Kerrigan will return in 2010


Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan today confirmed he will return for the 2010 season.

“It’s been a great experience here because of the young pitchers and their personalities,” Kerrigan said. “I’ve really enjoyed it as much as any year I’ve spent as a pitching coach.”

Exact terms of Kerrigan’s contract were not released, but it’s likely he got a one-year deal. Kerrigan, 55, was hired this past offseason after working as a broadcaster in 2008 in Philadelphia.

Kerrigan’s return is tied into the departure of Rich Donnelly. The Pirates chose not to renew the contract of Donnelly, who served the past two years as an instructor/advisor to the Baseball Operations department.

“As we look toward next year, we will shift the focus of (Donnelly’s) position,” GM Neal Huntington said.

The Pirates replace Donnelly with a assistant pitching coach, with the idea of him eventually succeeding Kerrigan.

“Joe will be a mentor,” Huntington said.

· A few days ago, Andy LaRoche told me he hoped to salvage enough from the final few games of the season to boost him to better things in 2010. “I was looking at this year to be that year, my first full season here,” LaRoche said. “There was some good, some bad. My numbers aren’t near where I want them to be. But there was some progress from last year. Hopefully, I can have a breakout year (in 2010).”

Maybe he’s off to an early start. Yesterday, LaRoche had a career day — 5 for 5, two homers, six RBI — in the 11-1 laugher against the Dodgers.

· The Pirates’ home attendance dropped by about 2 percent from last year. The final figure of 1,577,853 is the lowest ever at PNC Park, which opened in 2001, and is the franchise’s worst total since 1998.

· Follow me on Twitter @RobBiertempfel.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

PIRATES (59-96)

  1. Andrew McCutchen cf
  2. Andy LaRoche 3b
  3. Garrett Jones 1b
  4. Ryan Doumit c
  5. Lastings Milledge lf
  6. Brandon Moss rf
  7. Delwyn Young 2b
  8. Luis Cruz ss
  9. Kevin Hart (4-8, 5.38) rhp

CUBS (81-74)

  1. Ryan Theriot ss
  2. Kosuke Fukudome rf
  3. Derrek Lee 1b
  4. Micah Hoffpauir lf
  5. Jeff Baker 3b
  6. Mike Fontenot 2b
  7. Geovany Soto c
  8. Sam Fuld cf
  9. Ryan Dempster (10-8, 3.68) rhp