Good game, busy clubhouse


BRADENTON, Fla. — Today’s game between the Pirates and the Minnesota Twins actually came down to the ninth inning. That’s a rarity for a spring training game.

Pirates second baseman Anderson Machado knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning when he ripped a single to right field. Jeff Salazar scored and that was the game. Pirates win, 4-3.

The Pirates recorded six hits and centerfielder Andrew McCutchen had two of them. He also had an RBI.

Truth is, there was more action in the clubhouse than on the field yesterday. The Pirates made five cuts just two days they cut eight players. The Pirates now have 40 players in camp.

• The most notable news of the day was starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny being sent to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was competing for a starting job but the coaching staff has other things in mind for Gorzelanny. Apparently his delivery, fastball, breaking ball and changeup need help.

• If Gorzelanny gets all of that under control, he could work his way into the lineup later in the season. General Manager Neal Huntington said he plans to use “six, seven or eight” pitchers in the starting rotation.

• It looks like Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, Zach Duke and Ross Ohlendorf have are the frontrunners for the first four starting spots. Jeff Karstens and Virgil Vasquez will compete for the final spot.

• Pittsburgh native Neil Walker and pitcher Dave Davidson were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pitcher Brian Slocum was reassigned to minor league camp.

• Outfielder Jose Tabata — who played left and right — was optioned to Double-A Altoona, where he’s expected to play centerfield. Tabata, though, might not be in the minors for long.

“Like Pedro (Alvarez), like Andrew McCutchen — if he doesn’t make our club – they’re definitely some bright guys coming through our system and the reason we feel good about where we’re headed,” Huntington said.

• Snell is back from the World Baseball Classic and he should be back in the lineup either Sunday or Monday, manager John Russell said.

• Rightfielder Eric Hinske played today for the first time since bruising his ribs three weeks ago. He said he felt great and is glad to be back.

He also talked about assuming a leadership role with the Pirates, but expects it to happen naturally. Besides, the Pirates already have their share of leaders.

“Maholm seems to have control of the starters and (Matt) Capps has control of the bullpen so there’s leaders all around here,” Hinske said. “I’m just gonna come in and be myself and help.”

— Tricia Lafferty