Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

Breaking down Nolasco

When his pitch count went up, the Marlins decided on Friday to take the 26-year-old out after four innings.

A telling at-bat was a 10-pitch encounter with Washington pitcher John Lannan, who eventually grounded out to shortstop. Yet, that sequence left Nolasco at 87 pitches, which was enough in the eyes of manager Fredi Gonzalez.

On Saturday, pitching coach Mark Wiley said physically Nolasco is fine. There is no dead-arm period, which is common for pitchers at some point.

“I don’t think it’s a dead-arm period, because he’s throwing 92, 91, 93, and that’s nice for him,” Wiley said. “I’m pleased that he’s at that point. Right now, in finishing his pitches with his fastball, he’s not as good as he’s been. His location is not right.

“He can battle out of it. But his pitch count got a little bit high.”

Also in that fourth inning where Lannan tacked on 10 pitches, Josh Willingham had an eight-pitch showdown with Nolasco.

Since Nolasco faced the Nationals on Opening Day, he has seen them twice in 10 games.

“I think with Ricky, he faced the same team twice,” Wiley said. “He was trying to do too much maybe with his breaking ball. He’s fine. I think it’s just a little bit of an approach. But he’s carrying out counts a little too deep. Not that he’s not getting ahead in the count, but he’s not getting that put-away pitch like he’s used to.”

The encouraging thing about Nolasco, who will next pitch on Wednesday at Pittsburgh, is his struggles are easily correctable. For example, sometimes he would throw three straight breaking balls, with two of them crisp but maybe the third one not being.

“I think that’s just a matter of a touch-up here and there, and he will be fine,” Wiley said.

– Joe Frisaro 

 

Roster options and Andino

The final week before the regular season begins should produce a lot of activity and speculation.

Infielder Robert Andino remains on the radar of the Pirates, who have shown interest in him since the 2008 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Brian Bixler is a name that popped up as a possible trade candidate for Andino, and that still could be a deal that is made before Opening Day.

Bixler, however, has shown improvement in Spring Training, and he may have a future with the Pirates.

Andino is out of options, and if he is placed on waivers, Andino could be claimed by the Pirates, without them giving up anyone. The Marlins still are deciding if they want to retain Andino as an insurance policy for Hanley Ramirez.

There also are indications that the Marlins are shopping third baseman Dallas McPherson, who also is out of options. The team is exploring a left-handed bat off the bench.

Now the Marlins may opt to keep both Andino and/or McPherson. There are a number of possibilities that are being explored as teams look to finalize their rosters.

The Marlins are looking for lefty relief help. Pittsburgh’s Sean Burnett could be a possibility. And veteran Ron Villone was recently released by the Mets.

– Joe Frisaro

Paulino, lefty bullpen help?

Ronny Paulino has a track record of being a starting catcher, which is one reason why the Marlins aren’t discounting bringing the veteran in as an insurance policy for John Baker.

Word out of the Phillies camp is Paulino will be the odd man out in their catcher mix. So he could come at a cheap price.

For now, his name is being considered. Whether he is the right fit the team will ultimately decide. With the Pirates in 2007, he appeared in 133 games and had 11 homers, 55 RBIs and hit .263.

The Marlins are ready to go with either Mike Rabelo or Brett Hayes as the backup.

Adding catching depth is an organizational priority, but so is attracting left-handed relief help.

Dan Meyer, Renyel Pinto and John Koronka are in the mix. Two of the three will make the team, unless the Marlins look elsewhere. Odds are, they will.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez on Friday didn’t rule out looking at the waiver wire.

– Joe Frisaro

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