| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pearce, Clement use winter to heal

Pirates/MLB Videos

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Pirates podcasts

  • Loading...

Daily Photo Galleries

Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

Next season, either Steve Pearce or Jeff Clement could be the Pirates' starting first baseman or at least a power-hitting threat off the bench.

At the moment, however, neither player is even swinging a bat.

Pearce (left patella tendinitis) and Clement (strained oblique) are recovering from injuries. They both are among 13 players in Pittsburgh this week for routine physical exams and light workouts at PNC Park.

"I'm going to open some eyes this year," Pearce said Tuesday. "This is the year it's got to happen. But first, I've got to get healthy."

Pearce is down to his last minor-league option, meaning time is running out for the Pirates to decide if he fits in their long-term plans. This past season, he got just 165 at-bats after a late-June callup.

The injury, which flared up early in the season, was one reason for Pearce's very limited role with the Pirates. A front-foot hitter, Pearce was unable to fully turn on balls due to his sore left knee.

After Pearce had an MRI exam, doctors decided surgery was not necessary. However, he won't begin taking batting practice for at least another four weeks.

Clement was injured Aug. 27, a month after he was acquired from Seattle in the Jack Wilson trade.

Clement started hitting last week at his home in Des Moines, Iowa. However, the Pirates' medical staff has shut him down until December as a precautionary measure.

"It's been a really slow process, a lot slower than I expected it to be," Clement said. "I think that's because I rushed back too soon last (season). I thought I was ready, but I wasn't and I re-injured it -- probably worse than I did the first time."

LaRoche reassures Alvarez

Last month, Andy LaRoche spent a week in the Instructional League in Bradenton, Fla., where he was used only at second base. This was before the Pirates traded for Akinori Iwamura.

"I was kind of excited about going to second base," LaRoche said. "But I'm comfortable at third, so it's fine with me."

Still, LaRoche realizes top prospect Pedro Alvarez likely will join the Pirates sometime this summer. LaRoche pulled Alvarez aside in Bradenton.

"I talked to him and said, 'Don't feel uncomfortable around me. If you're ready, we need you in the lineup. I'll go play another position,' " LaRoche said. "I don't want him to think I have any animosity toward him."


Clement wants to catch

After he was traded to the Pirates, Clement played only first base for the first time in his career.

"I'm not sure what the plan is, going into next spring," Clement said. "But I'm hoping I still have a chance to catch. That's where I'd like to be the most."

That could be an option if Ryan Doumit is traded, but it also would depend on Clement's knees. Clement has had two minor surgeries to repair the meniscus.

"If my knee can hold up, I'd love to catch, whether it's as the everyday catcher or the backup," Clement said.

Around the horn

The Florida State League voted to approve the Pirates' purchase of the Class A Sarasota franchise, which will be relocated to Bradenton, Fla. ... Even Meek said his oblique injury is "100 percent healed" and he'll be ready for minicamp and spring training. Lefty Phil Dumatrait also said he is pain-free. ... According to the Palm Beach Post, the Florida Marlins tried to hire infield coach Perry Hill, but the Pirates denied permission for Hill to interview for the job. The Pirates exercised Hill's contract option for 2010, which means they can block him from working for another major league team next year. ... Wednesday, the Pirates will release their 2010 spring training schedule. Pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 18.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: It’s past time for NFL to protect players
  2. Steelers stalled by Seahawks, on outside of AFC wild-card picture
  3. Steelers’ Roethlisberger reported symptoms that led to his exit vs. Seahawks
  4. Family of man accused of shooting St. Clair officer say allegations don’t fit his character
  5. Steelers players say they support Tomlin’s attempts at deception
  6. Steelers notebook: Seahawks’ Sherman gets better of WR Brown
  7. School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
  8. Obama: Climate pact an ‘act of defiance’ after Paris attacks
  9. Sports Deli is latest tenant to say goodbye to Parkway Center Mall
  10. University of Pittsburgh researchers revisit war of electric currents
  11. Pennsylvania Game Commission reaps revenue from shale gas under game lands