The Pirates have announced the release of 9 players from the minor league ranks:
OF Erik Huber – Pirates’ 12th round pick in the 2007 draft. Huber’s best season was 2009, when he hit .318 with 40 RBI in 72 games for West Virginia, then .262 in 33 games for A+ Lynchburg. He remained at the A+ level with the Marauders in 2010, but hit .220 with 8 doubles and 20 RBI in 61 games.
From West Virginia:
RHP Melkin Laureano — Laureano spent June and part of July with A+ Bradenton, but finished the season back in A West Virginia. He threw 52 innings in 8 starts and 6 relief appearances for the Power, with a 4.15 ERA. In 33 innings with Bradenton, the Dominican native had a 3.82 ERA.
1B Kyle Morgan — 36th round pick in the 2008 draft. Morgan hit .296 for the Power in 2009, but when he returned to West Virginia in 2010, he hit just .203 in 87 games. He hit 11 home runs and 36 RBI.
From State College:
OF Kyle Saukko – 28th round pick in the 2008 draft. Saukko hit .138 in 34 games with the Spikes in 2010 and .172 in 28 games in 2090.
3B Andury Acevedo — This Dominican native has been in the Pirates’ organization since 2007. He played for the GCL Pirates in three seasons (2007, 2008, and 2009) but his batting average slid down each season (.444, .216, and .174 respectively). In 2010, he hit .129 in just 13 games for the Spikes, with no extra base hits or RBI.
From the GCL Pirates:
RHP Dinesh Patel — Patel was the runner-up of the “Million Dollar Arm” contest in India, and he joined lefty Rinku Singh in coming to the US and learning about baseball and pitching. He made 9 relief appearances in the GCL in 2010 — four good, 3 poor, and one really bad. In a total of 7.1 innings, he allowed 14 hits nad 7 runs, with 3 BB and 7 K.
RHP Sheng-Cin Hong – A Taiwan native and a product of the Australian academy, Hong appeared in 11 games for the GCL Pirates in 2010. He struggled more often than not, allowing 23 runs (21 earned) and 26 hits in 13.1 innings.
1B Chih-Wei Hsu – Another Taiwan native and Australian academy player, Hsu came to the US and played in the GCL for the first time in 2010. He appeared in 16 games and hit .154 with 2 doubles, no RBI.
RHP Yomar Pacheco – After two seasons with ERA’s of 0.71 and 1.97 in his native Venezuela, Pacheco struggled in his first season in the US. He made 13 relief appearances in the GCL and allowed 17 runs and 30 hits in 29.2 innings, for a 4.85 ERA.
Not getting game results from either the Venezuela or the Dominican Leagues yet tonight. The Puerto Rican League is off tonight. The Mexican Pacific League is playing late, of course, and the Australians will be playing at about 3 am Indiana time. More info in the morning.
Two early games on Wednesday, plus a few more in the evening:
Altoona Curve� 6,� Erie SeaWolves� 3 (box)
The Curve and the SeaWolves played early and scored early this afternoon.� All the scoring was done by the middle of the 3rd inning.� The Curve began the game with 4 runs in the top of the 1st.� SS Chase d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 in the game, and he opened the game by beating out an infield single to short.� He then stole his 19th and 20th bases of the season, then scored from third on 2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.�� 1B Matt Hague followed with a solo home run over the left-center field wall.� C Hector Gimenez, who had missed a few games due to illness, walked after the homer, and he scored when RF Miles Durham hit the second home run of the inning over the left field wall.
Erie came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring 2 runs after 2 outs had been recorded.� After a hit batter and a walk, a grounder to third should have been the end of the inning, but a throwing error by 3B Jose De Los Santos resulted in two runs scoring.
Erie did more 2-out scoring in the 2nd inning, and it was even more costly for the Curve.� OF Gorkys Hernandez is already out for the rest of the season with a broken right ring finger, and now another key player, 2B Jordy Mercer, had to be removed from the game after being injured on a play.� With two outs in the 2nd, a pop up into short left field was “deflected” by Mercer, and fell in for a double as Mercer had to leave the game.� Much defensive shuffling ensued — De Los Santos moved to second base, Josh Harrison came in to play third base, Brandon Jones moved from DH to right field, Miles Durham moved to center field, Anthony Norman came out of the game, and pitcher Justin Wilson had to move into the batting order with no more DH.� After all the rearranging, Erie got two back-to-back singles, scoring a run.
The Curve were still up by one run, but they added some insurance in the top of the 3rd.� Matt Hague doubled and Hector Gimenez singled then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly plated Hague, then Brandon Jones doubled, bringing in Durham.
