Pirates Notebook: LaRoche to DL; Bixler coming
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The Pirates today will place first baseman Adam LaRoche on the 15-day disabled list and recall infielder Brian Bixler from Class AAA Indianapolis, sources confirmed early this morning.
INDIANAPOLIS (51-59) lost to Syracuse, 14-1. LHP Corey Hamman (1-1, 5.93) allowed nine runs and nine hits in 1 2/3 innings. RHP Jesse Chavez (3.68) pitched two perfect innings of relief and struck out two. C Carlos Maldonado (9.00) made his first professional pitching appearance and allowed one run and three hits in one inning of relief. He struck out one. 3B Neil Walker (.239) went 1 for 4.
ALTOONA (50-59) won at Trenton, 3-1. RHP Christian Castorri (0-1, 6.32) allowed one run and five hits in four innings. LHP Josh Shortslef (2.42) pitched three scoreless innings of relief.
LYNCHBURG (46-61) lost at Winston Salem, 8-2. RHP Mike Crotta (8-8, 5.10) allowed six runs and 10 hits in six innings. DH Kent Sakomoto (.261) went 3 for 4 with a double.
HICKORY (44-63) won at Charleston, 6-0. RHP Matt McSwain (4-4, 1.78) pitched four no-hit innings. He struck out two, walked two. RHP Serguey Linares (9.53) allowed a hit in the ninth, part of an inning of scoreless relief.
STATE COLLEGE (9-28) lost to Mahoning Valley, 7-6. RHP Ryan Kelly (0-2, 6.08) allowed five runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings. CF David Rubinstein (.177) went 3 for 5 with a triple.
BRADENTON (19-13) beat the Reds, 7-0. RHP Gabriel Alvarado (2-1, 3.81) pitched four scoreless innings and allowed three hits. 3B Andury Acevedo (.193) went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a steal.
LaRoche and second baseman Freddy Sanchez sat out the 8-4 victory against the Colorado Rockies last night at PNC Park, each with a back ailment. LaRoche has an unspecified injury in his back right rib area, and Sanchez has lower back stiffness.
LaRoche is batting .390 in July, with home runs in his past three games.
Bixler, a natural shortstop, is the only infielder in the system already on the 40-man roster. He could take Sanchez's place at second until he is ready to return. There are numerous candidates to take first base in LaRoche's absence, chief among them former Gold Glove winner -- and red-hot hitter -- Doug Mientkiewicz, as well as Chris Gomez and Steve Pearce.
Bixler struggled mightily with the Pirates early this season, but he has batted .278 with six home runs in 58 games for Indianapolis.
Grabow field grows
Next in line for most likely among the Pirates to go: John Grabow.
Four teams -- the Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and a newcomer, the Los Angeles Angels -- are known to have inquired about trading for him in advance of the Thursday deadline, according to industry sources, and a leaner market for left-handed relief could help his value. Thhe Pirates already dealt Damaso Marte, and the Colorado Rockies this week pulled back Brian Fuentes.
The catch: Grabow has to keep showing he is healthy after a nine-day absence earlier this month to arm fatigue.
Calls also continued to come on Jason Bay and Jack Wilson, with the usual suitors on those fronts and a couple new twists: Tampa Bay appears to have backed away from Bay, looking instead to long-injured Rocco Baldelli's return to solve its corner outfield issues. And Boston could be joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in talks for Wilson.
Atlanta report debunked
A high-level source within the Pirates emphatically rejected an account on MLB.com yesterday -- reported by no other outlet -- that the Pirates and Braves had agreed to a Bay-for-four-prospects trade, only to have it vetoed by the Pirates' ownership. No aspect of it was accurate, the source said, and ownership, while informed of pending trades, has not vetoed any since team president Frank Coonelly took over last summer.
An Atlanta source also disputed the report.
The Pirates and Atlanta have discussed Bay within the past two weeks, but the Braves now have made a clear shift toward being sellers, shopping first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Wil Ohman.
Maz speaks on trade
Bill Mazeroski told the New York Daily News, during the Hall of Fame festivities in Cooperstown, N.Y.: "I can't believe it! We just traded two of our best players for four guys I never heard of. How could we do this?"
The article said the quote was given Friday night, before two names in the Pirates' six-player trade with the New York Yankees changed the following morning.
No context was given as to how Mazeroski delivered the quote, critically or in jest.
Moskos to bullpen
Danny Moskos, the Pirates' No. 1 draft pick last summer, was taken out of Class A Lynchburg's rotation and will be moved to the bullpen after seven consecutive subpar starts. Overall, he is 7-7 with a 6.30 ERA in 20 starts.
Kyle Stark, director of player development, said Moskos will start again someday but that management wants to lessen the workload in his first full professional season.
"This is not a future role change," Stark said. "We want him to work on being athletic, being aggressive and attacking the zone with this best stuff."
• Jeff Karstens, one of the prospects acquired from the Yankees, joined the team and will pitch Friday or Saturday in Chicago. "There's always pressure going to a new team. You want to do well," Karstens said. "But I don't need to add any. I just need to go out there and pitch."
• Ross Ohlendorf, another of those, will start tonight for Class AAA Indianapolis.
• Outfielder Chris Duffy, on the minor league disabled list because of an inner-ear infection, could rejoin Class AA Altoona's lineup Friday.
First Published July 29, 2008 12:00 am