May 8: Pirates (12-16) @ Mets (14-13)

Thumbnail image for Citi Field.jpgFirst time at Citi Field, and as expected, it’s certainly an upgrade over the former Shea Stadium. I had the opportunity to go to Shea twice — once as a fan, once as a writer — and that was at least one time (maybe two times) too many. It wasn’t exactly the most pristine of work environments for anyone in the ballpark, which makes Citi Field that much more appreciated.

The word is the park plays pretty big (opposite of the new structure across town in the Bronx) and it’s obvious why. It’s 408 feet to dead center and goes back to 415 at one spot in right center. There’s an interesting little nook in right field (not sure if you can tell by the picture), so that could invite some challenging caroms for sure.

The clubhouse no longer spells of mold.. ahhhhh… and the players seemed to enjoy exploring the grounds a bit this afternoon. Right fielder Brandon Moss walked through the clubhouse at one point and quipped: “Has a Shea resemblance, doesn’t it?” Anything but…

Anyways, here are your pregame news and notes as this team looks to break out of slump that has seen it go from 11-7 to 12-16:

  • Spoke with closer Matt Capps a few minutes ago and he reported feeling great after throwing 10 pitches off the mound here at Citi Field this afternoon. Capps wasn’t initially supposed to throw off the mound until Saturday but was feeling good enough to give it a try. He’ll throw 20-25 pitches off the mound on Saturday, after which it will be determined whether or not he can pitch tomorrow. In talking with manager John Russell, I sensed that the Pirates might wait until Sunday or Tuesday to send Capps back out in a game just to be cautious.
  • Shortstop Jack Wilson (sprained left middle finger) begins his rehab assignment tonight in Syracuse, NY. Wilson has joined the Triple-A Indianapolis club.
  • Craig Hansen (neck spasms) has been checked out and doctors could not find anything to hang the ailment on. He’s continuing to do strengthening exercises to get the stiffness out, but until he does, Hansen will not return to throwing.
  • Russell reiterated that despite losing nine of their last 10 games, the players still have an upbeat spirit about them. “The attitude is still fine,” Russell said. “You still see focus. We need our bats to get going. We kind of need one of those games where it just clicks.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Brian Bixler (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Mets lineup:

  1. Jose Reyes (SS)
  2. Luis Castillo (2B)
  3. Carlos Beltran (CF)
  4. Carlos Delgado (1B)
  5. David Wright (3B)
  6. Daniel Murphy (LF)
  7. Omir Santos (C)
  8. Ryan Church (RF)
  9. Jonathan Niese (LHP) 

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