Quick news hit! The Pirates claimed Xavier Paul off of waivers from the Dodgers today. Paul is, as near as I can tell, John Bowker will slightly less power and slightly more speed/defensive ability. If you’re following along at home, that basically makes him Alex Presley. It’s telling that my first thought was “Maybe the Pirates just want to have had the only two position players in history named Xavier on their team,” and I still haven’t really come up with a more logical explanation (Quick sidenote! Xavier Rescigno pitched for the Bucs in the 1940s, meaning that 75% of all Xaviers in MLB history have played for the Pirates!). It’s not a bad move, per se, it’s just not one that I can see any motivation for. Click here for Paul’s career numbers (majors, minors).
I haven’t had time to do any further analysis of Charlie Morton’s last start, but I feel pretty confident in saying that he mixed his pitches up pretty well after hitting a rough spot with unfielded ground balls early. So this is tonight’s question: does he start out with the sinker again and ride it until he gets burned? Or will he mix things up and try to keep hitters off balance from the get-go. I’m obviously hoping for the second option; if Morton’s going to have success in 2011 it’s ultimately going to come from having a diverse repertoire of pitches and not from hammering away with a sinker.
His mound opponent tonight is Matt Cain. First pitch, weather permitting (as it always is in April in Pittsburgh) is at 7:05. Brandon Wood is your starting shortstop.