Results tagged ‘ Zach Duke ’

Rule 5 results; Duke trade completed

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates selected shortstop Josh Rodriguez with the first pick of the Rule 5 Draft. GM Neal Huntington said Rodriguez will compete to make the team as a utility infielder.

“He’s a guy that will compete to make our club as our utility guy,” Huntington said. “He has solid defense at shortstop. He can swing the bat a little bit. He can bounce around and play second, short and third. You can probably run him into the outfield. He’s a guy that’s a good addition to the organization.”

Centerfielder Bradley Chalk and catcher Travis Scott were taken in the Triple-A phase of the Draft.

Pirates farmhand Nathan Adcock was taken by the Royals with the fifth pick of the Rule 5 Draft. Pittsburgh is hopeful that Adcock will not be able to stick on Kansas City’s roster all season, which would allow the Pirates to get him back.

“He gets the ball on the ground,” Huntington said. “He has an average fastball with the ability to get groundballs and there is a chance that he’ll stick. We knew by not protecting him that there was a pretty good chance of being selected. We’re disappointed to lose him, but we couldn’t protect them all.”

Pittsburgh also acquired right-hander pitcher Cesar Valdez on Thursday morning as the player-to-be-named in the Zach Duke trade. The Pirates had to wait until after the Rule 5 Draft to finalize the acquisition since Valdez was available to be taken.

“It’s a right-hander with heavy sink,” Huntington said of Valdez. “He gets a lot of groundballs. He’s going to mix-and-match. He’s going to hit his spots. He’s a guy that we feel can help maybe out of the bottom of the rotation or use as a long man. He’s a guy to add to our depth and our competition to make our club.”

Jerry Dipoto, the Dbacks’ vice president of scouting and player development had this to say on Valdez: “Cesar obviously got an opportunity to pitch for us in the big leagues last year [and] has been a good member of our organization. Hopefully this is an opportunity for him.”

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Duke traded – quick follow-up

Jenifer Langosch/

Before I sign off and hopefully enjoy a quiet four-day holiday with little-to-no news, I wanted to provide one additional update to tonight’s news about Zach Duke being traded to Arizona for a player to be named later. 

For those of you who are looking at the Dbacks’ prospect list, don’t. The player the Pirates are going to get in return will not be anything close to a top prospect. I’ve confirmed that. Remember, if the Pirates hadn’t made the trade, Duke would have been a free agent next week anyway. So Arizona wasn’t going to give up anyone of more than marginal value to land the left-hander.

And now… go enjoy some turkey. Happy Thanksgiving.

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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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September 30: Pirates (56-102) @ Marlins (77-81)

Jenifer Langosch/

As the Pirates begin their final four-game series of the season, you have to wonder if this is going to be the last time Pirates fans see Zach Duke take the mound in black and gold. It is not a foregone conclusion that Duke won’t be back. There’s also no guarantee he will.

The lefty is about to be arbitration eligible for the third time, and that means his $4.3 million salary will likely tick up to close to $6 million. That is, of course, if the Pirates decide to give him a contract. Given Duke’s struggles this year and inconsistencies in years’ past, it seems unlikely that the Pirates will be willing to allocate that much to Duke.

Now, there is always the chance that the Pirates non-tender Duke and then try to sign him back at a lower cost (same route Pittsburgh tried with Matt Capps last winter), but that doesn’t mean Duke will choose to return.

If Duke’s career in Pittsburgh is about to come to an end, he’ll leave with more wins at PNC Park (31) than any other pitcher. In 159 games (158 starts) with the Pirates, Duke has gone 45-69 with a 4.52 ERA.

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), J. Bowker (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), Z. Duke (LHP)

Duke vs. FLA: 0-4 in 6 starts, 30.2 IP, 47 H, 21 ER, 2 HR, 10 BB, 21 K


E. Bonifacio (CF), O. Martinez (SS), L. Morrison (LF), D. Uggla (2B), G. Sanchez (1B), M. Stanton (RF), W. Helms (3B), B. Davis (C), C. Volstad(RHP)

Volstad vs. PIT: 0-2 in 2 starts, 8 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 3 K

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September 18: D-backs (59-89) @ Pirates (49-98)

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Pirates starter James McDonald enters the game riding a string of 17 straight scoreless innings. That’s the longest such stretch by a Pittsburgh pitcher this season and the longest for the club since Zach Duke tossed 22 straight scoreless innings in July 2005.

