Finishing up with the catchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Jason Jaramillo – Bats: Both / Throws Right; 6′ 0″, 210 lb
Jaramillo was chosen by the Phillies in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft, and he came to the Pirates in a trade in December 2008. In 2009, Jaramillo spent the entire season in Pittsburgh, where he was the back-up to Ryan Doumit. Sure enough, Doumit got injured, and Jaramillo got some steady playing time. In 63 games, he hit .252 with 14 doubles, 3 homers, and 26 RBI. Jaramillo returned to the back-up role in 2010. Through the first half of the season, Jaramillo went 11-for-77 (.143) with one homer and 6 RBI. He was also bouncing into a lot of double plays. Doumit was staying healthy, and Jaramillo was just not getting into many games. The lack of playing time was concerning enough that the Pirates elected to send Jaramillo to AAA Indianapolis in July so that he could get some at-bats and more time behind the plate. In 25 games for the Indians, he hit .239 with one homer and 13 RBI. When Doumit suffered a concussion, Jaramillo was back up to Pittsburgh. Then Chris Snyder joined the team, and Jaramillo went back to Indy. He again returned to the Pirates in September, but again got very little playing time. He finished the season with a .149 average for the Pirates in a total of 33 games, with one homer and 6 RBI. In an effort to get more playing time, Jaramillo played some winter ball with Los Toros del Este in the Dominican League (the team managed by Indy Indians’ manager Dean Treanor). He got into only 16 games, and hit .217 with 3 RBI. In 2011, Jaramillo’s fate is going to be dependent on what happens to Doumit. If the Pirates can trade Doumit, then Jaramillo will likely be their back-up catcher. If Doumit stays in Pittsburgh, then he will be the back-up and Jaramillo will go to Indianapolis, since he does have one option year left. Keeping Jaramillo in Pittsburgh and sending Doumit to AAA seems unlikely, given Doumit’s big contract.
Phillies 7, Pirates 4
A 3-run rally in the 7th inning was enough to push the Phillies over the Pirates at McKechnie Field this afternoon.
Starter Kevin Correia had a shaky top of the 1st inning. The first four batters he faced all singled, bringing in 2 runs. Then with runners on the corners, Correia buckled down, getting a foul pop out then two strikeouts to end the inning. The Pirates got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning. With one out, SS Pedro Ciriaco doubled into left field, and 2B Neil Walker moved him to third base with a line drive single into right. 1B Lyle Overbay also lined into right field, to drive in Ciriaco, though Walker was out when he tried to get from first to third. DH Matt Diaz also singled, but he and Overbay were left on base at the end of the inning.
Correia worked around a single in the 2nd inning, then retired the side in order in the 3rd inning. The Pirates also went down in order in both the 2nd and 3rd. Diaz tied the score in the 4th, with a walk and a stolen base, then a single by 3B Andy Marte.
Brian Burres pitched the 4th and 5th innings, allowing only a double. Fernando Nieve took the mound next. The first batter he faced was Ryan Howard, who blasted a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Nieve gave up a walk and a single after the homer, but left them on base. The bottom of the inning began with a walk by Walker. Pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, moving Walker to third. RF Garrett Jones ground out to first, which let Walker score to tie it up again. Marte hit the next ground rule double, driving in Sanchez with the go-ahead run.
Nieve came back out for the top of the 7th, and that’s when he got into even more trouble. Two singles (one to former Pirate Brandon Moss) and a double tied the score again, at 4-4. Nieve was relieved by Mike Dubee (whose dad is Phillies’ pitching coach Rich Dubee). Dubee gave up a ground out to second, which allowed Moss to score from third base. A single brought in the third run of the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout to end the inning. Bryan Morris pitched the 8th inning, and gave up the final Phillies’ run with a double, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly. Daniel Moskos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th to wrap things up.
The Pirates threatened in the bottom of the 7th. Singles by CF Alex Presley and LF John Bowker and a walk by 2B Corey Wimberly loaded the bases with one out. All three were left standing there when both 1B Josh Fields and Tony Sanchez struck out.
C Wyatt Toregas also singled for the Pirates. SS Chase d’Arnaud, RF Andrew Lambo, and CF Gorkys Hernandez all got into the game as well.
