Rays 6, Pirates 4

I have to admit that I hesitated to write last week that outfielder Brandon Moss would be ready to go Opening Day after he sustained the sprain/contusion to his right thumb. That’s not typically the type of injury that heals within days.

However, as we sit three weeks away from Opening Day, Moss continues to progress rapidly. On Monday, he took some swings in the batting cages. And on Tuesday, he plans to take batting practice with the team.

If that goes well, he’ll take a second round of BP on Wednesday. And if that goes well, too, Moss is then tentatively scheduled to play in a Minor League game on Thursday. That’s quite encouraging progress if you ask me.

***

Eric Hinske is scheduled to be the DH in the Pirates’ game against the Twins on Wednesday. This would be Hinske’s first game since Feb. 26. He has been out with a left rib cage contusion.

Hinske played in a Minor League game on Monday and will do so on Tuesday before being cleared to rejoin the big league club on the field Wednesday. Certainly good news… 

***

World Baseball Classic update:

  • Ian Snell started for Team Puerto Rico in its game against Venezuela on Monday night. Snell threw 72 pitches (49 for strikes) in four innings. He allowed one run on five hits and two walks. The right-hander finished with five strikeouts. I heard from two friends after Snell’s strikeout with runners on second and third and two outs in the first. Apparently, it was a sick, 95-mph sinking fastball.
  • That Puerto Rico/Venezuela game is still in progress, but after seven innings, infielder Ramon Vazquez has gone 1-for-4 with a triple for Puerto Rico.
  • Left-handed reliever John Grabow made a brief appearance for the US team in its win over the Netherlands on Sunday night. Grabow walked one in 1/3 of an inning. 

***

GM Neal Huntington revealed this afternoon that right-hander Jason Davis was bothered by a nagging hamstring earlier this spring, which is the reason he hasn’t already begun stretching out his arm.

Davis had been expected to progress as a starter. But until Sunday, when he pitched two innings, Davis had made five appearances and thrown just one inning in each. Now, though, he is healthy and expected to start building up that innings load in each subsequent start.

*** 

Up Next: It will be another game under the lights for the Pirates on Tuesday, this time as they travel to Tampa to face the Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Virgil Vasquez, one of four remaining rotation candidates for two open spots, will make the start. He is scheduled to be followed by Sean Burnett, Chris Bootcheck, Tyler Yates and Evan Meek. CC Sabathia will make the start for New York.

For those in Pittsburgh, the game will be broadcast on 104.7 FM.  

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