Postgame: Maholm ready to go

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Paul Maholm hasn’t packed yet, but he’s ready to put the Grapefruit League behind him. This afternoon, Maholm tossed five innings in a 5-3 loss against the Blue Jays and gave up four runs on five hits.

“I’m ready to go,” Maholm said. “When you get to five innings, you’re ready to get out of here and get going. You get the itch for opening day to get here. I feel good and I’m ready to get out of here.”

Maholm had one bumpy inning — the fourth, when the Jays scored three runs in the span of three hitters. Eric Thames walked and stole second. Jose Molina hit an RBI single to left. David Cooper mashed a two-run homer to right. “I hung two pitches and it cost three runs,” Maholm said.

Maholm tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning, retiring Jon Diaz and Corey Patterson on grounders and Mike McCoy on a popup.

“It was good to go back out and have a quick inning, get ground balls and fix what was going on,” Maholm said. “This was the first time all spring — bullpens, game, anything — when I’ve all the sudden gotten out of whack. It’s hard when you know you’re off and you’re trying to compete. I was able to come back and do what I need to do.”

It was good to go back out and have a quick inning, get ground balls and fix what was going on. This was the first time all spring — bullpens, game, anything — when I’ve all the sudden gotten out of whack. It’s hard when you know you’re off and you’re trying to compete. I was able to come back and do what I need to do.

»»» Third baseman Pedro Alvarez made a nice defensive play in the second inning. He move to his left and grabbed John Tolisano’s hard hopper — it looked for a moment as if the ball might handcuff Alvarez, but he was aggressive and stayed with it — then threw to second to start a double play.

»»» The lineup is posted for the camp game tomorrow at Pirate City. What jumped out at me is Pedro Ciriaco will start in center field. Also, Jeff Karstens is slated for four innings of work. Brian Burres originally was scheduled to start, but now Karstens is listed as the starter. There’s no word from the Pirates as to whether or not Burres was scratched.

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Pregame: Doumit, J-Mac on rebound

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BRADENTON, Fla. — James McDonald and Ryan Doumit will soon be back in action.

This morning, Ryan Doumit (strained oblique) took part in catchers’ fielding drills and batting practice. He also threw and ran the bases without problem. “I feel just fine,” he said. Doumit will get a half-dozen at-bats Thursday in a intrasquad game at Pirate City.

McDonald (sore left side) is “way better today” and will throw on flat ground Thursday. If all goes well, McDonald will throw a bullpen this weekend and rejoin the rotation next week.

»»» Chris Snyder’s back stiffness flared up again this morning, so he sat out workouts. He hasn’t played since March 9, but insisted he does not expect this injury to linger into the season.

»»» Brian Burres will pitch the first four innings of the camp game at 10 a.m. Thursday at Pirate City. Players for that game include Corey Wimberly, Pedro Ciriaco, Garrett Jones, Josh Fields, Garrett Atkins, Josh Rodriguez and Wyatt Toregas.

»»» This year’s postgame concert schedule has been finalized: June 11, Huey Lewis and the News; July 9, .38 Special; Aug. 6, Train; Sept. 24, Steve Miller Band.

»»» The Pirates will wear green caps and use green bases Thursday in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

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Pregame: Huyke to manage today

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Pirates sign

BRADENTON, Fla. — Clint Hurdle spotted Woody Huyke in the clubhouse this morning and yelled, ‘Hey, Woody, you wanna put your stuff in my office?” At first, I thought Hurdle was just offering someplace for Huyke to stow his gear.

Huyke will manage the Pirates this afternoon against the Blue Jays. Hurdle will spend the day at Pirate City, observing minor league camp.

Huyke, 73, is in his 53rd season of pro ball, including the past 42 with the Pirates. He managed the rookie league team in Bradenton for 31 years and still is on staff there as a coach. Last December, he won the Mike Coolbaugh Award for excellence in work ethic and mentoring young players.

»»» Ryan Doumit (strained oblique) is on the field this morning — in full gear — during infield practice. Chris Snyder (back) was not on the field.

