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Pirates Newsbeat

Monday, June 26, 2017


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

After 71 games of chaos, inconsistency, Pirates somehow just four games back

The season of competitive balance.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 21, 2017 at 08:16 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Friday, June 09, 2017

‘Bachelor Canada’ will help former MLB pitcher look for love

Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Leroux didn’t go down swinging when love threw him a curve. The six-year Major League Baseball veteran got right back in the box.

Leroux will look for love on the next season of “Bachelor Canada.” He is, as you might have already guessed, the titular bachelor….

Prior to being a reality show contestant, Leroux spent six seasons in the majors. The majority of his time came with the Pirates, but also pitched for the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees. In 71 2/3 innings, he compiled a career 6.03 ERA. Leroux’s best season came in 2011, when he posted a 2.88 ERA over 25 innings with Pittsburgh.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 09, 2017 at 12:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: chris leroux, pirates, reality tv, television, the bachelor

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Brian Kenny on Twitter: “Regarding the Andrew McCutchen comeback: An absence of good news.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 10:25 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Peter Gammons: The Pirates and the depreciating asset of Gerrit Cole - GammonsDaily.com

Most big Scott Boras clients come with an expiration date tag. Sometimes, that free agent promise date seems a distraction; their teams believe it in the cases of Jake Arrieta and Matt Harvey, but it never distracted Max Scherzer from his relentless drive for greatness.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 18, 2017 at 01:55 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, pirates

Jung Ho Kang’s suspended sentence upheld by South Korean court

A South Korean court on Thursday upheld a suspended prison sentence for Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang over a drunken driving conviction, a ruling that may complicate his plans to rejoin his team this season.

The Seoul Central District Court dismissed Kang’s appeal of a suspended eight-month prison sentence over charges of fleeing the scene after crashing a car into the guardrail while driving drunk in December, a court official said. The court official didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.

Kang had sought to lower the punishment to a fine. His lawyers have called the suspended prison term issued in March as a potential “death sentence” to his career, blaming it for visa issues that have prevented him from rejoining the Pirates. The team weeks later put Kang on the restricted list as visa issues continued to delay him.

The court in had suspended the sentence for two years following his third DUI conviction in South Korea since 2009. A suspended sentence means Kang will only face jail time if he is charged with DUI again in the next two years.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2017 at 09:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dui, jung ho kang, legal, pirates

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Red-hot Astros remain aggressive in their search for more pitching

The Astros remain interested in adding a starting pitcher and also are likely to pursue a left-handed reliever before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline, major-league sources say.

No trade is expected soon – trade discussions generally do not accelerate until after the amateur draft in June and sellers likely will maintain high asking prices until late July.

But the Astros, who began the season with the game’s third-best farm system, according to Baseball America, are in position to pursue virtually any player who becomes available.

The Pirates, currently in last place in the NL Central at 16-23, have two pitchers who intrigue the Astros, sources say – right-hander Gerrit Cole, who is under control through 2019, and left-handed closer Tony Watson, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

It is not yet clear if the Pirates will be sellers, or if they would be willing to move Cole. But with center fielder Andrew McCutchen batting only .206 with a .670 OPS, a trade of Cole might be the Pirates’ best chance of landing significant value in a season that looks increasingly lost.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2017 at 11:05 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gerrit cole, pirates, tony watson, trade rumors

Monday, May 08, 2017

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon suspected to have testicular cancer

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon underwent surgery Monday morning for suspected testicular cancer.

The right-hander had the surgery at Allegheny General Hospital.

After alerting the team’s medical staff of an abnormality, Taillon consulted with Dr. John C. Lyne over the weekend. Lyne performed the surgery.

The recommended treatment plan for Taillon is pending further testing.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 08, 2017 at 09:53 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: cancer, jameson taillon, pirates

In-Market Streaming Of Mariners, Astros, Pirates, And Rockies Games Arrives Via ROOT Sports

Fans of the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Colorado Rockies can now watching games in-market as the AT-&T Sports Network-owned ROOT SPORTS family of regoinal sports networks announced today that digital streaming is now available. The deal that was announced in March, along with NESN airing Red Sox games, hit a technical snag with authentication services had the networks targeting May as the roll-out, and today, that came to fruition.

