Tag: Pittsburgh Pirates

Starling Marte Injury: Updates on Pirates Star’s Back and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte left Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers due to back discomfort but is ready to return to action.

Continue for updates.

Marte Active vs. Giants

Monday, Aug. 15

Adam Berry of MLB.com noted Marte is starting in left field and batting fifth against San Francisco.

Marte Is Valuable Piece for Pirates’ Playoff Push

The 27-year-old continues delivering at the plate and in the field for Pittsburgh. In 107 games, he’s batting .316 with seven home runs and 39 RBI. According to FanGraphs, his 3.3 WAR is highest on the team among qualified position players.

While the Pirates have no shot at catching the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central, Pittsburgh currently sits 1.5 games out of the NL’s second wild-card spot.

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Francisco Cervelli Injury: Updates on Pirates Catcher’s Wrist and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli left Aug. 10’s game against the San Diego Padres after suffering a wrist injury. However, he’s ready to return.

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Cervelli Active vs. Dodgers

Saturday, Aug. 13

The Pirates announced Cervelli will start Saturday against Los Angeles and bat seventh.

Cervelli Crucial to Pirates Offense, Pitching

Cervelli was a pleasant surprise for the Pirates in 2015. He had big shoes to fill, with Russell Martin leaving for the Toronto Blue Jays, and exceeded expectations. The 30-year-old batted .295 with seven home runs and 43 RBI.

FanGraphs ranked Cervelli second among qualified catchers in WAR (3.8), one spot ahead of Martin (3.5).

Despite the fact that he had played only one full season with the team, the Pirates thought enough of Cervelli to offer him a three-year extension worth $31 million.

This year hasn’t gone according to plan, however. Cervelli suffered a hand injury June 10 against the St. Louis Cardinals:

The Pirates announced he had broken a hamate bone in his left hand, which required surgery.

Since he has already missed a significant chunk of the 2016 season, it’s good to see Cervelli avoid a serious injury this time around for Pittsburgh.

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Ivan Nova to Pirates: Latest Trade Details, Comments, Reaction

The New York Yankees continued to be sellers on Monday, trading starting pitcher Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Yankees announced they received two players to be named later in exchange for Nova after Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball first reported the deal.

New York already traded relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs, Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians and Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers, per Yankees PR. New York enters sell mode and is now building toward the future rather than pursuing the playoffs from fourth place in the American League East.

As for Nova, the 2016 campaign is his first full one since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014. He did pitch last year but didn’t make his first appearance until June.

Nova struggled some in recent seasons with an 8.27 ERA in four starts in 2014 and a 5.07 ERA in 17 starts last year. His numbers are pedestrian again in 2016, although they are slightly misleading because he struggled so much in June. According to ESPN.com, Nova posted a 7.52 ERA in five June starts and failed to pitch more than five innings in his last three appearances.

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors pointed out that “home runs have long been a problem for Nova, but he’s seen his homer-to-fly ball ratio spike to nearly 21 percent this season, which is almost certain to regress moving forward. Escaping the homer-happy confines of Yankee Stadium certainly wouldn’t hurt, in that regard.”

The 29-year-old Nova has allowed 19 home runs this year, but if that regression does come outside of Yankee Stadium, his new team will receive a more effective pitcher down the stretch.

What’s more, Adams noted that Nova came at “a fairly affordable price.” Spotrac indicates that he’ll make $4.1 million in 2016, part of which the Yankees have already paid.

Nova doesn’t bring much star power to the table, but he did flash his overall potential in 2013—which was the last time he made 20 starts. A replication of his 3.10 ERA would fit in any rotation, and Pittsburgh will look for him to pitch at that type of high level following this trade.

Nova is likely never going to be an ace, but he should provide quality innings at a reasonable cost for his new team as it chases a possible playoff berth.


Unless otherwise noted, trade information courtesy of the Yankees’ PR Twitter account.

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Jonathon Niese Trade Rumors: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Pirates SP

With the Pittsburgh Pirates suddenly having an abundance of starting pitchers to choose from, Jon Niese is emerging as a potential trade candidate.   