»»» Ross Ohlendorf is slated to pitch the first three or four innings Thursday against Baltimore. His last outing was cut short when he reached his pitch count. Joe Beimel (one inning), Scott Olsen (one or two), Daniel McCutchen (one or two) and Sean Gallagher (one or two) also will pitch against the O’s.

»»» Brian Burres will pitch the first four innings of a camp game at 10 a.m. Thursday at Pirate City. Tyler Yates, Fernande Nieve, Jeff Karstens and Evan Meek also will throw.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Blue Jays – 1. Corey Patterson cf, 2. Mike McCoy ss, 3. Edwin Encarnacion 3b, 4. Eric Thames lf, 5. Jose Molina dh, 6. David Cooper 1b, 7. JP Arencibia c, 8. John Tolisano rf, Jonathan Diaz 2b. Kyle Drabek, rhp.

Pirates – 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. Ronny Cedeno ss. 8. Rusty Brown c, 9. Paul Maholm, lhp.

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Postgame: Beimel’s “amazing” debut

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Joe Beimel’s first pitch of spring training was crushed by the Orioles’ Jake Fox.

“That was messed up,” Beimel said, laughing. “First pitch of spring and he swings and hits a homer off me. I wasn’t too happy about that.”

Beimel also gave up two more unearned runs in the inning, his first of the spring after sitting out due to a sore left forearm. He allowed four hits and got two strikeouts.

It was not the quick and easy outing he’d hoped for, but Beimel was happy just to be back on the mound.

“It felt amazing,” he said. “It really did. It might not look like it, but it felt like everything was coming out (of my hand) really good. I was missing up a little bit, but for the first outing I’m actually pretty excited about it.”

Beimel’s plan was to work mostly on his fastball command and throw only a couple of offspeed pitches. But … “I was out there long enough that I was able to work on the offspeed, too, a little bit. Overall, I think it was pretty positive. I’ve got to fine-tune things from here.”

Beimel believes he was on a pitch count, but it didn’t seem to matter. “I was out there so long I kind of lost track,” he said.

“I saw Joe have really good glove-side command of his fastball,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He threw some good breaking balls. He threw a couple nice changeups. He threw more pitches than we wanted, but he threw ‘em. His stamina was fine, so it was a very encouraging outing for him.”

Although he missed a couple of weeks with the injury, there is plenty of time left for Beimel to get ready for the start of the season. “Stuff-wise, it felt like the ball was coming out pretty good,” he said. “That’s usually what you have to build up to. I think I’m right on track.”

»»» Left-hander Scott Olsen pitched the eighth and allowed Nick Green’s homer and Josh Bell’s triple. Olsen had been out a month due to a strained hamstring.

»»» Righty Kevin Correia worked five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with one strikeout. The O’s scored three runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Randy Winn nudged a homer just over the wall in left-center. “Randy’s one of my old buddies,” Correia said. “He’s a good guy. He didn’t think he got it, I could tell.”

Correia, who threw 69 pitches, is the first Pirate to toss five innings this spring. His goal next time out is six innings or 85 pitches, whichever comes first.

“I’d say I’m two starts away from being ready for a regular-season game,” he said. “My pitch count was better today. I threw one less pitch than I did last outing and I went one more inning. The runs are one thing, but I want to stay out there as long as possible. So to get the pitch count down today was one of my main goals.”

»»» Jason Jaramillo went 2 for 3, raising his batting average to .533 in nine games. Jaramillo is vying for a backup job if the Pirates either keep three catchers or trade Ryan Doumit. Last year, he struggled at the plate and was demoted to Triple-A Indy. So far in spring training, Jaramillo has hit well. “He’s barrelled up some balls from both sides of the plate,” Hurdle said. “That part of it has looked very good. Now, acclimating himself to all the (pitching) staff and catching clean games is the next part of it. He’s looked pretty good.”

