Neal Huntington, Clint Hurdle discuss Pirates roster moves

Bill Brink 35 minutes ago

MILWAUKEE -- Why Elias Diaz rather than Tony Sanchez? Why no Vance Worley? What’s up with Pedro Florimon? And are any of these guys playoff eligible? 

Here are some answers from Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington.

On why Diaz, who has no major league experience, as a third catcher instead of Sanchez?

Hurdle: “At the end of the day, based on performance.”

Huntington: “As we looked at how we would anticipate that player being used, it's going to be more likely a late-game defensive replacement. We think the world of what Elias can do defensively with his receiving, blocking, throwing. We feel that he's taken steps ahead of Tony on that front. Love Tony's offense and what he's capable of doing, but as we looked at the big picture of how that role may fit, as we try to win a game, we felt that the defense was going to be more important than the offense.”

Why no Worley?

Hurdle: “I do think there's going to be an opportunity. We've wanted to keep one man in rotation, to continue to pitch, in case somebody went down at any given time. A guy would have 100 pitches in his pocket. Vance threw eight innings last night, so there's a real good opportunity that he'll rejoin us.”

Huntington: “Vance's value to us as a starting pitcher probably works against him in that we want to keep him starting, want to keep getting him stretched out. While he's done very well at Indy, it's still just a handful of starts and rather than bring him into the bullpen mix here and have him not pitch for a handful of days, we want to keep him starting and keep him stretched out.”

What’s the status of Florimon, who is physically with the Pirates but not on the 25-man or 40-man rosters?

Huntington: “He's actually transferred to Bristol. Their season ends tonight, which would technically make him eligible to be selected tomorrow.”

(This eliminates the 10-day period a player usually must spend in the minors after being optioned or sent outright.)

These guys weren’t called up before Aug. 31. Are they playoff-eligible?

Huntington: “The rule changed for last playoff season, for last year. They simplified it. ... Clubs were getting creative in expanding their playoff-eligible roster, we were one of them, and Major League Baseball made a good move. Essentially, everybody who's on your 40-man roster is now eligible directly for your postseason roster. Anybody not on your 40-man roster but who was in your organization as of Aug. 31, midnight last night, is eligible to replace a player physically unable to play in a postseason game.”

This means that Jaff Decker, Bobby LaFromboise, Diaz and Rob Scahill are automatically eligible, while Travis Snider and Radhames Liz would need to replace an injured player. But they can replace Andrew Lambo, Brandon Cumpton or Corey Hart, who are on the 60-day DL.

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Pirates pre-game: Gerrit Cole vs. Jimmy Nelson

Bill Brink about 1 hour ago

Game: Pirates (79-50) at Brewers (55-75)

Time: 8:10 p.m. ET

Site: Miller Park

Standings: Pirates in 2nd place NL Central, five games back of Cardinals; first wild-card spot, 5.5 games ahead of Cubs for home-field advantage in wild-card game.

TV, radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: Dome


MILWAUKEE -- Here are the lineups for tonight’s game.


1. Gregory Polanco (L) RF
2. Starling Marte LF
3. Andrew McCutchen CF
4. Aramis Ramirez 3B
5. Jung Ho Kang SS
6. Neil Walker (S) 2B
7. Pedro Alvarez (L) 1B
8. Francisco Cervelli C
9. Gerrit Cole RHP


1. Scooter Gennett (L) 2B
2. Jonathan Lucroy C
3. Ryan Braun RF
4. Adam Lind (L) 1B
5. Khris Davis LF
6. Domingo Santana CF
7. Jean Segura SS
8. Elian Herrera (S) 3B
9. Jimmy Nelson RHP

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Pirates add six to the active roster

Bill Brink about 3 hours ago

MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates added six players -- Jaff Decker, Bobby LaFromboise, Elias Diaz, Radhames Liz, travis Snider and Rob Scahill -- to the active roster as rosters expanded from 25 to 40. Read the breaking news story here.

I’ll have more when I return from the clubhouse. 

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Pirates minor league report 8/31

Post-Gazette staff about 20 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS (80-57) defeated Columbus, 6-3, in 12 innings as RF Willy Garcia (.254) hit a 2-run bases-loaded single in the top of the 12th to drive in what turned out to be the winning runs. DH John Bowker (.202) was 2 for 6 with a double, CF Gorkys Hernandez (.275) was 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored and LF Keon Broxton hit a solo homer and scored twice. RHP Blake Wood (2-4, 3.20) blew a save opportunity when he gave up a home run in the 11th, but struck out 3 in 1 inning of work to get the win.

ALTOONA (71-64) lost to Bowie, 7-4. RHP John Kuchno (3-5, 3.12) blew his sixth save after he allowed 4 unearned runs on 3 hits in one-third of an inning in the bottom of the eighth. Starter Zack Dodson (3.83) gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits in 7 2/3 innings for the no-decision. 1B Jose Osuna (.297) was 2 for 4 and scored a run, 2B Erich Weiss (.278) had 2 hits and scored twice and C Jacob Stallings (.270) drove in 2 runs.

BRADENTON (70-63) defeated Palm Beach, 4-3. RHP Felipe Gonzalez (7-6, 3.41) picked up the win as he gave up 1 run on 3 hits and struck out 4 in 6 2/3 innings. CF Austin Meadows (.309) was 3 for 4 with a double and both scored and drove in a run, while RF Harold Ramirez (..339) was 3 for 4 and scored three times. DH Jin-De Jhang (.299) was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (81-51) lost to Lexington, 8-1. LHP Stephen Tarpley (11-4, 2.35) gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out 5 in 6 innings to take the loss. SS Kevin Newman (.299) was 3 for 4 and accounted for half the team’s 6 hits.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (36-33) lost to Batavia, 5-4. LHP Cesilio Pimintel (2-3, 4.13) gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out 3 in 3 innings of relief in a losing effort. DH Daniel Arribas (.274) was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs and 2B Michael Tolman (.287) was 2 for 4 with a double and drove in a run.

BRISTOL (29-35) lost to Elizabethton, 6-5, in 10 innings. RHP Dan Urbina (2-5, 6.99) gave up 2 runs – 1 earned – in 2 2/3 innings to take the loss. RF Nick Buckner (.264) DH Erik Lunde (.306) and 3B Carlos Ozuna (.226) each had 2 hits, while 2B Raul Siri (.241) hit a 3-run homer.

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Probable starters: Pirates at Brewers

Bill Brink about 20 hours ago

Tuesday: RHP Gerrit Cole (15-7, 2.44) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (10-10, 3.81)
Wednesday: LHP Jeff Locke (7-8, 4.46) vs. RHP Taylor Jungmann (8-5, 2.48)
Thursday: LHP Francisco Liriano (9-6, 3.28) vs. RHP Matt Garza (6-14, 5.56)

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