This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: June 27th, Two Trades and Seven Former Players

Two trades of note and seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.

The Players

Yacksel Rios, pitcher for the 2019-20 Pirates. He was a 12th round draft pick out of high school in Puerto Rico by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. Rios spent his first two seasons struggling in the Gulf Coast League, where he had an 8.74 ERA in 2011 and a 6.60 ERA in 2012. He moved up to the New York-Penn League in 2013 and took on more innings, after mostly pitching in relief during his first two years. He went 5-3, 3.59 in 52.2 innings in 2013. The next year he moved up to Low-A Lakewood, where he made 13 starts and 20 relief appearances. Rios went 6-2, 3.69 in 102.1 innings. After seeing some time in winter ball in Puerto Rico that off-season, he moved up to High-A Clearwater, in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He went 6-5, 2.75 in 88.1 innings, making ten starts and 16 relief appearances. He was a starter in the Arizona Fall League after the season, posting a 5.14 ERA in 21 innings. Rios struggled through the 2016 season, posting a 4.58 ERA in Double-A and a 6.14 ERA in 58.2 innings back at High-A. However, relief work in Puerto Rico that winter seemed to turn things around. He had a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings of winter ball, then had a 1.92 ERA in 37 appearances in the minors, which was split between Double-A and Triple-A. That performance earned him a promotion to the Phillies in late August, where he had a 4.41 ERA in 16.1 innings over 13 outings. Rios spent much of 2018 in the majors, but did not do well. He had a 6.75 ERA in 36 innings over 36 games. He pitched four times for the Phillies in 2019, allowing seven runs in 2.2 innings. He was struggling in Triple-A when the Pirates picked him up off of waivers on August 3, 2019. He had a 7.41 ERA at the time, to go along with his rough patch in the majors. With the Pirates in Triple-A, Rios posted a 2.35 ERA in nine appearances. He joined the big league team in September and he allowed six runs in 10.1 innings over ten games, though all six runs scored in back-to-back outings. He was with the Pirates in early August of the shortened 2020 season, and he allowed four runs in four innings over three appearances. Pittsburgh let him go after the season and he signed a free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched well in Triple-A for the Rays, who sold him to the Seattle Mariners on June 4th. He gave up three runs over three innings with the Mariners, then was sold to the Boston Red Sox on June 14th. He has a 6.47 ERA in 72.1 innings over 69 big league games.

AJ Schugel, pitcher for the 2016-17 Pirates. He was originally a 33rd round draft pick out of high school by the San Diego Padres in 2007. He decided to attend Central Arizona College, where he was selected three years later in the 25th round by the Los Angeles Angels. After spending the 2010 season in short-season ball after signing, Schugel split the 2011 season between Low-A and High-A, pitching much better at the lower level. Despite some slight struggles in the hitter-friendly California League, he moved up to Double-A for all of 2012. He was a starter at this point in his career and saw significant work for Arkansas of the Texas League, where he went 6-8, 2.89 in 140.1 innings over 27 starts. He moved up to Triple-A, where he had to pitch in the huge offense environment of Salt Lake City in the Pacific Coast League. Schugel had a 7.05 ERA in 89.1 innings over 19 starts. He went back down to Double-A for the entire 2014 season after the Angels traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team/six-player deal. He went 6-4, 3.47 in 147.2 innings over 26 starts in 2014. Schugel debuted in the majors in 2015, pitching one April game before going to Triple-A, where he got hit hard. He had a 2.21 ERA in 12 starts with Double-A Mobile in 2015, then returned to Triple-A and again had poor results. Despite a 10.18 ERA in Triple-A, he returned to Arizona in September. He gave up 13 runs (five earned) in nine innings for the Diamondbacks in 2015. On December 16, 2015, he was picked up off of waivers by the Seattle Mariners, but it didn’t last long. Schugel was picked up off of waivers by the Pirates from the Mariners just one month after Seattle got him off waivers from the Diamondbacks. He began 2016 in Triple-A for the Pirates, but was quickly called up to the majors in mid-April. He would have three stints in the minors that year despite some solid stats in the majors. Schugel had a 3.63 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 52 innings over 36 appearances with the Pirates. He was in Triple-A to start the 2017 season and didn’t make the majors until early July. In 32 games over the final three months of the season, he had a 1.97 ERA in 32 innings. Schugel was injured for a large part of the 2018 season and never made it out of the minors. He did not play pro ball in 2019, but he was active in independent ball in 2020 and he has played for the New York Mets in Triple-A during the 2021 season. In his two seasons with the Pirates, he had a 3.00 ERA in 84 innings.

