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Huntington gambled not acquiring a veteran catcher in the off-season

By John Perrotto
 Pirates general manager Neal Huntington took a rather sizeable gamble in the offseason when he decided against acquiring a proven backup catcher.
Ryan Doumit, the Pirates’ starter behind the plate, has been injury prone since he was their second-round draft pick 10 years ago.
He has played in as many as 100 games just three times in his professional career and was limited to 116 games last season when he emerged as one of the top catchers in the National League by hitting .318 with 15 home runs.

Now Doumit’s availability is in question again and the Pirates don’t have anyone with any significant major-league experience to take his place.
Doumit sat out Monday night’s 8-0 win over the Florida Marlins at PNC Park with soreness in his right wrist.
He felt some stretching in the wrist while taking a swing in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves.
Doumit had an MRI on Monday but doctors were unable to determine if there was any structural damage. Thus, he will undergo a CT scan on Tuesday in an effort to find the extent of his injury.
If Doumit winds up going on the disabled list, the Pirates will have to get by with some mixture of youngsters behind the plate.
Current backup Jason Jaramillo, a bright kid and solid receiver, just made his major-league debut last Thursday after being acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in an off-season trade for former starting catcher Ronny Paulino, who is now with the Florida Marlins.
While Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez raves about the joys of having Paulino to back up starter John Baker and be Florida’s resident lefty masher, he had worn out his welcome with Pirates manager John Russell because of his poor work ethic and disinterest in staying in shape.
Robinzon Diaz is the starting catcher at Class AAA Indianapolis but he was beaten out for the backup job by Jaramillo in spring training.
He is considered below-average defensively and would almost certainly get the short end of any kind of timeshare arrangement with Jaramillo if called to the major leagues.
The Pirates also have a catcher at Class AA Altoona with very limited major-league experience in Miguel Perez, who caught in two games for the Cincinnati Reds late in the 2005 season.
However, he isn’t considered anything more than organization fodder.
Thus, the Pirates don’t have anyone remotely resembling a major-league starting catcher beyond Doumit.
That is why they have to be holding their breath that his CT scan comes back clean.
*John Perrotto covers the Pirates for Baseball America, Pirartesreport.com and major league baseball for baseball prospectus

About The Author

John Perrotto

Pirates Insider

John Perrotto is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB. John has covered the Pirates for over 20+ seasons and is an exclusive member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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