Alvarez Starts With GCL Pirates

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.  

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Curve Scoreless Again, Marauders Bomb Mets

Some Sunday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization… the GCL Pirates had the day off.

Harrisburg Senators  6,  Altoona Curve  0
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The Curve were again held scoreless this afternoon.  That means that in the last 5 games (44 innings), the Curve have scored just one run.   Today the team was held to 3 hits, and those were the only Curve batters to reach base.  The first 10 batters were retired in order.  2B Brock Holt doubled in the 4th inning, then the next 6 batters were retired.  Pinch-hitter Brad Chalk singled in the 6th, and was out at second when CF Starling Marte grounded into a force out.  The Curve also went down in order in the 7th and 8th innings.  Marte doubled with one out in the 9th, but two fly outs left Marte still standing on second base when the game ended.

Phillip Irwin made the start for Altoona.  He allowed two singles over the first two innings, but ran into difficulty in the 4th.  A single began the inning, then Irwin recorded two outs.  That was followed by an RBI single, a double, a 2-RBI single, and a throwing error.  One more run scored on a wild pitch, to give the Senators a 4-0 lead.  Irwin finished his afternoon with those 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits, no walks, with 6 strikeouts in 5 innings of work.  

Bryan Morris relieved Irwin and pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing a walk and a single in the 7th.  Tim Alderson pitched the 8th, and gave up a single and a 2-run homer for the Senators’ final two runs.  

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Curve Finally Score; Spikes Lose in 12 Innings

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.  

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Leach’s First Win In Marauders’ Hit-Fest

The Pirates have signed 23rd round draft pick RHP Jordan Cooper to a contract.  He had been a pitcher for Kentucky, and that experience might get him a start at State College.  Here is a list of all the 2011 draft picks, with notations for which ones have signed.  

Friday’s game action:

Harrisburg Senators  2,  Altoona Curve  0
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A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th broke the scoreless tie for the only scoring in this pitching duel.  Jeff Locke pitched 6 scoreless frames for the Curve, scattering 3 singles and a walk over his first 3 innings.  The he retired the Senators in order for the next 3 innings.  He threw 78 pitches (48 strikes) in those 6 innings.  Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a single.  That base runner moved to second base on a balk, which started an argument by Altoona manager PJ Forbes — and resulted in Forbes being ejected. Michael Dubee, back with the Curve after some time with Indianapolis, gave up a lone single in the 8th, and Noah Krol allowed a single and a walk in the 9th, but both kept the Senators from scoring.

But the Curve weren’t scoring either.  They pounded out 7 hits, including two by SS Jordy Mercer.  Mercer’s triple i n the 7th was the only extra-base hit for the Curve, and the only time that a Curve base runner reached as far as third base.  RF Andrew Lambo also walked twice.  CF Starling Marte opened the game with a single, but was thrown out at second after Mercer’s strikeout.  1B Matt Curry and LF Brad Chalk both singled in the 2nd, but Curry was picked off second base, and Chalk was thrown out trying to steal second.  2B Brock Holt singled in the 4th, and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman singled in the 10th and stole second base.  

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Marauders Hold Off Jupiter; Spikes Shut Out

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.  

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