Tag: Kevin Hart

The Wounded Warriors

The Pirates have three pitchers who are beginning the year on the (long term) disabled list.  When they eventually are ready to return, they will have to do some minor league rehabbing.  

Donnie Veal  --  L/L, 6' 4", 230 lb
Veal was a Rule 5 draft pick for the Pirates in 2008, coming from the Cubs' organization.  He did spend the entire 2009 season officially on the Pirates' roster, though he also went onto the Disabled List with vague injuries twice.  He pitched 7 "rehab" games in Altoona (5 starts, no record, 13.1 innings, 1.35 ERA), and 9 "rehab" games in Indianapolis (0-1 record, 14 innings, 6.43 ERA).   Veal got in only rare work out of the Pirates' bullpen, and his control suffered all season.  However, after the season, Veal was assigned to the Arizona Fall League, where he got in regular work -- and dominated.  Veal returned to Indianapolis to begin the 2010 season.  His control was improving, and in his first 4 starts, he allowed 8 runs over 22.1 innings (3.22 ERA) with 9 walks and 14 strikeouts.  The next three starts were rough, with 13 runs in 15.1 innings.  Then Veal had his best outing, throwing 7 shutout innings and allowing just 2 hits.  He made one more start, and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits.  Then Veal was shut down with elbow problems, which eventually led to Tommy John surgery.  Overall for the season, Veal earned a 3-2 record and a 4.35 ERA in 49.2 innings of work, with 24 earned runs and 42 hits, 23 walks (4.2 walks/ 9 innings), and 41 strikeouts (7.4 K/ 9 innings).   Veal was non-tendered at the end of the 2010 season, but was quickly signed to a minor league contract.  He came to spring training and worked on things like fielding drills, but did not pitch competitively.  The 26-year-old is tentatively on track to return by the middle of the 2011 season.  

Jose Ascanio  -- R/R,  6' 0",  170 lb
Ascanio, a 25-year-old Venezuelan native, was first signed by the Braves, then traded to the Cubs, and in July 2009 was traded to the Pirates.  After the trade, Ascanio made one start in Indianapolis, then moved up to Pittsburgh, where he made 2 relief appearances.  He developed some shoulder problems at that point, and was out for the rest of the season, eventually having shoulder surgery.  He was ready to pitch again in mid-2010, and made one rehab start with the GCL Pirates and another with A+ Bradenton, throwing a total of 3 scoreless innings.  Unfortunately, Ascanio injured his hand (off the field) at that point, which shut him down for the rest of 2010.  He did get in some work for Los Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League,throwing 9 scoreless innings over 8 games, with 5 hits, one walk, and 7 strikeouts.  Ascanio, who is on the Pirates' 40-man roster, came to spring training, but pitched very little, and when he did pitch, he did not have good command.  He was placed on the DL to begin the 2011 season, but it's unclear where he will go from there.  He is not even close to being ready to pitch at the major league level, but he is out of options, and might not make it through waivers without being claimed.  

Busy Day For Pirates; Indians Win 8-3

The Pirates had a busy Spring Training day today:
LHP (starter) Garrett Olson was claimed off waivers from Seattle.  Olson is a 27-year-old California native who was the Orioles' 1st round pick in the 2005 draft.  He made his major league debut in July 2007, and split both the 2007 and 2008 season between Balitmore and AAA Norfolk.  His combined stats for Baltimore:  10-13 record in 31 starts, 165 innings, 6.87 ERA, 111 K, 90 BB.  And combined stats for Norfolk: 10-9 record in 29 starts, 164.1 innings, 3.12 ERA, 159 K, 55 BB.  One big problem, though, is that he surrendered 35 homer runs over those two years.  At the beginning of 2009, Olson was traded to the Cubs, and 10 days later was traded to the Mariners (with Ronny Cedeno) to the Mariners.  He split both the 2009 and 2010 seasons between Seattle and AAA Tacoma.  In 2009, he started 9 games for Tacoma, earning a 2-3 record and a 4.94 ERA, but in Seattle, he was also used in relief.  He made 11 starts and 20 relief appearances for a total of 80.1 innings  -- and gave up 19 home runs.  Olson made 6 starts and 6 relief appearances for Tacoma in 2010, then made 35 relief appearances in Seattle.  His record in Seattle was 0-3 with 1 save, and a 4.54 ERA.  In 37.2 innings, he allowed 6 homers, 15 BB, with 21 K.  Throughout all these seasons, Olson allowed about as many or more hits as innings pitched:  79 hits in 80.1 innings in Seattle in 2009, and 42 hits in 37.2 innings in 2010.  His overall major league total is 10.53 hits/9 innings.  The Pirates plan to have Olson compete for a spot as a lefty out of the bullpen.  Scott Olsen (oh, we're going to have fun confusing those two) and Joe Beimel are also in consideration but have lost time time this spring due to injury.  Brian Burres and Justin Thomas are also in the mix.  In order to make a spot for Olson on the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed Kevin Hart on the 60-day DL.  Olson is out of options, which is why the Mariners had to put him on waivers.  If he does not make the Pirates' active roster out of camp, then he will have to go on waivers again.  The hits and the homers are concerning, and the Pirates will have to see how Olson does in some spring appearances in the next two weeks.

