Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bucs v Baltimore; Karstens Out

Chris Leroux gets his first start of camp against the O's and Brian Matusz today, replacing the sore-shouldered Jeff Karstens.  The game is at McKechnie Field and first pitch is slated for 1:05. And hey, it's like a big boy game - it will be aired on Root Sports on the TV side and The Fan 93.7 on the radio side.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Russell Martin C, Andrew McCutchen CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Neil Walker 2B, Jose Tabata RF, John McDonald SS and Mike McKenry DH.

Looks like Martin will get some regular season time in the two hole, while Pedro drops to fifth against a lefty. Old McDonald gets a little more work now that he's a Bucco, and JT was booted to the bottom of the order instead of his usual two spot. The Fort was a late addition to the lineup and took over the pitcher's batting spot against the AL Orioles, which wanted to use a DH.

Pitchers: Chris Leroux and ?

Leroux wanted a shot at starting, but hasn't worked longer than two frames yet this spring, even in the WBC, so a lot of guys should get some work today.

  •  Jeff Karstens was scheduled to start but was scratched because of "continuing shoulder discomfort," the team announced this morning. That trip to the DL looks just around the bend, and the battle for the back end of the rotation just got a little more interesting, with spots now open for both Jonathan Sanchez and Jeff Locke, with Kyle McPherson and Jeanmar Gomez hangin' around with maybe a bullpen shot. It's also a reminder of why the Pirates didn't tender JK earlier in the year.
  • Pittsburgh still has 35 guys on the roster, not counting Francisco Liriano, Jose Contreras and Charlie Morton. With a couple of obvious cuts and possibly sliding JK and Brandon Inge to the DL, that leaves them with a half-dozen tough decisions remaining, especially now that the pitching has been shook up a bit.
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review has a piece on the forgotten next big thing, Stetson Allie, and how the switch to first base from the mound helped his attitude. He also gives an update on infielders Alen Hansen and Dilson Herrera.
  • Kaitlynn Rielly of the Post Gazette covers another aspect of the Pirates minor league program (no, it's not all belly crawls and carrying logs, SEAL-Style). Every player in the system has to contribute 10 hours of community service per year, a requirement that began with the current FO.
  • March 24, 1989 - The Pirates sent SS Felix Fermin and UT Denny Gonzalez to the Indians for SS Jay Bell to complete a PTBNL deal from November 28th, 1988 (Gonzalez + the PTBNLs). Bell would man the SS spot for eight years and earn an All-Star berth in 1993 for the Bucs. He returned to the team this year as the batting coach.

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