Sanchez among 7 set for Fall League

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CHICAGO — The Pirates will send catcher Tony Sanchez, infielders Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison, and outfielder Andrew Lambo to the Arizona Fall League, which begins play Oct. 12.

The Pirates also have three pitcher slots to fill for the AFL. Those will be announced later.

Sanchez, Harrison and Lambo all are listed as playing for Double-A Altoona. Sanchez, the team’s top draft pick last year, has spent this season with High-A Bradenton, but has been out since June 23 with a broken jaw. Sanchez hit .314 with 35 RBI in 59 games.

Lambo was acquired July 31 from the Dodgers as part of the Octavio Dotel trade. In 20 games with Altoona, he’s batting .310 with two homers and 10 RBI.

Harrison was acquired last year from the Cubs in the John Grabow trade. Harrison is hitting .302 with 73 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Mercer, a third-round pick in 2008, is hitting .275.

The Pirates’ prospects will play for the Mesa Solar Sox. The Angels, Cubs, Phillies and Mets also contributed players to the roster.

»»» Throughout this road trip, Lastings Milledge has struggled in the outfield, taking long routes to balls and failing to make catches. Manager John Russell said Milledge has been slow to adjust after being switched from left to right field.

“He doesn’t see the ball as well (in right),” Russell said. “The angle, the view off the bat is different. It’s a matter of getting his first step a little bit better.

Milledge’s woes are bit unusual, Russell said, because it usually tougher for a player to go from right to left. “But I have seen it when a guy just gets comfortable on one side and it’s hard to switch.”

»»» Reliever Evan Meek (bruised right hand) will try to play catch before Wednesday’s game. The Pirates are hopeful he might be able to return to action sometime this weekend.

»»» Bradenton outfielder Quincy Latimore and reliever Noah Krol were named to the High-A Florida State League postseason all-star team.

Latimore, a fourth-round draft pick in 2007, leads the league in RBI (98) and total bases (219) and is second in extra-base hits (50). The last Pirates minor leaguer to finish with 100 RBI in a minor league season was Steve Pearce, who got a combined 113 in 2007 for High-A Lynchburg, Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.

Krol leads the FSL in saves (33), appearances (61) and games finished (60). He ranks fourth in the minors in saves.

»»» No Indy players were named to the International League postseason all-star team. Last night, Indy was eliminated from playoff contention.

»»» Colleen Hronich will discuss her book, “The Whistling Irishman: Danny Murtaugh Remembered,” on Friday at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Hronich is the granddaughter of Murtaugh, the former Pirates manager.

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Sanchez, Lambo, Harrison to AFL

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CHICAGO — The Pirates will send catcher Tony Sanchez, infielder Josh Harrison and outfielder Andrew Lambo to the Arizona Fall League, which begins play Oct. 12.

The Pirates also have three pitcher slots to fill for the AFL. Those will be announced later.

Sanchez, Harrison and Lambo all are listed as playing for Double-A Altoona. Sanchez, the team’s top draft pick last year, has spent this season with High-A Bradenton, but has been out since June 23 with a broken jaw. Sanchez hit .314 with 35 RBI in 59 games.

Lambo was acquired July 31 from the Dodgers as part of the Octavio Dotel trade. In 20 games with Altoona, he’s batting .310 with two homers and 10 RBI.

Harrison was acquired last year from the Cubs in the John Grabow trade. Harrison is hitting .302 with 73 RBI and 19 stolen bases.

The Pirates’ prospects will play for the Mesa Solar Sox. The Angels, Cubs, Phillies and Mets also contributed players to the roster.

»»» Throughout this road trip, Lastings Milledge has struggled in the outfield, taking long routes to balls and failing to make catches. Manager John Russell said Milledge has been slow to adjust after being switched from left to right field.

“He doesn’t see the ball as well (in right),” Russell said. “The angle, the view off the bat is different. It’s a matter of getting his first step a little bit better.

Milledge’s woes are bit unusual, Russell said, because it usually tougher for a player to go from right to left. “But I have seen it when a guy just gets comfortable on one side and it’s hard to switch.”

»»» Reliever Evan Meek (bruised right hand) will try to play catch before Wednesday’s game. The Pirates are hopeful he might be able to return to action sometime this weekend.

