Results tagged ‘ Evan Meek ’

Game 36: Dodgers (16-20) @ Pirates (18-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates’ push over the .500 mark got me curious. Where, in the context of the previous 18 years, does this team fit in terms of its record through 35 games? In case you had a similar query, here are some numbers for you. Below, you’ll find the team’s record through its first 35 games (every year since 1993) and then the club’s end-of-season record.

1993: 17-18… finished 75-87
1994: 17-18… finished 53-61 (strike shortened)
1995:  13-22… finished 58-86 (strike shortened)
1996: 16-19… finished 73-89
1997: 19-16… finished 79-83
1998: 16-19… finished 69-93
1999: 18-17… finished 78-83
2000: 16-19… finished 69-93
2001: 13-22… finished 62-100
2002: 18-17… finished 72-89
2003: 14-21… finished 75-87
2004: 17-18… finished 72-89
2005: 16-19… finished 67-95
2006: 10-25… finished 67-95
2007: 15-20… finished 68-94
2008: 16-19… finished 67-95
2009: 14-21… finished 62-99
2010: 15-20… finished 57-105

As you’ll see, I’ve bolded the only three instances when the Pirates were above .500 heading into game No. 36. None of those teams ended the season with more than 79 wins. Do you think this 2011 squad can get to 82?

As for news and notes of the day…

  • A day after returning to the lineup after a few days off, Pedro Alvarez is back out. This has nothing to do with an injury, though. Alvarez confirmed he is fine, as did manager Clint Hurdle, who preferred Alvarez out against a lefty starter.
  • Right-hander Evan Meek is set to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday — this will be his first since landing on the DL. Meek, who said he felt great throwing from 120 feet today, is scheduled to throw a second bullpen in Milwaukee and then head out on a brief rehab assignment (probably two outings).  He has not yet been told where that rehab work will be.
  • Before the Pirates have to come up with a spot for Meek, they’ll have to make room for Jose Ascanio. That is, if the organization elects to bring him up. The Pirates have to decide tomorrow whether to call up Ascanio or risk losing him through waivers in an effort to assign him to Triple-A. The Pirates wanted Ascanio to make it through two innings in his rehab appearance on Monday, but the righty lasted just one (31 pitches). Not sure how much that will factor into the evaluation.
  • If Ascanio does join the Pirates, who goes? My guess would be Mike Crotta. Daniel Moskos is another possibility, though the Pirates have talked about the advantages of having two lefties. I think the club has to keep Daniel McCutchen because of the need for a long guy. That could make Crotta the odd man out.
  • Rehabbing right-hander Kevin Hart is also progressing. He is slated to throw live batting practice this week — another first. He’ll have at least two such sessions before being sent out to extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment.
  • Ryan Doumit earns his third straight start and deservedly so. His handprints have been all over the team’s recent success. He is batting .333 with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 15 games.
  • After watching a replay of Jose Tabata’s “catch” on Monday, Hurdle agreed that the ball bounced into the glove. Hurdle also shared his feelings about increasing the use of instant replay, and you can find more on those in today’s Pirates.com beat.
  • Tabata continues to struggles (1-for-12 in his last four games and 8-for-63 in his last 18) and Hurdle admitted he has had conversations about moving Tabata down in the order. The dilemma is finding a good No. 2 hitter to put in place of Tabata and then figuring out where the left fielder belongs further down in the order. Conversations are ongoing.
  • Both John Bowker and Andrew Lambo had two-run homers for Triple-A Indianapolis in a win on Monday. Something I neglected to mention a few days ago was that Andy Marte was assigned to extended Spring Training in order to open up a spot for Bowker on Indianapolis’ roster. Marte isn’t hurt, there is just no roster room for him on the Triple-A team.
  • It’s rare that I take a glance at the standings, but in case you’re curious — Pirates are in third place in the NL Central, two games behind the Cardinals. Cincinnati is second with a 19-16 record.
  • Pittsburgh has won seven of its last 10 games. No team in the Majors has done better in its most recent 10 games. 
  • Though he is 5-2 this season, Kevin Correia is still searching for that first home victory. Granted, he’s only had two starts at home this season — but both have been losses. He has a 6.94 ERA in those two games at PNC Park. In his career against the Dodgers, Correia is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA (three starts).

