Tag: Francisco Cervelli

ken giles

Video: Ken Giles has heated exchange with Ryne Sandberg and Bob McClure in Phillies dugout


One day after Red Sox manager John Farrell and left-hander Wade Miley had an argument in the dugout, we saw something similar with the Phillies last night. Watch below as reliever Ken Giles got into it with manager Ryne Sandberg and pitching coach Bob McClure:

This was apparently a difference of opinion on strategy in the eighth inning after Giles committed a throwing error which allowed Josh Harrison to move to second base with two outs. He was instructed to intentionally walk Pedro Alvarez in order to pitch to Francisco Cervelli, but was visibly frustrated with the decision. After giving Alvarez the free pass, he walked Cervelli to loaded the bases and went 3-0 on Jordy Mercer before battling back to strike him out. He made a gesture toward the dugout as he was walking off the mound, which set the stage for the confrontation.

According to Nate Barnes of CSNPhilly.com, Sandberg attempted to downplay the incident after the game while also gently saying that Giles was out of line:

“Everything’s taken care of in-house,” Sandberg said. “Everything’s fine.”

But in a 0-0 game, the coaching staff didn’t take too kindly to Giles’ ill-timed antics.

“I do like to have players with emotions,” Sandberg said. “There’s a time and a place and a situation to show that.”

The Phillies ended up losing 1-0 to the Pirates in 13 innings. Giles was unavailable for comment after the marathon game.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Corey Kluber

Indians 5, Mariners 3: My lord, when Corey Kluber is on, he’s on. Kluber struck out 13 in seven innings. Over his last four starts, he’s 3-0 with 50 strikeouts and two walks in 32 innings. Which, whoa.

Athletics 5, Yankees 4: The A’s were down 3-0 but battled back, with Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie homering off of CC Sabathia and Ben Zobrist drawing a bases-loaded walk from David Carpenter in the seventh. The A’s have won 10 of 11 from the Yankees in Oakland. Sort of makes Yankees fans wish that the A’s were still the Yankees’ defacto farm team. Sadly, it’s not the 1950s anymore. Or maybe not so sadly. Man, the 1950s were terrible. Just truly awful by most measures. That we think otherwise is because of rock music, Fonzie and your parents and grandparents hating and resenting the hippies and pining for a simpler time. But my god, we had awful racism, extreme social and emotional repression and that’s before you even get to the constant paranoia brought on by the threat of nuclear annihilation. Makes the Yankees stealing guys like Clete Boyer, Bobby Shantz, Ralph Terry, Art Ditmar, Ryne Duren and Roger Maris look like child’s play.

White Sox 3, Orioles 2; Orioles 6, White Sox 3: Chris Sale dominated in the first game, as we discussed yesterday. The O’s win the second. With most split doubleheaders, there is a sense of whether it was worth it. After the second game Buck Showalter reminded everyone why the Sox and O’s were there yesterday. Specifically, the Baltimore riots a few weeks back:

“Let’s keep in mind why we’re playing these two games. It was self-inflicted,” Showalter said. “I think sometimes we lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing today.”

Anything equally deep to add, Robin Ventura?

“Supposed to be an off day for us. We played two games,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Now we’re all tired.”

Really makes you think.

Red Sox 5, Rangers 1: Welcome to the big leagues Eduardo Rodriguez. The just-called-up-yesterday Rodriguez tossed seven and two-thirds shutout innings allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out seven. He looked close to untouchable. Josh Hamilton made his return to Texas and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single.

Angels 12, Tigers 2: Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols and Matt Joyce all homered. Iannetta’s was a grand slam. Most of the damage came against Tigers starter Buck Farmer. Which is one hell of a name if nothing else. A guy could go places with a name like Buck Farmer.

Pirates 11, Padres 5: Seven in a row for Pittsburgh, as their offense continues to click. Jung Ho Kang, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco all went deep and Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Francisco Cervelli had three hits a piece. A.J. Burnett won his fifth in a row. The Pirates dug a hole for themselves early, but the Cardinals’ injuries and inevitable regression — is it inevitable? I dunno, but go with me here — could have the Buccos back in this thing soon.

Giants 7, Braves 0: A nice duel between Chris Heston and Shelby Miller, with Heston making no mistakes and Miller’s only mistake being a homer to Brandon Belt. Then the Braves’ bullpen came in and barfed up six runs with a quickness, giving everyone license to turn the TV off early. Brandon Cunniff and Donnie Veal were the arsonists here.

Pirates activate Chris Stewart, send Tony Sanchez to minors

Tony Sanchez
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Francisco Cervelli has a new backup, as the Pirates activated catcher Chris Stewart from the disabled list and demoted Tony Sanchez to Triple-A.

Sanchez was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft, but the Pirates have never felt comfortable turning to him as a regular (even though Sanchez tweets about being ready for an expanded role every year, like clockwork).

He’ll be 27 years old next month, yet Sanchez has logged just 155 plate appearances in the majors spread over three seasons and now rather than keep him a backup role over a light-hitting journeyman like Stewart the Pirates are sending him to Triple-A for a fourth season.

Yankees designate catcher Austin Romine for assignment

New York Yankees Photo Day

Sweeny Murti of WFAN reports the Yankees have designated catcher Austin Romine for assignment. This means that John Ryan Murphy will serve as Brian McCann’s backup this season.

