Day 41: Pirates @ Phillies

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me (and this blog) through the entirety of Spring Training. Seems like ages ago that I drove past 40-inch piles of snow in Pittsburgh and arrived in an unseasonably cold Florida for the start of another baseball season. Now, 2,300 miles on the rental car and too many updates about an oblique injury later, we’re about done.

I won’t be joining the team in Philadelphia over the weekend, but will be back with you for Opening Day on Monday. Here’s to hoping that this season is full of wins (for you) and full of compelling storylines (for me). The blog will continue to be an integral part of your Pirates coverage, so I hope you make it a daily Web stop throughout the season.

Here are your final set of pregame notes from Florida, where the weather has finally turned, well, Florida-like:

  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno (tightness in lower back) is back in the lineup for the first time since Saturday. Cedeno took batting practice and fielded groundballs in Minor League camp on Wednesday to test out his back and everything was fine. He’s slotted to hit ninth, which is where he will bat this season.
  • Right-hander Hayden Penn — who is making a fast and furious attempt at earning a spot on the Opening Day roster — is scheduled to pitch today. Penn will pitch at least one inning in relief, though manager John Russell said that if that first inning is efficient and clean, Penn could come out and throw a second. Penn threw 10 pitches in a one-inning Minor League appearance on Tuesday.
  • The Pirates will be joined by a handful of Minor Leaguers today and through the weekend in Philly. About a dozen players who will start the season with Double-A Altoona will make the trip north with the big leaguers to serve as extras over the weekend.
  • Fifth starter Daniel McCutchen will make his final start of the spring today. I don’t have the listed pitch count for him, though I’d guess it would be about 70-80. Since he is not scheduled to make his first regular season appearance until Saturday, April 10, McCutchen will throw again in between.
  • Both Joel Hanrahan and Charlie Morton will stay behind in Florida as the rest of the club boards a charter flight to Philly tonight. Morton will throw in a Minor League game down here on Sunday to stay on schedule. Hanrahan will continue to throw in Minor League games to get the innings in that he missed earlier this spring because of an elbow injury.
  • The Pirates haven’t ruled out going all the way until 3 pm ET on Sunday to make their final roster decisions. That’s the deadline to do so. Right now the wild card is Penn. If the Pirates decide to put him in the ‘pen, then one of Ramon Vazquez, John Raynor and Steve Pearce will fill out the bench. If Penn doesn’t make the club, two of those three position players will likely begin the season on the team. And don’t count out the Pirates swinging a trade in the next few days, especially one involving Vazquez.
  • Ross Ohlendorf (Friday) and Paul Maholm (Saturday) will make the two exhibition starts in Philadelphia. That will be the final spring tuneup for both.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Ryan Church (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Daniel McCutchen (RHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Phillies lineup:

  1. Jimmy Rollins (SS)
  2. Placido Polanco (3B)
  3. Chase Utley (2B)
  4. Ryan Howard (1B)
  5. Jayson Werth (RF)
  6. Raul Ibanez (LF)
  7. Shane Victorino (CF)
  8. Carlos Ruiz (C)
  9. Jamie Moyer (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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