February 11, 2013 - International League (IL) - Indianapolis Indians
INDIANAPOLIS -- The long offseason wait is officially over as pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training.
Along with those included on the 40-man roster, the Pittsburgh Pirates have also invited several non-roster players to Major League camp, while additionally signing a handful of players to minor league contracts. As workouts progress and spring training unfolds, fans can keep an eye out for several new faces that could potentially suit up with the Indianapolis Indians in 2013, as the club defends its International League West Division title.
Recently signed to a minor league contract by the Pirates is outfielder Brett Carroll, who hit .250 (91-for-364) with 35 extra-base hits and 50 RBI in 111 games for Triple-A Syracuse last season. The Knoxville, Tenn. native brings a power-hitting swing to the Pittsburgh organization, having belted 113 home runs through nine minor league seasons, while also knocking 21 extra-base hits in six stints at the Major League level. Originally a third baseman, Carroll has utilized his arm strength to tally 125 outfield assists in his professional career.
Another familiar face to International League fans that could see time in Indy this year is right-hander Jeanmar Gomez. The hurler has split the previous three campaigns between Triple-A Columbus and Cleveland Indians, pitching over 200 frames for the Big League club and more than 300 innings with the Clippers. Gomez, who was traded from the Indians to the Pirates on Jan. 9, 2013, has already experienced success at Victory Field, as he tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout at Indy on July 13 of last season.
Fans can also look to several non-roster Major League spring training invitees to possibly make their way to Indy at some point in 2013, including Major League veterans Brad Hawpe and Jonathan Sanchez.
Hawpe, a versatile utility player, made his MLB debut in 2004 with the Colorado Rockies and has spent the majority of each successive season at the Major League level, before suiting up with Double-A Frisco in 2012. The eight-year Major League veteran owns a lifetime batting average of .276 with 490 RBI in 893 games between the Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres, and was a National League All-Star selection during the 2009 campaign.
A left-handed starter, Sanchez has been one of the most preeminent strikeout pitchers in the Big Leagues in recent years, totaling 362 punchouts in 279.2 innings at the Major League level. He was named San Francisco's Organizational Player of the Year by USA Today in 2006, and by 2009 had etched himself in the franchise's record books by tossing just the fourth no-hitter by a Giants lefty on July 10, 2009 vs. San Diego. Sanchez also played a vital role in San Francisco's 2010 World Series Title run, setting a club record for most strikeouts in a single postseason game by a Giants southpaw when he fanned 11 batters on Oct. 10 at Atlanta.
Joining Hawpe and Sanchez at Pirates spring training are International League veterans Jared Goedert and Mike Zagurski, and minor league backstops Lucas May and Ali Solis.
Tribe fans have seen Goedert suit up with Columbus for the majority of the previous three seasons. During that three-year span, the outfielder has blistered IL pitching, batting above .260 throughout each campaign, while smashing a combined 49 home runs in 246 contests with the Clippers.
Zagurski enters Big League camp having pitched in 45 contests with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012. Prior to joining Arizona's organization, the left-handed reliever went 6-3 with a 2.97 ERA (35 ER in 106.2 IP) in 98 games with Lehigh Valley from 2010-11, highlighted by a selection to the 2011 IL Mid-Season All-Star squad.
May is a four-time minor league All-Star with appearances in the California League (2007), Southern League (2008, 2009) and Pacific Coast League (2010) Midsummer Classics. He has produced a .255 career average with 105 home runs and 478 RBI in 859 minor league contests, while throwing out 28 percent (122 of 422) of potential base stealers. May is entering his seventh season behind the plate after initially beginning his career as a shortstop.
Rounding out the spring training list is backstop Solis, who, along with making his MLB debut with the Padres last season, produced one of the most dominating campaigns of his career with Double-A San Antonio of the Texas League. The 25-year-old hit .283 (93-for-329) in 87 contests for the Missions in 2012, and set new career marks in hits (93), doubles (25) and RBI (40).
Pittsburgh's first full squad workout of spring training is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15. Big League camp is set to run through Feb. 21, with the annual Pirates Black and Gold Game set for Friday, Feb. 22.