Day 38: Astros @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

This morning, manager John Russell revealed his plans for the Pirates’ lineup this season. It includes having the pitcher bat 8th and sliding Andrew McCutchen from the leadoff spot to the No. 2 hole. Aki Iwamura will bat at the top of the order, and Ronny Cedeno will hit in the 9th spot. The middle of the order, Russell noted, could be more interchangeable depending on the pitcher.

I’ll go into more detail and provide Russell’s explanations behind such a lineup in a story on pirates.com later, but you can debate his choices in the meantime.

Other news on a rainy Bradenton morning…

  • Cedeno has already been scratched from today’s lineup due to some tightness in his lower back. It is purely precautionary, and apparently Cedeno had been scratched late Sunday, too, but since the game in Clearwater never started, no one ever knew. He said he can’t pinpoint when or how the tightness started, but he expects to return to the lineup on Tuesday.
  • Ryan Church said his fractured left middle finger is just fine. He isn’t in the lineup on Monday, but is available off the bench.
  • Because of Sunday’s rainout, a handful of pitchers are pitching in a Minor League game today to get their work in. D.J. Carrasco is scheduled to throw three innings (45 pitches) at Pirate City. Brian Bass (two innings) and Jeremy Powell (one inning) are also scheduled to throw.
  • Right-hander Joel Hanrahan will up his workload to two innings (40 pitches) in a Minor League game on Tuesday.
  • With no cuts this morning, the Pirates still have 37 players in Major League camp. Rosters have to be set by 3 pm on Sunday.
  • Tomorrow’s scheduled pitchers: Charlie Morton (6/7 innings, 95 pitches), Javier Lopez, Vinnie Chulk, Anthony Claggett, Jeff Karstens, Steven Jackson.
  • Closer Octavio Dotel will have his first back-to-back outing today. He threw one scoreless inning in Port Charlotte on Sunday.
  • One week until Opening Day, folks! Currently, the extended day forecast calls for a high of 66 degrees and rain showers in Pittsburgh next Monday. I’ll take the 60s as long as we can get rid of that rain.
  • Kudos to V. M Whitaker who is leading (by a decent margin, I might add) our Bucs Bits Bloggers NCAA tourney challenge through the second weekend. My bracket is a mess, though I know I have a lot of company in that department. I will say my rooting interest the rest of the way lies with Butler, who I did see play at Hinkle Fieldhouse earlier this season.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Paul Maholm (LHP)
  9. Bobby Crosby (SS)

Pitchers: Maholm (6 innings/90 pitches), Lopez, Jack Taschner, Evan Meek, Octavio Dotel

Astros lineup:

  1. Jeff Keppinger (2B)
  2. J.R. Towles (C)
  3. Hunter Pence (RF)
  4. Geoff Blum (SS)
  5. Jason Michaels (CF)
  6. Chris Johnson (3B)
  7. Chris Shelton (1B)
  8. Edwin Maysonet (LF)
  9. Gustavo Chacin (LHP)

Pitchers: Chacin, Brandon Lyon, Sammy Gervacio, Wilton Lopez

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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