Continue for updates. 

Niese on Trade Block

Thursday, July 14

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune, the Pirates are “trying to move Niese and/or [Jeff] Locke” to make room in their starting rotation. 

News of Niese’s availability is hardly a surprise. Biertempfel reported on July 6, one day before Tyler Glasnow was called up from Triple-A, that the Pirates “quietly contacted” other teams around the league to gauge their interest in the 29-year-old. 

Niese has been a disappointment in Pittsburgh this season after being acquired in a trade with the New York Mets. He owns a 5.13 ERA with 124 hits, 20 home runs allowed and 71 strikeouts in just 101.2 innings pitched. 

The Pirates were forced to stick with Niese in the rotation because they didn’t have other options available or ready, but that’s quickly changing. Glasnow, who was sent back down to Triple-A on July 8, was not listed in the Indianapolis Indians‘ rotation on Wednesday, per Biertempfel. 

They also have Gerrit Cole coming off the disabled list for a start Saturday. They called up Jameson Taillon last month. Francisco Liriano and Chad Kuhl are slated to start in the first series with Cole out of the All-Star break. 

At 46-43, Pittsburgh is 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. It doesn’t have time to wait for Niese to figure things out, with teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Mets in the wild-card mix. 

Niese’s contract holds two team options for 2017 and 2018 with a $500,000 buyout, per Baseball-Reference.com. His lackluster performance this year will make it hard for those options to get picked up, but his experience would provide some insurance for a team in need of rotation depth to make it through the rest of 2016 without burning through a young arm.

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Jameson Taillon Showing Early Signs He Can Be MLB’s Next Young Ace

In his first two big league starts, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon has faced off against Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, arguably the two biggest studs in the defending National League champion New York Mets‘ stable.

Welcome to The Show, kid.

Taillon was solid in his debut on June 8, allowing three runs on six hits through six innings in a 6-5 loss to the Mets.

On Tuesday, Taillon was spectacular. The 24-year-old carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and wound up tossing eight shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in a 4-0 Pirates win.

While the usual sample-size caveats apply, Pittsburgh fans should be excited. This kid is showing signs he can be MLB‘s next ace in the making.

That was the expectation when the Pirates took Taillon out of high school with the second overall pick in the 2010 draft—one spot after Bryce Harper and ahead of current stars Manny Machado, Matt Harvey and Chris Sale.

In 2014, Tommy John surgery interrupted Taillon’s ascent through the Pirates’ system. Add a sports hernia in 2015 and he wound up missing two full seasons.

He began his comeback this year in Triple-A, where he posted a 2.04 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 61.2 innings before getting the long-awaited call.

In a way, it was fitting that Taillon immediately squared off against other, more accomplished young players like Syndergaard and deGrom. Lofty comparisons will follow him, fair or not, because of his draft pedigree.

“I definitely see them, definitely know they’re up there doing their thing,” Taillon said of the elite players in his draft class, per Baseball America‘s Vince Lara-Cinisomo. “At the same time, I’m still only 24. I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. I feel like I’m in a good spot to go up there and make sure people consider me a good grab from that class, too, and throw me in with those names.”

Taillon’s start on Tuesday was made possible by a triceps injury that landed Pittsburgh ace Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list, according to Adam Berry of MLB.com.

That makes Taillon’s presence especially important for Pittsburgh, which is hanging around the edges of the NL playoff race at 33-31, behind both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the top-heavy NL Central.

The Pirates offense ranks among the top five in the Senior Circuit in runs scored, batting average and OPS. But no member of the Bucs’ current rotation outside of Cole owns a sub-4.00 ERA.

It’s too much to expect Taillon to immediately assume the No. 1 starter mantle. There will be bumps in the road, as there almost always are with rookie pitchers.

On Tuesday, though, we watched a guy with the poise and stuff to be special in a robust rookie class that’s already challenging last season’s bumper crop.

