Not get money's worth, Pirates bench Overbay
Lyle Overbay
Lyle Overbay

Posted Jun 21, 2011


Lyle Overbay, the Pirates' $5 million first baseman, is on the bench. At least for three games.

Manager Clint Hurdle announced Monday that Overbay will sit out the entire series with the Orioles at PNC Park, as he works on trying to upgrade a .228 average that is well below the team's expectations when he was signed out of free agency this past off-season.

"There are signs that Lyle can still play at this level," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We need to see more. ... We've gotten very little production from someone who was supposed to be a middle-of-the-order bat."

Garrett Jones will move from right field to first base in Overbay's stead, and Xavier Paul will be in right. Jones and Paul have been the Pirates' top hitters in June, although the team's offense as a whole has been abysmal almost all season.

Huntington acknowledged that he will not be able to maintain the roster status quo much longer, but he sounded reluctant to make an outside move.

"Can we get these 13 hitters going, or can we go to the minors where someone like Alex Presley is doing really well?" Huntington said. "It's tough to make a trade in late June because you've got to overpay. We're not going to do that."

Jones went 0-for-2 with two walks in the 8-3 loss to the Orioles Monday, and Paul went 1-for-3 with an RBI.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Charlie Morton had his worst start of an otherwise strong season, lasting only two innings and being charged with seven runs on eight hits. His sinker was neither sharp nor on target, and that trend had been forming over recent starts.

--RF Matt Diaz has been almost as much of a free-agent disappointment as benched 1B Lyle Overbay. Diaz, working mostly off the bench, is batting .250 with no home runs and 10 RBI, including .231 against left-handers. "Matt had a track record of just annihilating left-handed pitching, and that hasn't happened," general manager Neal Huntington said.

--RHP Joel Hanrahan hasn't had many chances to save games of late, with the Pirates on a four-game losing streak. But he still was used Monday to stay fresh and delivered a scoreless ninth inning with a strikeout to lower his ERA to 1.35 and strengthen his candidacy for the All-Star Game.

--RHP Jeff Karstens opened the season in the Pittsburgh bullpen but ranks seventh in the majors with a 2.54 ERA as a starter. That's quite a leap, and Karstens has credited pitching coach Ray Searage for mental and mechanical adjustments. "Ray's really the one who made this happen," Karstens said.

--RHP Luis Heredia, the Pirates' 16-year-old wunderkind signed out of Mexico last summer, will begin play this week for their rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, just the franchise's second 16-year-old at that level in 40 years. "We're going to be careful with Luis in terms of pitches and innings, focusing on what he can bring us when he's 20 or 21," general manager Neal Huntington said. Heredia's fastball was clocked at 96 mph in extended spring training.

BY THE NUMBERS: 40 -- Years since the Pirates beat Baltimore, their opponent in the current set, in the 1971 World Series. The teams are commemorating that event with many alumni in attendance.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've gotten very little production from someone who was supposed to be a middle-of-the-order bat." -- General manager Neal Huntington, on struggling 1B Lyle Overbay.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:

--C Chris Snyder (herniated disk in lower back) went on the 15-day disabled list June 9, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He had surgery in mid-June, and he might miss the rest of the season.

--RHP Evan Meek (right shoulder tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. It's his second DL stint for the same ailment this season. His velocity dipped, but Meek said he did not feel pain. He had his shoulder examined June 13 by Dr. James Andrews. Meek was cleared of any major injury by Dr. Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., and he will remain on a rest-and-rehabilitation path that has him on course to return in late July.

--C Ryan Doumit (non-displaced fracture in left ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list May 30. He was headed to Bradenton, Fla., on June 9 to begin his rehabilitation. He is out until late July. Doumit had a CT scan on June 13 that confirmed his injury was healing as expected, and he left the team for Bradenton, Fla., where he was expected to begin his rehabilitation.

--3B Steve Pearce (partially torn muscle in right calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 29. There is no timetable for his return.

--LHP Joe Beimel (left elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 28. He threw off a mound June 14 for the first time since the injury.

--3B Pedro Alvarez (sore right quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 20. He was rehabbing in extended spring training in early June when he suffered a setback. He resumed workouts in mid-June, but he is unlikely to return before the All-Star break.

--RHP Michael Crotta (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 11. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Altoona on June 17.

--RHP Ross Ohlendorf (strained right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 9, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 30. He threw off flat ground for the first time April 17. Ohlendorf threw from 120 feet April 26, and he threw two bullpen sessions in late April. He pitched his first live batting practice May 3 and threw another May 6. He had a setback, but he resumed throwing over the second weekend of May. He began throwing off a mound in Bradenton, Fla., in late May.

--RHP Kevin Hart (right shoulder surgery in May 2010) went on the 60-day disabled list March 18. He was throwing in Bradenton, Fla., in mid-April, but the timetable for his return was uncertain.


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