Pirates Notebook: Nutting rejects Forbes report
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LOS ANGELES -- The Pirates have acknowledged making a profit in 2006, but they firmly rejected a Forbes magazine estimate that their operating income -- earnings before interest, debt and taxes -- was $25.3 million.
"The information reported in Forbes is simply inaccurate," principal owner Bob Nutting said yesterday.
Neither Nutting nor CEO Kevin McClatchy has divulged how much profit the team made while spending $43.4 million on player payroll last season -- third lowest in Major League Baseball -- but they have said it was not excessive.
"We are operating the Pirates responsibly from a solid business and baseball foundation in order to consistently compete on the field and maintain the long-term viability of the franchise," Nutting said.
The Forbes report, released yesterday, ranked the Pirates' 2006 operating income as MLB's third highest, behind the Florida Marlins' $43.3 million and the Los Angeles Dodgers' $27.5 million.
David Samson, president of the Marlins, described the Forbes numbers to The Associated Press as "pure fantasy," a view that is shared almost universally in baseball, mostly because the magazine is granted no access to teams' financial information. Major League Baseball strongly discourages all teams from opening their books.
The Pirates say they never were contacted by Forbes.
Elizabeth Wasden, a spokeswoman for the magazine, told AP yesterday, "Forbes compiles its annual valuations of Major League Baseball franchises based on information obtained from team executives, sports bankers, public documents and other sources believed to be reliable. We stand by our figures and the content published."
The Pirates' rotation could begin to have a more conventional cycle, manager Jim Tracy said.
Off days and rainouts might cause him to bump up Ian Snell and Zach Duke -- possibly Tom Gorzelanny, too -- but Tracy said his goal is to keep all five pitchers involved and avoid long layoffs such as the 15 idle days that preceded Tony Armas' start last night.
"We'd like to get to the point where the rotation is consistent, one through five," Tracy said.
The rotation for the first six games of the upcoming homestand: Paul Maholm, Duke and Armas against the Houston Astros, and Snell, Gorzelanny and Maholm against the Cincinnati Reds.
That means Duke, rocked for 14 runs in his past two starts, will pitch on five days of rest rather than four -- as had been mostly the case -- but Tracy made clear his intent to stick by his opening-day starter.
"He's going to be fine," Tracy said.
Rain in L.A.?
The weather was threatening enough yesterday that the Dodgers were discussing the possibility of a rainout and a doubleheader today.
Either would have been quite the event.
In Dodger Stadium's 45 years, there have been only 17 rainouts, none since April 17, 2000, and none involving the Pirates. The Pirates' only doubleheader at Dodger Stadium was a regularly scheduled twinbill on April 29, 1962.
Tracy managed the Dodgers for five years and said he never knew where they kept the tarp. That might explain why photographers were snapping away an hour before the first pitch as the grounds crew rolled it off.
Reliever John Grabow will pitch one more rehabilitation game with Class AAA Indianapolis, then, in all likelihood, join the Pirates for the start of the homestand Tuesday.
Tracy went with what is becoming a standard lineup to face a left-hander, removing Chris Duffy, having Freddy Sanchez lead off and inserting Brad Eldred. Eldred's start was his first in nine days.
By now, it is old news when Tracy returns to Los Angeles. Still, he was asked about it again in his pregame news conference. "We're here to win a series," he replied.
INDIANAPOLIS (10-3) beat Richmond, 11-5. LHP Shane Youman (0-2, 4.30) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out none and walked two. RHP Jesse Chavez (6.00) allowed a run on a walk and two hits in one-third of an inning of relief. C Ryan Doumit (.463) went 2 for 4 with his third home run and an intentional walk. LF Luis Matos (.278) went 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI.
ALTOONA (5-6) lost to Harrisburg, 3-1. LHP Josh Shortslef (0-2, 4.80) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. RHP Romulo Sanchez (3.86) allowed a run in one inning of relief. 3B Neil Walker (.262) went 1 for 3 with a walk. CF Andrew McCutchen (.143) went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run.
LYNCHBURG (5-6) lost to Salem, 8-3. RHP Todd Redmond (0-2, 5.79) allowed three runs, two earned, in 5 1/3 innings. 3B Tripper Johnson (.439) went 2 for 4.
HICKORY (7-5) lost at Lexington, 7-4. RHP Brad Clapp (2-1, 5.40) allowed five runs, four earned, in four innings. 3B Eddie Prasch (.250) went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs.
First Published April 20, 2007 11:05 pm