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Old 06-18-2007, 10:21 PM   #11
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Default Pirates Notebook: Snell won't be cooking in Seattle

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07169/795052-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Snell won't be cooking in Seattle

Monday, June 18, 2007
By Paul Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Ian Snell will not start tomorrow night against Seattle because of a blister on the index finger of his right hand.

The right-hander blistered his finger while cooking in his kitchen.

"I was cooking a chicken breast for a salad and burned my finger," Snell said. "I'm all right, but the salad wasn't too good."

Snell now is scheduled to start Saturday night in Anaheim.

Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm and John Van Benschoten will start the three games in Seattle, with Zach Duke starting Friday night against the Angels.

We meet again


The Mariners' series will give the Pirates their first look at Ichiro Suzuki since 2004. The two-time American League batting champion went 3 for 12 against the Pirates in a three-game series at PNC Park that year.

It's possible Pirates reliever Masumi Kuwata will face Suzuki in a confrontation of former Japanese League legends.

"I would enjoy facing him," Kuwata said. "He's a good hitter. I would just try to get him to hit a ground ball."

Because they played in different leagues in Japan, Kuwata and Suzuki didn't face each other regularly.

Kuwata remembers pitching to Suzuki three times.

The right-hander retired Suzuki on a ground ball to shortstop in an All-Star game. In exhibition games against Kuwata, Suzuki struck out and doubled.

Remembering Ichiro

Jason Bay remembered the series against the Mariners -- and Suzuki -- at PNC Park.

"Speed kills, and he's got that," Bay said. "He puts a lot of pressure on the infielders to make plays. They know they have to be quick, and they panic a little bit.

"I think he's somebody who gets overlooked a little bit because he's a leadoff guy and a singles hitter, but he's one of the better hitters in the game."

"He's definitely an offensive threat," Pirates bench coach Jim Lett said. "He's the only guy on which the infielders have to play in instead of back because of his speed.

"You try basically to keep the ball in and let him try to hook it to the second baseman or first baseman. He has good plate coverage, and he's got sneaky power."

Suzuki isn't a real selective batter.

"He's not up there to walk," Lett said. "You're hoping he'll fish for something."

Negotiations continue


The Pirates continue to negotiate a signing bonus with left-hander Daniel Moskos, their first-round pick in the draft.

Negotiations include a "start, middle and done," according to Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield. The Pirates, then, would be in the "middle" part of the process.

Not looking back

John Van Benschoten had plenty of time to reflect on pitching in a major-league game Saturday night for the first time since 2004. He could have done that while flying from Durham to Indianapolis Friday. Or while driving from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh Friday. Or after the game Saturday night. But he didn't.

"Looking back on it [shoulder surgeries] is kind of depressing," he said. "I'd rather look forward to what could happen the rest of this year. The last two years wasn't a good time. I wasn't really reflecting on that."

In the minors


Sean Burnett, who had been bothered by a left hand problem, is scheduled to start tonight for Class AAA Indianapolis.

Right-hander Bryan Bullington, who left his start at Charlotte after one inning a week ago because of shoulder discomfort, is throwing, but his next start hasn't been scheduled.

"He doesn't seem to be having any difficulty throwing," Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett said. "I don't think this is a long-term situation."

Buried treasure


Second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who has been out because of the flu, reported he felt "a lot better" yesterday. He should be able to start tomorrow night.

Center fielder Chris Duffy, out with a tight right hamstring, said yesterday he felt "twice as good" as he did Saturday. "I'm progressing quickly," he said, adding he hoped to be able to start again tomorrow night. Duffy did pinch-hit yesterday and bounced to second in the sixth inning.

Lynchburg outfielder/first baseman Jason Delaney (.341) continues to lead the Carolina League in hitting. Might he be in line for a promotion to Class AA Altoona? "It's probably close," said Jeff Banister, the Pirates' minor-league field coordinator. "His biggest thing is finding a position he can play consistently."
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:34 PM   #12
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Default Pirates Notebook: Tracy sticks by Paulino as catcher

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07171/795559-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Tracy sticks by Paulino as catcher

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


SEATTLE -- To get more offense from their catcher, the Pirates could do one of two things:

1. Get Ronny Paulino to hit something approaching his .310 mark as a rookie last year.

2. Use Ryan Doumit instead, but have him lower the gaudy 6.63 ERA that pitchers have when he is behind the plate.

To hear manager Jim Tracy tell it, each option will be pursued. The coaching staff will continue to work with Paulino to raise his .218 average. And Doumit will keep getting work behind the plate with a primary focus on his game-calling.