Phillies  3,  Pirates 2
The Phillies rallied in the bottom of the 9th for a come-from-behind win over the Pirates in Clearwater, FL this afternoon.  With Chris Leroux on the mound, the first two batters of the frame both singles.  Former Pirate/Indian Erik Kratz bounced a pinch-hit grounder to third, but instead of going for the double play, 3B Jeremy Farrell went for the tag of the runner going from second to third.  The runner avoided the tag but was called out anyway because he went out of the basepath.  That left runners on first and second with one out.  The next batter slapped a grounder to second, and though 2B Josh Harrison made a great stab to keep the ball from going into right field, he was only able to make the out at first.  With two runners in scoring position, Leroux gave up a single up the middle, and both runners (including Kratz) scored, for the walk-off win.  

Seven Shutout Innings For Powell; Two Hits and Two RBI For...

Indianapolis Indians �4, �Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs �1 (box)

IMG_2551At what point is a "spot starter" no longer a "spot starter"? �Indians' pitcher Jeremy Powell (photo) made his 4th start for the Tribe this evening at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA. �That's 4 starts and only one relief appearance for Powell this year. �This start was Powell's longest, by two innings: �he pitched 7 shutout innings, earning his second win.

Powell scattered 5 hits and 3 walks over his 7 innings of work, and he struck out 4 Iron Pig batters. �He gave up a two-out triple to RF Cody Ransom in the 2nd inning, and a walk to C Paul Hoover put runners on the corners, but a pop out ended the inning. �Powell gave up a single in the 3rd and left that runner stranded, and he gave up a lead-off single in the 4th, but got out of that inning with a double play. �Another double play erased a walk to CF John Mayberry in the 6th. �Powell also had to work around two runners in the 5th inning, when Hoover doubled and former Indy Indian (2005 - 06) LF Rich Thompson walked with two outs. � RF Brandon Jones got Powell out of that jam when he made a shoetop catch of a sinking line drive into right field off the bat of 2B Luis Maza. �Powell gave up a double with two outs in his last inning, but finished his night with a fly out to end the inning.

Meanwhile, the�Indians also put runners on base in each of the first four innings, but a combination of poor luck and poor baserunning kept them from scoring. �CF Brandon Moss, in a rare spot as the lead-off batter, began the game with a single up the middle, then moved to second base on a balk. �LF Neil Walker hit a sharp line drive -- but right at LF Rich Thompson. �A walk to 3B Pedro Alvarez put another runner on base, but both were left stranded. �C Erik Kratz led off the 2nd inning with a double into center field, but three straight grounders kept him from scoring.

The Tribe had a good chance of scoring in the 3rd inning, when Alvarez singled with two outs, and 1B Steve Pearce lined a double to left field. �Alvarez rounded third and headed for the plate, waved on by manager Frank Kremblas, as the throw came in from Thompson in left field. �The relay throw was on-target, and Alvarez was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. �Brandon Jones led off the 4th inning with a single, and a fielding error by Iron Pigs' RF Cody Ransom put Jones on second base. �But he was throw out trying to steal third base, and two more ground outs ended the inning.

Late-Inning Homer Stops Indians’ Streak

Pawtucket Red Sox 7, � Indianapolis Indians 6 (box)

The Indianapolis Indians came from behind twice, but could not answer a 7th-inning home run, as the Pawtucket Red Sox halted the Indians' winning streak at 6 games tonight in Rhode Island. �The Indians were hoping for a sweep of the 4-game series, but had to settle for a 3 games to 1 series win.

IMG_2482Brad Lincoln (photo) made the start for the Tribe, and he struggled through 6 innings, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks. �The Indians gave him an unearned run to work with in the top of the 1st. �CF Jose Tabata opened the game with a ringing double into left field, and then he stole 3rd base. �The stolen base was his 9th of the season -- third in the International League. �With DH Brian Myrow at the plate, the Pawtucket 3B Jorge Jimenez dropped a foul pop for what should have been the second out of the inning. �Given the second chance, Myrow responded with a single through the hole into right field, and Tabata scored.

