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Pirates pregame: Burnett vs. Simon

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


RHP A.J. Burnett (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Game: Pirates (43-33) at Tigers (39-37)

Time: 7:08 p.m.

Site: Comerica Park

TV, radio: ROOT Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: 70 and partly cloudy


Pirates

1. Josh Harrison 3B

2. Neil Walker 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Starling Marte LF

5. Pedro Alvarez DH

6. Francisco Cervelli C

7. Gregory Polanc RF

8. Jordy Mercer SS

9. Sean Rodriguez 1B

A.J. Burnett RHP

Tigers

1. Rajai Davis CF

2. Ian Kinsler 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera 1B

4. Victor Martinez DH

5. Yoenis Cespedes LF

6. J.D. Martinez RF

7. Nick Castellanos 3B

8. James McCann C

9. Jose Iglesias SS

Alfredo Simon RHP


• Starling Marte’s bunt singe last night, hit hard and right down the line, nearly got past Miguel Cabrera behind first base. "A little harder and he might have had a double," Clint Hurdle said. The Pirates think they can expose the Tigers corner infielders with bunts this series, and with Justin Verlander and his balky back on the mound, it made sense to have Marte lay one down. "Marte went in with a different angle we hadn't used before," Hurdle said with a grin. "Maybe that's something we can factor in and use a little more in the future. Beat 'em down the line."

• Pirates ended June 43-33 and are eight games back of the St. Louis Cardinals. "We've done some very good things this year,“ Hurdle said. ”We have some areas that need work and improvement. We don't turn our head on the mistakes that are made and challenges that come our way. We're working every day to find a better rhythm and path. These guys are connected at the hip. They play hard for one another. They respect one another. They back one another. They all know what's at stake."

• Another good outing Tuesday by left-hander Antonio Bastardo, who has made sevens straight scoreless appearances: "We're past gaining confidence,“ Hurdle said. ”This guy is getting things done." ... "This guy is hard to hit. There's a lot of swing and miss. There's a lot of fly ball. It's there. It's playing. His command, his strike throwing has ramped up dramatically from what we saw in April and early May. There's no doubt. He's the guy we thought we were getting in the trade."

• Corey Hart went 1 for 4 with an RBI Tuesday in his first rehab start at Class AAA Indianapolis. He even scored from first on a play. "[Manager Dean Treanor] said they almost had a conversation rounding third,“ Hurdle joked. ”Corey felt he was good at third, and Dean said wait a minute, I think we can go one more. He went ahead and waved him, and he was able to score."


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Cole shrugs off Martinez's comments that he has 'no respect' for Pirates

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 2 hours ago

DETROIT — Gerrit Cole took a few minutes Wednesday to respond to Victor Martinez’s comments that he has “no respect” for Cole and the Pirates for retaliating after Justin Verlander hit Starling Marte by drilling Martinez with a 95 mph fastball.

Was the HBP intentional?

“Yeah, everybody knows that,” Martinez said afterward. “I’ve got no respect for anyone on that team, including Cole and their coaching staff. Because if they think Verlander hit Marte with a 1-2 count — he was battling in that at-bat and Verlander ended up hitting him — if they really think we did it on purpose, they’re playing the wrong sport. Nothing else to say.”

Asked about Martinez’s comments Wednesday, manager Clint Hurdle said, "I wasn't aware he was the voice of reason," and moved on.

Below is a transcription of Cole’s media session Tuesday. The questions have been paraphrased, but the answers are verbatim. Cole was bothered by the line of questioning of some media, particularly Detroit media, who he said were trying to make a story where there wasn’t one.

Did Victor Martinez's comments get back to you?

"That's his opinion, man."

What's the process like when players want to police these HBP situations themselves?

"It's just about owning the inner half of the plate. It's just about pitching aggressively."

Did you guys believe Justin Verlander hit Starling Marte on purpose?

"I mean, I don't know. It's a 1-2 count, he hit him on the wrist or forearm. Got him pretty good. I don't know."

Did you hit Victor on purpose?

"I let one go inside."

Are you guys more sensitive than usual, given Andrew McCutchen's HBP last week?

"There's no doubt our guys are getting attacked inside. It happened the rest of the night. I don't know. We got hit three times last night."

So, when you let one go inside on Victor, what does he say to you? Are you thinking you guys are going to go right there?

"He didn't say anything. Just took his base."

When he says he has no respect for you guys, do you laugh that off?

"That's his opinion, man. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I can't control who he respects and who he doesn't."

Do you respect him?

"Yeah. How can you not? He's been in the league for like 15 years. One of the best hitters in all of baseball."

Did his comments surprise you at all?

"I mean, I didn't expect it, but surprised? I don't know. People take exception to that kind of stuff. It's not uncommon."

Will you guys say anything to each other?

"No. I don't know when I'd have the opportunity."


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Martinez: 'I've got no respect' for Cole and Pirates after retaliation HBP

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 16 hours ago


DH Victor Martinez (Leon Halip/Getty)

DETROIT — Victor Martinez wasn’t in a mood to mince words early Wednesday morning after he grounded into a double play to end a 14-inning marathon that the Pirates won 5-4.

Martinez, the Tigers DH, was bothered by something, or a string of somethings, that happened many hours earlier.

It began with Justin Verlander hitting Starling Marte in the elbow with a 1-2 fastball in the fourth. Tensions have been high in Pirates camp lately regarding HBPs, of course, since Andrew McCutchen got knocked out of a game last week. So, in the bottom of the inning Gerrit Cole drilled Martinez with a 95 mph fastball up and in, hitting him somewhere near his shoulder.

That’s what Martinez was still ticked about after the game.

Was Cole’s high-and-tight heater intentional?

