Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another Notch On the Belt

* The Pirates kept on rolling, adding the Twins' scalp to their belt this afternoon by a 2-1 score.

Young Andy LaRoche provided the offense with a fifth-inning, two run homer, and Craig Monroe hit a pair of doubles.

Seven Bucco pitchers held Minnesota to four hits. Tom Gorzelanny started, and had a bumpy ride; he was supposed to go three innings, but left after two. He threw 35 pitches, and 20 were balls, as he gave up a run on a hit, two walks, and a K. But he did coax four groundball outs, and his sinker was working when he got it over.

But the bullpen was sharp again. Chris Bootcheck, winner Sean Burnett, Tyler Yates, Craig Hansen, Juan Mateo, and Evan Meek, who notched his third save, shut down the Twin City hitters over the final seven frames. Meek fanned two of three batters he faced in the ninth.

The 6-1 Pirates head to Sarasota tomorrow to visit the Reds at 1:05 p.m. Paul Maholm will start, followed by Jeff Karstens, Denny Bautista and Donnie Veal.

* Rob Beirtempfel of the Tribune Review says the Pirates have signed all their zero-to-three year players now, and shares a couple of the known salaries. No big money was dished out, which is a small surprise considering they signed Brandon Moss, Gorzo, Jeff Karstens, and Phil Dumatrait.

He also mentions that there are some Pirate ties on the Dutch WBC club that Pittsburgh played yesterday, like Randall Simon, who's hoping to put his sausage swatting days behind him and catch on with a MLB team in 2009, IF Yurendell DeCaster, and pitching coach Bert Blyleven.

*'s Jen Langosch has articles on outfielder Craig Monroe and bullpen hopeful Evan Meek, both off to strong spring starts.

* John Perrotto of the Pirate Report has a profile of new Pirate utility wanna-be, Andy Phillips, who's spent five seasons, mostly in bits and pieces, in MLB.

* Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette writes that the Pirates penciled in Billy Maz on today's locker room lineup card as a memento of his final day in the 2009 camp. We'd have paid to see him take another swing, but by gametime, he was replaced at DH by Brandon Moss.

* Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors has a linked list of the Top Twenty free agent signings of the year. Not everyone came away with a bagful of balls. And he doesn't have Manny's signing yet. He inked a two-year deal that sounds very similar to the one the Dodgers offered him in December.

* Finally, Ben Walker of the Associated Press has an article on the kid that was traded for ten bats in the indy leagues last season. It didn't work out very well for him; after a season filled with "Batman" music and endless interviews, he quit the team and OD'ed. We hope John Odom's troubled end wasn't an aftermath of the so-called trade.

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