|Clayton Richard & Ray Searage are doin' something right... (Photo: Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Today's Games: The Bucs play two against the Orioles. The B Game kicks it off at 10 at Pirate City with Frankie on the hill, while the main bout starts at 1:05 at McKechnie Field. Vance Worley starts for Pittsburgh in that one. The game will be on both TV and radio, with Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan sending the action back home. It's also being carried by MLB Network if you live outside the Pittsburgh viewing area.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Neil Walker 2B, Jordy Mercer SS, Corey Hart 1B, Starling Marte CF, Jose Tabata LF, Sean Rodriguez RF, Elias Diaz C, Vanimal P.
The Bench: Andrew Lambo, Gift Ngoepe, Pedro Florimon, Gorkys Hernandez, Sebastian Valle, Stetson Allie, Deibinson Romero, Tony Sanchez and a handful of guys from the B Game roster when they bus it back.
The Pitchers: Antonio Bastardo, Bobby LaFromboise, Mark Melancon, Arquimedes Caminero, Blake Wood.
Cutch is still out with "lower body soreness." There's no point pushing the Franchise in mid-March, so we'll chalk it up to TLC.
The Lineup: Steve Lombardozzi 2B, Francisco Cervelli C, Gregory Polanco RF, Jung-Ho Kang 3B, Pedro 1B, Jaff Decker CF, Mel Rojas Jr LF, Gustav Nunez SS, Francisco Liriano P
The Bench: Alen Hanson, Willy Garcia, Wilkins Castillo
The Pitchers: Jeremy Bleich, Charlie Leesman, Josh Wall.
Kang is starting at third again, with Nunez at short. And he's batting clean-up, ahead of Pedro. We're guessing Cervelli is catching to get him up to speed with Frankie, and he's batting in his usual two-hole.
Camp should start getting interesting pretty soon. There are some early battles - Decker v Lambo, Worley v Locke, the bullpen configuration, the depth starters (and remember, a team generally goes through 8-10 starters throughout the season due to performance or physical issues), Diaz v Sanchez for the #3 catcher spot - that should intensify as the next couple of weeks roll along. Even the batting order is a work in progress.
It's all good that there's so much competition; for too long the Bucs have had too many positions won by default. It may well end up that minor league options or lack thereof may become the determining factor in a couple of the final roster decisions.