That was all the scoring.� The Curve collected only two more hits in the rest of the game — Chase d’Arnaud singled to begin the 4th and moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there; LF Yung Chi Chen singled in the 8th, but was forced out at second.� The 8th inning was the closest the Curve came to scoring again.� After Chen was forced out on Jose De Los Santos’ grounder, walks to d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison loaded the bases, but relief pitcher Tom Boleska, in what was probably his first pro at-bat, struck out to end the inning.
Starter Justin Wilson pitched 6 innings and allowed the 3 runs, only one of which was earned.� He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.� After the 2nd inning, he gave up only a walk and two hits in the rest of his outing.� Tom Boleska had much better luck on the mound than he did at the plate.� He pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 3 batters.� He allowed only a walk, and immediately erased that runner with a double play to end the game.
Altoona’s RHP Derek Hankins has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis today.� He will join the Indians in Syracuse.� Hankins has made 6 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Curve this season and has earned a 5-3 record with 5 saves, and a 1.82 ERA.� Opposing batters have been hitting .215 against Hankins, who has allowed 58 hits in 79 innings of work, with 27 walks and 48 strikeouts.� To make room for Hankins, reliever Brian Bass will be assigned to Altoona, though this might be on paper only.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have reaquired infielder Brian Bixler (photo) from the Cleveland Indians’ organization.� Bixler, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2004 draft, played in the Pirates’ organization for all of his career until he was traded to Cleveland in January 2010 for infielder Jesus Brito. Bixler did not make the Cleveland major league team out of spring training, and he was removed from their 40-man roster.� He has been playing for AAA Columbus, and has appeared in several games against the Indy Indians.� For the Clippers, the 27-year-old Ohio native has been hitting .278 with 13 doubles, one triple, 3 homers, and 27 RBI.� That’s about the same average but with a little less power than he showed with the Indy Indians in 2009.� Bixler has not been able to take his AAA level success up to the major league level.� In a total of 68 games with the Pirates, Bixler hit .178 with 7 doubles, one triple, and 5 RBI, and struck out 62 times.� Bixler will join the Indy Indians after the All-Star break.
The Indy Indians are off for their All-Star break.� The AAA All-Star game will be played on Wednesday in Lehigh Valley.� The game will not be on ESPN2 as in past years, but will be televised on the MLB network.� It will also be on-line on milb.com.�� More Monday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Richmond Flying Squirrels� 6,� Altoona Curve� 3….. suspended (box)
They got into the 4th inning before rain halted play in Altoona this afternoon.� The Curve got busy in the bottom of the 1st, with a double by 3B Shelby Ford, and an RBI single by 2B Jordy Mercer. Mercer stole second, then went to third on walks to C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones. RF Miles Durham drove in both Mercer and Watts with a line drive single into left field.� Durham also stole second, but was left there when the inning ended.
Starter Tim Alderson retired the side in the top of the 1st, but struggled after that.� The Squirrels came right back in the top of the 2nd to tie the score.� The inning began with three consecutive singles, which brought in one run.� A throwing error by 1B Matt Hague loaded the bases, and another single drove in two more runs.� A sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position — and provided the first out of the inning.� A hit batter loaded the bases again, but an infield fly rule pop out and a grounder force out ended the inning.� The second inning did not go any better.� A double, a walk, and a double opened the inning, bringing in 2 runs.� After two ground outs, another double drove in the Squirrels’ 6th run.� Alderson was relieved by Dustin Molleken to begin the top of the 4th, and Molleken retired the side in order.
The Curve went down in order in the 2nd.� Mercer and Watts both singled in the 3rd, though neither scored.� The bottom of the 4th began with a walk to Durham and a single by CF Anthony Norman, moving Durham to third.� Molleken’s sacrifice bunt moved Norman to second base, and that’s how things stood when play was halted.� The game will be resumed on August 26th.
After the game, Alderson was reassigned to A+ Bradenton.� He had made 17 starts for the Curve, and in 86.2 innings, Alderson had allowed 105 hits and 54 earned runs (5.30 ERA).� He had 26 walks and 57 strikeouts, and batters hit .307 against him. His record:� 7-5.
Jeff Locke is being promoted from Bradenton to Altoona — a pitcher swap.� Locke has a 9-3 record with the Marauders.� He also has 17 starts, for 86.1 innings, allowing 82 hits and 42 earned runs (3.54 ERA).� Locke has walked 14 and struck out 83, and batters hit .248 against him.
Roster moves: �Relief pitcher Duke Welker has been promoted from West Virginia to the Bradenton Marauders. �Welker had made 20 relief appearances for the Power, earning a 1-1 record and 5 saves, with a 3.63 ERA. �In 22.1 in innings, Welker gave up 16 hits, 14 runs (9 earned), with 24 walks and 25 strikeouts. �Opponents hit .198 against him.
