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The Pittsburgh Pirates (8-10) will face the Florida Marlins (10-6) for the second of a three game series at 7:10 PM/ET at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla.
Right-hander Charlie Morton (2-0, 1.64 ERA) gets the nod for the Bucs against righty Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 4.05 ERA).
Morton was dominant against in his last start. He threw a complete game –the second of his career– and picked up his second win on the season. Morton limited the Reds to just five hits over the nine innings of work. Of Morton’s 110 pitches, 81 were for strikes.
Nolasco received a no-decision during his last outing against the Braves. He allowed five runs over five innings of work.
News and Notes:
- Andrew McCutchen is not in the lineup today due to personal matter. Jose Tabata will play in center field with Matt Diaz moving to left.
- Manager Clint Hurdle told David Villavicencio of MLB.com, “Andrew went home today to deal with a personal matter, and that’s really all we’re going to share right now. We’re respecting his privacy, and I’ll let you know more when I can tell you more.”
- The Pirates outrighted Garrett Olson to Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday. The lefty allowing one run over 4 1/3 innings this season with the Bucs.
- The Pirates signed right-handers Blaine Boyer and Brett Sinkbeil to minor league contracts today.
Boyer appeared in five games with the New York Mets this season. The 29-year-old had a 10.80 ERA over 6 2/3 innings before being designated for assignment.
Sinkbeil was released by the Marlins in spring training.
Jose Tabata CF, Matt Diaz LF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Garrett Jones RF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Chris Snyder C, Ronny Cedeno SS, Charlie Morton RHP
Chris Coghlan CF, Omar Infante 2B, Hanley Ramirez SS, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Greg Dobbs LF, Mike Stanton RF, John Buck C, Emilio Bonifacio 3B, Ricky Nolasco RHP
The Pittsburgh Pirates (8-8) will open up a three-game series against the Florida Marlins (8-6) tonight at7:05 PM ET in Miami, Fla.
Left-hander Paul Maholm (0-2, 2.33 ERA) will face righty Josh Johnson (2-0, 1.35 ERA)
Maholm has had three strong starts for the Pirates, but has had little run support during his outings. Maholm has allowed just five runs over 19.1 innings this season. During his last start against the Brewers, Maholm allowed two runs to score in the first but then tossed six scoreless frames after. He allowed four hits with three walks and six strikeouts over seven innings. Maholm is 3-4 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Marlins.
Johnson had a no-hitter going until giving up a hit to the Braves Freddie Freeman with one out in the 8th inning. He’s allowed just three earned runs in three starts this season (20 innings).
News and Notes:
- Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan has not been comfortable throwing his slider this season, but despite that, he has still managed to pick up five saves.
Hanrahan told Kevin Goheen of MLB.com, “If something’s not working, you still have to figure out a way to get guys out. Sometimes you just make things up when you’re out there. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but for me, it comes back to believing in it and trusting in it.”
Hanrahan has allowed three runs on 11 hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over nine innings (eight appearances) this season.
- Kevin Correia’s complete game on Monday’s 9-3 win to the Cincinnati Reds was the second of his career. His other complete game came on September 25, 2009 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- It also marked the second complete game by a Bucs starter in the past four games (Charlie Morton, the other). The Pirates had just one complete game in 2010 (Paul Maholm). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first season for the Pirates to have more than one complete game win in April since 1992 –the last year the Pirates had a winning record.
- Seven different players (Jose Tabata, Matt Diaz, Steve Pearce, Chris Snyder, Neil Walker, Lyle Overbay and Ronny Cedeno) had at least two hits in last night’s 9-3 victory over the Reds.
- The Pirates took three of four from the Reds –the first series win in Cincinnati since 2008.
- They also have won three straight road series for the first time since April in 2002. The Bucs have won seven of 10 games on the road this season.
- Pedro Alvarez is back in the lineup tonight after given the day of on Monday. Alvarez is batting just .193 on the season. Known for his slow starts to the season, Alvarez has been working extensively with hitting coach Gregg Ritchie and Manager Clint Hurdle.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Kevin Goheen of MLB.com, “We’re just trying to help him find his way back to finding some consistency on offense. His recovery period hasn’t been what you would want at this level. Every hitter is going to go through some periods when they’re down and their stroke’s not right, but what creates separation at this level is the recovery time. You want it to be shorter than longer, and there’s been some length to this.”
