Monday, March 29, 2010

Pirates designate Moss

The Pirates designated outfielder Brandon Moss for assignment Monday after claiming pitcher Hayden Penn off waivers from the Florida Marlins.
An outfielder, Moss was hitting .081 this spring with three hits in 37 at bats. He was aquired in 2008 in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

McLouth goes yard

Former Pirate Nate McLouth homered in his first at-bat at McKechnie Field since being traded to the Atlanta Braves last June.
It was an opposite field shot to left on an 0-1 pitch.
The guy who served up the home run? Charlie Morton, who came to Pittsburgh as part of the package for McLouth.
The Braves lead 1-0 in the top of the first.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dotel feels "perfecto"

Sidelined for the spring with a strained oblique muscle, closer Octavio Dotel made his Grapefruit League debut during Wednesday's game against Boston Red Sox.
He threw a scoreless ninth inning that included a walk, a wild pitch and a strikeout. What mattered the most, however, is Dotel felt fine.
"Perfecto," he said. "Everything is great, everything is perfect."
Dotel suffered the injury early in the spring when the Pirates were still working out at Pirate City. Dotel threw an inning in two minor league games prior to Wednesday's outing.
"I'm happy to have that one out of the way," he said. "Hopefully, my outings can better than the one (Wednesday). I was little wild (Wednesday)."
Used mostly as a set-up guy the previous two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Dotel has 83 career saves, including a career-high 36 he totaled while splitting time with the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics in 2004.
He hopes to get eight appearances in before the start of the regular season.
"I feel like I'm going to be on the Opening Day roster," Dotel said. "If the season started tomorrow, I'm ready to go."

Maholm happy with outing

Despite allowing three home runs, Pirates starter Paul Maholm was pleased with his outing Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox.
"Overall, I felt great," the Pirates lefty said. "Obviously, you don't want to give up home runs. But when you make mistakes, they can become home runs."
Maholm struck out seven in five innings - mostly on the strength of his slider - and didn't walk anyone.
He was happy in his ability to challenge hitters and said his rhythm was the best it's been all spring.
"I felt great," he said. "The three home runs isn't the bright spot on the day, but that's part of the process of spring training. I'm confident with my mechanics heading into the season."
Maholm was Pittsburgh's Opening Day starter last year. This year, that falls to Zach Duke.
"Zach deserves it. He had a great year last year and is having a great spring," Maholm said. "Would I like to have started Opening Day? Sure. But I think the rotation is set and how it needs to be."

Historic crowd at McKechnie today

Today's game between the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates drew 6,053 fans - the eighth-largest crowd in the history of McKechnie Field, according to Pirates spokesman Jim Trdinich.
It's also the fifth sellout of the spring at McKechnie.
The Red Sox lead the Pirates 4-1 after four innings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Duke named Pirates Opening Day starter

Pirates manager John Russell named Zach Duke the Opening Day starter following Tuesday's game with the Houston Astros.
Pittsburgh opens the regular season April 5 when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It came down to Duke, Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf, though Russell said the decision was based on the best way to set up the rotation.
"Realistically, you could've picked any one of the three - Ross had a great finish, Zach made an All-Star team, Paul is your consistent, steady starter," Russell said. "I talked to all three of them - it's not like an accolade or praise for one guy. It's how we wanted to set the rotation going into the season. We felt like it balanced our rotation, and put guys in the position where it felt like we were going to be more successful."
Duke, a lefty, went 11-16 last season, leading the National League in losses despite a respectable 4.06 ERA. He tied Ohlendorf for the team lead in wins and paced the Pirates in innings pitched (213), good enough for 12th in the NL.
He has a 5.40 ERA in three starts this spring.
The right-handed Ohlendorf will follow Duke in the rotation, with Maholm, another lefty, slated third. Charlie Morton will be fourth and Daniel McCutchen, who won the final rotation spot over Kevin Hart, will be fifth.
"What they've accomplished as a pitcher is what they did last year," Russell said. "Again, you can put all three of them in the position, and any one of the three could have done it...It kind of fell on Zach's day, and that's the way we wanted to do it."

