Pirates Notebook: Torres' grievance could affect trade

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NEW YORK -- A trade of reliever Salomon Torres might be a messy proposition.

The grievance he filed against the Pirates in March, one in which he complained that the team deceived him when negotiating his contract in the spring of 2006, calls for that contract to be voided if he wins his case. If that happens, of course, Torres would be a free agent.

That means any team acquiring Torres, in theory, could lose him whenever the grievance is settled.

One way around such an issue could be for the Pirates to pay Torres the $1.5 million he feels he is owed, thus canceling the grievance. But there have been no talks toward a settlement since the team, according to Torres offered him additional bonus incentives several months ago.

Torres has maintained that Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield led him to believe the team would lease one of his two baseball academies in the Dominican Republic and, as a result, he signed a two-year, $6.5 million extension that he feels was $1.5 million below market value.

Littlefield has declined comment on the grievance, other than to say he engaged in the talks in a "professional" manner.

Gorzelanny status quo

Starter Tom Gorzelanny's stiff left shoulder felt no different than it usually does the day after a game, he said yesterday, offering another sign that he has no significant injury.

Gorzelanny was forced to exit in the third inning Tuesday because of the stiffness.

He will do some long-tossing this afternoon in Philadelphia, after which the Pirates will determine the next step. For now, he is expected to make his next start.

Still no Chacon talks

The Pirates had told reliever Shawn Chacon they would let him know by this week if they would agree to his request to negotiate a contract extension, but he still had not heard from them as of yesterday.

Given that apparent lack of urgency on the team's part, as well as the time necessary to discuss the multiyear contract that would be needed to keep Chacon from entering free agency after the season, it is increasingly likely that the Pirates will try to trade Chacon by Major League Baseball's Tuesday deadline.

Chacon is making $3.85 million, and it will take a raise on that salary to keep him.

Johnny V. Goode?

John Van Benschoten, skipped Sunday after going 0-4 with an 8.17 ERA in his first six starts, might be getting his final chance to stay in the rotation when he takes the mound tonight in Philadelphia.

He has had four side sessions with pitching coach Jim Colborn, which manager Jim Tracy tentatively described as productive.

"The reports are good," Tracy said. "We'll see how that translates to throwing strikes in the game."

The focus of Colborn's sessions was addressing a forward lean and inconsistencies in hip movement.

"I feel better," Van Benschoten said. "But it's a lot of work, taking that much in all at once."

Buried treasure

The Pirates' catchers have not caught a runner trying to steal since July 4. Opponents have stolen 14 bases since then, including one by Jose Reyes yesterday.

More indications that Jason Bay is out of his six-week slumber: His two-out RBI single yesterday gave him eight RBIs in the past five games, a span in which he has gone 6 for 17.

How impatient are the Pirates at the plate? Consider that they have walked only 12 times in the past 10 games, including one yesterday by, of all people, Jose Castillo.

Forgoing air travel for one trip, the Pirates bused to Philadelphia after the game.

Thursday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (52-52) lost at Columbus, 5-3. RHP Bryan Bullington (10-5, 4.05) allowed four runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five, walked one and threw 67 of 107 pitches for strikes. LF Michael Ryan (.269) hit his 11th home run and went 2 for 4 with a triple. SS Brian Bixler (.290) went 0 for 1.

ALTOONA (53-49) won at Akron, 10-5. RHP Yoslan Herrera (5-5, 4.53) allowed three runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. 1B Steve Pearce (.335) hit his 24th home run - 13th with the Curve - and went 2 for 4 with four RBIs. 3B Neil Walker (.298) went 2 for 5 with a triple and two RBIs. CF Andrew McCutchen (.243) went 1 for 4 with a walk.

LYNCHBURG (43-56) lost at Myrtle Beach, 5-2. RHP Serguey Linares (1-6, 5.24) allowed five runs in five-plus innings. RF Brad Corley (.269) went 2 for 5.

HICKORY (50-52) beat Lake County, 8-0, for its 10th consecutive victory. RHP Dustin Craig (2-2, 3.91) pitched five scoreless innings and allowed four hits. RF Jonel Pacheco (.300) hit his 17th home run and went 1 for 3 with a walk and two RBIs. CF Alex Presley (.293) hit his eighth home run and went 2 for 5.

STATE COLLEGE (17-18) lost to Aberdeen, 3-1, in 10 innings. RHP Nicolas Suero (1-2, 3.29) allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. LF Marcus Davis (.258) hit his fifth home run and went 1 for 2 with a hit batsman.

BRADENTON (13-18) lost to the Red Sox, 7-6. RHP Sean Giblin (0-0, 5.14) allowed three runs in four innings. DH Quincy Latimore (.278) hit his third home run and went 3 for 5 with a double and three RBIs.



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