Pirates Pregame: Irwin’s Debut, Inge Update, Phillips Returns for Reds

Phil Irwin will make his major league debut today for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the club announced this morning. Irwin won 29 games in five seasons of minor league competition, and while wins and losses are not necessarily a good barometer for the developmental process in the minors, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Irwin’s presence made his teammates better which translated to success on the field.

Brandon Inge

Brandon Inge played both games of a Saturday doubleheader for Indianapolis and hit a home run.

“There comes a point in time where guys, their presence makes people around them better,” Hurdle said. “I think in the minor leagues his presence on the mound, the stability he brought them on the mound — guys played better behind him. You don’t trick yourself into 29 wins.”

Irwin’s promotion to Pittsburgh comes at the expense of Josh Harrison, who was optioned to Indianapolis this morning. Harrison departure will leave the Pirates’ bench thin for at least a few days.

“We had to make a decision to go one way or the other and we chose to keep the bullpen in tact,” Hurdle said. “It’s not an easy decision but it’s one that we’ve made and we feel it gives us the protection where we most need to have it. ”

**

Hurdle also gave an update on Brandon Inge in his pregame meeting with the media Sunday morning. He said Inge played both games of a doubleheader yesterday at Indianapolis and that Inge is continuing to shag balls in the outfield. Hurdle also said work at first base and another, yet-to-be determined position were still to come.

“The at-bats have gotten better,” Hurdle said. “He hit his second home run last night. He’s going through another spring training in a non-spring training environment.”

**

Today’s lineups:

Cincinnati (5-6, tied for 2nd NL Central)
1. Choo cf
2. Cozart ss
3. Votto 1b
4. Phillips 2b
5. Bruce rf
6. Frazier 3b
7. Heisey lf
8. Hanigan c
9. Latos p

Pittsburgh (5-6, tied for 2nd NL Central)
1. Marte lf
2. Snider rf
3. McCutchen cf
4. Jones 1b
5. Walker 2b
6. Alvarez 3b
7. McKenry c
8. McDonald ss
9. Irwin p

— Travis Snider moves up to hit second today, with Neil Walker sliding down to the No. 5 spot. Michael McKenry will give Russell Martin the day off behind the plate and hit seventh while John McDonald will give Clint Barmes a break and hit eighth. For the Reds, Brandon Phillips returns to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game for personal reasons.

 

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Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg is a beat writer and analyst for PiratesProspects.com. He is the former sports editor of the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and has worked at the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and the (Ashland, Ky.) Independent. His freelance work has appeared in newspapers all over West Virginia and he has written for The Associated Press with stories posted to several major media outlets (ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com). Tom graduated from Marshall University in May 2010 with a degree in Print Journalism. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomBraggSports

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  • http://atung.net/ Steve Zielinski

    It’s hard to fathom the reasons why Inge’s status requires an update from the manager.

  • veinteuno

    I’d rather Allie make his debut rather than Inge. Scarcasm to a point.

  • https://profiles.google.com/108173335553778121748 Scott Richards

    I have been finally been able to login and make comments on this site! PS. I love this site. Visit it daily! Love the FB updates!

    I was happy to see Snider hitting 2nd…(might not be the spot you want your starting RF to hit) but his ab’s have been very patient. He makes the pitcher throw pitches..

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.beam.16 Matt Beam

    liking what I see from Snider so far this year.

    Question, I live in Cincinnati and heard their radio broadcasters talking about the show Snider puts on in BP, but that so far it hasn’t translated to many HR’s in real games… is this true? thought maybe they were confusing him with Garret Jones

    • joe g.

      It could very well be Snider. He hit for power thru the minor leagues. We just haven’t seen it yet in the bg leagues.

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