Bradenton Night at the Trop scheduled for May 29

The fourth Bradenton Night at Tropicana Field has been scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Saturday, May 29, when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Chicago White Sox.
Following the game, recording artists Daryl Hall and John Oates will peform as part of the Rays' summer concert series.
Seating for Bradenton Night will be made available in the upper deck area known as the Party Deck. Tickets are $15 are available now at City Hall, located at 101 Old Main Street, and will be available while supplies last until May 20.
The city accepts cash or checks made out to the City of Bradenton.
Bradenton police officer Justin Gause will throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch. Gause was awarded the Medal of Honor on Feb. 23 after saving a woman from a burning building.

McCutchen named fifth starter

Daniel McCutchen has won the final spot in the Pirates' starting rotation.
Pittsburgh optioned McCutchen's chief competitor, Kevin Hart, to Triple-A Indianapolis prior to today's game against the Houston Astros at McKechnie Field.
McCutchen has a 2.25 ERA in four innings this spring, allowing three hits, striking out three and walking none while holding hitters to a .200 average.
He was acquired in 2008 from the New York Yankees as part of the package that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to New York.
Hart, who came to Pittsburgh last summer from the Chicago Cubs, struggled with his control this spring, walking 13 and striking out three in 4 2/3 innings.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pirates-Rays cancelled

Sunday’s game between the Pirates and Tampa Rays was rained out and will not be made up.

After a wait of about an hour, officials called the game after the rains came down harder. The two teams are not scheduled to meet again this spring.

Daniel McCutchen, scheduled to make his first start of the Grapefruit League season for Pittsburgh on Sunday, will pitch Monday against the Phillies Triple AAA club in Clearwater because the Pirates have an off day.

Octavio Dotel, slated to make his first Grapefruit League appearance, will pitch about an inning Monday at Pirates City.

Rain delay for Pirates-Rays

By Alan Dell

Greetings from McKechnie Field. We are currently in a rain delay for Sunday’s game between the Pirates and Tampa Rays. The weather forecast does not look promising so it’s questionable whether that first pitch will be thrown.

Daniel McCutchen, who is battling for a spot in the Pirates starting rotation, is scheduled to start for the Bucs. Andy Sonnanstine, in a somewhat similar position for the Rays, though the fifth spot belongs to Wade Davis, is slated to start for Tampa Bay.

Closer Octavio Dotel, the Pirates key off season acquisition, is supposed to make his Grapefruit League debut after missing time because of an oblique strain.

He is scheduled to follow Vinnie Chulk, but things could change depending on the weather and he could be moved ahead. He threw 24 pitches in a minor league game on Thursday and looked fine, according to the Pirates.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


This is John Lembo, coming to you from Ed Smith Stadium on a gorgeous spring day.
Here are the lineups:
Andrew McCutchen, cf
Delwyn Young, 2b
Ryan Church, rf
Garrett Jones, 1b
Ryan Doumit, dh
Bobby Crosby, ss
Brandon Moss, lf
Neil Walker, 3b
Luke Carlin, c
Charlie Morton, p

Felix Pie, lf
Adam Jones, cf
Nick Markakis, rf
Miguel Tejada, 3b
Luke Scott, 1b
Matt Wieters, c
Nolan Reimold, dh
Ty Wigginton, 2b
Cesar Izturis, ss
Brad Bergesen, p

Friday, March 19, 2010

Young goes yard again

Delwyn Young's two-run home run off Josh Beckett has given the Pirates a 4-3 lead after four innings at McKechnie Field. It was the fifth home run of the spring for Young.

