The Pirates have signed their 4th round draft pick, Colten Brewer. Brewer is a right-handed pitcher who was drafted out of high school in Canton. He will likely report to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career. All of the Pirates’ draft picks, and the ones who have signed, are listed here.
GCL Pirates 10, GCL Blue Jays 7
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Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia made his pro debut this afternoon, with a start for the GCL Pirates. Heredia made a good showing. He had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Alen Hanson in the 1st, but he retired the other three batters in that inning. He gave up a walk in the 2nd, but again retired the other three batters he faced. Heredia had some trouble in the 3rd, when he allowed 2 runs. He began the inning with two ground outs, then hit a batter with a pitch. That runner stole both second and third bases, then Heredia walked the next two batters to load the bases. A single lined into left field brought in two runs. Heredia was relieved by Robert Kilcrease, who finished the inning with a ground out.
Kilcrease gave up another 2 runs in the 4th. Back-to-back singles with one out and a walk loaded the bases with Jays. A sacrifice fly brought in one run, then an RBI single brought in the second, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.
The Pirates were relatively quiet over the first 3 innings, but they broke out in the bottom of the 4th. With one out, 3B Yhonathan Barrios beat out a bunt for a hit, then moved to second and on to third on two wild pitches. He scored on LF Jose Osuna’s RBI single. 1B Jared Lakind walked, then DH Jon Schwind doubled in Osuna. C Joey Schoenfeld tapped back to the mound, where the Jays’ pitcher tried for a fielder’s choice — but failed, allowing Lakind to score, and leaving Pirate runners on the corners. Hansen’s 3-run homer brought in Schwind and Schoenfeld, giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead.
The Blue Jays also homered in the top of the 5th, but it was a solo shot off Pirates’ reliever Diomedes Mateo. In the bottom of the 5th, RF Gregory Polanco walked and stole second base, then scored on Barrios’ triple lined into right field. Pirates ahead, 7-5. Mateo also gave up 2 more runs in the top of the 6th. A single, a hit batter, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third bases. A fielding error by Barrios allowed both runners to cross the plate, tying the score at 7-7.
The Pirates went down in order in the 6th and 7th innings. Mateo gave up a single in the top of the 7th, but erased that runner with a double play. He also allowed a walk in the 7th, and a single in the 8th. Then the Pirates broke the tie in the bottom of the 8th. Osuna walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Junior Sosa. Lakind’s sacrifice bunt put Sosa on second, but Lakind was also safe at first. Schwind also bunted, and was safe at first to load the bases. Schoenfeld’s single brought in Sosa, then Hanson’s double lined into left scored both Lakind and Schwind. That gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again for the Pirates. Schoenfeld tried for the steal of home but didn’t make it, and that was the first out of the inning. A strikeout and a ground out ended the frame, but the Pirates had the lead.
Joe Parsons relieved Mateo on the mound to begin the top of the 9th. He loaded the bases with two outs, on a hit batter, a walk, and a single. Parsons got a pop out to end the game, and the Pirates had the win.
Less action than usual for a Sunday afternoon — the Bradenton Marauders are still on their All-Star break, and the game between the West Virginia Power and the Lakewood BlueClaws was cancelled due to wet grounds at Appalachian Power Park. The South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday.
Altoona Curve 4, Harrisburg Senators 1
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LF Quincy Latimore and RF Anthony Norman posted 2 hits each, and Latimore scored 3 of the Curve’s 4 runs as Altoona took the win. Latimore’s first hit was a double lined into left field in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He scored on Norman’s single. The two combined again in the 4th inning for another run. With two outs, Latimore walked, then Norman singled into right field. When the Harrisburg right fielder made a throwing error, Latimore had the chance to round third and score. Latimore homered to lead off the 7th inning, and at that point, he was responsible for all of the Curve runs.
With former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound for Harrisburg in the 8th, CF Starling Marte began the inning with a single. Marte advanced to second base on a ground out by 3B Jeremy Farrell, then he stole third base. C Tony Sanchez’s RBI single up the middle brought Marte in to score the final run for the Curve.
Phillip Irwin made the start for the Curve and pitched 6 scoreless innings. He hit a batter in the top of the 1st, then retired the next 13 Harrisburg batters, until he gave up a lone single in the 5th. He allowed a single and a walk in the 6th, for the biggest threat he had faced, but left both on base to end the inning. Bryan Morris relieved Irwin to begin the 7th inning. He put the side down in order in that inning, but gave up an unearned run in the 8th. A throwing error by Sanchez, a double, and an RBI ground out brought in the run. Morris allowed a single in the 9th, but did not allow another run to score. Irwin won his first game of the season, and Morris earned his third Save.
More brief notes for Saturday, since we’re on the road….
