AFL serves purpose for Bucs prospects

AFL serves purpose

PITTSBURGH -- Though the Pirates did not have representation in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday, the season wrapped up with the organization's seven league participants meeting a variety of goals during the seven-week fall season.

Pirates infield prospect Shelby Ford fractured the tip of his right middle finger midway through the fall season, but the good news is that the injury isn't expected to linger into Spring Training. Ford, a third-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft who hit .294 with seven extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in the AFL, was shut down by the injury after playing 18 games.

As for how the other six Pittsburgh Minor Leaguers fared, here is a breakdown of their AFL results:

Michael Crotta: The right-hander finished 1-1 in 12 relief appearances. He allowed nine earned runs and 25 hits in 17 innings pitched, while striking out 14 and walking eight.

Jared Hughes: The only Pittsburgh pitcher in the Scottsdale Scorpions starting rotation was Hughes, who made a total of eight starts. He logged 20 1/3 innings and finished with a 10.62 ERA. An '06 Draft selection, Hughes walked eight and struck out 15.

Derek Hankins: Like Crotta, Hankins made 12 relief appearances during the AFL season. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed 12 earned runs and 17 hits in 13 innings pitched.

Jeff Sues: The right-handed hurler, who was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year for '08, made 11 appearances and finished 1-0 with a 5.65 ERA. Sues walked four while striking out 16 over 14 1/3 innings in the AFL.

Steve Lerud: The catcher was one of five players recently added to the 40-man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft and was another of the AFL participants. He appeared in 12 games and finished with two RBIs and a .250 batting average.

Jamie Romak: The outfielder played in 18 games and hit .227 with 10 runs scored, six RBIs and one home run.

The Scottsdale Scorpions, which was made up of players from the Pirates, Red Sox, Astros, Giants and Angels, finished third in the three-team division with a 14-22 record.

Hot Stove
In one other bit of Minor League news, longtime Pirates Triple-A manager Trent Jewett has been hired to manage Washington's High Class A affiliate in Potomac (Woodbridge, Va.) next season. Jewett had spent 15 years as a Minor League manager in Pittsburgh's system.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.