Pirates Sign Meyer, Rosters Ready

One more day until the minor league openers…..

Rosters for the Indianapolis Indians, Bradenton Marauders, and West Virginia Power are now also set.  Check out their rosters, plus the Altoona Curve’s  HERE.    Both 1B Jeff Clement and RHP Tyler Yates are listed as with the Indians, but on the Disabled List.   

Yesterday, the Pirates signed LHP Dan Meyer to a minor league contract, and assigned him to the Indians’ bullpen.  Meyer is a 29-year-old from New Jersey, who was the Braves’ first round draft pick in 2002.  He advanced quickly in their organization and made his major league debut with Atlanta in September 2004.  After that season, Meyer was traded to the A’s.  He pitched the next two seasons at AAA Sacramento, then split the 2007 and 2008 seasons between Sacramento and Oakland.  He started for Sacramento, but pitched out of the bullpen for the A’s.  He struggled at the major league level, with a 7.98 ERA (39 earned runs in 44 innings).  The Marlins picked up Meyer off waivers after the 2008 season, and he pitched in relief for them for the entire 2009 season, when he made 71 appearances, and allowed 20 earned runs and 47 hits in 58.1 innings, for a 3-2 record, 2 saves, and a 3.09 ERA.  Meyer began the season with Florida, but had some tough outings before missing some time due to a calf injury.  He gave up more runs upon his return, and in a total of 13 relief appearances, he allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits in 9.1 innings (9.64 ERA).  Meyer spent the rest of the season, except for one game, at AAA New Orleans, where he made 32 relief appearances, with 15 earned runs and 32 hits in 40 innings, for a 3.38 ERA.  He struck out 27 batters (6.1 K/ 9 innings), but also walked a few too many — 16  (3.6 walks/ 9 innings).  Meyers signed a minor league contract with the Phillies for the 2011 season, and was invited to their major league camp for spring training, but he did not make the team.  That made him available for the Pirates, who were looking for lefty bullpen help.  If he does well in Indianapolis, he’ll be heading to Pittsburgh.  

Meanwhile, the Pirates have released reliever Craig Hansen.  Hansen has been battling a nerve problem in his neck and shoulder, and has not pitched for the Pirates since early 2009.  Of that deal for Jason Bay, now Bryan Morris is the only player left with the Pirates… Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche have moved on.

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2011 Prospect Watching: Burres, Hansen, Claggett, Leroux

Not exactly prospects, but we have a few more Pirates’ pitchers to look at:

Brian Burres  —  L/L,  6′ 1″,  165 lb
Burres, who will turn 30 years old this week, was the Giants’ 31st round pick in the 2000 draft.  He pitched for 5 years in their organization, then three years in the Orioles’ organization, making his major league debut in Baltimore in September 2006.  He was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays and pitched for them in 2009, then was signed by the Pirates for the 2010 season.  He was initially assigned to AAA Indianapolis to begin the 2010 season, but at the last minute was called back to Pittsburgh, due to injuries.  He made 7 starts and 3 relief appearances for the Pirates over April and May.  In the relief spots, he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 6.2 innings.  He had a couple of good starts, going 5.1 and 7 scoreless innings, but also had some tough starts, allowing 6 runs and 5 runs in two 6-inning starts.  He allowed 22 runs on 38 hits in 35 innings, for a 5.66 ERA. Burres was sent to Indianapolis at the beginning of June, and remained there until the end of August, pitching in the starting rotation.  July was his best month, when he earned a 3.96 ERA and two wins, allowing 16 earned runs on 29 hits in 36.1 innings.  Overall, for his time at AAA, Burres had a 5-4 record and a 4.50 ERA, with 41 earned runs on 75 hits in 82 innings.  His walk and strikeout rates were just ok, with 34 walks (3.7 walks/ 9 innings) and 61 strikeouts (6.7 K/ 9 innings).  He did have one start, on June 12th, when he struck out 8 batters in 5.2 innings.  Burres returned to the Pirates at the end of August, and finished the season there, first making 4 generally difficult relief appearances, then 6 starts.  Those 6 starts were his best pitching of the season, as he allowed 12 earned runs on 31 hits in 34.2 innings, for a 3.12 ERA.  He walked batters at about the same rate for the Pirates (3.9 walks/ 9 innings) and struck out fewer than in AAA (5.1 K/ 9 innings).  Burres was non-tendered by the Pirates at the end of 2010, but was soon signed to a minor league contract.  He was invited to spring training, but was reassigned to minor league camp.  He will begin the 2011 season in the Indians’ starting rotation.

