Quick Hits: Black, Pirates, Rasmussen, McDonald

Reliever Vic Black did not suspect he would be headed to the Mets as the player to be named in the Marlon Byrd deal with the Pirates, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com writes. "It never crossed my mind," Black says. Black notes that his goal is to close in the big leagues, saying that he has the aggressive mentality necessary to be a closer. He also has closer-type stuff, with a plus fastball and a slider. Black had a 2.51 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 Triple-A Indianapolis this season. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The loss of Black and, potentially, Duke Welker (who may or may not be headed to the Twins as the PTBNL in the Justin Morneau trade) will add more uncertainty to a Pirates' Triple-A Indianapolis roster that has already had more than its share of flux. Brian Peloza of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that the Pirates have promoted 18 different players from Indianapolis this season, more than other NL playoff contenders. Those players include Black, Welker, Alex Presley (the other player included in the Morneau deal), and top prospect Gerrit Cole.
  • The Phillies believe that Rob Rasmussen, the pitcher they received when they traded Michael Young to the Dodgers, could end up as a reliever, Bob Brookover of the Inquirer reports. "He's starting now, but he could be a guy later on who could pitch in the bullpen," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says. "Lefthanders are always valuable. He's viewed as a really strong makeup kid with a big arm." Rasmussen, 24, had a 2.55 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for Double-A Chattanooga in 2013, although he struggled in 54 1/3 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque.
  • Connecticut native and Massachusetts resident John McDonald is happy that a trade to the Red Sox brought him home, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. "[G]rowing up in New England, and getting to play in Fenway, and to put this uniform on today, it’s pretty awesome," McDonald says. The Red Sox will be the fourth team the infielder has played for this season, having also suited up for the Pirates, Indians and Phillies.
  • Angels owner Arte Moreno needs to share his plan to rebuild the team with superstar outfielder Mike Trout, argues the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin. Trout will be close to free agency by the time it will become possible for the Angels to return to contention, at least on a regular basis, Shaikin says.
  • The Rockies need to acquire a veteran starter in the offseason, and they also need bullpen help and a right-handed power bat, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post writes. Nonetheless, Renck suggests that the improvements in the Rockies' rotation this year (their 2013 starters have a 4.37 ERA, compared to a 5.81 ERA in 2012) suggest that the team is heading in the right direction.

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