BRADENTON, Fla. — Reliever Chris Resop will start today against the Phillies. His goal? “Five innings or 25 pitches, whichever comes first,” Resop told me with a smile. Jeff Karstens will pitch in a minor league game at Pirate City. This way, Karstens can get in as much work as he can — he’s gone five innings in his past two outings, and is shooting for six or seven today — against the minors guys and the relievers also can get their work in against the Phils.
»»» I got a text last night from lefty reliever John Grabow, who yesterday opted out of his minor league contract with the Dodgers. Grabow always said he enjoyed pitching for the Pirates, and reiterated he wouldn’t mind coming back. However, the Pirates so far haven’t shown any interest. GM Neal Huntington has indicated there’s nothing on the free-agent market that they would chase after doggedly. Part of the reason is there’s mostly table scraps on the market at this stage. Another reason is the Burnett trade pushed the Pirates a lot closer to their payroll budget for the year; Huntington needs to save some bullets for the trade deadline, just in case.
»»» No cuts today, but I get the feeling there could be a few moves made Wednesday or Thursday.
»»» BTW, the Astros cut lefty Zach Duke this morning. Duke had been in the running for a long-relief job, but was shelled in his last outing.
Spring game No. 23: Pirates v. Phillies, 1:05 p.m., Clearwater, Fla.
Pirates (8-14): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Josh Harrison ss, 3. Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 5. Casey McGehee 1b, 6. Yamaico Navarro 2b, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Matt Hague dh 9. Michael McKenry c. Chris Resop rhp
Also scheduled to pitch: Joel Hanrahan, Daniel Moskos and Ryota Igarashi
Phillies (10-13-3): 1. Shane Victorino cf, 2. Placido Polanco 3b, 3. Hunter Pence rf, 4. Jim Thome 1b, 5. Laynce Nix lf, 6. Pete Orr ss, 7. Brian Schneider c, 8. Freddy Galvis 2b, 9. Cliff Lee lhp