»»» Bradenton outfielder Quincy Latimore and reliever Noah Krol were named to the High-A Florida State League postseason all-star team.

Latimore, a fourth-round draft pick in 2007, leads the league in RBI (98) and total bases (219) and is second in extra-base hits (50). The last Pirates minor leaguer to finish with 100 RBI in a minor league season was Steve Pearce, who got a combined 113 in 2007 for High-A Lynchburg, Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.

Krol leads the FSL in saves (33), appearances (61) and games finished (60). He ranks fourth in the minors in saves.

»»» No Indy players were named to the International League postseason all-star team. Last night, Indy was eliminated from playoff contention.

»»» Colleen Hronich will discuss her book, “The Whistling Irishman: Danny Murtaugh Remembered,” on Friday at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Hronich is the granddaughter of Murtaugh, the former Pirates manager.

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Jones in batting funk

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CHICAGO — In the fourth inning Monday, Garrett Jones was thrown out trying to stretch a leadoff single into a double. It figures. Jones has been in a funk much of the second half of the season. Over the previous 29 games, he went 14 for 107 (.131).

“When he’s not feeling right at the plate, he tries to do too much mentally to get himself right,” manager John Russell said. “He’s still a little bit streaky. We’ve got to get him to where he’s more consistent.”

Jones went 2 for 4 last night, although he went 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position. Despite his recent slump, Jones is on track to finish with 24 homers and 88 RBI.

“People forget this is his first full year in the big leagues,” Russell said. “He’s still going through a lot of the adjustments that a 24-year-old goes through, even though he’s 29.”

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (43-87) – 1. Andrew McCutchen 8, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. Jeff Karstens (2-10, 4.98) rhp

Cubs (56-76) – 1. Blake DeWitt 2b, 2. Starlin Castro ss, 3. Marlon Byrd cf, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Xavier Nady 1b, 6. Alfonso Soriano lf, 7. Tyler Colvin rf, 8. Koyie Hill c, 9. Ryan Dempster (12-8, 3.42) rhp

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Singh promoted to State College

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CHICAGO — One of the two Indian pitchers in the Pirates’ system has made it out of the Gulf Coast League.

Left-hander Rinku Singh was promoted to short-season Class A State College. He went 2-0 with one save and a 2.61 ERA in 13 relief outings for the GCL Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.

Singh and righty Dinesh Patel were signed in November 2008 after both were on the Indian TV reality show “Million-Dollar Arm.” Singh beat out 30,000 entrants to win the show and a chance to play in America.

»»» News on a few of the Pirates’ 2010 draft picks: Mel Rojas Jr. (third round) is batting .387 with runners in scoring position for State College. … Right-hander Tyler Waldron (fifth) has allowed two or fewer earned runs in nine of his 13 starts for State College. … Righty Vincent Payne (12th) has not allowed a run in his last four outings, including three starts, for the GCL Pirates. He was promoted to State College on Sunday. … Infielder Matt Curry (16th) ranks sixth in the Class A New York-Penn League with a .888 OPS. … Outfielder Adalberto Santos (22nd) today was named NYPL player of the week. He ranks sixth in the league in batting average (.318), fifth in hits (74) and runs scored (45) and fourth in on-base percentage (.406).

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (43-86) – 1. Andrew McCutchen 8, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Lastings Milledge rf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Paul Maholm (7-12, 4.82) lhp

Cubs (55-76) – 1. Jeff Baker 2b, 2. Starlin Castro ss, 3. Marlon Byrd cf, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Xavier Nady 1b, 6. Alfonso Soriano lf, 7. Tyler Colvin rf, 8. Koyie Hill c, 9. Carlos Zambrano (5-6, 4.64) rhp

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Meek’s hand bruised, not broken

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MILWAUKEE — Reliever Evan Meek this afternoon was struck on his right hand by Ryan Braun’s line drive. Meek’s hand is bruised, not broken, and his status is day to day.

“I do feel lucky,” said Meek, who’s the third Pirates pitcher this season to leave a game after being struck. “I’m thankful it’s not broken. Had my hand not been in the way, I don’t know … I’m glad it wasn’t at my face. I’m still thinking about what happened.”

The incident happened in the eighth inning of the Milwaukee Brewers’ 8-4 victory.

