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.