Monday, March 16, 2009

Cut Down, Competition, Live Blog (We Hope)

* The Bucs made their first cuts today, sending eight guys to minor league camp.

RHP Jimmy Barthmaier is headed for AAA Indy. RHP Jeff Sues and C Steve Lerud are off to AA Altoona, and 3B Pedro Alvarez and RHP Ron Uviedo will start out at High-A Lynchburg. RHP's Juan Mateo and Daniel McCutchen join 2B Shelby Ford in Pirate City, waiting on their new assignment.

The other players will hang around until the WBC players and walking wounded return to action. April 6th is fast approaching.

* A couple of unexpected battles are being waged in camp. LHP Sean Burnett was ripped for the third straight game; he's may be opening the door for Dave Davidson.

Luis Cruz missed a couple of balls yesterday at 2B; he may drop out of the running for the extra bench infielder and let Andy Phillips and Brian Bixler (who woulda thunk it? But BB is hitting .379 and his glovework is betting better every day) duke it out.

Ryan Doumit's caddies, Jason Jaramillo and Robinzon Diaz, are both doing decent jobs and haven't created any real separation between themselves yet. And if Neal Huntington is to be believed, Steve Pearce is giving Craig Monroe a run for his money as the RH'ed OF.

The GM also says that Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Gorzo are fighting for two spots in the rotation. All three did OK in their last start, so we'll see what the next three weeks have in store.

* Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay fought to a 7-7 draw yesterday. Alvarez crushed a two-out ball in the ninth to center to plate three (his first), and Garrett Jones went deep to right during the next at-bat to forge the improbable tie.

Andrew McCutchen tripled, scored and made a great grab in center. Jose Tabata singled, doubled, hit a sac fly, and threw out Carl Crawford at home. The future's so bright we need shades, hey?

* Some bloggers have formed a tag-team to live blog some Pirate games, and Brian McElhinny of Raise The Jolly Roger will take the first shot. If you can't get to a TV - and if GW can cut and paste code, always a challenge - we'll be posting the live blog here at 7 PM.

Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates, then Denny Bautista, Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, Donnie Veal, and Chris Bootcheck will round out the evening's pitchers.

Andy Sonnanstine will start for the Rays, followed by Mitch Talbot and David Price.

The Weather Channel will be broadcasting live from the game; don't ask why because there's a 60% chance that we don't know.

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