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Pregame: Correia will start opener

BRADENTON, Fla. — Kevin Correia will start Opening Day, going against the Cubs on April 1 at Wrigley Field.

Paul Maholm will follow Correia in the starting rotation, which means the left-hander will pitch the April 7 home opener against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park.

Manager Clint Hurdle said it was a tough choice between Maholm, the team’s longest-tenured pitcher, and Correia, who signed over the winter as a free agent.

“We had pretty much a split (vote) internally with the coaching staff,” Hurdle said. “I talked to people, I looked up every stat you could pull up. One stat would make you think this, another would make you think that. At the end of the day, I wanted these two guys leading the pack.”

Correia, 30, is an eight-year veteran with a career record of 36-43 and a 4.57 ERA. He’s made six appearances (11 2/3 innings) at Wrigley and is 1-2 with a 8.49 ERA. Four of his outings were in relief.

»»» The rest of the rotation lines up like this: Ross Ohlendorf (who will pitch tonight against the Orioles), Charlie Morton (the most reliable pitcher this spring) and James McDonald (who’s coming off an injury and will pitch, perhaps in a simulated game, Saturday at Pirate City).

»»» Maholm will break camp with the team, but probably will leave St. Louis a day early and return to Pittsburgh to get ready for the home opener.

»»» Charlie Morton (80 pitches) will start Friday against the Rays. He’ll be followed by Joel Hanrahan (one inning), Jose Veras (one inning) and Daniel McCutchen (one or two innings).

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Lyle Overbay 1b, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Garrett Jones rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. Ross Ohlendorf, rhp.

Orioles – 1. Brian Roberts 2b, 2. Nick Markakis rf, 3. Derrek Lee 1b, 4. Vladimir Guerrero dh, 5. Luke Scott lf, 6. Felix Pie cf, 7. Mark Reynolds 3b, 8. Matt Wieters c, 9. J.J. Hardy ss. Jake Arieta, rhp

When the Pirates make their lineups changes, it will be: 1. Pedro Ciriaco cf, 2. John Bowker lf, 3. Josh Fields 1b, 4. Corey Wimberly 2b, 5. Steve Pearce 3b, 7. Jones rf, 8. Josh Rodriguez ss, 8. Jason Jaramillo.

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