Pirates notebook: Single-A team might end up in Morgantown
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012, 7:10 p.m.
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012
CHICAGO — The Pirates will switch their short-season Single-A team to Jamestown, N.Y., next year, but their stay there might not be long.
Jamestown already has asked the New York-Penn League for permission to relocate and could move to Morgantown, W.Va., in 2014.
Government officials in West Virginia are trying to find funding to build a ballpark, which the Pirates' affiliate would share with West Virginia University.
Having one of their minor league clubs less than a 90-minute drive from PNC Park would be an ideal setup for the Pirates. The past six years, the Pirates' NYPL affiliate was State College, which signed a two-year agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
State College never had a winning record as a Pirates affiliate and went 18-56 in 2008. But their record had nothing to do with why the Spikes and Pirates split. State College executives were unhappy about what they say was a lack of communication and cooperation with the Pirates, who didn't accept input about marketing and other off-the-field issues.
Despite the friction, the Pirates two weeks ago offered State College a four-year extension. When the Spikes countered with a two-year offer, the Pirates abruptly broke off the talks.
“After a long and very candid conversation last Monday, we decided our values and objectives to develop players would be best served by another (affiliate),” a Pirates source said.
The Spikes became a free-agent franchise at midnight Saturday. A couple of minutes later, the St. Louis Cardinals called State College owner Chuck Greenberg, and a two-year deal was quickly in place. The Spikes were affiliated with the Cards in 2006.
“The Spikes are pleased to rekindle our partnership with one of the most well-respected and successful franchises in professional sports,” Greenberg said. “The Cardinals were wonderful partners during our inaugural season.”
• After starting the previous two games, second baseman Neil Walker wasn't in the Pirates' lineup Monday against the Chicago Cubs. “He needed a day of rest,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It wasn't that his back flared up; it's just taken a lot of out him, the past couple of days. They were extremely long games, and he spent a lot of time on his feet.” Walker sat out 16 straight games before returning to action Saturday.
• Instructional League workouts for Pirates prospects are under way in Bradenton, Fla. Games will be Sept. 24-Oct. 19. Among the players who will attend: pitchers Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole, Victor Black, Luis Heredia, Zach Von Rosenberg, Nick Kingman, Tyler Glasnow and Colton Brewer; infielders Alex Dickerson, Alen Hanson and Gift Ngoepe; and outfielders Josh Bell, Adalberto Santos, Gregory Polanco and Mel Rojas Jr.
• Reliever Evan Meek cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Meek was designated for assignment Sept. 10 to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Rick van den Hurk.
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