Despite the Pirates' midseason flirtation with the pennant race, they're going to finish below .500 again, barring a late-season surge. Here's the latest on the 62-71 Pirates from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review...
- The Pirates still haven’t approached Paul Maholm about a possible extension, according to Biertempfel. The club has a $9.75MM option for Maholm in 2012 and they expect to keep him around, despite the shoulder strain that currently has him on the disabled list. "It's a no-brainer to want to try to keep him here," GM Neal Huntington told Biertempfel.
- Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick will get lots of playing time when they return from the disabled list, since it could affect the Pirates' ability to attract players to Pittsburgh. "How you treat players is a recruiting piece," Huntington said.
- The Pirates haven’t given up on Garrett Jones, who is hitting well in August and now has a .249/.331/.452 season line with 15 homers.
- Right-hander Chris Leroux would like to move from the bullpen to the rotation, but that seems unlikely, according to Biertempfel. Leroux, who has been excellent in 13 innings out of the ‘pen this year, is out of options.