Tag:Pirates
Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:44 am
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3 Up, 3 Down: Keppinger does in old team, again

Jeff Keppinger

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeff Keppinger, Giants: For the second night in a row, the former Astro did in his old team. Saturday night Keppinger singled in Mark DeRosa from second with a single just over the head of 5-foot-7 Houston second baseman Jose Altuve to give San Francisco a 2-1 victory in 10 innings. On Friday, Keppinger hit a two-run double in the fifth, good for another 2-1 victory. Keppinger came to the Giants from Houston on July 19.

Chris Young, Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks center fielder made sure fans went home happy -- and it wasn't just the because of the bobbleheads in his likeness the team gave out before the game. Young hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off of San Diego starter Aaron Harang and that was enough for Joe Saunders, who allowed just an unearned run on four hits in seven innings as Arizona beat San Diego 3-1 for their fifth consecutive victory.

Brad Lincoln, Pirates: The rookie right-hander not only notched his first victory of the season (and second of his career), but also had a two-run double off of Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter in the Pirates' four-run fourth. Lincoln allowed six hits and no runs in six innings, striking out four and walking one in the Pirates' 7-0 victory over St. Louis, breaking the team's five-game road losing streak.


Chris Marrero, Nationals: Making his MLB debut, the former first-round pick by the Nationals saw a ball hit to him on the very first batter of his big-league career come right at him -- and by him, allowing Brandon Phillips reach in the first inning of the Nationals' 6-3 loss. Phillips scored on a wild pitch with two outs later in the inning. Phillips also scored on Marrero's second error when the Nationals first baseman fielded a double-play ball and threw it into left field, allowing Phillips to score from second, starting a three-run inning for the Reds. Despite his two errors, Marrero did manage his first hit, a single off of Reds starter Mike Leake in the fourth inning.

Royals bullpen: The day after Tim Collins walked in the winning run for a Kansas City loss in Cleveland, Louis Coleman surrendered a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera for an 8-7 Kansas City loss to the Indians. With two outs in the eight and the Royals leading by two runs, Coleman gave up a single to Lonnie Chisenhall and walked Kosuke Fukudome to set up Cabrera's shot. Blake Wood also gave up three hits and a run in his 1/3 of an inning of work.

C.J. Wilson, Rangers: The same day Texas manager Ron Washington told reporters Wilson was going to be the team's horse down the stretch, pitching every five days no matter what, the left-hander gave up six runs on 10 hits and a walk in five innings. The Angels also hit four of their five solo homers off of Wilson as Los Angeles moved to within two games of Texas with a 8-4 victory.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Ohlendorf, Lincoln assume spots in rotation

WeaverBy Evan Brunell

Brad Lincoln has been tabbed to take over Kevin Correia's starting spot in the rotation, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Along with Ross Ohlendorf, this makes two new members of Pittsburgh's rotation in the last few days.

Ohlendorf, who was activated by the Pirates on Tuesday with reliever Joe Beimel designated for assignment, will step in for Paul Maholm who is on the shelf with a strained shoulder. Ohlendorf himself had been sidelined since early April with a strained shoulder and returns to a season in which he's given up seven runs in 8 2/3 innings over two starts. Over the last two seasons combined, the 29-year-old has a 3.98 ERA in 50 starts and will hope to replicate that success.

Lincoln, meanwhile, would love to produce what Ohlendorf threw up from 2009-10. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2006 draft made his second start of the season on Monday, first since a July 2 spot start, and shut down the Brewers on Monday, giving up two runs in six innings. That performance was enough to give Lincoln a rotation spot after posting a 4.19 ERA in 19 starts down at Triple-A.

"We'll give him [the] ball and see where he takes it," manager Clint Hurdle told the Tribune-Review.

On the farm, Lincoln's proven himself to be stingy with the ball and strikes out enough batters to keep them honest. If he can translate those aspects to the majors, he could end up a solid mid-rotation starter, and his performance down the stretch will have a lot to say about his future with Pittsburgh. Still, the fact that he still hasn't locked down a full-time job -- or an extended audition -- in the majors thus far at age 26 doesn't bode well for his future.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:35 am
 

Pepper: Pirates send small message with Tabata



By Matt Snyder


The Pirates announced Sunday that they agreed to terms with outfielder Jose Tabata. He'll be paid $14 million over the next six seasons, with options that could keep Tabata in Pittsburgh through 2019 (Associated Press). The deal buys out the remaining three years of arbitration, but that's not the important part -- which is that the Pirates made a long-term commitment to a young player.

