Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday: Niese v Wacha; Polanco Deal Official, Notes

Tonight: The Bucs host the Cards in game #2 of the season at PNC Park. The game begins at 7:05 and will be on 93.7 The Fan. The Bucs won't be on local TV, because the Pens are, but are on MLB Network. Dress warm if you're going; it's forecast to be dry but 40 degrees at first pitch and dropping.

Pitching: Jon Niese (9-10, 4.13) makes his Pirate debut against Michael Wacha (17-7, 3.38). Niese tossed twice against the Redbirds last year, with one game a clunker and the other a gem. Wacha was 2-1 v the Bucs in 2015, with a 3.97 ERA.

Jon Niese makes his first Bucco start tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Neither guy is coming off a particularly sterling spring, so we'll see what they have now that the games count.

Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy Mercer SS, Niese.

  • The Pirates officially announced today that they and Gregory Polanco, 24, agreed to a five-year contract, worth $35M, beginning in 2017. The contract has two club options, so El Coffee is under team control through the 2023 season. If exercised, the options would make the deal worth $58M,  w/$2M in incentives. The guaranteed part of the contract covers all of Polanco's arb campaigns and one free agent year; the options take in two more FA seasons.
  • Jared Hughes hasn't been cleared to throw off a mound yet, although he has tossed from flat ground.
  • The Cardinals put OF'er Tommy Pham on the 15 day DL after he strained an oblique while making a between-innings warm up throw Monday. That bumps Matt Holliday back into LF from his platoon first base spot.
  • More leftover Opening Day stat stuff: Frankie was the first Pirate to toss three straight OD's since Doug Drabek (1990-92); Cutch became the first CF'er to start seven consecutive openers since Andy Van Slyke (1988-94), and in a reverse trend, John Jaso was the eighth different 1B'man to start on Opening Day in the past eight years. And this, from Baseball Reference: Liriano also set a lumber standard with yesterday's run-producing single. The last time a pitcher had the first RBI of the MLB season was in 1973, when Don Gullett did it for the Reds. 
  • Keon Broxton not only made the big club, but he was the Brewers' Opening Day CF.

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