Found April 16, 2013 on Pirates Prospects:
Chicago_cubs_vs_2d42
Can Jose Contreras help the Pirates this year? Yesterday I watched Francisco Liriano and Jose Contreras make rehab appearances with the Bradenton Marauders. On Thursday, Charlie Morton is expected to make a rehab start in Bradenton. The rehab appearances by Liriano and Morton mean that they’re at most 30 days from making it back to the majors. With the way the pitching has been going so far this season, those returns would be welcome additions. You can see how Liriano and Morton could help the team. James McDonald got shelled last night, and there are warning signs which usually point to an injury. Jonathan Sanchez had a decent debut with the Pirates, then was hammered in his second start. To me, the bigger concern here is McDonald, but if Sanchez doesn’t bounce back from that last start you could make an argument that Liriano and Morton could be replacing McDonald and Sanchez soon. It’s harder to see where Jose Contreras fits in. While the rotation has struggled early, the bullpen has been excellent. Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon have been lights out in the final two innings. Jared Hughes hasn’t been lights out like those two, but has only given up runs in two of seven outings. Tony Watson was getting hit around in Spring Training, and before last night’s appearance he had given up runs in two straight appearances. Justin Wilson has looked good, outside of his struggles with control last night. Jeanmar Gomez would have been the obvious choice, but he’s off to a good start this year. The bullpen hasn’t been the problem from a results standpoint. So there’s not as big of a perceived need to find a replacement. However, there are some warning signs: **For as good as Jeanmar Gomez has been, he’s not going to continue having this success with a 1.3 K/9 ratio, even if his 2.6 BB/9 ratio is low. **It was only one outing, and it was a good one, but Bryan Morris had a 1:3 K/BB ratio in 3 innings. That ratio needs to be flipped around to keep producing those types of results. **Tony Watson is a concern to me, just because he had been struggling with his mechanics in Spring Training, was getting hit around, and has given up runs in two of his five appearances this year. His control (4.8 BB/9) is the worst of his career, while his 6.4 K/9 is down from the usual 8-9 K/9 from the last two years. While the results from the bullpen aren’t as alarming as the rotation, I wouldn’t say that all seven guys have spots locked down. There could definitely be an opening for Contreras. And according to Contreras, he’s being prepared to help the bullpen out, although he doesn’t mind spending some time with Indianapolis before that happens. “They told me to be ready to help the bullpen out, but right now I’ve been rehabbing and I’ve been feeling pretty good at it,” Contreras said through a translator last week. “I don’t care where I’m going to pitch. Where they need me, I’m going to pitch. I don’t care if it’s in the bullpen, starter, if it’s in Pittsburgh, Triple-A, I don’t care.” Contreras said his stuff feels pretty good, especially his fastball. That fork ball he throws looked nasty at times last night, working in the 91-93 MPH range and having a lot of movement while finishing down in the zone. Contreras is still working on his slider, so that’s not back yet. He’s also struggled in his last two appearances in his second inning of work, although the Pirates would probably only need him as a one inning guy. He’s coming off Tommy John surgery, and he’s 41 years old, but Contreras could help the Pirates. His career looked to be stalling in 2009 with the Chicago White Sox. He was a starter then, and put up a 5.42 ERA in 114.2 innings, with a 7.0 K/9 and a 3.5 BB/9. The following year he went to Philadelphia and worked out of the bullpen. The results over three years were excellent. He had a 3.74 ERA in 84.1 innings, with a 9.1 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9 ratio. Those are the dominant ratios you want to see from a reliever. As I saw last night, he still has the stuff, despite the age and despite the injury last year. Contreras isn’t on the same rehab assignment as Liriano and Morton. Those guys are on the 40-man roster, which means they’re on Major League rehab assignments. That gives them up to 30 days of rehab work in the minors before they have to be in the majors. Contreras is a minor league free agent. Technically he’s just a member of the Bradenton Marauders roster. When Liriano was added, he didn’t count against the roster. When Contreras was added, they had to send Jhondaniel Medina down to extended Spring Training to create space. The Pirates can keep Contreras in their minor league system up until June 1st. That’s the date when he can opt out of his deal and become a free agent. The first step will be getting ready to pitch in the majors. For starters, that process involves getting stretched out. For relievers, that process involves getting to a point where you can pitch on back to back days. Contreras isn’t to that point yet. The Pirates have more time to get Contreras ready than they do with Morton and Liriano, although looking at his stuff last night, I’m not sure he needs a lot of time. They don’t need to make a decision on him right away. However, it’s pretty much inevitable that they’ll need a reliever or two between now and June 1st. With the way his stuff currently looks, and with his dominant ratios out of the bullpen the last few years, Contreras would definitely be a good option.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Prospect Notebook: Tony Sanchez, Kris Johnson and Victor Black

Sanchez praises batting coaches after productive afternoon Sneaking a peek at Phil Irwin’s major-league debut on the visiting clubhouse’s television on Sunday afternoon, Tony Sanchez received an urgent summons to action: home plate umpire Jon Sapphire had ejected starting catcher Brian Jeroloman in the fourth inning and Sanchez had to take the field. “That had never happened...

