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Russell Martin, Travis Snider Appealing Suspensions

April 22nd, 2014 at 5:36 PM
By Allan Smith

'Carlos Gomez - #27' photo (c) 2013, Steven Paluch - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As a result of Sunday's bench-clearing brawl against the Milwaukee Brewers, Travis Snider was handed a two-game suspension while Russell Martin was given a one-game ban Tuesday afternoon.

However, just hours later, it became official both would be appealing their suspensions.

If they had decided to forgo the appeals, their suspensions would have gone into effect immediately, and they would have been scratched from Tuesday's lineup against the Cincinnati Reds.

Now that the two Pirates have appealed, they await a hearing before Major League officials before they will find out if their suspensions will be dropped or reduced, or if they will have to serve the current bans.

"I'm definitely appealing," Martin said.

Manager Clint Hurdle told reporters that Snider, who was unavailable for comment, will appeal as well.

After first hearing of the suspensions, Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington met with both players, explained the process and laid out their options.

"Neal had a very candid conversation [with Joe Torre, MLB's vice president of baseball operations], and I hope to catch up with Joe [on Wednesday] and have one as well," Hurdle said. "The penalties do fit the crimes."

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Pittsburgh Pirates Place Wandy Rodriguez on 15-day DL, Recall Jared Hughes from Indianapolis

April 21st, 2014 at 5:33 PM
By Allan Smith

'The pitch' photo (c) 2006, Jeff Egnaczyk - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Pittsburgh Pirates placed left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list Monday, and recalled right-handed reliever Jared Hughes from Triple-A Indianapolis to take his spot.

Rodriguez has struggled early on this season, posting a 7.65 ERA in four starts, and a trip to the disabled list for an injury such as "right knee inflammation" was fairly predictable.

Rodriguez had an MRI and visited a doctor, who drained fluid from the knee.

"We had a long conversation, and he's not sure how he hurt it," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He went into the trainer's room after his last start [on Saturday], complaining of discomfort. He felt it a couple of times in the start and didn't think anything of it."

Rodriguez's rotation spot will be filled by either Jeanmar Gomez or Stolmy Pimentel, Hurdle said. So far during the 2014 season, Gomez has a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings while Pimentel has a 1.29 ERA in seven innings of work.

"We'll have a pitcher to take his spot," Hurdle said. "We've got a couple of different guys in-house, and we'll just see who lines up best [to make that start on Thursday in the finale of the four-game series against Cincinnati]."

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What to Make of Jason Grilli’s Poor Start

April 20th, 2014 at 8:24 PM
By Allan Smith

'Jason Grilli' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a habit of dropping the first game of a four game set before sweeping the final three during the 2013 season. While they won the first game against Milwaukee, the Bucs dropped the final three, including the final two via blown saves by Pirates closer Jason Grilli.

Grilli, who now has blown more saves than he did in all of 2013, has looked off in the early going.

Sure, two of the blown saves came on home runs by one of the best players in the Major Leagues, Ryan Braun, but they were a product of poor location. Today, Grilli left a hanging breaking pitch over the heart of the plate, which Braun crushed into the left field stands.

Yet, Grilli's stuff looks to be just as good as it has been in years past. He is still reaching 94 with the fastball while dropping his sweeping curveball across the plate at 82.

After blowing a save against the Chicago Cubs the first week of the season, Grilli managed to toss four consecutive quality outings, each resulting in a save.

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Pittsburgh Pirates’ Potential Lineup Combinations After Acquisition of Ike Davis

April 19th, 2014 at 2:50 PM
By Allan Smith

'Ike Davis' photo (c) 2010, slgckgc - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Pittsburgh bolstered their lineup with the addition of New York Mets' first baseman Ike Davis, who was acquired via trade Friday evening for Minor League reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.

With Davis now in the fold, here are some potential lineups the Bucs could use moving forward.

RHP

1. LF: Starling Marte

2. RF: Travis Snider/Jose Tabata

3. CF: Andrew McCutchen

4. 3B: Pedro Alvarez

5. 2B: Neil Walker

6. 1B: Ike Davis

7. C: Russell Martin

8. SS: Jordy Mercer

or

1. LF: Marte

2. 2B: Walker

3. CF: McCutchen

4. 3B: Alvarez

5. C: Martin

6. 1B: Davis

7. RF: Snider/Tabata

8. SS: Mercer

The second lineup seems like the more likely of the two to get the go from the start, as Clint Hurdle loves to get a lefty-righty flip going throughout the order. Unfortunately for Davis, the lineup doesn't provide him much protection out of the six spot.

LHP

1. LF: Marte

2. C: Martin

3. CF: McCutchen

4. 3B: Alvarez

5. 1B: Sanchez

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Pittsburgh Pirates Trade for New York Mets’ First Baseman Ike Davis

April 18th, 2014 at 8:55 PM
By Allan Smith

'Ike Davis' photo (c) 2010, slgckgc - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Pittsburgh Pirates got their man.

Friday, the team made a long awaited trade for a left-handed first baseman, sending Minor League pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later to the New York Mets for Ike Davis.

Davis, who hit 32 home runs and drove in 90 just two season ago, has struggled through injuries and inconsistency the past season-plus. His swing is tailored for PNC Park, however, a major factor in Pirates' General Manager Neal Huntington deciding to pull the trigger on the trade.

In his first year of arbitration eligibility, Davis was awarded a $3.5 million salary. He has started off 2014 by hitting .205/.326/.742 with one home run and five RBI.

Throughout his career, Davis has a .256/.357/.828 OPS against left handed pitching, hitting 56 home runs in the process over 1296 plate appearances. Combine those numbers with Gaby Sanchez's career .900 OPS against lefties, and the Pirates first base situation looks to be solved.

Thornton was originally selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft before going unsigned. The Oakland A's then took the pitcher in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft. He has been in the Pirates organization since last season, when he compiled a 2.63 ERA as a reliever between Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A.

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