At the same time, Tracy left little doubt that the first option is his No. 1.

"We absolutely love what Ronny Paulino does for this pitching staff," he said last night before the Pirates' game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. "There's great value to it. Just look at the numbers."

The statistics are, indeed, stark in their contrast: Pitchers have a 3.97 ERA when Paulino catches, much lower than Doumit's 6.63 or Humberto Cota's 5.71. Moreover, the Pirates are 28-22 when Paulino starts behind the plate, 2-13 when it is Doumit, 1-4 when it was Cota.

Then again, the difference is just as stark offensively: Doumit is batting .331, while Paulino's average ranks 14th among the National League's 16 starting catchers.

"Believe me, I know Ronny Paulino's not performing offensively the way we saw him a year ago," Tracy said. "But do you compromise your pitching when you know there's a comfort level there with what's a major strength of our club? Are you going to compromise that for some added offense?"

Tracy added that he has seen improvement in Doumit's game-calling this season vs. last, but he stressed the importance of making adjustments once the starting pitcher is facing the lineup for the second or third time.

"That's a big part of the craft," Tracy said.

The Pirates could simply call the game from the dugout when Doumit catches, of course, as many teams do. But Tracy's preference, as he reiterated, is to have the catcher do it because of his unique vantage point.

"No one sees the pitches the way the catcher does," Tracy said. "No one sees better how the batter moves his feet, which pitches are fooling him, which ones aren't working. You can't see it from anywhere else in the stadium."

Doumit, who started in right field last night, expressed optimism that his game-calling will become a strength. But he also acknowledged it can get better.

"I'd like to think it's coming along OK," he said. "I've been watching a lot more film about opposing team's hitters than I have in the past, and I've been working with our pitchers to find out how they want to approach each guy. I've worked hard at it."

Asked if he might be more comfortable having the game called from the bench, Doumit replied, "You know what? To be honest with you, sometimes I do get stuck. I think every catcher does, with so much going on. Obviously, I don't want to look over there every single pitch. But there are some times when I do need help."

Bay gets semi-break

Jason Bay, the only member of the Pirates to have appeared in all 70 games, was the designated hitter last night, Tracy said, so that he essentially could rest Bay without actually resting him.

"And we might do it again on this trip," Tracy said, referring to the weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels. "We're just looking to give him a chance to get his legs back under him."

The timing was no accident: Bay entered the game in a 5 for 46 tailspin.

Bay, Doumit near home


No member of the Pirates is from Seattle proper, but Bay is from Trail, British Columbia, a seven-hour drive, and Doumit graduated from Moses Lake High School, a two-hour drive away.

Doumit estimated his following in the crowd at 70.

"Just awesome," he said. "It means so much to me."

Two buses full of Bay admirers, including much of his family, from Trail made the trip for the game last night and filled an especially boisterous section of the stands.

Buried treasure


Center fielder Chris Duffy, out since Friday because of a tight right hamstring, did running exercises but remained unable to start, Tracy said. His status is day to day.

Second baseman Freddy Sanchez was back in the lineup after a weekend bout with the flu.

Seemingly on a whim, first baseman Adam LaRoche grabbed some clippers and gave himself a spiked haircut before the game. "Just to fit in, I guess," he said, referring to Seattle's eclectic social scene.

Now that the Pirates finally have played in Seattle, the only current MLB city in which they never have played a regular-season game is Baltimore. History will show, of course, that they did play some fairly meaningful games there in 1971 and 1979.

The Pirates signed two more draft picks, right-handed pitchers Matt Welker (second round) and Maurice Bankston (eighth), to raise their total to 23.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:56 PM   #13
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Default Pirates Notebook: Wild relievers could take a walk

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07172/795905-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Wild relievers could take a walk

Thursday, June 21, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


SEATTLE -- The Pirates are carrying a rather unwieldy total of 8 relievers, but that is sure to be reduced soon.

One might be out as early as tomorrow, when closer Matt Capps' three-game suspension ends.

Another could be out by the end of the weekend, when the team loses the ability to carry a three-man bench as it can in American League stadiums.

Who will go?

