Thursday, August 21, 2008

Off Day Bits and Pieces

Matt Capps is supposed to rejoin the team at Milwaukee. It'll be nice to have him back if for no other reason than to bump Tyler Yates, who's been struggling big time, back a peg or two in the Pirate pen's pecking order.

Nate McLouth is expected back, too, after a bout of sickness.

> In the past couple of games, the Pirate batters appear to be regaining their discipline at the plate. And though it didn't pay off last night, the Cards noticed.

Catcher Jason LaRue told Robert Falkoff of "There were some situations where he (Todd Wellemeyer) could have gotten outs on 0-2 or 1-2 counts and we wound up going 2-2. I have to tip my hat to their guys because they didn't chase those pitches."

"It was a battle tonight," Wellemeyer added. "They were fouling everything off and I had some long at-bats against guys.

It's a positive sign that the team is starting to get back to the business of playing baseball again after all the disruptions of the past three weeks.

> The Blue Jays have taken on Joey Bats for a player to be named later. Pedro Alvarez, Andy LaRoche and Neil Walker made him a fifth wheel as Pittsburgh looks toward the future.

Bautista, 27, was last spotted at Indy, where he appeared in five games, hitting .300 with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. In 107 games for the Pirates this season, he posted a .242 average, with 12 home runs and 44 RBI.

The Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic native is in his 5th major league season - it seems longer, doesn't it? - posting double-digit home runs in each of the last three seasons, including a career high 16 in 2006.

The 6'0", 195 lb. utilityman has appeared in 441 games for four different clubs (Baltimore 2004, Kansas City 2004, Tampa Bay 2004, & Pittsburgh 2004-08) during his MLB career, posting a .240 avg., with 161 home runs and 541 runs batted in.

Bautista is making $1.8M this season, his first of arbitration eligibility, after signing a 1-year deal last winter.

He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in 2000, but was lost via the Rule 5 draft. Bautista was reacquired on July 30, 2004 from the New York Mets with Matt Peterson and Ty Wigginton for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger.

> Altoona LHP Dave Davidson finished his Olympics yesterday when Team Canada was eliminated. The reliever threw 5 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

> The Jose Castillo change of address from Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle:
The Astros claimed Jose Castillo off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, and the 27-year-old infielder will join the club at Shea Stadium on Friday for the start of a four-game series against the New York Mets.

"We just felt that at this point with (Ty) Wigginton playing a lot of outfield and (Kazuo) Matsui down — if we had a chance to get this guy he'd give us another experienced infielder — and it gives (Cecil Cooper) a lot more flexibility," general manager Ed Wade explained.

Castillo, who will be under the Astros' control as an arbitration-eligible player this winter, is a career .253 hitter, batting .244 with 28 doubles, 35 RBIs and six home runs this season.

Wade remembered the raves Castillo would get from former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Chuck Tanner, who was scouting out of the Pittsburgh area when Castillo played for the Pirates from 2004 through 2007.

"When you look at it, he's 27 and he could do more than just serving a reserve role for us at the end of the season," Wade said. "He's got a chance to help us going forward as well, so it made sense."

J.R. House was sent back to Class AAA Round Rock to make room for Castillo, who will join the club Friday.
Baseball is such an ironic sport.

> Another old Pirate moves on: Kip Wells, released by the Rockies last week, has joined the Kansas City Royals, where he will work in the bullpen, with an eventual chance to start.

Wells was sidelined from April 30 through July 22 with a blood clot in his right hand, and went 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA with the Rox. They released Wells to make room for Livan Hernandez. Go figure. And at $3.1M/year, Kip is still a bargain, more or less.

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