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The Pittsburgh Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at 2:20 PM/ET today at Wrigley field for the final game of the series. The teams have split the first two games.
Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will start for the Bucs against Right-hander Matt Garza, who is making his Cubs debut.
Ohlendorf did not pitch longer than 4.2 innings in a start this spring. He told Evan Drellich of MLB.com, “I feel really good with where I am right now. Pitching coach Ray Searage] and I worked on some things the last week or so that I think are really going to help. Also, my arm feels good, and that’s very important at this point.”
- If the Pirates win today, it would be their first road series win July 27-29 (Colorado) of 2010. The Bucs only won four road series last season (17 games overall).
- Following today’s game, the team will travel to St. Louis, where they open up a three-game series against the Cardinals.
- The Pirates Double-A team, Altoona Curve, announced it’s opening day roster.
The starting rotation is as follows: left-handers Jeff Locke and Aaron Thompson and right-handers Bryan Morris, Aaron Pribanic and Jared Hughes.
Farm director Kyle Stark told Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror, “I expect that staff to not be there long. Some of those guys have had success in that league and have a couple things they need to do, and if they do that, then we’re gonna look to challenge those guys [in Triple-A].”
Tim Alderson, a first round draft pick in 2009, will start the season in the bullpen.
Some notable position players include: Catcher Tony Sanchez (Pirates No. 2 prospect), Shelby Ford, Starling Marte, Brock Holt and Quincy Latimore.
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Matt Diaz RF, Jason Jaramillo C, Ronny Cedeno SS, Ross Ohlendorf RHPUpdate: McCutchen said he had little soreness in his neck from dive yesterday on ball hit in outfield.
*Manager Clint Hurdle says lineup is not up yet because they are waiting on health status of Andrew McCutchen who has “upper body” injury, according to Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette.
Starlin Castro SS, Darwin Barney 2B, Marlon Byrd CF, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Carlos Peña 1B, Geovany Soto C, Alfonso Soriano LF, Tyler Colvin RF, Matt Garza RHP
*Photo credit: @MikeShaeffer
Ross Ohlendorf’s struggles this spring continued as he threw 94 pitches over four innings as the Pirates lost to the Phillies 8-5 at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Ohlendorf has only thrown five innings in a start this spring once. He allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and a strikeout over four innings.
Ohlendorf has now allowed 24 runs (20 earned) on 34 hits over 18.1 innings this spring.
Ohlendorf told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I wish Spring Training had gone better, but I feel as if I’m ready. I feel like tonight, that even though the results were similar to my other starts, I feel like I threw the ball much better.”
“Where I didn’t do well is I threw too many pitches. I felt that with the exception of a couple of at-bats, I wasn’t getting hit as hard as I was in the last game, and the ball was coming out much better, and [catcher Ryan] Doumit did, too. I’m definitely heading in the right direction.”
Manager Clint Hurdle is not concered with Ohlendorf’s spring struggles. Hurdle told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I have no concerns or misgivings. He’s in our starting rotation. I’ve seen guys have springs in which they didn’t get anybody out, and when the season started they rolled right through it.”
Lyle Overbay came through with a two-RBI double in the 1st inning off of Roy Oswalt to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead. Both Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez walked in the inning.
Jimmy Rollins successfully stole second base in the bottom of the 1st inning. Catcher Ryan Doumit’s throw to second went into center field allowing Luis Castillo to score and put the Phillies on the board.
Right Fielder Ben Francisco homered off Ohlendorf in the 2nd inning to tie the game at two. Ohlendorf continued struggled in the 2nd. Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Luis Castillo hit a grounder to short, an easy double play to end the inning, but Ronny Cedeno bobbled the ball allowing a run to score. Jimmy Rollins hit a sac fly to score Ruis and give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.
Two more runs scored in the 4th inning off of Ohlendorf, who hit Rollins, his third batter of the night. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins both hit RBI singles in the inning.
Josh Rodriguez and Jose Tabata drew back-to-back walks in the 5th. Neil Walker hit a single, but advanced to third base on an error by the Francisco. Both Rodriguez and Tabata scored. Andrew McCutchen followed with a RBI single to cut the lead to 6-5.
Chris Leroux’s leadoff walk to Victorino scored on a ground out by Rollins in the 6th. Leroux was pulled after just 1/3 of an inning.
Former Bucco Erik Kratz scored off of Evan Meek in the 8th. The Phillies went on to win 8-5.