Florida State League All-Star Game, played in Clearwater, Florida
FSL North 5, FSL South 3
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Three Marauders’ players got in on this game: C Ramon Cabrera, 1B Aaron Baker, and 2B Jarek Cunningham were all starters for the South squad. The North scored first, with a single, a triple, and fielding error in center field in the bottom of the 1st, for a 2-0 lead. The South tied it up in the top of the 4th, thanks to the Marauders. Cabrera led off with a single through to left field. After two outs, Baker brought in Cabrera with a 2-run homer to tie the game.
The North took the lead again in the bottom of the 5th. A walk, a stolen base, an RBI double, and an RBI single gave the North a 4-2 lead. The North added some insurance in the bottom of the 8th, on two singles and a double. The South had one last chance in the top of the 9th, which began with a lead-off single. Baker grounded out, moving the runner to second base, and another single put him on third. A sacrifice fly brought in the run, but a ground out ended the rally and the game.
Cabrera played 3.5 innings before being replaced by another catcher. He went 1-for-2, with a ground out in his other at-bats. Cunningham played 5.5 innings before letting another second baseman get into the game. He grounded out and popped out in his two plate appearances. Baker played the whole game, and went 1-for-2 at the plate, with two walks.
The Pirates played two split-squad spring training games this afternoon (Monday):
Orioles 6, Pirates 4
The Pirates were held to 5 hits at McKechnie field this afternoon, but one of the big ones was a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 9th by RF Miles Durham, who was up from minor league camp. 1B Lyle Overbay also singled for the Pirates, scoring the first Pirates’ run of the game in the 5th. 3B Pedro Alvarez knocked in the remaining run for the Pirates, in the 6th inning. LF Jose Tabata led off the inning with a single, stole second base, then scored on Alvarez’s single Alvarez also doubled for the Pirates.
LF John Bowker, SS Brian Friday, CF Mel Rojas, 3B Andy Marte, 1B Steve Pearce, 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 2B Jim Negrych, and C Wyatt Toregas all got into the game for the Pirates.
Paul Maholm took the loss for the Pirates. He gave up a run in the 1st inning on a double and a single, then another on a solo homer in the 2nd. Jeff Locke allowed a run on two hits in the 6th. He allowed a single and a walk, then with two outs, an RBI single brought in a run. Justin Wilson got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the 8th. A double and a sacrifice fly drove in all three of the base runners. Jeff Karstens pitched 2 scoreless innings, then Tyler Yates, and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless frame. Cesar Valdez finished up the 8th for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 9th, facing only 4 batters.
All of the Pirates’ position players have arrived at camp in Bradenton, even Jose Ascanio, who had been held up in Venezuela due to visa issues. Pitcher Scott Olsen is going to be out for a few days due to a hamstring injury. The only other “injured” player at this time is pitcher Donnie Veal, who is working his way back after elbow surgery (“Tommy John”).
Continuing to look at the Pirates’ minor league outfielders… today we have two outfielders who have a lot to overcome:
Wes Freeman — R/R, 6′ 4″, 215 lb.
Freeman was the Pirates’ pick in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. The 21-year-old Florida native spent the remainder of the 2008 season and all of 2009 with the GCL Pirates, where he struggled at the plate. He struck out in more than a third of his at-bats in 2009, and unfortunately that did not get any better in 2010. Freeman began last season in West Virginia. He did fine in right field, and his arm is strong, but at the plate, he was getting into more and more trouble. In 24 games for the Power, he hit .187 with 44 strikeouts — almost 2 strikeouts per game. Freeman injured his ankle, and when he was ready to come back, he was returned to the GCL. He finished the season with 21 games for the GCL Pirates, hitting .187 there. His strikeout rate was 52% in those 21 games, for a total of 35 K’s. With all the other outfielders who are vying to start the season in West Virginia, Freeman is going to have to look very good in spring training if he’s going to join the Power. Then he’s going to have to figure out how to stop striking out if he’s going to stay in the organization.
Cole White — R/R, 6′ 4″, 205 lb.
White has a completely different situation to work around. He was the Pirates’ 42nd round pick in the 2008 draft, and along with fellow West Point graduate Chris Simmons, White signed and reported to State College, where he hit .338 with 6 doubles, one homer, and 9 RBI in 21 games. But he ran into a snag — the US Army changed its policy regarding athletes and their required military service. So, White was off to military duties, and his baseball career was on hold. Then the Army changed policy again, and White was able to ask to return to baseball. He rejoined the State College Spikes at the end of June, and showed his excitement to return by hitting .306 in July. He slid into a slump in August, but finished the season with a .250 average, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, and 19 RBI. White should be able to start 2011 in West Virginia, but he’s going to have some catching up to do. He’ll be 26 in early April, and relatively speaking, that’s 3 – 5 years older than most of his teammates will be. (White still owes the Army 3 years of service.)