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02-25-2019, 05:14 AM,
Post: #1
For the Pittsburgh Pirates , the final weekend of a better-than-expected season is a time to say not only goodbye but also hello. Perhaps to the same player.For the Cincinnati Reds, the final weekend of a worse-than-expected season is a time to begin looking ahead and not back at yet another frustrating year.The National League Central rival Pirates and Reds wrap up their three-game series and the season Sunday at Great American Ball Park, with both teams already focusing on 2019. But not before the Pirates conclude some unfinished business.Article continues below ...During a 3-0 loss to the Reds on Saturday, the Pirates’ infield had the look of a few seasons ago with Jung Ho Kang at third base, Jordy Mercer at shortstop and Josh Harrison at second base. But the once-familiar infield might be together only one more day.Kang, troubled by injuries and legal issues the last two seasons, started in the majors for the first time since Oct. 2, 2016, and went 1-for-4. Kang could return next season as the Pirates hold a $5.5 million club option on him, or they could decline the option and attempt to re-sign him for less money.Mercer, however, is a pending free agent who appears unlikely to return, and the Pirates can buy out Harrison’s contract for $1 million instead of paying him $10.5 million in 2019.“He (Kang) worked hard to try and put himself in position to come back before the season ended,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think we want to honor that responsibility and the work that he put in to get back here.”Before losing Saturday , the Pirates (81-79) had won nine of 13 overall, a push that guaranteed them a winning season, plus seven in a row and nine of 10 against Cincinnati. The Reds (67-94) halted a six-game losing streak that came amid a late-season run of 11 losses in 14 games.Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen (4-2, 3.11 ERA), trying to make the transition from a reliever to a starter, shut out the Pirates on five hits in 5 2/3 innings Saturday. It was the second time in Lorenzen’s three late-season starts that he didn’t permit an earned run. He also contributed an RBI single, and Eugenio Suarez hit his 34th homer and his second in as many games.“He (Lorenzen) certainly factors in (the 2019 plans),” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said.Sal Romano (8-11, 5.37 ERA), another Reds right-hander who hopes to make the 2019 rotation, will make his first start since Aug. 21 on Sunday. In nine games as a reliever this month, Romano has a 5.19 ERA, with five earned runs allowed in 8 2/3 innings.During his last time out as a starter, Romano allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings of the Reds’ 9-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He didn’t figure in the decision. Romano is 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Pirates.For now Derek Holland Jersey , it’s too early to forecast what role he’ll play next season.“Our guys (pitchers) are competing like crazy, they’re working their tails off,” Riggleman said. “But we’ve got to make a few changes pitching-wise.”The Pirates hand the ball to rookie right-hander Clay Holmes (1-3, 7.25 ERA), who makes his fourth career start. Holmes made his major league debut against Cincinnati on April 6, allowing one run in two relief innings.Reliever Steven Brault said he believes the Pirates exceeded expectations in 2018 after losing 87 games last season. Their record, for example, is nearly identical to that of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were in first place in the NL West at the start of September.“I would say we surpassed expectations this year. We did some really good things,” Brault told the team’s website. “We were inconsistent as a club, individually, everything. That’s why we have the record we do. (But) I think we held our own really well this year.”For the Reds, 2018 was more of the same. They began the season by losing 15 of 18 and never recovered. Even if they win Sunday, they will lose at least 94 games for a fourth consecutive season.The Reds are 5-13 against the Pirates this season. BOSTON (AP) — World Series MVP Steve Pearce is staying with the Red Sox.The journeyman first baseman agreed to a $6.25 million Buster Posey Jersey , one-year contract with Boston on Friday.The 35-year-old Pearce was a free agent after completing a $12.5 million, two-year deal that he got from Toronto in December 2016. He earned an additional $150,000 bonus for his selection as World Series MVP. His new deal also includes award bonuses.“We’re thrilled to have Steve back with us for another year as we think he’s a great fit for our club,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “Obviously, we all saw what kind of impact he can have on the field, especially with the postseason that he had. He also provides good depth and balance from the right side for us.”A major league nomad of 12 teams, Pearce was traded to Boston in late June. He played 50 games for the Red Sox, hitting five home runs against the New York Yankees, including three on Aug. 2.He made his biggest impact in the postseason, batting .289 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. He went deep in Game 4 of the World Series and connected two more times in the Game 5 finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He reached base in each of his 12 postseason games.Pearce called this past season a dream.“You never know where the game will take you,” he said after Boston’s World Series victory last month. “And I’ve gone through a lot in my life or in my career to be here, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

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