- Jose Tabata went 0-for-2 with three walks and two runs.
- Neil Walker reached base four times tonight. He went 3-for-4 with a RBI, a walk and two runs scored.
- Right-hander Kevin Correia, who will be the Pirates opening day starter in Chicago, is eager to get the season started right. He will be facing the Cub’s Ryan Dempster on April 1st.
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I’d trade in an Opening Day start for a good start. If we’re going to turn this thing around, it would be nice to win that first game. It’s exciting, but you can’t get caught up too much in it. You’ve got to approach it like any other start.”
- Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Mike Crotta has made the Pirates 25-man roster according to reports. Crotta, who has never pitched above AAA, has had himself a great spring. He’s allowed just two earned runs over 12.1 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Crotta told Mike Radano of MLB.com, “I feel like [Spring Training] couldn’t have gone better for me. I [went to Florida] in the beginning of December because I had some elbow issue to work through. From the first day, I’ve just worked with [Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage] on getting the right mentality to be a reliever, and working on getting the ball down in the zone.”
“I’ve learned a lot this spring, and it’s something I can take with me into my career. It’s awesome to be here, and the whole experience is awesome. From the plane ride to playing in a game, it’s all just awesome. I’m ready to go.”
- Corey Giger of the Altoona Mirror reports that Pirates pitching prospects Jeff Locke and Bryan Morris will start the season with Double-A Altoona. Left-hander Justin Wilson is still undetermined whether he will go back to Altoona, or start the year with Triple-A.
Catcher Tony Sanchez and Starling Marte, ranked as the Pirates No. 2 and No. 4 prospects by Baseball America, will start in Double-A.
Another interesting move will be with shortstop Chase D’Arnaud. If the Pirates decide that Pedro Ciriaco will be the everyday shortstop in Indianapolis, then D’ARnaud will start the season at Double-A again.
- The Pirates will face the Phillies again tomorrow for the final exhibition game before opening day kicks off on Friday. Charlie Morton will start for the Bucs against Cole Hamels.
Right-hander Mike Crotta has quietly had himself a great spring. In eight appearances (10.1 innings), Crotta has not allowed an earned run. He’s held the opponents to just four hits (.114 opp avg) with one walk and three strikeouts.
So just who is Michael Crotta? You may, or may not have heard of the 6’6″ righty.
The 26-year-old spent the 2010 season with both Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis where he went 7-10 with a 4.42 ERA in 28 starts (156.2 innings) combined.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com after just two appearances this spring, “He’s definitely got the attention of some people. He’s pitching with purpose.”
Crotta still remains with the big league club but will most likely start the season back at Triple-A.
His future with the Pirates is an interesting one. Crotta is on the 40-man roster, but he will be competing this season with some of the Bucs best starting pitching prospects; Bryan Morris, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke are all either slated to start in Triple-A, or they are not too far behind. Let’s not forget about Aaron Thompson and Tony Watson who can also start. Brad Lincoln, Brian Burres and Daniel McCutchen could all wind up in Indianapolis too.
While he’s not a prospect to keep an eye on (a career 4.61 ERA in five minor league seasons), I’d say his spring stats are more than worthy of some attention.
*Photo credit: Derick Hingle
The Pirates will face the Houston Astros in Bradenton, Fla., at 1:05 pm. You can listen to the free webcast of the game here.
Left-hander Brian Burres is making his second start (fifth appearence this spring) and will face another south paw today, J.A. Happ.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that Joe Beimel played catch yesterday and will again today. Beimel (elbow inflammation) said he felt fine. There is no timetable as to when he will throw off a mound.
With just one week until the season opener, is it possible for the lefty to be ready?
Beimel told Biertempfel of the Trib, “I’m not going to go out there if I’m not ready. I wouldn’t do that to the team. I wouldn’t count myself out for being ready, but I’m not going to do anything stupid.”
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports the several injury updates:
Right-hander Jose Ascanio threw a bullpen session on Tuesday without any issues. Ascanio has been sidelined with right elbow discomfort.
Brad Lincoln threw long toss this morning. Lincoln is sidelined with a right arm contusion after being hit by a line drive on Friday’s game against the Phillies.
James McDonald is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. McDonald’s (left side) next step has not been announced yet.
Chris Snyder (lower back) caught three innings in a minor league game on Tuesday and is said to be feeling fine.
- Be sure to read this great article by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com on prospect Bryan Morris, who isn’t far from making his major league debut. He discusses what he learned from spring training and the year ahead.
