Tag: Jeff Karstens

Fields Traded, Pirates Lose Last Florida Game

Twins  4,  Pirates  3
The Pirates finished their Grapefruit League action with an 11-20 record, as they now head north to Pennsylvania, where they will play 2 games against the Philliies in Philadelphia.  Reliever Anthony Claggett suffered a Blown Save and the Loss, as he gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the Twins' walk-off win.  

The Pirates were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th.  Claggett walked the first batter, then the next hitter lifted a fly ball to center field, which sailed over CF Starling Marte's head and caromed off the wall for a triple.  That brought in the tying run.  After a strikeout, the next batter ricocheted a soft liner off Claggett's lower leg.  The ball landed over toward third base, where 3B Josh Rodroguez raced in to make the scoop, but his throw to the plate was not in time for C Jason Jaramillo to tag the runner on third, and the winning run scored.  

LF Jose Tabata got the game started with a double into left field to open the top of the 1st.  2B Neil Walker bunted Tabata to third, and CF Andrew McCutchen brought him in with a sacrifice fly.  Walker started the Pirates' 4th inning rally with a lead-off single into center field.  1B Steve Pearce doubled into center, plating Walker, and RF Matt Diaz's single brought in Pearce.  The Pirates had only two baserunners after the 4th inning -- Jaramillo singled in the 8th, and Pearce walked in the 9th.  

Jeff Karstens made the start, scattering three singles and a walk over the first four innings.  With two outs in the 5th, Karstens got Twins' Denard Span to ground to short, but a wild pitch by SS Ronny Cedeno resulted in a single and a throwing error, and Span positioned on second base.  Another single brought Span across the plate with an unearned run.  Garrett Olson finished the inning for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 6th inning.  Mike Crotta surrendered his second earned run of the spring, with a walk and a double in the 7th inning.  Chris Resop pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Twins from scoring despite a single and a walk.  

Also getting into the game:  2B Brian Friday and SS Jordy Mercer

The Pirates traded infielder Josh Fields to the Rockies this afternoon, for a player to be named later or cash.  Fields was in Pirates' camp as a non-roster invitee, minor league free agent.  He had been sent to the minor league camp at the end of last week.  In 21 Grapefruit League games, he went 5-for-29, and struck out 11 times.  

Josh Rodriguez, the Pirates' Rule 5 pick from last December, has made the 25-man roster.  He will have to stay on the major league roster all season, or else go through waivers and be offered back to the Cleveland Indians.  Rodriguez will be a back-up infielder and a bat off the bench.   That means that Pedro Ciriaco will be heading back to Indianapolis to begin the season.  

C Chris Snyder will begin the season on the Disabled List.  That leaves Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo to share catching duties for now, and leaves open a spot for OF John Bowker on the 25-man roster.   

Former Pirate RHP Nate Adcock, who was chosen by the Royals in the Rule 5 draft, has won a spot on the Royals' 25-man roster.  Like Rodriguez, if he doesn't stick with the Royals, he'll have to go through waivers and be offered back to the Pirates.  Adcock pitched for A+ Bradenton in 2010, earning an 11-7 record and a 3.38 ERA.  In 141.1 innings, he allowed 131 hits, 53 earned runs, 38 walks, and struck out 113.  If he comes back to the Pirates, he would likely be assigned to AA Altoona.

The Indy Indians faced off against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Clearwater, Florida this afternoon.... no results available at this point. 

Indians Shut Out, Nieve Released

Iron Pigs  3,  Indians  0
The Indians' pitching staff threw 7 solid shut-out innings, but the Iron Pigs rallied for 3 runs in the 8th to take the win.  An RBI double, an Indians' error, and a sacrifice fly brought in Lehigh Valley's runs.  Starter Jeff Karstens pitched 4 scoreless innings, scattering 2 hits, no walks, and struck out 4.  Tony Watson followed with 2 scoreless innings, and Ramon Aguero pitched one scoreless frame.  The Tribe posted 5 hits over the first 4 innings, but could not push a run across.  Three Iron Pigs relievers finished the game, and allowed just one hit among the three of them.  

The Pirates had the day off today, and the Indians have the day off on Wednesday.

The Pirates have released pitcher Fernando Nieve.  Nieve had just been reassigned from the big league camp to the minor league camp just yesterday. 

