Pirates Notes: Vogelsong, Melancon, and Watson Pitch at Pirate City

BRADENTON, Fla. – Ryan Vogelsong threw 80 pitches in five innings of work on Sunday in a minor league game. In the outing he pitched well, allowing just a home run to Matt Joyce in first inning as the only damage.

“[The start] felt great,” Vogelsong said. “I was commanding the ball and commanding all of my pitches. I am really happy with [the start].”

Along with Joyce, Vogelsong was working against Sean Rodriguez and Jung Ho Kong, while throwing to Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson were throwing for the other side, getting some work in after the rain out on Saturday. They were expected to get that work in the lost game the day before.

As for Vogelsong, he was hitting in the high 80s to low 90s with the fastball, showing good command and movement with the pitch today. He also had a solid curveball. He was pleased with the opportunity to work on some things with the Minor League game atmosphere.

“You get to pick to second a little bit,” Vogelsong said. “Work on your slide step, stuff like that. It’s good. It is a little less spotlighty too. You can come out here and do something things that you normally wouldn’t and if you give up a home run, you don’t have to explain it. You can have some guys on base and get to work on some stuff.”

Vogelsong didn’t take his normal approach with Joyce, throwing a pitch that he doesn’t usually throw to lefties during the season, but a pitch that he needed to work on in camp. The result was a big home run for Joyce, and a pitch that Vogelsong might find more effective against right-handers this year with the same action.

“During the season in Pittsburgh, I am not throwing a lefty a 3-2 cutter with a big left field,” Vogelsong said. “In that situation, I want to work on it, so I throw it, and he hits if over the fence. You go, ‘well, it’s ok, it did what I wanted it to do.’ That is not what I am going to do during the season nine times out of ten.”

Matt Joyce hitting a home run off Ryan Vogelsong today at Pirate City. #Pirates

A video posted by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

Vogelsong also said that his arm felt great and there were no injury issues outside of the normal grind. That was displayed well at the end of the outing when he ended by inducing a double play and picking up back-to-back strikeouts to cap it.

“Obviously, I do a lot during the offseason to get ready with arm maintenance and throwing and things like that,” Vogelsong said. “You get to a point in Spring Training where you start to feel the grind and you wait to come out the other side. That was me…my arm feels great.”

Other Notes

**Mark Melancon had the cutter working in the high 80s to low 90s, with a strong curveball in the low 70s range. He got two ground outs against Kang and Cervelli, then picked up a strikeout against Joyce.

**Tony Watson was sharp with his fastball in the low 90s, and had a strong changeup. While he allowed a hard hit double to Rodriguez in the left-center field gap, Watson escaped with a clean inning.

**Matt Joyce on getting some work in against Watson: “I love getting in there against those guys. He is tough. He’s really tough, especially on lefties. He likes to run the two-seam in, and he’s got a good finisher with the slider. So it’s good for me to see those, because you just learn what pitches you have to take, and what pitches you’re looking for.”

**The double was the only hit in the contest for Rodriguez. Kang made some solid contact on a line out to left, but also picked up a pair of strikeouts and went hitless. Cervelli went 0-for-2 against Melancon and Watson. Joyce picked up a bloop single to left and just missed a double down the line on a ball that hooked foul to go with the home run.

**John Kuchno came on to pitch an inning after Melancon and Watson. He didn’t have his best stuff today, struggling with his command. Kuchno is typically a heavy ground ball pitcher, but didn’t have many on the ground today, and wasn’t working often around the strike zone, especially not for a pitch-to-contact guy.

  • Anyone catch the Cardinals talking this weekend about how the added depth of Ruben Tejada will allow them to keep starters fresher deeper into the year? No, probably not.

    The Pirates would do themselves so many favors by not making their ideas sound so schtick-y.

  • Columbia wins 2-1…
    Some guy named Dilson Herrara hit the game winning HR – and mad the last out in the field…

    HR struck out three times – the last one on a horrendous bad call – should have been ball 4…

  • Despite the fans wanting Glasnow and Taillon with the Bucs ASAP, Vogelsong will be in the starting rotation at least through April. It’s best that he’s pitching well. He’s having a solid ST, hope it continues once games count.

    • He has been a 1st half pitcher the past few years, and that plays well if our SP prospects are ready to step up by June. In 2014 & 2015 he had 35 1st half starts and was 11-13 with an ERA right around 4.00. In 2015 he started with a horrible April, but then in May, Jun, Jul was 7-4, 2.74 ERA in 13 starts, so the guy does have the capability to help us get into June.

  • Interesting that the following went out on twitter “Josh Bell rips a first pitch single up the middle.” No mention of No List’s hit. 🙂

    • It’s not that interesting. I was in Bradenton at Pirate City. Osuna was in Dunedin. If he got a hit at Pirate City, I’d mention it. As I did earlier this week when he was at Pirate City and got a few hits.

      • Just busting on you Tim 🙂 You know I head (or am near the top) on the Osuna bandwagon 🙂

        • I’m the former Chairman of the Board of Directors managing the Gaby Sanchez Fan Club. There’s worse things in the world than owning up to heading the Osuna bandwagon.

  • domdidominic
    March 20, 2016 4:13 pm

    Glad Vogelsong came out well and is feeling good. Joyce seems to be impressing lately. Thanks for the report, Tim

  • Meanwhile, No List has another hit today 🙂

    • Who is ” No List” and why is he called that?

      • Osuna, called that due to how some fans feel he doesnt get even press/credit relative to his stats.

      • As Luke noted, its a nickname that I made up for Osuna as he is never listed on any prospect list, yet “I” believe he should be 🙂 Some others here tend to agree with me, but I’m thinking we are in the minority 🙂