When you thought it couldn't get worse for Pirates

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Remember that big Manny Ramirez trade last summer? Manny to the Dodgers, Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Andy LaRoche and three prospects to the Pirates.

Fifty-game suspension aside, it worked out pretty well for the Dodgers. And you know Boston is happy with Jason being Jason.

But the Pirates, of course, can’t catch any luck. In addition to a mediocre LaRoche, they received Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox.

Moss is, like LaRoche, quite mediocre as a platoon outfielder. Morris can’t throw strikes in Single-A. And Hansen, once thought to potentially be Jonathan Papelbon’s future replacement, was also wild and on the 60-day disabled list.

Through it all, Pirates GM Neal Huntington has remained optimistic.

But now, as it turns out, the news is even worse. According to John Perrotto at Piratesreport.com, Hansen is suffering from a rare condition that affects a group of nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand.

Recovery is essentially a crap shoot. It can take months. It can take years. It might not happen at all. All you can do is rest the affected area and hope. As Hansen told Perrotto …

“The muscles in my right shoulder have atrophied so much that there would be almost no way that, even if the nerve healed tomorrow, I would be able to get my strength back in time to pitch in a game this year,” Hansen said.

Hansen said that he might come back as a left-hander, showing his sense of humor while in a tough situation.

“I’m thinking about getting a left-hander’s glove and coming back as a lefty,” Hansen said. “I could pitch until I’m 45 and get guys out with my high school curveball.”

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”