Results tagged ‘ Andy LaRoche ’

In case you missed it…

Jenifer Langosch/

  • Last night, Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon was ranked by as baseball’s 18th best prospect. He was the only Pirates prospect to make the list, which can be found in its entirety here.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche has signed a Minor League deal with Oakland and will be competing for a spot on their Opening Day roster in Spring Training.
  • The Pirates’ caravan continues this week, leading up to PirateFest this weekend. If you want to know what stops remain on the schedule, check this out.

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LaRoche, Young enter free agent pool

Jenifer Langosch/

Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young have cleared outright waivers and elected to become free agents, the Pirates announced on Monday. Both infielders were designated for assignment on Nov. 29, after the organization determined that it would not tender to contracts to either arbitration-eligible player.

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Beginning the assessment…

Jenifer Langosch/

We get the same warning each time a trade is made that includes a proven player going elsewhere for prospects or unproven young players. We are told to be patient, to wait years before evaluating if there is a clear cut winner or loser in the deal.

There are some trades that don’t appear to need any more time for analysis. The Pirates’ deal with the Yankees (in which the club acquired Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen) in July 2008 can laud Pittsburgh as the winner. The Pirates surely seem to have come out ahead in the Octavio Dotel trade that happened just months ago, too 

The Jason Bay trade (July 2008) was one of the biggest that GM Neal Huntington has made in his time here. And after Friday’s developments, we are closer to being able to evaluate the return. I’ll agree that there is still a big unknown looming — as the success or lack thereof of Bryan Morris in the big leagues could make the Pirates definite winners or losers in the trade. However, the other three players the Pirates acquired for their star outfielder all turned out to be flops.

First, let’s take a look at what the Pirates had with Bay as a trading chip in 2008:

  • After a down year in 2007, Bay rebounded as he began working with hitting coach Don Long in ’08. At the time he was traded, Bay was hitting .282 with 22 homers, 23 doubles and 64 RBIs in 106 games. He was one of the biggest pieces available at the Deadline. 
  • Bay had one more year left on his contract before he would be a free agent. He was going to be plenty affordable tpo, as that 2009 salary was $7.5 million.

In return, the Pirates acquired Andy LaRoche and Morris from the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox. The results have been as follows:

Moss: In 95 games, he hit .228 with 31 doubles, 13 homers and 66 RBIs. He was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster this month after spending the year in Triple-A. Moss has since signed with the Phillies.

LaRoche: In 301 games, he hit .226 with 41 doubles, 19 homers and 92 RBIs. He was the starting third baseman before Pedro Alvarez arrived, but never proved he deserved a chance to be an everyday player. LaRoche was designated for assignment on Friday and is close to becoming a free agent.   

Hansen: In 21 relief appearances, he allowed 17 earned runs in 22 innings. Hansen walked 24 and struck out 12. He has been slowly recovering from a nerve injury near his neck and just began pitching again in the Minors last season. 

Morris: After a terrible 2009 season that included a suspension, Morris rebounded to have a strong showing in 2010. That put Morris back on the radar as a prospect. He was stellar in eight starts with High-A Bradenton and then made his last 19 appearances in Double-A. If Morris has a strong start next year, it’s not unrealistic to think he could be a potential September call-up.

Again, no team is a winner in every trade it makes, though you particularly want to make sure you get adequate return in the deals where you’re sending off one of your best chips away — and Bay was just that. Again, Morris’ development will go a long way in helping us make a final assessment many years from now. But to this point, the Pirates missed completely on those first three players.

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Bucs set 40-man roster; designate Duke, LaRoche, Young

Jenifer Langosch/

Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young were all designated for assignment on Friday in order to open up room on the 40-man roster for the Pirates to protect players in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.

The three were all eligible for arbitration. The Pirates obviously decided not to tender contracts to any of the three, and by designating them for assignment now, Pittsburgh cleared the space it needed to protect the players it wanted to.

Michael Crotta, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Daniel Moskos and Tony Watson have all been added to the 40-man roster. That roster is now full.

UPDATE: Just spoke with GM Neal Huntington, who said that the Pirates did try to negotiate a contract with Zach and were unsuccessful. The team did not feel he was worth what he was going to make in arbitration (probably around $5 million). The club also explored trade opportunities with no success.

This from Duke: “I am truly thankful for the opportunity the Pirates have given me and genuinely enjoyed my time in Pittsburgh. I understand this business decision and wish the Pirates and my friends still on the team the best of luck in the future.”

Here is the full story.

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Bautista hits No. 50; reflects on Pittsburgh

Jenifer Langosch/

In what has become one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 season, former Pittsburgh third baseman Jose Bautista punctuated his breakout season by connecting for his 50th home run of the season for the Blue Jays on Thursday.

