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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Busy Day For Pirates; Indians Win 8-3

The Pirates had a busy Spring Training day today:
LHP (starter) Garrett Olson was claimed off waivers from Seattle.  Olson is a 27-year-old California native who was the Orioles’ 1st round pick in the 2005 draft.  He made his major league debut in July 2007, and split both the 2007 and 2008 season between Balitmore and AAA Norfolk.  His combined stats for Baltimore:  10-13 record in 31 starts, 165 innings, 6.87 ERA, 111 K, 90 BB.  And combined stats for Norfolk: 10-9 record in 29 starts, 164.1 innings, 3.12 ERA, 159 K, 55 BB.  One big problem, though, is that he surrendered 35 homer runs over those two years.  At the beginning of 2009, Olson was traded to the Cubs, and 10 days later was traded to the Mariners (with Ronny Cedeno) to the Mariners.  He split both the 2009 and 2010 seasons between Seattle and AAA Tacoma.  In 2009, he started 9 games for Tacoma, earning a 2-3 record and a 4.94 ERA, but in Seattle, he was also used in relief.  He made 11 starts and 20 relief appearances for a total of 80.1 innings  – and gave up 19 home runs.  Olson made 6 starts and 6 relief appearances for Tacoma in 2010, then made 35 relief appearances in Seattle.  His record in Seattle was 0-3 with 1 save, and a 4.54 ERA.  In 37.2 innings, he allowed 6 homers, 15 BB, with 21 K.  Throughout all these seasons, Olson allowed about as many or more hits as innings pitched:  79 hits in 80.1 innings in Seattle in 2009, and 42 hits in 37.2 innings in 2010.  His overall major league total is 10.53 hits/9 innings.  The Pirates plan to have Olson compete for a spot as a lefty out of the bullpen.  Scott Olsen (oh, we’re going to have fun confusing those two) and Joe Beimel are also in consideration but have lost time time this spring due to injury.  Brian Burres and Justin Thomas are also in the mix.  In order to make a spot for Olson on the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed Kevin Hart on the 60-day DL.  Olson is out of options, which is why the Mariners had to put him on waivers.  If he does not make the Pirates’ active roster out of camp, then he will have to go on waivers again.  The hits and the homers are concerning, and the Pirates will have to see how Olson does in some spring appearances in the next two weeks.

Phillies  3,  Pirates 2
The Phillies rallied in the bottom of the 9th for a come-from-behind win over the Pirates in Clearwater, FL this afternoon.  With Chris Leroux on the mound, the first two batters of the frame both singles.  Former Pirate/Indian Erik Kratz bounced a pinch-hit grounder to third, but instead of going for the double play, 3B Jeremy Farrell went for the tag of the runner going from second to third.  The runner avoided the tag but was called out anyway because he went out of the basepath.  That left runners on first and second with one out.  The next batter slapped a grounder to second, and though 2B Josh Harrison made a great stab to keep the ball from going into right field, he was only able to make the out at first.  With two runners in scoring position, Leroux gave up a single up the middle, and both runners (including Kratz) scored, for the walk-off win.  

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Mercer Gets 4 Hits And Walk-Off; Cunningham Homers In The 12th

Less action than planned on Tuesday for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates, mostly due to rain in the Bradenton area.� The Marauders’ game against the St. Lucie Mets was postponed.� They will try for two tomorrow.� Yesterday’s game between the Fort Myer Miracle and the Marauders was also rained out, as well as the game that they tried to start on Sunday (but only got into the second inning).� Those games will not be made up.� The GCL Braves at GCL Pirates games were washed out yesterday.� They tried to play two today, but only got one of the games in.

GCL Braves� 5,� GCL Pirates� 1 ..� (box)

Each team had 6 hits this afternoon, but the one that counted was the Braves’ walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 7th.� The Pirates began the scoring with a run in the 3rd inning.� SS Kevin Mort led off with a double, then advanced to third base on DH Justin Howard’s single into right field.� The two pulled off a double steal, with Mort scoring on the steal of home.� The Braves tied the score in the bottom of the 4th with a solo home run.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the 5th, on singles by Howard and CF Junior Sosa, and a walk by 2B Jorge Bishop. A strikeout ended that threat.� Sosa also singled in the 1st inning and stole second base.� LF Exicardo Cayonez also singled in the 4th, but was thrown out trying to steal second.� 1B Jared Lakind made his pro debut, but went 0-for-3 at the plate.

