Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pirates 2014 spring training schedule

photo by Grant Jefferies/illustration by John Lembo

Here is the Pittsburgh Pirates' 2014 spring training schedule. Home games are in caps. All games begin at 1:05 p.m. unless otherwise noted

2/25  BLACK & GOLD GAME, noon
2/26  vs. NEW YORK YANKEES
2/27  at New York Yankees (Tampa)
2/28  at Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin)
3/1    vs. TAMPA BAY RAYS
3/2    at Philadelphia Philles (Clearwater)
3/3    vs. BOSTON RED SOX
3/4    at Detroit Tigers (Lakeland)
3/5    at Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin)
3/6    vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
3/7    vs. MINNESOTA TWINS
3/8    at Tampa Bay Rays (Port Charlotte)
3/9    Split quad vs. BOSTON RED SOX; at Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota)
3/10  vs. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
3/12  at Minnesota Twins (Fort Myers)
3/13  at Tampa Bay Rays (Port Charlotte)
3/14  vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
3/15  vs. TAMPA BAY RAYS (split squad)
3/16  at   Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater)
3/17  vs. NEW YORK YANKEES
3/19  at Boston Red Sox (Fort Myers), 7:05 p.m.
3/20  vs. BALTIMORE ORIOLES, 7:05 p.m.
3/21  at New York Yankees (Tampa), 7:05 p.m.
3/22  vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
3/23  at Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota)
3/24  vs. DETROIT TIGERS
3/25  vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
3/26  at Minnesota Twins (Fort Myers)
3/27  vs. NEW YORK YANKEES

Read more here: http://bradentonspringtraining.blogspot.com/2013/11/pirates-2014-spring-training-schedule.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

History at McKechnie

A crowd of 7,141 made its way into McKechnie Field for today's game between the Pirates and Twins pushed the McKechnie's total attendance this spring to 93,433.
That's a new record for the 90-year-old ballpark, as is the average gameday attendance of 6,229.
McKechnie Field underwent a $10 million overhaul prior to the start of spring, a project that included the addition of more than 2,000 seats.
Appears to have been worth it.


Lineups: Pirates vs. Twins

This is it - the last Pirates game of the spring at chilly McKechnie Field.
The Buccos play host to the Minnesota Twins today, while the fans are set to make some history. The Pirates have drawn 86,292 fans this spring, and today's game should bypass the park's all-time attendance record of 88,003, which was set in 2011.

Here are the players they will see today:

LINEUPS
TWINS
Byron Buxton, cf
Brian Dozier, 2b
Joe Mauer, c
Chris Parmelee, rf
Trevor Plouffe, dh
Kennys Vargas, 1b
Danny Ortiz, lf
Jamey Carroll, ss
Doug Bernier, 3b
Vance Worley, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Garrett Jones, 1b
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Neil Walker, 2b
Russell Martin, c
Travis Snider, rf
Clint Barmes, ss
Josh Harrison, dh
A.J. Burnett, p

McPherson optioned to Triple-A

photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie
Kyle McPherson's quest to become the Pirates' fifth starter ended Wednesday, when he was one of three players optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
The righty was 0-3 with a 8.64 ERA in six starts this spring and served up three home runs in the fifth inning during Monday's loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Infielder Jordy Mercer and outfielder Alex Presley were assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis, as well, while six players were assigned to minor league camp: catchers Carlos Paulino and Lucas May; outfielder Felix Pie; and pitchers Vin Mazzaro, Mike Zagurski and Ryan Reid.
The Pirates host the Minnesota Twins today during their final spring game at McKechnie Field.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Russell Martin talks about ejection

photo by Grant Jefferies
Russell Martin walked into the Pirates' clubhouse Sunday afternoon and noticed a handful of reporters hovering near his locker.
"You guys don't want to talk to me," he said with a knowing smile, "do you?"
They did, and with good reason. The Pirates catcher was ejected by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild during the first inning of Sunday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Ejections are expected during the regular season, when every pitch means something.
But during the last week of the Grapefruit League schedule, when everyone's supposed to be laid back and in a good mood?
Not so much.
Martin said the matter went beyond disagreeing with Fairchild's strike zone.
"I don't expect anybody to be perfect," Martin said. "But just when you try to communicate, whether it's with a co-worker or anything, there should be a certain respect and rapport where you can actually communicate. And I felt it just wasn't there today between myself and the umpire. He's a good guy. I know he is. In the heat of the moment, I probably let my emotions get the best of me. And I'm sure he did, too."
It came during a bizarre first inning, during which the Orioles scored eight runs off Pirates pitcher Chris Leroux, who was a last-minute replacement after scheduled starter Jeff Karstens experienced discomfort in his right shoulder.
"My pitcher was out there working hard, and that's it. I'm always going to have my pitcher's back," Martin said. "It was nothing personal toward Chad. It was just the situation."
Timing played a factor: The Pirates open the regular season April 1, and Martin is treating the last few exhibition games as real ones.
"I enjoy being out there and competing. People are like, 'How can you get thrown out of a spring training game?' I'm treating it like a regular-season game," he said. "I feel like I picked up my intensity quite a bit, and I feel like that's preparation toward getting ready for the real deal."
Martin's passion wasn't lost on Leroux, who lasted just one-third of an inning.
"I'm just glad the he kind of had my back. I'm obviously not going to run up to an umpire and get into his face and yell at him," he said. "I'm just glad (Martin) noticed the same things that I noticed."
With regular back up Michael McKenry serving as the designated hitter, Lucas May took over behind the plate following Martin's ejection.
"I've been having solid  contact. I feel aggressive, and that's huge for me," said Martin, who is just 3 for 30 this spring. "When I know I'm in the plate, and I want to swing and not be passive, that's when I know I'm in the spot where I need to be and want to be."

