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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2011 Prospect Watching: Noris and Irvine

Continuing to look at Pirates’ minor league outfielders:

Rogelios Noris —  R/R,  6′ 2″,  192 lbs
Noris is a 21-year-old Mexican native, who made his US debut with the GCL Pirates in 2009.  He was promoted to A level West Virginia for 2010, where he hit .236, a little lower than the .250 he’d achieved in the GCL.  Noris blasted 15 homers and had 57 RBI for West Virginia, and he has the potential to be a power hitter.  His big drawback, though, is his high strikeout rate — he struck out 144 times in 111 games (35%).  Combined with very few walks (15), Noris needs to work on his approach at the plate this season.  He did show some improvement in that regard in his second winter season with his hometown Venados de Mazatlan.  Noris appeared in 49 games in the winter league, hitting .246 with 2 homers and 10 RBI.  He walked 12 times, and struck out 34 times, which was a drop to 27%.  He could go back to West Virginia for 2011, but there are going to be a lot of outfielders at that level, so Noris could be pushed on up to A+ Bradenton.

Pat Irvine  —  Bats L / Throws R,  6′ 0″,  197 lbs
Though Irvine is listed as an outfielder, he has also played some third base and has also done some catching.  Irvine was the Pirates’ 33rd round pick in the 2009 draft.  He played third base and left field at State College in 2009, then began the 2010 season in West Virginia as a catcher.  Unfortunately, the opponents’ base runners took Irvine’s presence behind the plate as their free ticket to the next base.  In 10 games, 19 batters stole on him (he threw out one), and he had 3 passed balls.  He also struggled at the plate, hitting .212.  Irvine was sent back to State College, where he proved again that catching was not his future.  He returned to the outfield, where he was ok but not spectacular.  Irvine hit .271 in July, with 7 RBI, but sagged to .227 in August, with 6 more RBI.  He did draw 25 walks in 39 games, but that alone is not going to be enough to get the 25-year-old back to West Virginia for 2011, and he is getting “old” for those lower levels.

Other notes:
Remember infielder Tony Mansolino?  He was the Pirates’ 26th round pick in the 2005 draft, but was released in June 2008.  He played in the Northern League in 2009 and in the American Association in both 2009 and 2010.  Last week he was signed to a minor league contract by the Cleveland Indians.  
C Miguel Perez, who played for the Curve and the Indy Indians in 2008 -09, signed a minor league deal with the Nationals.  

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Marauders Win Second Half Title; Walk-Off Homer For Gonzalez

Sunday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… this is the season finale for the Spikes, and the regular season finale for the Marauders.

West Virginia Power� 4,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….��� (box)

Elevys Gonzalez was the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a blast over the right-center field wall for a walk-off homer.� The Suns had scored first with a solo home run off Power starter Eliecer Navarro to lead off the 2nd inning and another solo blast to begin the 4th inning.� Navarro scattered 5 more hits over the rest of the first 5 innings without allowing a run to score.� He began the 6th inning by giving up a walk, then an RBI double to give the Suns their third run.� Maurice Bankston relieved Navarro to finish the 6th inning, then went on to pitch 2 scoreless innings.

The Power got one run back in the bottom of the 4th, with the help of 3 consecutive walks.� CF Evan Chambers walked first, but was caught stealing second base.� Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and DH Jose Hernandez put two runners on base, then C Ramon Cabrera skipped a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall, scoring Baker.� A pop out ended the inning without any further scoring.

The bottom of the 7th began with the Power trailing 3-1.� Cabrera led off with a line drive single up the middle, then LF Rogelios Noris doubled, and 3B Andy Vasquez tripled, tying the score as both Cabrera and Noris scored.� Vasquez was cut down after rounding third base, on the throw in from the outfield.

Bankston hit a batter with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th, but left him stranded.� Jhonathan Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.� The Power went down in order in ther 8th.� Noris singled and stole second base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not come around to score, and the game went into extra innings.� Ramos gave up a one-out single in the top of the 10th, but then struck out the next two batters.� That set up the bottom of the 10th, when Elevys Gonzalez greeted the new Suns’ reliever with the game-winning homer.

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Marauders Clinch Playoff Spot

On Friday night, all of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost.� On Saturday night, all but State College won….

Bradenton Marauders� 4,� Charlotte Stone Crabs� 2 …���� (box)

The Marauders assured themselves at least a spot in the playoffs with this win tonight.� Nate Adcock won his 11th game of the season with 2 runs allowed in 5.2 innings of work.� He gave up a run in the bottom of the 1st, with a 2-out walk, a wild pitch, and two singles.� He surrendered another run on a walk and a double to lead off the 3rd inning.� He scattered 4 more hits, but left two stranded and erased two with double plays.� In the top of the 6th, Adcock got two outs and gave up a single, then that runner stole both second and third base.� He was relieved by Kyle McPherson, who finished that inning with a strikeout, then gave up just one hit over the next 2 innings, including 3 more strikeouts.� Noah Krol earned his league-leading 34th save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning, working around a missed catch error.

Bradenton picked up one run in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then moved to second base on a groundout.� 3B Adam Davis’ RBI single brought in Fryer.� The Marauders were on the receiving end of several walks over the next few innings — one in the 3rd to SS Shelby Ford, one in the 4th to Fryer, three in the 5th to DH Jordan Newton, 2B James Skelton, and RF Robbie Grossman to load the bases — but all were left on base.� They did score again in the 6th, when LF Quincy Latimore led off with a single.� He was forced out at second on Fryer’s grounder, leaving Fryer at first.� Davis singled again, advancing Fryer to third bse, then Newton doubled in both Fryer and Davis, to take a 3-2 lead.� They added an insurance run in the 4th.� Grossman singled with one out, then scored on CF Starling Marte’s double.� The Marauders threatened again in the 8th, as Davis was hit by a pitch and Newton walked, then Skelton bunted them both into scoring position.� A strikeout and a ground out ended the inning, but it turned out to not matter, and the Marauders season is going to continue beyond the weekend.

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Irwin: Another 7 No-Hit Innings;

Thursday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 …��� (box)

On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin’s toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.

The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder’s choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris’ RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez’s double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.

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