All posts by Rob Biertempfel

Morning briefing: Game 9 v. Blue Jays

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The tarp is coming off the field at McKechnie, but probably not for very long.
The tarp came off at McKechnie for a few minutes, then they dragged it back on again.

BRADENTON, Fla. — If today’s game is rained out (a 50-50 proposition at this point), the players and pitchers could make up for lost work tomorrow, when there’s a “B” game against the Twins at 10 a.m. at Pirate City. At the moment, Stolmy Pimentel is scheduled to start that B game and the lineup os written in pencil at this point: Alen Hanson ss, Chase d’Arnaud 2b, Gregory Polanco cf, Brent Morel 1b, Nevin Ashley c, Matt Hague 3b, tba dh, minor leaguer tba lf, minor leaguer tba rf.

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Morning briefing: Game 8 @ Blue Jays

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DUNEDIN, Fla. — Jeff Locke was supposed to start today, but he felt some tightness in his side a couple of days ago while throwing a bullpen. He’s still working out daily a McKechnie Field, but will not throw off a mound for a few days. Locke believes they caught the injury early enough that it will not lead to too much down time. … Gaby Sanchez, who’d been out with a gimpy knee, is back in the lineup today and will be there tomorrow as well against the Jays at McKechnie Field.

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Morning briefing: Game 7 @ Tigers

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LAKELAND, Fla. — Charlie Morton is scheduled to pitch three innings today, depending upon his pitch count. … Josh Harrison has hit safely in all three of his games so far. … Chris McGuiness has gone 5 for 10 with a walk in five games. … Pedro Alvarez has five hits in his past nine at-bats.

Update 11:38 a.m. — Pirates just told us LHP Jeff Locke has tightness in his right side and will not make his scheduled start Wednesday. RHP Jay Jackson will start in Locke’s place against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Fla.

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Morning briefing: Game 4 v. Rays

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Want some injury updates? Gaby Sanchez was scratched from the lineup today due to what the team says is “discomfort in his right knee.” He is listed as day to day. I have not spoken yet with Sanchez about what caused the injury. He made a sprawling stop of a hard grounder in the first inning Friday, which might be the culprit…. Phil Irwin was scratched from his scheduled outing yesterday due to a sore right elbow.

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Morning briefing: Game 3 at Blue Jays

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DUNEDIN, Fla. — Josh Harrison had a big ice pack strapped to his right shoulder in the clubhouse this morning. That’s not a routine procedure, especially at 7:30 a.m., but Harrison insisted he’s not injured. “I’m OK,” he told me, and moved his right arm up and down to drive the point home. “It’s a little chilly today. Gotta keep the arm moving.” I’ll take his word, for now, but let’s keep an eye on it.

>> Today marks a “homecoming” of sorts for infielder Brent Morel. He was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in December, but never really had a chance to establish roots before being waived again. The Pirates claimed him Tuesday.

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Morning report: Game 2 v. Yankees

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TAMPA — Don’t read too much into the batting order, especially early on in spring training. “There are a couple guys (for whom) I’ve got spots in mind,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But for the rest, I’m going to run them out there and see what works.”
Gregory Polanco in center field today against the Stormtroopers of the Evil Empire? Yep. Hurdle already knows Polanco can handle any outfield position. The skipper wants to see as many guys as he can in games, which means the contenders for the right field job won’t be restricted to playing only right field.

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Dickerson knows about the Reds rivalry

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Chris Dickerson made his big league debut with the Reds in August 2008 and played for them two more years until he was traded to the Brewers straight-up for Jim Edmonds. He’s aware of the intense rivalry that has developed between the Pirates and Reds. Dickerson, who on Monday agreed to a minor league deal with the Pirates, said it would be “interesting” to be part of the battle from the other dugout this summer.

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