Alvarez optioned to Triple-A

Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the top prospect in the Pirates' organization, was optioned to the organization's Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis on Friday morning. Alvarez was hitting .296 in 12 games this spring with four RBIs, two doubles, two triples, eight strikeouts and two errors.
Outfielder Jose Tabata was also sent to Triple-A, while infielder Doug Bernier and outfielder Jonathan Van Every were sent to minor league camp.
The Pirates now have 49 players in major league camp.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hart hasn't lost ground yet

Despite a rash of control issues, Pirates starter Kevin Hart is not out of the running to win the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation, said manager John Russell.
Hart walked six in 1 2/3 innings during Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers, and has walked 13 in 4 2/3 innings this spring while posting a 15.43 ERA.
His chief competitor for the fifth spot, Daniel McCutchen, has a 2.25 ERA in four innings and has yet to walk a batter.
Yet Russell said Hart isn't lagging behind.
"We're still in the evaluation process," Russell said. "We really like what Kevin can bring, but at some point, he's got to be able to get it done. Daniel is a consistent pitcher - we have options.
"Again, Kevin knows the situation he's in, and he'll keep fighting through it."
Hart was acquired in July from the Chicago Cubs as part of a package for pitchers Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow. He went 1-8 with a 6.92 ERA in 10 starts with Pittsburgh after going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in eight appearances - four starts - with the Cubs.
n n n
Wednesday's loss lowered Pittsburgh's record to 4-9 this spring, which is of little concern to Russell.
"I don't think anybody remembers who won the Grapefruit League or who lost the Grapefruit League. It doesn't matter," he said. "You've got to be prepared to play the season - that's when it counts. These guys are pretty close knit, they've got a great head on their shoulders, they've been working really hard..."
The Pirates won 17 games last spring - their most since 1994 - but lost 99 games during the regular season. Of course, part of the reason for that was their summer-long rebuilding project, when guys such as Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson and Nate McLouth were dealt away for prospects.
"Wins and losses don't equate to much during spring training," Russell said. "Is it nice to win? Sure. But we're not putting an emphasis on winning games during spring training - we're putting an emphasis on winning games during the season."


Despite a rainy morning, it appears the Pirates and Tigers will get underway as scheduled here at McKechnie Field.
I'm John Lembo. And here are the starting lineups:

Clete Thomas, cf
Don Kelly, 3b
Carlos Guillen, lf
Miguel Cabrera, 1b
Ryan Raburn, rf
Brandon Inge, dh
Alex Avila, c
Scott Sizemore, 2b
Ramon Santiago, ss
Nate Robertson, p

Andrew McCutchen, cf
Aki Iwamura, 2b
Garrett Jones, dh
Ryan Doumit, c
Bobby Crosby, 1b
Ryan Church, rf
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Brandon Moss, lf
Ramon Vazquez, ss
Kevin Hart, p

Monday, March 15, 2010

Update: Milledge drives in run off Halladay

Palmetto native and Lakewood Ranch graduate Lastings Milledge grounded a run-scoring single to right off Phillies starter Roy Halladay to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first inning at McKechnie Field.
Milledge drove in Ryan Doumit, who doubled.
The Phillies, however, have stormed back and lead 3-1 in the top of the fifth.

Morris assigned to Bradenton

Pirates pitcher Bryan Morris was assigned to Single-A Bradenton on Sunday, meaning he will start the season with the Marauders, who begin their first year competing in the Florida State League in April.
Morris threw one inning for the Pirates this spring. He went 4-9 with a 5.57 ERA in 15 starts last year for Single-A Lynchburg.
Morris was one of 13 players the Pirates cuts Sunday.


This is John Lembo of The Bradenton Herald, coming to you live from McKechnie Field, where the Pirates host the two-time defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies for the final time this spring.

Jimmy Rollins, ss
Placido Polanco, 3b
Chase Utley, 2b
Ryan Howard, 1b
Jayson Werth, dh
Ben Francisco, lf
John Mayberry Jr., cf
Ross Gload, rf
Carlos Ruiz, c
Roy Halladay, p

Andrew McCutchen, cf
Aki Iwamura, dh
Garrett Jones, rf
Ryan Doumit, c
Lastings Milledge, lf
Jeff Clement, 1b
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Delwyn Young, 2b
Ramon Vazquez, ss
Zach Duke, p

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pirates 10, Yankees 5

The Pirates beat the Yankees, 10-5, in front of a sold-out crowd at McKechnie Field. Bobby Crosby hit two of the Pirates five home runs, and starting pitcher Charlie Morton threw four shutout innings to earn the win. The Pirates face the Phillies and their ace, Roy Halladay, 1:05 p.m. Monday back at McKechnie.

