Veteran outfielder was hitting .215 with no pinch-hits
June 20, 2009 4:45 AM
The Pirates designated outfielder Craig Monroe for assignment.
By Dejan Kovacevic Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DENVER -- Immediately after their game last night, the Pirates designated for assignment outfielder Craig Monroe and recalled first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce from Class AAA Indianapolis.
Pearce will be available for the game tonight.
Monroe, 32, batted .215 with three home runs -- two of those in one game April 18 at PNC Park -- and 16 RBIs in 79 at-bats. The greatest shortcoming: He was 0 for 14 as a pinch-hitter, with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Manager John Russell's explanation was that the move had more to do with the player coming up than the one going out.
"Pearce has been doing a very good job, and we're looking for ways to keep the younger players coming and move in the right direction," Russell said. "Unfortunately for Craig, that's the spot we needed to take."
Pearce, 26, started slowly for Indianapolis but a 10-game tear leading up to his promotion -- 12 for 36 with five home runs -- raised his average to .277 and his other totals to 11 home runs and 42 RBIs.
He had been playing exclusively at first base until two nights ago, when management moved him to right field. He likely will see time at both in Pittsburgh, though more in the outfield.
Monroe's reaction, after some emotional farewells with teammates: "This one was a surprise. I felt like ... wow ... to go into spring training and pretty do everything they asked, I thought I did an excellent job. It's just unfortunate that I didn't get at-bats, that I didn't get a chance to be productive or help."
Monroe was the star of spring training, with eight home runs that tied Craig Wilson's franchise record for Grapefruit League play.
It was easy to tell from the reactions of some players in the clubhouse that the move was highly unpopular.
Monroe's fate is unclear: A team has 10 days upon designating a player for assignment to release, trade or waive him.
"I'm in limbo, but I've been very fortunate to play this game and get to do some marvelous things for my family," he said. "I'm fine. I wish this team and these guys the best. Hopefully, they can turn this around."