Correia Pitching For His Rotation Spot

With word that both Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett will be back before the end of the month, the Pirates will be looking at six starting pitchers for five spots. Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens and James McDonald all did their part in the season’s first three games. Now Kevin Correia, widely viewed as the weakest member of the starting rotation, gets to pitch in Dodger Stadium today to start making his case. How has Correia peformed in Los Angeles over his career?

Year G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP K/9 OPS
2003 1 1 4.0 6 5 5 4 1 2 11.25 1.75 4.50 1.448
2004 2 0 5.0 6 2 2 1 1 5 3.60 1.40 9.00 0.747
2005   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –
2006 1 0 0.0 1 0 0 0 1 0   –   –   – 2.000
2007 4 1 10.0 8 5 5 1 1 10 4.50 0.90 9.00 0.663
2008 2 1 6.3 8 6 4 0 1 5 5.68 1.42 7.10 0.667
2009 1 1 6.0 4 1 1 0 0 4 1.50 0.67 6.00 0.381
2010 2 2 11.7 11 4 4 0 3 4 3.09 1.20 3.10 0.584
2011   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –
in LA 13 6 43.0 44 23 21 6 8 30 4.40 1.21 6.30 0.712
career 258 131 895.0 947 484 458 111 335 623 4.61 1.43 6.30 0.770

Correia has performed slightly better in LA when compared to his career numbers, but that could be because Dodger Stadium is a park that is kind to pitchers or it could be simple noise in the data. Either way, 43 innings over nine seasons is nowhere near enough evidence to draw conclusions. Yet, his continued presence in the rotation will depend on how well he does over these first few starts. Let’s hope he continues the trend and gives a good performance tonight.

2012 Opening Day Roster with Trade Tree

The Pirates made their final roster moves yesterday, putting Chris Leroux, Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett on the Disabled List and adding Juan Cruz to the 40-man roster. Here’s the to current roster for today’s 1:35 game vs. the Phillies.

LINEUP

LF Alex Presley
RF Jose Tabata
CF Andrew McCutchen
2B Neil Walker
1B Garrett Jones
C   Rod Barajas
3B Pedro Alvarez
SS Clint Barmes

BENCH

C Michael McKenry
IF Matt Hague
IF Josh Harrison
IF Casey McGehee
IF Yamaico Navarro
OF Nate McLouth

STARTING PITCHERS

Erik Bedard
Jeff Karstens
James McDonald
Kevin Correia

BULLPEN

Juan Cruz
Jason Grilli
Joel Hanrahan
Jared Hughes
Evan Meek
Chris Resop
Tony Watson

DISABLED LIST

A.J. Burnett (15 day)
Charlie Morton (15 day)
Gustavo Nunez (60 day)
Chris Leroux (60 day)

In honor of the best day of the year, I updated last year’s Whole Team Trade Tree to show how this current squad was built. (Click to embiggen.) Now play ball!

Morton to start season on DL

Per Kristy Robinson of Pirates Prospects:

Huntington said Charlie Morton will start season on 15 day DL. “It’s a tremendous progress to be where he is.”

To me, this looks like a procedural move, since Morton wasn’t scheduled to be in the opening week rotation anyway. This also sets Charlie up well to make the start on April 14, when a 5th starter will first be needed. Rob Biertempfel has some other quotes from Huntington which echo much of what he told me last weekend.

Other news: Four players were assigned to the minor league camp today but none of them surprising: Eric Fryer, Ryota Igarashi, Jake Fox and Nick Evans.

Spring Training 2012: Saturday 3/24 McKechnie Field Recap

Ed. note: Travel delays and prior commitments kept me from getting this posted sooner.

PirateFest was going on today, but I went to Pirate City instead. Luckily I arrived in time to get this shot:

Matt Hague (pirate ship hat) and Charlie Morton sign autographs.

Going inside I headed to the batting cages to see if anyone was hitting. Along the way I ran into club President Frank Coonelly and was able to ask him about the renovations that are going to happen at McKechnie Field. Specifically I asked if they considered making the outfield dimensions match those in PNC Park. Mr. Coonelly’s answers:

My thanks to Mr. Coonelly for his time. On to the game! Recap. Box Score.

Excellent: James McDonald. James was wild on the first two pitches of the game, causing me worry that it was going to be a long day. He would immediately right the ship and pitch 5 1/3 innings before giving up his first hit. Final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 3 K. McDonald also showed a good glove and was able to coax a walk out of Astros pitcher Kyle Weiland.

Good: Neil Walker‘s 2-run single and Garrett Jones‘ 2-run bomb accounted for all of the scoring. Walker’s hit came after Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen both failed to get a runner home from third with less than two out. Jones’ shot landed more than 90 feet past the right field wall.

