Here's the starting lineup for the Yankee exhibition. It looks like the one the Pirate suits hope to begin the year with (except for the DH). If Clement doesn't cut it, just switch him and Church, with Church in RF and Garrett Jones at first; ditto with Cedeno and Crosby at short.
1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
2. Aki Iwamura, 2B
3. Garrett Jones, RF
4. Ryan Doumit, C
5. Ryan Church, DH
6. Lastings Milledge, LF
7. Jeff Clement, 1B
8. Andy LaRoche, 3B
9. Ronny Cedeno, SS
Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf started for Pittsburgh, followed by a motley mix-and-match crew.
It was a scoreless battle until the sixth, proving that pitchers are ahead of hitters in the early spring, with ground balls abounding. Iwamura and Clement looked fine in the field, and Dandy Andy LaRoche made a couple of nice plays at third.
However, Aki didn't look like a two hitter in his first Bucco effort; he had the patience, but an inside-out swing makes him unlikely to hit behind a runner. But there is still lots of time to see how that works out; it's the first time GW has seen Iwamura swing a bat.
Then came the scrubs for both sides. The Bucs replaced the starters with Steve Pearce (1B), Delwyn Young (2B), Argentis Diaz (SS), Pedro Alvarez (3B), John Raynor (LF), Gorkys Hernandez (CF), Jose Tabata (RF), and Eric Kratz/Hector Gimenez (C).
The Yanks jumped ahead 3-0 when Steve Jackson left a couple of pitches belt high and down the middle. One left the park while the other kissed the fence. Still, he could have gotten away with a single tally except Young and Diaz played bounce outs into hits, and Hernandez made a peg home that was positively Barry Bonds-esque.
But the Bomb Squad had an answer. Young got plunked, Tabata blooped a single, and Kratz doubled them in - maybe Jason Jaramillo will have some competition - and went to third on a bad relay, scoring on Church's slow roller to tie it.
Virgil Vasquez worked the ninth, briefly. A line single up the middle, a ground ball single through the second base hole, and a base-clearing walk-off blast to right center gave the Yankees a 6-3 win.
For the most part, the Pirate pitchers - Maholm, Ohlendorf, Brian Bass, D.J. Carrasco, Jack Taschner, Jean Machi (he struck out a pair and hit 94 on the gun) worked quickly and threw strikes; only Jackson and Vasquez got thumped while Chris Jakubauskas had some control issues.
So hey, the game is finally afoot. And in another month, they'll count.