Pirates Notebook: Team sees trade requests as fair
Nate McLouth, left, slides under the tag of Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to score on a passed ball in the third inning last night in Denver.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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DENVER -- One popular notion making the Major League Baseball rounds in the past week is that the Pirates are overvaluing their trade pieces to the extent they might not make a deal. The New York Post quoted a baseball executive as calling the Pirates' asking price as "exorbitant."
General manager Neal Huntington, following standard policy, declined to comment on that report or any other.
"I do not feel the need to address others' concerns with our process to date," Huntington said last night.
- INDIANAPOLIS (46-53) won at Columbus, 5-2. RHP John Van Benschoten (7-2, 3.64) pitched two scoreless, hitless innings. He struck out one, walked three. RHP Jesse Chavez (4.10) pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save. He struck out two. 3B Neil Walker (.233) went 3 for 5 with a double and three RBIs. LF Nyjer Morgan (.278) went 2 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. CF Andrew McCutchen (.282) went 1 for 4 with a walk. 1B Steve Pearce (.262) went 0 for 5.
- ALTOONA (42-54) beat Harrisburg, 4-3. RHP Derek Hankins (1-6, 4.26) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. RHP Juan Mateo (3.03) pitched two scoreless innings of relief. He struck out four. CF Chris Duffy (.259), back after missing a week to an inner-ear infection, went 1 for 3.
- LYNCHBURG (43-54) lost at Potomac, 6-2. RHP Mike Crotta (7-7, 4.99) allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits in six innings. 3B Jim Negrych (.367) went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. DH Jamie Romak (.288) hit his 18th home run and went 1 for 4.
- HICKORY (41-56) lost to Lakewood, 2-0. RHP Duke Welker (2-7, 4.62) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.
- STATE COLLEGE (7-21) lost to Tri-City, 5-2. RHP Wilson Ortiz (0-2, 3.79) allowed three runs and six hits in four innings. DH Cole White (.379) went 2 for 4 with a walk.
- BRADENTON (10-10) and the Orioles were postponed by wet grounds.
But one team official was adamant in describing the Pirates' requests as "reasonable," particularly when considering that the primary pieces on the block -- outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte -- probably are the best available at their respective positions on the market. Calls also continue to come on outfielder Jason Bay, though he is not being shopped, and his value would be even greater than Nady or Marte.
The Pirates are known to be seeking two quality prospects in any Nady or Marte deal, with a leaning toward pitching. The price for Bay would be higher.
One reason they have not been able to strike a deal to this point, the team official said, is that other teams are declaring many top prospects untouchable, perhaps many more than usual as more organizations are converting to build-within philosophies.
Still, talks remain active for Nady and Marte. The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves recently conducted conference calls with the Pirates to discuss Nady, according to one source, and many other teams are involved.
One potential foil in the Nady equation would be if Colorado's superstar outfielder, Matt Holliday, were to be thrust full-bore into the market. For now, the Rockies are simply not hanging up on callers and want to be blown away, according to someone intimately familiar with their dealings. If that changes, Holliday's value would dwarf that of Nady or even Bay.Nady gone until tomorrow
Nady's wife, Meredith, had the couple's first child -- also named Xavier, seventh in the family lineage -- Tuesday night. He missed the game last night and will not return until tomorrow.Grabow, LaRoche on mend
Reliever John Grabow, shut down for nine days now because of arm fatigue, could return tonight. He pitched a "strong" side session yesterday, according to manager John Russell, and might be cleared this afternoon.
"John was adamant last week that he wanted to pitch, but we told him no," Russell said. "That's just how he is. He'll always take the ball."
First baseman Adam LaRoche, out Sunday because of a bruised thumb, was back in the lineup last night after a sound round of batting practice.Buried treasure
• Center fielder Nate McLouth had his parents take photos of him on the field Tuesday during the mega-star-studded opening ceremony for the All-Star Game, just to be sure the memory was capture. Of sharing a diamond with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and so many others, McLouth said: "Unbelievable. I'll never forget it."
• John Van Benschoten remains in line to be recalled for a start Monday. He was limited to two innings last night with Class AAA Indianapolis -- no runs, no hits, but three walks -- to maintain his availability.
• Center fielder Chris Duffy rejoined Class AA Altoona's lineup last night after missing a week to an inner-ear infection. But he was forced to leave late in the game with what the Curve described as a mild case of dehydration and was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. Duffy missed a week with the Pirates because of dehydration two years ago.
• Tom Gorzelanny's next start for Indianapolis will come Sunday, giving him a full week between starts.
First Published July 18, 2008 12:00 am