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Morning report: Game 1 v. Yankees

Pregame workouts under way around 9 a.m.

Pregame workouts under way around 9 a.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Good morning from McKechnie Field. The Pirates open their Grapefruit League slate today against the Yankees, the first of five meetings this spring against the Bombers. Looks like the Pirates are putting out their Opening Day lineup. The Yankees, eh, not so much.

Yankees @ Pirates, 1:05 p.m., McKechnie Field

Radio: 93.7 FM. Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain.

Yankees: 1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF, 2. Yangervis Solarte SS, 3. Carlos Beltran RF, 4. Brian McCann C, 5. Ramon Flores LF, 6. Zelous Wheeler 3B, 7. Dean Anna 2B, 8. Corban Joseph 1B, John Ryan Murphy DH. Pitcher: RH Ivan Nova.

Pirates: 1. Starling Marte LF, 2, Russell Martin C, 3. Andrew McCutchen CF, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3B, 5. Neil Walker 2B, 6. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 7. Andrew Lambo DH, 8. Jose Tabata RF, 9. Jordy Mercer SS. Pitcher: LH Francisco Liriano,

Today’s backups: Jaff Decker LF, Chris Dickerson CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Matt Hague 3B, RobertAndino SS, Michael Martinez 2B, Chris McGuiness 1B, Tony Sanchez C, Omir Santos C.

Today’s other pitchers: Edinson Volquez, Jeanmar Gomesz, Vin Mazzaro, Jared Hughes, Duke Welker, Josh Kinney, Adam Wilk.

Thursday, we’ll drive an hour up the interstate to Tampa to the Steinbrenner Shrine. Derek Jeter is expected to make his spring debut, so there will be all the pomp and choas that comes with that. Tomorrow’s traveling party includes Chris Stewart, Clint Barmes, Alen Hanson, Josh Harrison, Lambo, Decker, Polanco, Tabata and Dickerson. Charlie Morton will pitch the first two innings, followed by Jeff Locke, Brandon Cumpton, Daniel Schlereth, Cody Eppley and Yao-Hsun Yang.

Update 9:49 a.m. – The Yankees scratched SS Eduardo Nunez, who has flu-like symptoms, and replaced him with Yangervis Solarte.

Update 1:13 p.m. – Liriano has heaved the first pitch and we are under way beneath heavy, threatening clouds. The Pirates had two close calls in the first inning. Gaby Sanchez stumbled over the corner of the first base bag while chasing a foul grounder. It was an ankle injury waiting to happen, but Sanchez survived. A minute or so later, Solarte whizzed a hard liner inches over Liriano’s head. Liriano also is OK, but he did give up two runs on three hits in the inning.

Update 1:41 p.m. – Volquez was doing all right … until he had to pitch out of the stretch. The righty got the first two batters of the second inning, then walked Ellsbury. On a 3-1 pitch, Solarte blasted a two-run homer into the wind. The ball landed on the boardwalk in right field. Bombers have a 4-0 lead going into bottom of the second.

Update: 1:51 p.m. – Yeah, it’s only one game, but there were some good signs there from Gaby Sanchez. He led off the inning by patiently working a walk against Nova. He went to second on Lamob’s single. Jose Tabata flew out to medium-depth right and Sanchez scooted to third base just ahead of Beltran’s throw. And … Nova must’ve reached his pitch count. Righty Bruce Billings is coming on in relief with two on, one out in bottom second.

 

31 Comments

  1. Alright! Let’s go get ‘em!

  2. If you have MLBTV you can listen to tadays game broadcast by KDKA if you dont live in the Pittsburgh area.

    Tomorrow the Yanks/Pirates are on MLBTV. But before you jump in and buy a package keep in mind that only 12 of the 31Pirate spring training games will be televised.

    • Also keep in mind the MLBTV and radio services suck beyond belief and unless you want to constantly be sitting down expecting to watch or listen to a game only to hear their robotic female voice coo to you that the content you selected in not available and have ads pumped at you endlessly for a paid service save your money.

      I tried two years in a row and they’ll never get another cent from me.

  3. Thanks, Rob. Hope these posts become a trend.

    Am I forgetting something, or is the only real roster battle heading into April for the final two bullpen spots?

    • You are probably correct although I can see Dacker beating out Snider if he just outplays him in spring. It’s unlikely because of options left for Dacker. The only way Lambo doesn’t come North is if he is just way overmatched. It’s unfortunate but more then likely Gomez, Mazzarro or Morris will be lost.

          • Yeah. I’m not seeing any chance that Gomez doesn’t make this team. Or Lambo for that matter unless there’s an acquisition.

        • I like Gomez but I could see the Pirates seeing last year as not being repeatable for him. On top of that he is long relief and that is all. The Pirates have Stolmy for that role as well as possibly Volquez when Taillon comes up. Locke and Cumpton are also options to serve as long relief or spot starters. We don’t lack spot starter options like we did last year.

