Yates also had Tommy John surgery in 2002 when he was with the Mets organization.
-- JR plans to keep his rotation intact after the All-Star break: Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf and Virgil Vasquez. Maholm (6-4, 4.60 ERA) will face the Giants' RHP Tim Lincecum (10-2, 2.33 ERA), the NL's All-Star starter, Friday at PNC.
-- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review has a piece on Pirate attendance and the possibility of ticket prices going up in the future. The highlight is that PNC attendance is up 2%, while it's down 4-5% in the majors overall so far this season.
But the Bucs have 42 home games left, the most in baseball, and fan support could be negatively affected by a dismantling of the team or poor performance after the break. Or both; they usually go hand-in-hand.
-- John Perrotto of Pirate Report says that MLB commish Bud Selig is a fan of the Pirates' shake-up:
"I have three people, whose opinions I trust very much, evaluate the farm system of every team on an annual basis," said Selig. "They rate the Pirates as having one of the best farm systems in the game. That leads me to believe they are on the right track in Pittsburgh.He also has all the latest trade rumors wrapped up in one article.
"I understand that fans there don't want to hear about the future because they've been losing for so long. The organization is making good strides, though, and I believe it is only a matter of time before they win."
-- Here's one he missed: Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun reports that "They (the Yankees) need a starter and are looking at Ian Snell of the Pirates. Yanks could move Phil Hughes, plus prospects." GW thinks maybe Ian Kennedy; certainly not Hughes, would be dangled for Snell. But any competition is good. Previously, it was thought only the Phillies had any interest in Snell.
-- For stat fans, Matthew Pouliot of Circling the Bases looked at the rookies, and the Pirates had a pair that are highly ranked in this year's frosh class based on VORP (Value Over Replacement Player, or how many runs better or worse a player is compared to the average grunt).
The yearlings are CF Andrew McCutchen, ranked fifth among hitters with a +10.3 VORP, and RHP Evan Meek, eighth among pitchers with the same +10.3 VORP.
-- The Braves are shopping SS Yunel Escobar, but we haven't heard any Pirate noises involving bringing him to the 'Burgh. Ditto with Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta or any of the trio of Tiger prospects, Cale Iorg, Danny Worth, and Mike Hollimon.
-- Lastings Milledge was sent to high A Lynchburg Monday. No, we don't think he wore out his welcome already. Indy and Altoona are on All-Star break, and it looks like the Bucs are fast-tracking him, so they're just getting him a couple more at-bats during the lull. We expect him back at Indy for tomorrow's game.
-- Charles "Teenie" Harris, noted photographer of all things involving the Hill, was a great baseball fan, with many pictures of the Crawfords, which he helped establish, and Roberto Clemente included in his portfolio of celebrity snapshots.
His son, Charles "Little Teenie" Harris, told Mary Thomas of the Post Gazette this story about his dad: "He told me once that the Pirates were the strongest baseball team and I said 'But Dad, they're in last place.' And he said 'They're on the bottom holding the rest of them up.'" Some things never change.