Pirates Re-Sign Martin, Drop Four From Roster
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Al Martin won’t follow Denny Neagle, Charlie Hayes and Dave Clark out the Pittsburgh Pirates’ revolving door.
The Pirates, who spent much of August dealing off experienced players and cutting payroll, re-signed Martin on Wednesday to a two-year extension through the 1999 season.
Martin, a former Atlanta Braves farmhand, hit a career-high .300 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs this season as the Pirates’ No. 2 hitter. He also improved his play in left field.
``He took his game up another level this season,″ Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said. ``He was one of the tougher outs in the league.″
Despite the Pirates’ plans to rebuild with young players and cut their payroll to $18 million in 1997, the 28-year-old Martin didn’t want to leave.
``This is where I want to be,″ said Martin, who will make $2 million next season. ``Hopefully, the next chapter in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ history will be a winning and a productive one, and I want to be here when it is.″
The Pirates also promoted John Sirignano from director of major league baseball administration to assistant general manager.
Sirignano will essentially fill the role formerly held by Pete Vuckovich, who replaces Ray Miller as the pitching coach. Miller did not accompany former Pirates manager Jim Leyland to Florida and is under consideration to replace Pat Dobson as the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching coach.
Vuckovich, a former major league pitcher, formerly served as director of player personnel and as general manager Cam Bonifay’s top assistant.
The 36-year-old Sirignano has spent six seasons in the Pirates’ baseball operations department.
The Pirates also cleared room for possible Rule 5 draftees and minor-league prospects by dropping four players from their 40-man roster. On Tuesday, the Dodgers claimed utilityman John Wehner after the Pirates tried to sneak him through waivers.
Sent to Triple-A Calgary were pitchers Joe Boever and Dave Wainhouse, first baseman Rich Aude and third baseman Dale Sveum, but at least three could return next season.
Sveum, a former Milwaukee Brewers player, already has a tentative agreement on a $325,000 contract for 1997. He hit .353 with one homer and five RBIs after a September callup and could challenge for the starting third baseman’s job.
Boever and Wainhouse also could return next season, and both are expected to attend spring training as non-roster invitees.