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Pirates show interest in Ayala
June 25, 2009

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PITTSBURGH - Though Luis Ayala talked his way off the Minnesota Twins' roster, the Pirates would be willing to take him for their bullpen, though only at a greatly reduced cost.

The Twins designated the right-handed reliever for assignment Monday, giving them 10 days to trade him, release him or outright him to the minor leagues.

The Pirates, who have a need for an experienced righty with set-up man Tyler Yates (elbow) on the disabled list, have inquired about Ayala.

However, the Pirates would only deal for Ayala if the Twins assume the vast majority of what is remaining on his $1.3-million salary for the remainder of this season, approximately $700,000.

Ayala, 31, was 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA in 28 games this season after being signed as a free agent on Feb. 18. He was upset that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would not allow him to pitch the eighth inning in front of closer Joe Nathan and asked to be traded three weeks ago.

"His thoughts were if we gave him the ball in the eighth inning, he'd do the job," Gardenhire told reporters who cover the Twins earlier this week. "My thoughts are, 'if you're not getting them out, you're not going to pitch in the eighth inning.' We're trying to win, so there's your difference."

Ayala suffered a blown save each of the first three times he pitched with a lead in the seventh inning this season.

Morton update

Right-hander Charlie Morton said his strained right hamstring is feeling much better and expects to start Friday night against Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park.

The Pirates, though, have right-hander Virgil Vasquez on call at Class AAA Indianapolis in case Morton can't pitch. The Pirates figure to make a final determination on Morgan's status today.

Morton said before Wednesday night's 10-6 win over Cleveland he believes he is ready to go.

"It's getting better, noticeably better, and I'd be surprised if I wasn't able to pitch on Friday," Morton said.

Morton was pulled after one inning of his Pirates' debut on June 11 at Atlanta when he felt tightness in the hamstring. He was given eight days between starts before pitching five innings at Colorado last Saturday.

Wilson milestone

Jack Wilson moved into third place for most career games by a Pirates' shortstop with 1,104 on Wednesday night. He had been tied with Jay Bell.

Honus Wagner holds the record with 1,887 and is followed by Arky Vaughan (1,381) and Dick Groat (1,242).

Minor move

The Pirates acquired first baseman Brian Myrow, 32, from the Chicago White Sox organization and assigned him to Class AAA Indianapolis. Myrow was hitting .277 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 48 games with Class AAA Charlotte.

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