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A solid pitching performance by Charlie Morton and a two-run home run by Andrew McCutchen lifted the Bucs 4-3 over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Monday night.
Morton proved his spring stats were not a fluke as he limited the Cardinals to just one run on three hits over six innings (97 pitches) with five walks and two strikeouts.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “He did everything you could have hoped he would have done. He pitched an outstanding ball game.”
While his walk rate was rather high, what was most impressive was the fact that he was able to work his way out of several jams.
In the bottom of the 4th, after walking Lance Berkman and Allen Craig back-to-back, Morton got Yadier Molina to ground out to escape the inning without a run scoring.
Morton told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I’m pitching more to contact. I know that sounds weird; I walked five guys. But I want him to hit it. I wanted to throw a good sinker and have him hit it. He did, and we got out of it.”
Down 1-0 in the 6th, the Pirates scored four runs off of right-hander Kyle Lohse. Ronny Cedeno lead off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Charlie Morton. Jose Tabata drew a seven pitch walk and Neil Walker hit a two-run double to take a 2-1 lead. With those two runs, Walker has a National League leading seven RBI.
In the next at-bat McCutchen, who was back in the lineup after missing Sunday with ‘upper body soreness’, hit a two-run home run to give the Pirates a 4-1 lead.
Evan Meek’s early season struggles continued as he allowed two singles, a walk, and two earned runs in the 8th.
Joel Hanrahan picked up a four out save, striking out two. Hanrahan’s three saves lead the majors.
The Pirates are now 3-1 on the season. The Cardinals fall to 1-3.
Down three runs in the eighth, the Cubs rallied in the inning to score five runs as the Pirates fell 5-3 to the Cubs in Chicago on Saturday.
Paul Maholm received a no-decision in his solid season debut scattering five hits over 6.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
Maholm was efficient. He needed just 14 pitches to get through two perfect innings. Maholm didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the 3rd, when pitcher Carlos Zambrano hit a double.
Maholm told Root Sports on what made him so successful today: “My curveball was better than my slider. Just throwing inside and mixing it up.”
“I was happy. I felt comfortable. I was throwing first pitch strikes, throwing inside and mixing it up pretty good.
The Pirates scored on Right-hand pitcher Zambrano early. After issuing two walks in the first inning, Pedro Alvarez drove in Jose Tabata to take a 1-0 lead.
They tacked on a second run in the 3rd when Neil Walker hit a RBI double scoring Tabata who started the inning off with a single.
The score remained 2-0 until the 7th inning when right-fielder Garrett Jones took the first pitch from Zambrano into the right field bleachers for a solo-home run and a 3-0 lead.
Things quickly turned sour in the 8th. Set up man Evan Meek allowed a lead-off walk to pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome, who advanced to second after a wild pitch was thrown. Shortstop Starlin Castro hit a RBI double to cut the lead 3-1. Marlon Byrd reached base on a fielding error by first baseman Lyle Overbay which scored Castro. Alfonso Soriano hit a single off of Meek to tie the game at 3.
Chris Resop replaced Meek, but he didn’t stop the runs from scoring. After issuing a walk to Tyler Colvin, Blake Dewitt hit a two-run double to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead.
Meek told Root Sports after the game, “I felt good warming up. Obviously, when you go out there and walk the lead-off guy, it’s never a good sign. It’s tough. Pauly [Paul Maholm] went out there and did a good job. The team did a good job. Just didn’t make good pitches when I needed to, didn’t make very smart pitches. Not smart location, it just was an awful day for me. You can’t get ahead of a guy 0-2 and give him something to hit. I just didn’t do a good job finishing off the hitters today. It’s a tough break.”
“I go out there everyday expecting to get three outs, and get them quickly. Going out there and having a three run lead, knowing that Joel’s coming after me, it’s a good feeling. It’s a very confident feeling. Obviously going out there and not doing my job, not making the pitches, walking the lead off guy, that weighs on you. It weighs on you hard.”
Closer Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the top of the 9th for the save and the heartbreaking loss for the Bucs.
“You’re going to lose, Maholm said. “It’s going to happen. We’re going to go 162-0? It’s part of it. But hopefully as a group you’re p*ssed off, you’re ready to come win a series tomorrow. We had the game and kind of let it get away from us. You know what, I’ll hand the ball to Meek every time, and all those guys in the bullpen. Everybody’s going to have bad outings.”
The Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at 1:05 PM/ET for the second game of a three game opening weekend series. Left-hander Paul Maholm will start for the Bucs against Right-hander Carlos Zambrano.
- Maholm, who is the longest tenured pitcher on the staff, is considered to be a veteran in the clubhouse despite being just 28-years-old.
Maholm told Evan Drellich of MLB.com, “I’ve been around. I’ve been through everything. Most of the time, I’m just going to lead by example. You just try to show them how things should be done. … We have a bunch of young guys, and I feel like I fit in pretty good with them. It’s not like I’m ancient. It’s weird to know that me and [Ryan] Doumit have been around the longest. But I don’t think either one of us are old by any standard in baseball.”
Maholm went 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA against the Cubs last season and two of those wins came at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates were 10-5 against them last season and 5-4 in Chicago.
- Third Baseman Pedro Alvarez described the scene in the dugout after Neil Walker’s grand slam in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on opening day as “hectic.”
Alvarez told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “We’re a resilient bunch. We’re always going to play hard for nine. I think that’s the one message that we’re going to send across. That’s our type of baseball. Play hard for nine.”
- Neil Walker is batting .472 with 11 RBI and 10 extra base hits in 10 career games against the Cubs.
- Rookie Relief pitcher Mike Crotta made the team out of spring training and is soaking in his first major league opening day.
Crotta told Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette his thoughts on opening day: “I just said to myself, ‘I made it, this is my dream.’ That isn’t something many people get to say or experience.”
Crotta is just one of eight players who experienced their first opening day in the big leagues. The others: Josh Rodriguez, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Steve Pearce, James McDonald and Garret Olson.
Pearce told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I have been fighting for this spot since ’08. Three years later, it’s going to mean the world to me. It’s everything I wanted.”
Jose Tabata (LF), Neil Walker (2B), Andrew McCutchen (CF), Lyle Overbay (1B), Pedro Alvarez (3B), Ryan Doumit (C), Garrett Jones (RF), Ronny Cedeno (SS), Paul Maholm (LHP)
Darwin Baker (2B), Starlin Castro (SS), Marlon Byrd (CF), Aramis Ramirez (3B), Geovany Soto (C ), Carlos Pena (1B) Alfonso Soriano (LF) Tyler Colvin (RF) Carlos Zambrano (RHP)
It’s finally here: Major league baseball 2011 opening day. Although the Pirates opening day doesn’t kick off until tomorrow, there are several games being played today.
The Pirates had workouts at Wrigley field this afternoon.
News and notes:
- The Pirates made several roster moves today: Right-hand pitcher Jose Veras was added to the 40-man roster. To make room for Veras, the Pirates designated Ramon Aguero for assignment.
Catcher Chris Snyder, Right-hand pitchers Jose Ascanio and Brad Lincoln and left-hander Scott Olsen were placed on the 15-day disabled list.
- Right-hand pitcher James McDonald threw 69 pitches today vs. NYY Triple-A team. He allowed just one run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts over five innings. McDonald (left side soreness) remains on track to pitch on April 5th in St. Louis.
Manager Clint Hurdle said J-Mac will be on about a 85-90 pitch count on Tuesday’s start.
General Manager Neal Huntington told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “The ball was coming out of his hand real well. He threw healthy. He had some sharp pitches at times. He had some other pitches that weren’t quite as crisp. But yeah, we believe he’s ready to go.”
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates have not yet determined where right-hand pitcher will begin the season in extended spring training or with Triple-A Indianapolis. Lincoln has been sidelined with a right forearm contusion.
- Manager Clint Hurdle also announced the Pirates opening day lineup for Friday. Ryan Doumit will be the starting catcher for the fourth straight season.
He explained his decision of picking Doumit over Jason Jaramillo, who had a great spring, was because of experience. Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I think we’ve got enough young guys breaking in [on Friday] that we’ll rely upon Ryan with some experience behind the plate, We’ll use both. I know both of them have worked very hard, and both of them are trying to take ownership of trying to be the best catcher they can be to handle the staff.”