Not many stars at McKechnie this spring

photo by Grant Jefferies 
Today marks the Baltimore Orioles' fourth and final trip to McKechnie Field this spring. And once again, Bradentonians won't be able to see the likes of centerfielder Adam Jones and catcher Matt Wieters.
Instead, they'll be treated to Taylor Teagarden. And journeymen Chris Dickerson and Wilson Betemit.
Unfortunately, this has been the norm this spring at McKechnie Field: Teams haven't brought their A-listers to Bradenton this spring.
Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz didn't accompany the Boston Red Sox on either of their two trips.
Three trips by the Tampa Bay Rays didn't produce one Evan Longoria sighting.And Kevin Youkilis was the most popular New York Yankee during the Bronx Bombers' lone visit on St. Patrick's Day.
Spring training, of course, is all about getting ready for the regular seasons, and that's a manager's main focus when putting together a travel roster. Fans hoping to see their favorite players during a Grapefruit League road game will always be greeted with some semblance of disappointment.
And there were some circumstances this spring.
The World Baseball Classic took away Jones, as well as Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey.
The Yankees have been ravaged by injuries, which is why superstars Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez didn't make the trip from Tampa.  And the team's best player, second baseman Robinson Cano, helped the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic.
And one of baseball's best teams, the Detroit Tigers, didn't make one visit to McKechnie, robbing local fans of a chance to see guys such as Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.
Of course, it hasn't been all bad. The Phillies brought second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard from Clearwater on March 4, and the Pirates are starting generate some of their own stars, such as Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and of course, the ultra-exciting Andrew McCutchen.
And regardless of who is on the field, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon than sitting in the bleachers of a spring training park.
One of the fun parts about spring training is trying to guess which players will accompany a team on a road trip. And even if it hasn't worked out like Pirates' fans have hoped this spring, it's one of the perks that makes baseball in the month of March so unique.

Lineups: Pirates vs. Orioles

It's a foggy day at the ol' ballpark, where the Pirates play their next-to-last game in Bradenton as they host the Baltimore Orioles.
Here are the lineups:

ORIOLES
Alexi Casilla, ss
Ryan Flaherty, 2b
Nolan Reimold, dh
Wilson Betemit, 3b
Jason Pridie, rf
Trayvon Robinson, lf
Travis Ishikawa, 1b
Taylor Teagarden, c
Chris Dickerson, cf
Brian Matusz, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Russell Martin, c
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Neil Walker, 2b
Jose Tabata, rf
John McDonald, ss
Chris Leroux, p

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pirates 6, Rays 4. Final.

Stefan Welch laced a three-run, two-out, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 6,105 fans at McKechnie Field.
Jared Hughes struck out two in a perfect eighth to record his first win and lower his spring ERA to 0.96 for the Pirates (11-14-1).
Luke Scott doubled twice and Ben Zobrist homered for the Rays (14-12), who were playing with a split squad. The other half of the team stayed back in Port Charlotte, where they lost 6-3 to the Baltimore Orioles.
Evan Longoria doubled in all three runs in that game, giving him 10 RBIs on the spring.
PROSPECT OF THE GAME: The home run came during the first Grapefruit League at-bat of the spring for Welch, 24, who played with Team Australia in the World Baseball Classic. Welch hit .265 in 61 games last year for the high Single-A Bradenton Marauders before he was promoted to Double-A Altoona.
UP NEXT: The Pirates head to Fort Myers today to play the Boston Red Sox at 1:35 p.m. Jeff Locke, who is in the running to win the Pirates' final rotation spot, will start against Boston's Clay Buchholz. The Rays will have a full team again today at Port Charlotte when they host the Minnesota Twins at Charlotte Sports Park. Reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price will start against former Pirate Kevin Correia.

Pirates 6, Rays 4. Final.

Stefan Welch laced a three-run, two-out, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 6,105 fans at McKechnie Field.
Jared Hughes struck out two in a perfect eighth to record his first win and lower his spring ERA to 0.96 for the Pirates (11-14-1).
Luke Scott doubled twice and Ben Zobrist homered for the Rays (14-12), who were playing with a split squad. The other half of the team stayed back in Port Charlotte, where they lost 6-3 to the Baltimore Orioles.
Evan Longoria doubled in all three runs in that game, giving him 10 RBIs on the spring.
PROSPECT OF THE GAME: The home run came during the first Grapefruit League at-bat of the spring for Welch, 24, who played with Team Australia in the World Baseball Classic. Welch hit .265 in 61 games last year for the high Single-A Bradenton Marauders before he was promoted to Double-A Altoona.
UP NEXT: The Pirates head to Fort Myers today to play the Boston Red Sox at 1:35 p.m. Jeff Locke, who is in the running to win the Pirates' final rotation spot, will start against Boston's Clay Buchholz. The Rays will have a full team again today at Port Charlotte when they host the Minnesota Twins at Charlotte Sports Park. Reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price will start against former Pirate Kevin Correia.

