Pirates finalize deal with pitcher
PITTSBURGH – Jeff Karstens is staying with the Pittsburgh Pirates, finalizing a $2.5 million, one-year contract on Thursday.
Karstens can earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses based on innings.
The 30-year-old right-hander was 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 15 starts and four relief appearances last year, when he missed time because of separate injuries to a hip, groin and shoulder. He made $3.1 million.
Karstens gives the club insurance after free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano injured his right arm last month, a deal that has led to a two-year contract not being finalized.
Karstens will be joined in spring training by two of the team’s most promising pitchers in former first round picks Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Both received invitations to join the team in Bradenton next month to spend some time with the big club.
Cole, the top overall pick in the 2011 first-year player draft, went 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA in 26 minor league starts last year. The 22-year-old right-hander rocketed through the team’s farm system in 2012, beginning the season in Class A and ending it in Triple-A Indianapolis.
Taillon, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, went 9-8 with a 3.55 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 26 combined starts between Class-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona in 2012.
The Pirates also signed veteran outfielder/first baseman Brad Hawpe to a minor league contract. The 32-year-old Hawpe has a career .276 batting average with 124 home runs and 490 RBIs in 893 career games. He last played in the majors with San Diego in 2011, when he hit .231 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.
Pacino gets role as Joe Paterno
LOS ANGELES – Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach.
Producer Edward R. Pressman confirms Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski’s best-seller “Paterno.”
“’Happy Valley’ reunites the ‘Scarface’ and ‘Carlito’s Way’ team of De Palma and Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” Pressman said in a statement. No start or release dates were given for the film.
While Pressman said the plot remains “under wraps,” Posnanski’s book followed Paterno’s final years, as the winningest coach in college football history saw his career end in disgrace in 2011 with the sex abuse scandal involving assistant Jerry Sandusky.
O’Brien wins Bryant award
HOUSTON – Penn State coach Bill O’Brien won the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night.
O’Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.
Other finalists for the award were Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Stanford’s David Shaw and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.
Snyder, Sumlin and Shaw were each finalists at the end of last season.
Former Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards was the ceremony’s other honoree, receiving the Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Edwards retired in 2000 with 257 victories, 22 bowl appearances and one national championship in 1984.
Reds nip Bucs in 13th inning
Jay Bruce ended Jason Grilli's saves streak with a solo homer in the ninth, and Brandon Philips singled with the bases loaded in the 13th inning on Wednesday night, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Derrick Robinson and Shin-Soo Choo singled off Vin Mazzaro (3-2) with one out in the 13th and Joey Votto was walked intentionally. Phillips singled up the middle to end it.
Patton rebounds with win over Portage
Patton manager Ray Eckenrode was concerned about the hangover from Tuesday night’s tough 1-0 loss at Ebensburg.
After a slow start on Wednesday night, the host Red Men started swinging the bat, producing 11 hits in a 6-1 win over Portage in Cambria League American Legion action.
MIKE MASTOVICH| Rookie manager righting Laurel Auto Group ship
Casey Craig is new to his role as GM of the Laurel Auto Group franchise in the AAABA League.
But Craig has seen enough of Mark Thomchick to realize the first-year manager has brought instant respectability to a team that finished eight games under .500 last season.
- Local baseball in brief 6/20/2013
Martella's Pharmacy fashions six-inning victory over Rail Birds
Through three scoreless innings at Point Stadium, the Altoona Rail Birds held their own against Martella’s Pharmacy in a AAABA League interleague contest.
But Martella’s patience at the plate and aggressiveness on the base paths turned a close game into a 10-run mercy rule affair on Tuesday.
Pirates ruin Latos’ winning streak
Pedro Alvarez singled home a pair of runs in the first inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended Mat Latos’ streak of 21 regular-season starts without a loss, beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Latos (6-1) hadn’t lost a regular-season game since last August, setting a club-record streak of avoiding defeat. He couldn’t overcome Pittsburgh’s three-run first inning.
Checkered flag falls at Dog Hollow
There will be no more howling in the hollow.
Through social media, Dog Hollow Speedway in Strongstown - located close to the Indiana/Cambria county line - announced on Monday evening that it would no longer be in operation.
- Local baseball in brief 6/19/2013
Four solo home runs lead Reds past Pirates
Todd Frazier wasn’t going to let left-hander Francisco Liriano get another fastball by him. He guessed right and hit one a long way.
Laurel Auto belts way to victory
Zach Heide’s two-run home run cleared the Screen Monster in left field at Point Stadium and kick-started Laurel Auto Group’s scoring in its 8-2 victory over Ketrow Insurance Monday night in a AAABA league game.
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- Reds nip Bucs in 13th inning