Results tagged ‘ Pittsburgh Pirates ’

Terriffic Tuesday

T-minus 43 days until the home opener, 41 days before the season opener, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 days before the second half of the Pioneer League season begins …

More pre-draft stuff off the fingertips of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, especially since we’re less than a month away from it …

– More details (thanks to Nick!) on the Charles Brewer-meets-Carolina-dugout incident. The 2009 Osprey alumnus apparently took quite a shot to the cranium, and it sheds light as to why the new 7-day concussion DL is in place.

– Very interesting debates are now happening around Paul Goldschmidt (2009), which should not surprise anyone, about when to bring him up to the Major Leagues. The AZ SnakePit bloggers take a shot at the debate, among other things D-backs related.

– Looks like the leadership that Lyle Overbay (1999) is helping bring the Pittsburgh Pirates is paying off – they’re in some rare territory this late in the season after a 3-run 8th last night – buoyed by an Overbay run-scoring double. Apparently, Lyle is also making comparisons between Pirate right-hander Charlie Morton and another guy Overbay knows all too well.

Here’s a lesson in why you should not wonder why a player doesn’t “wear one for the team” all that often, or, a better way to put it with an Osprey spin to it, here’s video of a blogger who may have been secretely wondering what it’s like to be Adam Eaton.

Minor League Update:

– Triple-A Reno: The Aces split a doubleheader on Monday with Salt Lake City, winning the first game, 3-2, while losing the nightcap late, 6-5. Jordan Norberto (2006) allowed just a walk and collected a strikeout in his inning of work in Game 2.

– Double-A Mobile: Taylor Harbin (2007) had a three-hit day, including a two-run home run, and scored the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice by Jake Elmore (2008) to help the BayBears beat Jacksonville, 6-5. Goldschmidt hit his 12th home run of the season, a three-run shot in the first inning, while Ollie Linton (2008) had a hit and a run scored. Bryan Shaw (2008) allowed a hit in the ninth, but shut down the Suns and earned his seventh save of the season.

– Class A Advanced Visalia: Had Monday off …

– Class A South Bend: The SilverHawks finished off a three-game sweep of Fort Wayne with a 7-2 win at home on Monday. Bradin Hagens (2009) walked four, but allowed just two hits in six innings of work, and just one earned run in earning his second win of the season. Eury De La Rosa (2009)  shut the door over the final 1 1/3 innings. Raywilly Gomez (2009) had a single and double, while Matt Helm (2009-10) collected a hit and a RBI in the win.

Today’s games (and Osprey probables):
AAA Reno (20-12) vs. Omaha
AA Mobile (18-12) at Jacksonville – Jarrod Parker (2007) gets the ball for the BayBears.
A Adv. Visalia (15-16) vs. Bakersfield – starters TBA
A South Bend (13-17) at West Michigan, DH – JR Bradley (2010) will start Game 1 while Daniel Taylor (2010) will make the start for the Hawks in Game 2.

Can’t wait for the draft …

T-minus 49 days before the home opener, 47 days before the season opener, and about a month out from the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

– The D-backs made a roster move, which resulted in right-handed relief pitcher Kable Hogben being sent back to Extended Spring Training. Hogben, a member of the 2009 Osprey, posted a 3.12 ERA in six appearances this season with the South Bend SilverHawks, and was coming off a solid second professional season in Yakima, where he collected 10 saves and a 0.72 ERA in 28 appearances for the Bears, spanning 37 1/3 innings pitched. In 13 appearances with the Osprey, Hogben was 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA.

Good notes on potential draft picks for the D-backs from Arizona Republic reporter Nick Piecoro, as well as some notes on former Osprey.

– Lyle Overbay (1999) is having his struggles of late for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, his best month, traditionally, is in May.

– Here’s video on Evan Scribner, posted right around the time he was called up to the San Diego Padres. The video was done by the Tucson Padres.

Minor League Update:

– Triple-A Reno: The Aces were walk-off victims on Tuesday, as Las Vegas rallied for a 7-6 win.

– Double-A Mobile: Taylor Harbin (2007) singled and drove in a pair of runs, while Paul Goldschmidt (2009), Ollie Linton (2008) and Jake Elmore (2008) also collected singles in the BayBears’ 8-6 win over Tennessee on Tuesday.

