Tag: Jeff Locke

Curve Have An Exciting Morning

The Curve played a (mostly) morning game today; the Marauders and the Power play in the evening.

Altoona Curve  13,  Harrisburg Senators  2
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The Curve had a great morning today, blasting away at the Senators with 13 runs on 18 hits.  All but one of the starting lineup had at least one hit, and that one was not starting pitcher Jeff Locke.  Locke singled twice and came around to score, doing his share, and reliever Anthony Claggett also had a hit.  CF Starling Marte, SS Jordy Mercer, and 1B Miles Durham each had 3 hits, and two of Mercer's hits were home runs.  Mercer contributed 5 RBI, while Durham and RF Jose Hernandez each had 3 RBI.

The game actually began in Harrisburg's favor.  Marte doubled in the top of the 1st, then moved to third base on a wild pitch, but got no further.  In the bottom of the inning, Locke began by hitting the lead-off man with a pitch, then gave up a single to give Harrisburg runners on the corners.  An RBI ground out brought in the first run, then an RBI single added a second run.  After another single, Locke finished the inning with a tapper back to the mound.  

After that inning, it was all Altoona.  Locke shut down the Senators, retiring the next 12 batters in order.  He gave up a single and a double in the 6th, but left both runners in scoring position.  Locke threw 79 pitches (57 strikes) in earning his second win of the season.  

The Curve put their hitting shoes on in the 3rd.  Locke and 2B Brock Holt led off with back-to-back singles.  That chased the Senators' starter, and brought in former Indy Indian and Curve Jimmy Barthmaier.  Barthmaier got Marte to ground into a force out at second, but could not get the double play.  Marte stole second base, then Mercer blatsed his first homer, a 3-run shot over the left field wall, to give the Curve a 3-2 lead.  

Locke singled again in the 4th inning, though he was left on base.  Marte singled to begin the 5th, and was moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore's sacrifice bunt.  Mercer singled, and Marte came around from second base to score.  Mercer stole second, and he scored on C Eric Fryer's double.  Then Fryer scored on Durham's 2-run homer for a 4-run inning, giving the Curve a 7-2 lead.  Holt singled and came around to score on Latimore's RBI single in the 6th.  

The Curve put up another 4-run inning in the 7th.  3B Jeremy Farrell, the only Curve position player without a hit in the game, was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Fryer reached base on a fielding error.  Durham doubled, driving in Farrell, then Hernandez's 3-run homer gave the Curve a 12-2 lead.  Mercer's second home run, a solo homer, provided the Curve with their final run in the 8th.  

Anthony Claggett relieved Locke in the 7th inning.  He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, then worked around a hit batter and a single in the 8th, to keep the Senators from scoring again.  Tim Alderson finished the game for the Curve, with a perfect 9th inning.  

Marte Homers, Three Hits For Grovatt

A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract.  Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010.  He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH'ing.  Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI.  He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times.  Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.

Two minor league pitchers have been released:  RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston.  Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010.   Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.

 
Richmond Flying Squirrels  5,  Altoona Curve  3
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Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve.   Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win.  The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st.  After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single.  Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning.  A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd.  Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.  

 The Squirrels' starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order.  The first hit he gave up was a big one -- a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte.  The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.  

The lead lasted only one inning.  Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th  He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base -- two walks and a single back to the mound.  Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score.  An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead.  Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th.  The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.

The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th.  With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore.  But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez's line out ended the game.  

Three Hits For Chambers

The Pirates' lower minor league affiliates wrap up the month of April:

Erie SeaWolves  5,  Altoona Curve  0
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The Curve were held to just 3 hits, plus two walks, as they were shut-out by the SeaWolves.  Their first hit of the game came in the 2nd inning, when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled, then moved to second base on a wild pitch.  The inning ended with Farrell being forced out at third base.  Altoona had their biggest threat with two runners on base in the 3rd inning -- a line drive single into left field by RF Eric Fryer and a walk to DH Jose Hernandez.  A ground out put both runners into scoring position, but they too were left stranded.  The Curve went down in order until LF Quincy Latimore's single in the 6th.  1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona in the last three innings, when he walked in the 7th.


Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve.  He pitched 6 innings but was the victim of some errors in the field behind him.  He gave up one earned run but 4 unearned runs, and was charged with the loss.  Erie's earned run came in the 2nd inning, on a double, a walk, and an RBI single.  The second base runner who tried to score was gunned down at the plate on a throw in from Fryer in right field to C Tony Sanchez.  The top of the 4th inning began with a single, and the next batter grounded to short for what should have been a double play.  But a missed catch error by 2B Brock Holt left both runners safe.  A walk loaded the bases, and a grounder allowed the lead runner to score.  A triple drove in two more runs, to give Erie a 4-0 lead.  Erie began the 6th inning with a double and a single, and with two outs, a fielding error by Farrell at third allowed another unearned run to score.  

Tim Alderson relieved Locke and pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings.  The only batter to reach base against Alderson was hit by a pitch, then erased in a double play.   

Marauders Sweep Series; Locke Gets 10 K’s

The Marauders had an early game today, for the school kids.  The Curve and the Power play later:

Bradenton Marauders  8,  Palm Beach Cardinals  1
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The Marauders swept a series for the first time this season with today's win over the Cardinals.  It was an early game following a late night, but the Marauders were awake and ready to go at 10 am, less than 12 hours after last night's rain-delayed game.  For the second game in a row, every member of the line-up reached base at least once.  

Phillip Irwin made his first start after coming out of extended spring training.  He went 2 innings, and allowed a run in the 1st, as he had to work around an error in each inning.  The top of the 1st began with a walk, then a stolen base, and the runner moved up to third when C Carlos Paulino's throw to second base went wild for an error.  That runner scored on the first of two singles, but Irwin closed down the inning with a strikeout and a ground out.  A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez put another runner on base in the 2nd, and after a stolen base and a walk, the Cardinals had runners on the corners.  Irwin got out of the jam with a fly out.  

The Marauders took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning without posting a hit.  LF David Rubinstein was hit by a pitch, then 1B Cole White walked.  Two wild pitches let Rubinstein score and put White on third base.  After a walk to 2B Kelson Brown, the third wild p itch of the inning let White come in to score.   A passed ball and two more walks, to CF Robbie Grossman and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases, but a fly out ended that inning without any further scoring.  The Marauders led 2-1.  

Brett Lorin took over for Irwin to begin the 3rd inning.  Lorin pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and a walk, plus 4 strikeouts.  Palm Beach had 2 singles in the 4th, though the first runner was tagged out trying to reach third base on the second single.  The Cardinals also had 2 singles in the 6th, but Lorin was not worried by either of those threats.

The Marauders picked up some insurance runs in the 5th, with DH Aaron Baker having his second big-hitting game in a row.  Elevys Gonzalez walked and went to second on a wild pitch.  He scored on Baker's RBI double into center field.  After a walk to Rubinstein, Paulino singled in Baker.  A wild throw by the Cardinals' catcher on a pick-off throw allowed Rubinstein to score the third run of the inning, and the Marauders were up 5-1.  They added 2 more runs in the 6th.  Grossman lined a double into left field, and Elevys Gonzalez singled, moving Grossman to third.  Baker plated Grossman with a single into right field.  When the Cardinals' right fielder went to catch Rubinstein's fly ball and had his feet slip out from under him, that was ruled an error, and Gonzalez scored as well.  That gave the Marauders a 7-1 lead.  

The final run of the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when Grossman doubled into left field, Elevys Gonzalez singled, and RF Adalberto Santos brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly.  Porfirio Lopez finished the game for Bradenton with a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just a single.  Lorin earned the win -- his first win of the season.
 

Mercer and Curry Homer; Boyer And Sinkbeil Sign

Both the Curve and the Power played early games today.... 

Altoona Curve  3,  Harrisburg Senators  2
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A fielding error by the Senators in the bottom of the 7th gave the Curve the win, and a split of this rain-shortened series with Harrisburg.  Jeff Locke got the start for the Curve, and he buzzed through his first 6 innings.  A runner who reached base on SS Jordy Mercer's throwing error in the 1st was promptly picked off and caught stealing, and a runner who singled in the 2nd was erased with a double play.  A hit batter in the 5th was left stranded.  

The Curve also were quiet for most of the first 5 innings.  1B Miles Durham walked to lead off the 2nd, but was also eliminated in a double play.  Their only threat was when three walks, to Locke, 2B Brock Holt, and CF Starling Marte, loaded the bases for the Curve in the 3rd.  But a pop out ended the inning with all three left on base.  

The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th.  Holt led off the inning with a double into right field on a ball that was deflected off the Harrisburg pitcher Erik Davis.  Holt moved to third base on a ground out by Marte.  Then Mercer blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Curve a 2-0 lead.  The Curve loaded the bases after the homer, on singles by Durham and LF Quincy Latimore, then another single by 3B Jeremy Farrell off a new relief pitcher who is familiar:  Jimmy Barthmaier.  With the bases loaded, Barthmaier struck out C Eric Fryer, then ended the inning with a ground out by RF Brad Chalk.  