Lineups:

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

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), R. Barajas (C), J. Sands (LF), T. Lilly (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 35: Dodgers (16-19) @ Pirates (17-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

.500

I’ll admit that I still have a hard time understanding the joy over this number being that it is May 9. Yes, I understand that a little more than 20 percent of the season is in the books. But I also am very much aware that there is close to 80 percent left. That said, is the hoopla really justified?

I am in my fifth season covering this team, and during my time on the beat I have come to understand why .500 is a benchmark. I get it. However, other than .500 being a step to a bigger, better goal, I have a hard time believing this is the biggest news to come out of the first 34 games. Feel free to disagree (and I know some of you will), but I feel the excitement shouldn’t necessarily be over the record, but over the way this team is playing.

The pitching has been much better than most expected, and that is significant. This franchise won’t have winning baseball without major steps forward on the pitching side, and we’re seeing some of those steps forward already. The offense, on the other hand, has not played up to its expectations or capabilities. The fact that the team is 17-17 without an offense that has clicked from top to bottom at the same times means that this can actually get better. That should be encouraging to those of you who are wondering whether .500 or better baseball can be sustained.

So feel free to get excited about .500 if you want. But more than any record, pay attention to what you’re seeing on the field. Appreciate those improvements.

Some other news and notes…

  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is back in the lineup on Monday. He ended up missing four full games because of that right quad tightness.
  • Pirates starters allowed two earned runs in 21 innings in the recently-completed series against the Astros. The rotation has posted a 2.79 ERA in its last seven games.
  • Had a really candid conversation with Chris Resop a little while ago, the contents of which you can find on pirates.com tonight.
  • With his homer on Sunday, Ryan Doumit now stands alone in third place for home runs among Pirates catchers. He has hit 50. Jason Kendall (66) and Tony Pena (63) are the only two still ahead of him.
  • Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his third start — and longest one yet — for low-A West Virginia on Sunday. Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
  • On the subject of the ’10 Draft, second-rounder Stetson Allie remains in extended Spring Training. GM Neal Huntington said on Sunday that the club has not finalized whether Allie will begin his professional career in short-season State College (season opens in June) or with West Virginia. The organization wanted to keep Allie down in Florida just for development purposes. Unlike Taillon, Allie was not as advanced a pitcher when he was drafted.
  • The Pirates were out working specifically on bunt defenses earlier this afternoon. As was evidenced on Sunday, there is still some need for work in this area. The Pirates have had a few slip-ups with their bunt defenses this season — including two in the past week.
  • Righty Evan Meek threw from 150 feet on Monday. He continues to feel good.
  • Brad Lincoln had a nice performance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. That’s two solid starts in a row for Lincoln, who could put himself in position to be considered for a call-up if he continues to pitch well. Lincoln picked up a win on Sunday by scattering six hits and two walks and allowing one run. He struck out seven in the six-inning outing.
  • Also down in Triple-A, Alex Presley only continues to hit. He had three more hits on Sunday, scored twice and drove in one.
  • Jose Ascanio is scheduled to make his final rehab appearance with Indianapolis tonight. Ascanio, who has been working his way back from right shoulder surgery, is slated to throw two innings in the outing. The last day Ascanio can pitch is May 10 (rehab assignments can only last 30 days for pitchers), so the Pirates will have to take him off the DL this week. Because Ascanio is out of options, he would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Triple-A. I anticipate that Ascanio will be joining the big league bullpen.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), J. Sands (LF), R. Barajas (C), C. Billingsley (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 34: Astros (13-20) @ Pirates (16-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Most importantly, Happy Mother’s Day to all the readers who fall in that category. In particular, wishing my mom (who reminds me often that she is a faithful blog reader), my sister (who is probably huddled up studying for finals) and my grandmothers (who, unfortunately, will never read this because neither has learned to operate a computer) a terrific day. Thanks especially to my mom for unwavering support and unconditional love — I’m sure I didn’t always deserve both.

