BRADENTON, Fla. — Nice to finally see some “real” baseball again today, even if it was only an eight-inning intrasquad scrimmage that ended in a 4-4 tie. An overview from manager Clint Hurdle: “You keep a game like this in perspective. Overall, our defense was good. I was happy with the aggressiveness by the basestealers, the jumps. Our two-strike approach was pretty good. Our pitches targeted the ball and hit the middle a lot. It was a good day.”
»»» Tony Sanchez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning. Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 2, including a double, and stole two bases. Matt Hague went 2 for 3, including a double. Jeff Clement went 2 for 2 with a walk and one RBI. Yamaico Navarro played the first five innings at shortstop and went 2 for 2.
»»» Hurdle’s thoughts on the news that pitcher A.J. Burnett will be out for eight to 12 weeks as he recovers from surgery on his fractured orbital bone: “Our thoughts are with him. It’s a very unfortunate situation that we find ourselves in. Depth is critical. One of the things we were very aggressive with was creating more depth. You’re always going to get adversity, there’s always shifts that come and go. When shift happens, you’ve got to put a foot down and go from there.”
Shift happens. Love it.
»»» Hurdle rightly made no apology for having his pitchers take part in the bunt drills that led to Burnett’s injury. “Fluke things happen. It’s unfortunate, but you move on. He’d been bunting for a week. It’s not like we just threw a bat in his hand that day. It’s a fluke. You don’t need to take it any deeper than that.”
»»» Root Sports will televise four spring training games: Saturday vs. the Twins, March 21 vs. the Red Sox, March 24 vs. the Astros and March 26 vs. the Orioles. The game against the O’s begins at 7 p.m.; the other three start at 1 p.m. Sixteen games will be broadcast on 93.7 FM, starting with the game at 1:05 p.m. Sunday against the Blue Jays. All other games (except the March 31 split-squad game against the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.) can be heard on pirates.com.
»»» The Pirates’ lineup for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Toronto Blue Jays: 1. Jose Tabata rf, 2. Clint Barmes ss, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Casey McGehee 1b, 5. Yamaico Navarro 3b, 6. Nate McLouth cf, 7. Jake Fox dh, 8. Gorkys Hernandez lf, 9. Michael McKenry c. Pitcher: James McDonald, rhp
McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Rod Barajas, Pedro Alvarez, Josh Harrison and Alex Presley will not make the trip to Dunedin, Fla.