Pirates Notebook: Team sticking by .176 Moss

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NEW YORK -- The Pirates are, quite literally, running out of options with immensely struggling outfielder Brandon Moss, whose 0-for-4 in the 10-1 loss to the New York Mets yesterday extended his hitless streak to 14 at-bats and dropped his average to .176.

"Sure, it's tough," general manager Neal Huntington said after the game. "The easy thing would be to send him to Indianapolis and let him go play down there. But he's talented enough and has enough upside that somebody else would grab him."

That is because Moss is out of options and would have to clear waivers to be demoted, a risk the Pirates clearly are not willing to take.

"If you look at the industry, many players get cast aside too early," Huntington said. "We need to be one of those organizations, frankly, where guys get the chance to find their groove and go on to bigger and better things."

So, Moss will continue playing, probably with the same frequency manager John Russell has been using him of late.

"I think J.R.'s done a nice job of getting him out there enough that he can stay in sync, but not so much that he gets buried," Huntington said. "He just needs to keep working. Brandon's working, we see that talent that's there, but, for whatever reason, it just hasn't clicked yet."

The Pirates, from the front office to the coaching staff, express repeated confidence not only that Moss can hit, but that he can do so with power. Neither has been the case, as his most recent home run came Sept. 2 of last year.

Moss' performance in these two games at Citi Field has been especially glaring, as he is swinging through or fouling off the meatiest of fastballs.

"I might have seen one breaking ball all day. Nothing but fastballs," Moss said yesterday. "I'm a dead-fastball hitter, and all I could do was foul them back. I know I'm late with the swing, but I don't know how to get early. I just know that I've got to get it going."

Is he pressing?

"I'm pressing, but who wouldn't be if they were hitting .180?"

No Capps until Tuesday

The Pirates will wait until Tuesday to use closer Matt Capps again.

Capps, out six days because of a bruised bone in his elbow, made his scheduled throwing session yesterday -- and did so pain-free through all 17 pitches -- but the team informed him afterward it will take advantage of the off-day tomorrow to extend his healing period.

Capps said he had "no problem" with the elbow and that the bone, which had been sensitive to the touch, no longer hurts when pressed.

Buried treasure

• Pitching prospect Jimmy Barthmaier's decision to have reconstructive elbow surgery came after Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala., found problems with the flexor pronator muscle, as well as previously known ligament damage, Huntington said. The combination of the two brought Andrews' recommendation, and both will be addressed.

• John Grabow now has been scored upon in five consecutive appearances, with the two runs and five hits the Mets scored off him in the eighth inning.

• The Mets were without manager Jerry Manuel, suspended by Major League Baseball for one game for "aggressive and inappropriate" conduct with umpire Bill Welke Thursday in Philadelphia. He was replaced by bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr.



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