Former Erie SeaWolf Avisail Garcia Traded to White Sox

By Andy Burdick

Erie SeaWolves outfielder Avisail GarciaIf you’re not good at the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, you may have a difficult time following this trade.

Former Erie SeaWolf and current Toledo Mudhen Avisail Garcia was traded to the Chicago White Sox late Tuesday night in a three team deal and was immediately assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.  Chicago also acquired right-handers J.B. Wendelken and Francellis Montas as well as short stop Cleuluis Rondon. Continue reading

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #23: Tri-State Wish List

Join Andy and Jason this week as they get caught up on all the news and notes from the last two weeks of Tri-State baseball. Of course there is lots of trade talk as Andy is ready to sell the farm for Giancarlo Stanton while Jason predicts a fairly silent deadline for the Tribe. Andy re-counts the Pirates strikeout woes as of late and pines to see Clint Hurdle’s trade deadline wishlist while Jason re-counts the demise of Mark Reynolds and his frustration with Asdrubal Cabrera.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Run Production

By Andy Burdick

The offensive struggles of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates have been well chronicled.  As of the publishing of this post, the Bucs have put up 4 runs in the first inning against St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook.  However, starts like Sunday, July 28th when Jose Fernandez struck out 13 Pirates have been more of the norm for this year’s squad. Continue reading

Jason Grilli’s Forearm Injury Analysis

By Dr. Garrett Britton

Making  his 30th save on Sunday July 21st against the Cincinnati Reds,  Jason Grilli advanced to lead the National League in saves and tie for 3rd in the Majors behind only Mariano Rivera and Jim Johnson.  On the following day, the 36 year old was forced out of the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals with all too familiar right forearm discomfort.  Grilli was evaluated by staff physicians and placed on the 15-day DL pending ongoing evaluation.  On that Friday, Grilli’s elbow, not unknown to Dr. James Andrews, was evaluated by the famous physician from Birmingham, Alabama.

Human ArmGrilli’s past surgical history should be concerning to the Pittsburgh club because the mechanism of his injury on Monday fits with the dreaded ulnar collateral ligament injury.  Grilli’s right ulnar collateral ligament however, is not like most pitchers’ as he had undergone ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, also known as Tommy John surgery, in 2002 by Dr. Andrews.  The question became: is Jason Grilli’s reconstructed elbow still intact, and if so, will he be able to rejoin the Pirates in their hunt for a playoff position?  Good news came when the Pirates announced Friday that Grilli had been diagnosed with a flexor strain and he will require only two weeks of rest before resuming pitching activities.

Pitching is an activity that requires the coordination of every part of the body, from the tiniest muscles in the hand and the largest muscles of the thighs, to the nerves of the inner ear and eyes. Neurons send information about position, velocity, and balance during the pitch to the brain which compares it to the preplanned intended movement and necessary corrections are made in fractions of a second.  This article will provide some insight to the anatomy of upper extremity muscles used in pitching, diagnosis of a forearm/elbow injury, and treatment of strains such as the one suffer by Jason Grilli. Continue reading

Game Recap: July 25, 2013 – Pittsburgh Pirates @ Washington Nationals

By Andy Burdick

The final score of 9-7 was misleading.  Pittsburgh committed three errors in the first inning, allowing Washington to plate four runs.  However, Pittsburgh’s mental errors extended beyond the throwing and fielding variety.

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Washington Nationals July 25, 2013

Both Nationals and Pirates hitters complained about being hosed as Mike Winters’ strike zone wasn’t the most consistent.

The three errors committed in the first definitely set the tone for the rest of the game.  And while Pittsburgh was able to score four runs in the 9th inning to eventually tie up the game, the Nationals were firmly in control for eight innings. Continue reading

Game Recap: July 24, 2013 – Pittsburgh Pirates @ Washington Nationals

By Andy Burdick

There was a buzz around Nationals Park today in downtown Washington, D.C.  When you walked in to dine at Gordon Biersch Navy Yard, it was obviously packed with baseball fans.  However, even though you were enjoying a meal a block from the stadium Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg call home, the majority of the baseball fans were donning black and yellow caps and shirts.

Throughout the evening in the ballpark, the black and yellow faithful in the stadium could be both seen and heard rooting for their battling Bucs.