Tabata, 23, has a .356 on-base percentage with 15 stolen bases and 44 runs this year in 75 games, serving mostly as the leadoff man.

He is certainly no Andrew McCutchen and he's been signed for a pretty cheap deal, but the signal is the same as it was when the Pirates were buyers at the trade deadline: These Pirates aren't a laughing matter anymore. No longer is ownership content to simply be a virtual Triple-A team, developing players only to have them traded or leave via free agency. When they lock up McCutchen, which I fully expect, the signal will be even louder. Granted, the Pirates will never be a large-market spender, but the increased attendance this season shows the fans are still there, should the team become a legitimate contender. Expect the Tabata deal to be the first of several.

Strasburg Watch: Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth rehab start Monday. He'll pitch for Class-A Hagerstown again, where he was shelled last time out. He was dominant in his first two outings, however, so Monday will be a good gauge to see if that was simply an off-day. He's going to be working toward four innings and 65 pitches (Nationals Journal). That's a huge sign, because from 65 pitches, a lot of pitchers jump to 80 next time. Presumably, 80 pitches is enough to get back to the bigs. Strasburg is scheduled to have a fifth rehab start August 27, but if everything goes well in these next two outings, that's likely all he'll need before joining the Nats.

Joe on A.J.: Yankees manager Joe Girardi and struggling starting pitcher A.J. Burnett appeared to exchange some pretty heated words Saturday night, but both Girardi and Burnett said the issue was Burnett's anger at the home plate umpire. Girardi reiterated that sentiment Sunday, but also noted Burnett is on shaky ground due to his pitching performance. "The reality is he needs to pitch better," Girardi said (New York Times baseball blog).

Pronk injured: Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single late in Sunday's game, but when he rounded first base, he pulled up lame and limped his way to getting tagged out and back to the dugout. He has a right foot strain, which is a similar injury to one that kept him out for five games earlier in the season (MLB.com).

Time for revenge: It's been a while since the Rangers and Red Sox played. In fact, it was the first series of the season. Many of us may have forgotten the Rangers kicked the Red Sox teeth in for three games, sweeping them and outscoring them 26-11 in three games. It's the only team the Red Sox have played this season and not beaten. Reliever Daniel Bard certainly hasn't forgotten, though, as he said "we owe them something for the first series of the year," Sunday (BostonHerald.com). The two teams square off for a four-game series in Texas, beginning Monday.

Winded Grandyman: Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson hit an inside-the-park home run at Minnesota Sunday, and he was a bit tired after the trip around the bases. “It was good until everyone wanted to talk,” Granderson said (LoHud). ” As we’re coming in, everyone was asking about it, and I couldn’t really talk too much.”

Action Jackson: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson ended Sunday's game by throwing out the would-be tying run at home plate. A game-ending double play scored 8-2 hasn't happened since 1988 when Pirates center fielder Andy Van Slyke pulled it off, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Swarzak in, Blackburn out: Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn injured his right forearm early in his start against the Yankees Sunday, and it looks like he's headed for the disabled list, as the Twins have already named a replacement in the rotation. Anthony Swarzak will get the spot (Around the Majors). Swarzak is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in five starts this season.

Love for Hendry: Recently-fired Cubs (former) general manager Jim Hendry has been beaten down pretty good in terms of fans, message boards, Twitter, etc. But you rarely hear anything bad about him as a person from his own players, media who know him personally or even opposing players. Former Cubs shorstop Ryan Theriot -- who Hendry traded last season -- joins in, calling Hendry a good person who has a good heart (Chicago Tribune).

Leyland tossed again: Tigers manager Jim Leyland had a pretty nice ejection Sunday, marking the fifth time in the past two months he's been run. The Detroit Free-Press has a list of the five ejections.

On this date: Mark McGwire made his big-league debut 25 years ago today. (Hardball Times)

Oh, Nails: Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra is currently serving time in prison because he filed for bankruptcy and then tried to sell off part of his estate for profit -- which is otherwise known as embezzlement -- and was also accused of lying under oath and trying to hide some of his assets from the bankruptcy court. Apparently, however, Lenny doesn't believe the law applies to him because he was good in the 1993 World Series. Seriously: Read his post by clicking here and let me know if I'm wrong, but I believe that's kind of his argument -- warning, the post has the grammar and spelling of an eight year old. The best part is that Dykstra is delusional enough to believe he's been targeted by a government that wants to redeem itself for the O.J. Simpson case by nailing a celebrity. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. It's amazing.