Lineups: Rays at Pirates

The spring is winding down at McKechnie Field, where the Pirates host the Tampa Bay Rays for the final time in Grapefruit League action.
It's a split squad for the Rays, as the rest of the boys stayed back in Port Charlotte to play the Baltimore Orioles.
So let's see who made the trip north to Bradenton:

LINEUPS
RAYS
Desmond Jennings, cf
Kelly Johnson, lf
Ben Zobrist, ss
Matt Joyce, rf
Luke Scott, dh
Ryan Roberts, 3b
Shelly Duncan, 1b
Chris Gimenez, c
Cole Figueroa, 2b
Alex Cobb, p

PIRATES
Alex Presley, cf
Jose Tabata, lf
Felix Pie, rf
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Brandon Inge, 2b
Josh Harrison, 3b
Michael McKenry, c
John McDonald, ss
Jeanmar Gomez, p

Former Marauder Morris on list of latest cuts

Three more players were cut from Pirates major-league camp Friday including pitcher Bryan Morris, who has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Morris, who turns 26 on Thursday, started the high Single-A Bradenton Marauders' inaugural game in 2010 and was the first Marauder to get promoted to Double-A Altoona later that year.
Morris, who had an extra option which prevented other teams from claiming him, posted a 5.14 ERA in seven games this spring.
"There's very little doubt he's going to help us again this spring, summer," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. "But it allows us to go down and refine some of the things, get him to use all of his pitches, get him to stay within himself, because when he does that, he's going to a good major-league pitcher for a very long time."
A first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006, Morris came to the Pirates during the summer of 2008 in a three-team trade that also included the Boston Red Sox. Morris made his big-league debut last year, appearing in five games and tallying a 1.80 ERA.
Infielders Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Jared Goedert were also reassigned Friday, leaving 37 players in big-league camp.
The Pirates open the regular season 1:35 p.m. Monday, April 1, at home against the Chicago Cubs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pirates win, off tomorrow

Neil Walker, Gaby Sanchez and Michael McKenry homered as the Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 in front of 7,804 fans at McKechnie Field.
The threat of rain delayed the start of the game by 45 minutes.
It was the fourth home run of the spring for Sanchez, who his hitting .313 for the Pirates (10-13).
Daniel Nava had two hits for the Red Sox.
PROSPECT OF THE GAME: Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., considered one of the team’s top prospects, went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk and his hitting .436 this spring.
UP NEXT: The Pirates are off Tuesday and return to action Wednesday in Orlando when they visit the Atlanta Braves. Kyle McPherson goes for the Pirates against the Braves’ Mike Minor.

Pirates GM on Cole: "We're excited."

photo by Grant Jefferies
As expected, Gerrit Cole won't begin the 2013 season in Pittsburgh.
Conventional wisdom suggests money is behind the move: By keeping Cole, who was reassigned to minor-league camp Monday, off the major-league roster until June, the Pirates slow Cole's arbitration clock by a year and save themselves a ton of dough.
General manager Neal Huntington said that is not the case.
"Everybody's going to speculate why he's being sent out, and they're wrong," Huntington said. "He's being sent out because in our minds, he's not ready to compete and be successful at the major league level and be one of those top-of-the-rotation starters. And that's our goal for him.
"The fastball command was encouraging. The breaking balls didn't show up like it did in the minors, the change-up didn't show up like it did in the minors. But the fastball command did, and that's a great sign for him."
The Pirates took Cole with the first overall pick of the 2011 draft, and he went 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA in 26 starts last season combined with the organization's affiliates in high Single-A (Bradenton), Double-A (Altoona) and Triple-A (Indianapolis).
Huntington said Cole, who logged 132 innings last season, will begin 2013 back in Indy.
"There's a checklist of things for him to work on, and as he takes them off, he'll get closer to the big leagues," Huntington said. "But the track record of professional pitchers with less than 200 innings that get to the major leagues is about a 50-50 hit rate."
Cole was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three appearances this spring for the Pirates. In his one start this spring, he allowed a run on five hits in four innings against the Minnesota Twins.
"It's frustrating," Cole said of the reassignment, "because I pitched well."
Despite the decision, Huntington sounded pleased with what the Pirates saw of Cole this spring.
"We're excited about him. He showed up great here in camp," he said. "But we still have some work left to do, we've given him what that checklist is, and he's very confident he's going to get that accomplished."

