ShareThis Page
Pirates

Pirates release title-winning Double-A manager

| Friday, Oct. 1, 2010

MIAMI — After leading Double-A Altoona to the Eastern League title, manager Matt Walbeck wasn't sure if he wanted to return or seek a higher-level job elsewhere.

The Pirates made the decision for him.

Late Wednesday night, director of player development Kyle Stark called Walbeck and fired him.

"It caught me off-guard," Walbeck said yesterday by phone from his home in California. "Kyle basically said it was time for us to go our separate ways."

In its second season under Walbeck, the Curve was 82-60 — a 20-win improvement from 2009 — and earned its first EL championship. Walbeck, 40, was the league's Manager of the Year.

"There was no reason for me to believe things weren't going well," he said. "It was a very healthy environment. I understand the Pirates' (development) plan, and I bought into it because it works."

The Curve's success intensified Walbeck's desire to coach or manage in Triple-A and eventually return to the majors. He played in the big leagues from 1993 to 2003 and was the Texas Rangers' third-base coach in 2008.

"We want all our staff members to go on to bigger and better things," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "But, in this instance, we didn't have (a higher position) for him. We certainly appreciate everything Matt has done for us the past two seasons. We felt it was best to allow him to go and pursue other upper-level opportunities."

Walbeck won three minor league titles from 2004-07 while managing in the Detroit Tigers' system. His six-year record as a manager is 456-384.

"I've always done the best I can, knowing that one day I'll get back to the big leagues," he said. "The Pirates sensed that I wanted to advance and probably felt this is best for my development."

Additional Information:

Pirates game day

at Marlins

7:10 p.m. today

Sun Life Stadium, Miami

TV/radio: FSN/WPGB-FM (104.7), WCNS-AM (1480), WJPA-AM (1450), Pirates Radio Network, XM Channel 184

Pitchers: RHP Daniel McCutchen (2-5, 6.36) will start for the Pirates. RHP Adalberto Mendez (1-2, 4.19) will start for Florida.

Notable: LHP Paul Maholm had been slated to pitch, but he was scratched with left knee pain. He ends the year with a 9-15 record and 5.10 ERA.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me