And in affiliate news, Double-A Altoona sits one victory away from an Eastern League Championship after defeating Trenton, 5-0, behind starter Justin Wilson on Friday. Wilson tossed seven scoreless innings. Here is the full story from Friday night’s win.

S. Drew (SS), K. Johnson (2B), M. Reynolds (3B), M. Montero (C), A. LaRoche (1B), R. Church (CF), B. Allen (LF), G. Parra (RF), B. Enright (RHP)

Enright vs. PIT: first career appearance


A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (RF), J. Bowker (1B), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), J. McDonald (RHP)

McDonald vs. ARI: 1-2 in 5 games, 6.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, 5 BB, 9 K


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Throwing out runners 101

Jenifer Langosch/

You can read all about John Russell’s thoughts on the team’s issues throwing out base runners in this story I wrote earlier, but I wanted to expand on a few additional items here

A few points of emphasis before we get into some stats:

  • The fact that the Pirates have thrown out just 12.8 percent of runners trying to steal (this doesn’t count stolen bases with no throws, double steals or caught stealing by pitchers) is a problem that lies with both the pitchers and catchers. Ryan Doumit has had his share of issues, but for the large part, the pitchers aren’t helping him out.
  • When it comes to Doumit, Russell pointed out two things he needs to improve upon. His footwork needs to be quicker/shorter and his throwing motion needs to be shortened.
  • On the pitching end, Russell said he likes what he’s seen from Jeff Karstens and Brad Lincoln both in terms of how they vary their deliveries and how long they hold the ball. He noted that Zach Duke and Paul Maholm struggle in that area, and that when they lift their leg on the delivery it gives runners even more time to take off.
  • The other thing worth noting again is that the Pirates have a program in place from the lowest Minor League level on up to teach pitchers how to better hold runners on. So the expectation is that these pitchers should be better prepared with differing deliveries and timing by the time they get here.

Anyways, this issue has become such a widespread problem this year that it has garnered a ton of scrutiny. But I was interested to see how all these pitchers had done in these same areas in recent years. Have the individual numbers really gotten that much worse? Here are the specifics, which will allow you to see which pitchers are getting taken advantage of the most and which have taken steps back:

Ross Ohlendorf

  • 2010: 13 SB, 1 CS (93% success rate for runner)
  • 2009: 12 SB, 8 CS (60%)

Zach Duke

  • 2010: 6 SB, 1 CS (86%)
  • 2009: 7 SB, 8 CS (47%)
  • 2008: 6 SB, 6 CS (50%)
  • 2007: 5 SB, 5 CS (50%)
  • 2006: 13 SB, 12 CS (52%)

Paul Maholm

  • 2010: 4 SB, 1 CS (80%)
  • 2009: 15 SB, 6 CS (71%)
  • 2008: 5 SB, 7 CS (42%)
  • 2007: 11 SB, 6 CS (65%)
  • 2006: 13 SB, 11 CS (54%)

Jeff Karstens

  • 2010: 3 SB, 3 CS (50%)
  • 2009: 9 SB, 2 CS (82%)

Brad Lincoln

  • 2010: 2 SB, 1 CS (66%)

Octavio Dotel

  • 2010: 4 SB, 1 CS (80%)
  • 2009: 14 SB, 5 CS (74%)
  • 2008: 16 SB, 1 CS (94%)
  • 2007: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2006: 1 SB, 0 CS (100%)

Evan Meek

  • 2010: 9 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2009: 4 SB, 2 CS (66%)

Joel Hanrahan

  • 2010: 5 SB, 1 CS (83%)
  • 2009: 6 SB, 3 CS (66%)
  • 2008: 11 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2007: 4 SB, 2 CS (66%)