Lineups: Pirates vs. Red Sox

It's another  beautiful day and there should be another packed crowd at McKechnie Field, where the Pirates host the Boston Red Sox.
Beware, BoSox fans: Once again, not too many of your favorites made the trip north for Fort Myers.
Here are the lineups:

RED SOX
Shane Victorino, rf
Daniel Nava, lf
Jackie Bradley Jr., cf
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c
Ryan Lavarnway, dh
Travis Shaw, 1b
Heiker Meneses, ss
Ryan Dent, 2b
Jonathan Hee, 3b
Clay Bucholz, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, cf
Felix Pie, lf
Russell Martin, c
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Neil Walker, 2b
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Brad Hawpe, rf
Ivan DeJesus Jr., ss
James McDonald, p

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yankees 8, Pirates 4, top 6

-
- Lots o'green here today. From my perch up here in the press box, McKechnie Field looks like a bowl of pea soup with a pulse. And those lime green bases are the soaked croutons.
- I just walked the boardwalk for the first time with a crowd. And believe me, there is a crowd. If today's attendance doesn't surpass last week's record of 8.439, I'll be shocked. It's a good vibe out there, with signs all over the place warning fans to keep their eyes out for baseballs. Good advice: Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes just a hit a home run off the boardwalk in left field, just above the scoreboard.
- Kevin Youkilis is perhaps the most recognizable Yankee here today, and he hasn't even logged a regular-season inning as a Yankee yet. Seems like a good guy, though. He was goofing around with Marty the Marauder and the Pirate Parrot before the game, and lobbed a baseball into the stands following infield practice.
- Youkilis has three RBIs and the Yankees, watered-down lineup and all, lead the Pirates 8-4 after five innings.

Lineups: Yankees vs. Pirates

They're expecting a huge crowd today at McKechnie Field, where the Yankees host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a St. Patty's Day matinee.
A slew of injuries and the World Baseball Classic has sapped the Yankees of their star power this spring, as you can see from the crew they brought from Tampa.
The Pirates are using a DH today and will do so whenever a non-rotation pitcher gets the start.
Here are the lineups:

YANKEES
Eduardo Nunez, ss
Brennan Boesch, rf
Kevin Youkilis, 3b
Juan Rivera, 1b
Jayson Nix, 2b
Chris Stewart, c
Thomas Neal, lf
Dan Johnson, dh
Melky Mesa, cf
Ivan Nova, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Russell Martin, c
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Garrett Jones, 1b
Gaby Sanchez, dh
Travis Snider, rf
Josh Harrison, 2b
Clint Barmes, ss
Phil Irwin, p

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scott's homer and solid pitching carry Rays past Orioles

A two run homer by Luke Scott backed up by some solid pitching from Jeff Niemann and Josh Lueke carried the Tampa Rays to a 4-3 victory over Baltimore, Thursday at Ed Smith Stadium.

Scott's homer might have come as a suprise to many because the lefty hitter got it off of lefthander Mike Belfiore.

"He has just been sharp. Even the line drive up the middle. He is obviously seeing the ball good and the ball is coming off his bat hot. It's nice to see it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.



Jeff Niemann looks solid for Rays in third spring start

Jeff Niemann turned in solid 4.1 innings of work for Rays.

The big right hander was touched for four hits, but only one was solid. Two were infield hits (one played poorly by Yunel Escobar) and another was a bloop single.

Niemann, who is battling for fifth spot in rotation, struck out three and walked three. He was replaced by Juan Sandoval.

Unfortunately for the Rays starter, Sandoval gave up three run homer to Matt Wieters and one of those runs was charged to Niemann, who has now given up 3 runs in 12.2 innings this spring.

Luke Scott slams two run homer for Rays

Luke Scott hit a monster two-run homer over the right centerfield wall on the first pitch thrown from reliever Mike Belfiore to give Rays a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

Scott's homer followed an RBI double by Evan Longoria that the third baseman hit off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. It was his second homer of the spring for the lefty hitter and came off a lefty pitcher.

Rays-Orioles lineups

After a chilly morning Ed Smith Stadium warming up for Rays-Orioles encounter. Here are starting lineups.

RAYS
Desmond Jennings CF
Kelly Johnson LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Luke Scott DonH
Yunel Escobar SS
Matt Joyce RF
James Loney 1B
Ryan Roberts 2B
Jose Lobaton C

Jeff Niemann P

ORIOLES
Brian Roberts 2B
Nolan Reimold DH
Nate McLouth CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
JJ Hardy SS
Wilson Betemit 3B
Conor Jackson RF
Jason Pridie LF

Kevin Gausman P



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lineups: Blue Jays vs. Pirates

Here come the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that made the most (positive) noise this offseason.
A trendy pick to win their first division title in 20 years, the Blue Jays didn't bring a whole lot of starpower from Dunedin, though some of the bigger names - such as Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey - are still competing in the World Baseball Classic.
Here are the lineups:

BLUE JAYS
Anthony Gose, cf
Emilio Bonifacio, 2b
Rajai Davis, rf
Melky Cabrera, lf
Adam Lind, dh
Mark DeRosa, 3b
Andy LaRoche, 1b
Mike Nickeas, c
Maicer Izturis, ss
Mark Buehrle, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Russell Martin, c
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Neil Walker, 2b
Travis Snider, rf
Clint Barmes, ss
James McDonald, p

