Curve All-Stars Named; Alvarez Homers

Five Curve players have been named to the Eastern League /Western Division All-Star team.  RHP Aaron Pribanic, LHP Jeff Locke, 2B Brock Holt, 3B Jeremy Farrell, and OF Starling Marte.  Also, because the Curve won the Western Division last year, the Curve coaching staff will be coaching the division’s team :  manager PJ Forbes, pitching coach Wally Whitehurst, hitting coach Brandon Moore, and trainer Mike Zaino.  The game will be played on Wednesday July 13th at Manchester, NH (home of the Fisher Cats).  

Friday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates …. the GCL Pirates’ game was postponed.   

Bradenton Marauders  3,  Palm Beach Cardinals  2
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Rehabbing 3B Pedro Alvarez provided the firepower, while Brandon Cumpton earned his first win with the Marauders tonight.  The plan was for Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, to pitch for one inning to begin the game.  Beimel retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the 1st, with two strikeouts and a fly out.  He then gave way to Cumpton, who pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks.  Cumpton had two runners on base in only one inning, the 3rd, when two singles and a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position.  Cumpton struck out the next batter to escape the jam.  

The Marauders put two runners on base in the 1st when both RF Robbie Grossman and Alvarez walked, then again put two on in the 2nd, on a single by DH Adalberto Santos and a walk to C Jairo Marquez.  2B Jarek Cunningham also singled in the 3rd, but none of those runners could make it around to score.  All of the Marauders’ runs came in the bottom of the 5th.  Marquez led off with a double lined into center field.  SS Benji Gonzalez dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Marquez to third base.  Cunningham doubled into left field, and Marquez scored easily from third.  Then Alvarez blasted a 2-run homer over the left field wall to give the Marauders a 3-0 lead.  
Cumpton came back out to begin the top of the 8th.  He faced only two batters, though, giving up a single and a 2-run homer to bring the Cardinals within one run, 3-2.  Cumpton was relieved by Duke Welker, who ended the 8th with three ground outs.  

The Marauders would have liked an insurance run or two, but had only a walk by Grossman in the 7th, then a single by Cunningham and Santos reaching on catcher interference in the 8th.  It turned out to not matter, as Welker pitched a scoreless 9th to seal the win and earn his second save of the season.  

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Alvarez Joins Marauders; Harrison Back to Pirates

Tuesdays’ action… and again the player moves are as interesting as the games.

3B Pedro Alvarez was moved from the GCL Pirates to the Marauders to continue his rehab work.  
With OF Jose Tabata being placed onto the Disabled List, the Pirates were no longer forced to wait 10 days before recalling INF Josh Harrison.  Harrison joined Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley as the new kids on the block in Pittsburgh.  Backfilling, OF Anthony Norman and SS Jordy Mercer were both promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis.  INF Josh Rodriguez was sent down to Altoona.

Bradenton Marauders  8,  St. Lucie Mets  1
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A 5-run 4th inning gave the Marauders a big boost, as they bombarded the Mets in Bradenton.  Pedro Alvarez started the game at third base for the Marauders.  He grounded out in the 1st inning, then singled to lead off the 4th, and was hit by a pitch in the 5th. It was not a particularly busy day at third base for Alvarez, but he successfully fielded 3 grounders that came his way.  Elevys Gonzalez took over for Alvarez at the beginning of the 6th.   

Brett Lorin allowed only one run in his start, and earned his 3rd win of the season (3-4 record).  The lone run scored in the 3rd, on a hit batter, a ground out, and a ground-rule double.  Lorin scattered 3 more hits, no walks, over the rest of his 6 innings.  He hit another batter and he struck out 5.  

The Marauders got onto the scoreboard when they batted around in the 4th.  Alvarez’s single got the fun started, then 1B Aaron Baker lined a double into left field, moving Alvarez to third.  DH Adalberto Santos walked to load the bases.  CF Evan Chambers brought in Alvarez with an RBI single, and C Carlos Paulino’s double into center field plated both Baker and Santos.  LF David Rubinstein walked to load the bases again.  After a pitching change, SS Kelson Brown’s RBI ground out scored Chambers, and RF Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly brought in Paulino, to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead.  

Tyler Cox replaced Lorin to begin the 7th inning.  Cox walked the first batter he faced, then retired the next 6, including two strikeouts in each inning.   Duke Welker pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, with one strikeout.  

The Marauders also did some late-inning scoring.  Brown and Grossman led off the 7th with back-to-back singles, and 2B Jarek Cunningham drove both of them in with his double into right field.  Chambers started the 9th with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch.  He tagged up and advanced to third on Rubinstein’s fly out, then scored on a wild pitch, to give the Marauders their 8 run total.  

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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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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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2011 Prospect Watching: Stevenson, Cumpton, And Pals

Continuing our visit with some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Trent Stevenson —  Bats L / Throws R,  6′ 6″,  175 lb
The Pirates chose Stevenson in the 7th round of the 2009 draft.  The Scottsdale, AZ native reported to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career, and made 5 appearances (4 starts) there, allowing just 2 runs in 15 innings (1.20 ERA).  He began the 2010 season again with the GCL Pirates, but after one game, in which he allowed 2 run on two hits (one was a home run) with 3 strikeouts, Stevenson was promoted to State College.  Stevenson pitched entirely out of the bullpen for the Spikes, with 15 appearances for 40.2 total innings, usually going 2 -3 innings at a time.  He pitched 20 innings over 7 appearances in the end of June and through July, with a 4.50 ERA, allowing 22 hits and 10 runs, with 8 walks and 9 strikeouts.  The second half of the season was much the same, with 8 appearances for 20.2 innings and a 4.36 ERA.  In August and into September, he allowed 10 runs on 22 hits, with 7 walks and 14 strikeouts.  At age 20, Stevenson is still developing, and the Pirates are hoping to see more velocity from him, to keep his fastball consistently in the 90’s.  He also has a slider and a changeup, which will need more work.  He should be ready for West Virginia in 2011, though if the Power bullpen is too crowded, he could spend a little more time at State College.

Brandon Cumpton –  R/R,  6′ 2″,  198 lb
Cumpton was the Pirates’ 9th round pick in the 2010 draft.  He signed in July and got in 4 appearances with the GCL Pirates before the end of the season.  He pitched a total of 8 scoreless innings in his first, second, and fourth appearances, allowing one hit in the second and two hits in the fourth.  He also struck out 5 batters over the 3 innings of the second appearance.  The third appearance was a struggle, as he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 2.2 innings, with 2 walks.  That gave him an overall 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings, and 6 total strikeouts.  Cumpton is still working on fastball command.  The 22-year-old will likely remain a reliever, and is also in the mix for a bullpen spot in West Virginia, though he too could go to State College.  

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