– Class A Advanced Visalia: Rossmel Perez (2008) had three hits, while Bobby Borchering (2009) continued his resurgence at the plate with two singles, but the Visalia Rawhide lost to the San Jose Giants on Tuesday, 6-4. Trevor Harden (2008), who came on in relief of the returning Chase Anderson (2009), took the loss after surrendering four runs to the Giants in the top of the seventh inning. Victor Capellan (2009) came on in the seventh, and pitched 2 2/3 innings of hitless baseball, striking out four.

– Class A South Bend: The Hawks had their struggles at the plate once again, getting just four hits at the plate, and lost to the Great Lakes Loons, 7-1. Patrick Schuster struggled, allowing all seven runs in three innings of work. Daniel Taylor and Jeremy Erben helped the bullpen pitch six shutout innings of relief. Chris Jarrett had two hits, and scored the lone Hawks run on a Raul Navarro single. All five players were part of the 2010 Osprey, with Schuster also pitching in Missoula in 2009.

Today’s schedule and Osprey probables:
AAA Reno (16-9) at Las Vegas
AA Mobile (16-9) vs. Tennessee – Jarrod Parker (2007) will get the start for the BayBears.
A Adv. Visalia (12-14) vs. San Jose
A South Bend (8-16) at Dayton – Bradin Hagens (2009) will get the ball tonight for the Hawks.

Land of confusuion and rain …

T-minus 56 days until Opening Day, 54 days before the season opens, and while we don’t condone betting in any way, it appears as if the line favors there being an Osprey home run before any NFL player will be allowed to work out in their own facility, post-lockout-lifting. Oh, wait, one did already? Never mind …

– Both Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero are among the D-backs who are on the NL All-Star Ballot. Vote now, and often (up to 25 times)!  Other former Osprey on the All-Star Ballot are Pittsburgh first baseman Lyle Overbay and Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

– Speaking of CarGo, he’s slumping at the moment, and even took a day off on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

– Former Osprey infielder, and current Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Sergio Santos had one thing on his “to-do” list while the Pale Hose were calling on Yankee Stadium this week – meet Mariano Rivera and pick his brain about being a closer.

– Just in case you didn’t know … look who leads the minors in home runs.

– Here’s the latest stats for some of the former Osprey in the Major Leagues (as of April 27, 2011):
Miguel Montero (C, Ariz.) – . 292, 3 HR, 8 RBI
Gerardo Parra (OF, Ariz.) – .309, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Lyle Overbay (1B, Pit.) – .253, 1 HR, 11 RBI
Carlos Gonzalez (OF, Colo.) – .217, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Scott Hairston (OF, NYM)- . 179, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Emilio Bonifacio (IF/OF, Fla.) – .302, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB

Jose Valverde (RHP, Det.) – 2-0, 5-5 saves, 0.93 ERA, 9 Ks in 9 2/3 innings pitched.
Daniel Schlereth (LHP, Det.) – 0-0, 2.57 ERA
Esmerling Vasquez (RHP, Ariz.) – 0-1, 2.35 ERA, 0-1 saves
Tony Pena (RHP, Chi. WS) – 0-1, 7.71 ERA, 0-1 saves
Sergio Santos (RHP, Chi. WS) – 0-0, 2-2 saves, 0.00 ERA, 14 Ks in 11 2/3 innings pitched.
Bryan Augenstein (RHP, St. Louis) – 0-1, 9.53 ERA, currently on 15-day DL with groin injury.
Jorge De La Rosa (LHP, Colo.) – 4-0, 2.61 ERA, .179 opponents BA,  1 HR allowed in 31 innings pitched.

Time for the Minors roundup ….

Triple-A Reno: The Aces rallied past Fresno, 6-5, on Tuesday.

– Double-A Mobile: The BayBears had their twinbill with Jackson postponed again due to rain. Yet, Paul Goldschmidt still leads the minors in home runs.

– Class A Advanced Visalia: The Rawhide had eight hits – two each for David Nick (double, 2 RBIs) and Rossmel Perez – but the see-saw ending turned in the bottom of the ninth, with the host Bakersfield Blaze winning, 6-5. Eric Smith allowed three earned runs in his six innings of work, while Adam Worthington surrendered two runs, both unearned, in the bottom of the eighth, which gave the Blaze a 5-3 lead. Nick doubled in a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game. Chris Owings also had a double for the Rawhide.