Jameson Taillon included in Pirates' first round of cuts

photo by Grant Jefferies
The Pirates announced their first round of cuts Wednesday morning as 11 players were assigned to minor league camp.
Included in the group was former Bradenton Marauder and 2010 first-round pick Jameson Taillon, who will begin the season in Double-A Altoona, said general manager Neal Huntington.
Taillon made one start this spring for the Pirates and allowed an unearned run in two innings.
His most recent action came during the World Baseball Classic. Pitching for Team Canada, Taillon allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out three in a 9-5 loss to Team USA in the final game of pool play.
His strikeout victims? Former National League MVPs Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Braun, and Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino.
"It was fun (and) unnerving leading up to for a GM," Huntington said, "to watch a young pitcher with as high expectations and hopes as we have to go pitch a make-or-break game for Team Canada against Team USA. But he handled himself well, showed the maturity, the poise and the stuff that's got us so enthusiastic about his future."
Currently ranked as baseball's 15th-best prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America, Taillon began last season with high Single-A Bradenton, going 6-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 23 starts for the Marauders.
He was then promoted to Double-A Altoona, where Taillon went 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts, striking out 18 and walking one in 17 innings.
This was his first spring in a big-league camp.
"Get the taste of major-league spring training, be in and around it, take away a little bit of the awe factor, although I'm not sure much awes him, and get ready for the season," Huntington said. "Just out of innings for him. We want to get him down, get him on his routine and get him off to a good start."
Also getting reassigned Wednesday were pitchers Vic Black, Stomy Pimentel, Hunter Strickland, Duke Welker and Erik Cordier; outfielders Jerry Sands and Darren Ford; and infielders Matt Hague, Anderson Hernandez and Clint Robinson.
The Pirates now have 51 players in major-league camp.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pirates in a thriller



The Pirates scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in front of 5,431 fans at McKechnie Field.
Josh Harrison singled in Jordy Mercer with the tying run before Alex Presley scored the game-winner on Carlos Paulino’s fielder’s choice.
Harrison also doubled in a run.
Brad Hawpe homered and Presley scored two runs for the Pirates (7-10).
PROSPECT OF THE GAME: Orioles outfielder L.J. Hoes went 2-for-3 with a RBI. Hoes, 23, hit .300 last year with Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk and got two at-bats with the Orioles. He is hitting .375 this spring.
UP NEXT: The Pirates are off today. They return to action Wednesday when they host the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. James McDonald goes for the Pirates and the Toronto will counter with Mark Buehrle.

Bottom of the 4th...

Bottom of the fourth at McKechnie Field...what do we know?

- Former Bradenton Marauder Jeff Locke didn't do a whole lot to enhance his chances of making the Pirates rotation, allowing eight hits and two runs in 3 1/3 innings. Locke, who won nine games with Bradenton in 2010, came to the Pirates in June '09 in a deal that sent Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves.
- Really love the Orioles' 2013 spring training batting practice cap, though I like the Astros' one best, which is why I bought one.
- Call it a hunch, but I have a strong feeling the folks bellying up to the tike bar in centerfield have no idea the inning or the score. Then again, I wouldn't either if I was out there.
- By the way, Orioles lead 2-0 in the top of the fifth.

Lineups: Pirates vs. Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles brought too much rain from Sarasota on Feb. 26, leading to McKechnie Field's first Grapefruit League cancellation in over two years.
Shouldn't be a problem today, however, as blue skies and sun hang over McKechnie, where the Pirates and Orioles meet.
Here are the lineups:

ORIOLES
Alexi Casilla, ss
Lew Ford, cf
Conor Jackson, 1b
Steve Pearce, dh
Russ Canzler, rf
Danny Valencia, 3b
Yamaico Navarro, 2b
L.J. Hoes, lf
Luis Expositio, c
Jake Arietta, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, cf
Jose Tabata, rf
Neil Walker, 2b
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Felix Pie, lf
Clint Barmes, ss
Michael McKenry, c
Jeff Locke, p

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pirates end 69 inning homer drought

Ivan De Jesus homered for Pittsburgh giving the Pirates their first homer since Gaby Sanchez smacked one 69 innings ago.

A.J. Burnett went 4.2 innings for the Pirates. The righthander allowed two hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck out three.

Pirates-Twins lineup

Finally got some warm weather as Pirates take on Minnesota Twins at McKechnie Field Today.

Here are the starting lineups:

PIRATES:

Alex Presley             LF
Travis Snider            RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Clint Robinson        1B
Russell Martin   DH
Jared Goedert      3B
Tony Sanchez      C
Chase d'Arnaud    SS

A.J. Burnett    P


TWINS
Darin Mastroianni   RF
Jamey Carroll          2B
Joe Benson               CF
Wilkin Ramirez       LF
Brandon Boggs        DH
Brian Dinkelman     1B
Josmil Pinto              C
Eduardo Escobar      SS
Ray Olmedo            3B

Cole De Vries          P






Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rays edged Pirates 4-2 as pitching excels for both teams

Tim Beckham smacked a two run double to highlight the Tampa Rays 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday at McKechnie Field.