Update: Pirates 6, Yankees 1

The Pirates scored five runs in the fifth, doing most of their damage against Yankees reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, and lead 6-1 after six.
Yankees starter CC Sabatahia was taking out after a line drive grazed his glove, and the Pirates teed off on Albaladejo, with the big blow being a two-run double by Andrew McCutchen.
Nick Johnson homered for the Yankees off Pirates reliever Vinny Chulk.

Pirates 1, Yankees 0, bottom of the 5th

Update: Pirates starter Charlie Morton went four innings, striking out four and walking one, and Aki Iwamura homered off the scoreboard, putting the Pirates up 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning.


Spring is back and the fleece is off. It's a beautiful, sun-splashed day at McKechnie Field, where the Pittsburgh Pirates host the New York Yankees today.
The bad news? The game is already sold out.
This is John Lembo with The Bradenton Herald, and let's look at the starting lineups for today's 1:05 p.m. start.

Derek Jeter, ss
Nick Johnson, 1b
Robinson Cano, 2b
Nick Swisher, rf
Marcus Thames, lf
Brett Gardner, cf
Randy Winn, dh
Francisco Cervelli, c
Jorge Vazquez, 3b
CC Sabathia, p
Pretty impressive pull - with the exception of Vazquez, expect to see all of these guys in the lineup when the regular season starts.

Andrew McCutchen, cf
Aki Iwamura, 2b
Garrett Jones, rf
Ryan Doumit, c
Ryan Church, dh
Lastings Milledge, lf
Jeff Clement, 1b
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Charlie Morton, p
Similar to the Yankees, the Pirates are trotting out nine bonafide ballplayers today.
First pitch is in less than three hours, and it should be a good one.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Milledge shows hustle

By Alan Dell

Lasting Milledge showed his hustle to put the Pirates back up top 6-5 in the third. The Lakewood Ranch graduated beat out an infield single, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a passed ball and then scored on an infield ground out. The leftfielder is 2 for 2 on the day with two runs scored

Rays come back with 5 of their own

By Alan Dell

The Rays didn’t waste getting back into the game with five runs in the top of the second. Reid Brignac had a two run double. Elliot Johnson followed with a sacrifice fly and Sean Rodriguez got an RBI single to center that Jose Tabata misplayed allowing Rodriguez to score.

Rays pitcher Wade Davis is done for the day. In two innings, he gave up five runs, allowed three hits and walked three, giving up a two run homer and three run double. Pittsburgh’s Kevin Hart went two innings and was tagged for three hits and five runs while walking three.

Pirates jump on Rays 5-0

By Alan Dell

Greetings from McKechnie Field where the Pirates are taking on a Tampa Bay Rays split squad. Kevin Hart starting for Pittsburgh.

The leadoff hitter for the Rays is Sean Rodriguez, who has been their hottest hitter so far coming into the game with a .438 batting average that includes a team leading 3 homers and 6 RBIs.

Wade Davis, who figures to be the fifth guy in the Rays starting rotation, is the starter for Tampa Bay. Bench coach Dave Martinez will be running things for the Rays with manager Joe Maddon staying back in Port Charlotte where the other Rays play Toronto.

Hart got the side out in order in the top of the first.

In the Pirates half of the first, Aki Iwamura struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch, Jose Tabata flied out to right and home town hero Lastings Milledge singled up the middle on a 2-2 pitch after falling behind 0-2. Ryan Doumit and Jeff Clement walked to load the bases.