When Lincoln took the mound in the bottom of the 1st, that slim lead was immediately erased: �the first batter, DH Josh Reddick, lifted a long, high, no-doubt-about-it home run over the right field wall. �Lincoln worked around a single to keep the PawSox from scoring again in that inning.

1B Steve Pearce broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the 2nd inning. �He led off with a double into left, then advanced to third on a ground out by RF Brandon Moss, and scored on another grounder, this one by C Luke Carlin. The PawSox came right back in the bottom of the inning, though. �Lincoln walked the first two batters of the inning -- something that is sure to come back to haunt you. �It did just that -- a single by CF Bubba Bell loaded the bases with one out, and Josh Reddick doubled into left field. �The first two runners scored easily, and Bell rounded third and aimed for the plate as Tribe LF Neil Walker's throw came in to the infield. �The relay to the plate arrived in Carlin's glove before Bell got there. �Bell tried to bowl over Carlin, but Carlin held onto the ball, and Bell was out. �The PawSox took a 3-2 lead.

Walker Leads Come-From-Behind Tribe Win

Indianapolis Indians 10, �Pawtucket Red Sox 9 (box)

IMG_2374It was a dreary, rainy, frigid afternoon in Rhode Island this afternoon, but it probably looked quite sunny to Tribe LF Neil Walker (photo). He began the day with a solo home run in his first at-bat in the top of the first inning, and he ended the day with a line drive single into center field, which drove in the game-winning run, giving the Tribe their fifth win in a row. �It also moved the Indians back to .500 (10-10), where they hadn't been since April 12th, just 4 games into the season.

Kevin Hart made the start for the Indians. �After retiring Pawtucket in order in the bottom of the 1st, including two strikeouts, Hart struggled mightily. �The second inning began with a double by 2B Tug Hulett, on a ball that fooled Tribe RF Brandon Moss, going over his head and to the wall. �A quick out, then a walk to C Dusty Brown and a single to 3B Jorge Jimenez loaded the bases. �Moss got the ball back to the infield quickly on Jimenez's hit, so the lead runner Hulett was held at third base. �It didn't matter, though, as RF Bubba Bell lined a single in to center field, scoring both Hulett and Brown to take the lead. �Bell stole second base, and SS Ryan Khoury singled next, driving in Jimenez, and moving Bell to third base. �CF Josh Reddick dropped down a bunt, meant to get Bell in from third, but the ball dropped foul, rolled into fair territory, rolled away from the grass, then stopped right on the chalk line, which is where C Erik Kratz picked it up. �Bell did not take off from third, though Khoury did advance to second base, and again the bases were loaded. �Hart struck out LF Daniel Nava, then walked DH Angel Sanchez forced in the fourth run of the inning. �Finally, a ground out by Hulett ended the inning -- 10 batters to the plate, 4 runs in, and 39 pitches from Hart.

IMG_2659The Indians got two of the runs back in the top of the 3rd. �SS Brian Friday led off with a walk, and CF Jose Tabata brought him in with a triple off the top of the wall in center field. �Neil Walker collected his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to plate Tabata, and the Indians were within one run, 4-3.

But when Hart (photo) went back out to begin the bottom of the 3rd, he got into trouble again when the first four batters reached base. �A single by 1B Aaron Bates bounced just base the outstretched glove of SS Argenis Diaz and into left field. �Hart then threw 8 straight balls, walking both Dusty Brown and Jorge Jimenez. �Bubba Bell slipped a single through the hole and into right field, bringing in Bates and leaving the bases still loaded. �That was all for Hart, who exited having thrown 68 pitches, half for strikes. Steven Jackson, who had finished serving his suspension for hitting a batter last Thursday night, came on to relieve Hart. �The first batter Jackson faced was Khoury, who grounded to third base. �It was tailor-made for a 5-2 play back to the plate to force out the lead runner, and maybe even a double play if Kratz could throw on to first. �But, 3B Pedro Alvarez got excited and had trouble picking the ball out of his glove, then threw it over Kratz's head. �Brown scored from third, and while Kratz was tracking down the ball behind him, Jimenez rounded third and scored too, just before Kratz could throw to Jackson, covering the plate. �The error was Alvarez's fourth of the season, but the first throwing error.

Walker and Kratz Supply All The Runs The Indians Need

Indianapolis Indians 6, �Louisville Bats 1 (box)

IMG_26592B Neil Walker and C Erik Kratz provided the in-game fireworks, which went along nicely with the post-game fireworks at Victory Field on Friday night. �Walker went 2-for-4 with a single and a double, and gave the Tribe 4 RBI, while Kratz hit a 2-run homer to account for the remaining Indians' runs. �Kevin Hart (photo) made the start for the Indians and earned his first win of the season.

