Pirates Notebook: Scout says Japan talent flourishing
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Hensley Meulens, hitting instructor with the Class AAA Indianapolis Indians, recently returned from a 12-day scouting trip to Japan.
It was the second year in a row Meulens, who played in Japan, made the trip, a junket initiated by former Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield.
It also was the first year after former Japan star Masum Kuwata pitched for the Pirates.
"That's going to help us over there," Meulens said. "There was Pirates gear all over the place. We're right behind the Yankees, Boston and Seattle."
Kuwata, 39, recently had surgery on the ankle he injured in spring training this year and is considering pitching again next season. If he doesn't pitch, perhaps he could work for the Pirates in Japan.
"There's some good talent coming out of there now," Meulens said. "The arms are more intriguing than the bats. There are eight to 10 arms eligible to be free agents."
Don't count on the Pirates signing somebody such as Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka. But an "under-the-radar" pitcher like Los Angeles closer Takashi Saito, who has 37 saves this season, is a possibility.
Out of the running
Chuck Greenberg, who owns Pirates affiliates Altoona and State College, didn't get the Pirates president job. But he'll have a keen interest in how new president Frank Coonelly does.
"It's not about who runs the Pirates," Greenberg said. "What matters is that the Pirates start winning championships again. And I sincerely wish Frank the best of luck in getting it done."
Four for four
Steve Pearce, with his .316 batting average for the Pirates, has hit .300 at four levels of the organization this season, beginning with high Class A Lynchburg and continuing through Class AA Altoona and Class AAA Indianapolis.
"That's highly unusual in this day and age," Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett said. "No hiccups."
Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson was honored before the game for being the team's nominee to win Major League Baseball's Roberto Clemente award in October. Wilson donated his $7,500 prize to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Pittsburgh.
Paul Maholm, out with back stiffness, had a "really good" bullpen session Tuesday, according to manager Jim Tracy. If Maholm gets through a bullpen session today without incident, he will start Sunday in Houston and then pitch Sept. 21 in Chicago.
Outfielders Jason Bay (knee tendinitis) and Xavier Nady (concussion) should return to the starting lineup tomorrow night in Houston.
The Brewers were without left-handed relief specialist Brian Shouse in the final two games of the series. Shouse, a former Pirates pitcher, returned to his home in Peoria, Ill., to be with his wife, Trish, and the birth of the couple's third child.
First Published September 13, 2007 12:00 am