Sean Gallagher

  • 2010: 1 SB, 1 CS (50%)
  • 2009: 2 SB, 1 CS (66%)
  • 2008: 5 SB, 4 CS (56%)
  • 2007: 4 SB, 4 CS (50%)

Brendan Donnelly

  • 2010: 6 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2009: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2008: 1 SB, 1 CS (50%)
  • 2007: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2006: 1 SB, 0 CS (100%)

D.J. Carrasco

  • 2010: 7 SB, 3 CS (70%)
  • 2009: 1 SB, 3 CS (25%)
  • 2008: 3 SB, 2 CS (60%)

Javier Lopez

  • 2010: 1 SB, 1 CS (50%)
  • 2009: 1 SB, 0 CS (100%)
  • 2008: 1 SB, 3 CS (25%)
  • 2007: 0 SB, 1 CS (0%)
  • 2006: 2 SB, 0 CS (100%)

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Bucs Medical Report

Jenifer Langosch/

I’ve updated this at least five times tonight. Let’s hope this is the last one.

  • Steve Pearce: Pearce sat out Thursday’s Triple-A Indianapolis game and was out of the starting lineup again on Friday because of left knee soreness. Pearce will remain on rehab assignment for the time being (though his ankle is fine), and the Pirates will make an announcement on what’s next after more is known about his status. An update from the Pirates said that Pearce may need to have an MRI on that knee.
  • Chris Jakubauskas: While making his first Minor League rehab appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis, Jakubauskas left Thursday’s game with a strain of his right hip flexor. He had increased tightness and soreness today, so the Pirates have ended his rehab assignment. He will is expected to miss at least a week with this injury. You’ll remember that Jakubauskas was working his way back from a concussion he sustained in late April when he was struck in the head by a line drive. The good news is he has had no concussion signs.
  • Starling Marte: Marte, who had surgery in mid-May after fracturing his left hamate bone, will begin his Minor League rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Pirates on Saturday. The Pirates plan to have him play for about a week before determining the next step for the outfielder. At the time of the surgery, Marte was expected to miss 8-10 weeks.
  • Zach Duke: Duke threw 46 pitches in Friday’s side session, which was his first session throwing off the mound since being shut down with a left elbow flexor pronator strain. He said he felt no discomfort in his elbow during the session. Duke is scheduled to throw a pair of Minor League rehab starts in Altoona, with the first being this Monday (July 5). If all goes well in those two outings, Duke would then be ready to rejoin the club after the All-Star break.
  • Neil Walker: The second baseman was out early practicing double play turns this afternoon, and the team is still optimistic that he’ll be cleared to play on Saturday. Walker will go through a full workout today — including BP — and then he’ll be reevaluated on Saturday to make sure he’s not feeling any effects of it.
  • Eric Fryer: Fryer became the latest Bradenton Marauder hit in the face by a pitch. Fryer was struck in the face on Thursday and sustained some orbital fractures. He is scheduled to see a specialist next Tuesday, after which doctors will determine the next course of action. Fryer was hitting .274 with 13 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 34 RBIs in 57 games before the injury.
  • Jose Tabata: The left fielder said he felt some sorness in his left hand when taking some swings in the indoor batting cage this afternoon. He was spiked by Jimmy Rollins in the left hand on Thursday night and sustained cuts on his ring finger, pinky and top of his left hand. The two fingers were wrapped tightly in tape today. Tabata will test his hand again in BP shortly and will make a determination afterward if his hand feels good enough to play. Right now, he is in the starting lineup.

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July 1 Odds and Ends

Jenifer Langosch/

Catching up on some recent news….