Anthony Claggett  —  Bats: Both / Throws: Right;  6′ 3″,  195 lb
Claggett was a waiver claim by the Pirates in September 2009, coming from the Yankees, who obtained him in a trade with the Tigers.  He pitched in only one game for the Pirates at the end of the 2009 season (one run on 2 hits in one inning).  In 2010, Claggett began the season at AAA, where he pitched entirely in relief.  He struggled in April, allowing 9 runs in 13 innings (6.23 ERA), but had his best month in May, when he allowed just 6 runs on 9 hits in 17.2 innings/ 9 appearances (3.06 ERA).  Unfortunately, he had some tough outings in June, as his ERA soared to 6.60 for the month.  In early July, Claggett was sent to AA Altoona, where he made 12 relief appearances over about 7 weeks.  There he gave up 5 runs on 15 hits in 15 innings, for a 3.00 ERA, and those 5 runs came in just two appearances.  In his last 7 games for the Curve, he did not allow a run in 10 innings.  That earned him a trip back to Indianapolis, where he finished the season.  He pitched well in his first three games back in Indy, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings.  Then he allowed 12 runs in 4.2 innings over his next three appearances, until he finished with one scoreless inning in the last game of the season.  His final stats at Indianapolis:  3-1 record and one save, with a 6.26 ERA, 38 runs and 55 hits in 54.2 innings.  Claggett’s strikeout rate was decent:  7.2 K/ 9 innings in Indianapolis and 7.8 K/ 9 innings in Altoona; but his walk rate was up:  3.6 walks / 9 innings in Indy and 3.0 walks/ 9 innings in Altoona.  Claggett was removed from the 40-man roster again over the winter, but cleared waivers and signed a minor league contract for 2011, though he was not invited to major league camp.  The 25-year-old might have been back at AAA, but seems to have been squeezed out by all of the other pitchers who did not make the Opening Day roster, so he will begin 2011 at Altoona.

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Curve Advance To Eastern League Championship Series

Altoona Curve� 10,� Harrisburg Senators� 5 …���� (box)

The Curve doubled up the Senators tonight, winning their second game of the series in the Senators’ home park.� That gave Altoona a 3-1 game win of the season, advancing them to the championship round of the Eastern League playoffs.

Five home runs by the Curve kept the runs coming, as the Curve totalled 12 hits.� CF Andrew Lambo and LF Jim Negrych had 3 hits each, and Lambo and RF Miles Durham contributed 3 RBI each.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud homered for the second game in a row, and Lambo, Durham, SS Jordy Mercer, and C Hector Gimenez also had home runs.

After a quiet first inning, the Curve got things going in the top of the 2nd, with a walk to Lambo,� a single by Negrych, and Durham’s 3-run home run.� The Senators came right back in the bottom of the inning.� The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by SS Mercer, then C Jhonatan Solano hit a 2-run homer to put the score at 3-2.

The Curve responded with two 2-run home runs in the top of the 3rd.� With one out, 3B Josh Harrison walked, and Mercer homered.� Then Hague walked and Lambo homered.� They added another run in the 4th, on a walk by d’Arnaud, a singled up the middle by Mercer, and an RBI line drive single into left field by Lambo.� Curve up, 8-2.

Starter Tony Watson continued his solid performance after the Senators’ home run in the 2nd.� He worked around a single in the 3rd and another single in the 4th.� He retired the side in order in the 5th.� The 6th inning began with a lead-off home run by 1B Chris Marrero.� Watson retired the next three batters, plus the first two in the 7th, before giving up a walk.� At that point, he gave way to Craig Hansen, who threw a wild pitch, but finished the inning with a ground out.� Watson had allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts in his 6.2 innings of work.

Hector Gimenez kept the Curve humming with a solo home run in the 7th inning, and Chase d’Arnaud added his solo blast in the 8th.

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Curve and Marauders Both Fall To Big Innings

Harrisburg Senators� 10,� Altoona Curve� 5 ….������ (box)

Two 5-run innings gave the Senators the advantage over the Curve in the first game of their Eastern League playoff series.

The Curve jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and 3B Josh Harrison followed by blasting a home run over the left-center field wall, to give the Curve a 2-0 lead before they even had recorded an out.� Two outs later, LF Andrew Lambo reached base on a fielding error by the Senators’ 2B Steve Lombardozzi.� C Hector Gimenez worked a walk, and RF Miles Durham singled into left field to bring in Lambo from second base, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.