»»» The Pirates are off Tuesday. Wednesday, Paul Maholm, Jeff Karstens and Joel Hanrahan will pitch against the Blue Jays. Kyle Drabek, the son of ex-Pirate Doug Drabek, and Octavio Dotel, who began last season as the Bucs’ closer, will pitch for the Blue Jays.

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Postgame: Beimel’s ‘amazing’ debut

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Joe Beimel’s first pitch of spring training was crushed by the Orioles’ Jake Fox.

“That was messed up,” Beimel said, laughing. “First pitch of spring and he swings and hits a homer off me. I wasn’t too happy about that.”

Beimel also gave up two more unearned runs in the inning, his first of the spring after sitting out due to a sore left forearm. He allowed four hits and got two strikeouts.

It was not the quick and easy outing he’d hoped for, but Beimel was happy just to be back on the mound.

“It felt amazing,” he said. “It really did. It might not look like it, but it felt like everything was coming out (of my hand) really good. I was missing up a little bit, but for the first outing I’m actually pretty excited about it.”

Beimel’s plan was to work mostly on his fastball command and throw only a couple of offspeed pitches. But … “I was out there long enough that I was able to work on the offspeed, too, a little bit. Overall, I think it was pretty positive. I’ve got to fine-tune things from here.”

Beimel believes he was on a pitch count, but it didn’t seem to matter. “I was out there so long I kind of lost track,” he said.

“I saw Joe have really good glove-side command of his fastball,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He threw some good breaking balls. He threw a couple nice changeups. He threw more pitches than we wanted, but he threw ‘em. His stamina was fine, so it was a very encouraging outing for him.”

Although he missed a couple of weeks with the injury, there is plenty of time left for Beimel to get ready for the start of the season. “Stuff-wise, it felt like the ball was coming out pretty good,” he said. “That’s usually what you have to build up to. I think I’m right on track.”

»»» Left-hander Scott Olsen pitched the eighth and allowed Nick Green’s solo homer and Josh Bell’s triple. Olsen had been out a month due to a strained hamstring.

»»» Righty Kevin Correia worked five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with one strikeout. The O’s scored three runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Randy Winn nudged a homer just over the wall in left-center. “Randy’s one of my old buddies,” Correia said. “He’s a good guy. He didn’t think he got it, I could tell.”

Correia, who threw 69 pitches, is the first Pirate to toss five innings this spring. His goal next time out is six innings or 85 pitches, whichever comes first.

“I’d say I’m two starts away from being ready for a regular-season game,” he said. “My pitch count was better today. I threw one less pitch than I did last outing and I went one more inning. The runs are one thing, but I want to stay out there as long as possible. So to get the pitch count down today was one of my main goals.”

»»» Jason Jaramillo went 2 for 3, raising his batting average to .533 in nine games. Jaramillo is vying for a backup job if the Pirates either keep three catchers or trade Ryan Doumit. Last year, he struggled at the plate and was demoted to Triple-A Indy. So far in spring training, Jaramillo has hit well. “He’s barrelled up some balls from both sides of the plate,” Hurdle said. “That part of it has looked very good. Now, acclimating himself to all the (pitching) staff and catching clean games is the next part of it. He’s looked pretty good.”

»»» The Pirates are off Tuesday. Wednesday, Paul Maholm, Jeff Karstens and Joel Hanrahan will pitch against the Blue Jays. Kyle Drabek, the son of exPirate Doug Drabek, and Octavio Dotel, who began last season as the Bucs’ closer, will pitch for the Blue Jays.

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In-game: J-Mac skips a turn

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SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander James McDonald will miss a turn in the starting rotation this week, according to GM Neal Huntington.

McDonald injured his side — the Pirates refuse to clarify the nature and severity of his injury — Friday while throwing a pitch. Huntington said McDonald is “feeling better” but will be skipped as a precaution.

»»» Catcher Ryan Doumit (strained oblique) took some dry swings in the batting cage, a step forward in his recovery. Doumit and catcher Chris Snyder (sore back) will be re-evaluated Tuesday, which is an off day for the team.

