Saturday, June 20, 2009

Afternoon News

-- Craig Monroe got his walking papers today, and Steve Pearce got his call-up. Monroe had a couple of big games for the Bucs, but was 0-for as a pinch hitter and his .215 average made him expendable.

Pearce was having a solid season at Indy, hitting .277 with 11 homers and 43 RBI. In two prior MLB cups of joe, Pearce is a .266 hitter with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 177 at-bats. He's 26, and it's probably make-or-break time for him in the organization if JR finds some at-bats for him.

We'd guess this is the opening gambit of the Adam LaRoche sales pitch.

-- Jack Wilson played in his 1,100th game at shortstop on Friday. With four more appearances at that position, he'll pass Jay Bell (1,103) for fourth on the Pirates' all-time list. Honus Wagner leads the list with 1,887 games at short.

-- Baseball America has two Pirate youngsters in yesterday's Prospect Hot Sheet:
Intrigued by CF Robbie Grossman's wide range of abilities, the Pirates bought the sixth-rounder out of a Texas commitment last year for $1 million. It looks like money well spent. The 19-year-old switch-hitter batted .419/.471/.645 (13-for-31) this week for low Class A West Virginia, contributing three doubles, seven RBIs, six runs scored and two walks. Grossman flashed his athleticism by legging out two triples and stealing two bases in three attempts. However, he also struck out seven times, which remains an area for concern as he now has 82 of them in 58 games. That total ranks seventh in the minors.

It has been a hit or miss season for 3B Pedro Alvarez, and he did a lot of both last week. Alvarez, the 22-year-old 2008 first-round pick, posted two multi-home run games and two multi-strikeout games for high Class A Lynchburg, totaling four big flies and 13 strikeouts on the week. Still, seven of Alvarez's last nine hits have gone for extra bases, raising his numbers to .243/.338/.828 with 14 long balls.

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