Pirates 4, Blue Jays 1
Pitchers were the story for the Pirates this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida. Five Pirates’ pitchers combined to hold the Blue Jays to 4 hits this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida. Charlie Morton made his second strong start in the Grapefruit League. He gave up one run in the top of the 1st, courtesy of two former Pirates: CF Rajai Davis led off with a double, legged out when LF Matt Diaz was a little slow in picking up (the Pirates should have anticipated Davis’ speed). 3B Jose Bautista drove the run in with a single slipped through into left field. Morton ended the inning by inducing a double play, then he retired the side in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. That included a nice barehanded snatch of a bunt attempt, and a whirl to throw the batter out at first. Brad Lincoln buzzed through the next three innings, retiring all 9 batters he faced. Morton and Lincoln each struck out one batter, and neither gave up a walk. Tyler Yates and Jeff Locke each took an inning, and neither gave up a hit, though Yates walked one. Cesar Valdez gave up the other two Jays’ hits in the 9th inning. After a strikeout, he surrendered two singles, and with a wild pitch, that gave him runners on the corners. But he picked the runner off first, then ended the game with a strikeout.
The Pirates’ hitters were having some trouble with Blue Jays’ starter Brett Cecil. Cecil struck out 5 of the first 6 Pirates’ batters, and allowed only one hit, a double by C Jason Jaramillo, in the 3rd inning. Jaramillo doubled again to lead off the 6th inning. CF Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk, then a ground out put both runners into scoring position. 3B Pedro Alvarez drove in both with a standing triple into the right field corner, to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. They added a run in the 7th, when 2B Brian Friday doubled into left field with two outs, then scored on C Dusty Brown’s single. Another two-out rally provided the Pirates’ fourth run in the top of the 9th. SS Pedro Ciriaco lined a singled into right field, then stole second base. 3B Josh Rodriguez slipped a single into left field, and Ciriaco came around to score. Rodriguez also stole second base, and Brown was hit by a pitch, but the rally ended when CF Corey Wimberly popped out.
Also getting into the game: Jeremy Farrell pinch-hit (ground out) in the 8th inning; his father, John Farrell, is the new manager of the Blue Jays. 1B Josh Fields, LF Alex Presley, RF Gorkys Hernandez, and 3B Andy Marte also played.
Pirates 2, Yankees 0
Six Pirate pitchers combined to shut out the Yankees at McKechnie Field this afternoon. James McDonald and Aaron Thompson each pitched 2 scoreless innings, and each allowed 2 hits. That was all the hits the Yankees could get. Daniel McCutchen pitched 2 innings, retiring 6 batters in order, including 2 strikeouts. Chris Resop, Ramon Aguero, and Daniel Moskos all contributed one scoreless and hitless inning, and Moskos earned the save.
The Pirates posted just 6 hits. Two of those belonged to C Chris Snyder. He singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was caught trying to steal second base, then singled again to begin the 6th, and was replaced by pinch runner Jeremy Farrell. 2B Josh Rodriguez bunted Farrell to second base, and SS Pedro Ciriaco drove in the first run of the game with an RB double into left field. The Pirates scored again in the 7th, when DH Garrett Jones opened the frame with a walk. 1B Steve Pearce bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, moving Jones to third base. 3B Josh Fields brought in Jones with a sacrifice fly.
CF Alex Presley walked, singled, and was hit by a pitch in the game. LF John Bowker also singled. Also getting in the game: CF Gorkys Hernandez, LF Miles Durham, RF Andrew Lambo, 1B Garrett Atkins, RF Matt Diaz, C Wyatt Toregas, 2B Brian Friday, and SS Corey Wimberly. Doug Bernier, who played for the Indy Indians in 2010, got into the game for the Yankees.
The Pirates have signed 3B Christian Colonel to a minor league contract. Colonel was the Rockies’ 5th round draft pick in 2003. He has played all around the field, he has spent more time in the infield, and most of those at third base. More about Colonel to come in the next few days.
Former Pirate farmhand C James Skelton (Bradenton 2010) signed with the Brewers.
Pirates 10, Rays 3
The Pirates posted 13 hits on their way to 10 runs in their McKechnie Field opener on Sunday afternoon. CF Andrew McCutchen had three hits, including a solo homer for the Pirates’ first run of the game, and a double. RF Garrett Jones also had three hits — 2 doubles and a single. McCutchen began a rally in the 4th with a single, and doubles by Jones and C Ryan Doumit drove in 2 runs, all off former Pirate pitcher Chris Bootcheck. Another former Pirate, Jonah Bayliss, came on to pitch the 5th inning for the Rays. Bayliss got the first two outs, then gave up a triple to 2B Neil Walker, and doubles by McCutchen and 3B Pedro Alvarez, and the Pirates had 2 more runs. Chase d’Arnaud came into the game for Walker in the 6th, and he led off the bottom of the 7th with a walk. D’Arnaud moved to second base on a ground out, then scrambled around from second base, surprising the Rays, to score on an RBI ground out by 1B Steve Pearce. The Pirates added another 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th. That inning began with a solo homer by C Jason Jaramillo. SS Josh Rodriguez singled, then with two outs and Rodriguez on third, d’Arnaud lined an RBI single up the middle. CF Corey Wimberly walked, and 3B Andy Marte drove in both d’Arnaud and Wimberly with a double into right field.
