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    Default A clear view to opening roster?

    A clear view to opening roster?
    Hart, Young, Moss have a track to make it, but decisions remain

    Monday, March 15, 2010
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


    The Pirates' Charlie Morton had his sharpest outing of the spring Sunday, throwing four scoreless innings against the Yankees, with a hit, a walk and four strikeouts.

    BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates made their first cuts of the spring Sunday, reducing the roster from 66 to 60 with some eminently predictable moves: Outfielder Brandon Jones and shortstop Argenis Diaz were optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis. Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and relievers Ronald Uviedo and Ramon Aguero were optioned to Class AA Altoona. And shortstop Brian Friday, who will start for Indianapolis, was reassigned to minor league camp.

    The rest of the moves might end up nearly as predictable.

    Breaking down the outlook for opening day, based on observations and discussions ...

    Starting rotation: Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton and Zach Duke are locks. And Kevin Hart, despite an erratic start to his spring, remains the default choice for the fifth spot.

    Daniel McCutchen still is Hart's designated competition, but management is determined to give Hart a shot. One sign: McCutchen has yet to start a Grapefruit League game, his first start coming today in a minor league game.

    Whichever of the two fails to make the rotation will start in Class AAA.

    Bullpen: Octavio Dotel, Brendan Donnelly and Evan Meek are locks. Javier Lopez and DJ Carrasco are close to that. Joel Hanrahan would be a lock, but his elbow injury is almost certain to have him open the season on the disabled list.

    That leaves two openings, and the Pirates have been particularly pleased with right-hander Vinnie Chulk and left-hander Jack Taschner, as well as righty Brian Bass. Bass could gain an upper hand if the Pirates decide not to use Carrasco in a long role, an option they are considering.

    Catcher: Ryan Doumit will start, obviously, but the team is giving serious thought to using minor league veteran Erik Kratz as the backup while Jason Jaramillo returns to Class AAA for regular duty in the early going.

    Infield: Left to right, the starters will be Andy LaRoche, Ronny Cedeno, Akinori Iwamura and, in all likelihood, Jeff Clement at first base. As with Hart, management is determined to give Clement a chance, especially with top prospect Pedro Alvarez due to crowd the infield later this summer.

    Clement, perhaps the most prominent question of the spring, has been adequate defensively, though seldom challenged. At the plate, he is 3 for 21.

    Bobby Crosby, who went 3 for 3 and homered twice in the Pirates' 10-5 rout of the New York Yankees Sunday at McKechnie Field, will be one infield backup. Delwyn Young will be the other. If there had been any doubt about the latter, he now has homered in three consecutive games and, on Sunday, turned three fielding gems at second base.

    Adding those two will require the trade or release of Ramon Vazquez. The latter would cost $2 million.

    Outfield: Left to right, the starters will be Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones. The only way that could change is if Clement is removed: Jones would go to first, and Ryan Church would take right field.

    As it is, Church will be one outfield backup and Brandon Moss, despite his 0-for-16 start, probably will be the other. Moss is out of options, and his competition, Rule 5 draft pick John Raynor, has not impressed management commensurate with his .444 average here.

    The Pirates will open the season with a 12-man pitching staff and five-man rotation, but those might change: Management is weighing going with an 11-man staff and four-man rotation later in April, during which the Pirates have three off-days in the first 15 days. A full staff will be needed at the outset because of the early six-game trip to Arizona and San Francisco.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Morton, Crosby shine[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Morton made his best start of the spring against New York, with four scoreless innings, a hit, a walk and four strikeouts.

    Unlike his first two appearances, he pitched aggressively.

    "I did what I was supposed to do: I pitched inside and controlled both sides of the plate," Morton said. "I think I went out there and put the emphasis on competing. Having a good lineup in the box, you just need to go after them."

    It was not the Yankees' best lineup, but Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Nick Johnson and Nick Swisher were there, and they went a combined 0 for 7 with a walk against Morton.

    Iwamura gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the fourth with the first of their five home runs, a solo shot off CC Sabathia that clanged off the scoreboard above left-center. That followed a 2-for-13 start for Iwamura.

    "That felt good," Iwamura said.

