Pirates pursue free-agent veteran Loretta

Ownership of Class AA Altoona affiliate changes hands


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The Pirates are trying to acquire a longtime nemesis.

General manager Neal Huntington has had two conversations aimed at acquiring free-agent infielder Mark Loretta, agent Bob Garber confirmed yesterday, and the parties plan to communicate further.

Loretta, 37, batted .280 with four home runs and 38 RBIs in 261 at-bats last season for Houston. He is a career .297 hitter in 14 seasons, including a starting berth in the 2006 All-Star Game at PNC Park, and is capable of playing any infield position, including shortstop. One highlight among those numbers is a .328 career average against the Pirates, one of the highest of any individual opponent since 1960, as well as a career-high 47 RBIs.

ESPN reported that the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers also are interested.

The Pirates have yet to sign a free agent, but Huntington said last week that he has made multiple offers.




NOTES -- Chuck Greenberg, a finalist for the Pirates' team presidency that went to Frank Coonelly last year, yesterday sold the Pirates' Class AA affiliate, the Altoona Curve, to its original owner, the family of Robert F. Lozinak. Greenberg will keep his ownership stake with Class A short-season State College, and his new consulting company, Greenberg Sports Group, will work with Altoona, State College and Class A Myrtle Beach. ... Shortstop Jack Wilson, on the trading block, plans to attend the Winter Meetings next week in Las Vegas, but it is no more than part of a family venture. ... The 23-player ballot for the 2009 Hall of Fame class, released yesterday, included four former Pirates -- Dave Parker, Bert Blyleven, Jay Bell and Dan Plesac -- with Bell and Plesac being first-timers. Results will be announced Jan. 12.


Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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