Video: Pirates fan with giant glove snags foul ball

He’s caught over 300 foul balls, but no one ever thinks to pan a camera over on him to get it on video. Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran looks like he though he could’ve caught this one, but it was well out of his reach. Oh well. Here’s to you, Mr. giant glove wearing man…

Pittsburgh Pirates Purchase Contract Of Vin Mazzaro

MLB News: The Pittsburgh Pirates purchased the contract of Vin Mazzaro from Tripla-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. His role on the club is expected to be middle relief. Fantasy Ramifications: None. The post Pittsburgh Pirates Purchase Contract Of Vin Mazzaro appeared first on Fantasy Sports Player Rankings - Baseball and Football - FFLockerRoom.com.

Top Performers: Stetson Allie’s Power Wasn’t the Most Impressive Thing This Week

Below are the top Runs Created* totals in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The rankings include every hitter who had an at-bat for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the hitter has prospect eligibility. Players who spent time at different levels are counted multiple times, once for each level,...

Pirates Pregame: Rodriguez Will Start Friday Against Braves

Wandy Rodriguez was throwing today during the pregame media session with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, and apparently things went well. Wandy Rodriguez will return from injury and start against the Braves on Friday. Hurdle said he would have more information about Rodriguez’s status after tonight game. “I’ll definitely have something for you after the the game,” he said....

Minor League Schedule: 4/16/13

Top prospect Gerrit Cole gets his third start of the season tonight, hoping to go at least five innings for the first time. Casey Sadler looks to win his third straight game. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. A full recap of yesterday’s action can be found here. Gerrit Cole was removed early from his second...

Shelby Miller, Cards face off vs. A.J. Burnett

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally scored some runs for A.J. Burnett in his most recent outing, and their offense seems to have turned the corner since that victory. St. Louis' Shelby Miller could be capable of turning it right back around. Miller looks to build on the best outing of his brief career Wednesday night while Burnett hopes for another offensive boost as he tries to...

Pittsburgh Pirates Option Phil Irwin To Minors

On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned pitcher Phil Irwin to Tripla-A Indianapolis after a rough spot start. The post Pittsburgh Pirates Option Phil Irwin To Minors appeared first on Fantasy Sports Player Rankings - Baseball and Football - FFLockerRoom.com.

Video: Pirates fan snags foul ball using ginormous glove

Your browser does not support iframes.Believe it or not, some fans still bring their glove when attending a Major League Baseball game. Because you just never know when you might get a chance to snare a souvenir.Well, the effort paid off for this Pittsburgh Pirates fan (shown above) on Monday, as he managed to engulf a foul ball hit down the first base line using one of the biggest...

Video: Pirates fan makes a HUGE catch

Here is something you may have missed on Monday, as Pittsburgh Pirates fan made a huge catch. And when we say huge, we mean HUGE. Check out the grab, or the glove this Pirates fan used to haul in a foul ball off the bat of Climt Barnes I’m not positive what the MLB rule book states on the size of gloves for outfielders, but I would advise all of them to get similar to this guy...

A.J. Burnett nearly perfect in 5-0 win over Cardinals

Final: Pirates 5, Cardinals 0 (box) WP: A.J. Burnett (1-2, 2.63 ERA) LP: Shelby Miller (2-1, 1.96 ERA) A.J. Burnett was perfect through 5 1/3 innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. His only two blemishes were a hit by pitch and a double to Carlos Beltran. He also struck out eight batters in his seven innings. His second strikeout was the 2,000th of his career. The...

Pirates 10, Reds 7

WOW. We’ve got an early candidate for the best win of the season. The Pirates worked their way out of a 5-0 hole in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon to complete a sweep the hated Cincinnati Reds. That is awesome. Phil Irwin‘s major league debut didn’t go too well. He was visibly nervous and rattled in the first two innings, struggling with his control (which he almost never...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Game 14, Version 2

We are going to lose a Jonathan Sanchez start?  Nooooooooo! Wow. There isn’t much in the world that sums up the 1980s quite like that. Last night’s game will be rescheduled and it will start over. Sorry Pedro Alvarez, no hit for you. Imagine how different life would be if A.J. Burnett would have signed…
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.