Results tagged ‘ neil walker ’
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)
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 Pittsburgh Kid Neil Walker hit a bases loaded two out grand slam off of Ryan Dempster in the 5th inning as the Pirates went on to beat the Cubs 6-3 on opening day 2011.
Walker was just the second Pirate in team history to hit a grand slam on opening day. The other? The great one, Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente on April 10th, 1962. Walker, who grew up in Pittsburgh, will forever be a part of Pirates history –the team he grew up rooting for.
Trailing 2-0 to the Cubs, Ryan Doumit lead off the 5th with a single to center field. Ronny Cedeno worked a walk and pitcher Kevin Correia came to the plate. It looked like Manager Clint Hurdle’s extra work in spring training paid off as Correia dropped down a perfect sac bunt to move the runners. Ryan Dempster walked a second batter in the inning, Jose Tabata, to load the bases. Walker worked a seven pitch at-bat before driving a 3-2 fastball over the right field wall. Wrigley field was quiet as four Pirates touched home plate and took a 4-2 lead.
Walker told Stan Savran of Root Sports after the game, “I got ahead in the count. I had to make sure I wasn’t trying to do too much but use the big part of the field. He just walked two guys so I really wasn’t trying to do too much but get myself in a good position to hit and swing the bat. Fortunately I got into 3-2 [count] and he kind of made a mistake over the plate and was able to do something with it.”
“Definitely a special feeling, there’s no doubt about it. More along the lines of helping the team win today is more special. We had a great game today.”
Walker doubled in the 7th inning before Center Fielder Andrew McCutchen homered off of Dempster in the 7th to stretch the lead, 6-2.
Right-hand Pitcher Kevin Correia made his Bucco debut and his first career opening day nod. He was greeted on the mound by Manager Clint Hurdle n the 7th inning with two words: “Great game.” Correia allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts over six plus innings.
The Cubs scored in the bottom of the 7th after a wild pitch thrown by lefty Scott Olson advanced Darwin Barney to second base. Kosuke Fukudome drove him in with a single to cut the lead to 6-3.
Set up man Evan Meek came into the pitch the 8th. He allowed a lead off hit but retired the next three in a row, including a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
Joel Hanrahan, who Hurdle selected as the teams closer in spring training, allowed one hit and a walk in the 9th before striking out both Blake Dewitt and Marlon Byrd with 98 mph fastballs.
With the Pirates 6-3 victory, they have now won five straight opening day games which is tied for the lead in the majors with the New York Mets.
With the help of Charlie Morton’s solid start and Pedro Alvarez’s two-run homer, the Pirates defeated the Phillies 4-1 at Citizen Bank Park for the final game of the spring.
Morton allowed just one run (none earned) on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts over five innings on Wednesday. Morton’s spring ERA was just 2.62. Although, his great spring stats will be washed away by Friday for opening day, Morton’s confidence will follow him into the regular season.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “He’s pitched well all spring. He’s done a good job all spring. Today he was just efficient. The sinker’s there, the breaking ball was there, the change-up was there at times. But he’s kept the ball down as well as anybody. Pitched to contact as well as anybody. The thing I’m probably most impressed with Charlie is the fact that even though it’s spring, you add the walks and you add the hits and it’s still less than the innings that he’s pitched this spring, which gets your attention.”
Over 24 innings this spring, Morton allowed just 15 hits with six walks.
The Phillies threatened in the 1st inning, with two on and just one out but Morton successfully got out of trouble with a strikeout to Ryan Howard and a fly out to Raul Ibanez.
First baseman Lyle Overbay hit his fourth double of the spring in the 2nd inning. Pedro Alvarez crushed a 89 mph fastball from Cole Hamels to take a 2-0 lead.
Ben Francisco reached second on a two base throwing error by third baseman Alvarez. He then scored on a ground out by Wilson Valdez to cut the lead to 2-1.
Steve Pearce doubled and scored the third run for the Pirates as he was knocked in by minor leaguer Jordy Mercer in the 6th.
The Pirates tacked the fourth and final run in the 9th after outfielder John Bowker hit a sac fly to score Josh Rodriguez.
- The Pirates out hit the Phillies 12-2.
- Steve Pearce hit his sixth double of the spring in the 6th inning.
- The Pirates will kick off the 2011 season by facing the Chicago Cubs for a three game series at Wrigley field, starting on Friday, April 1st at 2:20 ET.
Kevin Correia will start for the Bucs against Ryan Dempster.
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.
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.”
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
Lyle Overbay and Neil Walker homered back-to-back off of Jake Arrieta in the 1st inning to take a 3-0 lead. But the Pirates pitching staff, lead by Ross Ohlendorf, combined to allow 11 runs on 15 hits in the 11-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday evening.
Ohlendorf didn’t give the Pirates much opportunity to stay in the game as he was charged for six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 4.2 innings. Four of those runs came from the long ball. Ohlendorf allowed three –Luke Scott, Mark Reynolds and Felix Pie– (He allowed just one homerun over his previous four starts).
Ohlendorf told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It is still not as good as I would like it to be, but I still thought it was better than last time. I’ve been up in the zone too much. I feel like I was better today, but still not as good as I need to be. The fourth inning I was really happy with. The third inning, I thought, went pretty well. But I still need to pitch better.”
