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A.J. Burnett: "There's no other colors I'd rather wear there"

Bill Brink about 4 hours ago

About an hour after Monday’s game ended, A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke walked across the field at PNC Park to get to their cars. Sprinting in front of them, in a big circle around the infield, were A.J. Jr. and Ashton, Burnett’s two sons.

“I was talking with my wife last night about it,” Burnett had said minutes before, after the Pirates beat the Padres, and a few hours after Burnett had made the first All-Star team in his 17-year career. “I just want to do it for my boys. I want them to get out there and maybe shag during the Home Run Derby or just watch it on the field so they can cherish that moment. It's going to be special for them.”

Burnett joined Andrew McCutchenMark Melancon and Gerrit Cole on the NL team. The Pirates have two starting pitchers in the All-Star game for the first time since 1960, when Bob Friend and Vernon Law made the team.

"Everybody in the clubhouse was ecstatic about A.J. being picked," Cole said, "because of all the time he's played in this game and all the opportunities he's had and probably fallen just short."

After his start Monday night, Burnett has a 1.99 ERA in 113 innings across 17 starts and 94 strikeouts. He is tied with today’s starter, Tyson Ross, for the fewest home runs allowed in the majors among qualified starters, with three. 

“Focus, determination, my defense, my catcher, just a little bit of everything,” Burnett said. “I'm in a good spot, in a good place, I feel good. I'm executing pitches when I need to more than I have in a long, long time.”

Burnett, on representing the Pirates: “I'll tell you one thing, there's no other colors I'd rather wear there, that's for sure. This is my home, man. I want to represent these guys and this locker room and the city and this organization for my first time in an All-Star game.”

On the clubhouse reaction when Clint Hurdle announced it: “There was a lot of clapping going on. There was a lot of guys in here who deserve it. The guy behind the plate today, for sure. He's an All-Star in my book. I'm not there without [Francisco] Cervelli.”

Hurdle: “When we shared first the guys that were picked by the players, which is always a tremendous honor, when your peers choose you to be on the club. We did them one at a time. Everybody got the slow clap that builds up to a loud clap. We shared with them, the manager’s pick, which was A.J. I don’t think there was anything slow about the clap. There was a lot of hooting and hollering. He was pumped up. I can’t even imagine the feelings that he has to put the time, the effort, the energy, what he’s been through and done in his career, to never make an All-Star team and this year, in the midst of the farewell tour, to get that opportunity to be hand-picked by arguably the best manager [Bruce Bochy] in baseball, pretty cool. Extremely, extremely cool.”

McCutchen made his fifth consecutive All-Star team and will start in place of Giancarlo Stanton, who had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone. 

“A couple guys went down, so it would mean a little more if that wasn’t the case,” said McCutchen, also referencing Nori Aoki and the questionable Matt Holliday. “But being the next man up, it’ll be a fun, good time, looking forward to it.”

McCutchen on Burnett making the team: “I’m so happy for him. … If they chose one person on this team, I want it to be A.J.”

Cole made his first All-Star team. He ranks fifth in the NL with a 2.28 ERA and sixth in strikeouts with 113. He has been dominant for much of this season. 

“It hasn't really sunk in yet,” he said. “We got the news a few hours ago, right before the game, so we had some business to take care of."

We will chat today at noon. You can find it here. I’ll open the chat room early so you can submit questions, and I’ll get to them when we begin. 


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Minor league report 7/6

Post-Gazette Staff about 5 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS (51-34) defeated Louisville, 3-0. RHP Radhames Liz (2-1, 0.44) allowed 3 hits and a walk while striking out 8 in 6 scoreless innings to pick up the win. PH Elias Diaz (.266) was 1 for 1 with a 2-run double, while 2B Alen Hansen (.293) went 2 for 4 with a double. 3B Brent Morel (.256) was 2 for 3 with a double and scored a run.

ALTOONA (44-39) lost to Harrisburg, 3-0. LHP Steven Brault (1-2, 2.74) struck out 10, but gave up 10 hits and was touched up for 3 runs in the sixth inning and was pulled after 5 2/3. 1B Josh Bell (.310) was 1 for 4 with a double and was the only Curve player with an extra-base hit.

BRADENTON (41-41) have won five in a row and completed a 3-game sweep of Jupiter, 3-0. RHP Frank Duncan (5-4, 4.81) allowed 2 hits and struck out 5 in 7 scoreless innings for the win. RF Harold Ramirez (.356) went 3 for 4 with a double, while SS JaCoby Jones (.266) went 2 for 4 with a triple and drove in a run. 2B Erich Weiss (.288) hit a 2-run homer, his third of the season.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (46-35) defeated Delmarva, 5-2, in the completion of a suspended game from Sunday, then lost the second, 4-3. In the first game, LHP John Sever (3-2, 3.61) allowed a run in 3 innings of relief for the win. C Francisco Diaz (.370) was 3 for 4 with a 2-run homer. In the second game, RHP Austin Coley (10-5, 4.05) allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, on 8 hits, including 2 homers, in 4 innings. CF Elvis Escobar (.281) drove in a pair, while SS Cole Tucker (.293) and 1B Connor Joe (.236) each had 2 hits.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (7-10) defeated Batavia, 8-1. RHP Dario Agrazal (2-1, 2.57) surrendered 1 earned run in 5 innings while striking out 4 to pick up the win. SS Kevin Kramer (.224) was 2 for 4 with 1 RBI and scored 3 runs. 2B Ulises Montilla (.273) and RF Logan Hill (.333) each had 1 hit and drove in a pair.

