Posted on: June 14, 2010 5:13 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:34 am

Pirates may call up Pedro Alvarez shortly

Pedro Alvarez With Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata having beat Pedro Alvarez to the major leagues, it looks as if the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft may have his sights set on joining his former teammates in Pittsburgh.

General manager Neal Huntington refused to rule out promoting Pedro Alvarez by week's end, saying that the third baseman has "has responded well to the challenge of these other two guys going up," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette .

The Pirates had intended Alvarez to join the Bucs later this month, but with a .375 average so far in June for Triple-A Indianapolis, Alvarez is showing he is ready for the next level right now. On the season, he is hitting .288/.375/.563 with 13 home runs in 222 at-bats.

One of the aspects of Alvarez's game that was considered worrisome and needed addressing prior to a promotion was his performance against left-handers. Alvarez's OPS against lefties was a scant .714 in 2009, while he battered righties to the tune of a 1.028 OPS.

Alvarez has done more than assuage fears he can't hit left-handed pitching -- he's raking them. With a .322 batting average against left-handers, he's outperforming his own numbers against right-handers.

Whenever Alvarez hits the bigs, he'll do so as the starting third baseman, pushing Andy LaRoche into a utility role.

LaRoche, part of the return that saw Jason Bay head to Boston in mid-2007, has been a disappointment and will now become a utility player. He'll be looked at to fill in at first base, second base and third. It's possible he may add other positions to his resume in the future but for this once heralded prospect, it's a dissapointing move at just age 26.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 14, 2010 4:18 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2010 4:29 pm

Do Astros deserve league of their own?

Casey Daigle It doesn't seem that the Astros left a positive impression on New York Daily News columnist Bill Madden during a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium last weekend.

In fact, watching the hapless Triple-A-stros set him to wondering about whether baseball should institute some version of the process used by English soccer in which the worst teams are demoted from the top-tier division and the best second-tier teams can move up.

"(Owners) who refuse to give their baseball people the financial resources to acquire the best talent should have to pay a price for that insult to the fans," Madden wrote, "by having their teams consigned to baseball purgatory from which they have to play their way out of, without sharing in the revenues of the real major league teams."

It is frustrating to watch teams seemingly sit around and collect TV and revenue sharing money while not seeming to make an honest effort to field a competitive team. But the logistical and financial realities of demoting and promoting teams would probably create more problems than it solved.

Madden's complaint is that fans are paying major league prices to watch minor league-quality teams. But if you consign the Pirates to Triple-A, or some newly created level of play, what you're doing is depriving fans in Pittsburgh from being able to see major league talent -- and the fans aren't the ones who picked the owner.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 11, 2010 1:12 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm

Are interleague 'rivalries' still relevant?

Interleague play opens up again Friday and yet again I'm underwhelmed by the Reds-Royals, Mets-Orioles and Pirates-Tigers.

But it's not just those mashups of also-rans that have begun to bore -- anyone excited for Cubs-White Sox? A's-Giants? Dodgers-Angels? Aren't those the reasons we're still stuck with a bastardized schedule? OK, it's Mets-Yankees and nothing else.

Every time this argument comes up, we're pointed toward interleague attendance numbers, without noting that most of those dates are summer nights on the weekend -- nights when teams would draw regardless of the visiting Royals or Pirates.

So what's on tap this weekend for our interleague overlords?

White Sox at Cubs: Nurse that hangover from the Blackhawks parade at Wrigley. What does it say that the NHL in June will overshadow one of the prime interleague matchups? Everything, really.

Astros at Yankees: Loser has to claim Roger Clemens?

• Mets at Orioles: When the Wilpons and Peter Angelos get together, there are no winners. Really.

• Pirates at Tigers: Well, there will be two nice looking uniforms on display.

Nationals at Indians: Yes, they're going to play twice before Steven Strasburg pitches. But one relevant game out of three ain't bad.

• Royals at Reds: The first-place Reds 24th in home attendance. There's only one way to solve that -- a visit by the Royals.

Phillies at Red Sox: OK, I'll admit, this should be a good series. Boston plays in front of sold-out crowds every night, so it's not like this is going to help the gate.

Braves at Twins: Two of the best debuts of 2010 (non-Strasnurg division), Target Field and Jason Heyward meet.

Rangers at Brewers: Does any argument about interleague play hold up when it involves the Brewers?

Blue Jays at Rockies: I got nothing... Blue Jays. Rockies. That's enough.

Mariners at Padres:
Two great ballparks, two awesome cities, one good team.

Angels at Dodgers: If you live in Southern California and want to see the Angels, you've got 81 chances.

• A's at Giants: See above, substitute "Southern" for "Northern."

Oh, the excitement.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 9, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 11:55 pm

More D.C. debuts

A day after the Nationals' top prospect debuted, the Pirates rolled out their top pitching prospect on Wednesday at Nationals Park.

Brad Lincoln won't exactly be garnering headlines across the country, going six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out three and gave up a homer to Adam Dunn in the first inning.

