Utility Battle Heating Up During Final Week

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The battle for the backup utility/bench job looks to be a tough competition during the final week of spring training. Other than the starting nine, the club has five spots for bench roles. Nate McLouth is a lock for the fourth outfielder, Michael McKenry will back up Rod Barajas at the plate, and the club will go with Casey McGehee in part of a platoon at first base with Garrett Jones. That leaves two positions...

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Pirates Notebook: Alvarez to Start Season in Majors

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Despite struggling at the plate during Grapefruit League action this spring, third baseman Pedro Alvarez will start the season in the Majors. Rumors swirled that Alvarez might start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis to get back on track, but Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington insisted on Sunday, prior to the Bucs 9-7 win over the Houston Astros, that they do not plan on sending Alvarez to Triple-A to...

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Prospect Notebook: Baker’s Fastball Command, Welker’s Control

Nathan Baker was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. He spent the last two years in A-ball, playing in high-A during the 2011 season. This year Baker will be making the jump to the Double-A level, starting in the Altoona rotation. The Pirates sent Baker to the Arizona Fall League over the off-season to give him some experience against upper level hitting. The left-hander had some inconsistent...

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Pirates Collect 20 Hits in Win Over Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Pirates won 9-7 to the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday. The club combined for 20 hits off the Astros arms. “We were able to go to the plate and really ground out some at-bats well,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “We were taking what was given to us. We hit most of the balls where they were pitched. Not some big swings, not much out of control, aggressive...

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Chase d’Arnaud Working to Become Fundamentally Sound

Despite an ongoing competition in major league camp for the backup middle infield spot, the Pittsburgh Pirates made infielder Chase d’Arnaud one of their first cuts. D’Arnaud spent time in the majors last year, taking over as the starting shortstop for part of the year while Ronny Cedeno went down. He didn’t do anything to make himself a lock for the backup job this year, but his early cut from camp was somewhat...

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Pirates Notebook: Final Cuts of Spring Training

BRADENTON, Fla. — There are just eight days remaining in spring training for the Pirates. The club will play its final game of the Grapefruit League on April 1st against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin before kicking off two exhibition games against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 2nd and 3rd. After optioning Jordy Mercer to Triple-A, and reassigning non-roster invites Shairon Martis, Jose Morales, Jo-Jo Reyes and Doug...

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