The deal between ROOT Sports and MLB Advanced Media will come with no additional cost to authenticated pay TV subscribers of ROOT SPORTS distribution partners.

All games on the networks will be made available to distributors’ authenticated customers and MLBAM will authenticate ROOT SPORTS viewers on MLB.com, team websites and MLB At Bat, as ROOT SPORTS continues to develop a platform of their own to deliver the games to viewers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 08, 2017 at 04:39 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mariners, pirates, rockies, root sports, streaming

Friday, May 05, 2017

Struggling Polanco still hitting cleanup | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

I really thought he was due to break out this year. Luckily there is still a lot of season left.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2017 at 10:20 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: gregory polanco, pirates

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gift Ngoepe, First-Ever African-Born MLB Player, Got A Hit In His First Career At-Bat

The South Africa native has been with the Pirates organization since 2008, and he’s considered the club’s best defensive prospect. He took the field for the Pirates this evening, coming in at second base in the fourth inning and becoming the first African-born player to play in the majors. In his very first major-league at-bat, he singled up the middle on a 3-1 count.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 27, 2017 at 11:54 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: africa, international players, pirates

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cut4:  The Pirates called up Dovydas Neverauskas, the first born-and-raised Lithuanian in MLB history

At 6’3”, he was probably deemed too small to play basketball in the NBA-crazy country.

Just before the start of Monday night’s game against the Cubs, the Pirates announced that they were calling up rookie pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas to take the roster spot of Adam Frazier, who went to the DL. Neverauskas made history while throwing two innings of one-run ball, becoming the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Major Leagues.

Neverauskas hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, where his father, Virmidas, encouraged him to learn and play the game despite its relative anonymity. He attended European Academy baseball camps in Italy and was signed by the Pirates in July 2009—another first for a Lithuanian-born player.

After his debut on Monday, Neverauskas talked to MLB.com’s Adam Berry about what it meant for his home country. “Better opportunities. Just to see that baseball can be played in Lithuania, somebody can follow in my footsteps,” he said.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: April 25, 2017 at 08:27 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, April 20, 2017

David Freese, World Series hero, finds greater triumph in depression battle

He may forever be a hero in these parts, but during a time he should have been basking in glory, he instead was a tormented man who battled just to get out of bed.

He would wake up mornings, slam his eye lids shut, wishing he were dead.

“I was depressed. I was always depressed,’’ Freese tells USA TODAY Sports. “I never tried to do anything to myself, but I didn’t care about my life. I didn’t care what would happen to me. It was almost to a point that if this is my time, so be it?

“And there was definitely a lack of care about my well-being at certain times, for sure.’’

Freese says he has battled depression his entire life, a factor in his decision to relinquish a college scholarship after high school to Missouri. He instead just wanted to be like any other student, giving him plenty of time for partying and alcohol. There were three public drunken-driving incidents, including a December 2009 arrest in which his blood alcohol content was measured at .23, nearly three times the legal limit.

Those episodes barely scratch the surface. There was the Thanksgiving Day afternoon in 2012 when he crashed his Range Rover into a tree. The countless mornings he awoke and had no recollection of even getting into bed. The blackouts. The constant feeling of lethargy and fatigue.

“I’ve had moments like that since high school, to be honest,’’ Freese says. “It’s been 15-plus years of, ‘I can’t believe I’m still here.’ ’’

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2017 at 05:41 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, david freese, depression, mental health, pirates

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pirates OF Starling Marte gets 80-game ban after positive PED test

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, it was announced Tuesday.

“The Pittsburgh Pirates fully support MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement, including the very tough penalties for violations of its prohibitions,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “We are disappointed that Starling put himself, his teammates and the organization in this position. We will continue to fight for the division title with the men who are here and will look forward to getting Starling back after the All-Star break.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2017 at 03:01 PM | 97 comment(s)
  Beats: ped, pirates, sterling marte

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ron Cook: Hurdle deserves extension despite the odds | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

How about reading it from the greatest manager in Pirates history?

“Clint Hurdle has gotten a lot of credit for becoming a Pittsburgher, and rightfully so,” Jim Leyland said earlier this month. “He’s gotten a lot of credit for being a motivator, and rightfully so. But Clint Hurdle has not gotten enough credit in Pittsburgh, in my opinion, for being the game manager that he is. He is a terrific game manager. I don’t think that has been recognized because the other stuff has kind of overshadowed it, being active in the community, being a great guy. But Clint Hurdle is one hell of a manager one through nine.”

