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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Crotta Gives Up A Run, More Reassignments

Yankees  4,  Pirates  2
Reliever Mike Crotta, who had not given up a run up ’til today, surrendered his first spring training run this afternoon in Tampa.  Crotta came on to pitch the final inning, with the Yankees already ahead 3-2.  He gave up a single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single, for the Yankees’ final run of the game.  Crotta is still in the running for a bullpen spot with the Pirates.  
The Yankees got onto the scoreboard first, with a 2-run homer by Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the 1st inning off starter Kevin Correia.  Correia sailed through the next two innings, then gave up another run in the 4th on a walk and two singles.  He gave up only one more hit in the next two innings, finishing his afternoon with 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts.  Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 7th inning. 
The Pirates scored one run in the 2nd inning, when 3B Pedro Alvarez led off with a walk and C Jason Jaramillo doubled him in.  LF Jose Tabata smacked a triple in the 5th inning, and scored on 2B Neil Walker’s sacrifice fly, for the Pirates’ second run.  The Pirates posted 10 hits in the game, but did not score again  – 8 runners were left on base.  Manager Clint Hurdle indicated that today’s lineup is what he expects to be his regular starting lineup, and today most of those position players were in for the entire game.  SS Ronny Cedeno came out of the game in a double-switch in the bottom of the 8th, and Josh Rodriguez entered the game.  Rodriguez lined a single in the top of the 9th, but was left on base.  

The Pirates have two more games in Florida (at McKechnie Field against the Rays on Sunday, and in Ft. Myers against the Twins on Monday.  Then they will play two games in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading to Chicago to begin the regular season next Friday.  

The Pirates reassigned four more players to minor league camp this morning:  P Brian Burres,  C Dusty Brown, INF Andy Marte, and INF Corey Wimberly.   Moving Marte to minor league camp is encouraging for Steve Pearce, who is now nearly assured a bench spot on the major league team.  

S/W-B Yankees  6,  Indy Indians  5
The Indians faced New York Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia this afternoon in a AAA spring training game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Tampa this afternoon.  They hit 5 singles off Sabathia in three innings, but could not bring any of those base runners around to score.  James McDonald came from the Pirates’ big league camp to make a start for the Indians.  He gave up one run on 4 hits in his 3 innings.  The Indians scored a run in the 6th inning on Alex Presley’s sacrifice fly.  Josh Fields, who went 2-for-3 in the game, doubled in a run in the 7th, then Jim Negrych followed with a 2-run homer.  The Indians were leading 5-2 going into the bottom of the 8th.  The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the frame with 3 runs on a pair of doubles.  Then in the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees scored with a 2-out single to take the win.

Sketchy reports from two other games:
On Thursday, the Indians lost to the Las Vegas 51′s by a score of 5-3, despite home runs by Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley.
On Friday, the Indians and the S/W-B Yankees played to a 1-1 tie.  Rudy Owens pitched 4 innings for the Indians, and struck out 6 batters.  

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More Reassignments And Another Loss

Rays  9,  Pirates  5
The Pirates out-hit the Rays 10-9 this afternoon in Port Charlotte, Florida, but the Rays made the most of their opportunities and took the win.  The Pirates got busy in the top of the 1st, when Pedro Ciriaco, in center field again, opened the game with a single, then stole base.  He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on C Ryan Doumit’s double into right field.  RF Matt Diaz started the top of the 2nd with a single, and advanced to third base on a throwing error.  He scored on a wild pitch.  1B Andy Marte doubled, was bunted over to third base, and scored on starting pitcher Charlie Morton’s soft looper single into left field, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.  
The lead did not last long.  Morton got out of the first inning with a double play, but began the bottom of the 2nd by loading the bases on a double, a bunt, and a hi batter.  A 2-RBI double and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for the Rays to tie the game.  The Pirates took the lead again in the 4th.  Marte led off with a single into right field, and 2B Corey Wimberly reached on a fielding error.  Morton bunted them up one base each, then both scored on SS Josh Rodriguez’s line drive single into right.  
Morton sailed through the bottom half of the 3rd and 4th innings, but loaded the bases again in the 5th, on a walk and two singles.  Then he got wild and forced in one run with a hit batter, and a second run with a walk, and the game was again tied, at 5-5.  Morton got out of the inning with two fly outs, and a force out at the plate on a little dribbler that did not leave the home plate area.  
Joel Hanrahan took over on the mound for the 6th inning.  He retired the first two batters he faced, then walked the next two.  A wild pitch moved the two runners up to second and third base, then an RBI single brought in both runners, giving the Rays a 7-5 lead.  Jose Veras pitched a perfect 7th inning, with one strikeout.  The Rays scored 2 more runs off Chris Resop in the 8th inning.  A double, and a bunt back to the mound that turned into a single, put two runners on base.  A sacrifice fly drove in one run, and a triple plated the second.  

2B Gift Ngoepe led off the top of the 9th with a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer singled through to left field, but both were left on base.  LF Evan Chambers, 3B Andy Vasquez, RF Robby Grossman, and 1B Matt Hague also got into the game. 

