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News » Pittsburgh Pirates Notes, Quotes 2008-11-23


Pittsburgh Pirates Notes, Quotes 2008-11-23


Pittsburgh Pirates Notes, Quotes 2008-11-23
--RHP John Van Benschoten, who was outrighted to Class AAA Indianapolis last month, opted to become a minor league free agent.

--RHP Pedro Martinez might be a free agent fit for the Pirates, as his price should be low after two sub-par years with the New York, including a 5-6 mark with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts last season. Martinez, 37, won each of his three Cy Young Awards with Joe Kerrigan, now with the Pirates, as his pitching coach with Montreal in 1997 and Boston in 1999 and 2000. Martinez is also a cousin of Pirates RHP Denny Bautista and calls him "my son, my baby boy."

--CF Nate McLouth received one 10th-place vote in the National League Most Valuable Player balloting. McLouth hit .276 with 26 homers, 94 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 152 games in 2008, his first full season as a regular. He also won an NL Gold Glove award for fielding excellence.

--LHP Kyle Bloom, who spent last season at Class AA Altoona, was named to the All-Hawaii Winter Baseball team after going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings. He struck out 32, walked 11 and gave up 15 hits for West Oahu. Bloom, 25, was 5-8 with a 4.19 ERA in 28 games, 22 starts, for Altoona in 2008.

--Jeff Branson was named the hitting coach at Class AAA Indianapolis after serving as a minor league manager with the Pirates the previous five seasons. He replaced Hensley Muelens, who was not retained after spending four seasons at Indianapolis. The Pirates also announced that Ray Searage will return as Indianapolis' pitching coach in 2009.

--Keith Champion was hired as a special assistant to the general manager after spending the past two seasons as a professional scout with Boston. Champion was also an advance scout and special assistant to the GM with the Chicago Cubs for 12 years before joining the Red Sox. He has been a minor league manager and coach with St. Louis (1985-91) and San Diego (1992-94).

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Errors made by 3B Andy LaRoche in 45 games with the Pirates last season after the rookie was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a July 31 trade.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Andy (LaRoche) will get first crack at the third base job in spring training, but he is not a lock. He has to show he is ready to play better than last season. He has to show improvement." -- Pirates GM Neal Huntington.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 23, 2008

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