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Morning Report: News, Notes and Some Pirates History

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Some news and notes around the minors and majors, plus some baseball history for you this morning.

**On Wednesday afternoon, Baseball America announced their All-Prospect team from the month of April. Kevin Kramer was named the top second baseman and was the lone representative of the Pirates. He was named our Player of the Month on Tuesday. Kramer extended his season-long on base streak to 21 games on Wednesday, giving him a .367/.474/.595 slash line through 95 plate appearances.

**The DSL Pirates began their Spring Training on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over the Yankees. On Wednesday they beat the Cardinals. The DSL schedule isn’t out yet, but they are the next Pirates affiliate to start playing and that should happen around the end of this month or first few days of June.

It’s going to be an extremely young and inexperienced team this year. Of the 39 players in camp, 22 are rookies this year and two more are guys who were injured all of last year as rookies, so they are technically rookies as well. Of the other 15, just four will be in their third season and no one is a fourth year (maximum for the league) player. Even those four players with three years aren’t that experienced. Two played a handful of games during their first season after signing late, one was injured all of last year and the other went from third base as a rookie to pitching last year. Basically, it could be a long season for them because they will be one of the youngest and least experienced teams in the league.

**Andrew McCutchen homered on Wednesday, one day after I wrote about what would happen if he homered again. He passed Ralph Kiner for tenth place in extra-base hits in Pirates history with his previous homer, then his home run on Wednesday night pushed him ahead of Kiner for 13th place in total bases. He may be treating Kiner cruel thiss week, but he isn’t going to catch Kiner in homers at least, as he held the Pirates record for awhile with 301. That was until he was passed by the only man ahead of him still to this day, Willie Stargell.

**Tyler Glasnow won his first game in the majors on Tuesday night, beating the Reds by a 12-3 score. In between watching three games, writing four articles and talking to some players yesterday, I looked up the Pirates-Reds all-time series for games in which the Pirates won by a 12-3 score. Tuesday was the fourth time that happened in 2,367 games. I noticed something interesting on that list. The first time it happened was on August 30, 1924, which was the 200th win for Wilbur Cooper, who as you should already know, is the all-time wins leader for the Pirates.

So once was the all-time win leader’s 200th victory, once was a guy getting his first win, but how about the other two times? They both happened four games apart in 1989! Bob Walk won one, one of the Jeff Robinsons won the other while collecting three hits, and Barry Bonds homered in both games.

The other interesting thing (at least to me) about Glasnow picking up his first win was that Tuesday was the 135th anniversary of the first game ever played for the Pirates and Reds franchises, or Alleghenys and Red Stockings as they were know back then. In that game, the Pirates pitcher was Jack Leary, who just like Glasnow, picked up his first victory after starting his career with an 0-3 record. If I don’t look up these interesting history facts, who will?

**We posted notes covering 21 players at Pirate City on Tuesday morning and in it I noted that shortstop Adrian Valerio was close to playing. I was correct on that, as he was about three hours away from playing his first game since he had his hand broken in mid-March by a pitch. He played yesterday as well and it appears he is hitting the ball well, which is what he was doing right before he got injured. I also inadvertently left out Antonio Bastardo from that update…maybe. He is down at Pirate City and going throw normal workouts for the last handful of days. The “quad strain” healed quickly, now he just needs to work on getting back to being a useful pitcher.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 7-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. The Pirates will go with Ivan Nova this afternoon, making his sixth start of the season. On Wednesday, he was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April. Nova’s worst outing this season came against the Reds when he allowed four runs over six innings on April 12th. The Reds will counter with 29-year-old right-hander Tim Adleman, who has a 4.70 ERA in 15.1 innings.

In the minors, Steven Brault makes his sixth start. In 4.2 innings during his last outing, he gave up season-highs with four runs, seven hits and four walks. Brandon Waddell returns to Altoona to make his second start of the season after missing time with a left forearm strain. He is scheduled to go three innings, then Austin Coley will pitch in relief. Pedro Vasquez leads Bradenton starters with a 2.10 ERA. James Marvel had his shortest outing last time out, giving up six runs in 3.2 innings.

