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Final: Pirates 6, Rays 4, exhibition

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (10-14-1) vs. Tampa Bay Rays, exhibition

Starters: RHP Jeanmar Gomez vs. RHP Alex Gomez

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.


Here is the official live box score.

Here is TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Rob Biertempfel is on the boardwalk.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. Yesterday NMR forecast “a true pitchers duel.” Dry humor at the time. Then it came true. Now we gotta see what you do for an encore, NMR. Predict the cycle for Hawpe?

  2. One of many funny lines from DK’s chat yesterday ==>
    Comment From Sammy: Will Jeanmar Gomez pitch for the PBC this year?

    Dejan Kovacevic: If that question ever becomes pertinent …
    ….agree, and…so why do we keep giving this dude more & more innings? I don’t get it. I realize that this spring training is EXTRA long…but it seems like we could be evaluating some more meaningful candidates for the staff :-(

  3. Jeanmar Gomez, with his 9.00 ERA, needs a closer look?

    For what, the correct door out?

    • I think we have to assume the “closer look” thing is basically saying “somebody needs to pitch”.

      AJ hasn’t been throwing in Grapefruit League games, Wandy is just getting back from WBC, Karstens is building up innings, Liriano not throwing in games yet.

      Locke, McP, and possssibly now Sanchez are the realistic options for the 5th spot. Anybody else is just filler.

      • I need to start prefacing my Pirate comments with a disclaimer…this is what SEEMS to make sense, in my opinion. I have better luck playing the lotto than guessing what these guys are actually thinking.

  4. I’ve updated this a bit from the last time I used it…

    Jeanmar we’ve got your number
    ERA over nine
    Jeanmar don’t call us, we’ll call you

  5. Worlds may collide today

  6. So what exactly is the status for Liriano right now? Does he have an estimated return date or anything of the like?

    My normal side is thinking he’s Bedard -2.0. My attempt to ignore Pirate recent (if you can count 20 years as recent) history side says he may be a pleasant surprise. Hard to imagine one way or the other when he’s not throwing.

  7. Heard they made some cuts this am Brian Morris was one of them, don’t remember the others.

    Is anyone thinking that Sanchez will be coming north?

  8. 9 days until Opening Day.

    Starting Jeanmar Gomez, with 9.00 ERA (Spring Training only——but last year for Cleveland almost 6.00) makes about as much sense as keeping Pedro Alvarez, with his 25 sure errors and limited range at 3rd base.

    Wait: we already decided to keep Alvarez at 3rd????

    Well, never mind. Start Jeanmar or whomever you want. Apparently good pitching and good defense are not goals for the 2013 Pirates.

    Ol’ Jeanmar, however, does have good downward plane.

    • You must have read 24/7′s piece today. More Neal quotes on tall pitchers.

      • I’ll go check it out.

        24/7 seems to be producing more good baseball stuff this year. Anybody else notice that?

        Musta found a good, close parking space! More time to write!

        • Completely agreed. Going back to the Winter Meetings I thought Rob really stepped up his game.

          Trib’s baseball coverage seems superior to me, and I read the other paper.

          • Two second year players (writers) over at the other paper, who, like Jose Tabata and Travis Snider, were given starting positions before they had proven themselves.

            P-G is hoping one shows as much promise as Starling Marte.

            Seriously, really surprised that P-G didn’t hire a veteran baseball writer when Dejan took the boat across the river!!

            Maybe Neal Huntington is also their General Manager.

        • Ha! You’re right, though. His stuff has been better lately.

      • “He’s obviously a very accomplished defensive player. Veteran presence. Quality guy on and off the field that provides us with some depth and stability,” Huntington said. “At a spot where we all of a sudden didn’t have a lot of depth and stability… He provides us some organizational depth at a position where there’s not a lot of industry depth.”

        I don’t really care about this move one way or the other, but oh my. Chase d’Arnaud was our keystone to depth at SS? All of a sudden? Wow. But then again, there just aren’t many decent 2-way shortstops in baseball. Anywhere. In the world.

        I’m waiting for Neal’s next book, “50 Dynamics of Depth”.

        • It will be a best seller like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea….with the same motto…ALL WASHED UP!

          • Hey Jandy,

            You live near Cresson- what is the deal with that place? It’s like all the winds in the world get together and have a meeting, then they all say “hey, let’s all blow as hard as possible and converge right on Cresson at one time.”

            And I’ve driven it a million times (not as much during the winter as this year), but 422 has to be the dirtiest freakin road on the planet. My poor Tracker doesn’t have enough horsepower to carry all the salt and junk from that road. It’s not even worth washing the little gremlin because of it.