His plus fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, crackled. His curveball baffled. Even the first hit he surrendered in the seventh was a positive sign, as Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout explained:

[Curtis] Granderson’s single wasn’t hit hard, and it was on the ground, and Taillon promptly erased Granderson by getting Yoenis Cespedes to ground into a double play. He then got Kelly Johnson to ground out, and both Johnson and Taillon walked back to their respective dugouts visibly annoyed — Johnson because he couldn’t figure Taillon out, and Taillon presumably because, at least in the record books, his start would go down as being merely terrific, rather than transcendent.

There will be time for transcendence. The Pirates may need it if they plan to get back onto the October stage, just as they may need another right-handerNo. 1 prospect and 2011 fifth-round pick Tyler Glasnowto quickly follow in Taillon’s footsteps.

For the moment, Pittsburgh can revel in a once-hyped blue-chipper making good.

Welcome to The Show, Jameson Taillon. Grab a rosin bag and stay a while.


All statistics current as of June 14 and courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Gerrit Cole Injury: Updates on Pirates Star’s Triceps and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday due to a triceps injury. It is uncertain when he will return to action.  

Continue for updates.

Cole to DL, Taillon Called Up

Tuesday, June 14

Adam Berry of MLB.com reported touted prospect Jameson Taillon will take Cole’s place in the rotation. Cole, 25, lasted only two innings in a June 10 start against the St. Louis Cardinals due to a triceps injury. The results of an MRI have not been disclosed.

Cole Comments on Injury

Tuesday, June 14

“I’m all right,” Cole told reporters. “I’ll be fine.”

Cole’s Injury Will Be Major Blow to Pirates Rotation

The 25-year-old right-hander emerged as one of the top pitchers in the National League in 2015. He posted a 2.60 ERA and struck out 202 batters in 208 innings as part of his breakout campaign. So it’s no surprise Pittsburgh’s hopes this season are heavily dependent on him.

On the injury front, Cole was limited to just 22 starts in 2014 due to shoulder and lat issues. He bounced back nicely last season as he made 32 appearances for the Buccos. This year, he dealt with a rib cage problem during spring training but returned for the second series of the regular season.

A much bigger burden will fall on the shoulders of Francisco Liriano to lead the starting staff. It could also lead to more important outings for Juan Nicasio and Jeff Locke as the team is forced to reshuffle the rotation.

Ultimately, the Pirates will struggle to replicate Cole’s production and the staff as a whole could battle inconsistency without him providing stability every fifth day.


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Francisco Cervelli Injury: Updates on Pirates Catcher’s Hand and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli has been placed on the 15-day disabled list after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand. 

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Cervelli Can Resume Full Baseball Activities in 4-6 Weeks

Saturday, June 11

According to the team’s official Twitter account, Cervelli underwent surgery Saturday. 

Cervelli had the unenviable task of replacing Russell Martin last year. Not only was Martin a fan favorite in the Steel City, but FanGraphs also ranked him third among all catchers in WAR (5.0) in 2014.

Swapping Martin with Cervelli was a somewhat odd move at the time since Cervelli had never caught for a full season. Ninety-three games was his previous career high.

Then the 30-year-old posted an impressive .295 batting average with seven home runs and 43 runs batted in, and according to Baseball Prospectus, he was also the second-best defensive catcher in MLB. Only Buster Posey (5.7) finished with a higher WAR on FanGraphs at the position than Cervelli (3.8), who narrowly edged out Martin (3.5).

Now it will be up to Chris Stewart to replace Cervelli behind the plate. Stewart appeared in 107 games during his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, batting .292 with a .336 slugging percentage. He’s a more than serviceable backup until Cervelli returns.

Still, the Pirates will hope their starting catcher isn’t out longer than the estimated timetable. The margins will be slim in the National League Central, particularly among those fighting for the wild card. Pittsburgh can’t afford to be without Cervelli for a major stretch of time.

