Pirates Notebook: LaRoche on rehab assignment
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PHILADELPHIA -- Adam LaRoche is eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow, but he won't.
Instead, he'll be playing in his second game of a rehabilitation assignment with low Class A Hickory against Greensboro.
INDIANAPOLIS (56-66) won at Rochester, 6-4. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (2-1, 2.57) allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out 10, walked one and threw 61 of 90 pitches for strikes. RHP
ALTOONA (55-68) lost at Harrisburg, 5-4. RHP Jared Hughes (1-1, 4.76) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. C Steve Lerud (.231) hit his fourth home run and went 3 for 5 with a double. CF Jose Tabata (.244) went 1 for 5.
LYNCHBURG (48-71) was off.
HICKORY (45-74) lost at West Virginia, 13-6. LHP Mike Felix (4-5, 5.21) allowed six runs and four hits in one-third of an inning. 3B Matt Hague (.320) went 2 for 5 with a double and RBI.
STATE COLLEGE (11-38) lost at Aberdeen, 9-8. RHP Mike Williams (1-0, 2.30) allowed two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings. LF Quincy Latimore (.262) hit his third home run, a three-run shot, and went 1 for 3 with a walk and two steals.
BRADENTON (26-15) and the Red Sox were rained out.
LaRoche yesterday flew to Hickory, where tonight he will play the first of those two games.
"There's some weird stuff with the scheduling [with other Pirates affiliates]," LaRoche said. "This is the only thing that made sense."
Low Class A is a level at which the Pirates' first baseman has never played.
"At least I'm playing," he said. "It's a step to getting back to playing in a big league game."
And it's probably academic.
"It doesn't matter who he's facing," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He just needs to get live at-bats."
LaRoche, on the disabled list because of a strained intercostal, took live batting practice Saturday and "felt great."
If he continues to swing the bat well with Hickory, he should return to the Pirates lineup Wednesday night against Cincinnati.
Andy LaRoche, out with a bruised right thumb, pinch-hit yesterday, drawing a walk in the seventh inning. He might be able to start today in New York.
Russell interceded on behalf of Craig Hansen in the eighth inning when the reliever became upset with a couple of plate umpire Scott Barry's calls.
Russell walked to the mound, then chatted with Barry a few feet away.
"I didn't want [Hansen] to get thrown out of the game," Russell said. In the inning, Hansen walked three batters and threw a wild pitch.
Sean Burnett had some serious control problems when he joined the Pirates bullpen in early May. In his first 141/3 innings, he walked 15 batters.
"First time in my career I had trouble throwing strikes," the left-hander said.
Move to the other side of the pitching rubber -- from the first base side to the third base side.
"I'd pitched from the first base side my whole career," Burnett said.
As soon as he made the move he saw results.
"I started throwing a lot of strikes," he said.
"The move helped with his slider," Russell said. "That's a big pitch for him."
In his past 232/3 innings, Burnett has walked 10 batters.
"He's pitched his way into a situation where he's a valuable part of our bullpen," Russell said. "We feel pretty happy about what he's doing in this role."
Russell caught Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer while with Texas in the early 1990s. Is Russell surprised the left-hander is still pitching effectively at age 45?
"No," Russell said. "He was always a workhorse back then as far as conditioning and making sure he took care of himself. He always had a very resilient arm. And he was always a student of the game. It just seemed he would teach himself how to pitch year after year after year."
Could Moyer match his uniform number and pitch in the major leagues when he's 50?
"Sure," Russell said. "Because of the things he does. Obviously at some point for everybody Mother Nature will take its course. But if anybody could do it, I don't see why he couldn't."
• The Pirates yesterday traded right-handed reliever Franklyn German, who was with Class AAA Indianapolis, to the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named.
• Chris Gomez took over the major league lead in one category when he entered Saturday night's game in the seventh inning at third base. His first career appearance at Citizens Bank Park meant he had played in 48 different major league ballparks, making him the active leader, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Detroit's Gary Sheffield is second with 47.
• The Pirates entered yesterday's game having made only three errors in 736 chances since July 20. They matched that error total in the space of just 12 chances from the third through the fifth innings. Jason Davis and Jason Michaels got errors on that wild bunt play in the third. Brandon Moss dropped a pop fly in the fifth.
First Published August 11, 2008 12:00 am