BRADENTON, Fla. — A few final thoughts from Charlie Morton, who looked sharp (albeit for just two innings) yesterday in his spring debut against the Rays:
… Whether he thinks it’s important to look dominant early in the spring: “I don’t. I think that’s only going to put added pressure on me. It’s just not beneficial. Before, I probably would put more pressure on myself. But it’s not worth it. What’s going to let me do my job is keeping it simple and being aggressive, just being me and going out there to pitch.”
… Whether he made any changes over the course of last season: “I wouldn’t say my routine ever changed, in terms of preparation. I watched too much video, I can tell you that. When I came back up, I didn’t watch any video. Instead of a bullpen that I would’ve had two days before, I threw a live b.p. It’s all the same. The biggest thing wasn’t my routine. That’s the last thing I would blame for what happened last year. It had more to do with hitters seeing the ball and it taking its toll on my mentality. You can’t go out there with the mentality of confidence and aggression when balls are flying all over the park. It’s more me figuring out how to not let them hit balls everywhere. I didn’t adjust my routine or some quirky thing, like, should I eat pizza today or Subway?”
»»» Evan Meek (strained calf) had a 30-pitch bullpen session this morning, throwing a variety of pitches. He’s slated to throw again Tuesday, either in the game against the Yankees or, more likely, live batting practice.
»»» Monday will be a split-squad day. I’ll be reporting from McKechnie Field, where Paul Maholm (two innings), Jeff Karstens (two innings), Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Justin Wilson and Cesar Valdez (one inning apiece) will pitch against the Orioles. In Port Charlotte, Bryan Morris (two innings), Fernando Nieve (two innings), Sean Gallagher (two innings), Aaron Thompson and Kyle McPherson (one inning each) will pitch against the Rays.
Lineups for this afternoon’s game:
Rays (1-0): 1. Desmond Jennings cf, 2. Sam Fuld lf, 3. Kelly Shoppach c, 4. Matt Joyce rf, 5. Felipe Lopez 3b, 6. Casey Kotchman 1b, 7. Justin Ruggiano dh, 8. Joe Inglett 2b, 9. Ray Olmedo ss. . RHP James Shields
Pirates (0-1): 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Garrett Jones rf, 7. Ryan Doumit c, 8. Josh Fields dh, 9. Ronny Cedeno ss. RHP Kevin Correia