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Post-game: Toregas ‘showed up as big as anybody’

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Manager Clint Hurdle talked before Saturday’s game about how the Pirates are shopping for a catcher but the asking price has been too high. With Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder both out for an extended time, the Pirates don’t exactly have the upper hand in negotiations.

But Wyatt Toregas showed he’s at least capable of getting the job done in his first start behind the plate for the Pirates tonight, including a play to throw out Jose Reyes trying to steal second in the first inning.

“At the end of the day, Wyatt showed up as big as anybody tonight,” Hurdle said. “He handled the pitches, made a big block in the eighth inning, breaking ball down in the dirt and he’s right in front. Throwing Reyes out in the first had to help his confidence. I gave him one more pat on the butt going out there and said, ‘C’mon, you’re six, playing in the backyard. Go have some fun,’ and that’s what he looked like out there.”

Here’s what closer Joel Hanrahan had to say about Toregas: “He’s worked with some of the guys before, but I don’t even remember throwing to him in spring training. I always heard he was a pretty good receiver back there and he came in and did a heck of a job. If he can keep doing that it will be a good sign for us.”

Signed as a minor-league free agent in December 2010, Toregas came to spring training as a non-roster invitee. He started the 2010 season as a member of Cleveland’s 40-man roster but was designated for assignment on April 3.

Toregas was 0 for 3 at the plate tonight after grounding into a game-ending double-play as a pinch hitter in his Pirates debut on Friday night. Before his call-up to the Pirates, he had played 19 games in the majors and 536 in the minors, where he was a .262 batter.

= The Pirates also got a strong seventh from another newcomer, Tim Wood, who retired all three batters he faced in his debut on Friday, then gave up just one hit tonight.

Here’s the manager’s take on Wood: “The first three batters in the lineup were on base six times in this game so (starter James McDonald) was done. He wasn’t going to face the top of the lineup again, and to throw Wood in there, I felt confident. I like his stuff. He’s down in the zone, he’s got a swing-and-miss slider, did a nice job.”

Wood said before the game that in the offseason, he was between signing with the Pirates and the Washington Nationals. He chose the Nationals, with the promise that he could compete for a job with the team, then was sent to minor league camp earlier than he thought he would be.

At that point Wood thought he’d have a Triple-A job, but when the Nationals told him all they had for him was in Double-A, he asked for and was granted his release, then signed with the Pirates. A long-standing relationship with Pirates assistant pitching coordinator Scott Mitchell, dating back to when they were both with the Florida Marlins, had a lot to do with that.

“At one point it was three teams in five months,” Wood said. “The journey this game can take you on, the ups and downs, but I’m just thankful for the opportunity the Pirates gave me. It’s a good organization; there’s a lot of opportunity here.”

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Comments

  1. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Absolutely. Good point to single this out.

    In that 8th inning, especially, Toregas had to be rock solid with Veras trying to get the hitters to chase pitches in the dirt. Two guys who probably were hardly introduced to each other working together with the game on the line.

  2. Dave says:

    Finally a manager that makes some baseball sense….phew! My jaw dropped when toregas threw out Reyes. Unbelievable. I thought tonight was a mediocre start by J Mac, something that, for the first time in a ton of years, I’m not much used to. To his credit though good ole blue wasnt giving him the corners forcing him to lay it in there. However, most hits were ground balls burning through the infield grass. Again however J Mac did walk Dickey! Jaw dropped again. I’m super surprised Dickey went as long as he did. You would think collins would want an extra bat in the line up after about the sixth. Back to .500 tomorrow!

  3. John Lease says:

    The Pride of South Lakes High School!

  4. Officer Mancuso says:

    Appreciate the background on Toregas and Wood.

  5. joel says:

    Watched the game on WPIX in stead of ROOT and listining to the company line. Keith Hernadez [color man] was not not to kind to old McDonald. He throws a fastball [92-94] that is straight as an arrow and a slider. He can’t control the change-up that makes him a two pitch pitcher. Seem like Ray what ever his last name is has a project on his hands. At least I under stand why his record was 3-4 before yesterdays game. Walk, Wayner, or Blass never said anything like that of old McDonald.

 
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