Andy LaRoche unloaded a three run double off the center field wall that hit the 400 foot sign in deepest center and then Ronny Cedeno smacked a homer over the left field wall to put the Pirates ahead 5-0.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rare meeting for Pirates and Orioles

The game tonight between Pittsburgh and Baltimore marks the first time in 17 years that the Pirates and Orioles are meeting at McKechnie Field.

In fact, the two teams have not met in Florida since March 20, 1993 when they faced each other in St. Petersburg, the former spring training home of the Orioles.

Zach Duke, the Pirates starter against the Orioles, led the Pittsburgh staff in innings pitched last year with 213 and ranked third in the league with three complete games. He was one of the league’s hard luck pitchers getting only 23 runs in his 16 losses.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Maddon happy with Garza

PORT CHARLOTTE - Matt Garza did plenty to impress Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon on Monday.
What was most impressive, however, was what Garza didn't do - he didn't walk anyone.
The righty threw a spring-high three innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out five and allowing three hits during the Rays' 4-3, 10-inning win at Charlotte Sports Park.
"Garza looked really good," Maddon said. "He was definitely in the zone right from the first inning.
"He was throwing strikes, they weren't just chasing pitches. He looked good."
Garza fanned the side in the first inning and added one each in the second and third innings.
"It's just throwing the ball over the plate, let the hitter get themselves out," Garza said. "I don't try to pitch to contact - that's why I don't give up a lot of hits. Just throw the ball over the plate, throw purposeful strikes and throw purposeful pitches instead of just wasting pitches and getting my pitch count up."

Live from Charlotte Sports Park

Hey folks,
This is John Lembo, coming to you from Charlotte Sports Park where a split Pittsburgh Pirates squad meets the Tampa Bay Rays.
I decided to head down I-75 today instead of going to McKechnie, where another group of Buccos host the New York Yankees at 1:05 p.m.
Let's see who also made the trip south:

Ronny Cedeno, ss
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Lastings Milledge, lf
Ryan Church, rf
Jeff Clement, 1b
Jose Tabata, cf
Pedro Alvarez, dh
Erik Kratz, c
Ramon Vazquez, 2b
Brad Lincoln, p

Jason Bartlett, ss
Carl Crawford, lf
Evan Longoria, 3b
Ben Zobrist, 2b
Pat Burrell, dh
B.J. Upton, cf
Kelly Shoppach, c
Desmond Jennings, rf
Chris Richard, 1b
Matt Garza, p

First pitch in about three hours.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Final thoughts on Pirates-Twins

By Alan Dell

Pedro Alvarez had a good day at the plate getting two hits including an RBI triple. But Pirates manager John Russell said don’t read too much into that as far as the organization bringing the highly touted 23-year-old prospect to the big leagues this season. He did drop a foul popup.

“We are looking at him to continue to develop,” Russell said after the Pirates 15-5 victory over Minnesota on Sunday. “He has some development to do and he knows it. He will continue to work at third base and pick up on the position. He is a young player who needs to continue to develop in all areas.

“He has done a good job, is working hard on all areas and on the total package. We are not going to rush him. When we feel he is ready to play in Pittsburgh that’s when he will be there. He has to continue to check off things that he needs to get better at. I know everyone wants him to be there (in Pittsburgh) on day one, but it might not be the best thing for him.”

Bobby Crosby, the shortstop hopeful, had a big day with the bat driving in four runs on two hits, including a three-run homer. But Russell was just as pleased with his play at first base. The free agent signee from Oakland is trying to make it as the Bucs primary infield backup.

“For me, the toughest thing is second,” Crosby said. “We haven’t recently gone over second a whole lot. I have been mainly working at shortstop, but I am sure at some point they are going to say let’s work at second and I will. Whatever they want me to do, I am all for it,” he said.

The outfielders for both teams struggled with several fly balls, but Russell said that is to be expected this time of year.

“With a high sky in Florida and the wind blowing, it’s an adventure for a lot of guys,” Russell said. “You will see that every spring. They have to get used to the sun, the high sky and the wind. I’ve seen gold glove outfielders struggle down in Florida. You realize it’s going to happen and you saw some of that today on both sides.”