Both teams had to be happy about their pitching, especially the Rays. Alex Cobb started for Tampa and allowed only one hit in four innings with five strikeouts. He was followed by Chris Archer who threw three innings of hitless ball and struck out three with two walks.

For the Pirates, James McDonald had his best outing of the spring. In four innings, the big right hander gave up one hit, had a strike out and walked three.

McDonald and Cobb look solid for Pirates and Rays respectively

Right handers James McDonald and Alex Cobb had sharp outtings for the Pirates and Rays respectively with both allowing only one hit in four innings.

McDonald struck out one and walked three while Cobb was near perfect fanning five without issuing a walk. McDonald lowered his spring ERA from 7.20 to 4.00 and Cobb from 3.60 to 2.00

Pirates Rays Lineup

Another chilly day at McKechnie Field as the Rays come to town to take on the Pirates. During his pre-game talk with the media Rays manager Joe Maddon spoke about the colonoscopy he had on Wednesday.
"I felt it was important to speak about because a lot of people fear having it done and I want to tell them it's nothing," Maddon said.

Here are the starting lineups:

Pirates:
Felix Pie LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Brad Hawpe 1B
Gaby Sanchez 3B
Russell Martin DH
Jordy Mercer SS
Tony Sanchez C
Josh Harrison 2b

James McDonald  P

Rays:
Desmond Jennings CF
Mike Fontenot SS
Ryan Roberts 2B
Matt Joyce RF
James Loney 1B
Jack Cust DH
Sean Rodriguez LF
Chris Gimenez 3B
Jose Lobaton C

Alex Cobb P


Monday, March 4, 2013

Phillies beat Pirates 5-0


A.J. Burnett exited early and the Pittsburgh Pirates produced one hit as the visiting Philadelphia Phillies earned a 5-0 victory in front of 6,281 fans on a chilly afternoon at McKechnie Field.
The game-time temperature was 59 degrees, but that didn't prevent Philadelphia to score four runs early in the game.
Those four second-inning runs chased Burnett from the game after just 1 1/3 innings pitched. Michael Young's RBI single was the last batter Burnett faced, as Philly plated four runs off three hits, three walks and a hit batsmen.
Young (2-for-4, two RBIs), Ben Revere (2-for-3, run, RBI) and Yuniesky Betancourt (2-for-3, run) led the Phillies offense.
Travis Snider's first-inning double was Pittsburgh's lone hit.

STAR OF THE GAME: Philadelphia's pitching staff. The Phillies limited the Pirates to just one hit. After Travis Snider's first-inning double, Philadelphia hurlers shut the door on anymore offense. Starter John Lannan, Mike Adams, Adam Morgan and Raul Valdes combined to strike out five Pittsburgh batters, while allowing four walks.


UP NEXT: The Pirates return to McKechnie Field on Tuesday against Team Spain in a World Baseball Classic exhibition game scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Former No. 1 draft pick Gerrit Cole is slated to start.

Phillies lead Pirates late

The Philadelphia Phillies, on the strength of four second-inning runs, lead the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 in Grapefruit League action at McKechnie Field through seven innings.

Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett exited after 1 1 /3 innings pitched and was responsible for all four Philadelphia runs in the second inning.

The Bucs offense hasn't done much, producing just one hit through seven frames.

Check back here for a final post recapping the game upon its completion.


Phils add another following Burnett's departure

Following Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett's departure, the Philadelphia Phillies added one more run after Chase Utley was walked with the bases loaded.

The Phils lead the Pirates 4-0 entering the bottom of the second.

Phillies strike first

The Philadelphia Phillies are currently batting in the top of the second inning, and have already produced three runs.

And the Phils can add more. They have the bases loaded with just one out, and have chased Pittsburgh ace A.J. Burnett from the game after only 1 1/3 innings.

Burnett's current line: 1 1/3 innings pitched, two strikeouts, two walks, one hit batter and three runs. He's responsible for the three runners currently on base for Philly.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are waiting to hit after Michael Young smacked an RBI single that signaled the end for Burnett's day.

Philly leads 3-0.

Lineups: Phillies at Pirates

It's a chilly afternoon at McKechnie Field, site of today's Grapefruit League game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phils are without their prized pitchers (Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels) in the trip down, but they've still brought veterans Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

So here's a look at today's lineups, scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. start:

PHILLIES

Ben Revere, CF
Michael Young, 3B
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Darin Ruff, LF
Domonic Brown, RF
John Mayberry, Jr., DH
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Humberto Quintero, C

John Lannan, LHP


PIRATES

Starling Marte, LF
Alex Presley, CF
Travis Snider, RF
Gaby Sanchez, 1B,
Russell Martin, DH
Michael McKenry, C
Jared Goedert, 3B
Jordy Mercer, 2B
Chase d'Arnaud, SS

A.J. Burnett, RHP

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Taillon impresses, others don't.