The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees this afternoon in Bradenton.  No word as yet — results from the minor league camp can be hit or miss.

The Pirates pared down their camp roster by four more this morning.  Pitcher Daniel McCutchen was optioned to AAA Indianapolis, where he could either be a starter or pitch in long relief.  Relievers Tyler Yates and Sean Gallagher were also reassigned to minor league camp, and are both expected to go to the Indy Indians’ bullpen.  C Wyatt Toregas and INF Josh Fields were also reassigned to minor league camp.  

Pitcher Fernando Nieve, who was reassigned to the minor league camp on Monday and released on Tuesday, was not unemployed for long.  On Thursday, he signed a minor league contract with the Astros.  

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Three Hits For Cedeno With Indy; Olson Debuts For Pirates

Iron Pigs  6,  Indians  5

The Indianapolis Indians ended their 4-game spring training winning streak with a loss today to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Pirates’ Ronny Cedeno came to minor league camp to DH in the game and posted 3 hits for the Tribe.  OF Andrew Lambo singled and tripled for the Indians, and his triple in the 4th inning brought in one run.  The score was tied at 4-4 going into the top of the 9th, with reliever Tom Boleska on the mound for the Indians.  He gave up 3 hits, including an RBI single by former Pirate Brandon Moss, plus a sacrifice fly, to give the Iron Pigs a 6-4 lead.  The Indians got within one run when INF Jim Negrych got on and was brought across the plate by INF Josh Harrison’s RBI single.  Lambo’s single loaded the bases with one out.  But a double play ended the inning and the game with the Indians unable to catch up.  

Twins  4,  Pirates  1

Newest Pirate LHP Garrett Olson made his debut with his new team this afternoon, as the Pirates lost to the Twins in Bradenton.  Olson came on in relief to pitch the 8th inning, and retired the side in order with a pop out, a fly out, and a ground out.  
Paul Maholm made the start for the Pirates.  He pitched 6 innings and gave up 9 hits and 2 walks, but allowed only 2 runs.  With two outs in the 3rd, Maholm gave up a single, then made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, which put the runner into scoring position.  A single by C Joe Mauer brought in the run.  The second run scored in the 5th, when a double, a single, and a walk loaded the bases.  A grounder to short started a double play, but the runner from third still scored.  
Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the Indians, allowing just a double.  Anthony Claggett took the 9th, and he gave up the remaining two Twins’ runs.  A walk and a single put runners on the corners, then a ground out plated the first run.  A fielding error by SS Pedro Ciriaco allowed the runner from second base to come around and score.   
The Pirates’ only run scored in the 2nd inning, and was unearned.  A fielding error on a force attempt gave the Pirates runners on first and second.  C Jason Jaramillo lined a single into center field for the RBI, as RF Matt Diaz scored from second base.  
The Pirates had just 6 hits in the game, including one by LF Steve Pearce.  That gives Pearce 9 hits over his last 9 games (9-for-19,  .474), and a .308 average overall.  LF John Bowker and C Dusty Brown also singled.   CF Corey Wimberly, 2B Shelby Ford, 1B Josh Fields, pinch-hitter Starling Marte, and 3B Andy Marte all got into the game.  

The Pirates have a day off on Tuesday. 

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Morton Looks Good, As Does Owens

Pirates  3,  Astros  1
Starter Charlie Morton continued to show the Pirates’ management that he belongs in the starting rotation with a 6-inning shutout performance today in Kissimmee, Florida.  Morton scattered 4 hits over his 6 innings and did not walk a batter.  He struck out 5 Astros.  C Humberto Quintero had two of those hits — a single in the 3rd, when he reached as far as third base before being stranded, and a two-out single in the 5th.  Astros’ starter Jordan Lyles followed that second single with a line drive into left field, and Quintero raced around the bases.  Pirates’ LF Josh Fields got the ball back into the infield quickly, and Quintero was caught in a run-down and tagged out by C Ryan Doumit.  Evan Meek and Chris Leroux each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.  Neither gave up a hit, but both worked around base runners who got on due to fielding errors.   SS Benji Gonzalez had a tough afternoon, with a fielding error in the 7th, back-to-back fielding errors in the 8th, then another fielding error in the 9th that lead to an unearned run.  With Mike Crotta on the mound in the 9th, the error, a single, and a walk loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly drove in the Astros’ only run.  Crotta has not allowed an earned run in his previous 6 appearances (8.1 innings).  

SS Ronny Cedeno provided the Pirates with their first 2 runs, on a 2nd-inning home run that followed Josh Fields’ double.  Ryan Doumit picked up the RBI in the 3rd inning with a triple into left field, driving in 1B Andy Marte, who had singled.  Steve Pearce, who started at third base today, singled twice in the game.  CF Pedro Ciriaco, 2B Corey Wimberly, RF Cole White, 1B Garrett Atkins, and pinch-hitter Josh Rodriguez also got into the game.  

More roster moves are expected on Monday, as the Pirates head into the final full week of spring training.

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