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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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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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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McDonald Takes No-Hitter into 6th in Bucs 5-4 Loss to Astros

BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander James McDonald took the mound in the 6th inning with one out at McKechnie Field on Saturday. After retiring his first batter, pinch-hitter Travis Buck connected for a single into shallow center field for a hit — the first that McDonald had given up during his seven inning outing. Immediately after giving up the single, the crowd at McKechnie gave McDonald a standing ovation. “I didn’t...

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