Fields Traded, Pirates Lose Last Florida Game

Twins  4,  Pirates  3
The Pirates finished their Grapefruit League action with an 11-20 record, as they now head north to Pennsylvania, where they will play 2 games against the Philliies in Philadelphia.  Reliever Anthony Claggett suffered a Blown Save and the Loss, as he gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the Twins’ walk-off win.  

The Pirates were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th.  Claggett walked the first batter, then the next hitter lifted a fly ball to center field, which sailed over CF Starling Marte’s head and caromed off the wall for a triple.  That brought in the tying run.  After a strikeout, the next batter ricocheted a soft liner off Claggett’s lower leg.  The ball landed over toward third base, where 3B Josh Rodroguez raced in to make the scoop, but his throw to the plate was not in time for C Jason Jaramillo to tag the runner on third, and the winning run scored.  

LF Jose Tabata got the game started with a double into left field to open the top of the 1st.  2B Neil Walker bunted Tabata to third, and CF Andrew McCutchen brought him in with a sacrifice fly.  Walker started the Pirates’ 4th inning rally with a lead-off single into center field.  1B Steve Pearce doubled into center, plating Walker, and RF Matt Diaz’s single brought in Pearce.  The Pirates had only two baserunners after the 4th inning — Jaramillo singled in the 8th, and Pearce walked in the 9th.  

Jeff Karstens made the start, scattering three singles and a walk over the first four innings.  With two outs in the 5th, Karstens got Twins’ Denard Span to ground to short, but a wild pitch by SS Ronny Cedeno resulted in a single and a throwing error, and Span positioned on second base.  Another single brought Span across the plate with an unearned run.  Garrett Olson finished the inning for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 6th inning.  Mike Crotta surrendered his second earned run of the spring, with a walk and a double in the 7th inning.  Chris Resop pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Twins from scoring despite a single and a walk.  

Also getting into the game:  2B Brian Friday and SS Jordy Mercer

The Pirates traded infielder Josh Fields to the Rockies this afternoon, for a player to be named later or cash.  Fields was in Pirates’ camp as a non-roster invitee, minor league free agent.  He had been sent to the minor league camp at the end of last week.  In 21 Grapefruit League games, he went 5-for-29, and struck out 11 times.  

Josh Rodriguez, the Pirates’ Rule 5 pick from last December, has made the 25-man roster.  He will have to stay on the major league roster all season, or else go through waivers and be offered back to the Cleveland Indians.  Rodriguez will be a back-up infielder and a bat off the bench.   That means that Pedro Ciriaco will be heading back to Indianapolis to begin the season.  

C Chris Snyder will begin the season on the Disabled List.  That leaves Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo to share catching duties for now, and leaves open a spot for OF John Bowker on the 25-man roster.   

Former Pirate RHP Nate Adcock, who was chosen by the Royals in the Rule 5 draft, has won a spot on the Royals’ 25-man roster.  Like Rodriguez, if he doesn’t stick with the Royals, he’ll have to go through waivers and be offered back to the Pirates.  Adcock pitched for A+ Bradenton in 2010, earning an 11-7 record and a 3.38 ERA.  In 141.1 innings, he allowed 131 hits, 53 earned runs, 38 walks, and struck out 113.  If he comes back to the Pirates, he would likely be assigned to AA Altoona.

The Indy Indians faced off against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Clearwater, Florida this afternoon…. no results available at this point. 

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Indians Shut Out, Nieve Released

Iron Pigs  3,  Indians  0
The Indians’ pitching staff threw 7 solid shut-out innings, but the Iron Pigs rallied for 3 runs in the 8th to take the win.  An RBI double, an Indians’ error, and a sacrifice fly brought in Lehigh Valley’s runs.  Starter Jeff Karstens pitched 4 scoreless innings, scattering 2 hits, no walks, and struck out 4.  Tony Watson followed with 2 scoreless innings, and Ramon Aguero pitched one scoreless frame.  The Tribe posted 5 hits over the first 4 innings, but could not push a run across.  Three Iron Pigs relievers finished the game, and allowed just one hit among the three of them.  

The Pirates had the day off today, and the Indians have the day off on Wednesday.

The Pirates have released pitcher Fernando Nieve.  Nieve had just been reassigned from the big league camp to the minor league camp just yesterday. 