The ballgame is over here at McKechnie Field, where the Pirates, done in by 14 walks, dropped a 16-6 heartbreaker to the Boston Red Sox.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle took the day, ugly as it was, in stride.
"It was hard day for us off the mound," he said. "The command wasn't anywhere where we wanted it to be nor where we needed it to be. That's why you have spring training. It's early in spring training. Some of these guys are trying to find their way, and they need to find a way to uncomplicate some things from time to time. So today I'll think they'll be able to step away and figure out some things they may not want to re-do."
The one highlight came courtesy of starter Jameson Taillon, considered the 15th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, and the Pirates' top pick in 2010. Taillon struck out three, allowed one hit, one run (unearned) and a walk in two innings.
It was his first Grapefruit League start.
"I feel like I went out there today and I handled that situation and that stage pretty well," said Taillon, who pitches for Team Canada when the World Baseball Classic kicks off  this weekend. "Being around the guys early in the camp has definitely prepared me for that...I felt pretty comfortable, so from that standpoint, I feel like I've come a long way already."
Hurdle has been impressed with Taillon's poise, on and off the mound.
"I try and watch him in different environments," Hurdle said. "I try to watch him during the stretch, watch him during PFP (pitchers fielding practice) when they're not involved in specific practice drills. So it's not always game action.
"I want to see if he's using his eyes, using his ears. Both him and Gerrit (Cole) have been very good that way."

Pirates vs. Red Sox: Lineups

 Not exactly a star-studded lineup for either team today as the Pirates host the Boston Red Sox at McKechnie Field.
In fairness to the Red Sox, they brought the A-team to last night's game against the Orioles in Sarasota, so there was little chance they'd make another trek from Fort Myers so soon.
As for the Pirates, manager Clint Hurdle said everyone will get some time this spring, which is why today's lineup will probably look nothing like the one the Pirates will unveil Opening Day against the Cubs.

LINEUPS
RED SOX
Jackie Bradley Jr., cf
Brock Holt, 2b
Ryan Lavarnway, dh
Ryan Sweeney, rf
Drew Sutton, 3b
David Ross, c
Lyle Overbay, 1b
Juan Carlos Linares, lf
Jose Iglesias, ss
John Lackey, p

PIRATES
Alex Presley, cf
Jose Tabata, lf
Travis Snider, rf
Brandon Inge, dh
Clint Robinson, 1b
Jared Goedert, 3b
Josh Harrison, ss
Tony Sanchez, c
Chase d'Arnaud, 2b
Jameson Taillon, p

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pirates vs. Rays

As you can see, the weather is much better here at McKechnie Field, where the Pirates are set to host the Tampa Bay Rays.
Here are the lineups. One note: Wil Myers, considered baseball's top prospect, is on the Rays' travel squad today.

RAYS
Ben Zobrist, 2b
Desmond Jennings, cf
Matt Joyce, rf
Yunel Escobar, ss
Luke Scott, dh
Kelly Johnson, lf
Jose Molina, c
James Loney, 1b
Sean Rodriguez, 3b
Jeff Niemann, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Neil Walker, 2b
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Garrett Jones, 1b
Gaby Sanchez, dh
Brad Hawpe, rf
Michael McKenry, c
Clint Barmes, ss
A.J. Burnett, p

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Today's game...

...has been officially called on account of rain.
Check back tomorrow when I blog from McKechnie Field when the Pirates host the Tampa Bay Rays for the first of three meetings this spring in Bradenton.
A.J. Burnett will start for the Pirates against the Rays' Jeremy Hellickson.

Lineups: Pirates vs. Orioles

Dark clouds are making their way over McKechnie Field, site of today's game between the Pirates and the resurrected Baltimore Orioles.
Rain is in the forecast. A tornado watch is in place.
Something tells me the party deck won't be hopping today.
But the Orioles' prized prospect, Dylan Bundy, is scheduled to make his spring debut today, so we have that going for us.

Lineups:

ORIOLES
Alexi Casilla, ss
Lew Ford, lf
Wilson Betemit, dh
Steve Pearce, 1b
Russ Canzler, rf
Danny Valencia, 3b
Jason Pridie, cf
Taylor Teagarden, c
Ryan Flaherty, 2b
Chris Tillman, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Neil Walker, 2b
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Garrett Jones, 1b
Gaby Sanchez, dh
Brad Hawpe, rf
Michael McKenry, c
Clint Barmes, ss
Wandy Rodriguez, p

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pirates win

Clint Barmes hit a two-run home run, Brad Hawpe drove in a pair of runs and seven Pirates pitchers teamed for a seven-hitter as the Pittsburgh defeated the Atlanta Braves 9-2 in front of 5,626 fans at McKechnie Field.
It was the Pirates’ first home game of the Grapefruit League season, and the first official exhibition game at McKechnie since the ballpark underwent a $10 million overhaul.
Darren Ford had two hits and two RBIs and Clint Robinson singled, doubled and scored a pair of runs for the Pirates (2-0).
Pendleton School graduate Tyler Pastornicky knocked in a run for the Braves.
PROSPECT OF THE GAME: Braves starter Julio Teheran, ranked 31st in MLB.com’s list of baseball’s top 100 prospects, pitched two hitless innings, striking out two and walking one.
UP NEXT: The Pirates head south to Fort Myers to take on the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. Monday. Kyle McPherson will start for Pittsburgh against the Twins’ Vance Worley