Walker Homers In Karstens’ Win

Pirates  4,  Phillies  3
 
A 2-run homer by 2B Neil Walker in the top of the 6th gave the Pirates the go-ahead run and one more for insurance, as the Pirates beat the Phillies in Clearwater, FL.   A solo homer by Phillies' DH Ben Francisco off Pirates' starter Paul Maholm put the first run on the board in the bottom of the 2nd.  It was the only run Maholm allowed in his 3 innings of work.  He did not walk any batters and struck out two.  Jeff Karstens took over for Maholm to begin the 4th.  He also gave up a run, when Francisco and 2B Delwyn Young both doubled.  Karstens retired the side in order in the 5th inning.  

1B Lyle Overbay had 3 hits for the Pirates, beginning with a lead-off single in the 2nd inning.  That time, he was forced out at second on a subsequent play.  Overbay led off the 4th with a double into left field.  He moved to 3rd base on Neil Walker's ground out, then scored on DJ Garrett Jones' sacrifice fly.  RF John Bowker tied the score in the top of the 5th, when he doubled into left field, then scored on ground outs by SS Chase d'Arnaud and CF Andrew McCutchen.  Overbay's third hit of the game was a line drive single in the top of the 6th, and Walker followed that with his blast over the right field wall to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.  

Tony Watson came on to pitch the 6th inning.  He had two runners get on base, with a walk and a throwing error by d'Arnaud.  But d'Arnaud redeemed himself moments later, when he took the throw from Watson on a bouncer back to the mound, and turned the inning-ending double play.  Watson gave up a run in the 7th on a pair of singles, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single.  That inning also ended on a double play, when Watson struck out former Pirate Brandon Moss, then C Dusty Brown threw out the runner from first as he tried to steal second base.   Sean Gallagher buzzed through three batters, retiring all on a total of 5 pitches in the 8th inning.  Chris Leroux took the top of the 9th, and he also got out of a jam with a spectacular double play.  A walk, a sacrifice bunt, and another walk put two runners on base with one out.  SS Freddy Galvis lifted a long fly ball to left center field, but LF Alex Presley tracked it down with a long running catch, then whirled and fired in to the infield.  A relay by SS Brian Friday, then to 1B Garrett Atkins, and the runner from first base was doubled off, ending the game.  Leroux was credited with the Save, and Karstens got the win.

Also in the game:  2B Pedro Ciriaco singled in the 8th and stole second base.  CF Corey Wimberly, 3B Josh Fields, PH/DH Andrew Lambo, an PH/RF Steve Pearce all got into the game.   

Durham And Atkins Both Homer For Pirates

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.

Contract Deadline: New Free Agents

When the deadline for offering contracts passed last night, four new free agents were created.  
The Pirates offered contracts to pitcher Jeff Karstens and SS Ronny Cedeno, both as expected.  But they elected not to tender contracts to pitchers Donnie Veal and Brian Burres, SS Argenis Diaz, and OF Lastings Milledge.
Veal is still recovering from elbow surgery, and is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Pirates.  Since he is going to have to spend some time in the minors when he returns anyway, this is not likely to affect his progress much.  The other three are all free agents now.


Other notes:  Former Pirate C Ronny Paulino was also non-tendered by the Marlins, and he also is now a free agent.  Pittsburgh native INF Josh Wilson, who played for the Indy Indians in 2008, was resigned by the Mariners. (NOT Jack Wilson, who is also on the Mariners' roster.)  OF Eric Hinske was signed as a free agent by the Braves.  P Zach Duke signed a contract with the Diamondbacks, avoiding arbitration.  

Lincoln Is Ready

Indianapolis Indians at Charlotte Knights �0-0 after 5 innings (box)

IMG_3066The Indians and the Knights got through 5 innings of a scoreless pitching duel before lightning in the immediate area and impending rain halted play after 5 complete innings. �The rain began shortly after the game was halted, and it continued for several hours, causing the game to be suspended.