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Posted on: August 21, 2011 10:56 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Damon plays hero for Tampa Bay



By Matt Snyder

Johnny Damon, Rays. In the bottom of the seventh, Damon hit what was initially ruled a grand slam. Only the ball hit the very top of the wall and bounced high into the air, only to return to the field of play. So the play was reviewed and the umpires correctly ruled it wasn't a homer. Still, three runs scored and put the Rays on top 7-5. Fast-forward to the bottom of the ninth, with the score now tied at seven, and Damon stepped to the plate again. This time he left no doubt, as he went yard to end the game in walk-off fashion.

Austin Jackson, Tigers. If you haven't seen how the Tigers-Indians game ended, click here to watch it on MLB.com video. Jackson fired an absolute bullet from center to nail Kosuke Fukudome -- who represented the tying run -- at home plate to end the game. To those who never played outfield in high school or college, that play is much tougher than it looks. It was incredibly impressive. Jackson also went 2-4 with two runs and an RBI in the victory, which completed a Tigers' sweep of the second-place Indians.

Luis Perez, Blue Jays. He had never made a major-league start before Sunday. He had never thrown more than 64 pitches in a major-league game until Sunday. And yet Perez had a perfect game heading into the sixth inning. It's a shame he's not completely stretched out as a starter, because it was evident he just ran out of gas in the sixth. Still, he got out of a jam with an inning-ending double play off the bat of Coco Crisp, giving Perez six scoreless innings. He ended up gathering the win, too, as the Jays squeaked out a 1-0 victory.



Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians. The Indians acquired Jimenez less than 24 hours before the non-waiver trade deadline because they wanted an ace. On August 10 he looked the part. In the other three starts, he hasn't even come close. After Sunday's stinkbomb against the first-place Tigers, Jimenez has an 11.77 ERA and a 2.46 WHIP in his three road starts. Sunday was his worst effort, too, as the Indians needed him to play stopper, and instead Jimenez allowed nine hits and eight earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings. After having been swept, the Indians now trail the Tigers by 4 1/2 games.

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates. Much like his team, it appears the honeymoon is over for Hanrahan (at least in 2011). The All-Star closer hadn't blown a save in the entire first half of the season, but Sunday he coughed up his third one in the past five weeks. It's still not awful or anything, but it's a bit of a rough patch. Hanrahan has now given up five earned runs in his past three innings.

Brad Lidge, Phillies. How about a walk-off hit-by-pitch? That's what Lidge offered up to Jonny Gomes of the Nationals Sunday, as the Phillies dropped a series to the Nationals. After allowing a double and single, with an intentional walk in between, to load the bases, Lidge faced Gomes. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Lidge hit Gomes, plating the game-winning and series-clinching run for Washington.

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 11:53 am
 

Presley not ready for return to Pirates

PresleyBy Evan Brunell

Even though the Pirates have sunk out of the division race and are scrapping to hang onto a .500 record, there are still some bright spots the team can take away from the season.

One such bright spot is rookie Alex Presley, who hit .333/.402/.494 in 93 plate appearance before suffering an injury to his left hand. While Presley was certainly playing over his head, it's still possible the 26-year-old could have long-term value to the team, but he needs to play more for that to be determined. Manager Clint Hurdle told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettethat the outfielder is still a ways away from rejoining Pittsburgh even though he's made seven rehab appearances in Triple-A already.

"He is still working through some issues of trust with that top hand -- the thumb -- getting it in play, getting the barrel out in front, letting the ball travel, get deep," Hurdle said. "He's got to take at least another step or two along those lines before we'd be ready to recall him here. ... Subconsciously, those can hinder you a little bit."

When Presley returns, he'll have to fight for playing time among an increasingly crowded outfield that holds Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Ryan Ludwick, Xavier Paul, Matt Diaz, Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce, although the latter two primarily man first base.

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:19 am
Edited on: August 20, 2011 1:21 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Madson melts down

Madson

By Evan Brunell


3 UpRussell Martin, Yankees:  Russell Martin blasted two bombs in Friday's game and seems to have hit a bit of a hot streak. Remember back in early April when Martin went off for six home runs and it looked like the Yankees had found their catcher of the future at the expense of the Dodgers? Well, from April 24 through July 31, Martin hit .200/.307/.283 in 267 plate appearances. Yuck! Lucky for him that he's hit another hot streak and has hammered five home runs on the month thus far, bringing his season total to 15. the night, Martin had three hits and three RBI.

