Pittsburgh Pirates farm director Larry Broadway is currently in Altoona, along with a lot of the coordinators in the system. Sean McCool spoke with Broadway on a few subjects, including the progress of the two pitching prospects who have been returning from Tommy John this year.

The big news last night was that Clay Holmes was pulled from his start in Bradenton after just two innings of work. Wilbur Miller was at the game, and noted that Holmes finished the second inning on three pitches, then Henry Hirsch was ready to go for the third. It seemed like it was planned for Holmes to only go two innings, and Broadway confirmed that was the case.

“We’re just managing his overall workload – lessening his work load – because he’s been a little fatigued in his return to play,” Broadway said. “We’re just lightening him up a little bit.”

Jameson Taillon had a setback with hernia surgery, after looking great in his return from Tommy John. Broadway said that Taillon is getting close to starting to throw, but didn’t have exact dates.

“It’s kind of day-to-day now, but at some point in the near future, we’ll have him start to play some light catch and move forward,” Broadway said.

The good news is that it doesn’t sound like the Pirates will be as conservative with this rehab as they were with his Tommy John rehab.

“The progression is different because it’s not an arm injury, so you’re not building back that volume on the arm as much,” Broadway said. “There’s some element of how he’s recovering from the surgery that it’s where we will take on the progression. It’s less about the volume on the elbow, and we won’t have to build him back as slow.”

Other Minor League Notes

**Gift Ngoepe has been placed on the Indianapolis disabled list with a left oblique injury. Ngoepe is the best defensive shortstop in the system, and had some success with the bat in Altoona before getting the promotion to Triple-A this year. There were some hoping that he’d get a September call-up for his defense up the middle. This kind of hurts those chances, although I’d say that Pedro Florimon being on the roster hurt the chances more.

**The Pirates have released Ulises Montilla. He looked good in the GCL in 2013, but suffered a lower leg injury last year and missed most of the 2014 season. He returned and hit well in a limited time in Morgantown this year. However, the Pirates never seemed high on him, as they demoted him from Jamestown last year after a few good games, and released him after an .814 OPS this year. That’s all a small sample size, and the important thing here is that he’s 23 years old. Any chance he had of moving through the system and becoming a prospect was removed with the injury last year.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Looks like the Bucs have interest in Shawn Kelly of the Pads… he could be a nice piece to slot into the pen… I still like the idea of Holdzkom returning as he was just dominant and I love dominant relievers.
    If Kelly costs no more than a AA player then I can live with that. Although you have to ask, do we not have very similar players to him in our system? Is he much different than Blake Wood or Yuedy Garcia or even Liz… a little more proven but not much different.

    • I believe the FO is looking at Liz as a starting option – and given the body count among SP depth and the struggles of Morton and Worley (not to mention the health of the other starters), it’s best to keep him stretched out for longer outings.

      The rest of those guys are either unproven or not much of an improvement over Caminero/Guerra. Kelley is.

      Ideal scenario is they pick up Kelley or someone like him, Holdzkom is ready to pitch meaningful innings in August, and the team has 5 legit late inning options for the stretch.

    • None of the three you mentioned has proven they can consistently throw in the strike zone, Kelly can.

    • Do you have confidence Wood or Garcia or Liz could be a true 3 ERA guy over 30 innings against ML talent?

      Thats Kelley.

        • Maybe right around 20 if the price is inflated. Good arm during a high cost time. Its a rental, but a good one so a return that isnt total lottery pick type.

  2. I know this is a baseball site but I respect a lot of the opinions and commenters on here so I want to ask: Does anyone know of a good Steelers blog/forum to follow?
    I’ve looked for about 6 years and haven’t ever found one that measures up to my top 4-5 pirates sites.

  3. This wording gave me a scare until I read the whole thing!
    “Jameson Taillon had a setback with hernia surgery”

  4. Ulises Montilla was always clutch for me when I coached Jamestown in OOTP 2015. Sad to see him go.

    Good news on Taillon, though. The sooner he starts throwing, the better. I want to see him get some innings in Indy this year. I think it would make him feel a lot better, too.

    • The best ability is availability.

      Also the ability to freeze time is pretty good. Or to be invisible. Or move things with your mind.

      But yeah, availability – that wins.

        • I never forget an olineman for the packers, bill curry maybe? They guy that coached in college and pro and was an anouncer…anyways he said he had a concussion last game of camp his rookie year…to prove he was ready he had to do one on ones with Ray nitchke two days after the injury. He got through the drill and vince said “you are starting vs the steelers this week.”

      • Invisibility would be good. But I can go you one better. The power to know what people really were thinking. That would be just endlessly fun and challenging.
        ———————————
        “Run for the hills! Or pretty soon you’ll be up to your armpits in Martians!”
        -Wabbit

    • If you think about it, it’s amazing how unlucky Huntington/Pirates were with the timing of the new Tommy John era.

      The first half of his tenure was largely based on pitching winning baseball games, which has only been understood to be a pretty good idea for about the last hundred years they’ve played the game. Nobody obviously could’ve known at the time that the game was about to be altered by this injury epidemic. Even Theo Epstein/Cubs, universally lauded for their bat-first approach, drafted eight pitchers in the first ten picks he made with the Cubs.

      Judging by how the last three drafts have turned, I don’t think there’s any question that the organization would have a significantly different look if Huntington knew then what we all know now.

      • I think they’ll turn out okay. I look at the current team and the farm system and see an even better team come 2017-18.

        • Oh, the organization will be just fine; as they are now.

          But that fact is a testament to how well-rounded the organization has been built. Amateur acquisitions have under-performed expectations due in a large to what I said above, but *professional* scouting/development/analytics has filled the needs enough to carry the team to where they’re at right now.

      • My father was a pitcher who had a brief minor league career and an outstanding college career. He blew out his arm and had elbow surgery. His strong opinion was that the Pirates were crazy to use most if not all of their high picks on high school pitchers because of the likelihood of failure or injury. Of course, the Pirates accepted that risk and acknowledged it but times have changed. Tommy John is now so common you wonder about development. It may be that Tommy John is saving guys who would have been finished like my dad.

      • This is an excellent point, we have no way of proving if it is correct, but damn does it make a lot of sense.

        The only thing I’d add is when the new front office came in, baseball was already in the “epidemic” it just wasn’t as widely discussed, however at that point the full impact and scope would be hard to project and if you are looking a draft stuff retrospectively, the effect wouldn’t show up.

        I want to weave the expanding strike zone into this but I’m not sure how, and the Pirates seem to have adjusted for this, to their benefit.

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