November 2007 - Pittsburgh Pirates Wiretap
Phillies Claim LHP Youman Off Waivers From Pirates
The Phillies claimed lefthander Shane Youman off waivers from the Pirates on Wednesday. The 28-year-old went 3-5 with a 5.97 ERA in 16 games with the Pirates last season.
Pittsburgh Names Don Long Hitting Coach
Don Long, who spent the past nine seasons as the Phillies' minor league hitting coordinator, was named hitting coach for the Pirates on Tuesday.
Pirates Among Several Teams Inquiring About Clement
The Pirates are one of six teams to have contacted free-agent starter Matt Clement, a Butler native returning from shoulder surgery, but it is far from certain they will be a serious bidder. Toronto, San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona and Colorado also have contacted Clement's agent Barry Axelrod, with the Blue Jays apparently stressing Clement as a priority. All those teams will have higher payrolls than the Pirates in 2008. It is likely that Clement will receive one-year offers, typical for pitchers fresh off surgery and that he will not come close to his most recent salary of $6 million. Clement, 33, last pitched in June 2006 for Boston. He had surgery to repair three tears in his right shoulder that September. It was not until two months ago that he retook the mound for simulated games and in the Florida Instructional League. Axelrod has assured teams Clement is ready to pitch immediately.
Pirates Waive Josh Phelps
The Pittsburgh Pirates cut former Toronto Blue Jay Josh Phelps from their 40-man roster in a surprise move late Tuesday. Pittsburgh designated Phelps for assignment along with right-hander Josh Sharpless and lefty Shane Youman. The latter two must pass through waivers before they can be assigned to a Pirates farm team, while Phelps is prohibited from re-signing with Pittsburgh until May 15.
Pirates Claim RHP Barthmaier Off Waivers From Astros
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced they have added three players from within their organization to the 40-man roster and claimed right-handed pitcher Jimmy Barthmaier off waivers from the Houston Astros. Olivo Astacio (RHP) ? Signed by Pittsburgh as a minor league free agent on 3/9/06 after spending three seasons in the Boston farm system?Went 1-2 with 12 saves and a 4.93 ERA while striking out 91 batters in 65.2ip over 38 relief appearances between Hickory (A), Lynchburg (A) and Altoona (AA) in 2007?The 6?6? native of the Dominican Republic also ranked 14th in all of minor league baseball in strikeouts/per 9.0ip in 2007. Jimmy Barthmaier (RHP) ? Was claimed today off waivers from Houston?Spent 2007 season with Corpus Christi (AA) and has gone 30-27 with a 3.67 ERA in 98 career games (84 starts) in the minor leagues?Was Houston?s 13th round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft?Led Carolina League with 134 strikeouts and 146.2ip and ranked second with 11 wins in 2006 and was rated by Baseball America as the Astros fourth-best prospect prior to the 2007 campaign. Ronald Belisario (RHP) ? Signed by Pittsburgh as a minor league free agent on 11/9/06?Native of Venezuela was originally signed by Florida as a non-drafted free agent on 8/2/99?Went 1-3 with four saves and a 3.97 ERA in 37 games between Lynchburg and Altoona in 2007?Was a member of Florida?s 40-man roster in 2004-05. Brian Bixler (INF) ? Pittsburgh?s second round selection in 2004 First-Year Player Draft?Was named to both the International League?s mid-season and post-season All-Star teams?Spent entire 2007 campaign with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he hit .274 with 23 doubles, five home runs, 51 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 129 games...Also shared the International League lead with 10 triples and ranked fourth with 77 runs scored...Led league shortstops in games (113) total chances (485) and double plays (80) in 2007?Hit a combined .302 in 133 games between Lynchburg and Altoona in 2006 and was named to the Carolina League mid and post-season All-Star squads?Was a non-roster invitee with Pittsburgh this past spring training. The Pirates also announced today that they have designated for assignment pitchers Josh Sharpless and Shane Youman, along with first baseman Josh Phelps. The 40-man roster now contains 40 players (24 pitchers, 2 catchers, 7 infielders and 7 outfielders).