The best way to guess, judging by the pointed message sent by manager Jim Tracy before the Pirates' game last night at Safeco Field, is to check the relievers' walk totals.

"Walks are never good, and they're even worse late in the game," Tracy said. "If you walk people with six outs or less to go in a major-league game ... we've seen how that plays out."

Listen, too, to Tracy's description of why he appreciates the work of newcomer Masumi Kuwata:

"I trust him. He's a professional. He knows what he's doing. When he takes the mound, you know he's going to throw strikes. Watch him, and you might learn something."

Sure sounds like Kuwata is sticking around.

So, who does that leave on the bubble?

Dan Kolb, whose $1.2 million contract was purchased from Class AAA Indianapolis last week, has given up three runs, six hits and two walks -- one intentional -- in his first three appearances. Only 34 of his 64 pitches were strikes. Still, management might feel he has not had enough opportunity.

Jonah Bayliss, owner of a 7.56 ERA, has been scored upon in four of his past five outings, with two walks in that span.

Tony Armas, relegated to mop-up duty after a miserable run as a starter, has a 6.35 ERA as a reliever. For the season, he has 35 walks in 61 innings.

Demoting or releasing Armas would be the most eyebrow-raising, if only because the Pirates committed $3.5 million in guaranteed money on him as their only free-agent signing of the offseason. Eating that would be a blow under any circumstance, but especially for a team that has little to show for the $12.5 million it spent last year on its only three free-agent signees: Jeromy Burnitz, Joe Randa and Roberto Hernandez.

Grabow: No injury

Another struggling reliever -- but one whose status is in no jeopardy -- is John Grabow, scored upon in three of his past four outings.

Given that he experienced elbow pain late last season and again this spring, it might be natural to wonder if he, like Salomon Torres, is seeing his performance affected by injury. But he insisted that is not the case.

"I feel fine. My arm feels fine," Grabow said. "I'm just not getting the job done the way I want to. We've been working on my mechanics on the side, and I'm not walking guys anymore the way I was earlier. Now, it's just a matter of pitch selection and executing."

Buried treasure

Utilityman Don Kelly, designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and accepted an outright to Indianapolis.

Center fielder Chris Duffy did more running tests on his tight right hamstring in the afternoon, but he remained without a timetable to rejoin the lineup. Tracy described him as running at "85 percent."

Reliever John Wasdin will make his fifth rehabilitation start tomorrow for Indianapolis, an unusually long stint for a thumb that was sprained in mid-May. The Pirates must decide by July 2 what to do with Wasdin, who is still on their 40-man roster.

First baseman Adam Laroche's self-inflicted spiked hairdo was short-lived. It was gone by late Tuesday night, no doubt because he has family accompanying him on the trip.

The Los Angeles Angels' rotation for the upcoming series: Jered Weaver, Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey.
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:48 PM   #14
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Default Pirates Notebook: Littlefield says team's basics are 'better'

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07176/796937-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Littlefield says team's basics are 'better'

Monday, June 25, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Pirates have improved at the basics since last season, general manager Dave Littlefield said, but there remains work to do.

"I think it's better," he said yesterday of the team's fundamental play, which has been a central -- and largely negative -- issue of late. "When I look at our bunting, frankly, it's a lot better. And there are other areas. But, when you go through a period of losing a few in a row and some games get away, those are the things that get highlighted."

He also expressed a view that, because shortstop Jack Wilson is the only position with more than three full seasons of major-league experience entering this year, some learning still was taking place on the job.

"It's something Jim Tracy and I have talked about, that there's minor-league development and major-league development, too," Littlefield said. "When you look at experience, we have a very young group as you go around the diamond as compared to other teams."

At the same time, he acknowledged that the Pirates have fared poorly at times, notably the series at Yankee Stadium and the one that concluded at Angel Stadium yesterday.

"You see it, and you don't accept it. You can't accept it. We have a team built on starting pitching that isn't going to score a lot of runs. We've got to play as clean as we can, and we pay attention to that all the time. When we're winning, we'll make mistakes that some people will look by. Not us."

GM: Roster staying steady

Littlefield advised against expecting a seismic personnel move in advance of the July 31 trading deadline.

"Our team is basically the team we have," he said. "We're always looking to improve, obviously, but we also have to keep improving with the group we have, keep building from it. It's not like you can just sprinkle some magic dust to make it better."