Andrew McCutchen CF, Jose Tabata LF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Garrett Jones RF, Ryan Doumit C, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ronny Cedeno SS, Paul Maholm LHP
Chris Coglan CF, Omar Infante 2B, Hanley Ramirez SS, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Logan Morrison LF, Mike Stanton RF, John Buck C, Emilio Bonifacio 3B, Josh Johnson RHP
The Pirates bats –which combined for 15 hits — and the excellent pitching performance by Kevin Correia combined for a 9-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on Monday.
Right-hander Kevin Correia threw a four hit complete game for the Bucs. He allowed three runs with two walks and five strikeouts while picking up his third win of the season.
What’s most impressive is the fact that the second hit came in the 8th inning. Before giving up the hit to Paul Janish, Correia retired 15 batters in a row.
Correia allowed a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th –the only earned runs he allowed and needed just 109 pitches for the complete game.
Kevin Correia told Kevin Goheen of MLB.com, “I threw a lot of fastballs. You obviously want as many runs as possible, but it’s hard to go up there and throw a lot of offspeed pitches and get behind guys when you have that big of a lead. I threw a lot of two-seam fastballs early, and I got people out early.”
The Pirates, for the second game in a row, got to the Reds starting pitcher early. Left-hander Travis Wood threw 42 pitches in the 1st and allowed three runs to score. Jose Tabata continued to show his patience at the plate and drew a seven pitch walk. Wood allowed four straight singles (Matt Diaz, Neil Walker, Steve Pearce and Chris Snyder) to put the Bucs up, 3-0.
Scott Rolen lead off the 2nd inning with a ground rule double to center field and then advanced to third on a passed ball by Chris Snyder. Third baseman Steve Pearce made a throwing error to first, scoring Rolen to cut the lead, 3-1.
10 men came to the plate to score five runs for the Bucs in the 4th. Snyder and Ronny Cedeno hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Correia hit a sac bunt to move the runners over to second and third base. Andrew McCutchen followed with a bases clearing double over the head of Jonny Gomes in left field.
Wood was chased from the game after throwing 84 pitches over 3.1 innings.
The Pirates didn’t stop there. Diaz and Pearce hit singles and Lyle Overbay doubled to give the Bucs a 8-1 lead.
Reliever Matt Maloney hit Diaz with the bases loaded in the 5th for a 9-1 lead.
Steve Pearce told Kevin Goheen of MLB.com, “Everybody was hitting and we were working the count. A lot of people weren’t missing the pitches. It was a good night all around for our team. We put up the runs and K.C. went out there and shut them down. That’s huge for a team when a pitcher goes out and shoves it right back down their throat and we go back to hitting.”
Jose Tabata added, “Everybody is coming here with a new mentality every day. They bring the same energy every day. You see that it’s different from last year. Everybody is focused. I trust my team, and I think this year is going to be a very good year for the Pirates.”
Correia continued to cruise through the Reds lineup allowed just his second hit in the 8th inning. After allowing Ramon Hernandez to single, he gave up a two-run home run to Chris Heisey in the bottom of the 9th.
Correia’s second career complete game marked the Bucs second in the past four games (the other, Charlie Morton). It also marked the first time since April of 2002 that the Pirates won three consecutive road series. The Bucs have won seven of their first 10 games on the road this season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (5-4) will face the Colorado Rockies (5-2) for the final game of a four games series at 1:35 PM/ET.
Right-hander James McDonald will face righty Jhoulys Chacin.
- McDonald missed time during spring training with left side soreness, but pitched well during his first start of the season. He allowed two runs on four hits over 4.2 innings, with four strikeouts and four walks. 51 of his 87 pitches were for strikes.
- Chacin seven scoreless innings against the Dodgers during his first start of the season.
- Ryan Doumit’s home run in the 2nd inning of last night’s game was his 48th of his career. He is tied with Smoky Burgess and Manny Sanguillen for fourth place all-time on the clubs homer list.
