International players opening up opportunities

Pirates' Ngoepe, Neverauskas helping to widen scouting markets

International players opening up opportunities

PITTSBURGH -- Commissioner Rob Manfred sat in the interview room at PNC Park on Tuesday and vocalized Major League Baseball's desire for greater international interest and diversity. How can baseball draw the best athletes from around the world?

Start with players like Pirates reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and infielder Gift Ngoepe.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ngoepe makes history, singles in 1st AB

Ngoepe makes history, singles in 1st AB

PITTSBURGH -- Before the Pirates' 6-5 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night at PNC Park, Gift Ngoepe worried he might burst into tears the moment he had to take the field.

When Ngoepe emerged from the dugout to play second base as part of a double-switch in the fourth inning, third baseman Josh Harrison held his hand up to Ngoepe's chest, as if he was monitoring the rookie's heartbeat. After all Ngoepe had been through to get there, how could he possibly contain his emotions?

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harrison, Bell homer as Bucs edge Cubs

Harrison, Bell homer as Bucs edge Cubs

PITTSBURGH -- After seeing his team score five runs over the previous three days, manager Clint Hurdle decided it was time for a change atop the order. Hurdle turned to Josh Harrison, his "Tabasco sauce" leadoff man, and Harrison helped spice up the Pirates' lineup in a 6-5 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night at PNC Park.

"Put something else on there," Hurdle said before the game, "and see if we can enlighten the flavor a little bit."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' Ngoepe MLB's 1st African player

Bucs' Ngoepe MLB's 1st African player

PITTSBURGH -- Whenever Tom Gillespie meets a new Pirates employee, he tells them to look up the story of Gift Ngoepe. Gillespie didn't sign Ngoepe for Pittsburgh, but the Bucs' European scout has known the South African shortstop since he was 17 years old.

Learn his story, Gillespie said, "and you'll have a new favorite player with the Pirates."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates' usher celebrates 99th birthday

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Pirates' usher celebrates 99th birthday

Think back to when you were 18 (or imagine when you'll be 18, if you're not there yet). Maybe you had a job -- at a movie theater, or maybe a theme park? Burger restaurant? There are plenty of options in that phase of your life. 

Way back in 1936, a young man named Phil Coyne picked up a job working as an usher for the Pirates at Forbes Field. Whether he intended to at the get-go or if it "just happened," Coyne stayed with the team through the Three Rivers Stadium days and into the present, as an usher at PNC Park. Seriously.

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Ngoepe's development a Gift for MLB

First African-born player perservered through long journey to big leagues

Ngoepe's development a Gift for MLB

Gift Ngoepe isn't a super prospect like Yoan Moncada, Cody Bellinger or Joey Gallo. There would be a bigger stir in Pittsburgh if the Pirates were calling up Austin Meadows.

But in terms of a personal triumph and cultural impact, Ngoepe (pronounced en-GO-pey) is a great thing for Major League Baseball.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Consistent Taillon starts trip in Miami

Consistent Taillon starts trip in Miami

The Pirates are ready to settle in for the long haul. Beginning with Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET series opener against the Marlins at Marlins Park, the Bucs will play 17 straight games without an off-day.

For the Marlins, it will be a welcome return to Miami after enduring the longest road trip (mileage-wise) in franchise history. The Marlins traveled a combined 7,162 miles from Miami to Seattle, to San Diego, to Philadelphia and back home.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Frazier expects brief disabled list stint

Super-utilityman's left hamstring strain feeling better

Frazier expects brief disabled list stint

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates may not be without injured super-utilityman Adam Frazier for long.

The Pirates placed Frazier on the 10-day disabled list on Monday (retroactive to Sunday) with a left hamstring strain. He received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Monday and "feels better every day," head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said on Wednesday.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole takes loss after dominant start in stride

Right-hander fans 8, holds potent Cubs lineup to 2 hits over 7 strong frames

Cole takes loss after dominant start in stride

PITTSBURGH -- How good was Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night? Cole said he was the sharpest he's been this season. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it "may have been one of the best-pitched games he's had." Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Cole "could not have pitched better."

But, somehow, it was not enough to win. The Pirates allowed a single unearned run on an error by rookie second baseman Alen Hanson, and they could not mount a sustained offensive attack. So Cole's seven-inning, two-hit effort went to waste as the Bucs lost, 1-0, at PNC Park.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole dazzles, but error sinks Pirates vs. Cubs

Cole dazzles, but error sinks Pirates vs. Cubs

PITTSBURGH -- A night after scoring a season-high 14 runs and pounding out 17 hits, the Cubs were limited to two hits Tuesday at PNC Park. But they only needed one, compounded by a timely mistake by the Pirates, to escape with a 1-0 win over Gerrit Cole and the Bucs.

"I told them to save a couple [runs]," Cubs starter and winner Kyle Hendricks said. "Sometimes one is enough."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs unveil 'Team of the Game' initiative

Local baseball, softball squads will be recognized at PNC Park throughout season

Bucs unveil 'Team of the Game' initiative

PITTSBURGH -- With MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on hand, the Pirates on Tuesday unveiled a season-long Play Ball initiative to recognize local youth baseball and softball teams.