Daryle Ward, first baseman for the 2004-05 Pirates. He was still 18 years old when he was a 15th round draft pick in 1994 by the Detroit Tigers out of Rancho Santiago College. Ward debuted in the Appalachian League, where he hit .267 with five homers in 48 games. He moved up to Low-A ball the next season and hit .284 with 32 doubles, 14 homers and 106 RBIs in 137 games. He spent most of 1996 in High-A, before getting a late promotion to Triple-A. Ward hit .285 with 29 doubles and ten homers in 134 games that year. He was traded to the Houston Astros in December of 1996 as part of a nine-player deal. Most of the 1997 season was spent in Double-A, with another late promotion to Triple-A. He hit .334 with 21 homers and 98 RBIs, with slightly better results at the higher level. He made his big league debut in May of 1998 for Houston, but it was just a cup of coffee, resulting in four games. The rest of the year was spent at Triple-A, where he did well, batting .305 with 23 homers and 96 RBIs. Ward tore up Triple-A in 1999, earning full-time work with the Astros. He hit .353 with 28 homers and 65 RBIs in 61 games in the minors and .273 with eight homers in 64 games with Houston. Ward was a first baseman by trade, but he was behind Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell with the Astros, so he moved to the outfield. Ward was a bench player for much of 2000, hitting .258 with 20 homers and 47 RBIs in 264 at-bats. He had the same role in 2001, this time batting .263 with nine homers in 213 at-bats. He became the starting left fielder in 2002 and hit .276 with 31 doubles, 12 homers and 72 RBIs in 136 games.

Ward was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in January of 2003. He hit .269 with 49 homers and 188 RBIs in 418 games for the Astros. In his only season with Los Angeles, he struggled badly, hitting .183 with no homers in 52 games. The Pirates signed him in January of 2004 as a free agent and he began the year in Triple-A. Ward was called up in early May and he started off quickly, batting .380 with six homers during his first two weeks with the team. His production dropped off and he missed time due to a thumb injury, finishing with a .249 average, 15 homers and 57 RBIs in 79 games. In 2005, Ward was the everyday first baseman for the Pirates, hitting .260 with 12 homers and 63 RBIs in 133 games. He was let go after the season, then signed with the Washington Nationals for 2006. Ward played three seasons after leaving the Pirates, seeing time with Washington, the Atlanta Braves (2006) and the Chicago Cubs (2007-08), getting a total of 342 at-bats over that time, with 14 homers at 62 RBIs. He finished his career with .263 average, 90 homers and 379 RBIs in 948 games. On July 6, 2002, while with the Astros, Ward became the first player to hit a ball on the fly into the water behind the right field stands at PNC Park. Ward is the son of outfielder Gary Ward, a two-time All-Star during his 12 season in the majors.

Lee Hancock, lefty pitcher for the 1995-96 Pirates. He was a fourth round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners in 1988 out of Cal Poly Tech. He spent two full years in their system before the Pirates acquired him on May 18, 1990 for pitcher Scott Medvin. Hancock went 6-5, 2.60 in 16 starts and 100.1 innings for Bellingham of the Northwest League in 1988. He moved up to High-A San Bernardino of the California League in 1989, where he went 12-7, 2.60 in 173 innings over 26 starts, throwing five complete games. He pitched seven games for Double-A Williamsport in 1990 before his trade to the Pirates. He had a 2.68 ERA prior to the deal and a 3.44 mark in 117 innings for Double-A Harrisburg after the trade. Despite starting that 1990 season in Double-A, and getting a brief call-up to Triple-A, Hancock didn’t make the majors until September of 1995. He began to pitch more in relief during the 1991 season, when he went 4-7, 4.41 in 98 innings for Carolina of the Southern League (Pirates switched affiliates that year). In 1992, he pitched strictly in relief (one start) and had a 2.19 ERA in 49.1 innings over 33 appearances, split between Double-A and Triple-A. In 1993, he split his season again between Double-A and Triple-A, while returning to more of a starting role. He did much better at the lower level, posting a 2.53 ERA in 99.2 innings at Double-A, while putting up a 4.91 ERA with Buffalo of the American Association. In 1994, Hancock spent the entire year in Triple-A, making 30 starts and seven relief appearances. He had a 4-5, 3.43 record in 86.2 innings. The strike that year possibly kept him from debuting that season, but he would make the majors in 1995 after going 6-10, 5.07 in 113.2 innings over 17 starts and 17 relief appearances for Buffalo. For the 1995 Pirates, Hancock had a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings, spread out over 11 appearances. He made the Pirates Opening Day roster in 1996, pitching 13 times out of the bullpen before a few rough outings in May got him sent back to the minors. The Pirates cut ties with him that July, and by the end of next season he was out of baseball, never making it back to the majors. Hancock finished the 1996 season in Triple-A with the San Francisco Giants, then had brief stints in 1997 with the Giants and Chicago Cubs in the minors, resulting in a 9.20 ERA in 14.2 innings. He finished with an 0-0, 4.45 record in 31.2 innings over 24 appearances in the majors.