Huntington said he was shocked by the Bovada odds. He hired Hurdle and, presumably, would be the one to fire him — should it come to that — although Nutting, as owner, certainly has the power to fire Hurdle and/or Huntington.

“Somebody’s got bad information. I’m not a betting man, but I don’t know that there’s a worse bet out there to take,” Huntington said.

“I do not envision working with a different manager in my time here. Clint Hurdle is one of my best friends in the world. I still consider him a mentor. He has done everything that we could have ever asked of him. It’s up to us to give him enough talent. He gets the most out of it. He’s a leader. He runs a good game. Our players love playing for him. The dreaded vote of confidence isn’t even on my radar. He’s our manager and I would fully envision he’ll be our manager for a long time.

“In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if Clint outlasts me here.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 11, 2017 at 09:15 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: clint hurdle, pirates

Monday, April 03, 2017

MLB preview: Q&A with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington

Huntington: A lot of it was conceptualized before we came in the door. After talking with Bob (Nutting) and Frank (Coonelly), we bought into the concept of let’s see what the 2008 could do. They’d done a nice job (in 2007) and appeared to be ready to take the next step forward. There were some established position players, although most of them were approaching free agency. There wasn’t much in the farm system other than (Andrew) McCutchen, (Neil) Walker and Brad Lincoln. We knew we were going to have to invest heavily in the draft and in the international market. We knew there needed to be some changeover in personnel and some changes in systems and structures.

Unfortunately, 2008 did not go well. We were below .500 at the trade deadline, so we made the decision to move those veteran players who were nearing free agency and go full force into talent-accumulation mode.

So much of that first year was about discovering what was good and who was good, and who could be part of the future on and off the field. The next phase was talent accumulation, then talent development, then major league team maturation, then “Let’s push this thing forward and figure out a way to win a World Series.” So a lot (of the plan) was in place early. We’ve evaluated and evolved over time, for sure. But conceptually, a lot of it was in place as we walked in the door. Maybe that’s part of the reason why Bob and Frank offered me the position.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2017 at 08:33 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, neal huntington, pirates

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Gammons: Daniel Bard Is Willing To Endure The Frustration

The Cardinals last spring signed Bard to a two year deal which his agent Mike Milchin thought would give the organization time to see if they could ground him. His initial numbers with Palm Beach in the Florida State League (3 3 8 9 13 1) were not successful, but Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque and his minor league pitching staff decided to have him try a lower arm slot.

“In some ways, it’s a lot like what Andrew did—simply everything,” says Bard. In 2012, when struggling with his delivery, Miller, with the help of pitching coach Bob McClure, tried a delivery that was part slidestep, part of fire-the-ball-at-the-backyard wall step and fire.” Which, as we saw in October, helped him develop into one of the best relievers in the game.

Bard now just loads and fires from his low ¾ slot. On this video, shot by Woodard, one can see him registering 96 on the radar gun.

I’d love to see him return to his top form. Maybe not with the Cardinals…

villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2017 at 05:01 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, comebacks, control issues, cubs, daniel bard, pirates, rangers, red sox

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tough times paid off for Bucs’ Jameson Taillon | MLB.com

“But I had an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Well, I’m going to be here, I might as well make my time worthwhile. What can I do to make my mechanics better? What can I do to make my grips better? What can I do to make my arm stronger, to get stronger? What can I do to eat healthier? How do I transition all this to in-season?’

“I had so much time away with no pressure, no hype on me. I wasn’t pitching for a boxscore. I was just committed to the process.I got to hone up and clean up and go forward with it. I asked friends, family, teammates. I was confiding with guys who’d had Tommy John surgery, confiding with guys who’d lost some weight. How guys cooked. What worked for them.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, pirates

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pirates top prospect Austin Meadows getting major-league ‘vibe’ | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It’s always tough making judgments on the outside but Andrew McCutchen seems like a really good guy.

“McCutchen told him, ‘Trust the process,’ “ Meadows’ father, Kenny, recalled. “Austin took that to heart. A lot of kids coming out of high school think they’re going to go right to the big leagues.”

