|Jung-Ho Kang getting comfortable (photo Tommy Gilligan/USAToday Sports)|
Today's Game: AJ leads the squad to Tampa to face the NY Yankees.The game starts at 1:05 and will be webcast on pirates.com. This is the last outing of the Grapefruit League; afterward, the Bucs pack it up and head to Philly for a pair of exhibitions.
Today's Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Jordy Mercer SS, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte CF, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Andrew Lambo LF, Sean Rodriguez 2B, AJ P.
Today's Bench: Wilkins Castillo, Pedro Florimon, Tony Sanchez, Jung-Ho Kang, The Kid, Corey Hart, Gustav Nunez and a flock of minor leaguers.
Today's Pitching: All eight relievers on the roster.
A couple of thoughts to take home: it looks like Pedro, despite his 5 HR, 17 RBI & .318 BA will hit fifth. That makes perfect sense as the spring cleanup role has fallen to Neil Walker, and constructing the middle of the order around a switch-hitting #4 is the ideal. Here's how the order looks, judging from camp - Josh will bat leadoff, Gregory Polanco second (maybe swapping spots with Jordy against lefties), Cutch third, The Kid (maybe dropping a spot when Hart plays), Pedro, Starling Marte, Mercer/Cervelli.
- Pedro's strong spring has made Corey Hart's role more backup than platoon; we're guessing he'll get some at bats in right when a lefty is on the hill. Pedro, btw, is looking more comfortable at first; he certainly has more range than the Ike/Gaby duo of last season.
- Jaff Decker (left calf strain) and Justin Sellers (sore Achilles) are expected to open season on DL, along with C Chris Stewart (sore hamstring).
- Mike Axisa of CBS Sports thinks that Jung-Ho Kang has a darkhorse chance to become the NL Rookie of the Year.
- Charlie Deitch of The City Paper picks out the X-Factors in the Pirate depth charts.
- The Bucs are 15-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.
- Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus has some not-so-flattering notes regarding prospects Josh bell & Stetson Allie.
- The Pirates picked up minor league 1B Hunter Morris from the Brewers for a PTBNL. Morris was Milwaukee's minor-league-POY in 2012, but has stalled the past two seasons in AAA.