Pirates Notebook: Beckham expects to be in top two

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CINCINNATI -- It is not known exactly which team will take Tim Beckham, the Georgia high school shortstop who might be the top prospect available in Major League Baseball's June 5 draft, but this much is starting to look like a lock:

It will be one of the top two, the Tampa Bay Rays at No. 1 or the Pirates at No. 2.

Jimmy Beckham, the prospect's father, said yesterday by phone from Georgia that the family has had extensive meetings with only those teams and that his "very strong" indication is that his son will not last to No. 3.

"I've built quite a conversational relationship with the Pirates, and we feel the Pirates would not be a bad place for him," Jimmy Beckham said. "Either way, though, he'll be happy. We feel good about Tampa and Pittsburgh."


Minor-league report
Wednesday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (26-28) won at Lehigh Valley, 6-5. RHP John Van Benschoten (6-0, 2.48) allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits in six innings. He struck out two, walked two and hit two batters. CF Andrew McCutchen (.304) went 3 for 5 with an RBI. 3B Neil Walker (.227) went 2 for 4. RF Steve Pearce (.254) went 0 for 4.

ALTOONA (18-31) won at Bowie , 8-2. LHP Corey Hamman (1-5, 3.89) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. RF Brad Corley (.292) hit his third home run and went 3 for 5. LYNCHBURG (19-33) won at Potomac, 13-5. RHP Jared Hughes (2-7, 5.20) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one. DH Jamie Romak (.280) hit his seventh home run and went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs. 1B Kent Sakomoto (.259) went 3 for 3 with a triple, a walk and an RBI.

HICKORY (27-26) was off.


Greg Schilz, the Pirates' area scout for northern Georgia, has followed Tim Beckham for months and was in attendance again Monday as Beckham's Griffin High School team reached the state final. The best-of-three championship round begins tomorrow.

"That's actually been a great distraction for us," Jimmy Beckham said. "We're taking it one thing at a time. First, the state championship. Then, the draft."

Tampa Bay is thought to be down to two finalists: Tim Beckham and Florida State University catcher Buster Posey. The Pirates have those two on their list, plus Vanderbilt University third baseman Pedro Alvarez and, on the fringe, two pitchers. Alvarez's stock has been falling with many scouts of late, in part because he has had a subpar postseason.

Duke pushed back

Zach Duke, originally scheduled to pitch the series finale against Cincinnati tonight, was pushed back a day because of a callus on his left middle finger and will start tomorrow in St. Louis.

Phil Dumatrait will be bumped up a day to take his turn, still pitching on four days' rest.

"It's not a big deal," manager John Russell said of the callus. "It's been splitting on him the past couple starts, so we wanted to give it an extra day to heal."

Prospect struck in head

Eric Krebs, a relief prospect with Class A Lynchburg, was struck on the left side of his head by a line drive Monday in Potomac, Md., but sustained no serious injury.

He will have no activity for "several weeks," according to Kyle Stark, the Pirates' director of player development, but "should be fine."

Krebs, 23, has a 2.87 ERA in 13 appearances for the Hillcats.

Buried treasure

Nate McLouth was 11th among National League outfielders in the first announced tally of All-Star votes, with 164,250. The three leaders -- Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome of the Chicago Cubs, and Ken Griffey Jr. of the Reds -- have roughly double that. No other Pirates player showed up in the results. The outfield list ran 15 deep, the rest of the positions five deep.

Doug Mientkiewicz was back at third base after missing three games to illness.

• Second baseman Shelby Ford, the Pirates' third-round pick in 2006, was activated from the minor league disabled list by Class AA Altoona. He missed 39 games to a hip flexor injury.



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