Carlos Corporan, Astros: Coming into Friday's game, the 27-year old had appeared in 36 games this season, easily the most the catcher has tallied over his career. Prior to 2011, Corporan's only major-league time came back in 2009 when he had exactly one game for the Brewers. Hitting .177/.223/.239 over 123 plate appearances, even the most die-hard baseball fan would have had trouble remembering who Corporan was. Well, it's a bit easier to remember after Friday when the switch-hitter went 3 for 3 with two runs scored against the Giants, chipping in a double and all of a sudden lifting his season line to .198/.248/.267. This is probably the first and last time Corporan ever appears on 3 Up.

Livan Hernandez, Nationals: Hernandez, whose arm hasn't fallen off yet, came through with a superhuman effort on Friday when he returned after a rain delay aborted his outing in the first. Hernandez told reporters after the game that he threw over 300 warmup pitches. Couple that with 59 in the game, when he gave up four runs in four innings, walking two, striking out none and allowing seven hits. Not a great outing, but a great number of pitches for Hernandez, who says, "It's crazy, but I feel really good," CSNWashington.com tweets.



3 DownRyan Madson, Phillies (pictured): What an epic meltdown for Ryan Madson, who entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead, but just couldn't hold onto it all the way to giving up a walkoff grand slam to Ryan Zimmerman for a 8-4 loss. Madson gave up five hits in 2/3s of an inning, walking one and striking out one. Before Zimmerman could deliver a crushing blow into the left-field bleachers, though, Madson gave up two RBI singles to knot the game up at four apiece. And just like that, Madson's ERA soared from 2.06 to 3.25, but don't let that color your impression of Madson, who has had an excellent season. It's just his second blown save of the year against 23 saves.

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates:
With the score 6-2 after the top of the fifth, the game was pretty much in hand for Cincinnati. Except a funny thing happened the rest of the way as Pittsburgh scored six runs the rest of the way to tie the game up through eight innings, including back-to-back two-run outbursts in the seventh and eighth. Unfortunately, Joel Hanrahan didn't want to see Bill Bray or Nick Massett get singled out in 3 Down, so he promptly gave up three runs (two earned) on a walk and two hits, getting just one out before being yanked from the game. Because the game was tied, he wasn't charged with a blown save.

Kevin Slowey, Twins: Kevin Slowey hasn't been around much this season thanks to a baffling transition to the bullpen, an injury and eventual demotion to the minors. Slowey could have been a major asset to Minnesota this season but instead made his first start of the season on Friday and seventh appearance overall, last appearing in the bigs in mid-May. Slowey had to face the Yankees and predictably gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings, striking out four while allowing 10 baserunners.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 9:26 pm
 

Report: Pirates to sign Tabata to six-year deal

Tabata

By Evan Brunell

The Pirates are following on the heels of teams such as the Rockies and Rays of recent years in locking up their young players to long-term deals despite these players being a ways away from arbitration, never mind free agency.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the Pirates have agreed to a six-year deal with outfielder Jose Tabata and are deep in discussions with second basemen Neil Walker. Tabata only debuted last June, but has quickly integrated himself into the fabric of the team, hitting a cumulative .285/.348/.385 over 747 plate appearances the past two seasons, swiping 33 bags. Tabata, who turned 23 on Aug. 12 and was acquired from the Yankees in a 2008 trade, doesn't have much power but has hit exclusively at the top of the order for Pittsburgh and should remain there over the life of his new six-year, deal, which kicks in immediately and guarantees his deal through 2016. That means Tabata isn't signing away a guaranteed year of free agency, but did  agree to three successive club options. In that vein, it's very similar to the four-year deal James Shields inked with the Rays for the 2008 season that has three club options built into the contract.

Don't expect a significant figure to be attached to Tabata's deal, even if it's for six seasons. That's because Tabata is giving up the chance to earn significant money through arbitration in exchange for cost-certainty. Instead of taking the risk of being worth a $10 million deal in the final year of arbitration in 2016, Tabata will take guaranteed money that he will receive regardless of injury or attrition. As an idea of what Tabata could receive on the free-agent market, first note that the first two years of the deal will be close to the league minimum -- a total number of $1 million over the next two years sounds right. For purposes of arbitration, let's use Michael Bourn, who is a close-enough approximate of Tabata. Bourn played for $2.4 million in his first year of arbitration and is now currently on a $4.4 million deal. He figures to make around $7 million in 2012, his final season before free agency. That gives a total price of $13.8 million. Add in the first two years of Tabata's deal, and now you have a framework for what Tabata will sign. So let's say six years and $15 million.

(Update: Tabata will earn $14.25 million over the life of the contract, as ESPNDeportes.com reports, saying Tabata's deal increases his 2011 salary to $500,000, plus a $1 million signing bonus. Next season, Tabata will earn $750,000, and then jump to $1 million in 2013, $3 million in 2014, $4 million in 2015 and $4.5 million in 2016. The club options can total up to $37.25 million. ESPN Deportes also noted that Tabata and his agency, ACES Inc., parted ways due to contract negotiations.

"There were philosophical differences over some aspects of the contract, but there's still a lot of respect," a source said of the parting. "In the best interest of both, the parties decided to separate, without ruling out the possibility of working together again."

The Pirates are hoping to lock up Neil Walker to a similar deal that Tabata will be playing under. While a final agreement is not near, the two sites have had advanced talks, team and league sources told the Tribune-Review.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, talks stalled with center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who is already one of the best center fielders in the game and would certainly charge a higher price to sign a long-term deal. While it's not known how much McCutchen is asking for, it's possible he won't be as willing to trade future earnings for cost-certainty, or that the Pirates feel a long-term deal at a higher cost is beneficial.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Which other GMs could be on the way out?

Ed WadeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jim Hendry is the first general manager out heading into this offseason, but it's unlikely he'll be the last. What other GMs could be on the move?

Here's five possibilities ranked from most likely to least likely:

1. Ed Wade, Astros: A new owner often means a new general manager, and if the sale to Jim Crane ever goes through, Wade can expect to find himself on the way out with current owner Drayton McLane. Not only do the Astros have a shot at a historically bad season, there's little hope on the way. That said, Wade did get a nice haul for Hunter Pence, but Pence was still under team control for two more years. The trade of the team's best player wasn't a popular one. 

2. Andy MacPhail, Orioles: Hendry's predecessor with Cubs hasn't had much success in Baltimore, either. MacPhail has the title of "President of Baseball Operations" but is in effect the general manager… for now. MacPhail was hired in June of 2007 and since he's taken over the team has gone 285-413 and lost at least 90 games in each of his three full seasons at the helm and the team is on track to reach that mark again.

3. Jack Zduriencik, Mariners: Zduriencik made a splash in his first season as Mariners general manager, putting together a team that surprised everyone by going 85-77. As good as 2009 was, 2010 was a disaster. Zduriencik was praised by many (myself included) for his offseason moves leading up to the 2010 season, but the Midas touch was gone. The signing of Chone Figgins and trade for Milton Bradley turned out to be disasters, while Ken Griffey Jr. clashed with manager Don Wakamatsu and retired mid-season. The Mariners started 2011 off well, but since their last day at .500 on July 5, the Mariners have gone 10-16 and went from 2 1/2 games out to 18 games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Furthermore, Zduriencik angered many in the organization after denying knowledge of the criminal past of reliever Josh Lueke, who was part of the Cliff Lee deal last year.

4. Neal Huntington, Pittsburgh: Speaking of former darlings, Huntington was the toast of baseball at the All-Star break. The Pirates appeared to be on track to end their string of 18 consecutive losing seasons. Since sitting alone in first place atop the NL Central on July 19, the Pirates have gone 7-20 and sit 14 games back just a month later. There were rumors that Huntington was close to an extension earlier in the season, but recent events could mean instead of a raise for 2012, Huntington is looking for a new job.

5. Brian Cashman, Yankees: While the others on this list may be getting pink slips, Cashman could decide to leave on his own. Former owner George Steinbrenner was infamous for his quick temper and firing employees, but his sons' signature move so far was the undermining of Cashman by signing reliever Rafael Soriano after Cashman said the team had no interest in the former Rays' closer as a setup man for Mariano Rivera. Cashman had a rough offseason with the negotiations with Derek Jeter and Rivera, and could also look for a new challenge to show that he's not been successful only because of the Yankees' deep pockets. Basically, he could be sick of being the GM of the Yankees and decide to move on.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com