BRADENTON, Fla. — Today is the final spring training game this year at McKechnie Field. The Pirates have a split-squad — they’ll host the Orioles and travel to Fort Myers to face the Twins. A boatload of minor leaguers were brought up to fill out both lineups. A handful of prospects also will make the trip to Philadelphia for the exhibition games Monday and Tuesday.
»»» Clint Hurdle was asked to assess his second spring training as the Pirates’ skipper: “We’ve seen our starting rotation depth play out. We knew we had a competition in the bullpen with good arms and more capable people than spots. We’ve seen that play out. You would’ve like to seen maybe a couple of guys jump and perform a little better than they have, just to create some separation. The overall ownership of the at-bats has been much better this spring. The cohesiveness of the group is starting to come together. It’s never been about wins and losses (in spring). You always like to win more games, but we wanted to get guys opportunities to play. We told a lot of people there would be opportunities (to win jobs), so we didn’t change our minds and become a slave of the game just to win games. We got guys out there and let them compete. We took inventory of everybody in camp; we’ve got a good read on even the guys we’ve sent out. So, overall, the camp served a purpose. These guys are itching to play, but we’ve still got some unfinished business here, as far as our pitchers finishing some things.”
»»» Ex-Bucco news: At Twins camp this morning, Ryan Doumit officially was named Joe Mauer’s backup when Drew Butera was optioned to Triple-A.
»»» A.J. Burnett took batting practice this morning with the other pitchers at McKechnie Field. Before taking his hacks, Burnett went through the usual warmup ritual of … bunting! He appeared to hold the bat out a teensy bit more than usual, perhaps, but dropped down four bunts without problem. The star of pitchers’ BP, however, was Brad Lincoln, who ripped a towering shot over the right field wall. The ball was about a third of the way up the lgiht pole as it left the park.
Spring game No. 27: Orioles v. Pirates, 1:05 p.m., Bradenton, Fla.
Orioles (11-12): 1. Endy Chavezcf, 2. Nolan Reimold lf, 3. JJ Hardy ss, 4. Nick Johnson dh, 5. Wilson Betemit 3b, 6. Chris Davis 1b, 7. Ronny Paulino c, 8. Jai Miller rf, 9. Robert Andino 2b. Jake Arietta rhp
Pirates (8-17-1): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Nate McLouth rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Garrett Jones 1b, 7. Rod Barajas c, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Erik Bedard lhp
Also scheduled to pitch: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Leroux
Spring game No. 28: Pirates v. Twins, 1:05 p.m., Fort Myers, Fla.
Pirates (8-17-1): 1. Jose Tabata rf, 2. Josh Harrison ss, 3. Yamaico Navarro 2b, 4. Matt Hague 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Miles Durham lf, 7. Robbie Grossman cf, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Kevin Correia rhp.
Also scheduled to pitch: Juan Cruz, Daniel McCutchen
Twins (17-13): TBA Anthony Swarzak rhp