Prospect Watching: Erik Kratz and Luke Carlin

When the season ended, Kratz quickly re-signed another minor league contract to play for the Pirates in 2010. �Then he headed south, to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, for Los Aguilas Cibaenas. �Kratz played in 16 games in the Dominican, but mostly as a late-inning defensive replacement, without getting a lot of at-bats. �He had only 2 hits (a single and a double) in 31 at-bats. �Kratz was invited to major league spring training, as the major league team always needs catchers. �He did not hit well in Grapefruit League play either, going just 2-for-13 (again one single and one double) in 12 games for the Pirates. �He also singled and homered in the exhibition game against the Manatee-Sarasota college team. �The Pirates considered having Kratz remain with the major league team as the back-up to Ryan Doumit, and then assigning Jason Jaramillo to Indianapolis, with the thought that Jaramillo could get some regular playing time in Indianapolis. �But instead Kratz was assigned to Indianapolis yesterday, and Jaramillo given the job as Doumit’s back-up — for now. �They still might swap the two later in the season if they think that Jaramillo needs more regular work.

Luke Carlin also signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent. �He had been the Tigers’ 10th round pick in 2002, and played one season in their organization, then six seasons in the Padres’ system, reaching the major league level in May 2008. �Carlin spent 2009 with the AAA Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), where he hit .321 with 7 homers and 35 RBI. �He also got into 10 games with the Diamondbacks, and went 3-for-18 at the plate with one RBI. �Like Kratz, Carlin was invited to the Pirates’ major league camp for spring training. �He got into 15 Grapefruit League games, going 3-for-15 at the plate with one RBI. �Carlin was reassigned to minor league camp two days ago. �He will likely serve as Kratz’s back-up in Indianapolis in 2010.

Roster updates:

Within the last week or so, several players have been released by the Pirates:

Pitchers Brad Clapp, Diomedes Garcia, Edgar Gutierrez, Papiro Juan, Ricardo Paulino, Rafael Quintero, and Andres Santos;

Catcher Jesus Aguilera;

3B Carlos Silva;

Outfielders Jeff Corsaletti, Gemmy Gonzalez, and Ciro Rosero.

Pitcher Matt McSwain has retired.

Other notes:

The LA Angels have released former Indy Indian/Altoona Curve Juan Mateo.

SS/OF Luis Cruz has been sent to AAA Nashville in the Brewers’ organization.

(Photo by Nancy)

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