MLB: Pittsburgh (12-15) @ Reds (13-14) 12:35 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (1.50 ERA, 1:22 BB/SO, 64.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (8-16) vs Toledo (13-11) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (3.86 ERA, 13:24 BB/SO, 25.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (15-9) @ Akron (10-14) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (9.00 ERA, 1:5 BB/SO, 4.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (15-12) vs St Lucie (11-16) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (2.10 ERA, 3:15 BB/SO, 25.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (12-15) vs Hickory (10-16) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (3.91 ERA, 8:21 BB/SO, 23.0 IP)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is the first highlight from Bradenton this year. Taylor Hearn picking up his eighth strikeout on Monday night and it’s the entire at-bat so you get a good look at him.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

5/3: Jordan George activated from Bradenton disabled list.

5/2: Jackson Williams promoted to Indianapolis. Justin Maffei assigned to Morgantown.

5/2: Zane Chavez assigned to Altoona.

5/1: Pirates recall Elias Diaz. Option John Bormann to Bradenton.

5/1: Pirates release Greg Williams, Holden Helmink and Julian Villamar.

4/30: Pirates option Danny Ortiz to Indianapolis. John Bormann promoted to Pittsburgh.

4/30: Pirates release Trace Tam Sing.

4/29: Pirates place David Freese on disabled list. Danny Ortiz promoted to Pittsburgh.

4/29: Justin Maffei added to Indianapolis roster.

4/28: Luis Heredia assigned to Altoona. Pirates release John Kuchno

4/28: Jackson Williams added to Altoona roster. Zane Chavez assigned to Morgantown.

4/28: Brett McKinney added to Indianapolis roster.

4/27: Eury Perez added to Indianapolis roster.

4/27: Jess Amedee placed on the disabled list. Trace Tam Sing added to Bradenton roster.

4/26: Pirates recall Gift Ngoepe. Dovydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis.

4/25: Hector Garcia placed on disabled list. Mike Wallace added to West Virginia roster.

4/25: Jerrick Suiter added to Bradenton roster. Trace Tam Sing assigned to Extended Spring Training.

4/25: Antonio Bastardo placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Johnny Barbato.

4/24: Adam Frazier placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Dovydas Neverauskas.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one that has an interesting baseball-related story from after his playing days were over. Depending on your age, you might remember two players born on this date, outfielder Jason Michaels (2008) and infielder Ken Oberkfell (1988-89). Before those two, there was 1919 first baseman Vic Saier and 1914-15 outfielder Zip Collins. The oldest player is the one we take a look at today.

Lou Gertenrich played just one game for the Pirates, manning right field on June 21,1903. The Pirates were short two outfielders due to an injury to Fred Clarke, and regular right fielder Jimmy Sebring left to get married. Gertenrich was a local player from Chicago and the Pirates were in Chicago at the time. He had played two Major League games two years earlier, so they Pirates picked him up for one day and he actually batted second during his only game (remember that this was in the middle of a pennant race, which the Pirates won). He went 0-for-4 and handled the only two plays he had in the field. Gertenrich isn’t as obscure as you would think a player from 1903 with three games experience would be. In 1922, he advertised his candy company on the back of baseball cards that are quite popular now for pre-war card collectors due to their scarcity.

Vic Saier was a player the Pirates had high hopes for, but they ended up getting almost nothing from him. Between 1911 and 1916, he was with the Chicago Cubs, playing well enough to twice get MVP votes. After 1916, his baseball career went downhill quick. He broke his leg and missed almost all of the 1917 season. Then in 1918, after the Pirates won a disputed claim over his rights, he left baseball for a year to join the war effort. He returned in 1919, still only 27 years old. He was young enough that the Pirates believed he could still play well after so much missed time. Instead he hit .223 in 58 games and was released in August, ending his time in baseball.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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