Pirates win

Clint Barmes hit a two-run home run, Brad Hawpe drove in a pair of runs and seven Pirates pitchers teamed for a seven-hitter as the Pittsburgh defeated the Atlanta Braves 9-2 in front of 5,626 fans at McKechnie Field.
It was the Pirates’ first home game of the Grapefruit League season, and the first official exhibition game at McKechnie since the ballpark underwent a $10 million overhaul.
Darren Ford had two hits and two RBIs and Clint Robinson singled, doubled and scored a pair of runs for the Pirates (2-0).
Pendleton School graduate Tyler Pastornicky knocked in a run for the Braves.
PROSPECT OF THE GAME: Braves starter Julio Teheran, ranked 31st in MLB.com’s list of baseball’s top 100 prospects, pitched two hitless innings, striking out two and walking one.
UP NEXT: The Pirates head south to Fort Myers to take on the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. Monday. Kyle McPherson will start for Pittsburgh against the Twins’ Vance Worley

Russell Martin opts out of World Baseball Classic

photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie


Russell Martin is staying in Bradenton.
The Pirates' newly-acquired catcher has decided not to play for Team Canada for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
"The Pirate organization wasn't comfortable with me playing shortstop, and I don't think Team Canada was comfortable with me playing shortstop," said Martin, who was born in Ontario and resides in Quebec, "and I didn't want to have put my body in a position where I was going to catch however many innings of baseball during the tournament."
Wait. Did he say shortstop?
Drafted as in infielder in 2002 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martin was all about going to the WBC as  long he didn't have to catch. And he wanted to play short.
So the 30-year-old figured if he was going to catch, why not catch the guys who he'll be working with for the next five months.
"I'm not catching every day here," Martin said prior to Sunday's game against the Atlanta Braves, "but staying here and catching their bullpens, catching them in a game every once in a while, it'll help accelerate the process of chemistry and just comfort."

Braves vs. Pirates: Lineups

Like that view?
It's from the new, oft-admired boardwalk in McKechnie Field. The ballpark, fresh off a massive renovation, hosts its first Grapefruit League game of the spring today when the Atlanta Braves visit the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Here are the lineups. One note: Tyler Pastornicky, a graduate of The Pendleton School, is on the Braves' travel roster.

BRAVES
Reed Johnson, cf
Jason Heyward, rf
Justin Upton, lf
Juan Francisco, 3b
B.J. Upton, dh
Blake DeWitt, 2b
Gerald Laird, c
Ernesto Mejia, 1b
Ramiro Pena, ss
Julio Teheran, p

PIRATES
Starling Marte, lf
Russell Martin, c
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Neil Walker, 2b
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Brandon Inge, dh
Jose Tabata, rf
Clint Barmes, ss
James McDonald, p

Friday, February 22, 2013

Game over



By JOHN LEMBO
BRADENTON – Shutout innings from Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, and a long home run off the bat of Starling Marte.
The Pittsburgh Pirates hope such scenarios play out during future summers and falls at PNC Park.
Friday, they had to settle for watching three of their prized prospects perform well in the Black And Gold Game, an intrasquad affair that lasted 5 ½ innings in front of 2,131 fans at McKechnie Field.
In the first game at McKechnie since the ballpark underwent a $10 million overhaul, Team Gold and Team Black played to a 2-2 tie.
Marte, who homered on the first pitch he saw as a Pirate last year, swatted at another first pitch Friday and launched it over McKechnie’s new left-field bleachers to give Team Gold a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
He wound up hitting .257 with 17 RBIs and 12 steals in 47 games with Pittsburg.
A pair of former first-round draft picks, Cole and Taillon started and threw two shutout innings apiece.
Cole allowed a hit and struck out one for Team Black, while Taillon struck out three and surrendered two hit.
“It felt good,” Taillon said. “Nothing out of the ordinary…still some things I want to iron out, like timing. But overall, it felt real good.”
Neither pitcher issued a walk.
“I thought they were very, very good with their pace,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “And obviously they both pitched very well (Friday).”
Lucas May and Alex Presley each drove in a run for Team Black.
The Pirates open Grapefruit League play Saturday when they head to Port Charlotte to face the Tampa Bay Rays, and play their home-opener 1 p.m. Sunday against the Atlanta Braves.


Let the games begin!

Major league baseball is back in Bradenton, and it has never looked better.
This is John Lembo, blogging live from McKechnie Field, which is looking sharp following a $10 million facelift.
Today is the Pirates' Black and Gold Game, an intrasquad affair that will last 5 1/2 innings.
Here are the lineups:

BLACK
Alex Presley, cf
Chase d'Arnaud, ss
Jerry Sands, rf
Clint Robinson, 1b
Brandon Inge, dh
Jared Goedert, 3b
Josh Harrison, 2b
Michael McKenry, c
Felix Pie, lf
Jameson Taillon, p

GOLD
Starling Marte,lf
Jose Tabata, rf
Matt Hague, 3b
Gaby Sanchez, 1b
Brad Hawpe, dh
Jordy Mercer, ss
Tony Sanchez, c
Iva De Jesus, jr., 2b
Darren Ford, cf
Gerrit Cole, p