Prospect Watching: Jean Machi

Machi had some trouble with shoulder soreness (not sure how significant it was, or if it was just “his turn” to be the designated disabled list sitter) and missed most of the month of June on the Disabled List. � Machi was�promoted to Indianapolis in August and made 13 relief appearances for the Indians over the rest of the season. �In 17 innings, he allowed only 4 runs on 8 hits and 6 walks, while striking out 12 batters. �That gave him a 1-1 record and a 2.12 ERA with the Indians. �Machi returned to Venezuela for the fall and winter, where he played winter ball with Los Navegantes del Magallanes. �He had a very good winter season, and tied for the league lead in saves with 16. �He appeared in 31 games for a total of 36 innings, and allowed 5 earned runs on 22 hits and 6 walks. �He also struck out 27 batters on his way to a 1.25 ERA. � The 27-year-old signed another minor league contract with the Pirates for 2010 and was a non-roster invitee to big league camp for spring training. �He has appeared in 7 Grapefruit League games. �In five of them, he pitched one scoreless inning for the Pirates. �In two games, on March 11th and 14th, he gave up 3 runs in each appearances (did not record an out on the 14th). �Machi was reassigned to minor league camp on March 23rd. �He will probably be in the Indianapolis bullpen when the season opens. �If he continues to pitch as well as he has over the last 12 months, Machi could be a candidate to be called up to the Pirates, though they would have to add him to the 40-man roster to do it.

Three other free agents may be joining Machi in the Indianapolis bullpen. �Wil Ledezma is a 29-year-old southpaw and another Venezuelan native. �He pitched in both the Nationals’ and the Blue Jays’ organizations in 2009, spending most of his time with the Nationals’ AAA affiliate in Syracuse. �In 18 relief appearances, Ledezma earned a 0-2 record and a 4.19 ERA. �He allowed 9 runs on 29 hits in 19.1 innings, while striking out 17 batters. �As a non-roster invitee in spring training, Ledezma has not appeared in any Grapefruit League games. �He was reassigned to minor league camp on March 23rd and seems to be headed to Indianapolis.

Justin Thomas was claimed off waivers from Seattle at the end of the 2009 season, which put him on their 40-man roster. �Then they took a chance that he could get through waivers without being claimed, and removed him from the 40-man roster. �Their gamble paid off, and when Thomas cleared waivers he was outrighted to Indianapolis. �The 26-year-old from Toledo spent the 2009 season with Seattle’s AAA club in Tacoma, where he made 53 relief appearances. �In 60.1 innings, Thomas earned a 2-4 record and a 4.48 ERA. �He allowed 30 earned runs on 67 hits and 40 walks, while striking out 53 batters. �Thomas was also a non-roster invitee to camp this spring, and he got into two Grapefruit League games in the first week of March, pitching one scoreless inning each time. �He was sent down to minor league camp on March 15th, and should be another left-handed arm in the Indians’ bullpen.

Another lefty, Brian Burres also signed a minor league free agent contract with the Pirates and came to camp as a non-roster invitee. �After some time in the Giants’ and Orioles’ organizations, Burres spent the 2009 season in the Toronto system, mostly at AAA Las Vegas. �He made 17 starts for the 51’s, plus 2 relief appearances, and posted a 6-7 record and a 4.76 ERA. �He pitched 107.2 innings and allowed 121 hits for 57 earned runs, plus 30 walks and 84 strikeouts. �He also threw 6.1 innings in two starts for the Blue Jays, but gave up 10 earned runs on 12 hits and 5 walks. �For the Pirates this spring, Burres has made 3 appearances. �The third was a scoreless inning, but he gave up 2 runs on a hit and 4 walks in 2 innings on March 4th, and 4 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks in 0.2 innings on the 9th. �He was also sent to minor league camp on March 23rd. �Burres could do long relief or pick up some spot starts for Indianapolis.

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