One thing was certain in those five innings, though. �Brad Lincoln (photo) is ready. �He totally dominated the Knights, and�did everything in his power to prove that he is ready for Pittsburgh. �He faced only two batters over the minimum for those 5 innings that preceded the rain/lightning delay. �Lincoln gave up a walk to Tyler Flowers in the 2nd inning. �In the 3rd, Buck Coats squeaked a line drive single past SS Argenis Diaz. �After the single, Lincoln retired the next 7 batters in order. �He struck out 5 batters, including two in the 2nd and two in the 5th. �While his mound opponent had thrown 89 pitches, Lincoln needed only 61 pitches to get through 5 innings.

Knights' starter Matt Zaleski was also pitching effectively, though not as efficiently. �He gave up two hits -- a double to 1B Brian Myrow in the 1st inning, and an infield single to deep short to DH�Brandon Moss to lead off the 5th. �Moss made it as far as second base on 2B Brian Friday's sacrifice fly, but neither Myrow nor Moss could get past second base. �The Tribe had two runners on base in the 2nd inning, when C Erik Kratz was hit by a pitch and Friday reached base on a fielding error by SS Brent Lillibridge. �Both of them were left stranded also.

The game will resume on Saturday at 6 pm, picking up where they left off in the top of the 6th. �Unfortunately for the starting pitchers, they will not be returning to the mound, and with the score tied, Zaleski will not be able to figure into the decision. �If the Indians score what turns out to be the winning runs in the top of the 6th, when Lincoln is still the pitcher of record, he could get the win, otherwise, he won't figure into the decision either. �This game will be completed as a 9-inning game (or longer if no one scores). �The game that was scheduled for Saturday will follow, and it appears that it will also be played as a 9-inning game.

NOTES:

IMG_2460Roster moves: �The Pirates have placed starter Charlie Morton on the Disabled List. �He will be spending some time at Pirate City in Bradenton, working on some rehab. �Jeff Karstens will be moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation, opening up a bullpen spot. �Steven Jackson (photo) has been promoted from the Indians to the Pirates, where he will take that bullpen spot. �Jackson has appeared in 17 games for the Indians, all in relief. �In 26.1 innings, he has allowed 30 hits and 12 runs (10 earned) for a 3.42 ERA. �He has walked 11 and struck out 15.

Jackson pitched in tonight's Pirates-Braves game. �He entered the game in the 6th inning in relief of Zach Duke, with one out, two runs in, and runners on first and second. �Jackson ended the inning with a strikeout of 1B Troy Glaus and a foul pop out by SS Yunel Escobar, preventing any further scoring. �He returned to pitch the 7th, allowing only a single to former Pirate C David Ross, but getting two fly outs (one by former Pirate CF Nate McLouth) and a strikeout.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

Friday and Diaz Support Pitching as Tribe Wins Fourth In a...

Indianapolis Indians 7, �Pawtucket Red Sox 2 (box)

On a damp and shivery night in Pawtucket, a sleepy set of Indians took advantage of good pitching and some strong defense to win their fourth game in a row. �They must have brought the rain with them on the early morning (following a very late night) flight from Louisville; �the start of tonight's game was delayed by nearly an hour while the McCoy Stadium grounds crew got the field ready.

Jeremy Powell made the start for the Tribe, despite limping around on a swollen ankle, where he got hit by a pitch while pinch-hitting last night. �The ankle was taped up, and the veteran Powell just kept going. �He pitched 5 innings, using 77 pitches (53 strikes). �Powell zipped through the first 5 batters, then gave up a double and a single, but got out of that jam with a pop out. �He walked the lead-off batter in the 3rd, but got a double play to end that inning. �A double in the 4th was also no problem. �Powell was getting a little tired in the 5th, when a lead-off single by PawSox 2B Kevin Frandsen and back-to-back doubles by LF Daniel Nava and CF Josh Reddick brought in two runs.

But by then, the Indians had already scored three times, as the lower end of their batting order was hot tonight -- SS Argenis Diaz singled twice and drove in 4 runs, while 2B Brian Friday went 3-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI. �1B Steve Pearce got the rally started in the 2nd inning with a walk. �RF Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch, and Friday also walked to load the bases for Diaz. �Diaz, who has had 7 hits in his last 4 games with the Indians, ripped a single into right field, tipping off the glove of Pawtucket 1B Aaron Bates and down the line. �Both Pearce and Moss scored, and the throw in from right field to the plate was not even close. �

The Indians threatened in the 4th inning, when C Luke Carlin and Friday opened the frame with back-to-back singles. �Diaz bunted them up a base, but CF Jose Tabata's grounder to third was fired back to the plate, and Carlin was out at the plate, without even a slide. �Neil Walker, in left field again tonight, walked to load the bases, but a ground out ended the inning without a run scoring.