- Right-hander Kevin Correia, who will be the Pirates opening day starter, told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com the importance of the team starting off strong, “It is nice to get off to a good start. It just kind of gets your confidence rolling going into the year. If you start off losing games, it’s just not conducive to getting on a good streak. When you’re in a position like we are, any time we can win a series, it’s going to be important – especially against division rivals.”
- The Pirates also released seven minor leaguers: Adenson Choruio, Christian Colonel, Casey Erickson, Pat Irvine, Gerlis Rodriguez, Jose Solano and Mike Williams.
- In honor of Hall of Fame Manager Chuck Tanner, who passed away in February, the Pirates will wear a commemorative patch this season. The patch will be black No. 7 enclosed in a gold “Stargell Star”
- Former Buccos Andy LaRoche and Lastings Milledge have made the major league club this season. LaRoche batted .333 in 29 games with the Oakland Athletics. He hit three doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI. Laroche will be an utility infielder.
Milledge batted .305 in 19 games this spring with the Chicago White Sox. He hit one double, four home runs and 12 RBI. Milledge will be a back up outfielder.
- John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus and the Beaver County Times believes right-hander Kevin Correia could be the Pirates’ treasure.
- Outfielder Jose Tabata was replaced by pinch runner John Bowker in the 5th inning of Wednesday’s game against the Phillies. Tabata, who stole second base, hit his right ankle on the bag. It was reported that “he had only discomfort.”
- The Pirates have signed pitcher Tim Wood according to MLB Trade Rumors. Wood was released by the Washington Nationals.
The 28-year-old allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over 4.1 innings this spring.PNC Park has some new food items at the ballpark this year. Stuffed Pepper Hoagie, Meatball subs, Pulled Pork Perogie snacker; to name a few.
For Vegetarian and Gluten Free people like me, new this year is a Gluten-free beer and a veggie cup with hummus at the Levy Restaurants and a veggie toaster sandwich at Aramark. I love that PNC Park is continuing to cater to Vegetarian and Gluten Free fans.
You can read about all the delicious new foods here.
*Photo credit: @Colin_Dunlap
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.
The Pirates lost their final Grapefruit League game of the Spring on Monday against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., 4-3.
Anthony Claggett, who was in from minor league camp, came in to close the game in the 9th inning. After allowing a lead off walk, Brian Roberts hit a triple, scoring the tying run. Clagget gave up a single off his foot and Roberts scored the game winning run.
The Pirates drop to 11-20 this spring.
Jeff Karstens started for the Pirates and he allowed just one run (none earned) on five hits with one walk and one strikeout over 4.2 innings. His ERA this spring is 1.54. Karstens was scheduled to throw about 50 pitches. The Pirates wanted him stretched on in case James McDonald is not healthy enough to start April 5th in St. Louis.
The Pirates played small ball in the first inning. Jose Tabata lead off with a double off of Lefty Francisco Lorianio. Neil Walker hit a sac bunt, advancing Tabata to third base and Andrew McCutchen hit a sac fly to take a 1-0 lead.
Lorianio allowed the Bucs to score two more runs in the 4th inning. A lead off double by Neil Walker followed by First baseman Steve Pearce, who hit a double, scoring Walker. Matt Diaz hit a bloop single into right field to score Pearce.
In the fifth inning, Denard Span advanced to second base on a bad throw by shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a RBI single cutting the lead to 3-1.
Mike Crotta, who is fighting for one of the final spots in the bullpen, allowed Brandon Roberts to double home Brian Dozier, who walked in his previous at-bat.
Claggett allowed Roberts to triple in the game tying run after a lead off walk. Lehmann hit the go-ahead run off of Clagget’s foot to win the game, 4-3.
- In the bottom of the first inning, Denard Span laid down a perfect bunt but catcher Jason Jaramillo made an unbelievable throw to get Span at first base.
- If you watched the MLB Network broadcast, Former Bucco closer Matt Capps was interviewed by the Twins Broadcasters. When asked about his former club, and if he talked to a lot of the team still, he said: “A lot of the players. Most of Clint Hurdle’s staff are guys I had coming up through the minors. Ray Searage is a guy I give a lot of credit to turning my career around. In ’04 and ’05, essentially getting me to the big leagues. He’s the pitching coach now. Jeff Banister’s over there. He was the field coordinator when I was there. [Euclides] Rojas, the bullpen coach there was the pitching coordinator when I was there. He helped me out quite a bit. A lot of good friends. People over there in that uniform [are] good people.”