          I think Morris is most likely to go but I think Mazzarro would be kept instead of Gomez if they had to make a choice between those two. Gomez would also probably get more then Morris in a trade if that is how they solve the problem.

          • I realize there appears to be a lot of options, but Gomez proved to be pretty successful in that role. And his WHIP was 1.153. I think we’ll probably need as many starters this year as we did last year.

          • Trust me, 21, I think Gomez is a guy you’d love to have on your roster, and I certainly value what he did last year.

            But I just wonder if his role moving forward has changed. I really cannot see him getting anywhere near the number of starts he got last season, given the true rotation depth of Locke, Pimentel, Cumpton, Irwin, and eventually Taillon.

            So the question then may be which two of Gomez, Mazzaro, and Morris are the best pure relievers. We already know Hurdle favored Morris in that role last year given his reliance on him in late-ish inning situations. And I think an argument can be made that Morris has the better stuff and potential, while Gomez had the better performance last year.

          • I could see Gomez being traded but if there isn’t a good enough deal, there are still too many question marks on the staff for me to want to get rid of Gomez. I don’t view Irwin in the pool of depth at this point and I’m not assuming Wandy will stay healthy or that Volquez and Locke will bounce back.

      • I think you pretty much nailed it, Nate. Way to kill conversation! ;)

    • Stolmy has to come north, right?

  4. There is a lot of baseball to be played this spring. And from what Im reading on several sites, Polanco is turning heads. If Dacker(sp) and Snyder struggle it may be very hard for the Pirates to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. D&O are going to be very important to this team.

    • I believe Snider is out of options but could be wrong and he has very little value in a trade. We would essentially have to just release him and see him go to another team with nothing to show for it. He is good depth and ideally you would want to keep him as long as possible in case of injuries while at the same time saving a year of Polanco’s free agency.

      It’s unlikely the Pirates are going to give up 162 games of Polanco’s pre free agency playing time to gain 50 games at the beginning of this year. Even if he is 3 wins better then Tabata for a year which he probably would not be your only talking about 1 win over those 50 games.

      • Agree, Nate. If years of control were not an issue, and it was strictly about winning, it would not surprise me to see Polanco come north with the team to Pittsburgh. But, they are not starting that clock prematurely.

      • Absolutely agreed Nate! And I hope they dont bring him up, but there is precedent. Bryce Harper. Mike Trout.

  5. As excited as I am about Polanco I don’t think the hype surrounding him is the same as those two players. I could be wrong but I think Trout came up after like 20-25 games. They didn’t avoid super 2 but the did avoid a year of free agency. Also Washington and the Angels are a little less worried about cost controlled players.

    • Also, as we know, those guys play for teams with the means to keep them beyond arbitration years. Unless Polanco signs a Cutch-like extension at about age 25, he won’t stick around with the Bucs.

      • Polanco went 0-2 today, he’s all washed up. I say trade him.

        Liriano and Volquez are terrible. That’s it! seasons over…Time to rebuild…..

        @NRM

        Base of teams winning first preseason game = 50% X GCGDD% + NSAP = Chances of making the playoffs. After carefully running these stats, I find the Pirates chances right at 50%.

    • The only reason Polanco doesn’t get the hype that Trout and Harper did is that he is a Pirate. If he was on any of the big media teams, the guy would be drowning in hype.

  6. Does anyone have any information on Jeff Karstens?

    • He is still a free agent. He has been rehabbing in the Pirates facilities and will throw for teams sometime in the next week or two. I’m not sure he gets much more then a minor league deal. He would probably sign somewhere he has a better chance of making a team or being first or second option when injuries happen. The Pirates have a fair number of options for starting pitchers. Stolmy, Locke, Cumpton, Taillon are all waiting to step in and Karstans would probably only be placed ahead of maybe Cumpton on that list.

      I’m rooting for the guy. I’ve always liked him. I hope he catches on somewhere.

  7. I heard Karsten threw for scouts down in Florida this past Friday, Den. Like most Pirate fans, I really like him. He was an A.J. type leader before A.J. even got here. He’s a Daniel in the Lion’s Den for sure–a gritty strike-thrower who looks like a gust of wind could land him on third base after a pitch. I hope he can stay healthy this year.

    • Very much agreed, Dennis.

      His injuries make it easy to forget how well he pitched, particularly in 2012. His 4.40 K/BB ratio that year would’ve bested any Pirates starter from 2013, including Cole, AJ, and Liriano.

      He seems like the perfect candidate for a minor league deal to serve as rotation depth. I just wonder if there is any room in Indianappolis? Locke, Taillon, Kingham, Cumpton, and Irwin would seem to have the rotation full for now.

  8. Thanks all for the updates.

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