- Jose Tabata’s solo home run in the 8th inning last night extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has hit safely in each of the first nine games of the season. The streak is currently the longest in the majors. During that span, Tabata is batting .343 with two-home runs, six walks, four stolen bases and 10 runs scored.
Tabata also hit home runs in back-to-back night’s for the first time in his career (He also homered in the 5th inning of Friday’s game).
- The Pirates pitching staff’s 3.00 ERA through nine games (28 earned runs in 84.0 innings) ranks third in the National League behind the Colorado Rockies (2.71) and San Francisco Giants (2.92).
- The Pirates have their first off day on Monday after 10 straight games to start the year. No other team has had that long of a stretch without an offday to start the season.
- Catcher Chris Snyder was eligible to come off the DL on Saturday and it shouldn’t be much longer before he is back with the big league club. Snyder is scheduled to catch nine innings on Sunday and he is having no issues with his back. To make room for Snyder on the roster, Jason Jaramillo is most likely the one to be sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that Manager Clint Hurdle confirmed the team will not carry three catchers once Snyder is healthy.
If the Bucs need an emergency catcher, the No. 3 catcher would be Matt Diaz or Steve Pearce.
- Evan Meek (right shoulder soreness) is unlikely to see action until Tuesday for precautionary reasons. Meek threw long toss on Saturday and it was reported that he is feeling better.
- The Pirates placed right-hand pitcher Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder posterior strain) on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Righty Daniel McCutchen was re-called from Triple-A Indianapolis.
- Righty Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment today for the Triple-A Indians. He will pitch about four innings (65 pitches).
Dexter Fowler CF, Jonathan Herrera 2B, Jason Giambo 1B, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Seth Smith RF, Jose Lopez 3B, Ty Wigginton LF, Chris Iannetta C, Jhoulys Chacin RHP
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ryan Doumit C, Garrett Jones RF, Ronny Cedeno SS, James McDonald RHP
After 14 innings and five hours and 11 minutes, the Pittsburgh Pirates delivered a walk-off win in the bottom of the 14th inning to win, 4-3, at PNC Park during the early hours of Saturday.
Josh Rodriguez drew a walk off of Franklin Morales and Jose Tabata hit a double off the Roberto Clemente wall to score the winning run.
Since the run came after midnight, the win came on the 10th birthday of PNC Park.
Jose Tabata told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I’m looking for one pitch. I’m thinking if he throws a fastball, I’ll [take] a good swing. When he threw the pitch, I swung the bat. I stayed with my approach, middle-away, and [you] see what happened.”
The Colorado Rockies took advantage of right-hander Ross Ohlendorf’s early struggles. After allowing a leadoff walk to Dexter Fowler and a single by Jonathan Herrera, Jason Giambi launched a three-home run into the right field seats. The Rockies quickly took a 3-0 lead.
That was the only run the Rockies would score through the 14 inning game.
Ohlendorf was pulled after 2.2 innings with right shoulder discomfort.
The Pirates bullpen, which consisted of Jeff Karstens, Mike Crotta, Jose Veras, Joel Hanrahan, Chris Resop and Garrett Olson, pitched 11.1 innings allowing six hits, no runs, seven walks and 12 strikeouts.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 11.1 scoreless innings by the Bucs bullpen was the longest by the club in a game since 1900.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “My goodness, Scoreless? That’s a good hitting team over there. Our guys stepped it up. Every single one of them. There will be a couple who won’t be able to go [Saturday].”
The Pirates tacked on a run each of the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.
After back-to-back walks to Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen by Jorge De La Rosa, Matt Diaz grounded to short in a 10 pitch at-bat, to score Walker and cut the lead, 3-1.
Jose Tabata hit his first home run of the season, as well as the first home run hit by a Bucco at PNC Park this year in the 5th inning.
Matt Belise walked both Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez in the 6th, and Jason Jaramillo hit a RBI single to right field to tie the game at 3.
The Pirates showed their patience at the plate on Friday, after walking for a total of eight times.
The Rockies had plenty of chances during the late innings to score the go-ahead run. After Chris Resop allowed a lead-off double to Herrera, Carlos Gonzalez lined to shortstop. Troy Tulowitzki was intentionally walked and Jose Morales struck out for the second out. Seth Smith drew a walk to load the bases. Ty Wigginton hit a liner to third base but Pedro Alvarez made a spectacular play, diving for the ball and then threw from one knee to first baseman Lyle Overbay to end the inning.
