Day 26: Tigers @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Another gloomy, rainy, cold Florida day so far. That seems to be much more the norm and not the exception this spring. One of these days it will begin to feel like Spring Training weather, though that might not be until we’re all back in Pittsburgh.

In case you missed it, I wrote a feature about D.J. Carrasco for the off day yesterday, noting his interesting past and request that the Pirates pay up the quarter they owed him from over a decade ago. Honestly, I needed another 5,000 or so words to tell the rest of Carrasco’s story in full, but I did want to share one quote that I had to leave out because the story just didn’t have room.

I asked Carrasco if, now that he had returned to an organization that he felt stalled his development many years ago, he wanted to prove to the Pirates that they made a mistake in never permanently moving him above Single-A back then. Carrasco said, ‘No,’ and then added this:

“My thing here is I just want to upset the world with baseball,” he said. “My second year with the Royals, we were in first place until August. It was neat to be the underdog, have success and upset a lot of teams. That would be awesome here. And I just see the fans in Pittsburgh – they’ve had a lot of bad seasons and are still just so supportive. It’s impressive.”

As for other news items on this St. Patrick’s Day morning…

  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno is not in the starting lineup, but he was in the batting cage earlier taking swings. He said his hand (which was spiked on Sunday) is just fine. Cedeno is listed on Thursday’s travel squad, so he’ll likely return to action tomorrow.
  • As expected, Octavio Dotel is scheduled to pitch one inning in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Thursday. If all goes well, his next outing could come this weekend with the Major League squad.
  • If you’re interested in competing in the Bucs Bits Bloggers NCAA bracket challenge, don’t forget to join the group and fill out your bracket before games start tomorrow. This link should take you to the group. You can also search for ‘Bucs Bits Bloggers’ and that should get you there as well.
  • As is always the case on this March date, all players are donning green hats for the St. Patty’s day holiday. Personally, I’m a fan of the green.
  • Infielder Gift Ngoepe (from South Africa) will be here at McKechnie Field later as a reserve for Wednesday’s game.
  • Thursday’s pitching schedule for those wanting to stay a day ahead: Ross Ohlendorf (4 innings/60 pitches), Brian Bass, Chris Jakubauskas, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi, Jack Taschner.
  • Kevin Hart makes the start today and while the Pirates don’t label any game as crucial at this point in the spring, it’s an important start nonetheless. Hart has struggled in each of his first two outings, and if he is going to help his cause for the fifth rotation spot, he needs to start finding some consistency in his motion and execution. So far, even the simplest of tasks — like finding command with the fastball — have been challenging.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (DH)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Bobby Crosby (1B)
  6. Ryan Church (RF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Brandon Moss (LF)
  9. Ramon Vazquez (SS)

Pitchers: Hart (3 innings, 50 pitches), Carrasco, Vinnie Chulk, Brendan Donnelly, Evan Meek

Tigers lineup:

  1. Clete Thomas (CF)
  2. Don Kelly (3B)
  3. Carlos Guillen (LF)
  4. Miguel Cabrera (1B)
  5. Ryan Raburn (RF)
  6. Brandon Inge (DH)
  7. Alex Avila (C)
  8. Scott Sizemore (2B)
  9. Ramon Santiago (SS)

Pitchers: Nate Robinson, Eddie Bonine, Fu-Te Ni, Zach Miner

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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