In doing so, Bautista became only the 26th player in Major League history to hit that many homers in a single season. What’s arguably most incredible about the whole feat is that Bautista entered the year never having hit more than 16 home runs in any of his previous big-league seasons.

The Pirates selected Bautista in the 20th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and, after circling around to four other teams in 2004, he returned to Pittsburgh that summer.

Bautista earned significant playing time in 2006 before becoming the Pirates’ starting third baseman for the 2007 season. He began 2008 in that same role but eventually lost his spot to Andy LaRoche at the Trade Deadline. A demotion to the Minors followed, and the Pirates then dealt Bautista to the Blue Jays for Robinzon Diaz, a Minor League catcher that is no longer in the organization.

Shortly after hitting his milestone home run on Thursday, Bautista addressed that time he spent with the Pirates.

“To tell the truth, I don’t really know what caused me to fall out of favor in Pittsburgh,” Bautista said. “I was given an opportunity to play every day in 2007, and I didn’t have the best year. Coming into the next season, I was told that I was going to be the starting third baseman. Then, a lot of things changed after the second week of the season. I don’t think I was given a fair chance to be an everyday player and put up the type of numbers that they would’ve hoped. But, I feel pretty confident that I did an adequate job at it.

Bautista hit .242 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 107 games with the Pirates in 2008. The previous year, he had batted .254 with 15 homers and 63 RBIs in 142 games.

“Given the inconsistency of the playing time I received, I think I had pretty good contributions to the team’s wins and I think I had pretty good production,” he said. “If I would’ve been given a chance to play on a daily basis that season — with more maturity and my second time around the division, knowing all the pitchers and all the other stuff like that — I really don’t know that I would’ve done better or not, but chances are that I would think that I would’ve done better.”

Bautista credited the Blue Jays for giving him the second chance he needed and for believing in his ability. He noted how a change in his approach and swing under Toronto’s watch led him to this type of production.

Bautista was also asked if he hoped anyone in the Pirates’ front office staff was watching what he accomplished on Thursday.

“No,” he answered. “I don’t hold grudges.”

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August 10: Pirates (39-72) @ Padres (64-46)

Jenifer Langosch/

So I was sitting here in the PETCO press box watching Andy LaRoche get a tutorial at first base from manager John Russell and infield coach Carlos Garcia for at least 15 minutes. I figured this was a sign that the Pirates were going to ease LaRoche into a position that he’s played only once (June 11, 2008) in the Majors before.

Well, so much for any ease-in process. LaRoche is batting sixth and playing first tonight. That will surely be conversation topic No. 1 with Russell once the clubhouse opens later, but it means that for tonight, LaRoche is in over Garrett Jones and Ryan Doumit and Jeff Clement.

UPDATED: Russell explained his decision to put LaRoche at first largely as the result of wanting to get a right-handed hitter in against a lefty starter. That explains the absence of Clement. There was also a desire to get Jones a day off after he started 110 of the team’s first 111 games. Jones will be back in the lineup on Wednesday.

And an ADDITION: This has nothing to do with LaRoche, but Jeff Karstens — the pride of San Diego area high school Mount Miguel — is expecting about 200 family members and friends for tonight’s game.

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Milledge (RF), A. LaRoche (1B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

Karstens vs. SD: 0-2 in 3 games, 8.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 0 HR, 4 BB, 5 K

J. Hairston (2B), M. Tejada (SS), A. Gonzalez (1B), R. Ludwick (RF), C. Headley (3B), Y. Torrealba (C), W. Venable (LF), C. Denorfia (CF), W. LeBlanc (LHP)

LeBlanc vs. PIT: 1-1 in 3 games, 13.2 IP, 15 H, 6 ER, 4 HR, 6 BB, 10 K

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June 29: Pirates (26-50) @ Cubs (33-43)

Jenifer Langosch/

Consider this: Of the 26 games the Pirates have won this year, eight of those victories have come against the Cubs. That’s nearly 31 percent. As mentioned in the gamestory last night, most of the games have been close, too. Six of the 10 have been decided by one run.

Andy LaRoche makes his debut at second base on Tuesday, as the Pirates essentially play with just two healthy bench guys. Neil Walker is back in Pittsburgh dealing with concussion symptoms. Bobby Crosby won’t play today after a collision last night (though he might be cleared to play as early as Wednesday). And Ryan Church is still dealing with an inner thigh bruise from Friday’s collision. It is affecting his running, Church said.

So, that leaves Delwyn Young and backup catcher Jason Jaramillo as your two healthy backups.

