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: Hague, Plus Clement

Finishing up our look at the first basement in the Pirates’ organization:

Matt Hague  –  R/R,  6′ 3″, 225 lb
Hague was chosen by the Pirates in the 9th round of the 2008 draft.  The Washington State native was drafted as a third baseman, though he also played outfield and pitched in college.  Hague played third for the State College Spikes (7 games) and the Hickory Crawdads (57 games) in the 2008 season, but in 2009 at A+ Lynchburg, Hague was shifted over to first base because Pedro Alvarez had dibs on third.  Hague played one game at third in 2009 and one game at third in 2010, with the rest all at first base.  In 134 games at first for the AA Altoona Curve in 2010, Hague made 10 errors.  At the plate, Hague has been solid over the past two seasons.  He hit .293 for Lynchburg, then .295 for Altoona in 2010, with 30 doubles in both seasons.  Hague’s power hitting got better in 2010, with 15 homers and 86 RBI.  His plate discipline also showed some improvement, with 61 walks (10.5%) and 62 strikeouts (12.2%, down from 14.8% in 2009).  He was named to the Eastern League All-Star team and went 0-for-2 for the Western Division team in the All-Star Game.  Hague did not hit well in the Curve’s playoff run, with a .161 average and 4 RBI.  After celebrating the Curve’s Eastern League championship, Hague spent a little time in the Mexican Pacific League, where he also did not hit well — in 8 games, he went 3-for-21 (.143) with no extra-base hits or RBI, but one walk and 6 strikeouts.  The 25-year-old should be ready to make the move to AAA Indianapolis for 2011, where he will need to improve his power numbers, and a boost in his defense would be a good idea too.

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Personnel Shuffles; Loss For Nieve

Several moves, shuffling personnel around:

RHP Joe Martinez, who came to the Pirates from the Giants (with John Bowker) in July, was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster and designated for assignment.  That frees up a roster spot for newly signed starter Kevin Correia.  Martinez joined the Indy Indians after coming to the Pirate organization, and made 4 starts and 3 relief appearances for the Indians.  In 28 innings, he earned a 1-2 record and a 5.72 ERA.  Then he pitched 8.2 innings over 5 games for the Pirates, for a 3.12 ERA.  

Spring Training invitations for the big league camp were extended to pitchers Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson, both of whom pitched in Altoona in 2010.  Tyler Yates, working his way back from elbow surgery, was signed to a minor league contract and also invited to major league spring training. Infielder Jeff Clement was also invited to big league camp.   

The Pirates have announced the new managers for their minor league teams:  Dean Treanor, who was the pitching coach in Indianapolis in 2010, will now be managing the Indians.  Frank Kremblas, who has managed in Indianapolis for two years, will move into the role of minor league field/instructional coordinator.  PJ Forbes, who managed the Bradenton Marauders in 2010, will manage the Altoona Curve in 2011.  Carlos Garcia will move from coaching first base for the Pirates to managing the Marauders.  Gary Robinson is moving up from managing the State College Spikes to managing the West Virginia Power, and Dave Turgeon, former coach at Virginia Tech, will become the manager at State College.   

And, some winter league action for some Pirates’ players and friends:

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Gigantes de Carolina  4,  Indios de Mayaguez  2  –  
For the second night in a row, Benji Gonzalez came into the game as a pinch-hitter for Los Gigantes, then remained in the game on defense.  Gonzalez flied out in the top of the 6th, then played second base for one inning, and shortstop for 3 innings.  He also grounded out in the 9th.  Los Gigantes scored one run in the 2nd, 2 in the 4th, and one more in the 5th, while a triple and a double contributed to Los Indios’ 2 runs in the 7th.

Criollos de Caguas  7,  Senadores de San Juan  2  –  Former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa had another big night, going 4-for-5 with 3 doubles, a homer, and 4 RBI.  Figueroa flied out in the bottom of the 1st, and that was the only time he was retired.  His ground-rule double drive in Los Criollos’ first run in the 3rd.  He doubled again (the conventional way) in the 4th, driving in 2 of that inning’s 3 runs.  Then he homered to lead off the bottom of the 6th.  He also doubled in the 8th, but was left on base.  Los Criollos scored 2 runs in the 5th, without Figueroa’s help:  three walks, including one by 3B Ramon Vazquez,  loaded the bases, then a double brought in two runs.  Vazquez also walked in the 2nd inning, but did not score.

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Veal Re-signed; Hits For Brown And Hague

Southpaw Donnie Veal will likely be back in Indianapolis in 2011.  He has signed a minor league contract with the Pirates today, and has also been invited to the big league camp for Spring Training.  After struggling through his mandatory year on the Pirates’ major league roster as a Rule 5 Draft pick in 2009, Veal was assigned to the AAA Indians to begin 2010.  He made 9 starts for the Indians, with a 3-2 record and a 4.35 ERA over 49.2 innings before being shut down due to elbow issues.  Veal had Tommy John surgery in early June, and is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.  

The signing of 1B Lyle Overbay is going to make things more difficult for the likes of Steve Pearce and Jeff Clement.  Both are working their way back from knee problems.  Pearce was granted one more option year because of his injuries last season.  

Other news of minor league contracts signed: Former Pirate Denny Bautista has signed with the Mariners.  INF Doug Bernier, who spent 2010 with the Indy Indians, signed with the Yankees.  P Vinnie Chulk signed with the A’s.  Former Pirate P Jonah Bayliss signed with the Rays.  INF/OF Jonathan Van Every signed with the Nationals.  

Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Wednesday’s winter league games:

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Caribes de Anzoategui  4,  Bravos de Margarita  0  –  
Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits, along with 2 walks.  The first 13 Margarita batters went down in order before the first base runner reached on a walk.  They had 2 runners on base in both the 6th and 8th innings, but could not get them around to score.  Los Caribes scored one run in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, then one more in the 7th.  In the 4th, LF Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch, then scored on an RBI double.  

Tigres del Aragua  3,  Cardenales de Lara  1  –  A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 11th by C Wilson Ramos broke the 1-1 tie for Los Tigres.  The homer came off Lara reliever Romulo Sanchez, who was charged with his second loss of the season.  Each team scored a run in the 2nd inning.  Los Cardenales’ rally was started with a single by former Pirate farmhand CF Ray Sadler, then another single and two walks forced in a run.  Ramos doubled to lead off the bottom of the 2nd for Los Tigres.  He scored on a single by 1B Hector Gimenez and a sacrifice fly.  Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, but there was only one base runner for either team over the next four innings — that was DH Lastings Milledge, who doubled in the 9th.  

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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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