Throughout the season, each team designated as a Pirates Play Ball "Team of the Game" will receive complimentary tickets and food vouchers for a Tuesday home game while being recognized on the field during a pregame ceremony.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs place Bastardo on DL, recall Barbato

Struggling left-hander put on shelf with left quad strain

Bucs place Bastardo on DL, recall Barbato

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates placed struggling left-hander Antonio Bastardo on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday and recalled right-hander Johnny Barbato from Triple-A Indianapolis only eight days after acquiring him from the Yankees.

Bastardo has been the weak link in Pittsburgh's bullpen this season, allowing 12 runs on 15 hits and seven walks over six outings. Bastardo was sent to the disabled list with a left quad strain, which he said came about during his appearance in the Pirates' 14-3 loss to the Cubs on Monday at PNC Park.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Osuna has success at plate, trouble in field

Outfielder fell homer short of the cycle, misplayed key ball in right

Osuna has success at plate, trouble in field

PITTSBURGH -- Jose Osuna ran back toward the warning track in pursuit of Ben Zobrist's fly ball, left his feet and lost sight of it. It seemed the ball shifted on him at the last second, he said, and he couldn't reel in a catchable ball.

The ball skidded to Osuna's right, toward center field. The bases that had been loaded were now cleared, and a three-run deficit stretched to six. While Osuna was the lone bright spot in Pittsburgh's lineup Monday night at PNC Park, finishing a home run shy of the cycle, his misplay in right field also stood out in the Bucs' 14-3 loss to the Cubs.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kuhl has rough night as Bucs fall to Cubs

Kuhl has rough night as Bucs fall to Cubs

PITTSBURGH -- The first time the Cubs and Pirates met this season, the Bucs came from behind three days in a row to sweep the series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs ensured there would be no comeback Monday night, running up a big lead in the first two innings and cruising to a 14-3 win at PNC Park.

Addison Russell led the Cubs' assault on Chad Kuhl and the Pittsburgh bullpen with a career-high four hits, including an RBI single in the first inning. Jason Heyward followed by crushing the first pitch he saw into the center-field seats. After scoring four runs with two outs in the first, the Cubs put up five more in the second, capitalizing on Kuhl's rough night and the Pirates' sloppy defense behind him. Ben Zobrist cleared the bases with a double to right, Heyward's groundout plated another and left-hander Brett Anderson singled to drive in Russell.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Neverauskas makes Major League history

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Neverauskas makes Major League history

Just before the start of Monday night's game against the Cubs, the Pirates announced that they were calling up rookie pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas to take the roster spot of Adam Frazier, who went to the DL. Neverauskas made history while throwing two innings of one-run ball -- he is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Major Leagues.

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Watson, Hudson show grit under pressure

Relievers escape tense jams to secure Bucs' win, series victory

Watson, Hudson show grit under pressure

PITTSBURGH -- It would be easy to understand if the 27,840 fans at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon moved to the edge of their seats when second baseman Josh Harrison booted Ronald Torreyes' potential game-ending double-play grounder in the ninth inning.

The Pirates' defense cost them Saturday's game against the Yankees. But closer Tony Watson would not let the story repeat itself in the series finale. An inning after setup man Daniel Hudson escaped trouble, Watson left the bases loaded in the ninth to seal the Bucs' 2-1 win over the Yankees.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana makes Pipeline Team of the Week

Santana makes Pipeline Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

The latest edition of MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week (April 17-23) is led by an all Milwaukee Brewers outfield, with Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison and Demi Orimoloye all earning a spot. This marks the first time one team has accounted for all three outfield spots on the Team of the Week.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boss-a Nova: Bucs win behind stellar ex-Yank

Boss-a Nova: Bucs win behind stellar ex-Yank

PITTSBURGH -- Yes, that's the same Ivan Nova. Facing his former team for the first time, Nova put together the kind of performance he's become known for since joining the Pirates, firing seven efficient innings and leading the Bucs to a 2-1 victory and series win over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Nova, a Yankee from the time he signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2004 until he was traded this past August, held New York to four hits and a walk while striking out seven. He confidently pounded the strike zone, as he's done with confidence for the Pirates and worked quickly, two staples of his 15 starts with the Pirates.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh, who covered the Yankees on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs set with RF options, but eyeing market

Following Marte's 80-game suspension, Pittsburgh leaning on internal candidates

Bucs set with RF options, but eyeing market

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are monitoring the market for available outfielders, general manager Neal Huntington said, but they are comfortable moving forward with the group they have following Starling Marte's 80-game suspension.

Significant trades in April and May are rare, and few impact free agents remain available. But players do become available on the waiver wire, and two outfielders were designated for assignment over the past two days: the Brewers' Kirk Nieuwenhuis and the Mariners' Leonys Martin.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates undone by homers, defense in loss

Pirates undone by homers, defense in loss

PITTSBURGH -- Held hitless for 4 2/3 innings Saturday afternoon, the Yankees finally found their bats -- in a big way. Starlin Castro and Chris Carter each launched a three-run homer and Aaron Judge added a monster solo shot in the ninth, leading the Yankees to an 11-5 win at PNC Park. 

