Thursday, June 18, 2009

Buc Bats Baffled

We thought it'd be a pretty well tossed game today, and it was for seven-and-a-half innings, with the Twins up 3-0. An overdue flurry of hitting before the final six outs were recorded made the final 5-1.

Zach Duke pitched well enough to keep the lumberless Bucs hangin' around, giving up three runs on seven hits in six frames and escaping a bases-loaded, no-one out jam in the third with just one run.

But Nick Blackburn went the distance, giving up just six hits and not allowing a run until two were out in the ninth. The Pirates helped the cause by bouncing into a pair of DPs, part of the 18 ground-ball outs he coaxed from the team.

Well, off to visit the Colorado Rockies and their new skipper, Jim Tracy. Here are the pitching match-ups from

-- Hey, we know it's getaway day. But doesn't anybody on the team besides Freddy Sanchez ever need a blow?

-- The Bucs haven't won a road interleague series since 2003. Of course, they haven't won many NL series on the road, either.

-- GM Neal Huntington confirmed that Donnie Veal is healthy enough to be reinstated from the DL, but said that because of some mechanical issues he's working through, no return date has yet been set. Hey, it's good to see the kid get some innings.

Veal began his rehab assignment with Indy on June 8 and according to Hoyle, the Pirates can keep him on assignment for up to 30 days. See ya July 8th, Donnie!

-- Here's what Jayson Stark of says about upcoming Pirate moves:
The Pirates were the first team to start selling, with that Nate McLouth deal. And they'll have the most jam-packed display window you'll find down at the Deadline Mall. You can dabble in Wilson, Adam LaRoche, Ian Snell, John Grabow, maybe even Freddy Sanchez. But which of those guys is most likely to exit? Tough call.

"They'd love to move Jack Wilson," said an official of one club. "But they've been trying to move him for months -- years, even. He's a good player, but he's not worth the contract he's got [for $7.25 million, plus a $200,000 bonus if he's traded, plus a $600,000 buyout for next year]. So if they want to get something in return, they should probably move the second baseman [Sanchez]."

But can they at this point? As an executive of another club put it, "After trading one fan favorite [McLouth], I don't see them trading another guy like that. But there's really no logic in that. Once you make that [McLouth] trade, you're telling your fans you're not buying into 2009. So that's the path you've picked. Now you're stuck with it."
-- RHP Brooks Pounders, the Pirates second-round pick in the draft, signed and will report to the GCL. Pounders, 18, was 9-2 with a 1.96 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 64-1/3 innings for Temecula Valley (Cal.) HS this season. He was slated to play college ball at SoCal.

The 6-5, 215 pounder throws an above-average fastball, breaking ball and changeup. He signed for slot bonus money, about $900K.

-- Pirates draftee LHP Matt Dermody not only threw a perfect game for his Norwalk HS team from Des Moines, Iowa, but he struck out all 18 hitters he faced. Dermody is an unsigned 26th-round selection from this year's lottery; the Bucs may have to add some sugar to that bonus now to entice him to turn pro.

-- Maybe the Bucs weren't so dumb letting Tanner Scheppers walk last year. Jonathan Mayo of reports that two teams passed on Scheppers in the draft because they were told he has a 50-percent tear of his labrum by their docs, and believe his shoulder will eventually require surgery. The Rangers hope not; they took him 44th with a sandwich pick in the first round.

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