The Senators returned the favor in the top of the 7th.  Locke got one out, then gave up a double and a single, putting runners on the corners.  He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who began by throwing a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to come across the plate.  A single again gave Harrisburg runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run -- both runs charged to Locke.  

With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Marte singled into left field.  He stole second base, then came around to score when Harrisburg's right fielder Archie Gilbert made a fielding error on Mercer's fly ball.  The Curve held on to that narrow lead for the next two innings.  Michael Dubee retired the side in order with three grounders in the top of the 8th.  Noah Krol gave up a single in the 9th, but got three more ground outs, earning his 4th Save of the season.  


Curve’s Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short

The Curve played an early game on Wednesday...

Akron Aeros  3,  Altoona Curve  2

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Down 3-1 going into the top of the 9th, the Curve rallied, beginning with 3B Jeremy Farrell reaching base on a fielding error by the Akron shortstop.  A passed ball put Farrell on second base.  Strikeouts by LF Shelby Ford and RF Brad Chalk made the Curve's situation even more desperate.  2B Brock Holt hit his third single of the day, and CF Starling Marte also singled, loading the bases with two outs.  But the Curve's hopes ended when SS Jordy Mercer also struck out.  

Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve, and he was charged with the loss.  Locke worked his way out of a jam with runners on the corners in the 1st inning, and worked around a lead-off single in the 2nd.  Another single led off the 3rd inning, and back-to-back doubles, one zipping just out of reach of Farrell's backhand dive, drove in 2 runs.  After a single, a walk, and two strikeouts in the 5th, Locke was relieved by Anthony Claggett.  Claggett finished up the 5th with a ground out, leaving two runners on base.  He also pitched the 6th and 7th innings, and surrendered a solo home run to lead off the 6th.  Tom Boleska pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Aeros from scoring again, despite a single and a walk.

The Curve scored their first run in the 4th.  1B Miles Durham and C Kris Watts worked back-to-back walks, and when Farrell lifted a soft single into right field, Durham scored from second base.  Farrell and Holt each walked once, and Farrell also singled in the 6th inning.  Holt singled to open the game, then again in the 5th.  

The Curve will have their home opener tomorrow.


Snyder And Rubenstein Blast Away For Marauders

A win, a loss, and a rainout in the rest of the Pirates' minor league organization on Friday evening.  The rainout was in West Virginia, where the Power were getting soggy.  They will play a double header on Saturday.

The win:  
Bradenton Marauders  13,  Charlotte Stone Crabs  0

And a shutout win, at that.   The Marauders blasted 13 runs on 13 hits, while the pitching staff held Charlotte scoreless on 6 hits.  The scoring began in the bottom of the 1st, when CF Evan Chambers walked and rehabbing major league catcher Chris Snyder homered over the left field wall.  LF David Rubinstein got the fun started in the 2nd inning with a line drive single into right field.  A single by 1B Cole White and a walk to SS Benji Gonzalez loaded the bases, then another walk to RF Robbie Grossman forced in Rubinstein.  2B Jarek Cunningham drove in White and Gonzalez with a double, and Grossman scored on Chambers' sacrifice fly.  Snyder added a single, to drive in Cunningham with the 5th run of the inning.  Walks to DH Calvin Anderson and Rubinstein loaded the bases again, but a ground out ended the rally.  
 
Rubinstein also began the Marauders' rally in the 5th.  Three consecutive singles, by Rubinstein, White, and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases without an out.  Benji Gonzalez's ground out brought in Rubinstein, and a single by Grossman plated both White and Elevys Gonzalez.  A walk to Cunningham and a single by Chambers loaded the bases again.   That set up Snyder, who cleared the bases with a double into deep center field, and gave the Marauders 6 runs in that inning, for a 13-run lead.  Rubinstein's third single plus walks to both Gonzalez-es loaded the bases again in the 8th, but a strikeout ended that inning with all three still on base.  

The Marauders' pitching staff was having as much fun as the hitters.  Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, pitched the first inning, and retired the side in order on three ground outs.  After Beimel's inning, Matt McSwain came on to pitch.  He allowed only one single in his first 3 innings, and retired that runner with a double play.  He allowed two singles to lead off the 5th inning, but another double play got him out of that small jam. McSwain finished his outing with 5 scoreless innings, three hits, no walks, and no strikeouts, earning the win.  Jeff Inman pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits, and Gabriel Alvarado also allowed a hit and a walk in the final inning.  

