* Holy Gino Cimoli! The Bucs ran their record to 5-1 in the Grapefruit League, winning, of all things, a pitching duel, 2-1 over the Reds.
Zach Duke, John Grabow, Craig Hansen, Ron Uviedo (who got the win), and Evan Meek, who got his second save, threw up zeroes, while Daniel McCutchen yielded a run in two innings.
They were backed by outstanding grabs compliments of 3B Neil Walker, CF Nate McLouth, and LF Andrew McCutchen, who also threw out a runner at the plate.
McCutch scored the winning run on an infield single, coming home on an Andy Phillips two-out single. Ryan Doumit, who was the DH, plated Jason Jaramillo for the first score. Jaramillo also gunned a pair of would-be base larcenists.
Yesterday, they whupped the Tigers 6-4, with Nate McLouth lining a three-run homer and Freddy Sanchez chasing another pair home with a hopper that sneaked past short. They put up a five-spot against Zach Miner and rode that inning to the win.
Jimmy Barthmaier was rocked for three runs, but the guys behind him stuck their finger in the dike long enough to claim the victory. Sean Burnett gave up a run (and got the win; baseball is a funny game) while Donnie Veal, Chris Bootcheck, Tyler Yates, Jeff Sues, and Juan Mateo, who picked up the save, tossed goose eggs.
Hey, we know it's early in the Sunkist season, but after last season's finishing el-foldo, a little bit of success is just what the doctor ordered for this group. It seems that a little competition does help players to focus, after all.
* Jose Tabata has some "soreness" in his shoulder, and is getting sent to the hospital for an MRI; the results should be in tomorrow, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette. *knock on wood*
* The local papers report that John Grabow was chosen to replace reliever Brian Fuentes for at least the first round of the world tournament, and perhaps longer. That's ten Pirates on WBC rosters, and Grabow is the first to make the US squad.
* Remember that little "tweak" Jeff Andrews used on Sean Burnett last season, moving him to the far end of the rubber? Well, Joe Kerrigan has untweaked him, according to Jen Langosch of MLB.com.
* Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review wrote: Adam LaRoche looked puzzled when he walked into the Pirates' clubhouse the other day. "Do we have a guy named ... um, Ford playing for us?" LaRoche asked a group of reporters.
Yah, we do. He's profiled, with a vid, in the Trib.
* John Perrotto of the Pirate Report has a piece on outfield hopeful Jeff Salazar.
* Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports that ex-Bucco lefty Dave Williams has come back from Japan and signed with the Washington Nats, replacing Odalis Perez on the 40-man roster.