Elmo Plaskett, catcher for the 1962-63 Pirates. He signed with the Pirates in 1957 after scout Howie Haak saw him during a tryout on the tiny island of St Croix. Along with Al McBean and Joe Christopher, the Pirates signed three future Major League players from the Virgin Islands during the 1955-58 time frame. Plaskett debuted in Class-D ball at 18 years old, playing outfield and pitching during his first season. He hit .302 with 31 extra-base hits and 56 RBIs in 91 games, while posting a 3.65 ERA in 69 innings for Jamestown of the New York-Penn League. He moved to third base during the 1958 season, which was split evenly between a Class-C team and Class-A Lincoln of the Western League. Plaskett hit .289 with 13 homers, 67 RBIs and 13 steals in 129 games that year. He played winter ball in Puerto Rico after the season and got in another 264 at-bats. He would end up playing winter ball during much of his pro career. In 1959, he spent half of the year with Columbus of the International League, just one step from the majors. He hit .333 with 18 extra-base hits in 73 games that season. In 1960, Plaskett spent the entire year in Class-C Grand Forks of the Northern League. He switched to catcher full-time that year, so they started him at a much lower level than his offensive skillset. He hit .295 with 32 extra-base hits and 78 RBIs in 93 games. The 1961 season was spent mostly on the sidelines with a hand injury, which limited him to 29 games.

Plaskett spent six full seasons in the minors before getting his first big league shot in 1962 as a September call-up. That year he hit .350 with 27 homers and 96 RBIs in 134 games for Asheville of the South Atlantic League. He was playing in A-Ball that year, but it was such a good performance that he earned a look with the Pirates. He hit .286 in seven games, with a three-run home run to his credit during his first cup of coffee in the majors. Plaskett made the Pirates Opening Day roster in 1963, lasting six weeks before he was returned to the minors on May 24th.  In 1963 for the Pirates, he hit .143 (3-for-21) in ten games. He played minor league ball until 1969, but never made it back to the majors. He played in the Pittsburgh farm system until May of 1967, but his performance dropped off following a broken leg in winter ball after the 1964 season. He played just 39 games at Triple-A during his final six seasons of pro ball, seeing a majority of his time in the Double-A Southern Association, while also playing parts of two seasons back in A-Ball.

Hank Behrman, pitcher for the 1947 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1941 at 19 years old, playing Class-D ball with Valdosta of the Georgia-Florida League, where he went 18-10, 3.11 in 252 innings. He moved up to the Class-B Piedmont League in 1942, where he went 14-11, 2.92 in 222 innings. After the season, he reported to the Army, where he stayed until January of 1946. He went to Spring Training with the Brooklyn Dodgers after returning and made the team.  He went 11-5, 2.93 over 150.1 innings during his rookie season in 1946, making 11 starts and 36 relief appearances. He was one of five players the Brooklyn Dodgers sent to the Pirates on May 3, 1947 for Al Gionfriddo and $100k in cash.  Prior to the deal, he had pitched only twice in relief during the first three weeks of the season, allowing four runs in 3.2 innings. Behrman spent six weeks with the Pirates before he was returned to the Dodgers. The trade came with an agreement that Pittsburgh could send players back if they weren’t performing well. With the return of Behrman to Brooklyn, the Pirates recouped some of the money from the deal, with reports being as much as half of the original price returned. With Pittsburgh, he went 0-2, 9.12, allowing 26 runs in 24.2 innings. After being returned to the Dodgers, he had a 5.30 ERA in 88.1 innings over 36 appearances. Behrman was with Brooklyn through the end of the 1948 season, pitching mostly out of the bullpen that last season, posting a 4.05 ERA in 91 innings. He finished his big league career with the Giants in 1949, where he went 3-3, 4.92 in 71.1 innings over 43 appearances (four starts). He then played another four seasons in the minors before retiring. He compiled a 13-34 record during his final two seasons of pro ball, pitching for Charleston of the American Association. He ended up with a 24-17, 4.40 record in 429.2 innings over 174 Major League games.