With two outs, Braun hit a smash up the middle. Meek reacted by drawing his arms toward his chest, and the ball hit him on the back of his hand, near his pinky and ring fingers.

“That ball got to me so fast, I had not time to get my glove up or anything,” Meek said.

Meek immediately fell on his back onto the mound and stayed there until the Pirates’ medical crew reached him.

X-rays taken at Miller Park showed no fracture. Meek has a large, red welt which soon will become a bruise and keep him out of action for a while.

Earlier this season, Chris Jakubauskas and Ross Ohlendorf were struck in the head by liners. Jakubauskas had a concussion, went on the 60-day disabled list and has not yet returned to the majors. Ohlendorf had bruises and did not miss any time.

“I’m just thankful that we’re all alive and OK,” Meek said.

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Big day for Morton

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MILWAUKEE — Manager John Russell — along with the entire front office, I’d imagine — is anxious to see how Charlie Morton performs today in his return to the majors.

Morton (1-9, 9.35 ERA) went on the disabled list May 28 with what was described as “shoulder fatigue.” When he used up his rehab time and came off the DL, Morton was immediately sent to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Has Morton rediscovered his confidence? Are his mechanics more finely tuned now than earlier this season, when it seemed every pitch was hit hard?

“We’re not putting a lot of pressure on this start,” Russell said. “We told him, ‘Just make sure you execute and we’ll see what happens after that. Don’t worry about how long you go or the results at the end. Take it one pitch, one hitter at a time.’ ”

A strained back muscle probably means Ross Ohlendorf is done for the season. Unless he has a total meltdown today, Morton will remain in the rotation in Ohlendorf’s place.

“I don’t see why not,” Russell said.

»»» The rookie trio of Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata  has gone a combined 40 for 104 (.385) with seven homers and 21 RBI against the Brewers this season.

»»» Since his major league debut June 9, Tabata is tied with Albert Pujols for most hits (87) in the National League.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Pirates (43-86) – 1. Jose Tabata cf, 2. Delwyn Young rf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Lastings Milledge lf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Charlie Morton (1-9, 9.35) rhp

Brewers (61-68) – 1. Rickie Weeks 2b, 2. Joe Inglett rf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Chris Dickerson cf, 7. Alcides Escobar ss, 8. George Kottaras c, 9. Dave Bush (6-11, 4.76) rhp

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A manager gone wild

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MILWAUKEE — After being ejected from last night’s game, Class A State College manager Gary Robinson went berserk on the field.

Robinson was tossed by the umpire after Robinson disputed a hit-by-pitch call. Robinson kicked dirt on home plate, then got to his knees and covered the plate with more dirt. Robinson then ran to first base, ripped the bag out of the ground and, as he was walking off the field, autographed the base and handed it to a fan.

Video of the incident was showed today on ESPN and has become a sensation on Youtube.com (click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iMhySXR0hY)

This afternoon, I sent a text to Pirates GM Neal Huntington, asking whether Robinson will be disciplined or fined by either the Pirates or the New York-Penn League. Huntington has not yet responded.

»»» Some leftovers from Bud Selig’s chat last night regarding the Pirates’ leaked financial reports … Selig was asked whether the free-spending Yankees will ever have another losing season: “I don’t know if that’s important or not. All I know is that they went eight years between world championships, and that hadn’t happened in a long time. In the old days, it hadn’t happened at all. Tampa’s doing well again. Boston has been very competitive. Toronto has a very good young club. Baltimore is in a sense like Pittsburgh; everybody loves their young talent. So let’s see how it comes about.” … Selig was upset that the financial data for the Pirates and a few other teams were made public: “I’d rather not have it done. It was not done properly. It’s sad that people violate confidences. I would not do that and I know baseball would not do that. If you give someone your word about something, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” … Selig said the revenue-sharing system likely will be revised during the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreement talks: “The system needs some tweaking, and I’ll figure it out in the next six months. The economic structure of the sport is my proudest accomplishment.”