  • Second baseman Neil Walker has targeted Saturday as a potential return date. He went through Wednesday without any headaches or other concussion symptoms, and that cleared him to be able to play catch and take groundballs on Thursday. Walker suffered a concussion last Friday in Oakland when he collided with right fielder Ryan Church.
  • Bobby Crosby is back in the lineup and starting at short. In all, he missed just two games (and part of a third) after his collision. Manager John Russell hasn’t said as much, but I’d expect Crosby to get regular playing time like he was before the injury. Ronny Cedeno has not been impressive at all lately (six hits in his last 65 at-bats), and Crosby was doing well in the starting role over the last few weeks.
  • Russell said that his decision to move Pedro Alvarez up into the No. 2 hole was done in hopes that he’d see more pitches to hit batting in front of Andrew McCutchen. It’s also a spot where opposing managers will have to think twice before bringing in a situational lefty to face Alvarez. Why? Because hitting behind Alvarez is McCutchen, who is a career .341 hitter against lefties. So you either burn two pitchers in a span of two hitters, or you take your chances against McCutchen.
  • Left-hander Dana Eveland cleared waivers and has been sent to Triple-A Indianapolis. It remains to be seen whether Eveland will pitch in a starting or relieving role with the Indians.
  • Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas will continue his Minor League rehab work in Triple-A now. Jakubauskas last pitched for high-A Bradenton on June 27. He went 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and three earned runs in that outing. He will be used in a multi-inning relief and spot starting role. The Pirates have not announced a specific timetable for a potential return yet.
  • Speaking of timetables, as I noted earlier in the week, don’t expect to see Zach Duke to be back until after the All-Star break. He’s scheduled to throw off the mound for the first time during this homestand and will likely need two side sessions before then making a Minor League rehab start.
  • Happy Anniversary to Garrett Jones, who on this day last year arrived in Pittsburgh and established himself as a key piece in this lineup not long after. In 159 games over the past year, Jones has batted .289 with 38 doubles, 31 homers and 91 RBIs. Only 10 players in the National League have more home runs during that year-long span.
  • With his save on Wednesday, seven of Octavio Dotel’s 16 saves this year have come against the Cubs. That is the most saves against any team before the start of July since saves started being officially recorded in 1969 (thanks Elias Sports Bureau for that tidbit).

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Jackson, Thomas join Bucs

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates selected the contract of lefty Justin Thomas and recalled right-hander Steven Jackson on Thursday to bring their roster back to a full 25 players. The two vacancies had been created when Zach Duke was placed on the DL and after Dana Eveland had been designated for assignment.

This will be Jackson’s second go-around with Pittsburgh this season. He made one relief appearance (May 28) during that short stint. In 22 games with Triple-A Indianapolis this season, Jackson has allowed 10 earned runs on 34 hits and 11 walks in 31 innings. He has struck out 18. Jackson has not allowed a run in his last 10 Triple-A appearances. 

This will be Thomas’ first return to the Majors since 2008, when he went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in eight relief appearances with the Mariners. Thomas, 26, is 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in 24 relief appearances with Indianapolis. Thomas has allowed just two earned runs in his last 19 appearances.

We’ll find out more details shortly once the clubhouse opens, but the Pirates’ decision to bring up two relievers was likely dictated by the need to have some fresh arms available for the next few days. The fact that Paul Maholm only went one inning on Wednesday forced manager John Russell to rely on his ‘pen for seven innings yesterday.

The Pirates still need a starter for Saturday, but that roster move likely won’t come until just before then. I’d expect the Pirates to send either Jackson or Thomas (likely Jackson, so the Pirates can keep a second left-handed reliever) after Friday’s game to clear a spot for a starter. Daniel McCutchen and Charlie Morton remain the candidates.

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Eveland designated for assignment

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates designated left-hander Dana Eveland for assignment on Thursday, ending his tenure with the club after just three appearances.

Eveland last pitched on Wednesday, and he allowed six earned runs on seven hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Cumulatively, Eveland allowed nine earned runs on 15 hits in 9 2/3 innings with Pittsburgh.

The Pirates acquired Eveland from the Blue Jays on June 1 by trading young right-hander Ronald Uviedo to Toronto.

Taking Eveland off the 25-man roster leaves the Pirates, who placed Zach Duke on the disabled list on Wednesday, now with two vacancies to fill. An announcement regarding those roster additions is expected later Thursday afternoon.

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