SARASOTA — Daniel McCutchen will make his first start this spring Sunday against the Rays. That means Zach Duke (along with Brendan Donnelly and Jean Machi) will pitch in a Triple-A game at Pirate City.
McCutchen is pushing Kevin Hart for the No. 5 job in the starting rotation. McCutchen is slated to throw four innings/65 pitches.
Hart’s next outing will come Monday — in a Triple-A game. Hart, who has battled control problems all spring, is listed for 60 to 65 pitches. Jack Taschner and Evan Meek also will pitch in that game at Pirate City,
— Reliever Javier Lopez was granted permission to fly home to Golden, Colo., to be with his pregnant wife.
— Among the extra players the Pirates brought along today are infielder Shelby Ford and outfielder Starling Marte. Ford was tabbed as a possible second baseman of the future a year ago, but he faded badly last season and ended up down at Double-A. Marte, on the other hand, made a huge impact last year — hitting .312 with 24 stolen bases in 54 games for Class A West Virginia — and his prospects are on the rise.
— Ramon Vazquez was a late scratch from the Pirates’ lineup today. I saw Ramon at McKechnie Field early this morning and he seemed fine. The Pirates have been fielding trade feelers about him; perhaps something is about to happen. Stay tuned.
— Lineups for today’s game:
Pirates — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Delwyn Young 2b, 3. Ryan Church rf, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Ryan Doumit dh, 6. Bobby Crosby ss, 7. Brandon Moss lf, 8. Neil Walker 3b, 9. Luke Carlin c. Charlie Morton rhp
Orioles — 1, Felix Pie lf, 2. Adam Jones cf, 3. Nick Markakis rf, 4. Miguel Tejada 3b, 5. Luke Scott 1b, 6. Matt Weiters c, 7. Nolan Reimold dh, 8. Ty Wigginton 2b, 9. Cesar Izturis ss. Brad Bergesen rh