2011 Prospect Watching: Owens, Morris, Locke, and More

Reaching the upper levels of the Pirates' minor league pitchers....

Rudy Owens  --  L/L,  6' 3",  215 lb
The Pirates selected Owens in the 28th round of the 2006 draft.  After so-so seasons with the GCL Pirates and State College, Owens suddenly had the light bulb go on for him at West Virginia in 2009.  He made 19 starts for the Power, and earned a 10-1 record.  In 100.1 innings, he allowed 19 earned runs and 71 hits, with 15 walks (1.3 walks/ 9 innings) and 91 strikeouts (8.1 K/ 9 innings).  Owens was promoted to A+ Lynchburg, where he made 6 more starts, though they were short starts as the Pirates were concerned about his total innings for the season.  He allowed more hits and runs in his 23.1 innings there, but still walked only 2 and struck out 22.  He was named the Pirates' Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2009.  Owens returned to Altoona for the 2010, and had another great season, again earning the award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year.  He began the season with a 3.57 ERA in April, allowing 9 earned runs and 22 hits in 22.2 innings, with a 2-0 record.  He dropped that ERA to 2.75 for May, with 11 earned runs on 23 hits in 36 innings, and a 3-2 record.  He gave up 5 runs and 4 runs in two games in one week, but also pitched 6 shutout innings in two other starts.  In June, Owens did even better, with 7 runs in 30 innings (2.10 ERA), but July was a tougher month, with another 5-run start, and a 3.49 ERA.  He stepped it back up in August, allowing just 3 runs on 20 hits in 33 innings (0.81 ERA).  That gave him a 2.46 ERA and 12-6 record for the season, with 150 innings, 41 earned runs, and 124 hits.  He also walked 23 (1.4 walks/ 9 innings) and struck out 132 (7.9 K/ ( innings.)  When the Curve got into the playoffs, Owens made one very un-Owens-like start in the first playoff series, but struggled, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks in 1.2 innings.  He pitched better in his start in the second series, against Trenton, and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings.  Owens also was named to the Eastern League All-Star team, and pitched one inning in the All-Star Game, allowing 3 hits and 2 runs.  Owens has a fastball in the low 90's, with good command, as well as a changeup and curve.  He should be ready for AAA to begin 2011, though the Pirates have indicated that they might hold him in AA for a little while, since they want more "major league ready" pitchers in Indianapolis.  The 23-year-old should still be pitching in Indy by later in the season, and has a chance at being called up to Pittsburgh by the end of the season.  


Jeff Locke  --  L/L,   6' 2",  180 lb
The Pirates obtained Locke from the Braves in the trade that sent Nate McLouth to Atlanta in 2009.  He'd had a shaky start to that season, and did only a little better after he came to A+ Lynchburg, where he earned a 4-4 record and 4.08 ERA in 17 starts.  His walk rate improved, but his strikeout rate dropped.  Locke began the 2010 season back in A+ at Bradenton, but started pulling it together.  In 17 starts for the Marauders, he earned a 9-3 record and a 3.54 ERA.  He began the season with a 2-1 record and a 2.89 ERA in April, with 6 runs and 14 hits in 18.2 innings, including one game in which he struck out 10 batters in 5 innings.  He went 5-2 in May and June, though his ERA rose to 3.81 for those two months, with an 8 strikeout game and two 7 strikeout games in June.  Overall, Locke struck out 83 batters in Bradenton (8.7 K/ 9 innings), while walking just 14 (1.5 walks/ 9 innings).  He was named to the Florida State League's All-Star team, and pitched a perfect inning in the All-Star Game.  Locke was promoted to AA Altoona in mid-July, and made another 10 starts there.  Two of the starts were rough, allowing 6 runs in 5 innings and 7 runs in 5 innings, but the rest were solid, and he finished the regular season with a 3-2 record and a 3.59 ERA for the Curve, allowing 23 runs on 57 hits in 57.2 innings.  He walked 12 batters (1.9 walks/ 9 innings) and struck out another 56 batters (8.7 K/ 9 innings).
Locke also pitched for the Curve in their playoff run.  In the first round, he gave up one earned run on 4 hits in 4.2 innings, but got a no-decision.  He won his game in the championship round, with on run on 6 hits in 7 innings, and struck out 8 Trenton batters.  Locke was added to the Pirates' 40-man roster last fall.  His control has improved as he continues to work on mechanics.  At 23 years of age, Locke should be ready for AAA in 2011, but like Owens, may be held back in Altoona for awhile, depending on what goes on with the Pirates' "major league ready" pitchers.  He also has a chance of being promoted as far as Pittsburgh by the end of the season.

