Brad Corley is on his way out, two new players are already in and Curve manager Matt Walbeck continues to be brutally honest about his club's struggles.
"We just haven't been playing like a very good team," Walbeck said after a lackluster doubleheader Sunday against Akron.
"It's just not good baseball, bottom line. The numbers don't lie, and you watch sometimes the performance on the field out there, it's pretty darn sloppy."
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Altoona Curve second baseman Jim Negrych fails to turn a double play after receiving a bad throw at second base on Sunday. The Curve lost a doubleheader to Akron at Blair County Ballpark.
Akron pounded the Curve, 8-2 and 9-2, before a season-high crowd of 5,321 at Blair County Ballpark. The play on the field wasn't all that interesting, but a roster move made before the doubleheader certainly was.
The Pirates removed Corley, the everyday right fielder, from the active roster and placed him on the roster of rookie-level State College. Corley remains with the Curve, but probably not for long as the organization is trying to trade him.
"Right now they're looking for another team for me," Corley said. "Obviously, anything could happen. I could still stay here, but as of right now, they're looking for another team."
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Curve led 2-0 after four innings in the second game Sunday when manager Matt Walbeck made a key decision. RHP Yoslan Herrera made a spot start and was at 63 pitches - elevated for a reliever - after four shutout innings, and Walbeck let him go back out for the fifth. Herrera immediately got in trouble as he allowed a single and RBI, then was lifted. The Aeros poured it on with four more runs to take control.
SAFE AT FIRST: "We thought that we could hopefully get a quick [inning] out of him there, give him a chance for the win," Walbeck said of the Herrera decision. "And with the shape our bullpen is in, it was the move to make. ... It was the right decision, it just didn't work out."
STEALING SECOND: Two players were added to the Curve through trades Sunday, and one led to an intriguing story. RHP Randy Newsom pitched for Akron against Altoona on Saturday night, then got traded to the Curve the next day. He relieved Herrera and pitched against his former team, giving up three runs to take the loss. ... OF Jeff Corsaletti also joined the Curve after spending the season in Triple-A with the Red Sox. He hit .128 in 13 games for Pawtucket. Both trades were for players to be named later or cash.
ROUNDING THIRD: RHP Jared Hughes, who was lifted after four innings with arm soreness Saturday night, was placed on the disabled list Sunday. Hughes is 1-4 and fifth in the EL with a 1.91 ERA.
HEADING HOME: The Curve are off today, then will play Bowie for the first time this season beginning Tuesday.
- Cory Giger
Some players would be miffed about that, but not Corley.
"I'm excited," he said. "You get a new start. It stinks to lose the friends, the comfort zone I have here, but it's always nice to move on and see some new faces."
The Pirates apparently have given up on Corley, who had 100 RBIs in 2006 and 93 in '07 in Single-A. He was rated as the organization's No. 10 prospect entering last season.
"If you look at the performance," Pirates farm director Kyle Stark said, "he had the OK year in Lynchburg [in 2007] and did not perform last year in Altoona - OPS below .700 for a corner bat - then got off to a slow start this year."
Corley hit just .185 with one homer and five RBIs in April. He heated up a bit this month - .260, three homers, nine RBIs - but still has only a .221 average. His four homers lead the Curve.
"I have no idea, honestly," Corley said of why the Pirates are giving up on him. "I can't do anything but play.
"Kyle, he's never seen me do what I can do. Obviously last year was a down year, and he can only go by what he's seen. So if he doesn't like me, that's fine. I can only do what I can do. If I impress him, if I don't, that's fine."
Corley hit .262 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs for the Curve last season. A rough final month dropped his average from the .280 range where it had been most of the season, and the key OPS figure - on-base plus slugging - that Stark noted was .699. A good OPS is considered to be .800 or better.
Walbeck spoke positively of Corley, saying, "Not only is he a good player, he's been a great guy in the clubhouse, too. It's tough, but that's unfortunately the nature of the game."
Corley, meanwhile, has been in the minor leagues long enough to understand how things work.
"It's a business," he said. "Things happen, and you see guys all the time get released that you never thought would have gotten released."
Key player: Akron's Ryan Edell pitched five shutout innings in the first game, and seven different Aeros had an RBI in game two.
Key play: Matt McBride's two-run single helped the Aeros finish off the sweep as it gave them a 5-3 lead in game two.
Key stat: The Curve lost four of five in the series with the Aeros.