The Pirates are deep into trade talks with the Tampa Bay Rays and other parties regarding left fielder Jason Bay, one team source with direct knowledge said yesterday, but it remains far from certain that Bay will be moved by Major League Baseball's deadline tomorrow afternoon.
INDIANAPOLIS (51-60) lost at Toledo, 5-3. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (1-2, 4.45) allowed four runs and seven hits -- two home runs -- in six innings. He struck out five, walked two and threw 56 of 85 pitches for strikes. RHP Evan Meek (2.84) allowed one run in two innings of relief. CF Andrew McCutchen (.276) went 1 for 4. 3B Neil Walker (.237) went 0 for 4.
ALTOONA (51-59) won at Trenton, 4-2. RHP Dan Reichert (1-1, 2.89) allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits in six innings. RHP Juan Mateo (6-1, 2.68) pitched three scoreless innings of relief and allowed two hits. He struck out four. 3B Jim Negrych (.500), making his Class AA debut after a promotion from Lynchburg, went 2 for 4 with an RBI. 1B Jamie Romak (.000), also making his debut, went 0 for 4.
LYNCHBURG (46-62) lost at Winston Salem, 5-2. RHP Brad Lincoln (1-2, 6.60) allowed three runs and six hits -- two home runs -- in six innings. He struck out three, walked one. CF Alex Presley (.259) and SS Jose De Los Santos (.243) each went 1 for 4 with a double.
HICKORY (44-64) lost at Savannah, 7-5. RHP Rodolfo Aguirre (0-1, 9.00) allowed four runs and five hits in three innings. 3B Matt Hague (.333) went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
STATE COLLEGE (9-29) lost to Mahoning Valley, 14-2. RHP Emilis Guerrero (1-4, 6.34) allowed four unearned runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. RF Andrew Biela (.290) went 2 for 4.
BRADENTON (20-13) beat the Twins, 4-3. LHP Tyler Cox (1-2, 2.63) pitched four scoreless innings and allowed three hits. DH Andury Acevedo (.207) went 2 for 4 with a double and a steal.
No truly elite prospect is being offered for Bay, and no bounty -- say, four of a team's top 10 prospects -- is expected, either, as some teams have expressed concern that Bay's 2008 revival is not far enough removed from his disappointing 2007. That has not stopped management from entertaining offers, though, and doing so seriously.
The chance that Bay will stay with the Pirates, the source said, still is better than 50-50.
The Atlanta Braves, who had been suitors for Bay as recently as last week, are seen as out.
On another front, the chance that shortstop Jack Wilson will stay looks much stronger than a few days ago. Talks had cooled by yesterday with all parties, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had been the primary suitor.
Reliever John Grabow remains most likely to go, with several teams still in touch with the Pirates. The return for Grabow likely would be modest, perhaps one quality prospect. He, as with Bay, can be a free agent after next season.
First baseman Adam LaRoche, placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday because of a strained intercostal muscle that run through the ribs on the right side of his back, is eligible to come off Aug. 12 and hopes he can do exactly that. But it is no lock: He will need 7-10 days of rest before he can begin swinging a bat.
"I want to be back the first day I can, but we'll see," LaRoche said.
LaRoche feels a pinching pain when he rotates, and that must subside before serious activity resumes. He said has spoken with other baseball players who have needed as much as six weeks, but he also added, "I'm a quick healer."
The timing was awful: His July numbers, now complete, were .390 with six home runs, 18 RBIs and a mind-bending .472 on-base percentage.
"It stinks," he said. "I hate not playing."
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez missed a second full game because of back spasms, but the Pirates are targeting a Friday return in Chicago.
General manager Neal Huntington and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz have discussed Mientkiewicz's future with the Pirates, but with no firm resolution, Mientkiewicz said. There is a chance Mientkiewicz could be traded, but his name has not come up.
• Ross Ohlendorf, one of the four prospects acquired from the New York Yankees, made his debut with Class AAA Indianapolis last night in Toledo, Ohio, and allowed four runs and seven hits -- two home runs -- in six innings. He struck out five, walked two and threw 56 of 85 pitches for strikes.
• LaRoche's injury and shortstop Brian Bixler's recall caused a ripple effect through the system: First baseman Jason Delaney was promoted from Class AA Altoona to Indianapolis. Outfielder/first baseman Jamie Romak and second baseman Jim Negrych were promoted from Class A Lynchburg to Altoona. Negrych, a former standout at Pitt, was leading the Carolina League with a .370 average.
• Bullpen coach Luis Dorante has taken a leave because of a family matter.