- Giger Counters of the Altoona Mirror reports that Pirates minor leaguer Jim Negyrch says he wants to play in Triple-A or he wants the Bucs to release him so he can find a job elsewhere.
Negyrch, 26, was playing for the Double-A team on Monday.
Negyrch told Counters of the Altoona Mirror, “Obviously I feel like I’ve done enough in Double-A, so if I’m not in Indianapolis then, I’ve gotten permission then hopefully I’ll be able to get my release and hopefully play someplace else.”
You can read more of the story and interview with Negyrch here.
- Right-hander Nathan Adcock, who the Royals took from the Pirates in the Rule-5 draft, has made the big league club. Adcock has not pitched above High-A in his career but Kansas City believes he is ready to throw at the big league level.
Adcock must stay with the Royals for the entire season or else they will have to offer him back to the Pirates for half of what they payed ($25,000).
- Following the game today, the Pirates will fly to Philadelphia. The Bucs will play two exhibition games against the Phillies on Tuesday (7:05 PM) and Wednesday. Ross Ohlendorf will face Roy Oswalt on the 29th, Charlie Morton will face Cole Hamels on the 30th.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette wrote a great feature on the Pirates Top three prospects: Right-handers Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Catcher Tony Sanchez. Read it here.
The Pirates won their final game at McKechnie Field this season on Sunday in walk-off fashion against the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4.
Rays’ Daniel Mayora’s throwing error in the bottom of the ninth allowed infielder Josh Rodriguez to score the game winning run.
Left-hander Paul Maholm started his final game of the spring against fellow Southpaw David Price.
Maholm allowed three runs on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts over five innings. Maholm has allowed just five walks this spring while striking out 18 over 25 innings.
Maholm told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I felt a lot more comfortable pitching in. I think as far as pitch counts go, I got to 96 [mph] last time, and I’d say I threw about 70-75 [mph] today. I feel good. I’m just ready go into the cold stuff and see what we can do.”
Kelly Shoppach homered off Maholm in the 2nd inning to the give the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 lead.
The Bucs tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the third when Andrew McCutchen grounded out to short, scoring second baseman Neil Walker.
Maholm gave up his second home run of the game in the 5th, a left field solo shot by Ben Zobrist. Reid Brignac singled to right field to tack on another run, giving the Rays a 3-1 lead.
Jose Tabata hit his first home run of the spring in the bottom of the 5th to the pull the Bucs within one run.
The Pirates took the lead in the 6th inning. Ryan Doumit hit a single scoring Matt Diaz and Pedro Alvarez.
Chris Leroux, who is fighting for one of the final spots in the bullpen, allowed the game tying run in the 9th, a solo home run to John Jaso.
Josh Rodriguez drew a walk and advanced to second on Jose Tabata’s fielders choice. Rodriguez came in to score the walk-off run after Mayora threw wide to first base.
- Joel Hanrahan pitched two perfect innings while striking out three. It marked the first time this spring that the Bucs closer pitched multiple innings.
- The Pirates will face the Minnesota Twins on Monday for the final game of the spring. Right-hander Jeff Karstens will start for the Pirates against Left-hander Francisco Liriano.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the entire club will travel for the road game and fly into Philly afterwards. The Pirates face the Phillies for two exhibition games before the season kicks off in Chicago on April 1st.
- Chris Snyder said he back is feeling better and expects to be the starting catcher for opening day.
Snyder told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I could play today if I had to. “I’ve been through way worse with my back in 2009.”
General Manager Neal Huntington told Biertempfel of the Tribune, If he’s not ready to catch back-to-back games, we’re either going to carry a third catcher as protection or we’re going to look at the (disabled list).
- Biertempfel of the Tribune also reports that left-hander Joe Beimel threw 30 pitches off a mound on Sunday and was pain free. Biemel (elbow) is expect to be with the team sometime in April.
Despite allowing a two-run home run to Third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the 1st inning, right-hander Kevin Correia was solid in the Pirates 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday afternoon.
Correia allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. It was the first time this spring he pitched into the sixth inning. Correia threw 92 pitches (59 for strikes).