While Castro's game-tying homer and Carter's go-ahead blast pushed the Yankees past the Bucs, it was Judge's prodigious shot, his sixth of the season, that had everyone talking after the game. More >

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Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh, who covered the Yankees on Saturday.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Defensive issues rear their head in defeat

Pirates charged with five unearned runs in loss against the Yankees

Defensive issues rear their head in defeat

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have put in the work. They were out on the field at PNC Park early Saturday afternoon, three hours before first pitch, working through team defensive drills. But the work is not leading to outs when Pittsburgh needs them most, as evidenced by the handful of mistakes that led to an 11-5 loss to the Yankees.

The Pirates are tied for the National League lead with 16 errors. In 17 games this season, they have allowed 15 unearned runs -- including five on Saturday.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs bust out early, add on late vs. Yanks

Bucs bust out early, add on late vs. Yanks

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates committed three errors Friday night, but they were not undone by their defense. Unable to muster any offense as they were swept by the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Bucs powered their way to an early lead then took advantage of a critical seventh-inning error by Castro and beat the Yankees, 6-3, at PNC Park.

With two outs in the seventh and the Pirates clinging to a one-run lead, Andrew McCutchen hit a lazy popup into shallow right field. Starlin Castro settled under the ball, but it bounced out of his glove and found the outfield grass. Shortstop Jordy Mercer scored from first base, and David Freese singled home another valuable insurance run to give the Bucs a three-run edge over the Yankees' dangerous lineup.
 

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Yankees on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glasnow 'making strides,' flashes potential

Rookie competes despite not having best stuff vs. Yankees

Glasnow 'making strides,' flashes potential

PITTSBURGH -- In describing his mindset on the mound, Tyler Glasnow often refers to various modes of pitching. When he's at his best, he's typically in "competitive mode." After a rough first inning at Wrigley Field on Saturday, he entered "do-whatever's-necessary mode" and finished with four strong frames.

The way he pitched for 4 2/3 innings in the Pirates' 6-3 win over the Yankees on Friday night at PNC Park? That was "survival mode," Glasnow said. His timing felt off, and he didn't have his best stuff.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates' outfield back to 'normal depth'

After experimenting with shift in last season, move back based on variety of factors

Pirates' outfield back to 'normal depth'

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates realigned their outfield this spring, a change that was partially negated by Andrew McCutchen moving back to center field after Starling Marte's 80-game suspension. But they made another change that should stick.

After shifting in last season, the Bucs have moved their outfielders back a few feet. It's not a dramatic alteration -- not like their move in last year -- but it is a return to "more of a normal depth," outfield coach Kimera Bartee said.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How will Pirates bolster offense?

Beat reporter Adam Berry answers questions from Bucs fans

Inbox: How will Pirates bolster offense?

ST. LOUIS - The Pirates have played 15 games -- five sweep-or-be-swept series. It's not enough to draw sweeping conclusions -- pardon the pun -- but it's more than enough to spark curiosities and prompt questions.

We'll answer a few of yours in the first Pirates Inbox of the season.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates go from one extreme to the other

Club has yet to split a series this season

Pirates go from one extreme to the other

ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates have played five opponents this season and have yet to split a series. Their 2-1 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday, their third straight by the same score, was the latest in an alternating, sweep-or-be-swept sequence.

Swept by the Red Sox. Swept the Braves. Swept by the Reds. Swept the Cubs. Now, swept by the Cards. The last team to begin a season like this was the 2003 Twins, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and they were involved in seven straight sweeps.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole solid in start, but offense can't get going

Cole solid in start, but offense can't get going

ST. LOUIS -- The sting of a slow start felt a little less severe on Wednesday, as the Cardinals wrapped up a series sweep of the Pirates with a boost from Dexter Fowler's bat and another strong starting pitching performance. All three games in this series ended with a 2-1 score.

Fowler provided all the necessary offense with his first multi-homer game since 2013. His solo shots off Pirates' starter Gerrit Cole in the third and fifth innings were his first home runs with the club. The second was recognized with a curtain call, Fowler's first at Busch Stadium.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell making adjustments to inside fastballs

Bell making adjustments to inside fastballs

ST. LOUIS -- Josh Bell was sitting in the corner of the visitors' clubhouse at Busch Stadium on Wednesday morning, a bat in his hands, practicing his setup from both sides of the plate.

It hasn't been an ideal start for the switch-hitting rookie, who entered Wednesday batting .200/.273/.250 with six strikeouts and four walks. And it isn't hard to figure out what's been troubling the highly touted first baseman. Despite his struggles, Bell slugged his first homer of the year Wednesday off of Cards starter Michael Wacha in the 2-1 loss. The pitch was a fastball over the middle of the plate.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.