INDIANAPOLIS – The weather is going to be around freezing for the first pitch in the Pirates’ season opener on Sunday, and they had a chance to get used to that weather in the final Spring Training game in Indianapolis on Saturday. The winds were howling, creating tough conditions, and the Pirates followed suit, appearing flat all around in the 13-6 loss.

For Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, the result of the game was not important, it was about getting out healthy and ready for opening day,

“We want to represent and honor the fans here, and the fan base,” Hurdle said. “It’s really nothing about the game. We want to get our guys a couple of at-bats to tune up for tomorrow.”

The one offensive bright spot was a first inning bomb by David Freese, who was hitting in the three hole behind Andrew McCutchen. Freese took the 3-2 Alfredo Simon offering and hit a rocket, line drive homer over the centerfield wall. It was Freese’s second home run of the short, impressive spring with the Pirates, where he had a .913 OPS coming into the game.

The lineup was what you’d expect on Opening Day, with John Jaso batting first, followed by McCutchen, Freese, Starling Marte, and Francisco Cervelli. They were followed by Gregory Polanco, Josh Harrison, and Jordy Mercer in the 6-8 spots. However, the starters left the game after three innings. With the season opener just 24 hours after the exhibition game, this was to be expected.

“This was a really good idea when the season was starting Monday,” Hurdle said of the game. “And then Major League Baseball backed us up to play Sunday, it became a little more challenging. It’s still a great opportunity.”

In addition to Freese, Jason Rogers knocked a two-run double, his second of the spring, in the fifth inning. Rogers concluded the competition with Pedro Florimon and Cole Figueroa on Saturday, and made a nice final impression with the drive. However, Rogers also committed an error in the field in the contest.

In the sixth, Florimon picked up a single, but Figueroa put a damper on the rally with a double play. To make matters worse, the next hitter, Max Moroff smacked a two-run shot. The Moroff blast cut the deficit to three, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.

On the mound, matters were much worse. Wilfredo Boscan started the game and allowed eight hits and eight runs in 2.2 innings. Jim Fuller allowed a hit, but got the final out of the third. Curtis Partch took over and allowed two hits and a run in his two innings of work. Jorge Rondon worked two innings and allowed four hits and three runs. A.J. Schugel retired the final two hitters and Spring Training was in the books.

After the game, Clint Hurdle said the team wouldn’t be making their final roster moves until Sunday morning, before their season opener against the Cardinals. The Pirates still have two cuts to make, with one of Cole Figueroa, Pedro Florimon, or Jason Rogers making the bench. They also need to officially announce Kyle Lobstein to the bullpen.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. My take on the bench (if anyone cares):
    1. back up catchers are required: Stewart is a lock. He has a 2-year contract, he is Cole’s catcher, and the only other option, Diaz, is injured.
    2. we need a real OF that can hit like an OF and play LF in PNC when Marte or Cutch rest: Joyce is a lock as he has already been announced as winning a spot
    3. with Jaso as a starter, we need a platoon option that can field the position and hit like a 1Bman: Morse is close to a lock. Rogers and Morse are similar talents. Rogers has youth but he also has options and Morse is still owed $4.5 mil. (Note: this is kind of irrelevant because Freese will take this spot in about 3 weeks.)
    4. teams need two back up middle INFers and no starters beside (Mercer and Harrison, who are already playing middle inf, can play there): S-Rod is a lock. He is being paid $2.5, is considered a leader in the clubhouse, can play all of the OF and INF position, and is the only above average fielding 1Bman.
    5. Figueroa will get the last spot – barely. He is a little younger, has more hitting promise, and is left handed on a mostly right handed team. Florimon is the better SS and has no options. But the AAA infield is so loaded neither would even play if demoted.

    The truly interesting thing here is that my take on the bench by May 1 (assuming no injuries and a return of Kang) is:
    – Stewart, Joyce, Freese, S-Rod, and Figueroa (and no Morse)

  2. Jaso’s job is to get walks/obp. But, you don’t walk the guy in front of Cutch. The batting second and high obp strategies counteract each other. Thoughts?

    • Just because you don’t want to walk someone it doesn’t mean it never happens and given that the team doesn’t have a “prototypical” leadoff Jaso should be just fine there, I’m wondering whether Harrison or Mercer get the leadoff spot when Jaso isn’t starting though.

    • He’s referring to the double play right before it. Meaning, the Pirates had a chance to add more and close the deficit, but that double play really hurt and then following it up with a two-run homer made that double play look even worse.

      • I don’t even know if there is an answer to this, but is there a reportable spring training won loss record of any kind?

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