Pirates 2, Yankees 0
Six Pirate pitchers combined to shut out the Yankees at McKechnie Field this afternoon. James McDonald and Aaron Thompson each pitched 2 scoreless innings, and each allowed 2 hits. That was all the hits the Yankees could get. Daniel McCutchen pitched 2 innings, retiring 6 batters in order, including 2 strikeouts. Chris Resop, Ramon Aguero, and Daniel Moskos all contributed one scoreless and hitless inning, and Moskos earned the save.
The Pirates posted just 6 hits. Two of those belonged to C Chris Snyder. He singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was caught trying to steal second base, then singled again to begin the 6th, and was replaced by pinch runner Jeremy Farrell. 2B Josh Rodriguez bunted Farrell to second base, and SS Pedro Ciriaco drove in the first run of the game with an RB double into left field. The Pirates scored again in the 7th, when DH Garrett Jones opened the frame with a walk. 1B Steve Pearce bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, moving Jones to third base. 3B Josh Fields brought in Jones with a sacrifice fly.
CF Alex Presley walked, singled, and was hit by a pitch in the game. LF John Bowker also singled. Also getting in the game: CF Gorkys Hernandez, LF Miles Durham, RF Andrew Lambo, 1B Garrett Atkins, RF Matt Diaz, C Wyatt Toregas, 2B Brian Friday, and SS Corey Wimberly. Doug Bernier, who played for the Indy Indians in 2010, got into the game for the Yankees.
The Pirates have signed 3B Christian Colonel to a minor league contract. Colonel was the Rockies’ 5th round draft pick in 2003. He has played all around the field, he has spent more time in the infield, and most of those at third base. More about Colonel to come in the next few days.
Former Pirate farmhand C James Skelton (Bradenton 2010) signed with the Brewers.
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.
An update on some recent roster moves by the Pirates:
Pitcher Jose Veras took a few days, but did sign a minor league contract with the Pirates. Veras is a 30-year-old who was first signed by the Rays in 1998. He began playing in the US in 2002, and split both the 2003 and 2004 at the AA and AAA levels. He was granted free agency after 2004 and was signed by the Rangers for 2005, spending that season at the AAA level, where he made 57 relief appearances with a 3.80 ERA. Veras signed with the Yankees after that, and pitched in their organization for the next 3+ seasons. He split that time between the AAA level (2.56 ERA in 95 innings, with 115 strikeouts) and the major league club (4.50 ERA in 102 innings, with 94 strikeouts). The 2008 season was his best of those, with 60 relief appearances for the Yankees and 3.59 ERA and a 5-3 record. In 2009, the Yankees traded Veras to the Cleveland Indians, where he finished the last 3 months of the season. The Dominican native made 22 relief appearances for Cleveland with a 1-2 record and a 4.38 ERA, with 22 strikeouts. He signed with the Marlins for 2010 and began the season in AAA New Orleans. He began the season slowly, but got better in May and was tough in June: a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings (10 games) with 12 strikeouts. That earned him a promotion to the Marlins, where he finished the season with 48 relief appearances. In 48 innings, he earned a 3-3 record and a 3.75 ERA with 54 strikeouts. Veras did not play winter ball this off-season. The righty will be competing for a spot in the Pirates’ bullpen
C Wyatt Toregas has also been inked to a minor league contract. He was the Cleveland Indians’ 24th pick in the 2004 draft, and began his pro career in 2005, reaching the AAA level in 3008 and the major leagues in 2009. Toregas hit .284 for the Columbus Clippers (AAA) in 60 games in 2009, with 7 homers and 69 RBI. In 19 appearances for the Indians in that season, he hit only.176 with 6 RBI. The Virginia native was still on the Indians’ 40-man roster at the beginning of 2010, but spent the entire season in the minor leagues, possibly battling injuries. At AA Akron, he got into just 17 games, hitting .203 with one home run and 6 RBI. At AAA Columbus, he was in just 14 games and hit .200 with 2 homers and 6 RBI. He has a slim chance of sticking with the Pirates out of spring training, but will more likely be in Indianapolis to begin 2011.
In addition to Veras and Toregas, a few other minor leaguers have been invited to big league camp for spring training: catchers Tony Sanchez and Eric Fryer, infielders Chase d’Arnaud and Brian Friday, and outfielder Andrew Lambo.