S-Rod, Freeser and Eli are etched in stone as calvarymen, leaving Joey O, Max Moroff and maybe Fraze on the bubble. Mad Max is pretty much a bye-bye boy; he sees the fewest at bats, seems to have the least Clint love of the trio and is likeliest to lose out when Kingham arrives. The Pirates, by all accounts, think highly of Osuna's bat while Fraze has been struggling. If Frazier goes, Rodriguez becomes the number one middle infield/outfield back-up, though they can toss Jose into right if push comes to shove. It would also leave the pine gang w/o a lefty stick. So it will come down to a decision based on a bat or balance.
|Is Max gonna make the cut? (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
The pitching is also a poser now that a fifth starter is again in play. The powers want Tyler Glasnow to learn at the MLB level, while Steven Brault has looked solid from the pen and gives it a lefty/long man for some extra versatility. Richard Rodriguez and Edgar Santana solidified a shaky middle crew while Michael Feliz and Felipe Vazquez have been money. Kyle Crick has also shown that he belongs, which leaves the recently-rocked George Kontos the only guy who's been taking on water. But Clint likes vet guys and may just rearrange deck chairs for Kontos while Crick does have an option...so we'll see.
- J-Hay is beginning his rehab at Altoona and could be back in a blink. The Pirates said yesterday that he'll be plugged into leadoff again when he returns, so for those of you happy to see Cervy at the top spot, curb your enthusiasm.
|Josh is a hop, skip and a jump away from action (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- It's Nick Kingham day at Altoona; after this start, he's expected to be recalled and get the May 19th outing against the Padres at PNC Park.
- Indy IF Kevin Newman of was named the AAA International League Player of the Week. He hit .519 (14 for 27) with one home run, four doubles, two RBI, seven runs scored and two stolen bases.
- And double the pleasure: Altoona CF Jason Martin was selected as the AA Eastern League Player of the Week. He put up a .522 BA with seven runs scored and eight chased home w/two homers, a double and a swiped sack.
- Anthony Castrovince has early season storylines on the divisional races; for ours, it's "NL Central: Have the Pirates created a four-team race?"
- Need another way to separate yourself from your money? The Supreme Court knocked down a federal law that outlawed sports betting in the states; look for PA to milk that cash cow quickly. The state has legislation approved, pending a favorable SC decision, and it may kick in by the next budget on July 1st. The link is to the story by Mike Axisa of CBS Sports with a spin toward baseball betting issues.