»»» Right-hander Charlie Morton today threw four innings (63 pitches) in a minor league camp game.

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Pregame: Moskos, 9 others sent down

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BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pirates this morning made their biggest round of training camp cuts, sending 10 players back to the minors.

Reliever Daniel Moskos, a first-round draft pick in 2007, was among four players who were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Outfielders Alex Presley and Gorkys Hernandez and left-hander Tony Watson also were sent to Indy.

Pitchers Jeff Locke, Ramon Aguero and Aaron Thompson were optioned to Double-A Altoona. Outfielder Andrew Lambo and infielders Chase d’Arnaud and Brian Friday were reassigned to minor league camp.

Lambo, Friday and d’Arnaud like will open the season at Indianapolis.

The Pirates have 44 players still in camp. They will play at 1 p.m. today against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla.

The Pirates’ lineup for today’s game against the Orioles:

1. Pedro Ciriaco 2b, 2. John Bowker 1b, 3. Andrew McCutchen, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Matt Diaz lf, 6. Steve Pearce rf, 7. Josh Rodriguez ss, 8. Jason Jaramillo c, 9. Kevin Correia rhp.

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Postgame: Plan Bs for the lineup

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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.”

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In-game: Ciriaco at 3B

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Pedro Ciriaco has entered the game against the BoSox at third base, replacing Pedro Alvarez. It’s the first time Ciriaco has gotten work at the hot corner in a game this spring. He’s played in nine games at shortstop and four at second base.

Ciriaco has been taking grounders at third during morning work as a way to become more versatile. “It’s going fine,” Ciriaco told me the other day. “It’s not too hard to learn. Things are a little quicker there, so you don’t have as much time to react. But I don’t think it’s as hard as (playing) middle infield.”

Ciriaco’s glove is major league ready; the question is whether or not he can hit well enough to justify a roster spot. If he makes the club, it will primarily be as a middle guy. Andy Marte, Garrett Atkins, Josh Fields and Steve Pearce are vying for the backup corner infielder job.

»»» Brian Friday just made a dandy defensive play at second base. He dove to snag a hot liner by Lars Anderson, popped to his feet and fired to first base in time for the out.

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Pregame: Mound debuts

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BRADENTON, Fla. — They’ll be two new faces on the mound Monday when the Pirates play the Orioles — Scott Olsen and Joe Beimel.

The two lefties have been sidelined all spring by injuries. Olsen strained his left hamstring Feb. 17 and Beimel went down a couple of weeks ago with a sore forearm. “Can’t wait to get out there,” Beimel said this morning.

»»» Kevin Correia is slated to pitch the first five innings Monday against the O’s. The final four innings will be handled by Evan Meek, Olsen, Beimel and Mike Crotta.

»»» Chris Snyder was scratched yesterday due to a sore back, but he told me this morning it’s nothing serious. “Just normal, nagging aches and pains that kind of flared up,” Snyder said. Snyder did not play either Thursday or Friday, but he said those were scheduled days off and not injury-related.

»»» Crotta has not allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings this spring. … John Bowker has hit safely in five of his past six games. Bowker, who’s out of options, is on the bubble for a spot on the 25-man roster. … Ronny Cedeno has five hits in his past 11 at-bats. … Today’s game against the BoSox is the first sellout at McKechnie Field this spring.

»»» They pay me to cover ball, so I’ll be here at McKechnie Field this afternoon with the Bucs. But my heart will be in Indy, where my Nittany Lions will face hated Ohio State for the Big Ten hoops title.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Red Sox – 1. Mike Cameron rf, 2. Jed Lowrie ss, 3. JD Drew dh, 4. Jason Varitek c, 5. Ryan Kalish cf, 6. Darnell McDonald lf, 7. Lars Anderson 1b, 8. Nate Spears 2b, 9. Drew Sutton 3b. Josh Beckett, RHP

Pirates – 1. Jose Tabata cf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. John Bowker lf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss. 8. Rusty Brown c, 9. Brad Lincoln, rhp.

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