And, since my mom will likely spend the day watching baseball, let’s honor her with some Sunday morning Pirates news…

  • Pedro Alvarez is still not ready to return to the lineup, but he is currently out taking grounders at third. That’s the first I’ve seen him do any defensive work since the right quad tightness crept up on Tuesday. Alvarez was also supposed to do some running this morning.
  • Evan Meek just completed a session of long toss on the outfield grass. He is eligible to come off the DL on May 12, though I’m guessing he won’t be ready by then since he hasn’t yet resumed pitching off a mound.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle talked this morning about Jose Tabata losing his swing lately. And that has really put a dent in his production after such a strong season start. Tabata is is 2-for-25 since April 25. The injury probably didn’t help his timing, but even before that, Tabata’s swing was getting long — as if he was purposefully trying to hit for more power.
  • Pink bats, wristbands and batting gloves were spotted around the clubhouse this morning. Donning pink is an annual Mother’s Day tradition. Garrett Jones, Ronny Cedeno, Chris Snyder, Tabata, Lyle Overbay, Steve Pearce, Matt Diaz and Neil Walker will all be swinging pink bats. Walker and Joel Hanrahan will be wearing pink cleats. Under Armour will have over 170 Minor League and Major League players and coaches sporting the bright shoes.
  • Once again, the Pirates have a shot at returning to .500 with a win this afternoon.
  • Triple-A starter Rudy Owens has been handed a three-game suspension and will have his next start pushed back to Tuesday (from Monday) as a result. Owens was ejected from his last start for hitting a batter after giving up a home run.
  • Outfielder Alex Presley continues to do little wrong in Indianapolis. With three more hits on Saturday, Presley now has a league-leading 40. He has driven in 15, scored 19 and stolen seven bases, too. Working against Presley, though, is the simple fact that the Pirates don’t need an outfielder. The recent addition of Xavier Paul only further hurt Presley’s chances of earning a big league call-up anytime soon.

Lineups:

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

ASTROS: M. Bourn (CF), C. Barmes (SS), H. Pence (RF), C. Lee (LF), B. Wallace (1B), C. Johnson (3B), B. Hall (2B), H. Quintero (C), J.A. Happ (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Game 27: Pirates (12-14) @ Rockies (16-8)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Daniel Moskos arrived in Denver today, and, as you can imagine, is thrilled about his first Major League call-up. He got summed to the manager’s office while he was taking a post-game shower after Triple-A Indianapolis’ game on Friday. Manager Dean Treanor asked Moskos if he had a suit and followed that up with a Congratulations.

As it turned out, Moskos’ girlfriend had traveled to Indianapolis to see him pitch there this weekend, so now she’s joining him in Denver. Moskos said his parents will be in the Coors Field stands as well on Saturday night. I hope they packed for cold temperatures, as it is supposed to start snowing tonight at some point.

Moskos got the call after the Pirates decided it was finally time to put Evan Meek on the DL. Meek will have an MRI on his shoulder next week just to make sure the issue is nothing more than inflammation. But he seems to think he’ll be able to get the rest he needs in order to come off as soon as he is eligible (May 12).

Other news and notes…

  • With Moskos on the roster, the Pirates have two lefties in the bullpen for the first time this year. That will give manager Clint Hurdle the flexibility to call in either Moskos or Joe Beimel in left-on-left situations and know he still has another lefty available later. That’s a luxury Hurdle has wanted from the start.
  • As for the eighth inning, Hurdle will continue to mix-and-match with what reliever he uses to get to closer Joel Hanrahan. Chris Resop and Jose Veras are the most likely to get the call, though Beimel would be another option.
  • Speaking of Hanrahan, if he is able to get a save on Saturday, he would be the first Pirates pitcher since Mike Williams in 2002 to have more than eight saves in the month of April.
  • Righty Ross Ohlendorf has thrown two bullpen sessions without issue this week. He still has to throw at least one session of live batting practice before a rehab stint would begin.
  • Ronny Cedeno’s triple in Friday’s win was the first three-base hit the Pirates have had all year. As you can imagine, they were the only club without a triple this late into the month. The last club to go this long into a season without a triple was the 2005 Yankees, who hit their first triple in their 27th game. Cedeno’s came in game No. 26.
  • In case you missed the note in last night’s game story, the Pirates hadn’t had a shutout in the city of Denver ever until Friday. The team has played 74 games here (65 in Coors Field).
  • For all the flak the organization takes about failed first-round Draft picks, it’s worth noting that the club now has five of its first-round picks on the Major League roster. Moskos (2007) joins Paul Maholm (2003), Neil Walker (2004), Andrew McCutchen (2005) and Pedro Alvarez (2008).
  • The next road win for the Pirates would give them more than half the total number of road wins they had all last season. Yes, really.
  • Garrett Jones is hitting .341 on the road this year. He’s also batting just .130 at home, though he doesn’t have to worry about that stat for almost another week.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), P. Maholm (LHP)