Oh, and the wind is blowing in again today. How do I know this? Because I’m really regretting not bringing a jacket with me on the roadtrip. Could be a long night…

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pirates.jpgPIRATES:
J. Tabata (LF), A. LaRoche (3B), A. McCutchen (CF), G. Jones (1B), L. Milledge (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (C), J. Karstens (RHP)

Karstens vs. CHI: 2-1 in five appearances (four starts), 22 IP, 11 ER, 25 H, 2 HR, 9 BB, 11 K

Thumbnail image for Cubs.jpgCUBS:
 K. Fukudome (RF), R. Theriot (2B), D. Lee (1B), A. Ramirez (3B), T. Colvin (CF), A. Soriano (LF), K. Hill (C), S. Castro (SS), T. Lilly (LHP)

Lilly vs. PIT: 4-4 in 15 appearances (13 starts), 85.2 IP, 41 ER, 95 H, 10 HR, 27 BB, 68 K

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May 31: Cubs (24-27) @ Pirates (20-31)

Jenifer Langosch/

The blog is back, as am I after a much-welcomed getaway to Europe over the past two weeks. And as Lastings Milledge informed me in the clubhouse this morning, there will not be any more European adventures in my future since the team didn’t do so well during my absence. We’ll see about that…

Let’s jump right back in, but not before I thank all the men and women serving this country in the military. Thank you for what you do. And a special shout out to all you Pirates fans overseas who stay connected by reading this blog. I know there some of you since I have received notes from you. Thank you.


  • Manager John Russell announced that Neil Walker will be the team’s regular second baseman moving forward. Walker has hit safely in four of his first six games since being promoted last Tuesday. And with Aki Iwamura never finding his footing this season, the switch has been made. Iwamura, who is the highest paid player on the club, will be moved into a bench role after having nearly two months to get back on track.
  • Walker might also spell Andy LaRoche some time at third base if LaRoche continues to have any back issues. But the goal is to have Walker get comfortable at second, a position that he began playing only in Spring Training.
  • With Iwamura out of the lineup, the Pirates will use Andrew McCutchen as their primary leadoff hitter. Russell liked what McCutchen offered out of the No. 3 spot, but they have little other choice than to use him at the top of the lineup. For now, Walker is hitting second. Russell would not commit to him staying there, but said noted that it’s been a good fit thus far.
  • While I was gone, lefty Donnie Veal was placed on the Triple-A DL with soreness above the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews later this week. A visit to Dr. Andrews often isn’t a good thing, as Kevin Hart was reminded of earlier this month.
  • The Pirates reacquired Jonathan Van Every from the Red Sox in exchange for infield Josue Peley. Pittsburgh had dealt Van Every to Boston on April 24. Van Every will join Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday.
  • Spoke with Chris Jakubauskas this morning, and he remains encouraged with his progress. He threw 30 pitches (all fastballs) on Saturday and is scheduled to throw 40-45 in his next session on Tuesday. He’ll likely mis in some sinkers and changeups this time.
  • Steve Pearce (sprained right ankle) has had his protective boot removed and is walking with hardly a limp. Pearce said the ankle is still sensative in spots, but that it is improving.
  • Lefty Jack Taschner will make his second Minor League rehab appearance with Double-A Altoona later tonight. Taschner is eligible to come off the DL later this week.
  • Former Pirates reliever John Grabow has been placed on the DL with a left MCL sprain on Monday. That means the Cubs lefty won’t be facing his former team in this series.
  • A reminder to women interested: Milledge will host a “Bats Against Breast Cancer” baseball clinic from 7:45 am – 1:35 pm before the team’s game against the Giants on Sunday. For those interested in more details, go here.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Neil Walker (2B)
  3. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
  2. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Randy Wells (RHP)

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May 18: Pirates (16-22) @ Phillies (24-13)

Jenifer Langosch/

It’s cold and it’s overcast, but maybe we can get this game in tonight without any significant delays. The players certainly don’t want to get home at 3-4 am. And those of us who have to wait until tomorrow morning to fly out would appreciate some sleep. So hopefully the rain cooperates.

You’d have to think, too, that if this game starts, the Phillies are not going to want there to be any sort of delay since Roy Halladay is on the mound. Worst-case scenario for them is to send Halladay out and then have a lengthy delay shortly after that takes him out of the start.

This isn’t the first time Zach Duke and Halladay have matched up. The last was a dandy one, too. You can revisit it here.