– Class A South Bend : The SilverHawks had their game with Bowling Green postponed due to rain, and it will be made up on May 14 as part of a doubleheader.

Today’s Games:
AAA Reno (13-6) will have today off, before starting a series with Tacoma on Thursday.
AA Mobile (12-6) at Birmingham. No word as of yet who will start for the BayBears
A Adv. Visalia (7-12) at Bakersfield. Derek Eitel will get the start for the Rawhide.
A South Bend (5-13) at Lake County. Bradin Hagens will get the start aainst the Captains.

One nearly down, plenty to go

We enter today with 57 days until the home opener, 55 days until the season opener, and about a month before the next big event at Ogren Park Allegiance Field – the annual Missoula Mavs Memorial Day Tournament.

Gerardo Parra homered to help back Ian Kennedy’s solid pitching as the D-backs beat the Philadelphia Phillies, and ace left-hander Cliff Lee, 4-0 on Monday.

– You have to check out the photos of former Osprey reliever Jose Valverde in the gallery for this story, done after the Detroit Tigers swept the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. One thing is for certain, he does not hide his emotions.

Oh … and apparently, he also has a ritual before he pitches, too:

– Former Osprey first baseman Lyle Overbay was due to have his first night off of the season on Monday, after playing in the first 21 games of the season, but ended up serving as a pinch-hitter late in the game. For the season, Overbay is hitting .259 with five doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs.

– Here’s a little feature piece on former Osprey outfielder Scott Hairston. Notice the slight mistake at the beginning of the piece … gotta love blogs …

Daily Minors Update:
Triple-A Reno: Daniel Stange and Jordan Norberto combined for 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief, and John Hester’s sacrifice fly plated a run as the Aces beat Fresno, 6-2. Stange picked up the win. All three played in Missoula in 2006.

Double-A Mobile: The BayBears let a 5-1 lead slip away, but won at Jackson in 12 innings, 7-5. Bryan Shaw (2008) pitched the final three innings to pick up his first win of the season. Shaw allowed a hit, walked two and struck out two in lowering his ERA to 0.84 for the season. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) went 1-for-3 with three walks and three runs scored.

– Class A Advanced Visalia: Mike Belfiore (2009) had one of his roughest outings as a pro – walking eight batters while allowing two hits and three runs in three innings of work – but Taylor Sinclair (2008), Christian Beltre (2007) and Victor Capellan (2009) shut the door, combining for six shutout innings of relief in a 9-3 Rawhide win. David Nick (2009), Bobby Borchering (2009) and Rossmel Perez (2008) had two hits each, while Kyle Greene (2008) drove in a pair of runs for Visalia.

– Class A South Bend: David Holmberg (2010) was silly good on Monday night, but the SilverHawks lost to Bowling Green, 2-1. The Hawks had just four hits on the night, with Keon Broxton getting two of them and scoring the lone run. Broxton (2009) singled in the top of the second, and scored on a Chris Jarrett (2010) RBI triple. The other hit came from Ramon Castillo (2009), who was making his first start behind the plate, and committed a pair of throwing errors that led to both Hot Rod runs. Holmberg allowed four hits and a walk in seven innings of work, struck out 12 and picked off two runners.

Today’s Games (and probable Osprey pitchers):
AAA Reno (12-6) at Fresno
AA Mobile (12-6) at Jackson
A Adv. Visalia (7-11) at Bakersfield – Eric Smith (2009) seeks his first win of the season tonight.
A South Bend (5-12) at Bowling Green

Catching up …

Countdowns – T-minus 58 days until the home opener, 56 days before the season opener, and don’t ask about the Osprey record book. The best guess is that it will be ready before the end of May. So that is like, what, 35 days or so … there we go, now that we have that all taken care of, time to play catch-up.

Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey) is featured in this Nick Piecoro blog entry.

– Mr. Versatility for the Florida Marlins, Emilio Bonifacio (2003 Osprey), may see more time in left field after the Marlins made a roster move on Saturday. Bonifacio has been filling in both at third base and left field this season, and is hitting .317 with two RBIs and two stolen bases for the season.

