The question made Brendan Donnelly laugh, but only for a moment. Was today’s 11-5 rout of the Dodgers this afternoon a fine way to shout down the critics who expect the Pirates to fail for the 18th season in a row?
“Well, I don’t know about … ” Donnelly began, then paused to reconsider.
“You know what? We do. We do have that attitude. We know the history and we’re tired of hearing it. It’s up to us to change it.”
Third baseman Andy LaRoche agreed: “It’s us against the world right now. We know we’re not expected to do anything this year. Everybody ‘s picking us to come in last. We’ve got to have a little chip on our shoulder to prove everybody wrong.”
– Garrett Jones homered in his first two at-bats. In the first inning, Jones hit a 456-foot, two-run blast over the right field wall and into the Allegheny River. In the third, he hit an opposite-field, solo shot which hugged the foul line in left. Jones is the sixth Pirate to homer twice on Opening Day. He joined Xavier Nady (2008), Andy Van Slyke (1990), Willie Stargell (1975), Richie Hebner (1974) and Dale Long (1956).
Jones also has heard his share of criticism from pundits who say his 21-homer output in 82 games last year was a fluke. Did he shut them up with his first two at-bats?
“I don’t think so,” Jones said, grinning. “I’ve got a lot more to do. People are going to say what they want. I’m just going to do what I can to help the team win.”
– The Pirates have won four straight openers first the first time since taking six in a row from 1935-40.
– Reliever Joel Hanrahan (elbow) likely will be activated from the disabled list on April 12. “We’re going to err on the side of caution,” manager John Russell said. Hanrahan is rehabbing in Florida, but will pitch in a rehab stint with Triple-A Indianapolis if the weather cooperates. “He can’t afford to miss any (outings),” Russell said.
– Stymied in their attempts to trade Brandon Moss, the Pirates today sent him to Triple-A Indianapolis after Moss cleared waivers.
– Jamie and Ali McMutrie, the Ben Avon sisters who catapulted into the spotlight after their efforts to relocate Haitian orphans to the U.S. following the earthquake, threw out the first pitch.
“This is great; this is huge, but we’re both really nervous,” said Jamie McMutrie, 30, whose throw was short and a bit wide. Ali, 22 caught the pitch. “We’re baseball fans, we’re not baseball players.”
The sisters, who have been back and forth to Haiti since the earthquake, plan to return on April 20.