Six-Run Inning Stops Pirates, But Indians Get A Win

Orioles  13,  Pirates  3
Indianapolis area native C Jake Fox beat up on the Pirates' pitching this afternoon in Bradenton, with two booming home runs and 4 RBI.  The first homer capped a 6-run 3rd inning, when Pirates' starter Ross Ohlendorf gave up four singles and a double before the homer.  Fox struck again in the 7th -- Scott Olsen gave up a double to DH Matt Wieters, followed by Fox's second homer.  Olsen surrendered a single and a walk after the homer, and he was relieved by Mike Dubee.  Dubee struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up an RBI single, before ending the inning with a fly out.  The Orioles added 3 runs in the 8th off Joe Beimel.  A double, a walk, and a single loaded the bases, then a single and two ground outs drove in the runs.  Former Indy Indian C Michel Hernandez singled for the Orioles in the top of the 9th, and scored on an RBI triple off reliever Sean Gallagher.  Daniel McCutchen pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Pirates, allowing 3 hits.  

While the Orioles were busy posting 20 hits, the Pirates managed 8.  Two of those were by 3B Pedro Alvarez, who also had the Pirates' only extra base hit, a double in the 7th, which was ruled a ground-rule double.  That made a difference, because 2B Neil Walker had opened the inning with a walk.  He raced around and crossed the plate on Alvarez's double, but then was called back to third base when the umpires ruled it a ground-rule.  Walker was left standing on third base, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.  

The Pirates did score one run in the 2nd inning.  1B Lyle Overbay began the rally with a single lined into right field.  RF Matt Diaz grounded to short, forcing Overbay out at second, but Orioles' shortstop (and another former Indy Indian) JJ Hardy made a throwing error on his relay to first, allowing Diaz to reach second base.  Diaz advanced to second on a fly out, and scored on C Jason Jaramillo's RBI single.  LF Jose Tabata led off the 5th inning with a walk, and moved to second base on Walker's ground out.  CF Andrew McCutchen plated Tabata with a single up the middle.  Overbay reached base on a catcher's interference call, then Diaz brought in McCutchen with a line drive single into right field.  

Also getting into the game:  LF John Bowker, 3B Andy Marte, Corey Wimberly in center field, RF Miles Durham, RF Steve Pearce, 2B Josh Harrison, pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco, 1B Garrett Atkins, C Dusty Brown, and SS Josh Rodriguez.  Durham entered the game to play right field in the top of the 8th.  In the top of the 9th, he crashed into the wall trying to catch the ball that turned out to be a triple.  Durham was down for a few moments, but was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power.  Pearce took over for Durham in right field, then singled in the bottom of the inning.  Josh Rodriguez also singled in the 8th inning, and Josh Harrison worked a walk in the 9th.  

Two More Rounds Of Reassignments, Plus Game Notes

Catching up after being away for a few days...

On Saturday, the Pirates sent four pitchers to minor league camp:
RHP Bryan Morris and RHP Kyle McPherson, both on the 40-man roster, were optioned down, with Morris going to AAA Indianapolis and McPherson going to A+ Bradenton.   
Two lefties, Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson, were also sent to the minor league camp, and though their exact level is still not official, both should begin the season with the Indy Indians.  

More moves were made today:
From the 40-man roster--
LHP Jeff Locke, LHP Aaron Thompson, and RHP Ramon Aguero were optioned to AA Altoona 
LHP Daniel Moskos and LHP Tony Watson were optioned to Indianapolis
Outfielders Gorkys Hernandez and Alex Presley were optioned to Indianapolis
Moskos and Presley both spent part of 2010 with Indianapolis, while Watson and Hernandez will make their debut at the AAA level.  Locke, Aguero, and Thompson all spent part of 2010 with Altoona.

Not on the 40-man yet --
Infielders Chase d'Arnaud and Brian Friday and outfielder Andrew Lambo were reassigned to minor league camp.  Friday played in Indianapolis for most of 2010 and should return there.  D'Arnaud and Lambo were in Altoona for 2010;  Lambo is ready for AAA, though d'Arnaud may be asked to go back to Altoona for part of 2011.  


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