    The lead became 6-0 with a five-run fifth, highlighted by Crosby's RBI double off Jonathan Albaladejo, Andrew McCutchen's two-run double, Jones' sacrifice fly and Doumit's RBI single.

    Crosby, Young and Steve Pearce hit solo home runs in the seventh, Crosby another in the eighth.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Cedeno's hand cut[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Cedeno's right hand was lacerated while stealing second base in the third inning, when Cano's shoe came down on it, and he will be out until Wednesday.

    The injury, above the thumb and forefinger, forced him out of the game but required only a small bandage.

    Just a cut," Cedeno said. "I got a little lucky."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Buried treasure[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    [HIGH-LIGHT][/HIGH-LIGHT] Sabathia, who exited in the fifth when LaRoche's comebacker nicked his glove, was charged with three runs in 4 1/3 innings. After Sabathia's previous start last week, when the Pirates hammered him for five runs in 2 1/3 innings, he told reporters: "I always say results don't matter until you give up eight runs in two innings to the Pirates." Sabathia was kinder to the opponent Sunday: "They've got some good young players over there, so we'll see what happens."

    [HIGH-LIGHT][/HIGH-LIGHT] The Pirates' B-game with the Baltimore Orioles ended in a 1-1 tie after 9 1/2 innings because of a time constraint. Brad Lincoln was charged with a run on two hits over three innings. He struck out four, walked one. Friday had the Pirates' only hit.

    [HIGH-LIGHT][/HIGH-LIGHT] Pirates Charities will open a computer lab today at the Bradenton Boys and Girls Club next to McKechnie Field with a ceremony attended by team owner Bob Nutting.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10074/1042862-63.stm
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Rule 5 draft pick John Raynor, has not impressed management commensurate with his .444 average here.
    If true I wonder why this is? Has his defense really been that bad? I mean .444 batting average compared to a guy who is 0-16 is night and day even if it is spring training. Hell it's not like Moss has proven to hit well at the MLB level either.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    If true I wonder why this is? Has his defense really been that bad? I mean .444 batting average compared to a guy who is 0-16 is night and day even if it is spring training. Hell it's not like Moss has proven to hit well at the MLB level either.
    But remember, jobs aren't won or lost in spring training. If so, Pearce should be winning the 1st base job.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    But remember, jobs aren't won or lost in spring training. If so, Pearce should be winning the 1st base job.
    Delwyn Young might disagree.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Chulk, Taschner, Young, and Kratz. I really like Chulk, I'm cautiously optimistic about Taschner (though also not holding my breath), and also like Kratz better as our number two catcher than I do Jaramillo. However, I agree with Kipper that Jaramillo is still at least a decent prospect going forward, but more as a starter than as a number two. If memory serves, Jaramillo was much better last season when he was playing every day than he was once Doumit came back. Kratz is a bit older than Jaramillo and has a lot more professional experience. This is one time when a "demotion" to Triple A might actually be a promotion in the longer term. Meanwhile Young is certainly mediocre with the glove but he's so much better than Vazquez with the bat that there's really no question Young should make the team.


    I'm ambivalent about Clement. Not expecting much, but ya never know, and sure, let's take a look for a couple hundred every day at-bats and see what happens before Alvarez comes up.


    NO to Kevin Hart in the fifth spot, but they're bound and determined to hand it to him. Uggghhh. Ditto to Brandon Moss, but whatever.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    But remember, jobs aren't won or lost in spring training. If so, Pearce should be winning the 1st base job.
    Except that Raynor is a Rule V guy and Pearce has an Option remaining. That stuff plays out more than any illusion "competition" mentioned by Management or a member of the media

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daskid View Post
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    Delwyn Young might disagree.
    Delwyn Young if I'm correct is out of options and should've been last season. That's most likely why he won, not due to some made up "competition".

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by williamjpellas View Post
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    Chulk, Taschner, Young, and Kratz. I really like Chulk, I'm cautiously optimistic about Taschner (though also not holding my breath), and also like Kratz better as our number two catcher than I do Jaramillo. However, I agree with Kipper that Jaramillo is still at least a decent prospect going forward, but more as a starter than as a number two. If memory serves, Jaramillo was much better last season when he was playing every day than he was once Doumit came back. Kratz is a bit older than Jaramillo and has a lot more professional experience. This is one time when a "demotion" to Triple A might actually be a promotion in the longer term. Meanwhile Young is certainly mediocre with the glove but he's so much better than Vazquez with the bat that there's really no question Young should make the team.


