Day 39: Pirates @ Orioles
The news of the day came just about two hours ago, when manager Clint Hurdle named Kevin Correia the Opening Day starter. My guess had been that Paul Maholm would get the assignment and that Correia would pitch the home opener at PNC Park for a handful of reasons, one being Maholm’s tenure with the club. But the Pirates decided to go in a different direction.
Correia will face Chicago’s Ryan Dempster in that April 1 game at Wrigley Field.
Hurdle also announced that the rotation would go in this order: Correia, Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.
All this is set assuming that McDonald can get his arm built back up in time. The hope is that he can extend himself to 50 pitches in an outing on Saturday. Then, McDonald would stay in Florida to pitch on March 31 — with the goal being 80 pitches. If McDonald can reach both of those thresholds without any setback, Hurdle said the team would be comfortable having McDonald start on April 6 in St. Louis.
As for the rest of your news…
- Catcher Chris Snyder returns behind the plate on Thursday after missing two weeks with back soreness. He hasn’t had any back issues since resuming hitting and catching over the past few days.
- Joe Beimel was scheduled to throw off the mound on Thursday. The Pirates haven’t announced what his progression will be from there, as Beimel returns from left elbow discomfort. One thing to keep in mind — if Beimel does not pitch in a Grapefruit League game the rest of the way, the Pirates would have the option of placing him on the DL to begin the season. And the club could make that DL stint retroactive to March 22. This means that Beimel would be eligible to come off on April 6. Going this route would give Beimel — who has made just two appearances so far this spring — a bit more time to prepare for the season but wouldn’t cost him the usual 15 days.
- The Pirates’ other option is not to put Beimel on the 40-man roster until he’s healthy. Doing this would negate needing a DL stint since Beimel is a non-roster player right now.
- Hurdle said that the club has already picked additional pitchers to be in the team’s bullpen, but he would not give names at this point. You’d have to guess that in addition to Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan that Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Jeff Karstens are in. So, too, is Beimel once he is healthy. I also get the impression that Garrett Olson has a real strong shot to be the seventh since he would give the Pirates another left-handed option.
- If Beimel does not start the season with the club, the Pirates can choose any one of the number of right-handers left in camp to take his spot in the ‘pen until he returns.
PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), G. Jones (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), R. Ohlendorf
Pitchers: R. Ohlendorf (5/6 innings), E. Meek, G. Olson, C. Leroux
ORIOLES: B. Roberts (2B), N. Markakis (RF), D. Lee (1B), V. Guerrero (DH), L. Scott (LF), F. Pie (CF), M. Reynolds (3B), M. Weiters (C), J.J. Hardy (SS)
Pitchers: J. Arrieta, M. Hendrickson, K. Gregg
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