Mayo also breaks down the Pirates top 10 prospects:
1. Jameson Taillon, 2. Stetson Allie, 3. Tony Sanchez, 4. Rudy Owens, 5. Bryan Morris, 6. Luis Heredia, 7. Jeff Locke, 8. Starling Marte, 9. Zack Von Rosenberg, 10. Colton Cain.
- The story about right-hander Craig Hansen is an inspiring one. If he’s fell off your radar, you’re not alone. Acquired in the Jason Bay Trade, Hansen has not thrown a pitch in the majors since April 19, 2009. The 27-year-old is learning how to pitch with a rare condition called Parsonage-Turner syndrome.
Working out at Pirate City this spring, Hansen is slated to pitch at Triple-A this season. Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette has a story on his recovery.
- Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. He will pitch six innings followed by Evan Meek (one), Garrett Olson (one or two) and Chris Leroux (one). The O’s will send Jake Arrieta to the mound.
*If my memory is correct, this will mark the first time Meek has thrown on back-to-back games this spring.
Lineup: Tabata LF, Walker 2B, McCutchen CF, Overbay 1B, Diaz RF, Alvarez 3B, Doumit C, Cedeno SS, Burres LHP
Pitchers: Burres, Meek, Resop, Crotta, Yates
Lineup: Bourgeois CF, Sanchez SS, Pence RF, Michaels LF, Wallace 1B, Johnson 3B, Quintero C, Hernandez 2B, Happ LHP
Pitchers: Happ, Valdez, Del Rosario, Chacin, Wright, Wolf
- Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that the Pirates will make the following substitutions around the fifth inning:
John Bowker LF, Pedro Ciriaco 2B, Corey Wimberly CF, Steve Pearce 1B, Garrett Jones RF, Andy Marte 3B, Dusty Brown C, Josh Rodriguez SS
16-year-old Luis Heredia throwing a bullpen session at Pirate City this morning.
*Photo credit: @BucsInsider
The Pirates made four cuts on Saturday morning: Kyle McPherson was optioned to Bradenton (High-A), Bryan Morris was optioned to Indianapolis (Triple-A) and Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson were reassigned to minor league camp.
McPherson appeared in one game this spring where he allowed one hit and no runs through two innings. McPherson was drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2007 draft. The 23-year-old right-hander went 9-9 in 28 games (21 starts) with a 3.48 ERA combined with West Virginia Power and Bradenton Marauders last season.
Morris allowed two runs on four hits with one strike out through three innings (two games) this spring. Morris was drafted in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 2006 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers (He was one of the players acquired in the Jason Bay trade). He went 6-4 in 19 games (16 starts) with a 4.25 ERA with the Altoona Curve in 2010. Morris struck out 124 batters in 133.2 innings combined with Double-A and High-A last season.
Owens allowed three runs on six hits this spring through four innings (two games) and walked two. Owens was drafted in the 26th round by the Pirates in the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old lefty went 12-6 with a 2.46 ERA with Double-A Altoona last year. He struck out 132 batters in 150 innings, walking just 23.
Wilson allowed three runs on one hit with four walks and three strikeouts this spring in 1.2 innings. Wilson was drafted in the 5th round by the Pirates in 2008. He went 11-8 with a 3.09 ERA in 26 starts with 71 walks and 134 strikeouts.
54 players remain at big league camp.
“[With the] small snapshots that I was able to view, I was impressed with all of them,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It just reinforces everything I heard, everything I felt, everything I had seen about our player development system. These guys are grounded. These guys are focused. These guys are committed. They are professionals. They used their eyes so well, their ears so well here.”
- The Pirates will face the Philadelphia Phillies at home (McKechnie Field) today at 1:05.
Kevin Correia will get the start for the Bucs followed by Brian Burres, Fernando Nieve, Bryan Morris, Kyle McPherson and Daniel Moskos.
Joe Blanton is scheduled to start for the Phillies.
- Neil Walker is working with Hall of Famer Bill Mazerowski at spring training again this year. Walker wants to learn everything he can from the eight time gold glove award winner and fears he may even be getting on his nerves.
“Maz is probably the best second baseman of all time,” Walker said. “It’s very humbling having him around. He treats me like a son, and I appreciate everything he does for me. I’m going to listen to every single word he says. I’m guessing by the end of Spring Training he is going to be sick of me. That’ll mean I got the most out of him.”
