Really Last Minute Roster Moves

This is the time of year when teams release players from their minor league camps – those who are not going to fit into the organization’s plans.  The Pirates have released these players:

Inf Adenson Chourio  —  West Virginia and Bradenton in 2010
Inf Christian Colonel — he’d just been signed at the beginning of the month 
RHP Casey Erickson  —  Bradenton in 2010
C/ OF/ 3B Pat Irvine  —  State College and West Virginia in 2010
1B Gerlis Rodriguez  —  State College in 2010
LHP Mike Williams  —   West Virginia in 2010
2B Jose Solano (Luis?)  — GCL Pirates in 2010

P Ramon Aguero has been designated for assignment, coming off the Pirates’ 40-man roster to make room for P Jose Veras.  If he makes it through waivers, he could go to Altoona or Indianapolis.   

RHP Tim Wood is also getting close to signing with the Pirates.  He was the Marlins’ 44th round draft pick in 2002, and worked his way up through there system, reaching the majors in June 2009.  he made 18 relief appearances in that season, for a total of 22.1 innings, with 7 runs on 22 hits, for a 2.82 ERA.  He split last season between AAA New Orleans and the major league team.  He began the season with the Marlins, then spent parts of May and June and the end of July with New Orleans.  Wood pitched in 26 games for the Marlins, and earned an 0-1 record with 8 saves.  In a total of 27 innings, he gave up 33 hits and 17 runs, for a 5.53 ERA.  In New Orleans, he made 14 relief appearances, going 0-1 with 5 saves, and allowing 10 runs on 19 hits in 14 innings (6.43 ERA).  He did not pitch after the end of July, and was granted free agency in November. Wood was signed by the Nationals six days later, but was released in spring training.  
*UPDATE* — Wood signed a minor league contract with the Pirates.  That could mean Indianapolis for him. 

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Pirates’ Starting Lineup Shiver In Philly

Phillies  8,  Pirates  5

The Pirates’ regular starters played the entire game on a chilly night in Philadelphia — a big change from the weather they’d enjoyed in Florida for the past 6 weeks.  2B Neil Walker provided the offensive boost, reaching base in 4 of his 5 at-bats, with a walk, three singles, and one RBI.  Starter Ross Ohlendorf lasted 4 innings, and allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits, one walk, and 3 hit batters.

LF Jose Tabata led off the game with a walk, and Walker followed with a single slipped into right field in the top of the 1st.  1B Lyle Overbay brought both runners in with a double, to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.  The Phillies got one run back in the bottom of the frame, on a pair of singles and a throwing error by C Ryan Doumit.  Ohlendorf began the bottom of the 2nd by surrendering a solo homer to Phillies’ Ben Francisco, then loaded the bases with a walk and two hit batters.  A fielding error by SS Ronny Cedeno and a sacrifice fly brought in two more runs for Philadelphia.  The Phillies made it 6-2 in the 4th, when Ohlendorf hit his third batter of the game, and allowed 3 more singles.  

Minor leaguer Mike Dubee, whose father Rich Dubee is the Phillies’ pitching coach, pitched a perfect 5th inning for the Pirates.  Chris Leroux started the 6th inning and allowed a walk and a single, then an RBI ground out.  He was relieved by Garrett Olson, who finished the inning with a fly out and a ground out.  Jose Veras threw a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th.  Evan Meek took the bottom of the 8th, and began by giving up two singles, including one to former Pirate/Indy Indian C Erik Kratz.  A fielding error by Walker kept the inning going, and Kratz scored an unearned run on an RBI ground out.  

The Pirates scored again in the top of the 5th.  Pinch-hitter Josh Rodriguez and Tabata both walked to open the inning, and Walker lined into right field, where Francisco misplayed the ball.  Both runners scored and Walker ended up on third base, credited with a single.  CF Andrew McCutchen plated Walker with another single.  

The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Las Vegas 51’s in Dunedin this afternoon — no word on the results. 

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Crotta Gives Up A Run, More Reassignments

Yankees  4,  Pirates  2
Reliever Mike Crotta, who had not given up a run up ’til today, surrendered his first spring training run this afternoon in Tampa.  Crotta came on to pitch the final inning, with the Yankees already ahead 3-2.  He gave up a single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single, for the Yankees’ final run of the game.  Crotta is still in the running for a bullpen spot with the Pirates.  
The Yankees got onto the scoreboard first, with a 2-run homer by Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the 1st inning off starter Kevin Correia.  Correia sailed through the next two innings, then gave up another run in the 4th on a walk and two singles.  He gave up only one more hit in the next two innings, finishing his afternoon with 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts.  Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 7th inning. 
The Pirates scored one run in the 2nd inning, when 3B Pedro Alvarez led off with a walk and C Jason Jaramillo doubled him in.  LF Jose Tabata smacked a triple in the 5th inning, and scored on 2B Neil Walker’s sacrifice fly, for the Pirates’ second run.  The Pirates posted 10 hits in the game, but did not score again  — 8 runners were left on base.  Manager Clint Hurdle indicated that today’s lineup is what he expects to be his regular starting lineup, and today most of those position players were in for the entire game.  SS Ronny Cedeno came out of the game in a double-switch in the bottom of the 8th, and Josh Rodriguez entered the game.  Rodriguez lined a single in the top of the 9th, but was left on base.  