  • Forgot to note this yesterday, but with all the questions I get about when Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata will be up, I felt it appropriate to write a story on the subject. If you missed it on Monday, here’s that piece. While I know Alvarez is the biggest name in the bunch, my guess is that he won’t be the first up. My guess is that it will be Lincoln. The right-hander is meeting the organization’s development goals consistently these days, and Brian Burres’ hold on the fifth spot in the rotation isn’t exactly firm. If Burres slips up on Wednesday or in the start after that, I can see the Pirates making the move.
  • As mentioned on Monday, the Pirates are still looking for their first winning road trip under manager John Russell. No easy task with Halladay on the mound, but Pittsburgh can clinch that with a win tonight.
  • Reliever Brendan Donnelly threw a pain-free side session indoors on Tuesday. His simulated game couldn’t happen because of the crummy weather. All went well, Donnelly said, and the Pirates plan to activate him off the DL on Thursday or Friday.
  • Who is the most likely to go when Donnelly returns? My guess is it would be either Jeff Karstens or Burres. If the Pirates want to make a change in the rotation, Burres could be sent out and the club would have a few extra days before making a decision about the rotation. That might be why the Pirates aren’t planning on activating Donnelly until after Burres’ start on Wednesday. Just thinking outloud here…
  • Delwyn Young is back in the leadoff spot on Tuesday for the second straight night. And why not? He had as much success last night as anyone. And again, the Pirates really don’t have a prototypical leadoff-type hitter with Aki Iwamura out.
  • Take away his absence with a bruised wrist, and Ryan Church has now started 10 straight games. I asked Russell if Church is going to be a regular in the lineup moving forward. Russell said it won’t necessarily be every day, but he does like having Church flexible to play in left and right so Russell can play the best matchups with everyone else.
  • Third baseman Andy LaRoche has just three hits in his last 34 at-bats. This comes after a 20-for-53 stretch he had right before.
  • The Pirates announced the signings of six Latin American players on Tuesday. Those players include LHP Angel Sanchez, OF Willy Garcia, RHP Oderman Rocha, RHP Brayan Almonte, RHP Jose Luis Acosta and 1B Jose Roman.
  • The Pirates announced that OF Starling Marte had successful surgery on Tuesday to remove the hamate bone in his left hand. No tendon damage was found, so Marte should be ready to return in 8-10 weeks.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Delwyn Young (2B)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (1B)
  5. Ryan Church (RF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Phillies lineup:

  1. Shane Victorino (CF)
  2. Placido Polanco (3B)
  3. Jimmy Rollins (SS)
  4. Ryan Howard (1B)
  5. Jayson Werth (RF)
  6. Ben Francisco (LF)
  7. Carlos Ruiz (C)
  8. Juan Castro (2B)
  9. Roy Halladay (RHP)

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May 14: Pirates (14-20) @ Cubs (15-20)

Jenifer Langosch/

Friday’s game begins a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, which will take the team into June. Depending on how things go — particularly if it’s to one extreme or the other — this three-week period could also set the season on its final course.

The Pirates enter this series on the heels of four straight losses, the last three to a Cincinnati team that gave up just one earned run. The Pirates haven’t scored since Monday, and they’ve had just 10 hits since Sunday’s game ended.

The numbers are not pretty. And since I feel like I’ve rehashed them enough already, I’ll stop there. Maybe the only bit of good news is that the wind is currently blowing out of Wrigley Field.


  • You’ll notice that shortstop Ronny Cedeno is back in the lineup after nursing a sore wrist these last few days.
  • Ryan Church’s wrist is improving, too, enough to where Russell said the outfielder could likely have started today if needed. Plan on seeing Church start Saturday’s game.
  • Right-hander Brendan Donnelly threw 25 pitches off the Wrigley Field mound on Friday as he works his way back from an oblique strain. Donnelly is scheduled to throw another side session on Sunday and then pitch a simulated game in Philadelphia early next week. That has him on target to come off the DL when the Pirates return home next week, as expected.
  • You heard it here first: Pirates broadcaster John Wehner has predicted home runs from Lastings Milledge and Andy LaRoche today. The fact that the two have a combined three all season makes me a bit skeptical, but I wanted to make sure to document the prediction so Wehner can get credit if he’s right.
  • Here’s another one of those not-so-pretty notes from Elias: Three times this season a team has been outhit by 14 hits. Two times the Pirates have been involved. They were outhit, 25-8, by the Brewers on April 22. The Reds then outhit the Pirates, 15-1, on Tuesday.
  • Second baseman Aki Iwamura remains atop the Pirates’ lineup despite his .169 average and .267 on-base percentage. Even worse, Iwamura has gone 2-for-35 since the beginning of May. Still, the struggling infielder is going to stay in the lineup for now — which you can read more about on in a bit. I know that many of you (since I have heard from you) disagree, but you can find manager John Russell’s explanation for sticking with Iwamura in today’s story.
  • Left-hander Brian Burres enters Friday having pitched 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Only Evan Meek, who didn’t allow a run during a 15-inning stretch from April 15 to May 7, has gone longer for the Pirates this season.
  • A Pirates alumni update: Former closer Matt Capps has as many saves for Washington as the Pirates have wins (14).
  • Another former Pittsburgh pitcher, Tom Gorzelanny, makes the start against the Pirates on Friday. He has allowed one earned run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh since being traded to Chicago.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Brian Burres (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (2B)
  2. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Xavier Nady (RF)
  5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Tom Gorzelanny (LHP)

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