Pirates Notebook: All quiet on trade front ... finally
Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno, outfielder Lastings Milledge, second baseman Ramon Vazquez and outfielders Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen celebrate their win against the Nationals last night.
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After being Major League Baseball's busiest team leading up to the trading deadline, the Pirates made it to 4 p.m. yesterday without another move, just as they had expected.
General manager Neal Huntington acknowledged that several teams called and inquired about players -- mostly pitchers -- but quickly added, "Once they heard our price, the conversations really didn't go very far. And that's pretty much what we expected."
"It was a little unusual to be sitting there at 3:45 like that."
The lone transaction was minor: The Pirates traded Class AA reliever Sean Smith to the Toronto Blue Jays for future considerations.
There were marginal signs of dissatisfaction with the recent trades inside PNC Park.
The most vocal was a loud ovation for Nyjer Morgan when he was introduced as Washington's leadoff hitter, loudest for any player on either side. The Pirates' new shortstop Ronny Cedeno, replacing Jack Wilson, heard a bit of booing when his name was called. There was grumbling when second baseman Delwyn Young, replacing Freddy Sanchez, turned a routine bouncer into an infield single. The only noteworthy banner was the familiar "Freddy's Freaks" sign in the right-field corner, hung upside down by the patrons out there. A sign next to it that says, "Let's go Buccos!" also was upside down.
"We hope our fans latch onto this team," manager John Russell said beforehand. We don't want to run one or two players up the flagpole and say, 'This is the Pirates.' We want them to latch onto a lot of our players. I know the fans who see and understand what's going on, they're excited about our future. Unfortunately, there are going to be fans who are very frustrated. That's understandable. They'll see what's going on. It's a great sports city, and we're going to be one of those great sports franchises very soon. It's going to be fun here."
No one pitcher will replace John Grabow in the setup role, Russell said. It will be split among Jesse Chavez, Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan, with Chavez getting the nod against left-handed batters, who have a .233 average against him.
All three were used last night.
"It'll be more a matter of matchups than anything," Russell said. "But we have people capable of pitching in late innings."
Ryan Doumit, who has no history of being questioned for his hustle, slowed down just before reaching first base on a 5-3 double play in the third, and more than a few in the crowd of 23,363 evidently noticed, judging by some jeering.
Doumit's explanation was that hulking first baseman Adam Dunn was blocking the base.
Russell affirmed that he respects Doumit's hustle and that the matter would be addressed.
Ross Ohlendorf's third-inning single through the right side brought a two-game hitting streak, no small feat for a former American League pitcher batting .075 and working regularly to improve under the tutelage of third base coach Tony Beasley.
"I was just looking for a fastball I could drive," Ohlendorf said before breaking into laughter.
• Virgil Vasquez will pitch tonight, then will be the most likely candidate to come out of the rotation for Kevin Hart. The earliest Hart would pitch is Wednesday.
• Tim Alderson, the promising Class AA prospect acquired in the Freddy Sanchez trade, will make his Altoona debut tonight at home against Trenton.
• Second baseman Angel Gonzalez was promoted to Altoona from Class A Lynchburg.
• The Pirates are covering all service charges on all phone or online ticket orders placed between now and Friday. The offer applies to tickets for any game the rest of the season.
• Rudy Owens, one of the Pirates' top-performing pitchers in the minors at 10-1 with a 1.70 ERA, was promoted to Lynchburg from low Class A West Virginia