-- As Cub great Ernie Banks used to say, "Let's play two!"
And the Bucs are today, having split squad games against Baltimore at McKechnie Field and sending another squad against Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte.
Against the O's, the pitchers are scheduled to be Paul Maholm and Jeff Karstens for two innings, and a frame apiece by Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Michael Crotta, Justin Wilson and Cesar Valdez. Brad Bergesen will start for Baltimore.
The lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Josh Rodriguez SS, Andrew McCutchen CF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Lyle Overbay 1B, Garrett Jones 1B, Ryan Doumit DH, Chase d’Arnaud 2B and Jason Jaramillo C.
At Tampa, the rotation will be two innings from Bryan Morris, Fernando Nieve, Sean Gallagher and Aaron Thompson with a frame from Kyle McPherson. Jeff Niemann will start for Tampa Bay.
The lineup: Gorkys Hernandez CF, Ronny Cedeno SS, Neil Walker 2B, Matt Diaz RF, Josh Fields 3B, Garrett Atkins 1B, Alex Presley LF, Chris Snyder DH and Dusty Brown C.
-- Also, on the injury front: Scott Olsen will throw again today and then be evaluated for a sore hammy while Joe Biemel has minor elbow soreness and is day-to-day. No reports on Evan Meek, who has tightness in his calf.
-- Chet West of ESPN reports on the upgrades in pitching in the NL Central. Well, with one exception. He says "...every team in the division upgraded with exception (of) the Pittsburgh Pirates."
-- OF Jody Gerut, who came to the Pirates in 2005 from the Cubs for Matt Lawton, retired after a six-year MLB career cut short by a string of injuries.