Recently retired right-hander Joel Hanrahan will rejoin the Pirates organization as a pitching coach for the team’s Class-A affiliate in West Virginia, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry. The 35-year-old called it quits after he was unable to return to the Majors following his second career Tommy John surgery, but he’ll bring plenty of recent big league experience to dugout to help mentor the Pirates’ next wave of young arms. “I know he had great passion for pitching and for the game,” manager Clint Hurdle said to Berry and other reporters. “Really, the game got unplugged on him earlier than he wanted it to. He kept trying and it kept not working. That’s when I started thinking there might be a pilot light lit somewhere here.”
A bit more from the NL Central…
- Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang appeared in South Korean court today and admitted to his recent DUI charge, as Jee-ho Yoo of Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports. “I deeply regret what I have done,” said Kang, who had two prior DUI arrests. “If I can get one last chance, I will become an exemplary player to earn respect from everyone.” Korean prosecutors sought a fine of just over $13,000 U.S. dollars for Kang. As Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds, it’s not clear whether further punishment will be handed by the Pirates organization, though Kang has already agreed to appear to an MLB-recommended treatment program. The verdict hearing for Kang will be held on March 3.
- Both Jake Arrieta and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers about the complicated factors that go into a a theoretical extension for Arrieta. The 2015 Cy Young winner was candid about the fact that he knows he’ll be paid handsomely next winter barring any form of injury or sudden decline. Arrieta again mentioned that there’s little reason for any player — himself or anyone else — to take a discount on a contract with free agency just six months away. Teammate Anthony Rizzo, too, weighed in on the matter and suggested that no one in the clubhouse would blame Arrieta for pursuing maximum dollars. “He has enough money to last him the rest of his life,” said Rizzo. “”What he gets a year from now is going to be icing on the cake. … But he’ll try to set the bar for the next guy just like the guy before us did.” The Cubs will soon have to try to find ways to retain as much of their young core as possible, with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks all nearing arbitration. And, as Rogers notes, at some point the team will have to at least consider tearing up the remainder of Rizzo’s contract and attempting to make him a Cub for the remainder of his career.
- Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Reds skipper Bryan Price is extremely impressed by left-hander Wandy Peralta. The hard-throwing southpaw has a genuine opportunity to crack the team’s roster as a second left-handed option behind Tony Cingrani, whom the Reds prefer not to use in specialized matchups due to the fact that he can hold his own against righties. “On the days that we don’t have [Cingrani], it would be a really nice thing to be able to matchup a left-hander against some of the better left-handers in our division and in the National League,” Price said. The 25-year-old Peralta allowed seven runs in 7 1/3 innings in his MLB debut last season, though Buchanan details some tweaks he’s made to his repertoire over the summer. And Peralta did log a 2.33 ERA in 58 Triple-A innings last season, even if that impressive mark came with a less-encouraging 38-to-23 K/BB ratio.