Ohlendorf finishes work; Pirates go long

Ross Ohlendorf finished his second spring appearance going two innings while giving up two runs and allowing two hits and a walk. He faced nine batters with the big blow off him coming on a solo homer by Justin Morneau in the first inning.

The Pirates went to the long ball to score five runs in the fourth and take an 8-5 lead. Leading the way were Bobby Crosby and Garrett Jones, who both hit their first homers of the Grapefruit season.

Crosby unloaded a three-run shot and Jones followed with a two-run homer. Both came off right hander Anthony Swarzak.

Alvarez gets first spring hit

By Alan Dell

After going hitless in his first six at-bats this spring while striking out four times, Pedro Alvarez lined a triple deep into the right field corner that drove in a run off Twins starter Brian Duensing.

The second overall pick in the 2008 First Year Player draft, Alvarez is expected to join the big club sometime this year though the third baseman will likely start the season n Triple AAA.

Alvarez didn’t have the only big hit in the Pirates three run second inning. John Raynor smacked a run scoring triple that also saw singles from Ryan Doumit and Bobby Crosby.

It’s only spring, but the inning was a nice boost for the Pirates. They came into their fifth spring training game with a .177 team batting average and had put only 13 runs on the board.

Skate duo throws out first pitch

Olympian skaters Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig from the Ellenton Ice Sports complex got a nice round of applause before throwing out the first pitch in today’s game. Ladwig, who is big sports fan, tossed a high looping pitch while the throw from four-foot, 11-inch Evora reached home plate a on a bounce.

The duo is currently training for the upcoming World Figure Skating Competition that begins March 22nd in Torino,Italy.


Greetings from McKechnie Field for Pirates-Twins game:

Ross Ohlendorf is making his second appearance of the spring and first start of the Grapefruit League today. The right hander pitched one inning this spring when he retired three straight against the Yankees on March 3d. Brian Duensing will be making his first start of the spring for Minnesota.

The announced temperature is 65 degrees, but trust me it's a lot colder for those not fortunate enough to be sitting in the sun.

Here are the starting lineups:
Aki Iwamura 2B
Ronny Cedeno SS
Garrett Jones RF
Ryan Doumit C
Steve Pearce DH
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Brandon Moss LF
Bobby Crosby 1B
John Raynor CF

Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Justin Morneau 1B
Jim Thome DH
Delmon Young LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Danny Valenica 3B
Wilson Ramos C
Rene Tosoni RF

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fit to be tied at McKechnie

The Pittsburgh Pirates played the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-3, 10-inning tie in front of 5,787 fans Saturday at McKechnie Field. It was the Grapefruit League home-opener for the Buccos (1-2-1), who played State College of Florida at home during a March 2 exhibition.
Most of the scoring came in the first inning. Pirates starter Kevin Hart issued four walks in the inning, and the Phillies scored when Dewayne Wise scampered home on a wild pitch before Greg Dobbs scored when Raul Ibanez grounded into a double play.
The DP wasn't turned easily - second baseman Ramon Vazquez made a diving stab to his right and flipped the ball to shortstop Bobby Crosby, who made a bare-handed snare and threw to first.
The Pirates scored their three runs in the first. Jeff Clement doubled in Andrew McCutchen, and Ryan Church launched a two-run home run to right off Phillies starter Joe Blanton.
The Phillies squared the score in the seventh on Dobbs' sacrifice fly.
The Pirates host Minnesota on Sunday and the Yankees in a split-squad game Monday. Both games start at 1:05 p.m.


Hi folks,

This is John Lembo, coming to you live from chilly McKechnie Field, where the Pirates host the Philadelphia Phillies in their Grapefruit League opener.

