Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Exactly An Off Day

The Bucs' game against the Rays was rained out yesterday, bumping Daniel McCutchen from his first Grapefruit League start. No matter; he traveled to Clearwater today where the weather was a little more cooperative to face the Phil's AAA club.

The almost-ready-for-prime-time Phils were pretty well shut down by McCutch, who worked four scoreless innings, allowing three hits. He struck out two, walked one and threw 61 pitches. Big deal; we know what kind of AAA pitcher he is already.

His erstwhile competitor, Kevin Hart, stayed behind in Bradenton and threw against the Phils AA/High A squad. He went 3-1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits along with three strikeouts, four walks, and two wild pitches. He pitch count got to 74 pitches, 39 of them tossed for strikes.

Now his stuff was good; three of the hits never left the infield. But that command...well, he considered it a step forward; maybe it is. Then again, consider the opposition.

So nothing to indicate who is going to hold that last spot in the rotation. Despite McCutchen's stellar spring and Hart's struggles, the Bucs have a lot of love for the former Cub. Heck, all the brass showed up to watch him, so it's still apparently his job to lose.

And Octavio Dotel worked an intra-squad game; he got in 1-1/3 frames with three strikeouts on eighteen pitches. He'll make his first Grapefruit League appearance Wednesday, after missing time with an oblique strain.

-- The Pirates have a three game McKechnie Field homestand beginning tomorrow, when they host the Astros, followed by Boston and Atlanta. The pitching is still up in the air because of the rainout and off-day.

-- Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has the Pittsburgh "Offseason In Review."

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