ROCKIES: D. Fowler (CF), J. Herrera (2B), T. Helton (1B), T. Tulowitzki (SS), C. Gonzalez (LF), J. Lopez (3B), S. Smith (RF), C. Iannetta (C), J. Hammel (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Moskos gets call up; Meek to DL

Nearly four years after being a surprise first-round Draft pick by the Pirates, Daniel Moskos is making his first trip to the Major Leagues.

The Pirates recalled Moskos from Triple-A on Saturday as Evan Meek was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. The placement is retroactive to April 27, meaning that Meek will be eligible to come off on May 12.

Moskos was sent out of big-league camp this spring to start the year in Triple-A Indianapolis, where he appeared in eight games. In 10 2/3 innings, Moskos allowed nine hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out seven.

The results – and particularly Moskos’ command – were much improved from the left-hander’s stint in Indianapolis last season. That 2010 stay lasted 19 games before Moskos was sent back to Double-A Altoona, where he thrived.

“Daniel’s key is just to command,” general manager Neal Huntington said earlier in the week. “When he works ahead in the count, the slider and even the changeup can be a weapon for him. When he works behind in the count, now he’s got to come in with his fastball. While it’s a good [fastball], it’s not overpowering. When he commands the baseball, he’s going to be a very good Major League pitcher.”

The addition of Moskos, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, will give manager Clint Hurdle two left-handed relievers for the first time this season. Without Meek, Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Joe Beimel are expected to split eighth-inning set-up duties.

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Game 22: Nationals (10-10) @ Pirates (9-12)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

So let us revisit Sunday for a few minutes before we look ahead to tonight’s makeup game since manager Clint Hurdle took some time to do so this afternoon.

I just can’t shake Hurdle’s response on Sunday afternoon when he was asked if it was smart to have Andrew McCutchen try to score on a sacrifice fly with two out in the ninth. For those of you who were off enjoying your Easter and not in front of the television… the context was this: McCutchen was on third with one out and the Pirates trailing, 6-3. Jose Tabata lifted a fly ball to middle right field. Jayson Werth camped under it for out No. 2. McCutchen tagged, took off for home and was tagged out on Werth’s terrific throw. Game over. With Lyle Overbay on-deck and Neil Walker waiting behind him.

The key to this situation is the club was down by three runs. With two outs. In the ninth.

I thought it was plenty appropriate to ask why McCutchen would run in that situation, so the first question I directed at Hurdle was — “Given that you were down by three runs, would you have preferred that McCutchen stay on third in that situation?”

Hurdle’s response: “No.”

Really?

Hurdle then began his defense: “The only reason we’re asked that question is because he’s out. I bet everybody in the ballpark, including you, thought we were going to send him.”

Actually, I didn’t think McCutchen would be sent. But I thought it might be rude to mention that in a press conference.

More from Hurdle: “You never want to make the last out at home, but sometimes those things are going to happen. It’s not a perfect world. It’s not a perfect game. Our mentality is to play aggressive. That’s going to win us more games. We get one there, who knows where it takes us. We’re going to send that guy.”

I’m still entirely unconvinced. McCutchen’s run in that situation means so little. He should not take off for home unless he is 100 percent — no, 150 percent — positive he is going to be safe. I agree that 9 times out of 10 that fly ball scores McCutchen. I’d advocate for him to run in that situation in innings one through eight. I’d advocate for him to run in the ninth if the team is down by one.  But not when the club was going to need at least two more hitters to come to the plate for the chance to tie the game.

Hurdle’s final comment on the play: “Look what kind of throw it took. There are probably two guys in the league that can make that throw. He’s one of them.”