Meadows, 21, isn’t there yet, but he’s no longer so far off. A non-roster invitee at major league camp this spring, he’s taken advantage of the extra at-bats available in the absence of McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, who are away at the World Baseball Classic.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2017 at 11:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang placed on restricted list as he awaits visa

The probability third baseman Jung Ho Kang will play for the Pirates on opening day continues to plummet. On Friday, a week after receiving a suspended sentence for his third DUI in South Korea, Kang was officially placed on the major league restricted list.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly described the move as “a procedural matter.” Kang has yet to receive his visa for travel to the United States, and there is no known deadline for that decision.

“It is neither a statement of pessimism nor optimism that Jung Ho will get back in time to report to Bradenton and prepare to be ready for opening day,” Coonelly said Saturday. “It says nothing on that topic. It just is a reflection of the reality that he is not here today, on March 11.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 12, 2017 at 12:26 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dui, jung-ho kang, pirates, visa

Friday, March 10, 2017

Andrew McCutchen’s vow after Pirates dangle him: ‘I’m going to have monster year’

“I’m not going to hold any grudges against them,” says McCutchen, a five-time All-Star. “I mean, I have people who say it should be my choice because of the sacrifices I’ve made and the things I’ve done for the organization. But l ’m not going to be angry.

“I’m just going to go out and play my game because that’s my job. I work for them. They are my bosses.

“They ask me to do something, it means I have to do it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2017 at 09:46 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates, wbc

Monday, March 06, 2017

Austin Meadows to see more spring playing time, sets health as spring goal | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

His desire to stay healthy stems from his injury history in pro ball. He did not play until June 30 in 2014 because of a hamstring injury in spring training that did not heal, costing him half his first full season. He hurt the other hamstring last year, then hurt his oblique on a swing during the final game of the season.

“I came down here for about a month to rehab after the season, just to get it healthy and then go home and really get everything right, work on my body, doing yoga and stuff like that to try to increase flexibility,” Meadows said.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2017 at 06:35 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: austin meadows, pirates

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jung Ho Kang appears in Korean court over DUI charges, vows to become ‘exemplary player’ | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Player or person? Was this a problem of translation or perspective?

“I deeply regret what I have done,” Kang told Yonhap News. “If I can get one last chance, I will become an exemplary player to earn respect from everyone.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 08:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jung ho kang, pirates

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In a world without stats, who would be the best baseball player?

This started with a crush on Starling Marte.

Marte is an outfielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates and my favorite baseball player to watch. He’s fast enough to have stolen 47 bases last year, third-most in the majors. His arm is one of the best in the game, capable of firing 101 mph bullets from the outfield. He is strong enough to have hit a baseball 460 feet, something only 48 other hitters have accomplished outside of Coors Field over the past two years. (Bryce Harper hasn’t. Mike Trout hasn’t.) He might be the most creative base slider in the game. He has demonstrated a talent for getting hit by pitches. Over the past three years, he has been the best defensive left fielder in the game, and this year, he will finally get to be a very good defensive center fielder.

I also know (or think I know) exactly how good Marte is: He was the 28th-best position player last year (by WAR) and the 53rd-best hitter (by OPS+). You might think those advanced stats are junk, but whatever stats you prefer, you have some idea how good he is: The 13th-best hitter (by batting average) or the 91st-best (by runs scored). We’ve all got stats. We all use our stats.

What if we had none? Not just no WAR but no nothin’. What if some ministry of information outlawed the collection of baseball statistics and we were all left to judge players exclusively by what we saw, what we perceived and what we remembered? Who would be perceived as the best player in baseball? Who would be the first player chosen in a franchise draft? Or, the more important question: With how much eye-rolling would actual major league general managers respond to a weird thought experiment on the subject?

Bourbon Samurai is disturbed by bagel developments Posted: February 21, 2017 at 10:23 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, sabermetrics

Pirates’ Cervelli on mend, team ‘refocused’ | MLB.com

“I think it’s going to be good for us. You need to have the step back before you take the step forward. I love that phrase,” Nutting said. “We certainly had a step back. We underperformed last year to the abilities of our club. I believe that’s been good for the organization. I believe it’s been good individually for some of the players, and it’s refocused us and improved our commitment. … We need to focus on how we move forward, how we push, how we deliver a level of excellence beyond what we’ve done in the past.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2017 at 09:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

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