On the Pirate front: Ryan Doumit began a three-game rehab stint with Double-A Altoona yesterday, and hopes to be back in the Pirates' starting lineup by Friday. Doumit had a pinch-hit single in his first game with the Curve.
Raul Chavez threw out two base runners last night (he's 3-5 since coming up) and has started 5 of the past 6 games. And the Buc pitching has looked OK during that span with him behind the dish.
Doumit is gonna be the full time backstop, and it makes sense to keep a defensive minded backup on the pine. Chavez fits the bill much better than Ronny Paulino.
Indeed, Dejan Kovacevic of the Post-Gazette reports that "The Pirates are contemplating keeping catcher Raul Chavez on the roster once Ryan Doumit is ready to return this weekend, and part of those ongoing discussions is the possibility of optioning Ronny Paulino to the minors."
Hoping, no doubt, to rebuild a little value for him. It'll be interesting to see if the Bucs can drum up any interest in Paulino.
On the minor league front: Steve Pearce started at first again for Indy, and he looks like Pittsburgh's Plan A if Adam LaRoche is moved. Then again, the Indians have a quadzillion OF'ers, and he looked at least adequate in Pittsburgh's pasture last September, so they may think he's ready.
Kyle Stark, Pittsburgh's player development head honcho, said the plan is for Pearce to split time at the two positions fairly evenly and that the rotation likely will be on a series-by-series basis. Where Pearce eventually fits into the Pirates' roster will be determined by where the first big league opening arises.
Pearce has hit .261 with 16 doubles, 6 homers and 33 RBIs in 54 games for the Indians this season. He hit .321 during the month of May after being MIA in April.
>RHP Evan Meek pitched two scoreless innings of relief to earn his first save. He struck out 4 and walked 1. His ERA out of the Altoona Curve pen is 3.27. In 11 innings, he's K'd 12, walked 3, and held opponents to a .220 batting average.
>RHP Brad Lincoln allowed one run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six with no free passes. In four starts, he has 15 strikeouts and 1 walk in 22-1/3 innings for Hickory. Lincoln's 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA since returning to action.
On the hot stove front: David Ortez' wrist injury looks pretty serious in Beantown, and the list Theo Epstein could be choosing from to take his at bats includes Barry Bonds, Adam Dunn, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Brian Giles, Raul Ibanez, and Milton Bradley.
It's pretty much the usual list of suspects and yet another potential suitor for the Bucs, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
On the ex-Pirate front: Shawn Chacon, Astro manager Cecil Cooper and pitching coach Dewey Robinson had a 14-minute closed-door chat in Cooper's office, presumably to discuss Chacon's quick hook Sunday in Milwaukee.
Chacon allowed four runs in the first inning of the Astros' finale with the Brewers Sunday and didn't return for the second inning. Speculation is that Cooper yanked Chacon as a punishment for throwing a snit when Robinson went to the mound to talk to the right-hander. Chacon turned his back on Robinson and stomped around the mound in anger.
On the Pirate history front: On June 4, 1953 GM Branch Rickey traded future Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, the only man to lead the NL in home runs for seven consecutive seasons.
Kiner was sent to the Chicago Cubs as part of a ten player trade. This was largely due to continued salary disputes with Rickey, who told Kiner, "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you."
>Also on June 4th, 1937, first baseman Gus Suhr set the Pirates franchise record by playing in his 822nd consecutive game.