BRADENTON, Fla. — Jose Tabata started today’s game in center field as a sort of what-if scenario. Manager Clint Hurdle said he planned to do it a few days ago, even before Andrew McCutchen tweaked his wrist.
“I want to explore as many Plan Bs as we might have to run into the season so we’re not doing it on the fly come the season,” Hurdle said. “(Garrett) Jones is going to get some reps at first base. (John) Bowker will be at first also. (Pedro) Ciriaco was at third today. (Josh Rodriguez) will probably get a couple games at third also. We’ll move some people around just to see how much versatility we have.”
»»» Brad Lincoln left the clubhouse before reporters were admitted this afternoon. He pitched three innings against the Red Sox and allowed two runs on two hits, walked two and struck out three.
Hurdle is pleased Lincoln is throwing his changeup more often, and seemed OK with the righty’s performance today: “He got into a good rhythm at times. There were a few times when he rushed and he was missing arm-side out, arm-side up a little bit. I was happy with the way he pinched off the (third) inning. It was an extended inning, with two runs scored, but he put up the outs after that. He’s working in the right direction, no doubt.”
»»» Hurdle said the Opening Day starter could be announced around March 22, when the Pirates have their final off day this spring. “I haven’t even thought of a day that I’m going to name an Opening Day starter yet. We might even have it lined up and you just don’t know it.”
»»» Hurdle is eager to see Scott Olsen and Joe Beimel pitch tomorrow: “I’m very anxious, and anxious for them to be able to get out and compete. Each of them had a setback and they’ve worked hard to get back in the position where they can take the mound and make pitches. Hopefully, they’re not too amped up and they can just go out, throw their pitches, get their work in.”