Daniel McCutchen won the last man standing struggle for the fifth spot, and was rewarded with his first Grapefruit League start, after the fact. He lasted just four innings, allowing five hits and five runs. He struck out four and walked one.
He made two big mistakes; one was a blast by Jose Bautista, and the other was letting the ball get in play; Ronny Cedeno made back-to-back errors that led to three unearned runs that scored on one hit. The Bucs booted four balls in all today in the 11-2 loss to Toronto.
Not that it much mattered; the Pirates had just five hits, two by Andrew McCutchen. They're now 6-15-1 in Grapefruit League play, not a very good omen for the regular season.
-- The team has split squads playing tomorrow. Going to Clearwater to face the Phillies will be D.J. Carrasco (3 innings/50 pitches) Brian Bass, Anthony Claggett, and Steve Jackson with Javier Lopez, Evan Meek, Jeremy Powell, and Jack Taschner available.
Visiting Port Charlotte to tackle the Rays are Ross Ohlendorf (six innings/90 pitches)followed by Octavio Dotel with Brendan Donnelly, Vinnie Chulk, and Jeff Karstens to follow.
And yes, the relievers are going in back-to-back games now.
-- Lots and lots of Bucco baseball on the tube this year; FSN has announced it will air 156 of the 162 games.
-- The Pirates have 37 guys on the roster; Joel Hanrahan and Jose Ascanio will start on the DL, making the magic number 35. The team has until 3 PM of April 4th to set their roster at 25 players, although some cuts could come as soon as Monday. A couple, though, could go to the wire as they try to work deals and decide what to do with guys with and without options.
-- Any possible deals don't look as if they involve the rotation. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, in a piece discussing Arizona's quest for pitching, says flat-out that "Pirates’ lefties Zach Duke and Paul Maholm are not available."
Then again, the suits just may be holding out for a better price in what looks like a seller's market.
-- Speaking of pitchers, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Tom Gorzelanny won a rotation spot in Chi-town, over Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija. So Gorzo and John Grabow are on Chicago's roster; the Pittsburgh end of the deal has Kevin Hart in AAA, Jose Ascanio on the DL, and Josh Harrison in the mid-level minors. Great deal so far.
-- Bob Dutton of the Royals Report tweets that C Steven Lerud, DFA'd by Pittsburgh and claimed by KC last season, was traded to the O's for a player to be named later.
-- The Associated Press reports that 35 year-old Dirt Dog Doug Mientkiewicz is getting cut by the Dodgers and is mulling his MLB options