Monday, March 11, 2013

Bucs - Birds

The Bucs host Baltimore today at McKechnie Field. If you think you've read that before, well, you have - it's already their fifth matchup of the spring. Jeff Locke gets the start for Pittsburgh, facing off against Zach Britton. The game starts at 1:05 and will be broadcast on The Fan 93.7.

Lineup: Starling Marte CF, Jose Tabata RF, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Felix Pie LF, Clint Barmes SS, Mike McKenry C and Jeff Locke P.

Hey, no DH today. We'd sorta expect a few pinch hitters in the nine hole, though.

Pitchers: Jeff Locke, Kris Johnson, Phil Irwin, Bryan Morris, Erik Cordier and Vin Mazzaro.

Locke continues on his journey to join the Pirate rotation. So far, he's 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings of work with seven K and  five walks. Johnson, Irwin and Morris have been sound during the first couple of weeks; Mazzaro and Cordier not so much.

  • The brass will meet after today's game to discuss cuts, but haven't sent a date for the first round of roster trimming. Tomorrow would be natural as an off day (and we'd expect a couple of cuts to be announced Wednesday), but they may want another look at a couple of guys.
  • The bullpen competition has been pretty sharp in the early going. The quest for a second lefty will earn Mike Zagurski, Kris Johnson and Justin Wilson long looks, and all are off to strong starts - Zagurski hasn't given up a run in four frames and has seven K, Johnson has surrendered one run in 3-2/3 IP with five strikeouts while Wilson has yielded just one run in seven innings with eight whiffs. The trio come with concerns; in 82 MLB games, Zag, 30, has a 6.13 ERA, Johnson, 27, didn't breakout until last season at Altoona and Wilson, 25, has walked six in his outings.
  • Then there were two...Bucs left in the WBC, that is. RHPs Jason Grilli (Italy) and Wandy Rodriguez (Dominican) are still playing. With Canada's elimination yesterday, Chris Leroux and Jamison Taillon are on their way back to camp and should arrive in time for tomorrow's drills. Wandy had a nice outing against Puerto Rico yesterday, going 3-1/3 frames and giving up a run on three hits and a walk with a pair of whiffs before the pitch count caught up to him.
  • Matt Hague loves the spring. He hit .400 during 2012 spring training and broke camp with the team, and is hitting .365 this time around. He's also getting time at third.

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