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Andrew McCutchen Injury: Updates on Pirates Star’s Thumb and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen exited Thursday’s game against the Miami Marlins after experiencing “right thumb discomfort,” per the team

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Rodriguez Replaces McCutchen

Thursday, June 2

McCutchen went 0-for-3 on Thursday before leaving the game. Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects confirmed Sean Rodriguez took McCutchen’s spot in the lineup.

In addition to the potential hazards that roaming the outfield and running toward the wall present, McCutchen has been a magnet for being hit by pitches when he steps into the batter’s box. Pitchers have to be aggressive in going after a tremendous hitter such as McCutchen.

Despite being plucked rather often—12 times in 2015—there’s no denying McCutchen’s toughness and durability, as he’s averaged approximately 155 games played over the prior six seasons.

Injuries haven’t really hampered the 29-year-old at any point in his career, so Pittsburgh fans ought not to worry too much about his long-term future.

McCutchen is nevertheless the face of the Pirates franchise and can’t be lost for any significant stretch of time if the club hopes to build on the recent success it has found. Perhaps the Pirates can rally around McCutchen’s absence and play inspired baseball in the short term.

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Ryan Vogelsong Injury: Updates on Pirates Pitcher’s Head and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was carted off the field in the second inning of Monday’s game against the Colorado Rockies after being struck in the head by a Jordan Lyles fastball. He suffered facial fractures and has been placed on the disabled list. It is uncertain when he will be able to return to action.

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Latest on Vogelsong’s Playing Status 

Tuesday, May 24

The Pirates announced that Vogelsong has been placed on the 15-day DL.

Vogelsong Admitted to Hospital

Monday, May 23

The Pirates announced that Vogelsong was transported to Allegheny General Hospital, where he will be evaluated. The team noted it will provide more details on Tuesday.

His wife Nicole would later confirm that Vogelsong was stable and “will be OK.”

Vogelsong Hit by 92 MPH Pitch

Monday, May 23

The Pirates’ official Twitter account provided an image of Vogelsong exiting the contest after trainers examined him:

Christopher Horner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review captured an image of the impact of Lyles’ pitch as it ricocheted off Vogelsong’s cheek:

Pirates Have Depth to Account for Vogelsong’s Absence

Usually a relief pitcher with infrequent opportunities to bat, Vogelsong was a spot starter Monday in a makeup game that was previously postponed. It was only his second plate appearance of the 2016 campaign.

The 38-year-old pitched two scoreless innings and was credited with an RBI due to the bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, but the chief concern is obviously his health. Wilfredo Boscan replaced Vogelsong to begin the third inning.

Although Pittsburgh’s bullpen depth may suffer in the short term, the starting staff was tied for 10th in quality starts entering Monday’s action. The Pirates also have a strong batting order to count on and were second in all of baseball with a .280 team average before their showdown with the Rockies.

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Jung Ho Kang Injury: Updates on Pirates Star’s Hand and Return

Pittsburgh Pirates star infielder Jung Ho Kang left the field during Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies with a hand injury suffered in the sixth inning. He’s considered day-to-day, per Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but it is uncertain when he will return to the field.

Continue for updates.

Kang Out vs. Rockies

Monday, May 23

The Pirates announced that Kang will not play against Colorado on Monday.

Hurdle Comments on Kang’s Injury

Sunday, May 22

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters it is unclear when Kang will be available and that he will need to run through some tests, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette“Put the bat in his hands, that was the complicated part for him yesterday was swinging the bat,” Hurdle added, per Brink.

Kang Struggling to Shake Injury Bug

Kang was in the midst of a fine rookie MLB season last year before suffering a torn MCL and fractured left leg when he took a hard slide from then-Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan in September. The 29-year-old had a WAR of 4.0 last season, registering a slash line of .287/.355/.461, per ESPN.com.

The Pirates did well to bolster infield depth by acquiring David Freese in free agency. The 2011 World Series MVP gives Pittsburgh flexibility and fills the spot at the hot corner, where Kang played in his maiden MLB campaign.

Freese can fill in at third while Jordy Mercer occupies shortstop. Mercer isn’t the caliber of hitter that Kang is, so the others in the lineup will have to step up while Kang recovers.

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