Pirates decision to cut ties with reliever Matt Capps not a surprise


The word “surprising” kept coming up in news reports of the Pirates failing to tender closer Matt Capps a contract by the midnight Saturday deadline, allowing him to become a free agent. However, it really wasn’t a surprise. The Pirates shopped Capps aggressively at the winter meetings last week in Indianapolis and there were clear signs they would cut him loose if he did not agree to a contract on their terms. While general manager Neal Huntington had said in September and again in December that he planned to tender Capps, he never said so definitively and always left a hint of doubt in his words. Huntington is firmly part of the new wave of general managers who take into account statistical analysis as much as they do scouting in making decisions. One of the tenets of the sabermetricians is to never to overpay for a reliever because you rarelyRead More »

The Andrew McCutchen era begins; Pirates beat Mets 11-6


By John Perrotto Andrew McCutchen said he wasn’t nervous about making his major-league debut and he certainly didn’t seem that way. The 22-year-old walked into the Pirates’ clubhouse two hours before game time Thursday morning wearing a knit cap like looked like the one Tito Jackson used to sport during the Jackson 5’s heyday. McCutchen accepted congratulatory handshakes and hugs after being called up from Class AAA Indianapolis, took batting practice then looked like he had been in the major leagues for 10 years in an 11-6 win over the New York Mets at PNC Park. Batting leadoff and playing center field less than 24 hours after All-Star and Gold Glove winner Nate McLouth had been traded to Atlanta for three minor-leaguers, McCutchen went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, an RBI, a stolen base and a walk. “I was excited about getting the call but kind of surprised that theyRead More »

Pirates to consider using McCutchen in RF?


The Latest Pirates Buzz The Pirates struggles in Milwaukee continue as the Brewers beat the Pirates 10-5 Monday night. The Pirates rallied to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the 8th inning but the Pirates bullpen imploded, surrendering 5 runs. The Pirates are 11-8 through 19 games. Moss batting .216 on the season. With Nyjer Morgan among the Pirates top hitters this season, there is some talk that the Pirates have had internal discussions about using Andrew McCutchen in right field and going with an outfield of Morgan ‚Äì McLouth ‚Äì McCutchen, when the Pirates decide to call up McCutchen. The Pirates will stick with right fielder Brandon Moss for the time being as the Pirates have to find out what they have in Moss. It will be a PR nightmare if Moss doesn‚Äôt pan out as it will look like the Pirates basically traded Jason BayRead More »

Berkman powers Astros to 6-3 win


Pirates drop second in a row Inconsistency was expected to follow the Pirates this season and it has so far. The Pirates have scored 30 runs in their four wins and just eight runs in their five losses. Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer in the 6th inning off of Sean Burnett to break a 3-3 tie as the Astros rallied to a 6-3 win, Thursday afternoon at PNC Park The Pirates got off to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning as Nyjer Morgan scored on a Russ Ortiz wild pitch and Adam Laroche doubled to deep center, scoring Nate McLouth. In the second inning, Nyjer Morgan tripled to deep right center, scoring Jeff Karstens, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead going into the top of the 3rd but the Pirates would be held scoreless for the remainder of the game Morgan was one of the Pirates fewRead More »

Duke throws CG, 4-hit shutout in 7-0 win


In front of a sell out crowd, Zach Duke threw a four hit, complete game shutout leading the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-3) to a 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros (1-6), Monday afternoon at PNC Park. Duke (2-0) is off to a strong start after a 5-14 season in 2008 and credits pitching coach Joe Kerrigan for the turnaround. Duke‚Äôs complete game shutout was the first by a Pirates pitcher in a home opener since 1978 While Duke dominated on the pitchers mound, Freddy Sanchez had three doubles, starting a five run third inning for the Pirates. Adam LaRoche who is notoriously a slow starter in April had three hits including a two run homer in the third inning to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. Nyjer Morgan capped off the Pirates 5-run third inning, with a two-run single, scoring Ramon Vazquez and Jack Wilson. Ryan Doumit added a solo homerunRead More »

McLouth, Doumit power Pirates to 10-2 win


Nate McLouth went 2-for-3 with a homerun, 3 rbi‚Äôs and Ryan Doumit hit a 9th inning grand slam as the Pittsburgh Pirates (3-2) thumbed the Cincinnati Reds (1-3) 10-2 Saturday afternoon. McLouth‚Äôs 1st inning 2 run home run gave starting pitcher Paul Maholm a early 2-0 lead and Maholm took over from there. Maholm pitched 7 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run. Maholm (1-0) threw 101 pitches, 65 for strikes, including three strike outs. Maholm has a 1.32 era in two starts this season. Nyjer Morgan continues his strong play through the first week of season. Morgan went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 BB and has established himself as the Pirates leadoff hitter. Ryan Doumit‚Äôs grand slam in the 9th inning was his first career grand slam. Doumit went 3-for-5 on the afternoon as Morgan, McLouth and Doumit combined for 8 of the Pirates 12Read More »

Pirates stick to plan in demoting top prospect Andrew McCutchen


By John Perrotto_Nyjer Morgan hasn‚Äôt exactly won the Pirates‚Äô starting left field job this spring. However, the Pirates said before spring training began that left field was Morgan‚Äôs to lose and he didn‚Äôt. The Pirates reassigned top outfield prospect Andrew McCutchen to their minor-league camp Monday, ensuring that Morgan will be their leadoff hitter in next Monday‚Äôs opener at St. Louis. Morgan went into Monday‚Äôs exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds hitting .203 with a .250 on base percentage in 76 plate appearances this spring. McCutchen, meanwhile, hit .318 with 10 extra-base hits and a .423 OBP in 78 plate appearances. However, the Pirates decided the 28-year-old Morgan is the better fit now than the 22-year-old McCutchen, who will go back to Class AAA Indianapolis for a second season despite Baseball America ranking him as the International League‚Äôs No. 2 prospect last year. ‚ÄúYou have to be careful not toRead More »