– Pedro Ciriaco spent 24 hours on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 25-man roster over the weekend. Ciriaco (2005)  was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, but was sent back the following day after the Pirates claimed Brandon Wood off of waivers. It’s Ciriaco’s second option – which means the Pirates will have one more left to use on him. Ciriaco is hitting just .143 in 15 games with Indianapolis.

– Wilkin Castillo (2004) had a career run-producing day for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday. Castillo had struggled so far this season at the plate for the Braves, but doubled his hit total with the four-hit outburst.

– Any time we see a chance for fans of the feathered to vote for a current or former Osprey, we make sure we pass along the info … hence, the Reno Aces Bobblehead Vote, which runs through this coming Saturday (April 30). John Hester (2006) is among the candidates. Go now and vote!!!

Now on to the Daily Recap:
Triple-A Reno: The Aces lost to Fresno, 12-5, on Sunday. A pair of former Osprey pitchers struggled in this one – Tom Layne (2007) allowed a pair of runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched for the Aces, raising his ERA to 8.22, while former Osprey Casey Daigle (2000) allowed a run in an inning and 2/3 of work, which actually lowered his ERA this season to 9.35.

Double-A Mobile: The BayBears lost at Jackson, 15-3, on Sunday. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) had two hits and plated his 20th run of the month in the loss.

Class A Advanced Visalia: The Rawhide dropped a 10-3 decision to San Jose on Saturday, then had a day off on Sunday. Bobby Borchering (2009) had a double and 2 RBIs, while Kyle Greene (2008) also doubled and drove in a run in a three-run first inning for the Rawhide.

Class A South Bend: The SilverHawks split a twinbill with Fort Wayne on Saturday, which enabled the Hawks to take their first series win of the season. Bradin Hagens (2009) went six solid innings in the lidlifter to pick up his first win as a pro as a starter, while Blake Cooper (2010)  notched his first save of the season in the 4-2 triumph. RayWilly Gomez (2009) and Bobby Stone (2008-10) each had a base hit for the Hawks in the win. In Game 2, JR Bradley (2010) had his best start of the season, but did not get much support from his offense in a 2-0 setback in the nightcap. Chris Jarrett (2010) tripled, but could not come around to score – it was one of just two Hawks hits.

Today’s Games (and former Osprey who will make starts):
AAA Reno (11-6) at Fresno
AA Mobile (11-6) at Jackson
A Adv. Visalia (6-11) at Bakersfield. Mike Belfiore (2009) will make his second start of the season for the Rawhide.
A South Bend (5-11) at Bowling Green. David Holmberg (2010) gets the ball for the Hawks.

Manic Monday

Countdown – T-minus 65 days until the Home Opener, 63 Days before the 2011 Season opens at Helena, and at least another week before the latest edition of the Osprey Record Book is done. Sorry, but Sunday turned into a fun day …

– First, a quick reminder that the Osprey Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, from 3-8 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula.

– Bobby Borchering had started in quite the funk for the Visalia Rawhide this season. Let’s hope Sunday’s effort goes a ways in breaking that up. We here at Bird Droppings hopes the same thing can happen to Pedro Ciriaco, and soon.

– Speaking of Visalia, their games attract runs like free food brings people out of the woodwork. Sunday’s win was the first time in four games this season that one of the teams involved scored at least 10 runs.

– Speaking of a ton of runs, Mobile and Mississippi combined for 24 of them on Sunday, with the Braves earning a 14-10 win. Five of the BayBears runs came off the bat of … yup, Paul Goldschmidt, who cranked out a RBI single and a grand slam in the slugfest. Through 10 games, Goldy is 10th in hitting (.364), and leads the Southern League in home runs (6), RBIs (15), slugging pct. (.939) and OPS (1.439). Teammate Taylor Harbin (2007 Osprey) is fourth in the league in hitting with a .387 mark.

– More on the former Osprey in the farm system can be found both here and here. Also an interesting read from Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro on how close the D-backs are to having a great farm system, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.

– Good signs are arriving about the early season performance of former Osprey pitcher Esmerling Vasquez, especially when everyone seems to have notice the newfound bite on his curveball.