“Yeah, everybody knows that,” Martinez told reporters. “I’ve got no respect for anyone on that team, including Cole and their coaching staff. Because if they think Verlander hit Marte with a 1-2 count — he was battling in that at-bat and Verlander ended up hitting him — if they really think we did it on purpose, they’re playing the wrong sport. Nothing else to say.”

Verlander responded by hitting the leadoff man in the fifth, Pedro Alvarez, with a 95 mph fastball that “got away from me,” he claimed. And, to his credit, Verlander had inconsistent command Tuesday and walked five batters, hitting two more. Umpire Chris Segal warned both benches, and that was the end of that, for the most part. Reliever Blaine Hardy hit Gregory Polanco in the leg in the eighth, but it wasn’t deemed intentional, so Hardy pitched on.

We’ll see how this plays out the next two days.

(HT Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.)


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Minor league report 6/30

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 17 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS (47-32) beat Columbus, 3-1. RHP Angel Sanchez (2-0, 3.50) was the winner, giving up 2 hits in 7 scoreless innings. Sanchez walked 2 and struck out 9. 3B Brent Morel (.252) had an RBI triple.

ALTOONA (42-35) lost to Trenton, 4-3, in 12 innings. RHP Chad Kuhl (3.29) allowed 3 runs and 6 hits in 5 2/3 innings. RHP Jhondaniel Medina (1-3, 2.57) was the loser. SS Adam Frazier (.363) went 3 for 6 with an RBI. 2B Max Moroff (.323) went 3 for 5 with an RBI.

BRADENTON (36-40) beat Brevard County, 12-6. LHP Cody Dickson (7-5, 4.25) was the winner, allowing 4 runs and 10 hits in 6 innings. 3B Wyatt Mathisen (.280) went 3 for 5 with a home run and 2 RBIs. 2B Erich Weiss (.286) went 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs. CF Austin Meadows (.289) went 3 for 4 and scored 3 runs.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (42-33) lost to Kannapolis, 7-3. RHP Colten Brewer (2-5, 5.43) was the loser, giving up 5 runs and 5 hits in 5 2/3 innings. DH Chase Simpson (.256) went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (5-6) beat Hudson Valley, 6-4. LHP Hector Garcia (1.04) gave up 1 run and walked 4 in 2/3 of an inning. RHP Eric Dorsch (1-0, 3.38) was the winner. RF Logan Hill (.324) went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. LF Ty Moore (.361) went 3 for 4 with an RBI.

GCL PIRATES (4-3) lost to GCL Yankees2, 5-4. RHP Jacob Taylor (0.00) walked 3 and did not allow a hit in 2 scoreless innings. RHP Yunior Montero (0-1, 4.76) was the loser. DH Ke’Bryan Hayes singled and scored a run.

BRISTOL (3-5) lost to Elizabethton, 3-1. RHP Marek Minarik (0-1, 4.00) was the loser, allowing 3 runs and 7 hits in 5 innings. DH Carlos Munoz (.346) homered.


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Pirates pregame: Cole vs. Verlander

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


RF Gregory Polanco (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Game: Pirates (42-33) at Tigers (39-36)

Time: 7:08 p.m.

Site: Comerica Park

TV, radio: ROOT Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: Cloudy


Pirates

1. Gregory Polanco RF

2. Neil Walker 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Starling Marte LF

5. Jung Ho Kang 3B

6. Pedro Alvarez 3B

7. Francisco Cervelli DH

8. Jordy Mercer SS

9. Chris Stewart C

Gerrit Cole RHP

Tigers

1. Anthony Gose CF

2. Ian Kinsler 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera 1B

4. Victor Martinez DH

5. Yoenis Cespedes LF

6. J.D. Martinez RF

7. Nick Castellanos 3B

8. James McCann C

9. Jose Iglesias SS

Justin Verlander RHP


• Rest day today for Josh Harrison, so Gregory Polanco is back in the leadoff spot because he’s got experience there. 

• Francisco Cervelli gets the call at DH. Why? Well he’s batting .303, for one, and Clint Hurdle didn’t want his everyday catcher having back-to-back days off, with an off day Monday and Chris Stewart catching Gerrit Cole today. "We're not a team built with a DH,“ Hurdle said, ”so how can you best use that opportunity. Maybe it's a guy coming off the bench who you're telling it's four pinch-hits, go with that mentality tonight."

• Hurdle said it’s always good to be home in Michigan. "I love it. I'm wired different now, so it's always one of the first things I look for on the schedule. My dad's with me this time. Our fathers' trip. ... One of my best trips here was spending an afternoon at the Detroit public library with Ernie Harwell and Don Baylor going into Ernie's part of the museum that was put in. We spent three hours together. I listened to Ernie as a kid in the summer on the radio. I can take you all the way back. It's special for me. Always has been, always will. Playing in Tiger Stadium, leaving 50 or 60 tickets my first game here back as a player in the big leagues. Grandma was here, Grandpa. Everybody. Anytime you can go back to when you were a kid, man, it's good. This place always takes me back there. ... To spend three hours with Ernie Harwell and to have him walk through his part of the museum and describe every photo and put names to team pictures with no notes, no cliff notes. It was incredible. It was the best lunch I've ever had."

• Gorkys Hernandez and Sean Rodriguez as options 4 and 4A in the oufield, Hurdle said. No difference between them. Which I usually hear as 4A and 4B, but whatever. "Gorkys is a premius defender at all three spots. He caught our eye in spring training, was a different player than we'd seen last time in a Pirates uniform. ... The defense is plus-plus, the arm is accurate, he's maybe a foot step slower than three years ago, but the speed is above average ... and the bat has been consistent."

• Deolis Guerra was called up over the weekend because he could “replicate” Rob Scahill’s skill set better than Chris Volstad could, Hurdle explained.


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