another single and struck out two more in the 4th before being relieved.� DH Raul Chavez singled in Aragua’s 3-run 3rd inning.� He singled again, and 1B Hector Gimenez walked and scored in the 3-run 6th inning.� Gimenez also singled and scored in the 2-run 7th inning, and Los Tigres scored again in the 8th.� Former Pirate farmhand C Miguel Perez was 0-for-3 at the plate for Aragua.� Gabriel Alvarado pitched to three batters for Los Caribes in that 6th inning.� He gave up a single (which drove in Gimenez), then threw a wild pitch on strike three, which let another run came in, then got the ground out that ended the inning.� Adenson Chourio had a pinch-hit appearance in the top of the 9th.� He grounded into a force out, but was safe at first, then he stole second base.

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