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Comeback kid

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Jeff Clement said his left knee is holding up well so far in drills in spring camp.

Jeff Clement said his left knee is holding up well so far in drills in spring camp.

BRADENTON, Fla. — When Jeff Clement re-signed with the Pirates last winter, GM Neal Huntington was up-front about Clement’s chances of making the team — which are very, very low. Clement is a grinder, a down-to-earth guy who hasn’t succumbed to injuries, blown chances and too-high expectations. Huntington appreciates that, and figured Clement deserved a second look from the Pirates. If it doesn’t work out with this organization, perhaps he’ll catch the eye of another team that could use him. “We’ve been very open with Jeff that this is a chance not only to re-establish himself with the Pirates, but also in the industry,” Huntington said. “This is a chance to get back on track. He looks really good. He’s healthy, he’s using the whole field again instead of trying to pull everything. He’s in a very good spot.”

Clement and Aaron Pribanic are the only players still with the Pirates from the 2009 trade that sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to Seattle. Pribanic, a right-hander, won 10 games last season with Double-A Altoona.

When I talked with Clement today, he made it clear he’s going into spring training with his eyes open. With his knee finally recovered from the microfracture surgery in September 2010, he’s willing to go back to Indy and earn another shot at the majors. “At this point, it’s about getting used to the daily grind again because it’s either a 162-game season (in the majors) or 144 days (in the minors),” Clement said. “It’s a matter of staying healthy. I know that if I stay healthy, I will be productive.”

You can read more about Clement’s comeback bid in Tuesday’s Trib.

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Comments

  1. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Rob-This guy’s gotta be screaming good story………

  2. John G says:

    I hope he makes the team and can contribute to the Pirates at the major league level. He seems to be a good person and takes the previous disappointing seasons, pressure of being a first round draft choice, and all the injuries in stride. If he could at
    least be a good hitter as advertised from the left side that
    would be good with the short PNC right field fence. Pirates have
    not found an effective consistent left handed hitter to take advantage of this since the day Brian Giles was traded.
    My understanding is the trade with the Mariners has not worked out well for the Mariners to say the least. Ian Snell was a disappointment there practically from the start. He was even tried in the bullpen there without much success. Snell was signed by the Cardinals two years ago before spring traning and quit baseball when it was obvious he could not make the Cardinals team at the major league level. He could be out of baseball by now but not sure about that. Jack Wilson started off well with the Mariners but his performancve tailed off and my understanding he was benched. He may also be out of baseball by now but not sure about that either. I was dissapointed the Pirates left another young impressive minor league pitcher acquired from Seattle in same trade – Nathan Adcock was left unprotected in the rule 5 draft. He was then signed by the Kansas City Royals and made the team in spring training as an effective relief pitcher. I can’t even remember any minor league rule 5 draft choice the Pirates signed who was productive even when they made the Pirates team at the major league level. Pirates also lost effective pitcher Leo Nunez a few years back. He was either left unprotected in rule 5 draft or traded away, don’t remember which one it was. He was signed by the Kansas City Royals and made their team as an effective hard throwing relief pitcher.

  3. John Lease says:

    If he really can start hitting again, he’ll play. It’d be nice to have some good luck with a player for a change.

  4. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I agree John…..this guys does have some pop and IF he avoids the injury bug, could be productive.

  5. AJS says:

    bucs talking to cutch again and about 10 million apart. Hard to judge without knowing length of the deals being discussed, but Cutch wants $51 million and the Bucs offer 41 million. Assume this is to buy out 1 year of FA. that is 5 years at 10 million a year. Does this seem like a good deal for the Bucs 5 years 51 million?

    No way he wins 10 mil per year in arbitration. And you’d be paying a guy that much money in hopes that he continues to progress and that his streaky tendencies, including the abysmal second half last season , start to turn into day in and day out performance. i think the 41million offer is more than fair, especially considering if he doesn’t progress and you need to get rid of him at some point, you might not be able to dump him for $10 a year but at $7-8 a year he might fit in somewhere.

  6. Van Man says:

    Clement better make the team. He has pictures of Huntington with children.

  7. Da Mayor says:

    We should bring back Aki Iwamura, too. I’ve heard that he is moving really well now and his hitting stroke has come back. He would make us a World Series contender in no time.

  8. Lady Di says:

    Bring back Ryan Church! When he’s healthy, the man can flat out wear out a baseball!

  9. Fred says:

    It’s a damn shame that Brian Bass wasn’t give a fair chance here. He was one of Neal’s best pick-ups, if you ask me.

  10. The O Dog says:

    All I know is, Lyle Overbay would look mighty good at first base right now.

  11. PoorPanthers 2012 says:

    It’s good to see perserverance from good people. I appreciate his efforts to continue to follow his dreams. Good Luck, Jeff!

  12. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I can play this game too: Bryan Bullington anyone???

    Clement will be a good fill in at AAA, maybe finds that #1 draft pick stroke.

  13. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @AJS- I agree, I think I talked about that as well yesterday or the day before. He wants Upton/Bruce money, but isn’t performing at that level. I do think that he will become comparable to Upton in the future, hopefully starting this year.

  14. Cammy says:

    Lastings Milledge deserves another chance. I was a member of the Milledge People and miss him so much!

  15. Da Mayor says:

    Ryan: Once Clement finds that “No. 1 draft pick stroke,” he’ll hit so many balls off the Clemente Wall that they’ll have to rename it the Clement Wall!

  16. Ron says:

    Just read the draft money article. Amazing how Bud blunder bends over to make the rich teams and the union happy. Bottom line more money for them!

  17. Van Man says:

    One word for McCutchen — o-ver-ra-ted!

  18. Jay Walker says:

    Ron: The Pirates have themselves to blame for this. I don’t see Coonelly and Nutting kicking and screaming about the system. They’re content to count their money.

  19. Dejan Shortpants says:

    That any organization would want a has-been like Bedard shows just how piss-poor major league baseball really is these days.

 
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