04/07: Dodgers (0-1) @ Pirates (1-0)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

First things first… as promised, I owe blogging congratulations to J. Brogdon for winning our second annual Bucs Bits Bloggers NCAA tourney challenge. This winning bracket was in the 99th percentile on ESPN.com, which is seriously impressive.

Interestingly enough, only five of the 68 participants had Duke winning it all. So kudos go out to all five of you. My bracket held for about three days before crumbling, though I know I’m not alone in that respect. I’ll take my 18th place finish and try again next year.

Now for your baseball news…

  • Spoke with Daniel McCutchen, who has returned from a brief trip to Bradenton. McCutchen threw 60 pitches in a intrasquad game down there on Tuesday in order to stay on schedule to make his regular-season debut on Saturday. All went well, he said (you can read more details on the main site later). Apparently there weren’t enough players available to field two full teams, so as McCutchen explained it, coaches had to take some of the positions in the field and Joel Hanrahan even made a brief appearance as a second baseman. No, he didn’t get a chance to make a play. I asked.
  • Speaking of Hanrahan, he will begin his rehab assignment with the high-A Marauders on Thursday. He’ll made another appearance on Saturday at a TBD location. If the weather is nice enough in Altoona or Columbus (where the Indianapolis Indians are playing), he may join one of those higher Minor League affiliates.
  • Kevin Hart will make the Opening Day start for Indianapolis on Thursday. He will be followed in order by: Brad Lincoln, Donnie Veal, Chris Jakubauskas and Brian Burres.
  • Paul Maholm said he is completely recovered from a stomach illness that bothered him in his final spring tuneup on Saturday. He’s ready to go for Thursday, though the weather may not cooperate. Radar is showing rain all day tomorrow.
  • With Tuesday’s off day, all seven Pirates relievers are available to pitch as needed on Wednesday.
  • One more note on Garrett Jones… He is now the only person in team history to homer in each of his first two at-bats of a season opener. (fact courtesy of Elias)
  • Minor League pitchers Kyle Bloom and Corey Hamman have been given their unconditional release. Released, too, was reliever RJ Rodriguez, who saved 27 games and posted a 3.08 ERA for high-A Lynchburg last season.
  • Other Minor League players who have been released: Chris Aure (you might remember him as the 2008 Draft pick that graduated from North Pole HS in Alaska), Gerardo Esparza, Jesus Aguilera, Brad Clapp, Jeff Corsaletti, Diomedes Garcia, Gemmy Gonzalez, Edgar Gutierrez, Papiro Juan, Ricardo Paulino, Rafael Quintero, Ciro Rosero, Andres Santos, Carlos Silva, Edison Barrios, Harrison Bishop, Daniel Bomback, Chris Cullen, Jose de los Santos, Chris Garcia, Edward Garcia, Henry Henry, Billy Killian, Wilson Ortiz, Craig Parry, Nelson Pereira and Moises Robles.
  • While the Pirates took the day off on Tuesday, the Dodgers spent part of the afternoon working out at PNC Park and taking batting practice. Why? Manager Joe Torre didn’t want his club getting rusty sitting from Monday afternoon until Wednesday evening.

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. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Rafael Furcal (SS)
  2. Matt Kemp (CF)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Manny Ramirez (LF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Casey Blake (3B)
  7. Blake DeWitt (2B)
  8. Russell Martin (C)
  9. Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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