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I thought it was definitely my best outing in spring. I felt strong the whole time. You want your last Spring Training outing to be good. You don’t want to go into the season thinking about how you didn’t pitch well the time before. I felt pretty good about this one.”
Manager Clint Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, “I thought he got stronger as he went on. He expects a lot of himself. He never shuts himself down on an inning or an outing. He takes a lot of pride in getting the ball and pitching deep and getting as many innings as he can get. I thought it was a very good way for him to finish up.”
Correia is set to be the opening day starter on April 1st against the Cubs in Chicago.
The Pirates put one run on the board in the 2nd inning after a two out double by Jason Jaramillo which scored Pedro Alvarez.
Chris Dickerson extended the Yankees lead to 3-1 after singling to center field, scoring Outfielder Nick Swisher.
The Bucs brought the game to within one run after second baseman Neil Walker hit a sac fly to score Jose Tabata.
In the 8th inning, Mike Crotta gave up his first earned run this spring, a RBI single by Austin Krum giving the Yankees a 4-2 lead. Crotta’s scoreless inning streak lasted 10.1 innings.
Hurdle told Biertempfel of the Tribune, “He’s pitching out of the bullpen now and that’s not something he did last year. He’s a big guy (6-feet-6, 235 pounds), he repeats his delivery pretty well, he’s got good downhill plane. It’s hard sink, mid-90s mph sink and he’s added a complementary breaking ball. And he’s pounded the strike zone. Those things are always going to work. We’ll see how he finishes it off, but he has done everything he could possibly do to build his confidence and let us know that maybe we should give him an opportunity, and possibly sooner than later.”
- Manager Clint Hurdle announced earlier today that Andrew McCutchen will bat third in the lineup this year. Jose Tabata will lead off for the Bucs with Pedro Alvarez batting fifth (read more here).
- James McDonald (left side) threw a successful three inning game against the Yankees Triple-A team today. He reported to feel fine afterwards (read more here).
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that Pirates No. 1 prospect, Jameson Taillon threw three scoreless innings allowing three hits against the Yankees High-A team.
- The Pirates have lost five games in a row. Are the losses in spring training really important, or does it effect the team?
Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “We play every game to win. But if we don’t, we don’t. When we start the season, we’re not going to have any. We just haven’t played complete games for the last 10-11 games. You’ve got to throw a complete package out there. I’ll be more concerned when we’re running our regular team out there. We’ve been trying to take a very good inventory of all our players this spring and challenging guys in different situations. Winning’s always the intent, but the focus will shift to a higher degree of that once the season starts.”
The Pirates will face the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla., at 1:05 pm. The game will broadcast on FSN Pittsburgh (for the last time before it transitions into ROOT Sports).
Right-hand pitcher Kevin Corriea will face left-hander Manny Bauelos.
- Chris Snyder was scratched from the lineup today with a stiff back. Snyder missed two weeks due to the injury. He caught against the Orioles on Thursday night for the first time since being sidelined and it was reported that he was sore on Saturday.
Snyder told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “Maybe I did a little too much, too soon. We’re going to have to see (about the severity), come next week. I couldn’t tell you right now.”
Just two spring training games remain, and two exhibition games in Philadelphia before the season starts on April 1st. Snyder being out could change the pitching plans.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Biertempfel of the Tribune, “It could have an impact on our catching situation. We need to re-evaluate and revisit what the issues are. For it to happen again after just catching a night game … we’ll see. It definitely could jeopardize what we do with the roster and who goes with us.”
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that if Snyder is out for the beginning of the year, Ryan Doumit will be the opening day catcher with Jason Jaramillo as the backup.
Jaramillo will replace Snyder in the lineup this afternoon.
- Earlier this morning, the Pirates cut four players from camp: Left-hander Brian Burres, Infielder Andy Marte, Catcher Dusty Brown and Infielder/Outfielder Corey Wimberley (read more here).
With Marte cut from big league camp, Steve Pearce makes the Pirates opening day roster for the first time in his career (read more here).
- James McDonald is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game today in Tampa against the Yankees Triple-A team. This marks McDonald’s first outing since March 11th. The Pirates would like him to throw about 50 pitches.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that If for some reason McDonald is not ready to start on April 6th, Jeff Karstens would be asked to spot start in the rotation. If not, Karstens will remain as the long inning relief pitcher in the ‘pen.