Another Pirate prospect, outfielder Jose Tabata batted leadoff and was 2 for 4 with a walk and a run. Tabata left the game with a cramp in his right hamstring and was taken out as a precautionary measure.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 9, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm

Familiar surnames in draft

Through 50 rounds of the MLB Draft, several familiar names -- or at least last names -- are picked . Among those kin to current or former big-leaguers drafted:

• Delino Deshields Jr. (1st round, Astros), son of Delino Deshields.
• Cam Bedrosian (1st round, Angels), son of Steve Bedrosian.
• Kellen Sweeney (2nd round, Blue Jays), brother of Mark Sweeney.
• Mel Rojas Jr. (3rd round, Pirates), son of Mel Rojas.
• Cory Vaughn (4th round, Mets), son of Greg Vaughn.
• James Baldwin III (4th round, Dodgers), son of James Baldwin.
• Dickie Thon Jr. (5th round, Blue Jays), son of Dickie Thon.
• Connor Narron (5th round, Orioles), son of Jerry Narron.
• Drew Cisco (6th round, Reds), grandson of Galen Cisco.
• Patrick Leyland (8th round, Tigers), son of Jim Leyland.
• Benjamin Gamel (9th round, Yankees), brother of Mat Gamel.
• JaDamion Williams (10th round, Twins), son of Reggie Williams.
• Reggie Williams Jr. (10th round, Cardinals), son of Reggie Williams.
• Hunter Jones (11th round, Indians), son of Tracy Jones.
• Josh Magee (18th round, Astros), son of Wendell Magee.
• Dillon Moyer (22nd round, Twins), son of Jamie Moyer.
• Ozney Guillen (22nd round, White Sox), son of Ozzie Guillen.
• Mark Tracy (22nd round, Rockies), son of Jim Tracy.
• Bryan Harper (28th round, Cubs), brother of Bryce Harper.
• Brett Bochy (30th round, Giants), son of Bruce Bochy.
• Benito Santiago Jr. (31st round, Cubs), son of Benito Santiago.
• Andy Fermin (32nd round, Blue Jays), son of Felix Fermin.
• Devon Ethier (32nd round, Dodgers), brother of Andre Ethier.
• Logan Thompson (33rd round, Indians), son of Robby Thompson.
• Andrew Benes (35th round, Cardinals), son of Andy Benes, nephew of Alan Benes.
• Bobby Geren (36th round, A's), son of Bob Geren.
• Jake May (39th round, Reds), grandson of Lee May.
• Bo McClendon (39th round, Tigers), son of Lloyd McClendon.
• John Franco (42nd round, Mets), son of John Franco.
• Chad Wallach (43rd round, Dodgers), son of Tim Wallach.
• Benjamin Verlander (46th round, Tigers), brother of Justin Verlander.
• Joesph Jackson (50th round, Royals), great-great-grandnephew of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 9, 2010 2:18 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 2:28 pm

Pirates' Lincoln to debut tonight

There is going to be another big pitching debut at Nationals Park tonight, this time with the spotlight on the visitors.

The day after Stephen Strasburg's much-hyped first start, the Pirates called up former first round pick Brad Lincoln and plan to start him against the Nationals tonight. The right-hander (who bats lefty) was the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Houston.

Lincoln, 25, was 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis, and his promotion was just a matter of time. His turn in the rotation in Indianapolis was supposed to be Tuesday, and for a while it looked like he would be pitted against Strasburg, but the Pirates elected to avoid a situation in which their prospect would have been an afterthought. (The Pirates, of course, deny that was the reason, but who could blame them?)

The Pirates' rotation can certainly use a boost -- Pittsburgh's starters have a collective 5.77 ERA, worst in the majors by more than half a run.

The Pirates are also expected to promote outfielder Jose Tabata. They cleared two roster spots after Tuesday night's game by optioning first baseman Jeff Clement to Triple-A and designating reliever Jack Taschner for assignment.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Tabata promotion now official

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Posted on: June 9, 2010 12:24 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:18 am

Another debut in D.C.

After watching rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg beat them, the Pirates made way for their own top pitching prospect, Brad Lincoln. After Tuesday's game against the Nationals, the Pirates optioned first baseman Jeff Clement to Triple-A Indianapolis and reliever Jack Taschner was designated for assignment.

With the two roster spots, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempful speculates the Pirates could bring up another one of their top prospects, outfielder Jose Tabata. Tabata is hitting .309 with eight home runs and 18 RBI and 23 stolen bases for Indianapolis.

Lincoln was the No. 4 pick in the 2006 MLB Draft out of the University of Houston. Lincoln had Tommy John surgery in 2007. This season, he's gone 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 starts for Indianapolis.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

Posted on: June 8, 2010 8:54 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:18 am

Strasburg lives up to the hype

Although it seemed like nothing short of the season's third* perfect game would be a disappointment, Stephen Strasburg seemingly lived up to the hype. The two runs by the Pirates may have proved he was human, but the rest of the night made it seem debatable.

Strasburg struck out 14 batters in seven innings, including the final seven batters he faced and eight of the last nine batters he faced. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning. He struck out every batter in the Pirates' lineup.

Strasburg's final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 14 Ks, 1 HR and an ERA of 2.57.

Strasburg's 94th and final pitch of the night was a 98.5 fastball to Andy LaRoche that followed two curveballs to start the at-bat.

In his seven innings, Strasburg hit 100 mph on the radar gun and showed off his curveball, as well. Only his changeup wasn't displayed much or as sharp as advertised, but it didn't matter.

Although the Pirates are 23-34 this season, Jonathan Sanchez of the Giants is the only other starter to strike out 11 Pirates in a game this season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

Category: MLB
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