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Walker Homers In Karstens’ Win

Pirates  4,  Phillies  3
 
A 2-run homer by 2B Neil Walker in the top of the 6th gave the Pirates the go-ahead run and one more for insurance, as the Pirates beat the Phillies in Clearwater, FL.   A solo homer by Phillies’ DH Ben Francisco off Pirates’ starter Paul Maholm put the first run on the board in the bottom of the 2nd.  It was the only run Maholm allowed in his 3 innings of work.  He did not walk any batters and struck out two.  Jeff Karstens took over for Maholm to begin the 4th.  He also gave up a run, when Francisco and 2B Delwyn Young both doubled.  Karstens retired the side in order in the 5th inning.  

1B Lyle Overbay had 3 hits for the Pirates, beginning with a lead-off single in the 2nd inning.  That time, he was forced out at second on a subsequent play.  Overbay led off the 4th with a double into left field.  He moved to 3rd base on Neil Walker’s ground out, then scored on DJ Garrett Jones’ sacrifice fly.  RF John Bowker tied the score in the top of the 5th, when he doubled into left field, then scored on ground outs by SS Chase d’Arnaud and CF Andrew McCutchen.  Overbay’s third hit of the game was a line drive single in the top of the 6th, and Walker followed that with his blast over the right field wall to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.  

Tony Watson came on to pitch the 6th inning.  He had two runners get on base, with a walk and a throwing error by d’Arnaud.  But d’Arnaud redeemed himself moments later, when he took the throw from Watson on a bouncer back to the mound, and turned the inning-ending double play.  Watson gave up a run in the 7th on a pair of singles, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single.  That inning also ended on a double play, when Watson struck out former Pirate Brandon Moss, then C Dusty Brown threw out the runner from first as he tried to steal second base.   Sean Gallagher buzzed through three batters, retiring all on a total of 5 pitches in the 8th inning.  Chris Leroux took the top of the 9th, and he also got out of a jam with a spectacular double play.  A walk, a sacrifice bunt, and another walk put two runners on base with one out.  SS Freddy Galvis lifted a long fly ball to left center field, but LF Alex Presley tracked it down with a long running catch, then whirled and fired in to the infield.  A relay by SS Brian Friday, then to 1B Garrett Atkins, and the runner from first base was doubled off, ending the game.  Leroux was credited with the Save, and Karstens got the win.

Also in the game:  2B Pedro Ciriaco singled in the 8th and stole second base.  CF Corey Wimberly, 3B Josh Fields, PH/DH Andrew Lambo, an PH/RF Steve Pearce all got into the game.   

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Durham And Atkins Both Homer For Pirates

The Pirates played two split-squad spring training games this afternoon (Monday):

Orioles  6,  Pirates  4
The Pirates were held to 5 hits at McKechnie field this afternoon, but one of the big ones was a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 9th by RF Miles Durham, who was up from minor league camp.  1B Lyle Overbay also singled for the Pirates, scoring the first Pirates’ run of the game in the 5th.  3B Pedro Alvarez knocked in the remaining run for the Pirates, in the 6th inning.  LF Jose Tabata led off the inning with a single, stole second base, then scored on Alvarez’s single    Alvarez also doubled for the Pirates.

LF John Bowker, SS Brian Friday, CF Mel Rojas, 3B Andy Marte,  1B Steve Pearce, 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 2B Jim Negrych, and C Wyatt Toregas all got into the game for the Pirates.   

Paul Maholm took the loss for the Pirates.  He gave up a run in the 1st inning on a double and a single, then another on a solo homer in the 2nd.  Jeff Locke allowed a run on two hits in the 6th.  He allowed a single and a walk, then with two outs, an RBI single brought in a run.   Justin Wilson got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the 8th.  A double and a sacrifice fly drove in all three of the base runners.  Jeff Karstens pitched 2 scoreless innings, then Tyler Yates, and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless frame.   Cesar Valdez finished up the 8th for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 9th, facing only 4 batters.

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Contract Deadline: New Free Agents

When the deadline for offering contracts passed last night, four new free agents were created.  
The Pirates offered contracts to pitcher Jeff Karstens and SS Ronny Cedeno, both as expected.  But they elected not to tender contracts to pitchers Donnie Veal and Brian Burres, SS Argenis Diaz, and OF Lastings Milledge.
Veal is still recovering from elbow surgery, and is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Pirates.  Since he is going to have to spend some time in the minors when he returns anyway, this is not likely to affect his progress much.  The other three are all free agents now.

Other notes:  Former Pirate C Ronny Paulino was also non-tendered by the Marlins, and he also is now a free agent.  Pittsburgh native INF Josh Wilson, who played for the Indy Indians in 2008, was resigned by the Mariners. (NOT Jack Wilson, who is also on the Mariners’ roster.)  OF Eric Hinske was signed as a free agent by the Braves.  P Zach Duke signed a contract with the Diamondbacks, avoiding arbitration.  

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