Pirates trade slugger Josh Bell to Nationals
FILE - In this July 22, 2020, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Bell bats during an exhibition baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Pittsburgh. The Pirates traded the slugging first baseman to Washington on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, for pitching prospects Will Crowe and Eddy Yean. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)PITTSBURGH – Josh Bell embraced everything about being a Pittsburgh Pirate. The Pirates sent the 28-year-old Bell to Washington on Thursday, giving the Nationals the middle-of-the-order bat general manager Mike Rizzo said was an offseason priority for the perennial NL East contenders. “In order to build that winning team and get to that winning team it’s going to require some difficult decisions at times, this is one of those," Cherington said.
Walk away: Indians rally again, keep AL Central hopes alive
“We want to win the division.”Down 3-1 and held to one hit for eight innings, the Indians found more of the late-inning magic that has carried them this week. Delino DeShields — who broke up Pittsburgh's no-hit bid with a perfectly placed bunt single in the seventh — hit a one-out RBI single. Adam Plutko (2-2) picked up his first career win in relief for the Indians (34-25), who have clinched a playoff spot but want more. It's quite a turnaround for the Indians, who recently dropped eight straight from Sept. 8-16 and have been plagued with offensive inconsistency all season. Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Carrasco, but the Pirates couldn't hold on and dropped to 2-16 against AL Central teams.
Pirates' Keller out after 5 no-hit innings against Indians
Pittsburgh Pirates starter Mitch Keller was pulled after five innings despite not allowing a hit — and walking eight — against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. The Indians, however, scored only once and then didn't capitalize in the third after Keller walked the bases full for the second time. Pirates manager Derek Shelton pulled Keller after 98 pitches — 49 were balls — and replaced him with reliever Nik Turley. Keller threw six no-hit innings in his previous start against St. Louis on Sept. 19 before leaving and has now thrown 11 straight hitless innings. Keller is the first NL pitcher with back-to-back no-hit outings of at least five innings since Johnny Vander Meer threw consecutive no-hitters in 1938, STATS said.
Cubs clinch playoff spot, Pirates win on Stallings HR in 9th
The NL Central-leading Cubs were assured a spot in the expanded playoff field when Philadelphia was swept in a doubleheader at Washington. It was Stallings’ third home run of the season and the third game-ending hit of his career. Anthony Rizzo’s two-run homer in the eighth inning had pulled the Cubs into a tie at 2-all. The Pirates took a 2-0 lead on RBI doubles by Erik Gonzalez in the second inning and Adam Frazier in the fifth. Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (1-8, 6.70) has lost five straight decisions since getting his lone win Aug. 13 at Cincinnati.
For the 'Great One'; Pirates, MLB honor Roberto Clemente
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. To commemorate Roberto Clemente Day, the Pirates all are wearing Clemente's No. The Pirates celebrated Clemente's legacy by wearing his number during the organization's first Roberto Clemente Day" on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. The Pirates made sure to extend the tribute beyond the walls of PNC Park, where the Roberto Clemente Bridge stands. One of the things that we have talked about a lot is Roberto Clemente, the player, is one of the greatest players of all time, Shelton said.
LEADING OFF: Pirates-Reds renew bitter rivalry, Judge ailing
Cincinnati Reds teammates celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Royals in a baseball game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)A look at what's happening around the majors on Thursday:KEEP COOLThe Reds and Pirates renew what erupted into one of baseballs most bitter rivalries last season, with one major change at the top. Long-simmering tensions between the Ohio River rivals over batters getting plunked escalated into a benches-clearing brawl at Great American Ball Park last summer 31 and resulted in Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, Reds manager David Bell and six players suspended. Its uncertain whether the oft-injured slugger will be back Friday night for the start of a weekend series against Boston. Judge was leading the majors with nine home runs and tied at the top with 20 RBIs before he sat out.