Walks to Steve Pearce and Luke Carlin put two runners on for the Tribe with two out in the top of the 5th. � The two went for a double steal, with Carlin getting off about a step behind Pearce. �Pawtucket's C Mark Wagner saw Carlin's slightly late start, and tried to throw him out at second base, but the throw sailed into center field, and Pearce charged home with the unearned run.

You’ll Be Dizzy, But Jakubauskas Isn’t

Pirates' pitcher Chris Jakubauskas was released from the hospital in Houston this morning. �The diagnosis is a concussion, but's he's ok. �He's probably got an amazing headache, but isn't dizzy....

... You'll be dizzy, though, with all of the roster moves resulting from Jakubauskas going onto the 15-day disabled list.

Pitcher Brian Burres was recalled from Indianapolis. �He could make a start for the Pirates

Pitcher Brian Bass is being called up from Indy and placed onto the Pirates' 40-man roster. �He can also start if needed.

To make room on the 40-man roster, OF Brandon Jones has been Designated For Assignment. �He will have to pass through waivers, and if he does, then the Pirates could sign him to a minor league contract.

Pitcher�Daniel McCutchen was optioned back to Indianapolis. �This time, McCutchen will really report to Indy. � He'll be able to take Jakubauskas's spot in the Indy rotation, which got a bit of a break because of Saturday's rain out.

That still leaves a spot open on the Pirates' roster, but it's likely that Jeff Karstens will be called up to make the start on Tuesday.

And there's rain and thunderstorms predicted for Louisville this afternoon and evening, so the Indians and the Bats may not get to play today either.

Chapman Is Wild But Beats Tribe

IMG_2640

Louisville Bats 7, �Indianapolis Indians 1 (box)

IMG_2634Louisville's touted lefty Aroldis Chapman (photo above and here) won his first game for the Bats tonight, beating the Indians at Victory Field. �Chapman was scheduled to throw 90 - 100 pitches, and he ended up with 95 (54 for strikes), going 5.1 innings. �He gave up 3 hits, one unearned run, and 5 walks, while striking out 8 Tribe batters. �Chapman's fastest pitches were clocked at 98 -99 mph on the Victory Field radar gun, and he may have even reached 100 mph, depending on the limits of the gun and the scoreboard. �But Chapman was also all over the place, with pitches in the dirt, wildly around the plate, and one that even sailed behind Tribe RF Brandon Moss. In a pre-game interview with Tribe broadcaster Howard Kellman, Louisville manager Rick Sweet admitted that Chapman's command of his pitches still needs work. �"His command is pretty good for a 22-year-old", said Sweet -- but clearly not yet major league level command. �He has a lot of movement on his fastball and has a pitching motion that looks easy and effortless. �Sweet also told Kellman that as a pitcher in Cuba, Chapman did not do much work on fundamentals having to do with anything other than hurling the ball toward the plate. �He has done very little work at fielding the pitcher's position. �Since the designated hitter is used in Cuba, Chapman had never batted as a professional before tonight's game, so he's had little focus on hitting or base running.


IMG_2637

Later, during the game, Kellman interviewed Peter C. Bjarkman, who is intimately familiar with Cuban baseball, both the regular Cuban leagues and the Cuban national team and international play. �Bjarkman has written books about Cuban baseball, and also writes for baseballdecuba.com . �He has seen Chapman pitch many times over the past several years, and he also has concern about his command. �In Cuba, Chapman was first named to the national team at age 19, but he "pitched himself off the team" because of his wildness. �He was again named to the national team for last year's World Baseball Classic, and had two "shaky" outings. �Bjarkman reported that the Cuban baseball management felt that Chapman had not been improving over his four professional seasons. �They were not sure whether it was due to Chapman not listening to instruction as well as he ought to, or lack of personal discipline, or something else. �Bjarkman feels that Chapman gets rattled if things don't go his way, and in those kinds of situations, he loses focus and concentration, and then gets into more trouble. �He likes to try to overpower every batter he faces, and that is not always the best way to pitch.

