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Bucs pitcher Penn making move to Japan

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Triple-A Indianapolis pitcher Hayden Penn is finalizing a deal with Chiba Lotte of the Japanese Pacific League.

"The money is such that he feels it is important for him to be allowed this opportunity," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We reluctantly agreed."

The Pirates could have vetoed the deal but figured Penn probably did not figure into their plans at the major-league level in 2011.

Reliever Vinnie Chulk also is on the inactive list at Indianapolis as he attempts to work out a deal with a different Japanese team.

» At Double-A Altoona, right-hander Diego Moreno was suspended for what Huntington termed "unprofessional conduct." Huntington did not specify the length of the suspension. Lefty Corey Hamman was sent from Indy to Altoona to fill Moreno's rotation spot.

» With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline looming, expect the Pirates to be less active than in the past two years.

"We've got some guys we're not real motivated to move," Huntington said. "If we get a good baseball trade, then we'll make it. But we're beyond the prospect-collection mode and we're trying to move forward with this group.

"But we also have some guys who need to show they deserve to be part of this group."

Among the players who could garner interest are infielders Bobby Crosby and Ronny Cedeno, and pitchers Octavio Dotel, Brendan Donnelly, Javier Lopez, D.J. Carrasco and Zach Duke.

» Huntington did not rule out a late-season return to game action in the minors for catcher Tony Sanchez (broken jaw). The Pirates want Sanchez to play in the Instructional League and possibly also winter ball.

"He had such a great first half, we want to keep the momentum going," Huntington said.

» Infielder Brian Friday (sprained ankle) is finishing his rehab stint in Bradenton and will rejoin Indy this week. Outfielder Starling Marte (broken hand) had a slight setback during his rehab but is expected to be back in action this week.

» Outfielder Mel Rojas Jr., the Pirates' third-round draft pick who signed last week, was assigned to short-season A State College. To clear space, infielder Andy Vazquez was sent to the rookie-ball team in Bradenton.

» The Pirates had 10 hits with runners in scoring position Saturday. It was the first time that's happened since Aug. 9, 2005, at Colorado.

» The Pirates are 6-1 this season when playing in front of crowds of 30,000-plus at PNC Park.

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