It didn’t last long, as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.� Curve starter Rudy Owens had worked around a walk to Lombardozzi in the 1st inning, but got into trouble quickly in the 2nd.� A walk and a single began the inning, then a grounder to the diving 1B Matt Hague produced a force out at second base.� A double into right-center field brought in both base runners, and the Senators had made it a one-run game, 3-2.� A bunt attempt by the Senators’ pitcher, Tom Milone, went right to Owens on the mound, and he turned it into a fielder’s choice out at third, leaving Milone on first base.� But Lombardozzi walked again, then a single loaded the bases.� Owens had two outs with those bases loaded, and he got an 0-2 on the next batter — and another single drove in two more runs, and the Senators had the lead.� That sent Owens to the showers after just 1.2 innings.� Jared Hughes came out of the bullpen, and he loaded the bases again by walking the first batter he faced.� A passed ball by Gimenez allowed the runner in from third base (unearned run, charged to Owens), and when a ground out ended the inning, the Senators had a 5-3 lead.

Milone had the Curve bats under control for the next 6 innings.� D’Arnaud doubled in the 2nd inning, but was left on base when three other Curve batters struck out.� Hughes reached base in the 4th on a fielding error, but was also left stranded. � Durham singled in the 6th, but was also left on base.� Harrisburg’s reliever Hassan Pena pitched the 7th inning, and he also retired the Curve in order.

Hughes did even better than Milone over his next 3 innings — he retired those 9 Harrisburg batters in order.� Bryan Morris was next out of the bullpen.� He retired the side in order in the 6th, and worked his way out of a jam in the 7th.� That inning began with a single, then Lombardozzi reached on fielding error, when his grounder bounced off 3B Harrison’s glove.� With two on and none out (instead of one on and one out), Morris got a strikeout.� Another single loaded the bases, then Morris ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout and a blazing line drive that went straight to Harrison’s glove.

Mike Dubee took the mound for the Curve to begin the 8th inning, and he found trouble quickly.� Back-to-back singles opened the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout.� An RBI single followed, then Lombardozzi drove a liner down the right field line and into the bullpen, plating the second run of the inning.� An intentional walk loaded the bases, and a grounder to third yielded a force out at third, but Harrison’s throw to first rolled away from 1B Hague, and instead of an inning-ending double play, two more runs scored and the inning continued.� Another single dropped in, in short left field, to drive in the fifth run of the inning.� Craig Hansen relieved Dubee, and he got the pitcher Pena to fly out to end the inning.

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Power Finish With A Win, Curve Save It For The Playoffs

Just two more games on Labor Day…� The Marauders have the day off today, then begin the first round of the playoffs tomorrow.

West Virginia Power� 7,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….�� (box)

The Power wrapped up their season with a win over the Suns.� Everyone finished the season with hits, as the Power posted 16 hits, and each memeber of the batting order had at least one hit.� CF Evan Chambers and SS Elevys Gonzalez had 3 hits each.

The Power threatened in the bottom of the 1st, when RF David Rubinstein led off with a double into left field, and Chambers made it runners on the corners with a single.� Chambers stole second base, but both runners were left stranded after a strikeout and a flyout.� They did get onto the scoreboard in the 4th inning.� With one out, 1B Kyle Morgan walked, and LF Rogelios Noris blasted his 15th homer of the season for 2 runs.� After the home run, C Jairo Marquez doubled, and singles by Gonzalez and Rubinstein brought in Marquez, giving the Power a 3-0 lead.

Starter Brett Lorin pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only a single and a walk in the 2nd, and a lead-off single in the 4th.� He was relieved by Justin Ennis, who retired the side in order in the 5th.� Ennis did give up a run in the 6th, on a triple and a single, to cut the Power lead to 3-1.� The Power came right back in the bottom of that inning, though, adding 2 runs on 4 singles:� by 3B Andy Vasquez, Gonzalez, 2B Jarek Cunningham (RBI), and Chambers (RBI).

With the score at 5-1, neither team scored in the 7th, but both teams added 2 runs in the 8th.� Marc Baca took the mound to begin the inning, and he gave up a single, followed by two stolen bases (2nd and 3rd).� Then a 2-run homer got the Suns a little closer, 5-3.� The Power answered with their two in the bottom of the 8th, with a triple by Marquez and their own 2-run homer, by Gonzalez.� Baca retired the Suns in order in the 9th, ending the game and the season.

Pitchers Gabriel Alvarado and Phillip Irwin were both promoted to the A+ Marauders, where they will assist in the Marauders’ playoff run.

The Power finished the first half of the season in 7th (last) place in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division, 11 games back, with a 31-39 record.� They did better in the second half, finishing tied for 3rd and 8 games back, with a 34-35 record.� That gives them an overall 65-74 record for the season.

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