            • Hey Brad, I was born and raised in Gallitzin, which is 2 minutes from Cresson. Both towns are wind blown cow paths lol. I *HATED* living “up the mountain”, which is what people from Altoona, Holidaysburg, and Duncansville call it. It’s an area God forgot!

              • He might have forgotten but Mother Nature sure didn’t. I could barely see driving home last night. The snow was falling so heavily (yet not sticking) and the lines on 422 are under 6 inches of cinders, ash and salt. Bleh.

              • I feel for you, brother :/

  9. I hope Jeanmar throws a no hitter and Pedro hits 2 home runs today

    Sometimes it is more fun when we want to fire the hockey or college hoops coach. It might even be more fun to debate again the merits of picking up a backup infielder.

    There are only a few more ST games left. McPherson started the game before last and Sanchez started last night. That only leaves a few candidates to start AND try have to start to think about lining up the rotation for the start of the season.

    • Jeanmar threw better last time, but Sanchez has the resume. I’d say he’s pitching his way into the rotation, which is almost unbelievable based on his earlier performance.

      Baltimore was a playoff team and they killed us in interleague last season and Sanchez held them to 2 hits.

      Maybe you’ll see some runs scored today. Roberto sure didn’t last night.

      • I think they have to decide on Sanchez this weekend, he has that get out of jail free clause, either gets added, or can become a FA, or if agreeable to go to the minors, gets a 100K check

  10. It seems like the minute they realized Bryan Morris had another option they couldn’t send him out fast enough.

    • No doubt. They’ll give some other guys chances to start the season. Morris I think is going to be on speed dial in Indy. He’ll get a chance sooner or later by someone getting hurt or traded, just probably not until May.

  11. Does anyone think they are considering McPherson for the bullpen ? I like him there.

    • While I agree with you, I think they’re more likely to put Sanchez there and give Locke his shot in the rotation while keeping McP in AAA.

      After his last two starts, I feel like Sanchez thinks that somebody out there will give him a chance if the Pirates don’t.

      8 IP in spring training haven’t even begun to change my opinion on him, but it would be soooooooo “Pirates” to let him go – as well they should – only to see him catch on with the Cubs or Astros or Indians and light it up.

      • Why let Sanchez go? Has his “stuff” been good or bad? I’m asking because I don’t really trust ST numbers.

        • Some of these other guys have actually seen him this spring, so I can’t answer your “stuff” question.

          But he has an opt out clause in his contract that says if he isn’t on the 25 man by a certain date, he can choose free agency. By assigning him to AAA, the team would basically be cutting him.

          • He would however get a 100k check if he reported to the minors.

            I’m thinking they will start the season with him in the rotation.

            And there were lunatics reports that his stuff has been “filthy” from what they’ve seen

        • Sanchez did VERY well last night against essentially the opening day Orioles lineup. And he really had the hook going.

    • Is Karstens playing? I heard he make his “Spring Debut” a week ago, but I see no statistics for him. As long as Jeff Locke is not one of your proposed starters, I could see moving McPherson to the bullpen.

      • Exactly. I’m seeing 2 of Sanchez, Locke & McPherson in the rotation at the start of the season. I’m noy buying into Karstens until I actually see him against big league hitters. He’s not stretched out either, he could start in the pen.

        • Sorry, hit send before I read your post. Sounds like I’m being a jerk. You could definitely be right about Karstens, and I think for just about any other pitcher that timeline makes perfect sense.

          But I get the feeling that they’re purposely holding Jeff out. Doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy that needs time to tweek his secondary offerings and whatnot. The man just goes out and pitches.

          Keith Law, talking about another pitcher, said the guy only has a limited amount of bullets. No sense wasting them outside of MLB competition.

          I kind’ve think this is the Jeff Karstens strategy.

          • No apology necessary. I sure hope you’re right. I really wanted to take some time to go to Pirate City & see Karstens myself but it just never lined up. A healthy month out of him could make a big difference.

            About the Keith Law line, Yogi used to say he didn’t take a lot of BP because he only had so many hits in his bat & he didn’t want to waste them in batting practice.

          • I’m not a huge fan of Karstens in the bullpen anymore. He proved to me he’s a starter. If he’s healthy but only able to pitch maybe 75 pitches on his regular season debut, I’d rather he go out and make that start. There will probably be a rainout to let the bullpen get rested back up, and if not there’s the off day on the 11th.

      • Karstens will be ready by his turn in the rotation. Pitching in minor league games right now, like AJ. 5th starter still up for grabs.

