Correia gets opening day nod; Maholm, home opener
Manager Clint Hurdle announced on Thursday that Kevin Correia will be the Pirates opening day starter in Chicago on April 1st. Paul Maholm is slated to pitch the PNC Park home opener on April 7th.
The rotation is as follows: Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, James McDonald.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette, “There are two significant dates for every team, Opening Day and the home opener. Kevin and Paul have piggybacked each other throughout spring. We actually had pretty much of a spilt house internally. … For every [stat] that would make you think this, there was another one that would make you think that. At the end of the day, I wanted these two guys leading the pack and thought this way.”
Correia, who signed a two-year contract with the Pirates this offseason, went 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA with the San Diego Padres last year.
This spring Correia has allowed 14 runs (13 earned) over 18.1 innings with six walks and 15 strikeouts.
Correia allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts his last start against the Boston Red Sox. He even went 2-for-2 with a RBI at the plate.
This will be his first career opening day start in his nine year career.
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s a good honor for me, but I know there is a lot of work that is going to be involved with every five days. It’s not just one start. Every one is important. It is nice to go out there on a day that kicks off the season, but like I said in the past, in our rotation we need every one of these guys to pitch like they’re the best pitcher on the staff at some point in the year for us to do what we need to do. I am excited about it, but I do know that there is a lot of work.”
Maholm is the longest tenured Pirate on the team. This will be his seventh season with the Bucs. Maholm went 9-15 with a 5.10 ERA last year. Maholm allowed two runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings his last start against the Minnesota Twins. Maholm has allowed just four walks over 20 innings of work this spring, while striking out 13.
After the news was annouced, Maholm (@Maholm28) tweeted: Found out that I get to start the home opener and get the year started right at pnc. Very honored #letsgobucs
Maholm told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “You’re not going to see me bitter. I’ve started Opening Day and it’s definitely an honor and fun, but to get to start the opener at home — hopefully it’s a sellout and a packed house — to get the season started off right there is going to be big. I think it’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
Ohlendorf is coming off an injury plagued season in which he only threw 108.1 innings. The right-hander went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA.
This spring, he has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) over 9.2 innings (4 starts) with five walks and nine strikeouts.
Ohlendorf allowed six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts over three innings his last start against the Orioles. He was scheduled to throw six innings but was pulled early due to a high pitch count.
Morton’s struggled during the 2010 season going 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA. Morton gained his confidence back after working with pitching coach Ray Searage and has had himself a great spring training. Over 14 innings, Morton has allowed just two runs on nine hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Morton is also back to throwing his sinker (who former pitching coach Joe Kerrigan told him to stop using) which has been referred to as a “Roy Halladay type sinker” by ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian.
Morton threw six shutout innings allowing just four hits, no walks, with five strikeouts his last start. His ERA this spring is just 1.29.
Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, “Charlie has pitched better than anybody in camp, and good for him. That’s why the next step will be the more interesting step. The season will come and we’ll see what that brings. But confidence has been built.”
McDonald was acquired from the Dodgers at the trade deadline last July. He went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA over 11 starts with the Bucs.
This spring McDonald has allowed six runs (three earned ) on 10 hits with three walks and two strike outs over 6.2 innings.
McDonald has been sidelined since March 11th with left side soreness. He is scheduled to throw in a minor league game on Saturday.
*Photo credit: (Corriea, Maholm, Ohlendorf, Morton, McDonald) Yahoo! Sports