Catchers’ battle begins


BRADENTON, Fla. — Catcher Ryan Doumit will not make the trip Thursday to Fort Myers for the game against the Boston Red Sox. That means the battle between Robinzon Diaz and Jason Jaramillo for the backup job is about to begin in earnest.

• Ronny Paulino, who once was considered the Pirates’ long-term solution at catcher but quickly fell out of favor last season, is at McKechnie Field today, wearing a Phillies uniform. In December, the team swapped him to Philadelphia for Jaramillo.

“I was excited when I heard (about the trade) because I was leaving to go to a team that wanted me,” Paulino said. “So far things have been great. I think I have a really good chance here to show I belong.”

Paulino is vying with Carlos Ruiz to be the bench guy behind starter Chris Coste.

• Pete Mackanin is in his first year as the Phillies’ bench coach. Mackanin was the Pirates’ interim manager for a handful of games after Lloyd McClendon was fired in 2005.

• Craig Monroe, who will be featured in tomorrow’s Trib, is the designated hitter today — not that he was happy about it.

“Ugh,” Monroe said when asked about being the DH. “It’s too hard to do. It’s hard to stay in the game, hard to feel like you’ve contributed. I like playing defense. Even if I don’t get a hit, I can still do something to help us win the game.

“Some guys can do that job for a long time and be OK with it. Not me.”

• Thursday’s pitchers against Boston will be Ian Snell (two innings), Ross Ohlendorf (two innings) and Jimmy Barthmaier (one inning). The Red Sox will start lefty Jon Lester. It’s Snell’s only tune-up with the Pirates before leaving for the World Baseball Classic.

• There are three Pirates farmhands on Baseball America’s list of the top 100 prospects in the game. Pedro Alvarez is No. 12, Andrew McCutchen is No. 33 and Jose Tabata is No. 75.