So, what happened when he faced the Indians?

Tabata, Walker, and Myrow Homer in One Inning

IMG_2541

photo: �Neil Walker is congratulated after his second homer in three days.

Indianapolis Indians �9, �Columbus Clippers �4 (box)

The Indianapolis Indians exploded for 7 runs in the 4th inning tonight at Victory Field, and that included three home runs -- by CF Jose Tabata, LF Neil Walker, and DH Brian Myrow. The Columbus Clippers could not keep up, as the Indians more than doubled them up on hits.

IMG_2517Donnie Veal (photo) made the start for the Tribe, and he got into trouble right away in the top of the 1st. �Columbus CF Trevor Crowe led off with a single up the middle. �SS Jason Donald tried to bunt Crowe to second, but only succeeded in popping up to Veal for the first out. �DH Carlos Santana smashed a double to the wall in right center field, past the desperate reach of RF Brandon Moss (photo below -- Moss is at the wall, but the ball is in the splash of dirt down to his right, by the feet of his shadow.)�RF Shelley Duncan worked a walk to load the bases, with just one out. �But Veal bore down and struck out 1B Wes Hodges, then got former Indy Indian Brian Bixler to look at strike three, ending the inning with the bases still loaded but no runs in.

Once he got through that inning unscathed, Veal settled in. �He faced the minimum number of batters over the next four innings. �The only base runner he allowed was C Damaso Espino, who walked in the 2nd inning, but was immediately erased with a double play. �It took Veal 28 pitches to work through the first inning, and only about 38 pitches to get through the next four innings.

IMG_2519Columbus starter Hector Rondon did reasonably well against the Indians for his first three innings. �He gave up a lone walk to Brian Myrow in the 1st. �He gave up a single to Brandon Moss in the 2nd inning. �Moss stole second base easily when neither the Columbus SS Jason Donald nor the 2B Anderson Hernandez covered the bag. �Hernandez kept the throw from sailing into the outfield, but that was with a late scramble to catch it well behind the second base bag. �Moss got as far as third base when C Erik Kratz produced a lot of held breaths with his long fly ball to left field -- which was caught up against the wall. �In the 3rd inning, SS Argenis Diaz lined a single in to right field, but he was caught stealing.

It was the 4th inning that did Rondon in and gave the Indians their biggest inning of the season. �Brian Myrow (photo below) began the fun with a solo home run, which rose down the right field line, flew over the wall just inside the foul pole, then hooked around behind the foul pole to land in the picnic section. �The Clippers tried to protest (no video conferencing for the umpires in the minor leagues), but to no avail, and the Indians had a 1-0 lead. �3B Pedro Alvarez lined out to center for the first out. �Then 1B Steve Pearce and Brandon Moss hit back-to-back line drives, Pearce to left-center and Moss to right. �Erik Kratz came to the plate with runners on first and second, and he bounced a little tap back to the mound. �Rondon fielded it cleanly, whirled and prepared to throw to second base -- and then didn't. �He had the ball in his arm, and even moved his arm as if to throw, but did not release the ball. �IMG_2533Unlike in the 2nd inning, both his second baseman and his shortstop were moving towards the bag and would have been there by the time the ball got there, and they and the ball would have all reached the bag well before Moss coming from first base. �It should have been a double play, particularly since Kratz is not the fastest down the line to first base. �But Rondon did not make the throw. �Instead, he again turned, and threw to first base, making the out on Kratz. �Instead of being out of the inning, he had two outs and runners on second and third bases.

2B Brian Friday had the key hit in the 4th inning. �With two outs, he slipped a single up the middle, just between the middle infielders, scoring both Pearce and Moss. �Argenis Diaz continued the inning with a single into right field, and the Tribe again had runners on first and second base with two outs. �Jose Tabata cleared the bases with a 3-run long bomb, a little further inside the right field foul pole than Myrow's had been. �No argument from the Clippers this time. �Then, to cap it off, Neil Walker made it back-to-back home runs, with a blast to mid-right field. �That sent Hector Rondon to the showers, having surrendered 7 runs on 9 hits. �Jess Todd came in from the Columbus bullpen. After a walk to Myrow in his second at-bat in the inning, Todd got Pedro Alvarez to fly out, ending the long inning.

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