Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Stuff

Ten in a row. Wow.

The only suspense is whether Andy LaRoche's 45-foot dribbler, picked up and dropped by CC Sabathia, should be a hit or an error. Was it a no-hitter or one-hitter? That's what the Pirate season has come to in 2008.

> 3B Neil Walker was named the 2008 Indianapolis Indians MVP after hitting .245 with a team-high 16 homers, seven triples and 79 RBI through 130 games so far this season.

Walker, rated by Baseball America as the Pirates #2 prospect entering 2008, owns a .946 fielding percentage in 130 games in his first full season at third base. The converted catcher also ranks among the International League leaders in games played (5th, 130), triples (T-9th, 7) and RBI (T-9th, 79).

Other Tribe awards will go to Andrew McCutchen (Rookie of the Year), Steve Pearce (Slugger of the Year), Brian Bixler (Defensive Player of the Year), and Jesse Chavez (Henry Smock Relief Pitcher of the Year).

> Jim Negrych has been named to the Carolina League’s All-Star Team for his work at A Lynchburg, even though he's been at AA Altoona for a month. His current combined .359 batting average is third in Minor League Baseball, and he's still second in total hits in the Carolina League.

Negrych was selected in the 6th round of the 2006 Player Draft by the Pirates out of the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a First Team All-American second baseman. He's one of three players in Pitt history to accumulate 200 career hits.

> The Pirates will send RHPs Jimmy Barthmaier, Jared Hughes, Jeff Sues, and Mike Crotta to the Scottsdale Scorpions to play in the fall Arizona League. C Steve Lerud and 2B Shelby Ford will join them. The Pirates have yet to select an outfielder; AA and AAA players are eligible for the roster, along with one A player (Crotta).

> Add another ex-Pirate to the unemployment lines. The Phils released RHP Kris Benson, who was pitching in AAA Lehigh Valley rehabbing from right shoulder surgery. The 33-year old was 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA and 1.67 WHIP at LV. He also had tendinitis and a groin pull this year. Even Anna can't kiss away all those boo-boos.

Benson was 43-49 for Pittsburgh with a 4.26 ERA from 1999-2004, when he was traded to the Mets with Jeff Keppinger for Jose Bautista and Ty Wiggington. His overall MLB stats line is 68-73 with a 4.34 ERA. He never became the next big thing.

> The Phils picked up another old Bucco, Matt Stairs, for the stretch run. He was hitting .250 with 11 HRs and 44 RBI at Toronto. He was a fan favorite when played here in 2003, batting .292 with 20 homers and 57 RBI. Philly is his 11th MLB team.

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