Monday, September 8, 2008

Buc Bits

Altoona Curve skipper Tim Leiper has joined Indy's manager Trent Jewett and hitting coach Hensley Meulens at the unemployment line as the Bucs continue their clean sweep through the minor league system.

It's no great surprise that the new suits want to leave their own imprint on the organization. Kyle Stark's paint-by-the-numbers philosophy of bringing up young players created some tension among guys that in prior years had a fairly free hand at the helm, and caused some considerable head-banging between management and the holdover coaches.

And whether because of talent, teaching, or philosophy, the Pirate's top two levels weren't exactly churning out MLB-ready players. A lot of Pittsburgh's prospects have stagnated in the upper minor league system.

We suspect most have just hit the wall ability-wise, but the new regime made it clear that they have a strictly defined program they want in place, from the GCL to the International League, covering everything from conduct and pitch counts to movement up and down the ladder.

Whether that proves to be a more effective way of prepping talent has years to go before it will be validated, but it's a 180-turn from the old school. We wish Leiper, Jewett, and Meulens the best of success in the future. They were good people and coaches caught in the turmoil and turnover of transition.

> The Buc's list of banged up players keeps on growing.

Jack Wilson has played his final game at short for the club, if off-season trade rumors prove true. X-rays revealed a hairline fracture near the tip of his finger, and doctors told Jack Splat that he can't throw for another six weeks. He hopes to come back to at least pinch-hit or run in September.

Brian Bixler and Luis Cruz will keep SS warm, although Cruz is expected to be moved around the field to see if he has the stuff to be a MLB utility man.

Nate McLouth took six stitches to close the cut over his eye after a bad hop yesterday, but will be in tonight's lineup, bruises and all. Luis Cruz had his left wrist wrapped and was getting electrical stimulation treatment after misplaying a liner Saturday. He's back for the Astro's, too.

Freddy Sanchez will live with his bum shoulder for the remainder of the year. It doesn't seem to affect his hitting, though. He was 8-14 against the Giants, with 5 runs scored and 2 RBI.

> Sunday was a big day for Robinzon Diaz. He caught his first MLB game, had his first hit, first stolen base, first RBI, and first gunned basestealer.

> Pedro has his day in court Wednesday in NYC in front of the arbitrator. The decision will take awhile, even after the hearing, probably requiring two or three weeks before it's finalized. Dejan suggests that the proceeding may take more than one session - and the arbitrator is booked for the rest of the month. The drama never ends.

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