The Pirates have optioned SS Pedro Ciriaco to AAA Indianapolis. This opens a roster spot for OF Alex Presley, who will be officially called up on Tuesday (the Pirates have a day off on Monday). UPDATE: Presley has officially been called up, and will join the Pirates in Toronto.
Also promoted: pitcher Rinku Singh has been promoted from the GCL Pirates to State College. Singh has pitched a total of 15 innings so far this season. Eleven of those came on 3 appaearances with the DSL team. He gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 strikeouts in the Dominican. In one appearance last week with the GCL Pirates, Singh pitched 4 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit, while striking out 5 batters. Singh pitched in one game for the Spikes at the end of the 2010 season. He went 2 innings in that game, and gave up only one hit, with one strikeout.
Monday’s game action:
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Phillies 0…. for 1.5 innings
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3B Pedro Alvarez made his first official rehab start this afternoon. It didn’t last long, though that had nothing to do with him: the game was suspended due to rain after just 1.5 innings. Alvarez was the Pirates’ lead-off batter. He got one trip to the plate, in which he grounded out to second base. CF Willy Garcia was the only batter on either team to reach base, when he blasted a solo homer in the top of the 2nd. Pirates’ starter Luis Heredia pitched to just 3 batters in the bottom of the first — two strikeouts and a pop out to C Joey Schoenfeld.
Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games. Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings. The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings. The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base. Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer. He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.
The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings. They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk. He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down. Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning. Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play. Farrell scored on the error. CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.
Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th. He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single. An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run. Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.
Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.
More brief notes for Saturday, since we’re on the road….
Florida State League All-Star Game, played in Clearwater, Florida
FSL North 5, FSL South 3
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Three Marauders’ players got in on this game: C Ramon Cabrera, 1B Aaron Baker, and 2B Jarek Cunningham were all starters for the South squad. The North scored first, with a single, a triple, and fielding error in center field in the bottom of the 1st, for a 2-0 lead. The South tied it up in the top of the 4th, thanks to the Marauders. Cabrera led off with a single through to left field. After two outs, Baker brought in Cabrera with a 2-run homer to tie the game.
The North took the lead again in the bottom of the 5th. A walk, a stolen base, an RBI double, and an RBI single gave the North a 4-2 lead. The North added some insurance in the bottom of the 8th, on two singles and a double. The South had one last chance in the top of the 9th, which began with a lead-off single. Baker grounded out, moving the runner to second base, and another single put him on third. A sacrifice fly brought in the run, but a ground out ended the rally and the game.
Cabrera played 3.5 innings before being replaced by another catcher. He went 1-for-2, with a ground out in his other at-bats. Cunningham played 5.5 innings before letting another second baseman get into the game. He grounded out and popped out in his two plate appearances. Baker played the whole game, and went 1-for-2 at the plate, with two walks.
The Indianapolis Indians’ game in Rochester was postponed today — because the Indians were not there! The team was supposed to fly to Rochester this morning, but due to mechanical problems, their flight was delayed. There were not any other flights available to get the team to Rochester in time for the game. The Indians and the Red Wings will play two games on Saturday, the first at 1 pm, and the second at 7 pm. Both will be 9-inning games.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: 3B Dan Gamache from Auburn U. and OF Taylor Lewis from University of Maine- Orono. My guess is that they will be heading to State College, but no definite word yet.
The State College Spikes begin their season tomorrow, on the road at Williamsport. The GCL Pirates will begin their 2011 season on Monday.
Don’t forget to vote for the All-Stars:
Eastern League All-Star Voting is here
AAA (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) All-Star Voting is here
Altoona Curve 3, New Britain Rock Cats 1
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Kyle McPherson allowed the New Britain a solo home run in the top of the 1st, and then he and the bullpen shut the Rock Cats down for the rest of the game. McPherson pitched 6 innings and scattered 3 more runs and a walk over the remaining 5 innings for his first win at the AA level. Two singles came in the 3rd, but McPherson left runners on the corners. He left two runners in scoring position in the 6th after a walk and a single. McPherson also struck out 4 batters.
The Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. LF Anthony Norman led off with a single lined into right field, and 2B Brock Holt followed with a grounder into right for a second single, moving Norman to third base. Norman scored on a ground out by SS Jordy Mercer. Holt came in on CF Quincy Latimore’s RBI single, to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.
The Curve went down in order over the next three innings. They added an insurance run in the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez and DH Jose Hernandez hit back-to-back singles. Sanchez moved to third base on Hernandez’s hit, then scored on RF Brad Chalk’s sacrifice fly. 1B Matt Curry blasted a triple into right field in the 7th inning, but he was left on base. The Curve threatened again in the 8th, when Chalk and Norman both singled, and Holt walked. They left the bases loaded, though, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.
Matt McSwain pitched two perfect innings in relief after McPherson was done for the evening. Anthony Claggett, who was moved back to the Curve when Jose Ascanio was assigned to Indianapolis, pitched the 9th inning. The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by Norman in left. After two fly outs, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases. But Claggett got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.
Saturday evening action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:
Altoona Curve 11, Reading Phillies 1 (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short. The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game. Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs. R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning. The first four Curve batters reached base safely: a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases. After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3). C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again. 2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils’ first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out. Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning. That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.
But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd. With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in. A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.
Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st. He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs. Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd. Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second. Mercer singled, plating Norman. After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base. Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer. Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott’s sacrifice fly. A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1. The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long. Hope the Curve didn’t use up all their hits in those first three innings.