Here are the lineups:
Dewayne Wise, cf
Greg Dobbs, 3b
Chase Utley, 2b
Ryan Howard, 1b
Raul Ibanez, lf
Dominic Brown, rf
John Mayberry, Jr. dh
Carlos Ruiz, c
Freddy Galvis, ss
Joe Blanton, p

Andrew McCutchen, cf
Bobby Crosby, ss
Jeff Clement, 1b
Ryan Church, rf
Lastings Milledge, lf
Jose Tabata, dh
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Jason Jaramillo, c
Ramon Vazquez, 2b
Kevin Hart, p

First pitch in a little more than two hours.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sanchez's great debut


SARASOTA - If Tony Sanchez plays this well when he's nervous, who knows what the kid can accomplish when he's calm?
Pittsburgh's first pick of last year's draft, Sanchez made the most of his first spring training appearance - he threw out Baltimore's Jonathan Tucker trying to steal second in the seventh and homered during his first at-bat in the eighth, helping the Pirates score a 5-3 win over the Orioles on Friday at Ed Smith Stadium.
"I got back there the first inning and I was shaking - my helmet was shaking, my legs were twitching - I didn't want to do anything wrong," he said. "Looking in for signs, forgetting signs, forgetting what pitch to call - good nerves. I embraced them."
Sanchez was so sure Tucker was going to try and steal that he even shared his prediction with home plate umpire Damien Beal.
"(Tucker) goes, and I swear, I gripped (the ball) like a change-up," Sanchez said. "I just threw the ball as hard as I could, and it ended up getting there. It was a rush."
So was his first at-bat. With two out in the eighth, Sanchez, who fell behind in the count 0-2, laced a home run to dead center off Baltimore's Troy Patton, knotting the game at 3.
It was the first live pitching Sanchez had seen in sixth months. And it didn't take long for his home run trot to morph into a sprint.
"I didn't even know how to run the bases - I forgot," he said. "It was a great feeling...When it got over the wall - I'm sure you guys saw my smile.
"Great emotions."
Sanchez said his teammates gave him a great reception when he reached the dugout.
"It was a great - a great night for him," said manager John Russell. "I know he was very excited, so that was outstanding. It was fun to watch.
"He battled, got a good pitch to hit and he caught very well. Again, it's exciting to watch."


Hi everyone,

This is John Lembo, blogging live from Ed Smith Stadium, where the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to face the Baltimore Orioles at 7:05 p.m.

Here are the lineups:
Aki Iwamura, 2b
Jose Tabata, lf
Garrett Jones, rf
Ryan Doumit, c
Steve Pearce, 1b
Brandon Moss, dh
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Neil Walker, 3b
John Raynor, cf
Zach Duke, p

Adam Jones, cf
Robert Andino, ss
Nick Markakis, rf
Miguel Tejada, 3b
Matt Wieters, c
Luke Scott, dh
Garrett Atkins, 1b
Jonathan Tucker, lf
Justin Turner, 2b
Chris Tilman, p

You won't believe this!

By Alan Dell

You won’t believe this!

We should call this the Sean Rodriguez blog: No arguments please!

The 24-year-old needs to borrow Dwight Howard’s Superman uniform and perhaps replace him on that ESPN commercial. If he keeps it up and he will be the feature of the highlights anyway.

In his third at-bat today, Rodriguez doubled; should we punish him because he didn’t have an RBI?

Well, in six at-bats this spring, Rodriguez has five hits (3 homers, a triple and double).

Does Joe Maddon have a spot for him on his roster?

Oh the Rays area leading 7-0 in the fourth, but this is the Sean Rodriguez show!

Price solid in first outing

By Alan Dell
David Price turned in solid numbers for his first outing of the spring.

The Tampa Bay Rays lefty threw 42 pitches against the Yankees, 26 of them for strikes, in 1 2/3 innings of work. He gave up two hits, a walk and struck out two.

The hits off Price came via a leadoff single by Derek Jeter in the bottom of the first and an opposite field single to left by Robinson Cano.

Rodriguez almost does it again

Is Sean Rodriguez the toughest out of the spring?

The answer at least in the short term is yes.

After slugging his third homer of the spring in the first, Rodriguez smashed an RBI triple to left center, which scored Jason Bartlett, who also had an RBI triple, in the Rays three-run third.

