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Michaels hearing nothing from Bucs

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Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008

The Pirates have said they want outfielder Jason Michaels back on their roster in 2009. But so far, they have not asked him to come back.

Michaels, a first-time free agent, is surprised the Pirates have not yet made him an offer.

"They told me time and time again how much interest they had in me," Michaels said Friday from his home in Tampa. "But so far this offseason, it's been ... nothing. I'm a little confused by it."

General manager Neal Huntington has called Michaels "the type of player we'd love to bring back." But Huntington also said he doubted Michaels would be satisfied with limited playing time.

Brandon Moss and Nate McLouth are guaranteed starters next season. Nyjer Morgan, Andrew McCutchen and perhaps Steve Pearce will battle for the final full-time job during spring training.

Michaels, 32, batted .228 with eight homers and 44 RBI in 102 games for the Pirates. He was used mostly as a bench player.

Michaels was traded to the Pirates on May 8. He made $2.2 million last season, but most of that salary was picked up by the Cleveland Indians.

Michaels said he wouldn't necessarily reject a backup role.

"I don't want people to speculate and put words in my mouth," Michaels said. "I would like the chance to start. That would be nice. But the bottom line is, I'm a major league baseball player. I'm going to be either a third or a fourth outfielder for somebody."

Davis, Chavez dropped from 40-man

The Pirates dropped right-hander Jason Davis and catcher Raul Chavez from the 40-man roster. Both players were sent outright to Triple-A Indianapolis.

The empty roster spots could be filled Thursday, when the Rule 5 draft is held on the final day of the Winter Meetings.

There are several intriguing -- and recognizable -- names on the list of Rule 5 eligibles. They include catcher James Skelton, first baseman Jordan Brown and pitchers Kei Igawa, Bobby Brownlie, Alan Horne, Ryan Wagner, Tim Stauffer and Chuck Lofgren.

Comings and goings

Yesterday, the buzz about a possible Jack Wilson trade died down. There were reports the Detroit Tigers, who this week made a new offer for Wilson, are also pursuing free-agent shortstop Adam Everett. ... The Pirates signed left-hander Daniel Haigwood to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Haigwood went 2-3 with one save and a 3.36 ERA in 38 games (three starts) last season for Portland, the Boston Red Sox's Double-A affiliate. He was the Chicago White Sox's 16th-round draft pick in 2002. Haigwood is the fifth minor-league free agent the Pirates have signed in the past three weeks. Shortstops Ashley Ponce and Jorge Bishop and lefty Julio Denis were signed as non-drafted free agents to the Venezuelan Summer League Pirates. ... Outfielder Maiko Loyola was signed Nov. 21 and assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Loyola originally was signed by the Pirates in 2002 as an undrafted free agent. He was claimed by Tampa Bay in the 2005 Rule 5 draft. ... According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, free-agent first baseman Russell Branyan turned down an offer from the Pirates before inking a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. ... The Houston Astros signed former Pirates utilityman Matt Kata. He spent all of last season with Indianapolis.

Curve hire GM

The Double-A Altoona Curve named Rob Egan general manager. Egan, 39, was the team's radio announcer for six seasons and worked the past four years for the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.




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