Braves 5, Pirates 2

Ford, Shelby 1.jpgEric Hinske had to be scratched as the Pirates’ designated hitter on Friday because of a left rib cage contusion. He jammed his ribs on Wednesday when he ran into the outfield wall. Hinske said that he felt a little discomfort in Thursday’s game, but that it felt worse while taking some swings on Friday.

Hinske estimated that he could potentially be out for a week just to be cautious. The issue, though, is not expected to linger.

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Though he didn’t start the game, starter Zach Duke made his first spring appearance on Friday. Duke allowed one run — a homer by Greg Norton — in his one inning of work. He also struck out one.

Duke only threw one inning on Friday so that he could be slotted to pitch again on Monday. The lefty is scheduled to toss two innings on Monday since starter Ian Snell will be missing because of his World Baseball Classic commitment.

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Other items of note:

  • Both Donnie Veal and Chris Bootcheck had another strong performance. Veal, a Rule 5 pick, and Bootcheck, a non-roster invitee, are both competing for one of the final few bullpen spots. Each pitched their second scoreless inning of the spring on Friday.  
  • Third baseman Chipper Jones made the start for the Braves on Friday in what was his first trip to Bradenton since he played there in rookie ball back in the early 90’s.
  • Second baseman Shelby Ford (pictured above) has a three-game hit streak going after singling in his second at-bat on Friday. Ford is now 3-for-7 in his first taste of Major League Grapefruit League play.
  • And kudos to those in the crowd of 2,994 who chimed in to help out with the National Anthem today. A bit of a microphone issue didn’t stop those at McKechnie Field from singing along to make sure the anthem was heard.  

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Up Next: The Pirates make their longest trek of the spring on Saturday as they travel to face the Astros in Kissimmee. Much like Thursday, a handful of the team’s established players — Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Nate McLouth, Hinske, Ryan Doumit – will not make the trip.

Ace Paul Maholm will be making his first start of the year and will pitch the first two innings of Saturday’s affair. He’ll be followed by Jeff Karstens, Matt Capps, Jesse Chavez, Denny Bautista and Craig Hansen. Right-hander Brian Moehler will start for the Astros.

For those back in Pittsburgh, the 1:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on 104.7 FM.

Photo Credit: Dave Arrigo (Pirates) 

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