Bats' starter Justin Lehr got through the first inning rather easily, walking 3B Pedro Alvarez but striking out two batters. �In the 2nd inning, Lehr gave up a one-out single to RF Brandon Moss. Kratz followed with a line drive that just cleared the left field wall, to land in a collection of kids on the grassy berm. �Indians 2, Bats 0.

Lehr got into trouble right away in the 3rd inning. �LF Jose Tabata (photo below) led off with a single lined into center field. �CF Jonathan Van Every grounded a single into right field, moving Tabata to second base. �Lehr got a little help from his catcher, Corky Miller, who caught Tabata with a big lead off second base, and fired across the diamond to pick him off the base.

IMG_2667Pedro Alvarez was next to reach base, when his grounder to short kicked off the glove of SS Zack Cozart. �1B Steve Pearce loaded the bases when he worked a walk. �That brought up Neil Walker. �Walker took the first pitch down the first base line and into the right field corner, to clear the bases and give the Indians a 5-0 lead. �Pearce came all the way around from first base to score, drawing the throw from RF Wladimir Balantien. �The throw to home was wide and Pearce was in easily, but C Corky Miller alertly relayed the throw to third base, where Walker had headed on the throw in from the outfield. �Miller's throw was on time, and Walker was tagged out at third.

Lehr got out of a jam in the 4th inning. �Erik Kratz led off with a walk, and SS Brian Friday slipped a single through the hole and into left field. �Kevin Hart was batting for the first time this season in tonight's game, and he had grounded to first in the 2nd inning. �Now in the 4th, with runners on first and second with no outs, it was time for a sacrifice. �Hart fouled off two bunt attempts, but on his third try, he dropped down a bunt that was a little too hard. �The ball landed to the left of the mound, within easy reach for Lehr. �Lehr fielded, whirled, and threw to third base, where Kratz was forced out. �Tabata still had two runners on for him, and he lined a single into left field. �Friday rounded third and headed for the plate, but the throw from LF Juan Francisco reached Corky Miller just a second before Friday. �Miller reached across the plate to tag Friday for the second out. �A strikeout ended the threat.

Walker, Moss, and Van Every Homer To Lift Indians

Indianapolis Indians 9, �Toledo Mud Hens 6 (box)
The Indianapolis Indians won for the first time at Victory Field this season, and for the first time against the Toledo Mud Hens in 2010 on Sunday afternoon. �The Indians posted 13 hits and 9 runs, and it was only the second game of the season in which they scored more than 4 runs.
Neil Walker found himself in two unusual positions today: �back at third base for the first time this season, and in the lead-off spot in the line-up for the first time in.... probably a really long time, if not forever. �Before anyone had time to wonder if it was going to be a good idea, Walker proved that it was the perfect spot for him today. �He lifted Toledo starter Ruddy Lugo's second pitch over the right field wall, not far inside the foul pole, for a lead-off home run (photo).
Walker admitted that it felt different to be the first one to the plate in the first inning. �"I wasn't quite sure what it was going to be like," said Walker after the game. �"I tried to stay aggressive, and I got lucky and hit one out. � It was a change-up and it was hanging over the plate. �I was able to stay through it a bit and Victory Field helped me out a little bit down the right field line with a little wind."
The Tribe took off from there. �Each member of the line-up had at least one hit, Walker had three (single, double, and homer), and CF Jonathan Van Every and LF Brandon Moss both had a single and a homer. �The Indians scored in each of the first four innings and again in the 6th, and went down in order only once -- the 9th.

Lincoln and Hart Shut Out Bats

Indianapolis Indians 3, �Louisville Bats 0 (box)

img_1702lincolnBrad Lincoln (photo) and Kevin Hart piggy-backed their starts and combined to shut out the Bats tonight at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky. �Hart had missed his regularly-scheduled start yesterday because he was serving a suspension imposed by the International League after he'd thrown behind a batter. �The Indians (and Pirate management) wanted Hart to make the start today, but they also didn't want to shift Lincoln's start back a day. �Instead, they decided to have both men pitch today, and it was a decision that worked out very well.

