MLB Notebook: Pirates' Huntington makes first hire of new regime

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Neal Huntington made his first "hire" yesterday, but it wasn't who you might think.

Instead of naming an assistant general manager or manager, the new Pirates general manager picked up a right-handed hitting outfielder.

The Pirates claimed Kevin Thompson off waivers from the Oakland Athletics, making Thompson Huntington's first hire.

"I guess that's true," Huntington said with a laugh. "He's the first of many additions we have to make on and off the field."

To clear room on the 40-man roster for Thompson, the Pirates designated infielder Matt Kata for assignment.

Thompson, who turned 28 last month, spent most of the 2007 season with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. In 77 games, he hit .281 with 18 doubles, 5 home runs, 37 RBIs and 24 stolen bases.

Cardinals

After reviving his career as a starting pitcher, Joel Pineiro briefly considered testing the free-agent market. He ended up staying with the team that gave him another opportunity. Pineiro agreed to a $13 million, two-year contract with St. Louis after thriving with the Cardinals. "St. Louis gave me that chance," Pineiro said. "That meant a lot to me."

Yankees

Whenever manager Joe Torre's job is on the line, Lou Piniella's name invariably pops up in idle conversation as a possible replacement. However, Piniella's agent Alan Nero answered the rumors saying, "He's extraordinarily happy managing the Cubs, I can't see any circumstance in which Lou is not in a Cubs uniform next year."

Elsewhere

Baseball investigator George Mitchell has received an extensive paper trail documenting performance-enhancing drugs sent to players by former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. Among the documents Mitchell and his staff have obtained are invoices detailing the substances sent to players, a person familiar with the probe said. Mitchell likely will issue his report on steroids in baseball by the end of the year, lawyer Thomas Carlucci said during a conference call with club officials Friday. Carlucci told them they should assume the report will name names.



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