Kevin Correia made the start for the Pirates. He gave up a run in the top of the 1st, with a lead-off walk and two ground outs. Correia got into trouble in the 2nd inning, giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. That was all for Correia. Minor leaguer Ryan Beckman, who pitched for State College in 2010, came on in relief of Correia. Beckman got the first batter he faced to ground to second, which allowed the runner from third to score. Another ground out ended the inning. Usually that would be the end of the outing for a minor leaguer who is filling in. But, Joe Beimel, who was scheduled to pitch after Correia, had some elbow soreness and did not pitch. So, Beckman kept going. He threw three more pitches, and retired three batters in the 3rd inning, with a line out and two ground outs. Brian Burres earned the win with 2 scoreless innings following Beckman. Joel Hanrahan, Jose Veras, and another minor leaguer, Tony Watson, each pitched one scoreless inning. Watson worked around a lead-off single in the 8th. Chris Leroux pitched the 9th, and gave up a solo homer and two singles, but ended the inning with a pop out and a double play.
LF John Bowker and RF Andrew Lambo also got into the game.
Rays 9, Pirates 5
The Pirates opened the official Grapefruit League season with a loss to the Rays. The Pirates were held to just 6 hits. All but two were singles and all but one were by the established major leaguers. 1B Garrett Atkins smacked a ground rule double for an RBI in the top of the 9th, and C Dusty Brown singled moments later. LF Jose Tabata, 2B Neil Walker, 1B Lyle Overbay, and C Chris Snyder had the other hits. LF Alex Presley walked twice in two trips to the plate; the second walk came in the top of the 9th, with two outs and a runner on second base, and the Pirates management watching carefully to see how he’d handle the situation.
Charlie Morton pitched the first two innings for the Pirates. He had the lead-off batter reach base in both innings, on a walk and a single, but both times he got out of the innings courtesy of a double play. Brad Lincoln worked around 2 singles to keep the Rays from scoring in the 3rd, but gave up a solo home run to Evan Longoria in the 4th. Overall, an encouraging outing for Morton, and not too bad for Lincoln. Chris Resop also gave up a solo home run in the 5th, which tied the score at 2-2. After Daniel Moskos pitched a scoreless inning, Daniel McCutchen got into trouble in the 7th. A double and two walks loaded the bases, and another double cleared them, giving the Rays a 5-2 lead. Justin Thomas also struggled in his inning, the 8th, though the 4 runs that came in were all unearned, after a fielding error by 3B Josh Fields. Tom Boleska, up from minor league camp, finished the inning, giving up a single before getting the final out.
Other minor leaguers getting some playing time: 2B Josh Rodriguez, CF Gorkys Hernandez, SS Pedro Ciriaco.
The Pirates are plus-one-minus-one in the major league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.
With the first pick of the draft, the Pirates took SS Josh Rodriguez from the Cleveland Indians. The Houston native was Cleveland’s second round pick in the 2006 draft, coming out of Rice University. He moved up through their organization, spending all of 2008 and 2009 with AA Akron, though he appeared in only 33 games in 2009 –probably due to injury. He hit .241 in 2008, with 7 homers and 49 RBI. He was hitting better in 2009, with a .295 average and 12 RBI in those 33 games. Rodriguez split the 2010 season between AA Akron, where he hit .317, and AAA Columbus. In 86 games for the Clippers, after being promoted in late May, Rodriguez hit .293, with 23 doubles, 12 homers, and 46 RBI, and was a key player for the Clippers as they won the International League championship. He had a particularly good June, hitting .380 with 5 homers and 15 RBI in 20 games. His filding is not the best it could be — something to work on. As a Rule 5 draftee, Rodriguez will have to remain with the major league team in Pittsburgh, or else be returned (or at least offered back) to Cleveland. Rodriguez will turn 26 years old next week.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals think they have a spot on their roster for pitcher Nate Adcock. This 22-year-old righty was drafted by the Mariners in the 5th round of the 2006 draft, and came to the Pirates in July 2009 as part of the trade for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell. Adcock had been at the Mariners’ A+ level, and he plugged right into the Pirates’ A+ team, which was then in Lynchburg. He made 4 starts and 3 relief appearances over the last month of the 2009 season, earning a 3-2 record and a 5.25 ERA — he had been 5-7 with a 5.29 ERA at A+ High Desert. Adcock spent all of the 2010 season at the A+ level with the Bradenton Marauders, where he made 26 starts and one relief appearance. He earned an 11-7 record and an improved 3.38 ERA. He threw 141 innings, and allowed 131 hits, 53 earned runs, and 38 walks, with 113 strikeouts. Adcock will have to remain on the Royals major league team, which means a three-level jump for him, or be returned to the Pirates.