* The latest media take on Brian Bixler, who's reinvented himself this spring, is that he'll end up at Indy no matter what so he can get regular at bats, and a lesser light (ie, Luis Cruz) will get the back-up role in the show.
Now, unless the Bucs feel like Bix will be be back this year to be Jack Splat's placeholder, that makes no sense at all to GW. It really may be that they want him ready to replace Wilson at some point, but it sure doesn't look like there's much market for the guy, given his age, performance, contract, and oft stated desire to hang 'em up sooner rather than later.
So hey, let the best man break camp. A couple hundred more at-bats in Indy aren't gonna do much to make or break BB. It's time to see if the deer-in-the-headlights play last season was a phase or a permanent condition.
* Ditto with Andrew McCutchen. The suits want him to work on hitting fewer fly balls before they bring him up. Hey, his call-up is inevitable; we don't know exactly why McCutch hasn't taken Nyjer Morgan's place on the roster yet. As far as hitting more grounders, well, that reminds us eerily of the Chris Duffy makeover. And that's not a good memory.
* Jose Tabata made the national news because his wife is accused of baby-snatching. There are just too many weird strings attached to this tale, and GW is letting it be until the whole story unfolds.
* Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes the Pirates are sniffing around infielder Jeff Baker of Colorado. With Andy Phillips down, maybe they're looking for one more bench piece. It could well be that they don't feel comfortable with Bixler or Cruz as the fifth man (blowing GW's whole opening rant!).
* The Bucs whupped the Braves last night at Disney World 5-2. Atlanta handled the baseball like a live hand grenade, gift wrapping three unearned runs for Pittsburgh. Bixler (.356) had three knocks and Ryan Doumit (.295) added a pair.
Ross Ohlendorf had his good juju going, scattering five hits over six innings while striking out three. He's given up one earned run in 15-1/3 innings, and looks to have a death grip on the fourth spot in the rotation now. The Big O needed a strong outing to separate himself from the pack, and came through.
The Pirates will send Jeff Karstens to the mound tonight when they visit the Rays. Tampa Bay will start Jeff Niemann.