Pregame: Game Five vs. Toronto in Bradenton

Good afternoon from McKechnie Field. The Pirates today will face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 PM.

  • Right-hander Jeff Karstens (three innings) will be making his first start of the Grapefruit League this season. He pitched two scoreless innings Friday in an intrasquad game at McKechnie Field. Karstens will face righty Kyle Drabek.
  • Following Karstens in relief: Evan Meek (1), Brad Lincoln (2), Jeff Locke (2) and Jason Grilli (1).
  • Neil Walker was a scratch from today’s lineup due to low back tightness. He is day-to-day but likely held out of games for the next 2-3 days as a precaution.
  • Today’s lineup:

Alex Presley 7

Jose Tabata 9

Andrew McCutchen 8

Garrett Jones 3

Pedro Alvarez 5

Clint Barmes 6

Josh Harrison 4

Michael McKenry 2

Jeff Karstens 1

*Today marks the first day this spring the pirates will not use a designated hitter.

  • The Pirates will face the Phillies in Clearwater tomorrow at 1:05. Right-hander James McDonald will start for the Bucs against lefty Cole Hamels. Justin Wilson, Daniel Moskos, Jared Hughes, Bryan Morris and Mike Crotta will follow in relief.
  • Right-hander Charlie Morton pitched a “B” game this morning at Pirate City. I’ll have a story up on his outing and thoughts of his progress up on the main page later today.
  • Both Juan Cruz and Ryota Igarashi tossed scoreless outings of relief in Tuesday’s 7-4 win over the Yankees. Hurdle said he likes what he sees from them this spring so far.

“They’re both here to compete. They both have opportunities to win a job in the bullpen. Cruz was very efficient again [Tuesday]. Iggy kept the ball down extremely well, good velocity, good location. Both of them we felt were good signs when we were able to get them. They’ve done nothing but come here, show up and work very hard and been very efficient their first two outings.”