Day 35 of Pirates spring training: news and notes
The Pirates will face the Houston Astros for the first time this spring in Kissimmee, Fla., at 1:05 pm. Charlie Morton is making his third start (fourth appearance) this spring and is scheduled to throw five innings. He will face Ryan Rowland-Smith.
You can listen to the game live here.
- Chris Snyder is eyeing Tuesday as his return to action since he’s been sidelined with lower back stiffness.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Snyder took swing in the batting cage on Saturday and said his lower back was giving him no problems.
Snyder will do more cage work on Sunday and hopes to be cleared for batting practice on Monday. If all goes well and he does not suffer any set backs, Snyder could play and catch in a minor league game on Tuesday.
Snyder said he should be ready for Opening day (April 1st).
Snyder told Langosch, “If it was any later than early next week then it would have been pushing it. Hopefully everything goes well and stays on track and I can stretch it out. Hopefully get nine innings one of those days. Get rolling.”
- Langosch also reports that James McDonald threw long toss on Saturday (50 throws, 120 feet) and said he felt fine afterwards. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday.
- Members of the 2010 Eastern League Champion Altoona Curve will be honored on Wednesday during a pre-game ceremony at McKechnie Field.
- The Pirates will face the Minnesota Twins on Monday at 1:05 in Bradenton, Fla. Paul Maholm will get the start against Brian Duensing. Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Sean Gallagher will follow.
Newest Bucco Garrett Olson throws in the bullpen at McKechnie Field.
- First pitch strikes are important. The league average for the pitching staff throwing an 0-1 count is 59 percent –the Pirates last season did it at 58 percent.
Pitching coach Ray Searage is looking to improve that rate by several percentage points this season.
Searage told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I don’t want us to be 60 (percent). Sixty is average. I want us to be above average.”
Read more on Biertempel’s piece on the importance of first pitch strikes –Good Stuff.
- Manager Clint Hurdle has not yet named an opening day starter, but he has narrowed it down to two: Right-hander Kevin Correia and lefty Paul Maholm.
Hurdle told Biertempfel of the Tribune, “We’re going to watch Paulie pitch Monday and go from there. We’ve looked at a lot of different things. We’ve categorized all the numbers — trajectory ERAs, history in ballparks, history against (hitters). It’s not so much (who’s) our No. 1; it’s what is the best way to set up our rotation as we move forward.”
- Rob Biertempfel of the tribune also reports that Brad Lincoln’s bullpen session was canceled today. His arm remains swollen and painful.
Lincoln was struck with a line drive by Jimmy Rollins during Friday’s game against the Phillies.
Lineup: Tabata CF, Pearce 3B, Walker 2B, Diaz RF, Marte 1B, Doumit C, Fields LF, Cedeno SS, Morton RHP
Pitchers: Morton, Crotta, Leroux, D. McCutchen
Lineup: Bourn CF, Hernandez 2B, Pence RF, Lee 1B, Bogusevic LF, Downs SS, Oswaldo 3b, Quintero C, Rowland-Smith LHP
Pitchers: Rowland-Smith, Lyles, Pendleton
*Photo credit: @BucsInsider