Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:
GCL Pirates 3, GCL Blue Jays 2 (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum. After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play. He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base.
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning. CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. 1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa. LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second. A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.
David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th. He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. 3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases. Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third. RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate. The Pirates were up 3-1.
Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez. The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2. Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game. Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Blue Jays 0 (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work. He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters. In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play. Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base.
The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play. DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base. Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded. The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind. RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.
Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.
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.
Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:
The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break. The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain. They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week. Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI. He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week. Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch (32nd round). Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College. The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.
Bradenton Marauders 5, Jupiter Hammerheads 4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter. Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd. He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play. The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.
The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field. After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score. Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. 3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.
The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th. With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base. Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score. Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.
Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning. The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base. Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown. Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run. The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4. Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win. Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.
Continuing to look at some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization. Today we consider five more of the Pirates’ 2010 draft picks.
Stetson Allie — R/R, 6′ 4″, 225 lb
Allie was the second round pick in the draft, coming out of high school in Cleveland. He signed at the last moment, so he did not get into any games in the regular season. He did go to Fall Instrux, where he again impressed the Pirates’ management with his velocity and also with his maturity. He has a fastball that reached into the 100’s several times toward the end of his high school career, but he has better control of it when it’s in the mid 90’s. He also throws a slider and needs work on a changeup. Control, along with the slider and the changeup, are what Allie is going to need to work on as he makes his pro debut. He has been pitching in the minor league spring training camp and has struggled a bit as he faced more experienced players. Allie seems to be slated to do more work in Extended Spring Training before beginning the 2011 season in State College.
James Archibald – Bats L / Throws R, 6′ 1″, 190 lb
Archibald came to the Pirates in the 36th round of the draft. He got signed and got down to business in the GCL, at first working out of the bullpen. He did well in 3 relief appearances, allowing 5 hits and one run (a homer) in 5 relief innings, for a 1.80 ERA, with 3 strikeouts and no walks. Archibald was moved to the starting rotation, and in 8 starts, he had more trouble. His first two starts went well, as he allowed one run in 3 innings and one run in 5 innings. The next three were a little shakier, with 5 runs on 15 hits over 12.2 innings. His best game was on August 7th, when he struck out 7 batters in 5 innings. Archibald’s last 3 starts were very tough. He allowed 14 runs on 19 hits in 9.1 innings, ballooning his total ERA to 5.40 for the season. Archibald will be 21 years old in May. He might spend some more time in the GCL before heading to State College in 2011.
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers on Saturday…
Altoona Curve� 10,� Binghamton Mets� 4 (box)
The Curve posted 14 hits, with two big innings, as all but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit in the game, as starter Rudy Owens earned his 10th win of the season.� SS Jordy Mercer doubled three times and 1B Matt Hague doubled twice, with 4 RBI.� Even Owens doubled, walked, and scored twice.
Owens got off to a little bit of a shaky start on the mound.� He gave up a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly to begin the bottom of the 1st.� A single and a double gave the Mets a second run in the 3rd.� Owens settled in after that, and allowed just one hit in each of the 4th and 5th.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 4th, after putting runners on base in each of the first three innings but failing to score.� In the 4th,� Mercer hit his first double, and he scored on RF Miles Durham’s RBI single.� Then they broke through in the 5th.� Owens led off the inning with a walk.� LF Jose De Los Santos singled, then 3B Josh Harrison bunted both runners into scoring position.� 2B Jim Negrych was intentionally walked to load the bases.� Hague cleared the bases with a double into left field, then Mercer hit his second double (this one was a ground-rule double), plating Hague.� The Curve had a 5-2 lead.
The next inning began with a solo home run by Miles Durham.� One out later, Owens doubled, and De Los Santos singled.� A fielding error on a ball hit to third by Harrison let Owens score.� Negrych brought in both Owens and De Los Santos with another double, and Hague made it three doubles in the inning with his 26th of the season, bringing in Negrych with the fifth run of the inning.� The Curve were up, 10-2.
Mike Colla relieved Owens to begin the 6th.� He gave up a solo homer in that inning, and another solo homer in the 8th, but retired the other 12 batters he faced in 4 innings.� Owens earned his 10th win of the season, and Colla earned his first save.