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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Walker Goes 4-For-4 But Pirates Fall

Orioles  11,  Pirates  7
The Orioles pounded out 15 hits, including 3 homers, to the Pirates’ 8 hits (and 4 home runs) this evening, as the Pirates lost in Sarasota, Florida.  2B Neil Walker took care of half of the hits and half of the homers for the Pirates — he homered in the 1st inning, singled in the 3rd, homered again in the 6th (both solo homers), and singled in the 8th.  
The Pirates got onto the scoreboard in the top of the 1st, with back-to-back homers by 1B Lyle Overbay (2 runs) and Walker.  Starter Ross Ohlendorf worked around a single in the bottom of the 1st, but gave up two solo homers in the bottom of the 2nd, then an unearned run in the 3rd on an error, a single, and a sacrifice fly.  
The 3-3 tie lasted until the bottom of the 5th, when the Orioles got to Ohlendorf with a 2-run homer, a double, and a walk.  Evan Meek relieved Ohlendorf with two outs and runners on first and second.  The first batter Meek faced, former Indy Indian JJ Hardy, singled in a run, to give the Orioles a 6-3 lead.   The Pirates got one run back with Walker’s second homer in the top of the 6th, but the Orioles scored 2 more unearned runs off Meek in the bottom of the frame.  Garrett Olson came in to pitch the 7th inning and allowed 3 more Orioles’ runs, with a walk, a double, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single.  
The Pirates rallied for a run in the 8th, on a lead-off walk by Overbay, and singles by Walker and 3B Pedro Alvarez.   They added another 2 runs in the top of the 9th when SS Josh Rodriguez blasted a 2-run homer.  
Chris Leroux pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning for the Pirates.  Pedro Ciriaco got another two innings in at center field, where he made some outs.  Also in the game:  pinch-hitter Steve Pearce, pinch-hitter/LF John Bowker.

The Indy Indians were scheduled to play a game against the Las Vegas 51’s in Bradenton this afternoon.  No results available at this point.  
Last season’s 2nd round draft pick Stetson Allie pitched in an intrasquad game at Pirate City this afternoon.  In two innings, he allowed 3 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks.   

Other notes:
The Pirates released, then immediately re-signed OF Austin McClune.  Not sure what that was about.  

Former Pirate pitcher Oliver Perez, who was released by the Mets on Monday, signed a minor league contract with the Nationals yesterday.   

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Homers for Alvarez and McCutchen In Pirates’ Loss

Astros  10,  Pirates  6
The Astros and the Pirates had a hit-fest this afternoon in Bradenton, combining for 30 hits (14 for the Pirates).  But even with a solo homer by 3B Pedro Alvarez and a 2-run blast by CF Andrew McCutchen, it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to take the win.   Starter Brian Burres struggled trhough 5 innings and gave up 6 runs on 10 hits.  The Astros jumped right on Burres in the top of the 1st, scoring 2 runs on a single, a walk, an RBI double, and a sacrifice fly.  McCutchen tied the score with his homer in the bottom of the 1st.  The Pirates took the lead in the 2nd inning, when C Ryan Doumit led off with a single up the middle.  SS Ronny Cedeno doubled, putting two runners into scoring position.  Burres chopped an infield grounder that let Doumit score, and LF Jose Tabata’s sacrifice fly brought in Cedeno.  But the Astros kept coming at Burres, with a solo homer in the top of the 3rd, then 3 more runs in the 5th.  Two singles and a fielding error by RF Matt Diaz tied the score, and a double and a sacrifice fly drove in 2 more runs, to give the Astros a 6-4 lead.  Alvarez’s homer got the Pirates within one run again in the bottom of .  2B Neil Walker got the run back in the bottom of the frame with a double, scoring on a single and a sacrifice fly by 1B Lyle Overbay.  The Astros put the game away in the top of the 9th.  With Tyler Yates on the mound, three consecutive singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly gave the Astros 3 more runs.  

Chris Resop gave up a double but kept the Astros from scoring in the 8th inning.  Mike Crotta pitched a perfect 6th inning, continuing his scoreless streak for the spring.  2B Pedro Ciriaco singled and pinch-hitter Steve Pearce doubled in the game, both boosting their cause as they try to make the Opening Day roster.  LF John Bowker, CF Corey Wimberly, C Dusty Brown, and SS Josh Rodriguez all got into the game.  

The Indianapolis Indians did not have a scheduled game today.   
The members of the 2010 Altoona Curve were presented with their championship rings before the Pirates’ game today. 

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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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