Time to step it up


FORT MYERS, Fla. — There are two weeks left in the Florida portion of spring training. This is when starting pitchers begin to ramp it up to regular-season mode, when middle relievers get extra edgy about locking up bullpen jobs and when hitters should start to hit a stride.

That means it’s go time for guys like Jeff Clement, who goes into today’s game hitting .130 and hasn’t flashed much of that lefty power we heard about. Who else should step it up? Kevin Hart. Chris Jakubauskas (13.50 ERA). Garrett Jones. Brandon Moss (who is 0 for the spring with three walks and eight Ks). Steve Pearce.

Who’s hot? Pedro Alvarez and Rule 5 pick John Raynor have hit safely in six of their past seven games. Vinnie Chulk has 11 Ks in seven innings of relief. Jack Taschner, who’s slated to pitch today against the Twins, has 10 Ks in six innings. Delwyn Young is riding a four-game hitting streak and has homered in three of his past four games.

Lineups for today’s game:

Pirates – 1. Ronny Cedeno ss, 2. Delwyn Young 2b, 3. Garrett Jones rf, 4. Jeff Clement 1b, 5. Lastings Milledge lf, 6. Brandon Moss dh, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. John Raynor cf, 9. Jason Jaramillo c. Ross Ohlendorf, rhp

Twins – 1. Ben Revere cf, 2. Orlando Hudson 2b, 3. Joe Mauer c, 4. Justin Morneau 1b, 5. Jim Thome dh, 6. Michael Cuddyer rf, 7. Jacque Jones lf, 8. Brendan Haris 3b, 9. Matt Tolbert ss. Carl Pavano rhp.