Maz laughed at Walker’s comment saying,
“He comes and asks me what he needs to work on,” Mazeroski said. “There are other guys who don’t do that. You have to go after them. But he comes after you to get work, and that’s good. You know he wants to learn and he’s learning well.”
“I look forward to him leading the league this year in double plays,” Mazeroski answered. “He adapts that quick. He’s a good athlete. It doesn’t take much. So far this year, he’s picked up everything. If he just keeps doing it for a while, he is going to be fine.”
- Evan Meek is scheduled to throw live batting practice today –not a bullpen session, as previously reported. Meek is sidelined by a right calf strain and –if all goes well– should make his grapefruit league debut Monday, March 7th against the Tampa Bay Rays.
- Scott Olsen (left hamstring) is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday.
Pitchers: Joe Blanton, Beaz, Myers, Carpenter, Zagurski, Bastardo
Lineup: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Ibanez RF, Howard 1B, Young 2B, Schneider C, Garcia DH, Valdez LF, Martinez CF
Pitchers: Correia, Burres, Nieve, Morris, McPherson, Moskos
Lineup: Tabata LF,
Cedeno SS Ciriaco SS, Walker 2B, Overbay 1B, Diaz DH, Jones RF, Marte 3B, Snyder C, Hernandez CF
**Ronny Cedeno was scratched from the lineup with a sore right middle finger.
- Be sure to add me on facebook. I’ve uploaded over 100 spring training pictures so far in my photo album.
- Also, follow me on twitter (@kristpie)
It was much better weather on my second trip to Pirate City. No rain today, thank goodness.
The major league players had a three hour MLB Players Association meeting in the early am so most of the fields were occupied by the minor leaguers.
A funny moment happened later in the morning (after the major leaguers arrived) when a fan called over Matt Diaz for an autograph. He handed him a picture of John Bowker, who wore No. 23 last year. Diaz said, “That’s not me. That’s Bowker.” The fan said that he was wearing No. 23, but Diaz laughed and told him that when your old like me you can take the younger players numbers.
Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Rodriguez took grounders at shortstop this afternoon.
Justin Wilson throwing a bullpen session.
Minor leaguers taking batting practice.
Players practicing drills (Brock Holt, Jim Negrych, Starling Marte)
Players stretching before workouts.
- The Pirates have a split squad on Monday. Both games will have a 1:05 pm start.
- At McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Paul Maholm will start for the Bucs against the Baltimore Orioles, pitching two innings. He will be followed by Jeff Karstens who will also pitch two innings of work.
Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Justin Wilson and Cesar Valdez will all pitch one inning a piece
- At Charlotte Sports Park, Bryan Morris will start for the Bucs against the Rays, followed by Fernando Nieve. They will both pitch two innings of work.
Sean Gallaher, Aaron Thompson, Kyle McPherson will pitch one inning.
Jeff Neiman will start for the Rays.
- This will be the first meeting of the Pirates and former Skipper John Russell on Monday since he was fired over the offseason. Russell was hired by the O’s as a third base coach.
Russell finished his tenure with a 186-299 record.
- Lefty Scott Olsen is scheduled to throw his third side session on Monday. Olsen is recovering from a left hamstring strain.
- Joe Beimel said he woke up experiencing pain in a muscle near the elbow, but it isn’t anything serious.
“It’s not too big of a deal,” Beimel said. “When I was playing catch, I over-extended on one (throw) and it got a little sore. I was a little worried because it’s something I never felt before. They’ve done all the tests and there’s nothing (wrong) with the ligament. It’s one of those things where I can move it, like, 10 times and on the 11th it will hurt. Since (Sunday), it’s become less and less (painful), to the point now that I don’t really feel it.”
Orioles: J.J. Hardy SS
Felix Pie RF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Adam Jones CF
Nolan Reimold LF
Brandon Snyder 1B
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis 2B
RHP Brad Bergesen
Jose Tabata LF
Josh Rodriguez SS
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Garrett Jones 1B
Ryan Doumit DH
Chase d’Arnaud 2B
Jason Jaramillo C
LHP Paul Maholm
- Pirates owner Bob Nutting arrived in Bradenton, Fl. On Saturday night and was spotted at Pirate City On Sunday. He will be in town for two weeks.
- Sunday was photo day for the players. The pictures are used for baseball cards to media outlets. You can see a lot of pictures here at Yahoo! Sports
- The players worked on run down drills on Sunday. The outfielders played as baserunners and the pitchers joined the infielders to mimic pickoffs and rundowns.