Jackie Hayes, catcher for the 1883-84 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He had a strong rookie season in 1882 at 21 years old, playing center field and backup catcher for the Worcester Ruby Legs of the National League. He had almost no prior pro experience, seeing three games in 1880 for Rochester of the National Association. Hayes hit .270 with 54 RBIs in 78 games for Worcester (the team played 84 games that season). Worcester folded after the 1882 season and Hayes signed on with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys shortly after the season ended. The local papers noted his arrival for Spring Training in 1883 by saying that he lost considerable weight over the off-season. He caught in 62 of the team’s 98 games in 1883, hitting .262 with 41 runs scored and a team leading three homers. Hayes spent most of the 1884 season with the Alleghenys before being released on August 21st after batting .226 in 33 games. He moved on to another American Association team, the Brooklyn Atlantics, to finish the season. He missed time mid-season due to illness and returned to his home, which was in Brooklyn, to recover. He batted .235 in 16 games with the Atlantics to finish the year. He saw sporadic playing time in the majors over the next three seasons despite batting under .200 each year. Hayes hit .131 in 42 games for Brooklyn in 1885, posting an anemic .333 OPS. He was considered to be a strong defensive player, so that helped him stay in the majors, back when catching was much more difficult on the body than it is now, and it’s still easily the most difficult now. He spent part of the 1886 season with the Washington Nationals of the National League, where he hit .191 in 26 games, with three homers. The 1887 season saw him back in the American Association briefly, where he hit .143 in eight games for the Baltimore Orioles. After spending the next two years in the minors, Hayes made it back to the majors in 1890 when there were three Major Leagues operating at the same time. He played 12 games for the Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders of the Player’s League that season, batting .190 and starting games at four different positions. He would finish his playing career three years later in the minors. Hayes hit .253 in 118 games for Pittsburgh. He’s recognized now by the name Jackie, but he was known as Jack during his playing days.

The Trades

On this date in 2014, the Pirates traded reliever Jason Grilli to the Los Angeles Angels for reliever Ernesto Frieri. The 37-year-old Grilli put in three strong seasons for the Pirates, but in 2014 he was struggling, posting a 4.87 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 20.1 innings over 22 appearances. After the deal, Grilli pitched well for the Angels in a short relief role. He had a 3.48 ERA in 33.2 innings over 40 appearances. Frieri had been a solid reliever for parts of five seasons in the majors, but he too was struggling in 2014 at the time of the deal. Unlike Grilli, Frieri actually got worse after the deal. He lasted just 14 appearances with the Pirates and posted a 10.13 ERA in 10.2 innings before being released on September 2nd.

On this date in 1998, the Pirates traded outfielder Jermaine Allensworth to the Kansas City Royals for minor league pitcher Manuel Bernal. Allensworth was traded at the perfect time, though the trade didn’t net the Pirates anything. Bernal was a 21-year-old pitcher from Mexico, who never actually pitched for the Pirates. He was pitching in his home country at the time and remained there as an active player until 2009. Allensworth was hitting .309/.372/.429 through 63 games at the time of the trade. After the deal, the 26-year-old didn’t even last a full year in the majors. He batted .205 in 30 games for the Royals, then hit .213 in 74 games for the 1998-99 New York Mets. Despite playing his last big league game in 1999, he played minor league ball until 2008. In three seasons with the Pirates, he hit .272 with ten homers, 98 RBIs and 33 steals.