Day 43: Pirates @ Twins

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

This is it, folks. Later this afternoon the players will board a flight to Philadelphia. And I will board a flight to Pittsburgh. I am so looking forward to getting back home for 48 hours, regardless of how cold it might be.

I will not be covering the pair of games in Philly, though someone will be there to take care of news. I will rejoin the club in Chicago on Thursday for the day-before-Opening-Day workout and then look forward to being with you for the next six months.

One other note: You might have already noticed that pirates.com underwent a site redesign overnight.  I hope you find the site easier to navigate. One omission, however, is a link to the blog in the headlines section. I’m not sure if that is going to change, so if you are a frequent blog reader and haven’t already, it might be a good idea to bookmark this page.

As for your last Spring Training morning news/notes…

  • Jeff Karstens is scheduled to pitch five innings (80 pitches) today in an effort to make sure that he would be ready to start the year in the rotation if needed. Karstens is a Plan B option in case James McDonald isn’t yet ready on April 5.
  • Speaking of McDonald, he threw a bullpen session this morning without any problems. Next for McDonald will be an outing on Thursday. The goal will be five innings. After that game, the Pirates will know whether McDonald will be able to start the season in the big league rotation.
  • It looks as if the Pirates will not make their final roster moves until the club is in Philadelphia. That means the bullpen remains unsettled.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Josh Rodriguez is on the team and Pedro Ciriaco will begin the year in Triple-A. Also, because it appears as if Chris Snyder is headed to the DL, outfielder John Bowker and Jason Jaramillo win the final bench spots.
  • Might I say that seeing kU lose to VCU yesterday absolutely made my day/weekend/year. That said, our Bucs Bits Bloggers bracket challenge has most of us left with not a single correct Final Four pick (yes, I fit in this category). The current leader is D. Hague.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), R. Doumit (DH), S. Pearce (1B), M. Diaz (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Rodriguez (3B), J. Jaramillo (C)

Pitchers: J. Karstens, G. Olson, C. Resop

TWINS: D. Span (CF), T. Nishioka (2B), J. Mauer (C), J. Morneau (1B), J. Kubel (DH), D. Young (LF), M. Cuddyer (RF), D. Valencia (3B), A. Casilla (SS)

Pitchers: F. Liriano

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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