– Lyle Overbay explores one of the great mysteries of baseball life – why some guys can hit against certain teams. Overbay is a .400 hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, whom he now gets to see on a semi-regular basis with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

– Also looks like Daniel Schlereth has found a home in the Detroit Tigers bullpen, and is part of a youth movement being used on the road to (Jose) Valverde.

– Nice piece we stumbled across on former Osprey reliever Evan Scribner and his odd road to the closer role for the Tucson Padres. Scribs has been up-and-down out of the gate, with an 0-1 record, two saves, and a 6.43 ERA. In five outings, he has struggled in two of them, and been virtually unhittable in the other three. Ahh, the life of a closer …

– The South Bend Silver Hawks are struggling out of the gate – again – but the offense was helped a bit by seeing a somewhat familiar face – Kevin Eichhorn. Eichhorn (2008-10 Osprey), now in the Detroit Tigers organization, was touched up in his second start this season on Sunday, allowing four hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched against the Hawks. Eichhorn also struck out six batters, and retired the order the first time through, but Raul Navarro (2010) drilled a two-out single in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader. Keon Broxton (2009) also had a bunt single (he’s at .302 for the season), while Chris Jarrett (2010) walked twice in the SB setback.

– Here’s today’s minor league schedule and former Osprey who get the call on the mound:
AAA – Reno (7-3) vs. Colorado Springs
AA – Mobile (7-3) vs. Hagerstown
A Adv. – Visalia (4-7) at Stockton
A – South Bend (2-8) at Great Lakes – lefty David Holmberg (2010) will get the start for the Silver Hawks.

Tuesday’s gone with the clouds …

T-minus 71 days until the Osprey open at Ogren Park Allegiance Field, 69 days before they invade Helena and look to take down the Brewers, and 68 days (at the most) before they meet the media.

Also, a significant development today in Missoula … the sun is making a basically solo appearance  in the sky. Usually, it’s hiding behind a multitude of clouds, or trying to peer through a thin layer of cloud cover. We welcome it’s appearance with mainly clear skies today. Another sign that the season is getting closer by the day …

– Former Osprey infielder Perdo Ciriaco (2005) showed off his glove skills on this line drive during the opener for the Indianapolis Indians. Ciriaco was one of the last cuts for the Pittsburgh Pirates before they broke camp this past Spring Training. The glove is there, but Ciriaco is just 2-for-18 (.111) in the first five games this season, with two stolen bases.

Jarrod Parker’s 2011 debut was one to forget, as Double-A Mobile lost for the first time this season, 10-4, to Carolina. Parker (2007) was tagged for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) had two hits and a RBI, while Taylor Harbin (2007) continued his strong start, collecting another hit and run scored, and watched as his average fell … to .571.

A myriad of notes from Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro, including the threat of a “Goldy Watch”-type piece (that’s what we called it last season when we were tracking the Goldschmidt Home Run Train) and where Raul Navarro (2010) was ticketed to head to, which changed by the time March was over.

– Baltimore’s fans are apparently feeling it, so to speak, after their fast start. A couple of them were giving Jose Valverde (2000) the business during the Detroit Tigers’ series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  Nice to know fellow Osprey Daniel Schlereth (2008) had his back. By the way, Valverde has two saves in two tries, and Schlereth has allowed just a run on three hits and two walks in his first four innings of work.

And here’s your little-known fact of the day. In the movie Major League 2, which had all of the game-related footage shot inside Camden Yards in Baltimore, the bullpen scenes involving Charlie Sheen were actually shot in the visitor’s bullpen, which is behind the O’s bullpen in the Camden Yards layout. There’s also a walkway right above the bullpen bench area, which you can notice in this clip.

– The players at Extended Spring Training are back to work, after taking a short break. The grind will include six days of work, and a day off, each week. Mike Belfiore (2009), who is on the South Bend DL by expected to be on the Visalia pitching staff before long, is joined by 2010 former Osprey Robby Rowland and Stephen Cardullo, among others.

Good and bad starts … and Opening Day II

OK Osprey faithful – a good number of our alumni will be opening their seasons today, and yet there are a handful whom will be waiting to start their seasons – let’s hope a good number of those who are waiting are back in Missoula.