The Pirates were out of bench players and only right-hander Evan Meek was left in the Pirates bullpen. It was reported that he was not available to pitch and even tried to convince the staff to let him warm up, if needed.
During the bottom of the 14th, and Josh Rodriguez on first base with two outs, Jose Tabata stepped up to the plate. Rockies Manager Jim Tracy received a lot of critism for not walking Tabata to get to Garrett Olson, who was on deck.
Although, it didn’t appear that way. Manager Clint Hurdle sent Andrew McCutchen to the on deck circle in hopes Tracy didn’t realize the batting order (There was a double switch in the 10th inning, so the pitcher was batting in the two hole).
It proved out to be the game winning play, as Jose Tabata hit a double off of the Roberto Clemente wall to score Josh Rodriguez and win in the 14th inning.
Colin Dunlap of the Post-Gazette asked Hurdle if it was a decoy to make Tracy think McCutchen was up next, “No, come on, why would we do that,” Hurdle said with a sly chuckle.
What was Manager Jim Tracy’s reasoning? “To walk him into scoring position … I know they have somebody over there that maybe takes a swing and not have to hit the ball very far at all to end up winning the game that way also,” he said.
An incredible ending for the Pirates on their first win at home this season.
Jeff Karstens, who pitched 3.1 innings after taking over after Ohlendorf was injured, told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I don’t even think words can describe what we did tonight. Just guy after guy came out; the situation didn’t matter, they just kept pitching. We were able to get out of it.”
Hurdle added, “My goodness. That’s a good hitting team over there. Our guys stepped it up tonight, every single one.”
Neil Walker’s grand slam was the highlight of the Pirates 6-3 win over the Cubs on Opening Day, but overall it was a good win for the team.
Some post game notes:
- Kevin Correia told Lacee Collins of Root Sports after the game, “It was a good game. It was sloppy conditions out there and I kind of had to just get in front of balls and make one out at a time. We did a good job at that. We cashed in big when [Neil] Walker hit the grand slam and after that we really didn’t have any inning where we gave them a chance to get back in the game.”
On his perfect bunt in the 5th inning that kept the rally going: “I got the bunt down when I needed to. You’d be surprised if you look back at all the big innings the team has during the year when the pitcher did something that inning to keep it going, get a hit, or move guys over. It is important. It is something we are focusing on.”
- Manager Clint Hurdle told Root Sports during his post game press conference, “Many times you’ll see younger players get outside the strike zone or expand because they want to be ‘the guy’. We’ve taught long and hard about it. If the pitcher gives you a chance to be the guy, then you be the guy. But if he doesn’t, put the bat down, get on down the line and let the next guy be ‘the guy’. That’s pretty much what happened.”
On Kevin Correia’s opening day performance: “We didn’t defend as well as we should have behind him. He pitched very, very efficiently. Good mix, kept the ball out of the middle of the plate…He pitched. Controlled bat speed and pitched. A very, very good first outing for Kevin [Correia]. For our ball club, put us in a good place in the game.”
On the Pirates overall performance: “Two big swings at the bat played at six. We pitched very well off the mound. We brought some big fastballs late. Evan [Meek] and Joel [Hanrahan] obviously showed they’re healthy. [Jose] Veras got 3 and 4 hitters in the 7th so it was a good day for the Pirates.”
- Right-hander James McDonald did arrive to the Windy City last night and was at the game today. Manager Clint Hurdle has said that he will start on April 5th In St. Louis.
- The Pirates are scheduled to face six right-handed starters during the six-game road trip, but Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Matt Diaz won’t be sitting on the bench. Manager Clint Hurdle said Diaz will still get some playing time to stay fresh. Diaz is the starting right-fielder against left-handers.
- Pirates No. 1 prospect Jameson Taillon let fans know on twitter where he will be starting the season. “For anyone wondering.. Few starts in extended ST to keep improving delivery and let weather in WV get better .”
- The Pirates will face the Chicago cubs on Saturday for the second of a three game series on opening weekend.
