It was during the Black and Gold game last year that I first saw Stolmy Pimentel. The right-hander was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in December 2012, and pitched in relief in the intrasquad game to kick off the Spring Training schedule. I was impressed with Pimentel at the time, and I wasn’t the only one. Last week I wrote about Pimentel, and included Ray Searage’s reaction to that game, when he first noticed the Pirates had something with the hard throwing right-hander.
Today Pimentel returned to the Black and Gold game, getting the start and throwing two innings. He started off strong, retiring the side in order in the first. That included two strikeouts — one against Jaff Decker and one against Andrew Lambo, a few pitches after Lambo crushed a foul ball over the boardwalk in right field. Pimentel returned for the second inning and gave up one hit, but got out of the inning without a run, and added another strikeout.
Pimentel said that he was focused on keeping his mechanics quiet and focusing on controlling his fastball.
“We like what we saw of Stolmy,” Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. “It was his first time out, so we were able to get him two reps on the mound. Velocity and finish were good. It was a good first day for him.”
Pimentel will throw again on Sunday, going up against the Phillies, who will have A.J. Burnett on the mound. No word on whether he will start the game, although he will almost certainly go multiple innings, much like he did today.
Sanchez Working the Opposite Field
**Tony Sanchez went 2-for-3 today with a double and a three run home run. Both hits went to right field, continuing a trend for Sanchez of going opposite field. He’s been doing a better job of that the last two years, and especially in 2013.
“It’s something that he’s well aware of, and he took a big step in the right direction maturing as a hitter last year in Triple-A,” Hurdle said. “He was actually able to bring that focus and that approach with him. Just continuing to stay on it. Today it played out well for him again.”
That’s going to be a good approach for Sanchez in the future. PNC Park isn’t friendly to right-handed hitters, and can rob some power due to a deep left field. His ability to consistently go opposite field, and hit to the opposite field with power should be a benefit, and will allow him to maintain good power numbers by using the Clemente Wall as a target.
**Travis Ishikawa left the game after the first inning with a tight right leg.
**Robert Andino was a late scratch due to a personal issue.