  12. Looking forward to an Eastern conference playoffs of USA vs Canada. If you swap Carolina and Winnipeg, you get an entire bracket composed of USA/Canada matchups. What’s not to love, eh?

  13. When’s the clay pigeon shoot scheduled this year?

  14. All the conjecture is fun, but it’s probably an exercise in futility applying conventional wisdom to this bunch of clowns.

  15. Any truth to the rumor that Dejan actually had his return ticket to the Burgh already scheduled for today . . . . . . . . so he could make it back in town for the Pittsburgh Power opener tomorrow night?!?

    By the way, when is Woodley’s Pittsburgh bowling team Opener? Hope Dejan covers it! He claims he is now the “Man of All Sports!”

  16. 24/7 just tweeted he got 2 texts from scouts last night telling him it appears Sanchez has pitched himself onto the Pirates roster. He didn’t specify if they were Pirates scouts or not.

  17. More from 24/7 – Inge scratched from today’s lineup. He’s still taking BP, however. He’s cut (that part’s from me).

  18. Tyler Kennedy still sucks. Just throwing that out there.

  19. Johnny Mac starts at short today.

    • Anybody else think this whole signing has Clint Hurdle written all over it?

      Can’t get much more veteranny than 38 McDonald.

  20. 15 minutes until DUKE basketball!!

    Dear Lord, Please don’t let them pull a “Pitt”!!!

  21. @Dejan_Kovacevic •Bored out of my skull on this flight. We’re somewhere over Nebraska, I think. Anyone has a non-sports Q, I’m game …

    How ’bout your mayoral endorsement?

  22. Brandon Inge seen leaving McKechnie Field in street clothes.

  23. How many guys are left in camp? Who are the actual players that are still fighting for jobs going north?

  24. Is anybody following the Tigers closer/Rick Porcello trade situation?

    I just can’t wrap my head around it. Tigers go into the offseason adament about using their hard throwing, erratic closing prospect Bruce Rondon to start the year, then freak out in the first week of ST when he shows up throwing hard and erratic. What were they expecting to happen?

    Names have been thrown around as a return for Porcello anywhere from two Ranger’s minor leaguers not even ranked in their top 20 prospects to stud closer Houston Street to setup man(which they already have several of) Luke Gregerson.

    And this is all after Huntington practically begged them to take Hanrahan.

    Do teams really see his value as that low? Thats all that makes sense at this point. We’ve seen teams spend big money on closers like Brandon League, Jonathan Broxton, and Raphael Soriano even though Hanny could’ve been had at pennies on the dollar.

    Any thoughts?

    • Closely. I watched him pitch last Friday against Toronto. He threw the ball well very well, touched 93 on many occasions. There were tons of scouts there. I had my eye on a Phillies scout who would watch him throw an inning, then make a call. And so on & so on.

      Teams that spend like to talk a good game about their prospects until they actually have to use them. Leyland, of course, wanted to go the established closer route right from the get go. The Tigers are panicking right now but Rondon seems to have straightened himself out.

      • “Teams that spend like to talk a good game about their prospects until they actually have to use them.”

        Which is what confuses me. Why are they so quick to drop Porcello and not Smyly?

        The irrational fan in me wants to say “why didn’t Neal hold onto Hanny?”, but what evidence is there to suggest that he would’ve actually been worth Porcello?

  25. At the game today.
    There is a guy sitting near me that SOUNDS familiar

  26. Box 4 row 20

    Two rows from the top

  27. Drew hates me!

  28. Pie on 1st two outs. Watch. Third out will be a caught stealing.

  29. Inge was removed due to lingering discomfort from being hit by a pitch in the shoulder blade last Thursday. Alrighty then.

  30. I had forgotten to put up earlier that in the top first, Jenny gave up one single but no damage.

    Leadoff double and then single…men on corners, no outs.

    Then infield grounder, run scores, one out.

  31. Gomez is laboring today. Almost every batter goes up 2-0, then waits for their pitch.

    And just now Gomez picked off Roberts on 2nd.

    A CS yesterday and now a PO. The new and improved Pirates D

  32. Our new backup short stop McDonald is about as tall as JHay.
    Our second baseman Mercer is very tall.

    Nice execution of the run down

  33. Third out. One run.

  34. Mercer stretching out…must have tweaked something in slide. Staying in. He’s a hockey player.

  35. Jeanmar is tall too

  36. Jenny plunks lead off hitter.


    There aren’t enough baseball fights in spring training.

    • Haha. I think he plunked him because he had a batter in an 0-2 hole for the first time today and panicked

      • Good point. Or maybe mad that the batter took him out of his routine.

