Bucs find market for catchers is a pricey one

| Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Pirates are actively shopping for a catcher, but finding a replacement isn't going to come cheap.

"Everybody knows the situation we're in," manager Clint Hurdle said Saturday. "So, when you ask, we're getting some sticker shock. ... It's the nature of the industry, like the shark that smells blood. They know we have a need, and the (asking price) now is much greater than the ask two weeks ago."

Ryan Doumit is month-to-month with a left ankle sprain and, though he was still with the team Saturday, soon will move to Bradenton, Fla., for rehab. He's hoping to return before the All-Star break in mid-July, but the Pirates have listed his possible return as late July. Chris Snyder had surgery on a herniated disc Friday and will miss two to four months.

Jason Jaramillo was on the Pirates' Opening Day roster, but he is in Bradenton rehabbing an elbow injury. There is no timetable for when he might be ready to play.

Neither of the Pirates' current two catchers — Dusty Brown and Wyatt Toregas — started the year on the 40-man roster and came into the season with 32 major league games between them.

Hurdle said the team has looked at third catchers at the major league level and even back-up catchers at Triple-A, but the asking prices are "silly."

"I know (general manager Neal Huntington's) working overtime, I'm making calls, everyone's trying to check on who's available," Hurdle said. "We remain guardedly optimistic. We don't want to sacrifice the future for a fit right now, but the realism of the fit is pretty sincere. ... I'm looking at how we are going to cover the next 35 to 40 games."

The Pirates aren't the only team with a hole at catcher. With Buster Posey out for the season, the San Francisco Giants have recently discussed using third baseman Pablo Sandoval behind the plate, a spot he has occupied only sparingly in the majors since 2008.

Toregas gets first Pirates start

Toregas started at catcher last night, his first start behind the plate in the majors since he was with Cleveland in 2009.

"He's made the All-Star team three times in the minor leagues," Hurdle said. "An organizational catcher who's had a small volume of big league games. Just no frills, blue collar."

The Pirates signed Toregas, who batted eighth, as a minor-league free agent in December 2010.

Meek tore labrum, likely doesn't need surgery

Reliever Evan Meek, who was placed on the disabled list again Friday with right shoulder tendinitis, said yesterday an arthrogram revealed a small, quarter-inch tear in the labrum, but he repeated that he doesn't believe it will require surgery.

Meek, who first went on the DL with the issue in late April, said he's not experiencing pain, but the arm has felt tired and his fastball has dropped noticeably in velocity.

Allie to start in State College rotation

Pitching prospect Stetson Allie, the Pirates' second-round draft pick in 2010, will make his pro debut in short-season State College, director of player development Kyle Stark confirmed. Allie has been in extended spring training. The Spikes begin play on June 17. Allie will start in State College's rotation.

Odds and ends

Shortstop Ronny Cedeno was given the night off. Brandon Wood started in his place. Cedeno had started 55 of 62 games this year, including one at second base. ... Right-handed pitcher Michael Dubee was promoted from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Triple-A shortstop Chase d'Arnaud was 4 for 5 with a three-run home run Friday and tied a career-high with five RBI.

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