Day 32: Orioles @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Hours from the start of the NCAA basketball tournament, the focus in the Pirates’ clubhouse this morning was all basketball. Players were finishing up brackets and officially joining the clubhouse pool. There are some serious bragging rights up for grabs at this time of the year, and you can be sure that college basketball will overtake SportsCenter as the preferred channel on the TV clubhouse for the next four days.

Your morning news…

  • As mentioned yesterday, the Pirates have an intrasquad game over at Pirate City this morning. Pedro Ciriaco (CF) and Steve Pearce (3B) will get more work at their new positions. Brian Burres and Jeff Karstens will both make extended-inning starts in the contest.
  • Catcher Ryan Doumit is no longer slated to play in the intrasquad game. Instead, he will bat every inning in a Minor League game at Pirate City this afternoon. He’ll get plenty of at-bats — and that is the key.
  • Pearce said he has eliminated the leg kick from his swing in an effort to make him better prepared for a bench role — which is what he is hoping to earn by the end of the month. Without a leg kick, Pearce has less movement with his swing. Less movement is a good thing when the at-bats aren’t as consistent. You can read more about Pearce’s adjustment on pirates.com later this afternoon.
  • I should have mentioned this earlier, but I was told that Kiyoshi Momose (the Pirates’ Lating American Strength and Conditioning Coordinator) has communicated with all his family in Japan since the earthquake/tsunami. All are OK. Momose was born in Nagano. I was also told he has talked with Aki Iwamura and Masumi Kuwata, both of whom are reportedly doing fine.
  • Happy St. Patty’s Day to the Irish among you. The Pirates will be wearing forest green hats on the field today, and there will be green bases for the game.
  • The following pitchers are scheduled to throw on Friday in Clearwater: Brad Lincoln, Chris Resop, Jose Veras, Michael Crotta, Chris Leroux
  • This is your last reminder that the blog NCAA challenge closes at tipoff of the first NCAA game this afternoon. You can go here to log-in and then search for (and join) the group Bucs Bits Bloggers. Best of luck to all. And since a few of you suggested there be an actual prize for the winner, I’ll see what I can do.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Overbay (1B), M. Diaz (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Jaramillo (C), R. Ohlendorf (RHP)

Pitchers: R. Ohlendorf, J. Beimel, S. Olsen, D. McCutchen, S. Gallagher

ORIOLES: F. Pie (CF), J.J Hardy (SS), N. Reimold (LF), M. Wieters (DH), J. Fox (C), R. Winn (RF), B. Harris (2B), J. Bell (3B), B. Snyder (1B)

Pitchers: C. Tillman, J. Rupe, J. Accardo

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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