Very Bad: Ryota Igarashi showed very little control and is looking at a steep hill to climb if he wants to make the team. The five batters he faced went walk, walk, homerun, ground out, infield hit.

Pictures:

Another beautiful day at McKechnie Field.

Lineups. (J.B. Shuck?)

Jose Tabata in the batting cage.

Garrett Jones followed.

A good day for autographs. Morton signed a lot on his way to the clubhouse after his appearance at PirateFest.

Rod Barajas signed after a turn in the batting cage. Someone asked him about possibly setting a new record for homeruns by a Pirates catcher.

Andrew McCutchen is good people. He signed every day that I saw him.

James McDonald does some long toss to get loose...

…and then warms up to Michael McKenry in the bullpen.
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Create an animated gif

Former Pirate outfielder and manager Bill Virdon watches.

Mini McGehee doesn't appear to like the mini-parrot.

When the gulls start landing on the field, you know the game will be over pretty soon.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a wrap up and final thoughts.

Spring Training 2012: Friday 3/23 McKechnie Field Recap

If you missed it, check out Part 1: Pirate City.

As I walked into McKechnie I got word that Pedro Alvarez was in the batting cage.

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Animated gif maker

This is five shots of five different swings I’ve put together in a gif. Pedro looked to be swinging well and the ball had a good sound coming off of his bat. The coach pitching to him was having him work on staying back. This was bout two hours before news broke that Alvarez has discomfort in his knee and will be held out for a few games. As you can see he’s not wearing a brace and I saw no sign of a limp. But as someone who has some knee issues of my own, I can say that certain movements trigger the pain more than others. It may be an issue where he can’t run or field as well as he needs to but swinging does no harm.

On to the game. Recap. Box Score. Pictures at the bottom.

Good: Charlie Morton was lights out. 4 IP, 2 H, 2 K. Mostly groundballs. I’ll have more on him below. Matt Hague continued to look strong in his bid to make the big league club both at bat (2 run HR) and in the field (nice pick of a throw in the dirt.) Jose Tabata went 3-4.

Up and Down: Casey McGehee booted one easy grounder but made a nice play later on one which was hit harder. No hits fell in for him but he hit the ball square each time. Rod Barajas went 0-3 but had a good throw to catch Georgia Tech alum Tony Plagman stealing.

Nearly Bad: Chris Leroux got Charlie Brown’d during his one inning. A line drive had him duck so fast his hat came off. Luckily he wasn’t hit or hurt and finished the inning without incident.

Just Bad: Daniel McCutchen was more unlucky than anything else. Most of the hits he gave up were soft ground balls that just eluded the defense. However, the grand slam was a no-doubter to centerfield.

After the game I was able to briefly speak with Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington. I asked him about Morton not being named to the rotation for the opening week in contrast with his stellar outing today, and if it was just a matter of getting him stretched out. I didn’t have a recorder so I’ll paraphrase in an attempt not to misquote Mr. Huntington.

  • The team is in a fortunate position in that the schedule allows them to “find out where he is” and take the time to make sure Charlie is healthy and ready to go without rushing him.
  • In a similar situation last year with James McDonald, James came back too quickly to start the year and ended up not performing well in April.
  • Asked if Charlie could be used the first time the 5th starter is needed on April 14, Huntington responded that it was “an option.”

Barring any new developments, my gut says to look for Charlie on the 14th. Many thanks to Mr. Huntington for his time and words.

Pictures:

Lineups

Morton doing long toss while Barajas stretches.

Clint Hurdle signs an autograph.

Just for Pat at WHYGAVS, a signed Andy Van Slyke ball that was up for auction.

Former Pirates' manager Jim Leyland.

Former Pirate Rafael Belliard took out the lineup card.

Sellout, full house.

Morton throws a warmup pitch.

The Sandbar on Anna Maria Island

Dinner was a nice piece of grouper with a baked potato and a Maker's and Coke. Oh, and this great view.

Tomorrow: Last day. Probably go to Pirate City and see if A.J. Burnett will be throwing his simulated game there.

Morton has hip labrum surgury, Opening Day in doubt.

Tim has the breaking news. Very curious when he injured it or if it was more of a wear and tear thing.

UPDATE 7:02p: Apparently the team discovered the injury before this past season but decided to wait to operate rather than losing all of 2011. Sports Illustrated’s Will Carroll seems optimistic on the procedure.

Will Carroll

@injuryexpert Will Carroll
Charlie Morton’s surgery was the FAIL type that Brett Myers and others have had. Great return rate.
FAIL stands for Femoral-Acetabular Impingement of Labrum. You can read more about it here in the entry under David Aardsma.
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