»»» The Pirates have homered in six straight games at Miller Park, and have gone deep at least twice in five of their past six here. The Pirates are 15-10 when they hit at least two homers in a game.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (43-85) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. Zach Duke (6-12, 5.10) lhp

Brewers (60-68) – 1. Rickie Weeks 2b, 2. Corey Hart rf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Lorenzo Cain cf, 7. Alcides Escobar ss, 8. Jonathan Lucroy c, 9. Chris Capuano (2-2, 3.72) lhp

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Manager gone wild

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MILWAUKEE — After being ejected from last night’s game, Class A State College manager Gary Robinson went berserk on the field.

Robinson was tossed by the umpire after Robinson disputed a hit-by-pitch call. Robinson kicked dirt on home plate, then got to his knees and covered the plate with more dirt. Robinson then ran to first base, ripped the bag out of the ground and, as he was walking off the field, autographed the base and handed it to a fan.

Video of the incident was showed today on ESPN and has become a sensation on Youtube.com (click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iMhySXR0hY)

This afternoon, I sent a text to Pirates GM Neal Huntington, asking whether Robinson will be disciplined or fined by either the Pirates or the New York-Penn League. Huntington has not yet responded.

»»» Some leftovers from Bud Selig’s chat last night regarding the Pirates’ leaked financial reports … Selig was asked whether the free-spending Yankees will ever have another losing season: “I don’t know if that’s important or not. All I know is that they went eight years between world championships, and that hadn’t happened in a long time. In the old days, it hadn’t happened at all. Tampa’s doing well again. Boston has been very competitive. Toronto has a very good young club. Baltimore is in a sense like Pittsburgh; everybody loves their young talent. So let’s see how it comes about.” … Selig was upset that the financial data for the Pirates and a few other teams were made public: “I’d rather not have it done. It was not done properly. It’s sad that people violate confidences. I would not do that and I know baseball would not do that. If you give someone your word about something, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” … Selig said the revenue-sharing system likely will be revised during the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreement talks: “The system needs some tweaking, and I’ll figure it out in the next six months. The economic structure of the sport is my proudest accomplishment.”

»»» The Pirates have homered in six straight games at Miller Park, and have gone deep at least twice in five of their past six here. The Pirates are 15-10 when they hit at least two homers in a game.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (43-85) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. Zach Duke (6-12, 5.10) lhp

Brewers (60-68) – 1. Rickie Weeks 2b, 2. Corey Hart rf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Lorenzo Cain cf, 7. Alcides Escobar ss, 8. Jonathan Lucroy c, 9. Chris Capuano (2-2, 3.72) lhp

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Morton recalled from Indy, will start Sunday

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MILWAUKEE — Right-hander Charlie Morton was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and will start Sunday against the Brewers.

Morton went 1-9 with a 9.35 ERA in 10 starts for the Pirates this season before going on the DL due to shoulder fatigue. After being activated, Morton was optioned to Indy, where he’s gone 4-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 starts.

Lefty reliever Justin Thomas was sent back to Indy to clear a roster spot for Morton.

Morton will take Ross Ohlendorf’s spot in the starting rotation. Ohlendorf likely is done for the year due to a strained back muscle.

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Selig endorses Pirates’ plan, payroll

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MILWAUKEE — Commissioner Bud Selig tonight said the Pirates’ payroll level shows their rebuilding plan is “on the right track.”

Selig added that the Players’ Association six months ago asked to discuss the Pirates’ finances with MLB officials.

“They left satisfied,” Selig said.

Last weekend, the Pirates’ audited financial records for 2007-09 were leaked by The Associated Press. The Pirates turned $34.8 million profit over those three years, despite not finishing above .500 since 1992.

“I’m satisfied they are making good progress right now,” Selig said. “We’ve had other franchises that were in somewhat the same shape. Minnesota went 10-12 years losing, Detroit went a lot, Milwaukee went a lot. They’ve all come back now, so I am hopeful (about Pittsburgh). I’ve seen a very positive evaluation of their last two or three drafts.”

Selig said the data does not give an accurate portrayal of the effectiveness of baseball’s revenue-sharing system.

“You have to look at the long view of numbers, not just a year or two,” Selig said. “Am I satisfied with everything that’s gone on? I’ve said that the system needs to be tweaked here and there. What this has proven is that this has led to more competitive balance than we’ve ever had. Am I satisfied the system is working? Yes. Am I satisfied that it’s absolutely perfect? No. But that’s the only comment I have on the numbers.”

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