Bayliss sent to minors

The Pirates optioned reliever Jonah Bayliss to Class AAA Indianapolis immediately after the game yesterday.

No roster replacement will be named until tomorrow, but it is sure to be John Wasdin coming off the 15-day disabled list.

Wasdin, out since May 2 because of a sprained right thumb, has made five starts for Indianapolis. with decidedly mixed results: He is 1-1 with a 5.97 ERA, a .297 opponents' batting average and nine home runs. But he also has struck out 31 while walking none.

Bayliss had a 7.53 ERA in 38 appearances, and opponents batted .315 against him with five home runs.

On Paulino's defense

Catcher Ronny Paulino was held out of the starting lineup because of an injured arch to his left foot, though he did enter the game as a late substitute.

He was hurt in the second inning Saturday night when Howie Kendrick slid into him, the latest in a series of drops by Paulino on plays at the plate.

Tracy was asked if the coaching staff is working to address the matter.

"We do it enough," Tracy replied. "I mean, you don't simulate collisions. That wouldn't be a very good idea. But there are situations in spring training where you use a machine that shoots the ball in from specific spots from different locations in the outfield to work on positioning stuff with relation to home plate to catch the ball in time. Yes, we do."

"Those are tough plays," Littlefield said. "But, as I think he certainly would agree, there are some he would like to have caught."

Buried treasure

Outfielder Nate McLouth did not play again because of a stiff neck, but indications were that he could return for the Florida series tomorrow.

Third baseman Jose Bautista, in a 1-for-14 slump, was rested in favor of Jose Castillo.

The Pirates' total bill for reliever Dan Kolb, designated for assignment Thursday, was about $100,000. The team paid eight prorated days of his major-league salary of $1.2 million. Everything before that was prorated off a minor-league salary of $100,000.
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:51 PM   #15
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Default Re: Pirates Notebook: Littlefield says team's basics are 'better'

I'm not buying it. That's all I have to say.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Pirates Notebook: Littlefield says team's basics are 'better'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edman View Post
I'm not buying it. That's all I have to say.
The only thing better now then is the win count.
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:40 PM   #17
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Default 2007 Season Editions of Pirates Notebook

Tony suggested and I thought it was a good idea.

Anyone posting a Pirates Notebook update, PLEASE POST THEM HERE not as a seperate thread.
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Old 07-02-2007, 03:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2007 Season Editions of Pirates Notebook

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07182/798515-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Duke pulled from Tuesday start
Struggling left-hander has tendinitis in his elbow; Duffy goes on DL

Sunday, July 01, 2007
By Paul Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Left-hander Zach Duke will not start the game Tuesday against Milwaukee and might not start again until July 17.

"Let's not put the cart before the horse," Pirates manager Jim Tracy cautioned yesterday.

Duke has been diagnosed with tendinitis in his left elbow. He is taking anti-inflammatory medicine. He definitely is not starting Tuesday. His next scheduled start would be a week from today. Then comes the All-Star break.

The Pirates will not play again until July 13 in Atlanta. Duke could make his next start four nights after that. That should be plenty of time for him to "be 100 percent again," as he said yesterday.

Officially, the Pirates haven't committed to anything beyond today when Duke will play some catch to see how his elbow has reacted to the medicine.

Their starter Tuesday will be somebody internal -- Shawn Chacon? -- "or somebody from Class AAA [Indianapolis]," Tracy said.

Left-hander Sean Burnett, who is scheduled to make his next start for Indianapolis Tuesday, would be a candidate. He missed a couple starts with arm trouble recently, however, and only pitched 21/3 innings in his start Thursday because he was on a pitch limit.

Left-hander Shane Youman might be a better candidate. He pitched well for the Pirates in September and in spring training and has begun to pitch better recently for Indianapolis.

Youman is scheduled to start tomorrow, but that could be taken care of by starting Kip Bouknight in his place. Bouknight, 7-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 16 games with Class AA Altoona, was promoted to Indianapolis yesterday.

It would seem more prudent, then, for the Pirates to simply place Duke on the disabled list, fill in his next two starts with, say, Youman, and leave the major-league bullpen intact.

"We won't talk about that," Tracy said yesterday.

In six June starts, Duke had a 6.21 ERA and allowed 54 hits in 33 1/3 innings while striking out 15.

"The late life and late movement [on his pitches] that are so vitally important to his success, you don't see that consistently," Tracy said.