- Three relievers remain for two final spots in the bullpen. Lefty Garrett Olson and Right-handers Mike Crotta and Chris Leroux.
- On Friday’s edition of Baseball tonight, Buster Olney discussed what must go right and what could go wrong for all 30 major league teams. Here is what he had to say about the Bucs:
Olney: “For the Pittsburgh Pirates. What must go right? The rising group of talent, positions players. Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata must continue to grow. You know what? Scouts really like the high ceiling players they’re putting together.
Now, what could go wrong for the Pirates? The rotation appears to be thin again. This torpedo, the Pirates went 57-105 last season. Neal Huntington, their General Manager, is in the last year of his contract. They are not committed to him long term.”
Lineup: Tabata LF, Walker 2B, McCutchen CF, Overbay 1B, Alvarez 3B, Jones RF, Cedeno SS, Jaramillo C, Correia RHP
Pitchers: Correia, Crotta, Veras
Lineup: Gardner CF, Jeter SS, Teixeira 1B, Rodriguez 3B, Swisher RF, Posada DH, Dickerson LF, Nunez 2B, Romine C
Pitchers: Bauelos, TBA
The Pirates will face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 in Bradenton, Fla., today.
Paul Maholm will start for the Bucs against Kyle Drabek.
According to Rob Biertemepfel of the Trib, Woody Huyke will manage the Pirates this afternoon, as Manager Clint Hurdle spends the day at Pirate City watching minor league camp. Huyke has spent the past 43 years with the Pirates organization.
- Injury updates:
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com,
James McDonald will throw on flat ground on Thursday. He will also to throw a bullpen over the weekend. McDonald tells Langosch, that he feels “way better”.
Chris Snyder is taking it easy today after waking up with back stiffness. He has been hitting and throwing the last two days.
Ryan Doumit (oblique strain) took batting practice this morning. He will also take some at-bats during a minor league game on Thursday. Doumit tells Langosch, “Feel just fine. I knew it was nothing to begin with.”
- During Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, Andrew McCutchen stole second base with Pedro Alvarez (batting fourth) at the plate and no outs. Clearly, McCutchen will still be stealing despite batting third.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “You have to remember who we are,. Our four hitter right now, we want to get runners in scoring position for him. If Pedro is hot and rolling during the season, we might not take as many chances. But we’ve got usable speed and if we can go get a base, we’re planning on going and getting a base.”
“We’ve got to take some chances. Pedro is a power hitter in growth. It’s not like we’re running with [Albert] Pujols up at the plate. It’s a whole different complex, a whole different dynamic. We want to keep this mindset of going, of being aggressive, especially with Andrew. I do think that’s a part of his game that he can continue to open up more and we don’t want to take that away at all if he ends up in the three spot.”
- Left Fielder Jose Tabata is getting more comfortable leading off this spring.
Tabata told Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazete, “I feel comfortable leading off, but I will do whatever they want. If they say lead off, I’ll be there. If they say bat second or third, I want to do whatever I can to help my team.”
Tabata batted .255 when leading off, .328 in the No. 2 spot last season.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Musselman, “I really like his approach leading off. He’s shown some discipline. He’s had some walks. He can hit the ball the other way. He’s a contact hitter. You can use him to hit and run. You can use him various ways. He’s got speed when he gets on.”
- Ross Ohlendorf (three or four innings) will start on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles. Joe Beimel (one), Scott Olsen (one or two), Daniel McCutchen (one or two) and Sean Gallagher (one or two) will follow.
- Brian Burres will pitch the first four innings Thursday at Pirate City. Tyler Yates (two), Fernande Nieve, Jeff Karstens (three or four) and Evan Meek (two) also will throw.
Lineup: Patterson CF, McCoy SS, Encarnacion 3B, Thames LF, Molina DH, Cooper 1B, Arencibia C, Tolisano RF, Diaz 2B
Pitchers: Drabek, Villanueva, Janssen, Henn, Lewis
Lineup: Tabata LF, Walker 2B, McCutchen CF, Alvarez 3B, Overbay 1B, Jones RF, Cedeno SS, Brown C, Maholm, LHP
Pitchers: Maholm, Hanrahan, Resop, Veras, Crotta
*Photo credit: @Colin_Dunlap