Game 75: Red Sox (44-30) @ Pirates (37-37)
I’m heading over to the Red Sox clubhouse for the day to collect stuff for my next MLB.com column (which you’ll be able to find online next week). This means Pirates coverage will be in the hands of someone else for the evening, but of course I’ll be around to blog or tweet, as necessary.
I realize Clint Hurdle hates adjectives (a “tough” loss was losing his grandfather, not a baseball game, he’s said many times) but this is a big series for the Pirates if for no other reason than they will be playing three games in front of sellout (or near sellout) crowds. Sure, Red Sox nation has infiltrated Pittsburgh. But there will be lots of black and gold here, too, and this is an opportunity for the Pirates to show they can hang with one of the Majors’ best.
Though I won’t be able to fill you in on news from the Pirates clubhouse today, here are a few items of note…
- Chase d’Arnaud has officially been added to the Pirates’ roster, and he’ll make his Major League debut tonight as the team’s starting third baseman. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about people assuming d’Arnaud is going to be taking Ronny Cedeno’s spot at short and I really don’t envision that to be the case. d’Arnaud played third extensively in college and is very comfortable there. I anticipate he will be the Pirates’ primary third baseman, ahead of Brandon Wood.
- The Pirates have designated left-hander Aaron Thompson for assignment in order to clear a spot for d’Arnaud on the 40-man roster. Thompson was 3-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 16 games (12 starts) with Double-A Altoona.
- The Red Sox have scratched Josh Beckett from his scheduled start on Saturday, meaning that Tim Wakefield will now start on Saturday and Andrew Miller will go on Sunday. With the Pirates skipping Charlie Morton’s spot in the rotation, Sunday will be James McDonald’s next outing.
- The Pirates have signed 23rd-round Draft pick Jordan Cooper and assigned him to short-season State College. Cooper was taken out of the University of Kentucky.
- Welcome back Steve Jackson, who has been acquired from the Reds for a player to be named later. Jackson has had five different stints with the Pirates the last two seasons, but he signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers over the winter. He then went to Cincinnati and now is back with Pittsburgh. I assume Jackson will be assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis, though I haven’t seen that officially announced yet. The right-hander allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in 9 2/3 innings with Triple-A Louisville.
- The Pirates have their next blood drive scheduled Monday-Wednesday from 11 am – 7 pm at PNC Park. The organization has set a goal of collecting 500 units of blood. All donors will receive a pair of tickets to an upcoming game and can get free autographs from Pirates alumni Grant Jackson between noon and two on Monday. There will also be special prizes for the 500th donor of the drive and the 500th donor of the season. All the information you need on the blood drive can be found here.
- The Pirates have hosted the Red Sox only once before, that being in 2003. The Pirates went 1-2 in that series and 1-2 in their only series at Fenway Park (2005).
PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), C. d’Arnaud (3B), A. McCutchen (CF), N. Walker (2B), M. Diaz (RF), L. Overbay (1B), R. Cedeno (SS), M. McKenry (C), P. Maholm (LHP)
RED SOX: J. Ellsbury (CF), D. Pedroia (2B), A. Gonzalez (1B), K. Youkilis (3B), D. McDonald (LF), M. Cameron (RF), J. Varitek (C), M. Scutaro (SS), J. Lester (LHP)
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