A former top-100 prospect, the 26-year-old Romine struggled in Triple-A last season and batted just .182 (6-for-33) with one double and a .441 OPS over 18 games during Grapefruit League action. He entered this spring out of options, so the Yankees couldn’t send him to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers.

Murphy was No. 3 on the depth chart last season, but he was the favorite to backup McCann after Francisco Cervelli was traded to the Pirates over the winter. The 23-year-old batted .280/.318/.370 across 85 plate appearances with the Bombers in 2014.

2015 Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

mccutchen hurdle getty

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Big Question: Can the Bucs make a third consecutive trip to the postseason?

In 2013, the Pirates snapped a painful 20-year October drought and advanced through the National League Wild Card Game to the NLDS, where they lost in five games to the division-rival Cardinals.

In 2014, the Pirates made it back to the National League Wild Card Game but fell to the eventual World Series-champion Giants.

Postseason baseball is an expectation now in Pittsburgh, and this 2015 group looks amply equipped to keep the tradition going. Let’s start with the outfield, which might be baseball’s best …

Andrew McCutchen, starting center fielder, has finished top three in the National League MVP voting each of the last three seasons. He posted a career-high and National League-leading 168 OPS+ in 2014 and he doesn’t turn 29 years old until October 10, 2015. A good defender to boot, “Cutch” is probably the second-best overall position player in the major leagues. Starling Marte, the Pirates’ 26-year-old starting left fielder, batted .291/.356/.453 with 13 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 135 games last season. He’s getting better every year, and the Pirates have him under contract through at least 2019 at a very team-friendly rate. Gregory Polanco, right field, was ranked a top 10 prospect by Baseball America before the 2014 season. He struggled in 89 games as a rookie, but well-built 23-year-old has all the tools to become a star.

These three can hit, field, and they’re all in or very near their baseball prime.

In the starting rotation the Pirates also have a couple of building blocks: Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. Cole battled a right lat injury in 2014 that limited him to 138 regular-season innings, but it shouldn’t be a lingering thing and he has looked sharp this spring in the Grapefruit League. The former No. 1 overall pick (2011, out of UCLA) boasts a 3.45 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9 through his first 255 1/3 career major league innings. He’s only 24 years old and under club control through 2019. Liriano was the biggest bargain of the offseason, re-signing with the Pirates for three years and $39 million in a free agent market where Ervin Santana scored four years, $55 million. Liriano has delivered a 3.20 ERA and 9.4 K/9 in 55 starts over the last two seasons with Pittsburgh. He’s only 31 years old — the same age as $155 million man Jon Lester.

It’s a strong core, and with a few surprises from other players on the roster the Pirates should be in the mix all year for another Wild Card spot and maybe even the National League Central title.

What else is going on?

  • Francisco Liriano has never pitched more than 200 innings in a season, and neither has Gerrit Cole. Pittsburgh will be hoping that changes in 2015 because the rest of the rotation is a little bit iffy. A.J. Burnett left money on the table to sign with the Bucs this offseason and he had great success in 2012-2013 under Pirates coaching coach Ray Searage — the new go-to reclamation project guru — but the 38-year-old righty posted a rough 4.59 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 34 starts last summer with the Phillies. He might be beyond saving. Charlie Morton had a pedestrian 96 ERA+ in 2014 and Vance Worley is due for some serious regression after managing a 2.85 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in his first 110 2/3 innings with the Bucs.
  • Top pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow may be able to provide some help in the second half. Taillon, the No. 29 prospect on Baseball America’s latest Top 100, is on his way back from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. He’s expected to start pitching in minor league games in May. Glasnow, No. 16 on Baseball America’s Top 100, hasn’t appeared in a game above High-A ball but looks to be a fast-riser. Baseball Prospectus recently ranked the Pirates’ farm system eighth overall.
  • Josh Harrison broke out in 2014 just as Pedro Alvarez’s defensive issues at third base began to boil over. Alvarez has been moved into a first-base platoon with Corey Hart and Harrison enters 2015 as the starter at the hot corner. Harrison was a 2014 National League All-Star and even earned MVP votes after batting .315/.347/.490 with 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 143 games. The 27-year-old began the 2014 season as a utilityman. It was quite a rise, though his past numbers suggest he is in for a dropoff.
  • Losing catcher Russell Martin to free agency leaves a sting, but the Pirates did pretty well to fill the void in acquiring Francisco Cervelli from the Yankees last November for lefty reliever Justin Wilson. Cervelli, 29, has batted .293/.372/.449 in 223 plate appearances over the last two seasons and is decent defensively. He shouldn’t be expected to carry that kind of batting line over a full starter’s slate, but something remotely close would be great. Cervelli is hitting very well in the Grapefruit League this spring.
  • Jung Ho Kang drew interest from a range of Major League Baseball teams this winter after hitting .356/.459/.739 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games last season for the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization. But it was the Pirates who landed him with a $5,002,015 posting fee and four-year, $11 million major league contract. Kang was a superstar in South Korea, and the usually-frugal Pittsburgh front office surprised a lot of people by nabbing him off the international market. $16 million isn’t a big amount of money for most clubs, but it is for the Pirates. Kang, 27, is expected to open the 2015 season in a utility infield role. If his defense is good enough, he could eventually steal playing time from shortstop Jordy Mercer, who batted .255 with a .305 on-base percentage in 2014.

Prediction: McCutchen, Marte, and Polanco will help lead the Pirates to a second place finish in the National League Central and a third straight appearance in the National League Wild Card Game.