Pregame: Is Pagnozzi the future?


pagnozziLOS ANGELES — It will be interesting to see how much playing time catcher Matt Pagnozzi gets over the final 12 games of the season. He joined the team today, but is not in the lineup against the Dodgers. The Pirates claimed Pagnozzi, 28, off waivers yesterday from the Rockies. A former eighth-round pick, Pagnozzi started his career with the Cardinals, the same team that once employed his uncle, Todd Pagnozzi, also a catcher.

If, as expected, the Pirates opt not to pick up the pricey options for Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit, Pagnozzi could have the inside track as the starting catcher next season. The free-agent market for catchers this year will not be strong. Neither Jason Jaramillo (who will be out of minor league options next year) nor Michael McKenry projects as an everyday catcher in the majors.

»»» Here’s a reason to give Doumit ample playing time in this four-game set against the Dodgers: he’s hitting 7 for 12 against them this season, and is 38 for 106 (.358) with 22 RBI in 33 games in career vs. Los Angeles. In 12 games at Dodger Stadium, Doumit is 14 for 41 (.341) with eight RBI.

»»» Jinx alert! Neil Walker is riding a career-best streak of 44 games without making an error at second base. Earlier this season, he went 42 games without making a miscue. He ranks second in the NL with a .992 fielding percentage. The club record for best single-season fielding pecentage is .993, set by … Johnny Ray in 1986. (Betcha thought I was going to say Maz.)

»»» The Pirates are 33-38 on the road, their most wins away from PNC Park since they went 34-47 in 2002. Last year, they won 17 road games.

»»» The Dodgers have five rookies in their starting lineup tonight.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (67-82) – 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Derrek Lee 1b, 5. Ryan Doumit c, 6. Ryan Ludwick rf, 7. Josh Harrison 3b, 8. Pedro Ciriaco ss, 9. Ross Ohlendorf rhp (0-0, 8.03)

Dodgers (73-75) – 1. Dee Gordon ss, 2. Justin Sellers 2b, 3. Matt Kemp cf, 4. Juan Rivera rf, 5. James Loney 1b, 6. Jerry Sands lf, 7. Russell Mitchell 3b, 8. Tim Federowicz c, 9. Dana Eveland (2-0, 0.60)