The Pirates have two more games in Florida (at McKechnie Field against the Rays on Sunday, and in Ft. Myers against the Twins on Monday.  Then they will play two games in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading to Chicago to begin the regular season next Friday.  

The Pirates reassigned four more players to minor league camp this morning:  P Brian Burres,  C Dusty Brown, INF Andy Marte, and INF Corey Wimberly.   Moving Marte to minor league camp is encouraging for Steve Pearce, who is now nearly assured a bench spot on the major league team.  

S/W-B Yankees  6,  Indy Indians  5
The Indians faced New York Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia this afternoon in a AAA spring training game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Tampa this afternoon.  They hit 5 singles off Sabathia in three innings, but could not bring any of those base runners around to score.  James McDonald came from the Pirates’ big league camp to make a start for the Indians.  He gave up one run on 4 hits in his 3 innings.  The Indians scored a run in the 6th inning on Alex Presley’s sacrifice fly.  Josh Fields, who went 2-for-3 in the game, doubled in a run in the 7th, then Jim Negrych followed with a 2-run homer.  The Indians were leading 5-2 going into the bottom of the 8th.  The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the frame with 3 runs on a pair of doubles.  Then in the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees scored with a 2-out single to take the win.

Sketchy reports from two other games:
On Thursday, the Indians lost to the Las Vegas 51’s by a score of 5-3, despite home runs by Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley.
On Friday, the Indians and the S/W-B Yankees played to a 1-1 tie.  Rudy Owens pitched 4 innings for the Indians, and struck out 6 batters.  

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More Reassignments And Another Loss

Rays  9,  Pirates  5
The Pirates out-hit the Rays 10-9 this afternoon in Port Charlotte, Florida, but the Rays made the most of their opportunities and took the win.  The Pirates got busy in the top of the 1st, when Pedro Ciriaco, in center field again, opened the game with a single, then stole base.  He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on C Ryan Doumit’s double into right field.  RF Matt Diaz started the top of the 2nd with a single, and advanced to third base on a throwing error.  He scored on a wild pitch.  1B Andy Marte doubled, was bunted over to third base, and scored on starting pitcher Charlie Morton’s soft looper single into left field, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.  
The lead did not last long.  Morton got out of the first inning with a double play, but began the bottom of the 2nd by loading the bases on a double, a bunt, and a hi batter.  A 2-RBI double and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for the Rays to tie the game.  The Pirates took the lead again in the 4th.  Marte led off with a single into right field, and 2B Corey Wimberly reached on a fielding error.  Morton bunted them up one base each, then both scored on SS Josh Rodriguez’s line drive single into right.  
Morton sailed through the bottom half of the 3rd and 4th innings, but loaded the bases again in the 5th, on a walk and two singles.  Then he got wild and forced in one run with a hit batter, and a second run with a walk, and the game was again tied, at 5-5.  Morton got out of the inning with two fly outs, and a force out at the plate on a little dribbler that did not leave the home plate area.  
Joel Hanrahan took over on the mound for the 6th inning.  He retired the first two batters he faced, then walked the next two.  A wild pitch moved the two runners up to second and third base, then an RBI single brought in both runners, giving the Rays a 7-5 lead.  Jose Veras pitched a perfect 7th inning, with one strikeout.  The Rays scored 2 more runs off Chris Resop in the 8th inning.  A double, and a bunt back to the mound that turned into a single, put two runners on base.  A sacrifice fly drove in one run, and a triple plated the second.  

2B Gift Ngoepe led off the top of the 9th with a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer singled through to left field, but both were left on base.  LF Evan Chambers, 3B Andy Vasquez, RF Robby Grossman, and 1B Matt Hague also got into the game. 

The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees this afternoon in Bradenton.  No word as yet — results from the minor league camp can be hit or miss.

The Pirates pared down their camp roster by four more this morning.  Pitcher Daniel McCutchen was optioned to AAA Indianapolis, where he could either be a starter or pitch in long relief.  Relievers Tyler Yates and Sean Gallagher were also reassigned to minor league camp, and are both expected to go to the Indy Indians’ bullpen.  C Wyatt Toregas and INF Josh Fields were also reassigned to minor league camp.  

Pitcher Fernando Nieve, who was reassigned to the minor league camp on Monday and released on Tuesday, was not unemployed for long.  On Thursday, he signed a minor league contract with the Astros.  

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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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