Duke said he had been feeling some tightness the past two or three weeks and that the Pirates' training staff was aware of it and had been treating him.

He had a particularly tough time getting loose Thursday when he had a poor start against Florida.

Pirates medical director Patrick DeMeo examined Duke Friday. and tests were run.

"He passed them all with flying colors," Tracy said.

Still ...

"It's to the point where I don't want to hinder the team anymore," Duke said. "It's very hard for me to repeat my delivery at this point, and we've got to do something about it. I want to get right so I can be 100 percent again. You can't really rush anything. You just kind of take it one step at a time."

Duffy on DL

The Pirates yesterday placed center fielder Chris Duffy on the disabled list because of a sprained left ankle and brought up utilityman Matt Kata from Indianapolis.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Kata, the Pirates designated right-hander Marty McLeary for assignment.

Kata began this season with Texas, but after going 1 for 30 in May he was designated for assignment and signed by the Pirates June 13.

A switch-hitter, he batted .265 in 13 games for Indianapolis while batting almost exclusively at the top of the order.

Capps vs. Fielder

Matt Capps and Milwaukee's Prince Fielder will be "reunited" beginning tomorrow when the Pirates began a four-game series against Milwaukee.

Capps drew a three-game suspension and a $1,000 fine after hitting Fielder with a pitch May 5. He served the suspension last week when the Pirates were in Seattle.

Capps' feeling on Milwaukee's visit?

"No hard feelings on my part," he said. "What happened, happened. It's done with. Now, we just want to try to win four games. I'm not going to throw at anybody. It's behind us and done with, and now we'll just go out and compete."

Torres update

Reliever Salomon Torres, on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right elbow, continues his rehabilitation in Bradenton, Fla. He is scheduled to throw bullpen sessions today and Tuesday, then perhaps pitch an inning in a Gulf Coast League game Thursday.
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2007 Season Editions of Pirates Notebook

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07184/798918-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Duke seeks second opinion on elbow

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Zach Duke is not ready to breathe easily just yet, it seems.

His ailing left elbow has no ligament tears and will not require surgery, according to tests taken yesterday afternoon at Allegheny General Hospital under the supervision of the Pirates' medical staff. The formal diagnosis was irritation of the ulnar collateral ligament.

But that evidently did not satisfy Duke, who revealed later in the day that he would exercise his right to seek a second opinion Friday from Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedist famous for performing reconstructive arm surgeries on pitchers, in Birmingham, Ala.

If the Pirates' diagnosis is confirmed, Duke simply must rest for two weeks before beginning a rehabilitation -- long-tossing, bullpen sessions, minor-league starts -- that likely will take another two or three weeks.

If all goes well, he will be back by mid-August.

"I have to be cautious, and I know that," Duke said. "I have to make sure it's right. Obviously, I'm happy that there's no structural damage, but I still want to make sure I'm right before I try to go back out there."

The procedure Duke had yesterday is called an arthrogram. Dye is injected into the affected area -- in his case, the medial collateral ligament of the elbow -- to enhance the medical images. If dye leaks, that usually is a sign of a tear. No leakage was detected on Duke's scan, according to Pirates manager Jim Tracy.

"It's clean," Tracy said.

Tracy was asked if Duke's elbow might have contributed to his 3-7 record, 5.79 ERA and .364 opponents' batting average.

"We'll see," Tracy replied. "We won't know the answer to that question until he gets back to pitching. If, when he comes back, we see fewer hits, fewer balls put in play, more life on his pitches, then we'll know for sure that the elbow contributed to what he's done so far."

Youman's second chance

Shane Youman already has shown the Pirates his stuff, having posted a 2.91 ERA in five appearances late last season, then having a fine spring training this year.

Tonight, after mixed results in three months at Class AAA Indianapolis -- 4-6 record, 4.70 ERA, but three of four good starts leading into this promotion -- he gets another shot.

"I'm looking forward to it," Youman said. "I've been working hard, and I feel like I'm ready."

Buried treasure

First baseman Steve Pearce, the Pirates' unquestioned best performer in the minors this year, yesterday was named Eastern League player of the week after going 12 for 24 with two home runs and nine RBIs for Class AA Altoona.

Pearce, third baseman Neil Walker and pitchers Luis Munoz and Matt Peterson were selected to the Eastern League All-Star Game, July 11 in Norwich, Conn. The glaring omission: Andrew McCutchen, owner of a .234 average.