BRISTOL (4-7) split a doubleheader against Johnson City, winning the first game, 2-0, and losing the nightcap, 8-2. In the opener, RHP Trey Supak (1-1, 4.85) gave up 2 hits and struck out 3 in 5 scoreless innings. In the second, RHP Logan Sendelbach (0-1, 13.50) was tagged for 5 runs on 8 hits, including a homer, in 2 innings. 1B Carlos Munoz (.405) was the only player with more than one hit for Bristol in either game and went 2 for 3 in each.

GCL PIRATES (9-3) defeated Yankees1, 2-1. LHP Jose Batista (1-0, 0.00) pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the win in relief. DH Jhoan Herrera (.262) was 2 for 4 and led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off homer.


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Pirates pre-game: James Shields vs. A.J. Burnett

Bill Brink about 11 hours ago

Game: Padres (39-45) at Pirates (47-34)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: 78 degrees, 60 percent chance of rain at game time

**********

Here are the lineups for tonight’s game.

Padres

1. Derek Norris C
2. Yangervis Solarte (S) 3B
3. Matt Kemp RF
4. Justin Upton LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Jedd Gyorko 2B
7. Will Venable (L) CF
8. Alexi Amarista (L) SS
9. James Shields RHP

Pirates

1. Gregory Polanco (L) RF
2. Neil Walker (S) 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen CF
4. Jung Ho Kang 3B
5. Francisco Cervelli C
6. Pedro Alvarez (L) 1B
7. Jordy Mercer SS
8. Sean Rodriguez LF
9. A.J. Burnett RHP

**********

Starling Marte is not in tonight’s lineup because of continued pain in his left side. He left the game Sunday during an at-bat. 

“I feel the same thing,” Marte said.

Asked how this pain compared to the right oblique strain that sent Marte to the DL for three weeks in 2012, he said, “It’s pretty close.”

“Feeling about the same he did yesterday when we took him out, from my understanding earlier this afternoon when I spoke to the training staff with him,” manager Clint Hurdle said.


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Pirates pre-game: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list; lineups

Bill Brink about 12 hours ago

The Pirates today put Josh Harrison on the 15-day disabled list because of an injury to his left thumb, one he sustained while sliding into second base Sunday. They added Travis Ishikawa, whom they claimed off waivers from the Giants Sunday, to the active roster in Harrison’s place.

"My hands got stuck in the dirt, got cut up a little bit,“ Harrison said. ”They did a pitching change, for it was good for me to go in and get my blood cleaned up and give [trainers] a heads-up that, hey, this might be something we want to look at.“

Harrison, whose left hand was wrapped, did not respond directly when asked whether he had X-rays or MRIs and what they showed. ”We’ve got to get a second opinion,“ he said. ”It’s swollen right now.“ He said there was no official diagnosis as of yet. ”Swollen, not as painful as yesterday.“

Asked about a timeline, manager Clint Hurdle said, ”I don't have any idea about that. We're still accumulating information, he's still going to see another doctor.“

Jung Ho Kang will likely spend the majority of time at third base while Harrison is on the DL. 

”I spoke with [Harrison] this afternoon early when he got in,“ Hurdle said. ”He's in as good a place as you could want a player to be in dealing with the injury now and moving forward. We'll see where this goes.“


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Pirates minor league report 7/5

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1 day ago

INDIANAPOLIS (50-34) defeated Louisville, 3-1. RHP Angel Sanchez (3-0, 2.88) gave up 1 run on 7 hits while striking out 7 in 7 innings for his third win. C Tony Sanchez (.214) went 2 for 4 and both drove in and scored a run. 3B Pedro Florimon (.239) was 2 for 3 with a 2-run homer.

ALTOONA (44-38) defeated Harrisburg, 3-0. RHP Chad Kuhl (6-3, 3.07) scattered 7 hits, walked 1 and struck out 5 in 6 shutout innings. CF Adam Frazier (.386) was 3 for 4 with 1 RBI, while SS Max Moroff (.319) went 2 for 4 and scored twice. LF Jose Osuna (.301) and 3B Edward Salcedo (.232) each had 2 hits.

BRADENTON (40-41) came from behind to defeat Jupiter, 2-1, in 10 innings. RHP Montana DuRapau (3-0, 0.71) allowed 1 hit in 2 innings to pick up the win in relief. SS JaCoby Jones (.263) was 2 for 3 with a double and drove in both Marauders runs.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (45-34) was leading Delmarva, 3-1, when the game was suspended and will be completed today.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (6-10) lost to Batavia, 10-6. LHP Hector Garcia (1-1, 7.20) was shelled for 7 earned runs on 4 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 2 in 1 1/3 innings to take the loss. SS Kevin Kramer (.200) was 2 for 4 with a double, 2 RBIs and a run scored. LF Ty Moore (.377) and 1B Albert Baur (.317) each had 2 hits.

BRISTOL (3-6) doubleheader against Johnson City was postponed by rain.

GCL PIRATES (8-3) did not play.


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