Two runs scored during Evan Meek’s outing (1.1 innings) but neither were earned as one was charged to Ohlendorf and Pedro Alvarez made a throwing error.
Garrett Olson made his second appearance as a Bucco in the 7th, but it didn’t go as well his first. The Orioles tacked on three more runs on three hits giving Baltimore a 11-4 lead.
After a walk by Overbay and a single by Walker, Alvarez drove in one in the 8th inning.
Josh Rodriguez hit his first home run of the spring in the ninth inning making it 11-7.
- Walker had a big night at the plate while batting cleanup. He went 4-for-4 with two home runs, two RBI and two runs scored.
- It was announced earlier today that Kevin Correia will be the Pirates opening day starter. He will face Ryan Dempster on April 1st in Chicago. 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.
- James McDonald is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Saturday. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports the Pirates are hoping for McDonald to extend his pitch count to 50 pitches. McDonald would then stay in Florida to pitch another minor league game on March 31st (about 80 pitches). If he suffers no set backs, McDonald would be ready to start on April 6th in St. Louis.
- Joe Biemel (left elbow) threw a bullpen session today without any issue according to Greg Brown, Pirates Broadcaster.
- With just one week until opening day, expect cuts to be happening very soon. 41 players (10 non-roster) still remain at big league camp.
- Chris Snyder, who was in the lineup for the first time since March 9th (lower back soreness), caught for five innings today.
- Chris Leroux was the only pitcher that did not allow a hit or run during his outing (one inning).
- Charlie Morton will start Friday against the Rays in Port Charlotte (1:05 start) and is scheduled to throw six innings. Also scheduled to pitch: Joel Hanrahan (one inning), Jose Veras (one inning) and Daniel McCutchen (one inning).
Left-hander Brian Burres had his first rough outing of the spring on Wednesday’s 10-6 loss to the Houston Astros in Bradenton, Fla.
Burres entered the game without allowing a single run over nine spring innings. But that didn’t last long as Burres allowed two in the first inning after allowing a lead-off hit, a four pitch walk (six straight balls thrown), a RBI double by Hunter Pence and a sac fly by Brett Wallace.
The Pirates quickly tied the game at two in the bottom of the first after a walk by Neil Walker and a home run by Andrew McCutchen off of J.A. Happ — his first of the spring.
The Bucs tacked on two more runs to take a 4-2 lead in the second, but Hunter Pence homered off Burres in the third to cut the lead to just one run.
More trouble came in the fifth for Burres. Angel Sanchez and Pence hit back-to-back doubles and Tony Manzella, who pinch ran for Sanchez, scored on a fielding error by Matt Diaz in right field. Jason Michaels doubled, but advanced to third on a bad throw by Diaz. Wallace hit a sac fly scoring Michaels and taking a 6-4 lead.
Burres combined to allow six runs on 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings.
Burres told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “Even when I was throwing strikes, it wasn’t where I wanted them all the time. Little bit wild with the strike zone today. I wasn’t keeping the ball over the plate enough and when I was, it was up and they did a pretty good job taking advantage of it.”
Pedro Alvarez hit his first home run of the spring in the sixth –and it was crushed to deep center field.
The Astros combined to score four more runs off the Pirates relievers, three off of Tyler Yates in the ninth inning.
- Lyle Overbay continued his hot spring, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk. He seems to feel pretty comfortable as a Bucco (He’s batting .425 ).
Manager Clint Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, “This man is determined this spring. He has made a conscious effort of getting out of the blocks clean. The confidence should have been built up. I think he’s found an approach that is going to work. It’s good to see.”
- Ronny Cedeno had a good day at the plate, he went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
- Ryan Doumit went 2-for-4 with a run scored but he allowed two passed balls (one scored a run in the seventh) and was picked off twice, at both first and second base.
- Mike Crotta pitched a scoreless ninth inning and has yet to allow an earned run this spring (10.1 innings).
- 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.
- The members of the 2010 Eastern League champion Altoona Curve received their rings in a pre-game ceremony held at McKechnie Field.
- On Monday, Pedro Alvarez, Josh Fields and Josh Rodriguez stayed after the game for additional batting practice with Manager Clint Hurdle, hitting coach Gregg Ritchie, and several other coaches. Today after the game, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Alvarez stayed after again, but this time he was joined by Neil Walker and Ronny Cedeno.
Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, It’s something I’ve always done. I would have preferred to have done it a few times earlier, but we waited because of the workload these guys have been carrying. It’s just more practice is all it is.”
So what exactly is the focus of the session? Manager Clint Hurdle said, “Sometimes you have to find a way to slow the game down. When you’re behind the fastball and ahead of the soft stuff, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. Sometimes you get up there and just have too much going on. All the thinking needs to be done on-deck. Once you get in the batter’s box, you need to compete.”
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that James McDonald (left side) is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, most likely in a minor league game. McDonald has not pitched more than three innings in a start this spring and has been sidelined since March 11th. If all goes well on Saturday, he could remain in Florida to pitch a minor league game on the 31st –putting him in line for an April 6th start for the Pirates. If he suffers any set backs, Jeff Karstens or Brian Burres could be used as a spot starter.
Biertempfel of the Trib also reports that Chris Snyder (back soreness) who has been sidelined since March 9th will be in the lineup on Thursday against the Orioles.