Pregame: Whither Doumit?

A future Tiger BoSox?
Future Tiger or BoSox?

BRADENTON, Fla. — There’s a big round of cuts on the horizon, probably early next week. The only thing difficult to predict is the makeup of the five bench spots. A lot depends on Ryan Doumit.

Doumit could be traded (to the Red Sox? to the Tigers? to the Twins?) in the next few days (hours?). He could stay on the roster as the backup catcher. He could stay on the roster as one of three catchers. It might not even be a wild stretch to think the Pirates simply release him and eat the money if they cannot do a deal.

Doumit is the only “regular” player in the lineup today against the Phils. It will be his first game action since recovering from a strained oblique. Can you say, “trade showcase?”

If Doumit is out of the picture, Jason Jaramillo may stick as the No. 2 catcher and John Bowker (who’s out of options) could stick as an extra outfielder. If Doumit stays, it might come down to either JJ or Bowker for the final bench spot.

If I was pressed today to predict the bench, I’d say: Garrett Jones, Pedro Ciriaco, Jaramillo, Bowker and Andy Marte. It’s a close call between Marte and Garrett Atkins.

»»» Brad Lincoln will make his fourth outing, but just his second start, today against the Phillies. The right-hander comes into the game with a 3.38 ERA (3 ER in 8.0 IP). Of the 30 batters he’s faced, seven have reached base (five hits, two walks).

Lincoln most likely is ticketed for Triple-A Indy to start the season. Unless he struggles there, it’s a good bet he’ll get a callup if there’s an injury to another starter or if/when Paul Maholm is traded (as I’m assuming he will be eventually).

»»» Righty Kevin Correia is scheduled to pitch the first six innings Friday against the Red Sox. He’ll be followed by Joel Hanrahan (one inning), Joe Beimel (one inning), Fernando Nieve (one or two) and Justin Thomas (one or two). Josh Beckett will start for Boston.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Pirates – 1. Corey Wimberly cf, 2. John Bowker lf, 3. Steve Peace rf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Garrett Atkins 3b, 6. Andy Marte 1b, 7. Josh Rodriguez 2b, 8. Pedro Ciriaco ss, 9. Brad Lincoln rhp.

Phillies – 1. Jimmy Rollins ss, 2. Shane Victorino cf, 3. Raul Ibanez lf, 4. Ryan Howard 1b, 5. Ross Gload rf, 6. Pete Orr 3b, 7. Carlos Ruiz c, 8. Michael Martinez 2b, 9. Roy Oswalt rhp.