Monday, July 7, 2008

Up by a field goal...

Phil Dumatrait and Runelvys Hernandez threw slo-pitch softball for four innings tonight, giving up 22 hits and leaving a 10-7 game very much up for grabs. Dumatrait needs to introduce himself to the strike zone again, and Hernandez was taking one for the team, which went 17 innings last night.

But in a tale of two games, minor league call-up Chad Paronto held the Bucs to one hit over the last four, while Denny Bautista, Tyler Yates, and Damaso Marte tossed no-hit ball over the final 5-2/3 innings, striking out 7 Astros to ice the Pirate win.

Every Buc starter had a knock, and in a Ripley's believe it or not night, Dumatrait and Bautista, along with the Astros Hernandez all collected their first MLB hit - and each hit drove in a run.

Xavier Nady had an odd line - two hits, two RBIs, and two DP's. Young lions Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit went yard for the Pirates. Eight different Bucs drove in runs; seven guys scored. That's balance.

Pittsburgh staunched the bleeding for a game. Now to see what Ian Snell has in his tank for the team tomorrow. The pen's used 7 pitchers and worked 11-1/3 of the past 17 innings. They deserve a break.

On the Pirate front: The Pirate's two DL'ed starters, Phil Dumatrait & Ian Snell, will go today and tomorrow. Manager John Russell estimated that both will be limited to about 75-80 pitches in their starts this week. Let's hope the rest did them some good.

> Zach Duke hit last yesterday, ending a streak of five games in which the Pirates starting pitcher batted eighth. The reason for the change was because Raul Chavez caught instead of Ryan Doumit. A second leadoff man (or clean-up hitter) he ain't.

> RHP Frankie Osoria, on the DL with bursitis in his right ankle, starts his rehab assignment with Indy today.

> Matt Capps flew to Florida yesterday afternoon to begin rehabbing his sore right shoulder at Pirate City. Capps is expected to be out until at least the first week of September.

> Nate McLouth, not surprisingly, is the only Bucco starter on the All-Star team. It's the 13th time in 15 years the Pirates have had just one player named to the squad.

> A quick look at the standings shows that there may be another reason besides terrible starting pitching and an injury jinx contributing to the Bucco's 40-47 record. The three best teams in the NL, record-wise, are in the Central - Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. They may have a little bit to do with it, too.

On the hot stove front:
Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald says that the BoSox are looking at a possible Damaso Marte deal, too. The Yankees may have some competition.

> Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who broke the Jack Splat to the Dodgers speculation, writes that since LA has lost CC Sabathia to the Brew Crew, their bid for Wilson is on hold while they restructure their offer. So we'll see what shakes out of that.

On the minor league front: CF Chris Duffy went 3 for 4 with a triple, double and sac fly in last night's Curve loss. He's batting .292 for Altoona.

On the MLB front:
Do you think the cost of doing business in Latin America is criminal? Well, you're not alone. According to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times:

Federal agents, following up on baseball's own two-month investigation, have been interviewing representatives of all 30 major league teams after the May firing of Dave Wilder, the Chicago White Sox's senior personnel director, and two White Sox scouts.

According to the Chicago Tribune, investigators are looking into whether Wilder may have pocketed portions of the bonuses the White Sox gave him to sign Dominican prospects. Ross Rice, a spokesman for the FBI office in Chicago, said no criminal charges have been filed.

"The FBI's going to all the organizations . . . asking players if they received or gave money," said Clay Daniel, international scouting supervisor for the Angels, whose Dominican-based scouts have already been interviewed. "I'm sure they're looking into scouts, personnel, people like that that may have had a hand in it."

And it may go higher than that. Several baseball sources, all of whom said their jobs would be jeopardized if they spoke on the record about a federal investigation, say at least one general manager has already come under suspicion.

Hey, maybe it'll take the limelight off of steroids and maple bats for a while.

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