-- The Bucco rain dance worked. The Cubs delayed the start of the game when it rained, then sat for two dry hours until another storm reached Wrigley, and finally called the game at 5:30 or so. Of, course, it quit raining five minutes after they pulled the plug. Oh well, it's not like the Pirates can't use a day off.
-- Donnie Veal is going to Altoona this week for his rehab work. He's eligible to come back later this month, though he'll probably be held out until the September free-for-all.
The plans for the big lefty are to join an Arizona Fall League rotation after the season, pitch at Indy in 2010, and hopefully challenge for a MLB spot in 2011.
-- RHP Daniel McCutchen is making a strong case for some innings in Pittsburgh come September. He threw six shutout innings last night - he tossed 7-1/3 zippo frames last outing - and is 12-6 with a 3.40 ERA. The 26 year-old has worked 129-2/3 innings, with 99 Ks and just 27 walks.
-- Pedro is tearing it up at Altoona. Scott Boras' gift to Pittsburgh is raking it at a .343 clip with 9 homers and 28 RBI. He's struck out 46 times and walked 23 in 166 at-bats.
-- In his first week in the Carolina League, Lynchburg's Rudy Owens was named the league's Pitcher-of-the-Week. Owens made two starts and posted a 1-0 record for the Hillcats. He allowed six hits, no runs, a walk and recorded 10 strikeouts in 9-1/3 innings pitched.
Owens won't get much work over the next few weeks; he's already practically doubled his inning count from 58 in 2008 to 110 so far this season, and they skipped over his scheduled start earlier this week to keep his arm fresh.
-- The Bucs' 2009 numero uno, C Tony Sanchez, is off to a sizzling start at West Virginia. The BC grad is hitting .367, with 5 homers, 13 doubles, 33 RBI, and a .624 slugging percentage in 28 games.
He's K'ed 20 times and walked 16 in 109 at-bats. Sanchez has also thrown out 10 of 32 base stealers, a 31% rate.
-- In the short-season league at State College, 22 year-old Phillip Irwin is 1-1 with a 0.41 ERA in four starts. The RHP from Mississippi has struck out 24 and walked just 4 in 22 innings. He was a 21st round pick in this year's draft.
-- A couple of guys are looking good for the Bradenton Pirates of the Rookie GCL. LHP Jhonatan Ramos is 5-0 with a 1.82 ERA. He's struck out 33 and walked 3 in 34-1/3 innings. Opponents have hit just .192 off the Venezuelan, and he has a WHIP of 0.75.
LF Rogelios Noris is hitting .304 with 6 long balls, 17 RBI, and a .609 slugging percentage in 29 games. The 20 year-old Mexican prospect has struck out 35 times in 92 at-bats, while drawing 9 walks.