    I'm ambivalent about Clement. Not expecting much, but ya never know, and sure, let's take a look for a couple hundred every day at-bats and see what happens before Alvarez comes up.


    NO to Kevin Hart in the fifth spot, but they're bound and determined to hand it to him. Uggghhh. Ditto to Brandon Moss, but whatever.
    Kerwin thinks he can turn Hart around. He thought he could fix Ohlendorf and he did and he's doing some stuff with Morton this year. What we found out from Ohlendorf last year is that Kerrigan doesn't apply quick fixes and doesn't expect quick fixes which unfortunately goes against 99% of all Pirates fans desires. It's also ridiculous to think that Kerrigan is going to send a project down to AAA out of his daily watch.

    I've liked McCutchen as a SP and Hart as a BP since before Spring Training started but I'm going to see how this plays out before complaining too much.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Delwyn Young if I'm correct is out of options and should've been last season. That's most likely why he won, not due to some made up "competition".
    But he is "competing" against Vasquez and Raynor, who are also out of options. The point is moot.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daskid View Post
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    But he is "competing" against Vasquez and Raynor, who are also out of options. The point is moot.
    I thought you were referring to last season.

    Vasquez is a goner. He makes too much. You're talking about $2.125 million versus $428,000. Vasquez isn't that much better than anyone Raynor is still a rule V.

    I'm trying to figure out how Moss makes the cut when you group them all together

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Vasquez is a goner. He makes too much. You're talking about $2.125 million versus $428,000.
    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Vasquez money is guaranteed. Pretty sure they pay that $2M either way.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daskid View Post
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    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Vasquez money is guaranteed. Pretty sure they pay that $2M either way.
    I have no idea. That would suck if it is. Was thinking they could cut him and get off the hook for a nice sum of that, especially since Vasquez himself said that he expected be cut because he couldn't see the Pirates paying him what he's due to earn

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Kerwin thinks he can turn Hart around. He thought he could fix Ohlendorf and he did and he's doing some stuff with Morton this year. What we found out from Ohlendorf last year is that Kerrigan doesn't apply quick fixes and doesn't expect quick fixes which unfortunately goes against 99% of all Pirates fans desires. [HIGH-LIGHT]It's also ridiculous to think that Kerrigan is going to send a project down to AAA out of his daily watch. [/HIGH-LIGHT]
    I've liked McCutchen as a SP and Hart as a BP since before Spring Training started but I'm going to see how this plays out before complaining too much.
    Lets see.......projects like Snell got sent down to AAA and was in the hands of a "stupid pitch counting" minor league pitching coach. Guess what......he got better. How about Gorzelanny.....another project got sent down to AAA and was out of Kerrigan's daily watch.

    There goes that theory.
    Last edited by PittFaninVa; Mar-16-2010 at 03:35 PM.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    I've said all along that Hart's future---if he has one---is as a reliever, where he doesn't have to think about anything and can just turn it loose. But this team is bound and determined to make Hart a starter, and even Kerrigan's miracle cure isn't going to fix him. Well, at least, I've seen no evidence of that to this point, and don't forget, Hart had several opportunities last season, as well.


    No way he should get a major league starting job over McCutchen, at least, not now. I say, send him to Indy, and if he mows 'em down and proves he deserves another shot, great. But for now, McCutchen is clearly the better option, and it's not close.

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    Default Re: A clear view to opening roster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    If true I wonder why this is? Has his defense really been that bad? I mean .444 batting average compared to a guy who is 0-16 is night and day even if it is spring training. Hell it's not like Moss has proven to hit well at the MLB level either.
    There could be a ton of reasons. First, it's 8 hits in 19 ABs, not usually much to get excited about. He hasn't been drawing walks or working counts really, and he hasn't hit the ball particularly hard in any of the ABs I've heard. Some wind blown balls in the outfield, some dribblers through the infield, etc. His defense apparently hasn't been anything special, and there have been mistakes, although the wind makes everything hard to judge.

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