Marauders Start With A Rampage; Crotta Shines For Curve

Bradenton Marauders 18, �Fort Myers Miracle 3 (box)

The Marauders began their inaugural season in the Florida State League with a hit-a-thon, as they posted 16 hits on their was to 18 runs. �Two 7-run innings took care of most of the scoring and sent the Ft. Myers’ pitching staff scrambling. �Each member of the Bradenton lineup except one had at least one hit, and most had two hits. �1B Calvin Anderson did not have a hit, but he walked twice and came around to score. �LF Quincy Latimore went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBI singles. �RF Robbie Grossman had a 3-run homer, and 3B Jeremy Farrell contributed 7 RBI with a 3-run homer in the 7th inning and a grand slam in the 4th. �CF Starling Marte singled and doubled, walked, and scored 4 times. �C Tony Sanchez had two RBI singles.

The scoring started with Latimore’s homer in the bottom of the 2nd. �Singles by Latimore and Grossman, plus an error by the Miracle and a passed ball added two more runs in the 3rd. �The 7-run 4th inning followed, as the Marauders sent 11 batters to the plate. �Grossman’s homer and Farrell’s grand slam, plus a wild pitch with the bases loaded accounted for those 7 runs. �Marte’s double and an RBI single from Sanchez tacked on a run in the 5th. �The 7th was the second 7-run inning, as the Marauders sank the Miracle with two walks, four singles, a wild pitch that allowed a run to score, and Farrell’s 3-run shot.

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Pirates Cut Relievers; Morton Pitches Well In Loss

The Pirates moved six pitchers and one catcher to minor league camp today. �Jeff Karstens, who had been a starter for the Pirates in 2009 but was removed from the 40-man roster after the season, could be either a starter or a long reliever in Indianapolis to begin 2010. �Relievers Brian Bass, Anthony Claggett, Vinnie Chulk, Steven Jackson, and Jeremy Powell were all sent to Indianapolis. �Powell pitched for the Indians in 2009, and signed a minor league contract for 2010. �Bass and Chulk also were signed as free agents over the winter. �Also sent to Indy was another free agent, catcher Luke Carlin, who will likely play a back-up role for the Indians.

That leaves the Pirates with relievers DJ Carrasco and Jack Taschner. Neither of them are on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, so two roster moves will have to be made to accommodate them. �There are a few more players and positions who remain in question. �Infielder Ramon Vasquez seems to have lost out to a group of other infielders (Aki Iwamura, Delwyn Young, Bobby Crosby, and Ronny Cedeno) and the Pirates are trying to trade him before they have to just release him. �A decision has to be made between the two prospective back-up catchers Erik Kratz and Jason Jaramillo. The Pirates have to determine whether or not they will keep Rule 5 outfielder John Raynor. �Steve Pearce might also be optioned back to the Indians, since he has an option left and is being squeezed out by Jeff Clement at first and a host of outfielders. �Then, the Pirates just picked up reliever Hayden Penn yesterday and have promised to give him a good look before making a decision.

In today’s Grapefruit League action: � �Twins 4, �Pirates 1 �(box)

Apparently the Pirates used up all of their extra bat-power in yesterday’s 15-hit attack. �Today at Fort Myers, they managed only 4 hits and one run in the loss to the Twins. �A host of minor leaguers got a chance to have some fun with the big leaguers today, but they were no match for Twins’ starter Francisco Liriano, who allowed just 3 hits and 3 walks in 6 scoreless innings. �In fact, the Pirates didn’t have a hit until the 5th inning, when LF Robbie Grossman singled. �SS Bobby Crosby and C Jason Jaramillo also singled. �The Pirates’ only run came in the 9th inning, when 2B Shelby Ford tripled, then scored on C Erik Kratz’s RBI ground out.

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9th Inning Rallies Sink Indians and Pirates

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 4, �Indianapolis Indians 1

The Indians and the Yankees took a 1-1 tie into the top of the 8th in this afternoon’s game in Bradenton, Florida. �But that was when the Yankees got to reliever Jean Machi, who gave up two singles, including one for an RBI, to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. �Back-to-back singles and a 2-RBI double added two more runs in the 9th. �The Indians scored in the 1st inning, on a double by 1B Brian Myrow and an RBI single by 3B Pedro Alvarez. Machi suffered the loss, with 3 innings of work, including one walk and one strikeout. �Octavio Dotel started the game for the Indians and pitched “one inning”, with 3 strikeouts, though in order to get in a little more work, he actually got to face 5 batters and make 5 outs. �He threw 21 pitches.

Astros 6, �Pirates 4 � (box)

Starter Zach Duke pitched 6.2 scoreless innings and allowed only 2 hits and a walk, with 2 strikeouts, to get the Pirates off to a good start in their afternoon Grapefruit League game in Kissimmee, Florida. �Duke had been scheduled to throw either 6 innings or 80 pitches, and after going back out to begin the 7th inning, he finished at right around 80 pitches. �He also contributed 2 of the Pirates’ 8 hits, both doubles, one into each outfield corner, though he did not come around to score either time. �The Pirates got onto the scoreboard first, with one run in the 4th inning off the Astros’ Roy Oswalt. �LF Lastings Milledge doubled to lead off the inning, then advanced to third base on a ground out, and scored on an RBI single by Jeff Clement. Clement scored in the top of the 7th, when he doubled, went to third base on SS Bobby Crosby’s single, and then scrambled home when 3B Ramon Vasquez bounced into a double play.

Duke took it into the 7th inning, but when he gave up a 2-out single (only the second hit he’d allowed), he was relieved by Javier Lopez. Lopez finished that inning, but gave up a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt plus a fielding error by 3B Josh Harrison, who was up from minor league camp. �A triple off Jack Taschner, and the Astros had a 4-2 lead.

Led by the minor leaguers, the Pirates came back to tie it up in the top of the 9th. �LF Brandon Moss walked, and CF Robbie Grossman singled. �A wild pitch brought Moss across the plate, then SS Benji Gonzalez singled to score Grossman. �Tie score, 4-4. �Unfortunately, the Astros rallied in the bottom of the frame. �With reliever Jeremy Powell on the mound, a double and a walk-off 2-run homer gave Houston the win, with Powell charged for the loss.

Also in the game: �2B Shelby Ford, 1B Steve Pearce, PH Erik Kratz, and C Luke Carlin.

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