The Pirates had a combined no-hitter pitched by their Venezuelan Summer League team, Wilson Ortiz fanning eight in six innings and Jesus Martinez fanning four in the final three innings of an 8-0 shutout of Detroit.
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:27 PM   #20
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Default Re: 2007 Season Editions of Pirates Notebook

http://post-gazette.com/pg/07185/799289-63.stm

Pirates Notebook: Burnett to see elbow specialist

Wednesday, July 04, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Sean Burnett's career could be in jeopardy again.

Citing continuing pain in his surgically repaired left elbow, the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2000 pulled himself out of Class AAA Indianapolis' game last night in Louisville, Ky., after pitching one inning. He gave up three runs and three hits and three walks, throwing only 16 of 33 pitches for strikes.

Burnett had similar discomfort a month ago and was examined by the Pirates' medical staff June 6, after which he was cleared to return after a short rehabilitation period.

Now, agent Jim Munsey said late last night, Burnett plans to exercise his right to a second opinion and will visit Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist in Birmingham, Ala., at the earliest opportunity.

"We have to get this right," Munsey said.

Burnett, 24, the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2000, had reconstructive elbow surgery in late 2004, after his rookie season. In 14 starts for Indianapolis this year, he is 4-6 with a 4.48 ERA.

He would be the second pitcher in a week -- Zach Duke was the other -- to seek a second opinion from Dr. Andrews about elbow trouble.

Bay seeking swing


Jason Bay still is searching for answers after his 0-for-4, two-strikeout day in the Pirates' 6-2 victory against Milwaukee yesterday. His average has plummeted from .312 to .256 since June 4, and he has gone 13 for 98 in that span -- a .132 clip -- with one home run and nine RBIs.

Not exactly All-Star stuff.

"It's not that I'm not getting pitches to hit," Bay said afterward. "The last couple days, especially, I'm seeing the ball. Usually, when I'm going bad, I'm just kind of flailing and not seeing it at all. I feel like I'm picking the right pitches. I feel like my swings are good. But I'm just fouling them all off."

Or missing entirely. Thirty of his season's 80 strikeouts have come in this span.

Manager Jim Tracy tried lowering Bay to sixth in the order Monday but had him back at fifth yesterday. His plan: Keep running Bay out there until he figures it out.

Nady's foot ailing

Despite reaching third base twice on hits yesterday, right fielder Xavier Nady showed Tracy signs that his left foot -- the instep of which was struck by a foul ball Monday -- might be bothering him.

"We'll have to see how he is tomorrow," Tracy said.

Tracy defends Torres' rehab


Tracy backed general manager Dave Littlefield's stance that injured reliever Salomon Torres is not being blackballed with a lengthy rehabilitation schedule, as Torres charged Monday.

"This is a rehab situation," Tracy said. "We're dealing with what was diagnosed as a ligament strain. Until the head trainer comes in and says this is no longer medical in nature, this is a baseball decision. ... I haven't heard those words yet."

Torres is scheduled to make his first rehabilitation game appearance tomorrow for Bradenton of the Gulf Coast League.

Cautious with Bullington

Bryan Bullington, the pitcher with the best numbers in the minor-league system, might well have started last night at PNC Park had he been healthy. But, as Littlefield acknowledged, Bullington's health was one of the issues in his decision to promote Shane Youman instead.

Bullington, now 9-4 with a 3.66 ERA, missed two turns in Indianapolis' rotation in mid-June because of discomfort in his surgically repaired right shoulder. And his two starts after coming back were erratic.

"He had some stiffness and fatigue, which is part of the process in coming back from shoulder surgery, so we want to be appropriately cautious," Littlefield said. "Also, Shane was doing a fine job, was throwing a little better, and we felt he gave us a better chance to win at the major-league level."

Buried treasure


The Pirates have gone a season-high 88 consecutive innings without an error.

Jack Wilson's run in the fourth inning came with a big assist from Freddy Sanchez, the batter on deck. As Wilson was approaching home, Sanchez, seeing that the throw from the outfield was going to pull catcher Johnny Estrada to the outside of the plate, emphatically waved both arms for Wilson to slide to the inside. After Wilson was safe, he gestured appreciatively to Sanchez.

The Chicago Cubs' rotation for the weekend series: Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano.
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