Pittsburgh One Of Five Teams Interested In Reliever Yabuta
The Pirates are one of five teams trying to sign Japanese relief pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta. Yabuta, 34, a right-hander, had a 2.73 earned run average in 58 appearances for the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2007, then declared for free agency. The Pirates last winter signed Japanese reliever Masumi Kuwata. He pitched in 19 games for them. Kuwata seemed to enjoy his stint with the Pirates, which could help them in their bid to sign Yabuta.
Pirates Decline Option On Izturis
The Pirates declined their club option on infielder Cesar Izturis for the 2008 season, and he has elected free agency.
Power-Hitting Wilson Would Like To Return To Pittsburgh
Craig Wilson would welcome a return to the Pirates. Wilson, the power-hitting first baseman-outfielder who hit 29 homers for the Pirates in 2004, is seeking a bench job in the majors and would like to play again for Pittsburgh. He was dealt to the Yankees at the trading deadline in 2006 and has since been in the Yankees, Braves and White Sox organizations.
Official: John Russell Hired To Manage Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that John Russell has been hired as the 38th manager in team history. The announcement was made by Senior Vice President and General Manager Neal Huntington. Russell, 46, spent the last two seasons as the Triple-A manager in the Philadelphia organization. He was named the International League Manager of the Year after guiding Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to the Northern Division title in 2006. Russell, who served as manager at the 2007 International League All-Star Game, managed Ottawa last season. ?John is absolutely the best choice to lead our ballclub. His positive energy, intense passion for the game and strong managerial experience set him apart from every other potential candidate we considered,? said Huntington. ?John has been extremely successful getting the most out of his young players in his 10-plus years of managing. He is a great teacher of the game, an exhaustive communicator and tireless worker. He will ensure that our players continue to improve at the Major League level and play the game with the pride and passion of Pirate baseball.? After retiring as a player, Russell spent eight years (1995-2002) as a minor league manager in the Minnesota organization. He was named 2002 Minor League Manager of the Year and ?Best Managerial Prospect? by Baseball America when his Edmonton club captured the Pacific Coast League crown. In addition, John was tabbed as the Eastern League's "Top Managerial Prospect" by Baseball America after guiding his New Britain club to a first-place finish in 1998. In addition to his minor league managing career, John managed the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League in 2002 and was with the Peoria club this year. Russell also managed in Venezuela during the 2006 offseason and led the Maracaibo team to the playoffs for the first time in six years. ?I am proud to be the new manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I felt this was an ideal opportunity for me. It was very clear to me that the new leadership of this organization shares a vision of excellence and has made a commitment to build a winning organization,? said Russell. ?It is my responsibility to restore the culture of pride and passion in the clubhouse. We will not be outworked or out-prepared. We will now assemble a team of coaches who are energetic and enthusiastic teachers. As a staff, our teaching will not end when a player makes it to the Major Leagues or when the Major League club heads north after Spring Training.? This will be Russell?s second tour of duty with the Pirates, as he served as the club?s Third Base Coach and major league catching instructor for three seasons (2003-05). ?Having coached here before is an advantage in the sense that I understand the challenges we face. I also understand the passion and energy of Pirates fans,? said Russell. ?The Club has changed a lot since I was here in 2005. I am excited by the many talented, young players who have joined the club since 2005. With proper preparation and dedication I believe we can restore a winning culture within our clubhouse.? Originally selected by the Phillies in the first round of the 1982 June draft, the former catcher made his major league debut in 1984. He played in a total of 448 big-league games with Philadelphia (1984-88), Atlanta (1988) and Texas (1990-93). John caught Nolan Ryan?s sixth career no-hitter on June 11, 1990.
Sources: Russell To Be Named New Pirates' Manager
John Russell, manager of the Phillies' AAA farm club Lehigh Valley, will be named manager of the Pirates, sources confirmed for ESPN.com Saturday. The Pirates are expected to officially introduce Russell, a former Pirates third-base coach, at a Monday morning press conference at PNC Park, according to the Beaver County Times. Russell, 46, will succeed Jim Tracy, who was fired Oct. 5 after two seasons with one year remaining on his contract. The Pirates lost 95 games in 2006 and 94 games last year.