It may be Opening Day in the minor leagues for the full-season leagues, but the Osprey are still in countdown mode – 76 days until the home opener, 74 days until the season opener, and an estimated 72 days before the first batting practice home run finds the Clark Fork.

– One former Osprey who would be a “new face, new place” candidate is Lyle Overbay (1999 Osprey), who is off to a solid start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In six games, he’s hitting .304 with a home run and four RBIs. Here’s also a sit-down chat Overbay had at the start of Spring Training about joining the Pirates.

– We mentioned Miguel Montero’s start in our last post – he homered again in the D-backs win on Wednesday at Wrigley Field over the Chicago Cubs – but we also should mention the start by Gerardo Parra (2006) as well. Parra had a three-hit day on Wednesday, and his average climbed to .333 with the effort. Parra has made the start in all five of Arizona’s games so far this season.

– Daniel Schlereth not only made his first Opening-Day roster, earning a place on the Detroit Tigers’ 25-man roster, but made an appearance in the opener as well. He pitched an inning for the Detroit Tigers, allowing a hit, on March 31 at Yankee Stadium. So far, that is the lone appearance for Schlereth, who will likely be used as a left-handed specialist this season by the Tigers.

– Today marks Opening Day for the minors, as all of the full-season leagues will begin play today – or tonight – throughout the land. Along with the 49 former Osprey who are on rosters with teams in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, there are others who are in the minors with other teams. The list, and a little bit of info on each:

Evan Scribner (’07), Tucson (AAA-San Diego)- Ben Catley’s pick to be the next former Osprey to make his Major League debut. The right-handed reliever has developed into quite the find for the Padres, who traded Tony Clark in 2008 for Scribner, straight-up, before the trade deadline. Scribs’ best pitch is a slider which has a lot of bite. If he gets guys out at Tucson, he’ll get the call soon enough.

Ryan Robowski (’09), Lakeland (A Advanced-Detroit)- Robo is a lefty who looks a bit like Scribner in his delivery, and was the pitcher on the mound who closed out the Northern Division Playoff with Great Falls in 2009. He will stay in the bullpen with the Tigers’ organization.

Scott Allen (’09), Tampa (A Advanced-NY Yankees)- Allen is young, has electric stuff and has some potential to be a solid starter. He’ll get to play in the same league as Robo (Florida State League), and in fact, they will open the season by facing each other.

Kevin Eichhorn (’08-’10), West Michigan (A-Detroit)- Eike will get to be a starter for the Whitecaps, where he will be pitching in the Midwest League. The potential for a start against South Bend looms … he’ll be in the starting rotation.

Greg Smith (’05), Colorado Springs (AAA-Colorado)- The left-hander is looking to work his way back to the Major Leagues. Smith had a so-so spring, so we shall see what pitching at altitude (Colorado Springs is actually nearly 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Denver) treats him.

Wilkin Castillo (2004), Gwinnett (AAA-Atlanta)- Castillo is looking to have a solid spring and be waiting for a chance to be back in the Major Leagues.

JD Closser (1999), Albuquerque (AAA-LA Dodgers)- Closser is also looking for another chance to be with the Major League club, as he continues his career. He is in his third season with the Dodgers organization.

Jerry Gil (2000), Louisville (AAA-Cincinnati)- Gil is trying to do a Sergio Santos, but one better – if he would make it back to the Major Leagues as a pitcher, he would be the first and only Osprey to do so as a position player and as a pitcher.

Steven Jackson (2004), Chattanooga (AA-LA Dodgers)- Jackson was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers and assigned to Chattanooga to pitch out of the Lookouts’ bullpen. Jackson spent parts of two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and made his MLB debut in 2009.

Reynaldo Navarro (2007-08), Wilmington (A Adv.-Kansas City)- Navarro was a shortstop here, but is being turned into a second baseman by the Royals’ organization. Navarro has had some experience playing the other middle infield position, and according to scouts, his arm seems a better fit on the right side of the infield.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Tuesday’s question dealt with the best opponents batting average allowed by an Osprey pitcher (minimum 65 innings pitched). The trick is the qualifier – in the Osprey Official Record Book (coming as a PDF file to a computer near you sometime in May!), the record-holder is based on at least 10 innings pitched – which would be Jose Valverde (.075 in 2000). But under the qualifier of the question, the answer would be Jordan Norberto, who holds the mark of .216, set in 2006 … Eichhorn, at one point in the 2010 season, had a shot of breaking the mark, but a start at Casper changed all of that.