Lincoln's start began in the first inning, and he scattered 4 hits over 6 innings, plus 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. �Lincoln worked around base runners in five of the six innings, but managed to keep the runs from scoring. �The Bats got a runner as far as third base in the bottom of the 1st, on a single, a wild pitch, and a ground out, but another ground out ended the inning. �He gave up a two-out double to C Wilkin Castillo in the 2nd, but left him on base. �Louisville pitcher Travis Wood singled in the 3rd inning, but was eliminated in a double play, and then doubled off Lincoln in the 5th, but that time he was left stranded. �Lincoln gave up the final walk in the 6th, but then struck out the next two batters to end that inning. �Lincoln threw 78 pitches (52 strikes) in his six innings. �This was the Indians' first game of the season in which the Designated Hitter was not used. �Lincoln could not match his mound opponent Wood though -- he dropped down a sacrifice bunt in the 3rd inning, and grounded out to short in the 5th.

Hart's "start" began in the 7th inning. �It took him just 37 pitches (22 strikes) to zoom through three innings of work. �He faced 10 batters, allowing a two-out walk in the 7th, and retiring the other 9 batters. �He struck out 3 of them.

Indians Fall In Toledo After Early Lead

Toledo Mud Hens 6, �Indianapolis Indians 3 (box)

The Indianapolis Indians had the early lead at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio tonight, but a 5-run inning by the Mud Hens took the victory away.

Compared to the games they played in Columbus, which lasted way over 3 hours, this 2 hour 19 minute game must have seemed lightning-fast to the Tribe. �With a flurry of roster moves made by the Pirates (see below), the Indians' scheduled starter, Brian Burres had already left for San Francisco. �The ever-flexible Jeremy Powell stepped up to made the start for the Tribe. �Powell breezed through the first two innings, needed only 10 pitches for the 1st and 14 pitches for the 2nd.

The Indians scored in the top of the 2nd using the "bloop-and-blast" method. �3B Pedro Alvarez opened the inning with his first non-homer hit of the season, a line drive single into right field. �1B Steve Pearce followed with the blast -- a homer that sailed over the back of the concourse behind the left field wall. �Pearce knew as soon as it left his bat that it was gone, turning to watch it when he still had one foot in the batters' box. �The Indians had a 2-0 lead.

Leads in Toledo are always tenuous for the Indians, though. �Sure enough, Powell ran into trouble in the bottom of the 3rd. �A lead off walk to LF Clete Thomas was followed with a single by former Indy Indian C Robinzon Diaz, which slipped past SS Brian Friday. 3B Danny Worth grounded to his counterpart Pedro Alvarez, and it would have been a double play, but Alvarez bobbled the ball and only had time to get the out at first base, leaving runners on second and third. �RBI singles by 2B Will Rhymes and SS Brent Dlugach brought in Thomas and Diaz to tie the score at 2-2. �Then RF Brennan Boesch took Powell's 0-1 pitch on a line drive over the right field wall for a 3-run homer and a 5-2 lead.

Indians Routed In Opener In Columbus

Columbus Clippers 17, �Indianapolis Indians 4 � �(box)

img_1551tabataWe were hoping for a glorious AAA debut for top Pirates' prospect 3B Pedro Alvarez. Instead, it was a glorious AAA debut for a different top prospect -- Clippers' C Carlos Santana. �Santana blasted two home runs, a double, and a single to lead the Columbus Clippers in their rout of the Indianapolis Indians at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. �And the Indians' performance was anything but glorious.

It really didn't start out too badly. �Starter Kevin Hart walked two batters after two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, but then got Santana to fly out to end the inning. �He also walked the first batter he faced in the 2nd inning, and then gave up a home run to RF Chris Gimenez. �Hart got out of the 3rd inning with a timely double play, and he had made it through 3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits, throwing 66 pitches, 35 for strikes. �It was the 66th pitch, though, that got him into trouble.

After two quick at-bats, the Indians began the 3rd inning with 2B Brian Friday getting hit by a pitch. �Friday moved to second when SS Argenis Diaz grounded back to the mound, and scored on CF Jose Tabata's (photo) single up the middle. �Tabata stole second base, then Alvarez followed with his first AAA home run -- a rocket-powered shot that hit the roof over the 328 sign in right field. �The idea of the glorious debut was looking good, as the Indians took a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the 4th, Brian Friday was hit by a pitch again. �This time it was a high and inside pitch, that skipped off the top of Friday's helmet (the new big style) as he ducked down and away from the plate. �The Indians were not pleased with Friday being hit twice, and manager Frank Kremblas had a quick chat with home plate umpire David Rackley. �Rackley did not make any motions toward the dugouts though, and did not make any show of warning both managers or benches. �So, when Kevin Hart's 66th pitch, the first one to Carlos Santana in the bottom of the frame, went sailing behind Santana, Hart and his teammates were surprised to hear Rackley immediately toss Hart from the game.

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