They also worked on baserunning drills –a huge emphasis during Camp Hurdle.
The Pitchers worked on bunting and slug bunting.
- Group two of the Pirates pitching threw live batting practice on Sunday. They included: Charlie Morton, Tony Watson, Jeff Karstens, Chris Resop, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Brian Burres, Daniel McCutchen, Sean Gallagher, Cesar Valdez, Daniel Moskos, Tyler Yates, Justin Thomas, Ramon Aguero, Fernando Nieve and Bryan Morris.
- Manager Clint Hurdle spent time after practice talking about outfielder Corey Wimberly who will be fighting for a bench spot.
“This could be Corey’s time. That’s why we went out and got him. We had talked him in a couple different avenues over the winter and then we were able to make a trade for him. To his credit, delay doesn’t mean denial. He has persevered. He hasn’t taken feeling being passed over on the field with him. He’s continued to go out and do what he needs to do to make himself attractive to whatever organization has him.”
- Jeff Karstens will be filling many different roles for the Pirates this season. Although he won’t be competing for the 5th spot in the rotation, Karstens is the favorite to be called upon for long relief or to spot start.
“He matured greatly last year, and I hope he continues to do that this year because he has a good instinct when he’s out there on the mound,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “The beauty of Jeff is he can do multiple roles and he knows what those roles entail.”
- In the last several months Tyler Yates has rediscovered his changeup, a pitch he lost when he moved from starter to reliever (only needing the two best pitches).
“I think I’ve learned by watching other pitchers with less stuff than I have get people out and I’m like, ‘How do they do it?’ ” Yates said. “You start watching them and you see that they sink the ball a little bit more, cut the ball a little bit more, change speeds better. It’s something that I’d like to add to my repertoire, so I won’t have to throw the ball 96 mph every time out there.”
Yates is also looking to add a cutter to his repertoire, which would give him five pitches (fastball, sinker and slider are the others).
“If I can add (the change and cutter), it would give me longevity in my career,” he said. “At 33 years old, I’m trying to get everything I can out of it.”
A shot of a beautiful day in Bradenton (photo via @Colin_Dunlap)
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- Pirates pitching prospect Luis Heredia spent Tuesday morning watching the major league spring training workouts.
“I like watching the team,” Heredia said. “I like the guys. I feel good. I am excited.”
Heredia threw a long toss session on Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled to throw off the mound on Thursday.
Luis Heredia (front left) with a group of young Bucs in conditioning drills today (picture via @BucsInsider)
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports:
Pedro Alvarez put on another bombs-away show during batting practice on Field 3. Alvarez swatted homers and dinged two cars in the parking lot beyond the outfield wall.
- The following players threw bullpen sessions on Tuesday: Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Fernando Nieve, Chris Resop, Sean Gallagher, Tony Watson, Cesar Valdez, Tyler Yates, Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Daniel McCutchen, Ramon Aguero, Daniel Moskos and Bryan Morris.
- Right-handed pitcher Kevin Hart threw a long toss program on Tuesday before the team workouts. Hart had been shut down for 10 days and given a cortisone shot to help reduce inflammation in his surgically-repaired shoulder.
“Everyone that I’ve talked to who had the surgery says it is normal to have this type of issue,” Hart said. “They seem to think that it’s something that 10 days off could really resolve. It sounds really simple to think about, but when you don’t throw for four months and then start cranking it up, there are going to be some times when some tightness starts creeping in.”
Hart remains optimistic that he will be able ready by opening day.
- Left-hander Scott Olsen has thrown off the mound three times, his fourth session is scheduled on Wednesday. It’s reported that he has had no discomfort with his shoulder thus far.
“I’m hoping that everything stays healthy and that we can progress in the right direction,” Olson said. “We haven’t had any setbacks. No issues. It’s early, and we’re taking the proper steps and precautions that we need to take.”
- Right-hander Brad Lincoln has reported to spring training several pounds lighter this year. He spent the offseason going through some tough conditioning work.
Pitching coach Ray Searage has said that he would not be forcing any new mechanical changes on Lincoln moving forward. He also said Lincoln’s mechanics are back to where they need to be.
Pirates andy marte warms up in batting pratice (picture via @RobBiertempfel)
Who better to coach the Pirates catchers than Sangy [Manny Sanguillen] (picture via @RobBiertempfel)