The Pittsburgh Pirates today acquired infielder Brian Bixler from the Cleveland Indians organization for a player to be named...Bixler, who has been assigned to Indianapolis, hit .278 (64-for-230) with 13 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 27 RBI and 32 runs scored this year for Triple-A Columbus...The 27-year-old Bixler made 29 appearances at shortstop, 15 at third base, 13 at second base and four in the outfield this year for Columbus...He was originally selected by the Pirates in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft before being traded to the Indians on January 18, 2010 in exchange for minor league infielder/outfielder Jesus Brito.
The Pirates this afternoon demoted Curve starting pitcher Tim Alderson to Single-A Bradenton. Alderson entered the season as the Pirates' No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America, but had all kinds of difficulties with the Curve. He gave up six runs -- five earned -- in three innings Monday afternoon against Richmond to raise his ERA to 5.62. Entering the game, opposing hitters were batting .307 off the 21-year-old right-hander. Alderson's velocity has been way down this season -- mostly in the 87-88 mph range -- and he has been working exclusively out of the stretch for most of the season trying to correct some mechanical issues. The Pirates also promoted pitching prospect Jeff Locke to the Curve. Locke, a 22-year-old lefty acquired from the Braves in last year's trade for Nate McLouth, was 9-3 with a 3.54 ERA for Bradenton.
The catcher on Thursday night July 8 was James Skelton, who spent a majority of this first season with the Bradenton Marauders patrolling second base. Wednesday night it was Jordan Newton, fresh from the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League. Injuries have bitten Bradenton throughout its first season in the Florida State League, and the boys behind the plate haven't been immune. Infielders Brock Holt and Jeremy Farrell and are among the seven Marauders on the inactive list. Despite injuries the Marauders are holding their own in the second half of the Florida State League season with a 9-7 mark entering play on Monday.
Nathan Baker was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher-of-the-Week today after going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (14.0ip/1r/0er/2bb/12so) in two starts last week...Baker, who was selected by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, threw 8.0 innings of no-hit ball while retiring the last 20 consecutve batters in his start last Tuesday at Hagerstown...Sunday he allowed one hit in 6.0 scoreless innings in a no-decision vs. Lexington...Baker entered today ranked 10th among all South Atlantic League pitchers in ERA (2.99) and third in batting average against (.210) and fewest baserunners per 9.0 innings pitched (9.79) among starters.
Kevin Decker was named the New York-Penn League Pitcher-of-the-Week today after going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (10.1ip/5h/0r/2bb/9so) in two starts last week for the Spikes...Decker, who was selected by the Pirates in the 39th round of this year's Draft, is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA (22.1ip/6er) and 14 strikeouts in five appearances (three starts) this year for the Spikes.
Six pitchers in the Pirates minor league system have now earned Pitcher-of-the-Week honors in 2010 (Jeremy Powell, Jared Hughes, Tim Alderson, Nathan Adcock, Nathan Baker and Kevin Decker). Calvin Anderson was also named the Florida State League Batter-of-the-Week for the week of May 24 to June 1.
The Pirates minor league system enters today with the fifth-best winning percentage (.542) among all organizations behind San Francisco (.552), Seattle (.550), St. Louis (.546) and Texas (.544).