Baseball's return includes several comeback stories
Bard had not pitched in the major leagues since 2013, and after his control and confidence deserted him, his playing career appeared over before he attempted a comeback this year. He was back in the bullpen for Cleveland in September and took the mound Sunday as a starter, beating Kansas City. TRIVIA TIMEThis season's opener between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees on Thursday night was baseball's most-watched regular-season game in nine years. MILESTONESAlbert Pujols of the Angels became the fifth player to start a season opener in 20 straight years, joining Pete Rose, Carl Yastrzemski, Eddie Murray and Frank Robinson. TRIVIA ANSWERBrett Gardner had three hits and two steals for the Yankees in the 2011 game.
Pirates manager Shelton argues through mask, gets 1st ML win
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) argues with home plate umpire Jordan Baker during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, July 26, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)ST. LOUIS Pittsburgh's Derek Shelton staged baseball's first major, socially distanced umpire argument, then got his first victory as a big league manager as the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Sunday. Keller (1-0) faced St. Louis for the first time in his career. Cardinals RHP Kodi Whitley also made his major league debut in a relief appearance in the top seventh. Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (4-2, 3.17 ERA, 24 saves in 2019) makes his first start for the Cardinals since July 30, 2018, Tuesday in Minnesota against the Twins to start a seven-game road trip.
AP sources: Blue Jays to play in Pittsburgh if Pa. approves
TORONTO, ONT The Toronto Blue Jays will play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh if the state of Pennsylvania approves it, two officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Canada denied the Blue Jays request to play in Toronto because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging. Pirates President Travis Williams previously confirmed the talks to host the Blue Jays and sounded ready to welcome them if it could be done safely. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said he was excited about the PNC Park option and Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he would have no problem with the Blue Jays moving in. Atkins said if the Blue Jays cant find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games.
As MLB 60-game season draws near, careful optimism prevails
Several stars chose not to participate from the start, and rarely a day goes by without a positive COVID-19 test in one camp or another. But here we are, mere days from launching a season that's unique in almost every way. But Hyde remains hopeful that the season will start on time and go the distance. While there's reason for optimism, the stark truth is that COVID-19 is not going away. They still have a chance to play this season, manager Don Mattingly said.
Chemistry class: New managers test for right mix amid virus
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 7, 2020, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, right, listens to manager Derek Shelton during a team workout at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Shelton and other first-year managers are scrambling to make up for lost time. Fortunately for the first-year Pittsburgh Pirates manager, bench coach Donnie Kelly made it a point to provide it. I just (want) to make sure that Im talking to them, Im aware of what theyre going through, Shelton said. The 38-year-old Rojas the youngest manager in the majors read a book by Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski to help him prepare.
Polanco's push; Pirates RF ready to shake injury bug in 2020
The long stride that makes it seem like he can get from first to second in a handful of steps. Polanco wants to be a part of the next wave designed to get the team back into contention. Or he could be a trade chip designed to help a team in transition stock up on younger and cheaper talent. The Pirates could decide to use him more at designated hitter, but he'd prefer to be in the field. Only three teams hit fewer home runs than the Pirates last season.
King Flix opts out of MLB season, Doolittle on fence
The decision came a day after Snitker announced that four-time All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, premier reliever Will Smith and two other Atlanta players tested positive for the virus. Reliever Brett Martin tested positive on intake and allowed the Rangers to disclose that Friday. Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said outfielder Socrates Brito and pitcher Blake Cederlind tested positive for the coronavirus and allowed their names to be released. Seven players have tested positive, including the players who forced the shutdown of the teams spring training complex a few weeks ago. The Chicago White Sox said two players tested positive and are asymptomatic.
Majors confronting short time period before opening day
When major leaguers report next week for spring training 2.0 or perhaps more accurately, baseball's first summer camp time will be one precious commodity with about three weeks to go before opening day. Day 1 and Day 2. Theres a reason why we have six weeks of spring training, in a typical spring training.There is particular concern for starting pitchers, who take great care in building up their arms over an extended period. Thats probably the thing Ill think about the most.While spring training was suspended March 12, players haven't exactly been sitting around this whole time. The Diamondbacks are going to use Chase Field and their spring training facility in Scottsdale, just a short drive away from their home ballpark.