The Pirates have signed INF�Yung Chi Chen to a minor league contract and assigned him to Altoona. �Chen had been playing for the AA Midland RockHounds (A’s), but was released in early June. �He had been hitting .168 for Midland, with 5 doubles and 9 RBI in 28 games. �The Taiwan native has been a member of the Taiwan National Team, and was signed by the Mariners in 2004. �He played for AAA Tacoma in 2007 for just a few games before being sidelined with a shoulder injury, and in 69 games in 2008, when he hit .249. �Chen was claimed off waivers by the A’s in late 2008. �He split the 2009 season between AAA Sacramento (where he hit .283 with one homer and 8 RBI in 27 games), AA Midland (.324 and 10 RBI in 17 games) and the Arizona League A’s (.346 with one homer and 8 RBI in 8 games). �Chen appeared in his first game for the Curve on June 30th, when he went 0-for3 with 2 strikeouts.
Altoona Curve �7, �Reading Phillies �1 (box)
Tim Alderson earned his 7th win for the Curve, and he contributed to the offense too, with a 2-run homer. �It was not the first homer of Alderson’s career, though. �He hit one last year for the Curve and another, also last season, while pitching for Connecticut, while he was still in the Giants’ organization.
Alderson got into some trouble right away in the 1st inning, when he gave up what would turn out to be the R-Phils’ only run on a 2-out double and a single. �Then Alderson settled down, scattering a two more hits and two walks over the next 5 innings. �He retired the last 7 batters he faced in order.
After allowing that run in the bottom of the 1st, Alderson took care of the problem himself in the top of the 2nd. �LF Brandon Jones singled, and Alderson gave the Curve a 2-1 lead with his 2-run homer over the left field wall. �The Curve added 4 more runs in the 5th inning. �With one out, 2B Josh Harrison and 1B Matt Hague hit back-to-back singles. �3B Jordy Mercer’s grounder to first forced out Hague at second, but the R-Phils could not turn it into a double play to end the inning. �Instead, they gave C Hector Gimenez a chance, and he took it — a double into center field, scoring both Harrison from third and Mercer all the way from first. �Jones singled, bringing in Gimenez, and a fielding error in center field allowed Jones to advance to second base. �That gave him the opportunity to score on RF Miles Durham’s RBI single.
The next 11 Curve batters went down in order, until CF Gorkys Hernandez singled with one out in the 9th. �A passed ball let Hernandez move up to second base, and he scored on Hague’s RBI single. �Mercer also singled and Gimenez walked to load the bases, but a ground out ended the inning before the Curve could add to their run tally.
Derek Hankins earned his 3rd save for the Curve with 3 scoreless innings of work. �He gave up a walk and a single over those 3 innings, while striking out 2 batters.
Tuesday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization
GCL Yankees �11, �GCL Pirates �4 (box)
Chris Jakubauskas, who suffered a concussion while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates back in April, made his first appearance in a real game today, with the GCL Pirates. �He pitched 3 innings, and suffered the loss as he gave up 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk. �He did strike out 5 batters. �Jakubauskas retired the Yankees in order in the 1st inning, then gave up a run on a triple and a sacrifice fly in the 2nd. �He allowed a lone walk in the 3rd inning, but began the 4th with a single, a double, and a 3-run homer, followed by another single.
Joan Montero finished the 4th for Jakubauskas, then gave up a run on a single, a wild pitch, and four walks in the 5th. �Dovydas Neverauskas completed the 5th, and gave up 2 runs in the 6th, ona double, a walk, and a 2-RBI single. �The Yankees scored 4 runs in the 8th, though only one was earned. �The inning began with a throwing error b 2B Luis Solano, then a double and a single both brought in a run. �Another fielding error and two more singles gave the Yankees a total of 11 runs. �Rinku Singh pitched a scoreless 9th inning for the Pirates, allowing a single and a walk, then getting a line-out into a double play before ending the inning with a strikeout.
The Pirates’ bats could not keep up with the Yankees. �They scored one run in the 2nd, when C Elias Diaz led off with a double, was sacrifice bunted to third, and scored on a fielder’s choice by Solano. �The Pirates added a run in the 4th. �RF Gregory Polanco led off with a single up the middle. �A grounder by LF Exicardo Cayonez forced Polanco out at second but left Cayonez at first. �Cayonez stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Yankees’ catcher. �He scored on a wild pitch. �Another error contributed to the Pirates’ run in the 6th. �SS Kevin Mort singled and 3B Eric Avila and Diaz both walked. �The fielding error on Solano’s ball to short allowed Mort to score. �Polanco scored the Pirates’ final run in the 8th, when he doubled, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on Cayonez’s RBI single.