Pregame: Pirates vs. Rays in Bradenton

Good morning from McKechnie Field. Happy St. Patty’s day. The Pirates will wear hunter green hats today for the holiday.

The Pirates beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 yesterday at McKechnie Field. Right-hander Kevin Correia was solid needing just 46 pitches over his four shutout innings. Over 9.0 innings (three starts) this spring, Correia has not given up a run. Prospect Starling Marte continued to impress picking up two hits off Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee –the first a homer to left field to start the game. Although Marte won’t break camp with the club, he’s been fun to watch. I’ll have a feature up on him around 11 AM this morning.

  • The Pirates will play the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 today in Bradenton. Righty Jeff Karstens will face the Rays’ James Shields. Following Karstens in relief: Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli and Ryota Igarashi.
  • Karstens will be making his second start of the Grapefruit League. He tossed 3.0 scoreless innings his last spring training trip to the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays. Karstens pitched four scoreless frames on Monday against the Netherlands in the International Baseball Tournament in St. Pete. Those stats didn’t count towards his spring training statistics.
  • Pirates lineup vs. Rays:

Alex Presley 7

Nate McLouth 9

Andrew McCutchen 8

Neil Walker 4

Garrett Jones 3

Pedro Alvarez 5

Rod Barajas 2

Clint Barmes 6

Jeff Karstens 1

  • Extras for today’s game vs. Rays: Michael McKenry, Eric Fryer, Jake Fox, Gorkys Hernandez, Starling Marte, Jose Tabata, Matt Hague, Josh Harrison, Casey McGehee, Jordy Mercer, Yamaico Navarro, Nick Evans, Brandon Boggs
  • Right-hander A.J. Burnett, who is currently in the conditioning phase of getting back from right eye surgery, threw a side session this morning. Pitching coach Ray Searage and Jim Benedict watched on as Burnett threw to bullpen catcher Herberto Andrade.
  • Rays lineup vs. Pirates: Luke Scott DH, Sean Rodriguez 6, Matt Joyce 9, Carlos Pena 3, Jeff Keppinger 4, Sam Fuld 8, Jose Lobaton 2, Jesus Feliciano 7, Matt Mangini 5
  • The Pirates will play the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 tomorrow in Port Charlotte. Rigth-hander Charlie Morton will make his second start of the spring. He will face the Twins’ Francisco Liriano. Following Morton in relief: Jared Hughes, Evan Meek, Tony Watson, Juan Cruz and Chris Leroux.
  • There will also be a ‘B’ game at Pirate City tomorrow against the Twins. Righty Brad Lincoln will get the start. He will be followed by Chris Resop, Daniel McCutchen, Daniel Cabrera and Shairon Martis.
  • The Pirates have collected 10 or more hits in eight of their last 11 games, which included a spring-high 19 hits against the Twins in Fort Myers on Thursday.
  • Clint Barmes has hit safely in five of his last seven games; Jason Grilli has not surrendered a hit in his first four outings; Matt Hague has four hits in his last six at-bats; Josh Harrison has reached base safely in 11 of his first 17 plate appearances; Garrett Jones has five hits and a walk among his last eight plate appearances; Starling Marte has 11 hits in his last 20 at-bats; Andrew McCutchen has eight hits in his last 19 at-bats; Casey McGehee has six hits in his last 14 at-bats; Nate McLouth has hit safely in five fo his last seven games; Alex Presley has hit safely in seven of his first nine games.
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