Today’s question – How many former Osprey are currently playing in the Mexican League? A hint: You have seen video of at least one of them in this very blog. Answer coming on Monday …

Was it you … were you among the two?

Countdowns – t-minus 86 days until the home opener, 84 days until the season opener, and about 80 days before the standard sweating begins in the Osprey Radio booth. Or is that 75? We forget …

By the way, we here at Bird Droppings salute the two people (or the one person who, on a whim, filled out two brackets, and did not change their Final Four) who picked all four of the Final Four teams in the ESPN Tournament Bracket Challenge. That was two out of 6,000,000-plus brackets.

…. as that sinks in, on with the nuggets ….

– While the official announcement is still a few days away, it’s looking like most of the 2010 starting rotation for the Osprey will be headed to South Bend to at least start the season.  South Bend SilverHawks radio broadcaster Owen Serey blogged about who could be headed that way recently. The official announcement isn’t expected to be until this weekend – South Bend has an exhibition game next Tuesday at Notre Dame.

– Opening Day is Thursday, and that means that Major League clubs will also be making decisions as to who will be on their 25-man rosters. Two of those decisions, which involved former Osprey, came down on Monday:

The Arizona Diamondbacks have optioned Jordan Norberto (2006 Osprey) to Triple-A Reno to begin the 2011 season. In nine appearances, Norberto collected one save in one opportunity and posted a 6.23 ERA, walking six batters in 8 2/3 innings pitched. Norberto slumped a bit toward the end of spring while trying to compete for a spot in the D-backs’ bullpen.

Also, the Pittsburgh Pirates have opted to option infielder Pedro Ciriaco (2005)  to Triple-A Indianapolis. Here’s one Pittsburgh writer’s take on the situation.

Good news about Clay Zavada, according to Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro. Which, of course, got us thinking about that ‘stache …

We could not resist adding a Clay Zavada tribute video we found on YouTube.

We’ll keep up with the latest both here and on the Official Home Page of the Missoula Osprey, www.missoulaosprey.com.

Sweet 16 … or Final 4?

T-minus 90 days to the home opener, 88 days until the 2011 Pioneer Baseball League season opens in Helena, and a matter of hours before a double-digit seed (or two) goes dancing from the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight. Which means that either your bracket gets a much-needed shot in the arm, or it ends up headed to the shredder.

– From the sounds of things, Geoff Blum’s sore right knee could either be ready for Opening Day or for the operating table. The utility man’s absence from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ lineup card has allowed former Osprey shortstop Chris Owings (2009) to gain some valuable experience in Major League camp. His defense has been solid, but the bat – he went 0-for-4 in Wednesday’s Cactus League game against Texas – has been slow to come around. Owings is only 2-for-25 in 14 spring games, with a single, double and four runs scored.

– Sometimes, it pays to be the elder statesmen. In fact, as Lyle Overbay (1999) begins his first season with the Pirates, it’s his experience which will be a key ingredient, as well as his bat and his glove, to Pittsburgh’s success this season.

– Back to the D-backs, where it looks like there could be as many as four positions left to be earned on the pitching staff. One of those – left-handed reliever – will come down to either veteran Mike Hampton or former Osprey Jordan Norberto (2006). Norberto’s big spring has some thinking he may earn a spot, but it was his winter that started the eye-opening process for people around baseball.

– Catcher Miguel Montero (2002-03) is preparing for a season where he will be the No. 1 guy behind the plate for the D-backs, but he is striving for some big things this season.

– Last but not least, while the Major League teams will be breaking camp soon, their minor-league counterparts will be spending a few more days playing games before they break camp. In fact, the Class A schedule will go through April 1. Class A South Bend will not play at home for a while still – Coveleski Stadium is going through a facelift, including the installation of a turf field. Their annual scrimmage with Notre Dame, for example, will be played on ND’s campus – a mere five-minute drive from the park. And that’s on a bad traffic day. They will open with a pair of road series before returning home to start their first homestand of 2011.

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