Pirates 11, Astros 4

Ross Ohlendorf used his start on Sunday to focus on his slider, though it wasn’t as sharp as he had hoped. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan liked the slider he saw from Ohlendorf pre-game in the bullpen, but it wasn’t until the final few Ohlendorf threw in his 3 1/3 innings that Ohlendorf matched the same sharpness.

Manager John Russell, though, lauded Ohlendorf’s sinker and changeup and his ability to work both sides of the plate in the start.


Some various news and notes:

  • GM Neal Huntington said to expect a first round of minor cuts early in the week (Monday, perhaps?) The first cuts would be players who were not expected to compete for a Major League spot. It will be about 7-10 days then before a more significant round of cuts occurs.
  • Though it seemed like an already forgone conclusion, Huntington crossed Jimmy Barthmaier’s name off the list of starters competing for a rotation spot with the Pirates. Barthmaier has allowed nine runs, five walks and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
  • When asked what it might take for Andy Phillips to make the team out of Spring Training, Huntington said management needs to see Phillips play a successful second base. Phillips had significant time as a second baseman in the Minors, but has made only eight Major League appearances there.
  • Because of all the injuries to outfielders, Miles Durham, 25, has been called up from Minor League camp to serve as a backup outfielder. He entered the game to play left field in the top of the ninth.


World Baseball Classic Update:

  • Ramon Vazquez went 0-for-4 in Puerto Rico’s WBC win on Saturday. He started at third base. Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell will make the start for the Puerto Rican team on Monday when they face Team Netherlands. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.


Inside the box score:

  • Freddy Sanchez hit a towering homer in the game and finished with two hits and a walk in three plate appearances. Sanchez is participating in his first injury-free Spring Training since 2006 and it seems to have him off to a great start: “I’m not just saying this, this is the best I’ve felt in Spring Training,” Sanchez said. “It’s nice to wake up in the morning and feel good about your body, just come to work and do your job.”  
  • Andy LaRoche reached base four times on Sunday (two singles, two walks) and is now hitting .600 (9-for-15) this spring.
  • Conversely, Nyjer Morgan’s batting average is going in the opposite direction. After an 0-for-5 day on Sunday, Morgan is just 4-for-27 this spring. He has one hit in his last 14 at-bats.


Up Next: The Pirates have one more game on tap before their first off-day this spring. The Red Sox come to town on Monday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game at McKechnie Field against the Pirates. Scheduled to pitch for the Pirates: Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, Tyler Yates, Brian Slocum and Chris Bootcheck.

Boston will start Jon Lester


Hi, I’m Sergey Zikov of bleacherreport.com. First, as a cumulative review, these blogs are excellent and really give the reader everything they need about Buccos’ spring training. I learn something new every time I read these. Second, since Pedro Alvarez is having a very solid spring, where do you see him landing and does he have a shot at the big league roster this year? Thanks!

Hi Sergey, Phil of the Altoona Curve here. What we hear is Alvarez starting in High A Lynchburg and then moving up to AA Altoona mid year if all goes well. There’s an out side shot he’ll be called up to Pittsburgh in September, Steven Pearce accomplished that jump from A ball last year, so it’s possible. He needs to get some pro at bats under his belt, and A and AA should allow for that day in day out experience.

Phil, thanks for the update. Great info. I know he has been hitting well through spring training but I don’t want to see him get rushed in any way. He should do just fine in the minors this year with a bat like that. Andy just needs to hold down the fort until Alvarez is ready to go (and that shouldn’t even take long, he played in the ultra-competitive ACC in college).

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