Friday, July 31, 2009

Play Ball

OK, the deadline is past. Neal Huntington apparently had some withdrawal pangs; he shipped Altoona RHP Sean Smith, 25, to Toronto for future considerations. He was 3-3-6 for the Curve with a 2.95 ERA, working mostly out of the pen and getting three starts. Smith was signed as a minor league free agent from the Rockies last year.

Now it's time to see how the Bucs react to all the changes; only Ryan Doumit is left standing from 2008's starters. And even he's gotta be looking over his shoulder, with all the catchers the Pirates have been amassing in the past year.

The major moves are in the middle infield, which will now feature 2B Delwyn Young and SS Ronny Cedeno, and one outfield switch. Lastings Milledge will take over in left, with Garrett Jones moving to right. It looks like the loser in this round of musical chairs is Brandon Moss, at least until Steve Pearce surrenders first base to Jones.

Jose Tabata got the call to Indy from AA; Pedro Alvarez and Gorkys Hernandez didn't. That squares away the current pecking order a bit. Also, the Pirates are going to try out fireballer Jose Ascanio as a starter at Indy. He began in the rotation, but since a serious back injury suffered in 2005, he's been coming out of the pen.

We'd guess Kevin Hart will get plugged into Virgil Vasquez's rotation spot, though that will take a few days to shake out, since he pitched yesterday. Dub V could go tomorrow or get skipped because of Thurday's open date; the suits haven't decided yet.

And if you think Huntington enjoys the game, consider Theo Epstein. Adam LaRoche, who was acquired by the BoSox for minor league players SS Argenis Diaz and RHP Hunter Strickland on July 22, was dealt to the Atlanta Braves for 1B Casey Kotchman today. Now there's a cold-blooded card shark for ya.

But one that LaRoche has to love. He goes from a bench guy to a likely every-day player in Atlanta, a plus when you're in your walk year, and he still has a lot of friends and connections with the Braves and the city.

So it's time to sit back, grab a beer, and see what the future holds for the stripped down 2009 Pirates as they embark on the road to...?

No comments: