Pirates Notebook: Hacker an 'interesting' acquisition

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The Pirates see major league potential in Eric Hacker, a minor league pitcher they acquired yesterday from the New York Yankees in exchange for reliever Romulo Sanchez.

"Eric Hacker is a starting pitching prospect with an interesting four-pitch mix that has brought success in his minor league career," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "He has missed time with injury but has been healthy the past two seasons, and we're pleased to add him to our system. He provides us with starting depth but has enough stuff to pitch from the bullpen if that's his best fit."

New York, always crowded on the 40-man roster, designated Hacker for assignment eight days ago and, when it became clear that several teams were prepared to claim him off waivers, the Yankees opted to make a trade.

Hacker, 26, a right-hander, is coming off a strong 2008 in which he had a 2.43 ERA and a fine ratio of 115 strikeouts to 37 walks, split between Class A and AA in the Yankees system. This season, he had a 4.11 ERA in three Class AA starts, 7.88 ERA in three Class AAA starts.

He once had a reputation for a power arm, but his career was slowed by major injuries: He lost all of 2004 to reconstructive elbow surgery, all of 2006 to shoulder surgery. His fastball now is 91-92 mph.

The Pirates optioned Hacker to Class AAA Indianapolis. To clear space on the 40-man roster, they transferred pitcher Phil Dumatrait from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day.

Morgan's hamstring 'sore'

Left fielder Nyjer Morgan was not in the Pirates' lineup last night and is not expected to play today, either, because of a sore right hamstring.

Morgan initially felt discomfort after his eighth-inning steal Friday, then felt more tenderness when he reported yesterday. Athletic trainer Brad Henderson advised manager John Russell to give Morgan two games off.

"Should be back Monday," Russell said.

Buried treasure

• The Pirates' April 10 rainout in Cincinnati will be made up as a day-night doubleheader Aug. 31 at Great American Ball Park. Game 1 is at 1:10 p.m., Game 2 at 7:10 p.m.

• First-round draft pick Pedro Alvarez's seventh home run for Class A Lynchburg Friday night was huge in two ways: For one, it brought the Hillcats a 6-4 walk-off victory in the 10th inning. For another, it was reported by at least one Lynchburg veteran to have been the longest in City Stadium history, going high and deep beyond right field.

• Winner of the Pirates' fan-vote bobblehead was starter Paul Maholm. That will be given out Sept. 25.


Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog .


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