        Still, no damage. 1 run through three. Not efficient but relatively effective.

  37. Jenny is batting. This should be good.

    Can you k on two pitches?

  38. A Rays fan just yelled SEE YA to Presley on a strike.

    Unfortunately it was strike two.

    Then he drew a walk.

  39. Not sure what gamew Drew is watching with a run scored, i have this game 0-0 in bottom of 3rd

  40. Nice RBI double by Pie. Knocks in Presley

    Pie is tall too

  41. Sorry to interrupt this important Pirate game, but I want to give a shout out to the Bishop Canevin girls basketball team, who just won the 2013 AA state championship. WPIAL champs and now PIAA champs, well done ladies, congrats!

  42. Tied at 1 – bottom 3rd. Pie just doubled in the tying run.

  43. Nice RBI single by McDonald.

    Great trade for Neal. :-)

  44. Well, that over priced backup SS just came thru with a run scoring single.

  45. I just shook hands with Tim Nevrett. Very nice

    I have never met him before , and for some reason he said to me “keep that Drew character away from me.”

    He ran away too fast or I would have told him. “He’s a real person , that’s no character”

  46. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    Sorry!! I had you guys winning that region.

    15 – 56 will do that to a team.


  47. No Geno tonight. No Letang tonight.
    Cookie is in tho.

    Vokoun in goal.

    OOps, wrong thread ;X

  48. Well the Zgurisky Experiment will be ending soon

  49. Zgurisky just gave up a HR.

    I DON’T CARE!!

    Any guy THAT short and fat HAS to make the team.

    Neal musta been on vacation when this guy was acquired.

    Upward plane.

  50. Tough day for Dickerson….and Zgurisky

  51. Pirates 1Bman dropped what would have been a successful pickoff throw, missed a foul pop, and Thunder is now chasing around the bases, wearing nothing but his gold lamé body paint.

    No idea who the bum is. #77, but the program lists 77 as a pitcher. Maybe they are two question marks, not sevens. That would make more sense.

  52. This game is a classic example of how you can’t trust the box score or worry about the record in Spring Training

  53. Wow, Pens recalled Trevor Smith from WBS. Center. He’s played in the NHL before, was once with the Islanders, who we play tonight.

  54. The new closer gave up another run scoring double.

    Out of inning on wild DP. Ground to 2Bman Mercer, steps on first for out, throws to SS covering 2nd but too late for runner, who throws to Fort to get out at the plate

  55. But who’s on 3rd?

  56. Melancon in to pitch. Fairly easy inning, after the Zagurski-Dickerson fiasco.

    Easy ground out, walk after 0-2 count, then easy 6-3 DP.

  57. Hughes in to pitch. Throwing the nasty stuff.

    Easy 1, 2, 3 inning.

  58. Some Buc I never heard of hit a HR. 6-4 Bucs

  59. Tim Alderson in to pitch the 9th. Yes that Alderson.

    The BMTIB may win the Sanchez trade yet. :D

  60. Thanks to you 3 fellows for the game info, especially on a day when Gameday was less than perfect and the NCAA’s take the spotlight.

    Drew is probably hurrying the local watering hole now to catch the Gators and Florida Gulf Coast vs. Georgetown, right Drew?

    • You are welcome. On the road to Ft Myers to spend a few days with my Minor League mgr buddy.

      Great baseball with the Bucs though. Definitely anxious to see those guys winning at PNC in just over a week. Go Bucs

  61. So we left our seats and went to the new outfield concourse for the last three innings.

    To have a beer (there’s a surprise)

    And to talk so much that we missed that the game had ended (there’s a surprise)

    In fact, when this Stephanie Welch chick hit the HR, we thought that made it 4-4. Had to ask all the Rays fans around us what had happened.

  62. Holy crap. People work in this town. I’m in traffic.

    Load photon torpedoes.

  63. Wow 200+ comments on a Pirates ST game thread. Only 44 comments on the ‘Fire Jamie Dixon’ morning column post. Very telling.

  64. I hit traffic too!

    I can’t believe that I saw The Tim Alderson save the game. I am not sure his name was in the back of his jersey. When I looked up the names of 2 Pirate players at the end of the game, it had coaches names next to the numbers.
    Nice recycling program by the team.

  65. Made it back to Palm Harbor. Haven’t seen my wife since last week (I was in Cocoa Beach all week).

    And that streak is not gonna change.

    Stopped in my favorite brew pub (of course).

    She’s going out with friends at 9:00.

    So I’ll get home at 9:15.

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