Joely Rodriguez pitched 5 innings in his start, and scattered 3 hits, no walks.� One of those hits was the solo homer in the 4th.� Ryan Hafner also made his pro debut, pitching the 6th inning.� He gave up a lead-off single in the 6th, then got a grounder force out and struck out the next two batters to end the inning and continue the tie.� Hafner began the 7th inning with a single and a walk.� Fraylin Campos relieved Hafner, but he hit the first batter he faced to load the bases.� That set up Braves’ 3B Brandon Drury for the game-winning grand slam.

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Two Homers By Harrison Aren’t Enough; Maggi Debuts

Early and late action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

Portland Sea Dogs� 9,� Altoona Curve� 8 (box)

Two home runs by 3B Josh Harrison and an early lead from a 5-run 2nd inning were washed away by the Sea Dogs’ 6-run 7th inning this afternoon.� Harrison, the second batter of the game, put the Curve onto the scoreboard minutes after the game began with his solo home run over the left field wall.� He added the second home run (his 3rd of the season) in the next inning.� That rally began with back-to-back walks by RF Miles Durham and C Kris Watts. CF Anthony Norman was hit by a pitch to load the bases for LF Jose De Los Santos. A line drive single by De Los Santos brought in Durham, then a wild pitch let Watts score.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud lifted a sacrifice fly, which plated Norman.� That left De Los Santos on base for Harrison, who blasted his second home run, also over the left field wall, for a 2-run homer, giving the Curve a 6-0 lead.

Bryan Morris began his afternoon’s work by allowing only a walk and a single over the first three innings.� In the 4th, he gave up a single just over the head of SS Jordy Mercer and into left field, then a home run on a rising line drive, cutting the Curve’s lead to 6-2.� Those were the only runs Morris allowed, on 3 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Morris was relieved by Tom Boleska to begin the 6th.� Boleska gave up a solo homer, to 1B Anthony Rizzo, inching the Sea Dogs closer, 6-3.� But the real trouble came in the 7th, when Boleska could not retire any of the 4 batters he faced.� The first blasted a solo home run, then the next three all singled.� Derek Hankins replaced Boleska with the bases loaded and no outs.� He got one out on the infield fly rule, then got former Curve Ray Chang to strike out.� That brought Rizzo to the plate again — and he smashed a grand slam over the center field wall, and Portland had a 7-6 lead.� The grand slam was immediately followed by another solo home run, the third homer of the inning, for an 8-6 lead.� Five of those runs were charged to Boleska, and the other two to Hankins.

The Curve put one runner on base in each of the 4th through 7th innings, but could not get any of them around to score.� They rallied again in the 8th, starting with a single by 1B Matt� Hague and a double by Jordy Mercer, moving Hague to third base.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly brought in Hague, and Kris Watts’ double scored Mercer.� Norman was hit by a pitch and De Los Santos singled to deep short to load the bases.� But a grounder force out ended the inning with the Curve still one run short.� They went down in order in the 9th, and the Sea Dogs had the come-from-behind win.� Morris did not figure into the decision, but Boleska took the loss.

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Three Hits For Avila, Three RBI for Noris

Wednesday, with games going on all afternoon and evening….

Bradenton Marauders� 3,� Tampa Yankees� 1 (box)

A 3-run 5th inning was all it took from the Marauders’ bats this afternoon.� The inning began with 3B Jose De Los Santos reaching base on a fielding error.� RF Robbie Grossman singled, moving De Los Santos to third base, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled, scoring De Los Santos.� Both Grossman and Latimore scored on 1B Erik Huber’s single into right field.� Huber stole second base, but was left there when the inning ended on a fly out. All three runs were unearned.

Those three hits were half of the Marauder’s total for the game.� Latimore and Huber also singled in the 2nd inning, and C James Skelton walked, loading the bases, but three consecutive strikeouts ended the inning with all three runners still in place.� CF Austin McClune singled to lead off the 6th, 2B Adenson Chourio reached on a fielding error, but a double play ended the inning with Chourio forced out at second.� The Marauders went down in order in the last three innings of the game.

The only run the Yankees scored was also unearned.� Bradenton starter Aaron Pribanic pitched 5 innings and scattered 4 hits.� He came back out to begin the 6th, but was relieved after giving up a single and a walk.� Tom Boleska struck out the first batter he faced, then Skelton threw out the second runner as he tried to steal second in a double steal.� When the next batter reached on a throwing error by De Los Santos, the runner (who had stolen third base) scored from third.� Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th.� Tyler Cox allowed a single and a walk in the scoreless 8th.� Diego Moreno, who has finished his organizational suspension and has been reassigned to the Marauders, pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing just one walk.

Reliever Mike Colla has been promoted from the Marauders to AA Altoona, trading spots with Moreno.

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