Left-hander Paul Maholm will face Right-hander Carlos Zambrano at 1:05 PM/ET.
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.
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle announced on Saturday that Andrew McCutchen will bat third this season with Jose Tabata leading off.
Saturday’s lineup against the Yankees is close to what you will expect to see this season.
Neil Walker will bat second, Lyle Overbay will bat in cleanup with Pedro Alvarez batting fifth. Matt Diaz/Garrett Jones (depending on righty/lefty pitcher) will bat sixth and Ronny Cedeno hitting seventh. The catcher batting eight with the pitcher hitting ninth.
Many expected Alvarez to bat fourth this year, but Manager Clint Hurdle explained his reasoning. Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I think right now it just sets us up best. Pedro has a lot on his plate right now, and I think Overbay — at least with the spring he’s had — his confidence is good. We’ll start that way and see where it takes us.”
Expect Alvarez to be bumped up eventually. In just his first full season, batting him fifth takes a lot of pressure off of him.
What may shock most fans is that McCutchen, who swiped 33 bags last year, will be batting third, not leadoff.
McCutchen says his approach at the plate will be no different where in the lineup he bats.
McCutchen told Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s not like I’m an Albert Pujols that was a leadoff guy. That would be a big deal. I’m a guy that can do a lot. I can bring a lot to the plate. I can hit first. I can hit third. It’s not really a big deal.
“The sky is the limit from here. Run production should go up, and hopefully everything else will be able to go up as well. It really doesn’t matter where I’m hitting at. I’m going to be comfortable hitting there.”
Tabata is looking forward to leading off for the Bucs this year.
Tabata told Langosch of MLB.com, “I love it,” Tabata said of the opportunity to lead off. “I can walk. I can score more runs. I can steal more bases. I can do more things.”
*Photo credit: Pittsburgh-Post Gazette
Charlie Morton had his first bad outing of the spring in the Bucs 9-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Morton allowed five runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts over five innings. His 1.29 ERA is no more, as it jumped to 3.32.
Morton told Rob Biertempfel of the tribune, “Walks and hit batters,” Morton said with a frown.
“What’s troubling about today is I kept missing with my sinker in and wasn’t making adjustments. I just couldn’t get a good feel for it. Instead of concentrating between the knees, trying to get it down there over the plate, I was trying to pick with it in, trying to get him to ground out to third.”
Pedro Ciriaco showed off his speed in the first, with a lead off single off of Jeff Neimann. He then quickly swiped second base. Ryan Doumit hit his fourth double of the spring to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
The Rays defense struggled in the 2nd. A bad throw by Dan Johnson advanced Matt Diaz to third base and then scored on a wild pitch by Neimann. Andy Marte doubled and was driven home by Charlie Morton, who hit a soft fly ball to left, putting the Bucs up 3-0.
Morton ran into trouble in the bottom of the 2nd. Morton hit Kelly Shoppach to load the bases with no outs. Sam Fuld drove in two with a double and Ben Zobrist hit a sac fly to tie the game at 3.
The Bucs battled back in the 4th, putting two runs on the board off of a single by Josh Rodriguez.
There was more trouble in the 5th for right-hander Charlie Morton as he had the bases loaded with no outs for the second time in the game. Morton escaped the inning with just two runs scoring –an Evan Longoria hit by pitch and a walk to Manny Ramirez — which tied the game at 5.
Joel Hanrahan allowed back-to-back walks and Justin Ruggiano took advantage of it by hitting a single to give the Rays a 7-5 edge.
The Rays tacked on two more runs off of Chris Resop in the 8th for a 9-5 lead, and went on to win by that score.
- Andy Marte, who is battling for a corner infield position, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double.
- The Pirates stole four bases today. They have 25 steals this spring –last year they had just 16. The San Diego Padres lead the leagues with 36.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that James McDonald (left side) is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Saturday. He will throw about 50 pitches in the outing.
Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. Lincoln threw from 120 feet today and felt fine afterwards.
- Biertempfel of the Trib reports, Right-hander Jose Ascanio threw 24 pitches in one inning of work today during a minor league game at Pirate City.
- The Pirates will face the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday at 1:05. The game will be broadcasted on FSN Pittsburgh. Kevin Correia will start for the Bucs.