Nationals Park panorama Washington Nationals Washington, D.C. July 25, 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates - Washington Nationals

Nationals Park quickly filled up with a lot of black and gold clad fans in support of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

There’s definitely a different feeling to this season than seasons prior.  Fans are visible not only at home, but also on the road.  The Pirates are in a lot of tight games, still stranding an obscene amount of runners, but somehow instead of losing those games, this season the Pirates are finding a way to win. Continue reading

Ryan Braun’s Apology and PED Use

By Andy Burdick

Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers outfielder PED February 2012

Ryan Braun shouted his innocence from the mountaintops until yesterday.

On an evening when the Pirates may have lost their All-Star closer for an undetermined amount of time, Ryan Braun’s PED suspension for the remainder of the season wasn’t, or shouldn’t have been, on the forefront of Pirates fans’ minds.

Before I discuss how I feel about Braun’s suspension and most recent statements, let’s look at his statements which he so boldly made after his 50 game suspension was overturned in 2012 for elevated levels of testosterone.

“This is all B.S.  I am completely innocent.”

“If I’d done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, ‘I did it.'”

“I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.”

“We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”

“I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide.”

Those are all Braun quotes pre-successful suspension.  One thing is for certain, the man is looking out for himself.  Not for his teammates, ball club, or Major League Baseball.  Ryan Braun, in the face of overwhelming evidence against him, looked at everyone and lied to protect himself.

And just in case you missed it, here’s video of him doing it:

Ryan Braun, who so vehemently denied PED use, thanked his teammates, family, friends, athletes in other sports, and his fans for supporting him, was the first one to flip for a deal.  Ryan Braun, who would tell anyone who would listen that he never used performance enhancing drugs and publicly crushed a urine sample collector as the cheater while betting his life that HGH never entered his body just gave a medicinal peddler’s notebook and testimony credit in cornering much less popular names from his list.

He was already unpopular among his peers, who knew he skated on a technicality.  Now that small circle of players who were in the same boat as Braun and couldn’t pass judgement are probably not very happy that the face of Major League Baseball’s PED hunt sang like a canary in a lost season for the Brewers.  He basically left those other players on the list hung out to dry.  Alex Rodriguez has a lot bigger problems now that Braun has thrown in the towel.  After being cornered by Major League Baseball, of course.

Ryan Braun apologized to anyone he disappointed, not for looking right at them and lying.  I’d ask, quite frankly, how much would an apology from a guy who would look you in the eye and tell you a bold-faced lie be worth?

But he’ll earn every jeer from fans that he receives for the rest of his career. I won’t criticize fans one bit when they boo him, which they will for a long time.  And every time that someone asks whether Chris Davis or Miguel Cabrera are juicing, they know why. And they should know why, no matter how many times they deny it, people will still have a difficult time believing them.

All-Star Break Did You Know: Pittsburgh Pirates Edition

By Andy Burdick

DID YOU KNOW…

AJ Burnett Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher 2013

AJ Burnett is helping to anchor the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation in 2013 by striking out 9.9 batters per nine so far.

1) Pittsburgh has the best overall ERA in all of baseball at 3.07? (Atlanta is second at 3.29.)

2) Pittsburgh has thrown the most shutouts in baseball with 13?

3) Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs per game at 3.34?

4) Pittsburgh has only thrown 1 complete game so far?

5) Pittsburgh has surrendered 71 home runs, the second fewest in baseball?

6) Pittsburgh has surrendered the fewest hits per nine (7.4) and second fewest home runs per nine (.8)? Continue reading

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #22: Beach Boy Phones It In

This week Andy and Jason discuss the evolution of pitching before Dr. Garrett updates everyone from his beach chair during a beautiful sunset at Presque Isle. Meanwhile, Andy and Jason are stuck talking about James McDonald and the Pirates rotation and Asdrubal Cabrera trade rumors. After that, the beach-less duo talk about a howl of a good time at Jerry Uht Park and all the SeaWolves news. They wrap up this week’s podcast with spectacular All-Star talk.

Tri-State From the Stretch Vol. 3: All-Star Short

Join Andy and Jason for a Tri-State From the Stretch as they discuss what they like to keep an eye on during the All-Star break. Plus, Andy works Pittsburgh Pirate reliever Mark Melancon’s late addition to the National League All-Star team into the conversation.