Rodriguez has 4 hits in 5 at-bats (3 homers and a triple) with five ribbies.

Rodriguez does it again

By Alan Dell

Hey coach take a look at me!

How about that Sean Rodriguez; think he’s got the attention of Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon.

The 24-year-old slugged his third homer of the spring in the first inning when he unloaded a shot that cleared the 408 foot wall in center field off Phil Hughes.

In four at-bats this spring, Rodriguez has three homers and four RBIs. Acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Angels last September as part of the Scott Kazmir trade, he hit 29 homers last year for Class AAA Salt Lake.

A converted outfielder, Rodriguez can play any of the outfield positions as well as second, third and short.

Price won't have it easy


Tampa Rays lefty David Price won’t have any easy time in his expected brief outing against the Yankees. The defending world champs are not sparing much in their starting lineup, which has Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in the top four spots (followed by Jorge Posada, Marcus Thames, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Francisco Cervelli.

The Rays starting lineup:
Jason Bartlett – SS
Sean Rodriguez- LF
Evan Longoria – 3B
Ben Zobrist- 2B
B.J. Upton- CF
Dioner Navarro- C
Dan Johnson – DH
Justin Ruggiano- RF
Chris Richard – 1B

The Rays have eight outfielders in camp, but only four made the trip with Fernando Perez joining the other three starters in today’s lineup.

Price gets start for Rays

By Alan Dell

TAMPA- For the Tampa Bay Rays there is a lot of excitement in the air as they get set to play their third game of the exhibition season and it’s not just because they are taking on the Yankees today at Steinbrenner Field.

David Price will start and make his first appearance of the spring while highly touted Jeremy Hellickson is expected to make his debut. The righthander was the Rays top minor league pitcher last year splitting his season between Class AA Montgomery and then AAA Durham where he compiled a 6-1 won-loss log with a 2.51 ERA

Weather was cold this morning, but starting to warm up and feeling very comfortable on the field, which is getting drenched by a good bit of sun. A sell-out crowd is expected.

RHP Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees and is scheduled to be followed by righty Joba Chamberlain. This is the first of three spring games between the two teams.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shields aiming to complete his work

James Shields wants to throw some complete games this season after getting none last year.

The Tampa Bay Rays righthander had three complete games in 2008, including two shutouts in 33 starts. Part of the problem is that he faced a lot more of the opposing team’s top pitchers. However, he doesn’t want to use that as an excuse.

“That’s life in the fast lane,” Shields said about facing all those number ones. “I take on all challenges. I don’t care who it is. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t get intimidated by anyone. I am just going to go out and pitch my game and try to give the team a chance to win.”

Shields said the key to getting some complete games is conditioning. In that regard, he wants to go into the season the best shape possible. To him that means more work.

“Over the last three years, I’ve throw over 650 innings and I am doing a pretty good job and that is a goal I have,” Shields said. “It won’t help if I throw less in the spring. I am trying to get my arm in shape right now and get ready for the season.

The best way to do that is pitch more innings and conditioning and doing all the intangible things you need to do to get ready for the season.”

Yankees defeat Pirates in Grapefruit League opener

TAMPA - Colin Curtis' three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth gave the New York Yankees a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday in front 9.278 fans at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Pirates catcher Erik Kratz doubled in two runs and scored the other during a three-run seventh, when Pittsburgh (0-1) erased a 3-0 deficit.
Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf each pitched an inning for the Pirates, and both cruised, needing a combined 23 pitches to record six outs.
Virgil Vasquez took the loss after allowing Curtis' home run, a no-doubter over the wall in right.
The Pirates head to Orlando on Thursday to face the Atlanta Braves. Charlie Morton, who came to Pittsburgh from Atlanta last summer in exchange for Nate McLouth, is expected to start.
Pittsburgh visits Sarasota on Friday night to play the Baltimore Orioles before Saturday's Grapefruit League home-opener against Philadelphia.