Hurdle is absolutely correct. But since it’s obviously no secret that Werth has a heck of an arm, isn’t that even more reason not to try and run on him?

I never got the impression Hurdle was giving these answers in an effort not to call out third base coach Nick Leyva or McCutchen for the decision to run. He firmly agrees with it. And he backed that up with what he said on Monday.

“It’s about doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. And I do believe all of those were in place. We got the wrong outcome. … I expected him to go. I would have been more shocked if he wouldn’t have gone. I don’t ever want to wonder if he would have been safe.

“We’re not a conventional team. Things happen within this game that are instinctive and impulsive. Yes, in hindsight, when it’s 30 seconds later, that shouldn’t have happened. But in the heat of the moment with adrenaline fueling and excitement and an aggressive mentality…

“I think now we have a better yard mark on when we go and when we don’t go as far as distance into right field. Was it a gamble? Absolutely. Did it not work out? Absolutely. Am I happy with the aggressive mentality? Absolutely.”

For the record, Leyva told me on Monday that he told McCutchen to run: “It’s very easy to say that wasn’t the right situation, but I thought he could make it. It’s a judgement call. They don’t give you a do-over. He’s probably the fastest guy on the team. I thought the ball carried far enough. I know Werth’s got as good as arm as anybody. I know [Rick] Ankiel has as good an arm as anybody. If I didn’t think he could make it, I wouldn’t have sent him.”

And with that, we turn the page to Monday’s news and notes…

  • Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez are out of the lineup, with Steve Pearce and Brandon Wood taking their places. Hurdle said he wanted to get Overbay a day off simply because the first baseman has started every game of the season so far. Hurdle also wanted Wood to get some playing time and figured sitting Alvarez against a lefty could be a good idea.
  • Sitting Overbay and Alvarez also loads the lineup with right-handed hitters. Nationals pitcher John Lannan is allowing righties to hit .360 against him this season. Left-handed hitters are batting .167. Lannan’s career splits aren’t so drastic, however (.273 batting average for right-handed hitters; .272 mark for left-handed ones).
  • A number of Pirates players have had success against Lannan, led by Matt Diaz (11-for-22)
  • Evan Meek is still sick. It’s a viral thing, he says, but the guy has been under the weather for weeks now. Not that it’s going to stop him from pitching.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), B. Wood (3B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), P. Maholm (LHP)

NATIONALS: D. Espinosa (2B), I. Desmond (SS), J. Werth (RF), A. LaRoche (1B), M. Morse (LF), W. Ramos (C), J. Hairston (CF), B. Bixler (3B), J. Lannan (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

Game 21: Nationals (9-10) @ Pirates (9-11)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

One of these days, I will speak glowingly about the Pittsburgh weather (probably in June). For the moment, though, I have nothing nice to say. Which means I won’t say anything at all.

Some more positive Easter morning thoughts…

  • After last night’s game, Nationals starter Livan Hernandez made comments inferring that the Pirates purposefully didn’t let him know about an 8:15 pm start time early enough for him to appropriately get ready. My reaction to hearing this? Sounds much more like an excuse than anything newsworthy. And here’s why… It was announced in the press box and stadium 30 minutes before the start (which ended up being 8:16 pm) that the game would start at about 8:15. Furthermore, Jeff Karstens said (unsolicited) afterward that he was woken up from a nap about 30 minutes before the game’s scheduled start time. In other words, the same time the press box and fans got an announcement about a start time, so, too, did Karstens. How Hernandez could have missed a memo that went out to everyone else in the vicinity of the ballpark doesn’t necessarily appear to be the fault of the Pirates. My guess? Had Hernandez not given up five runs in the first, he wouldn’t have said a word. Instead, we get much ado about nothing.
  • Speaking of Karstens, he looks to be the guy who will continue to fill in for Ross Ohlendorf. The Pirates considered other options before going with Karstens the last two times through the rotation. But given his performance on Saturday, Karstens has given the Pirates no reason but to continue sticking with him.
  • Evan Meek has quietly made six scoreless relief appearances. One factor maybe not brought up enough earlier this month when Meek was struggling is that the guy has been sick almost since the start of the season. Between having a tough time fighting a virus (though Meek appears healthy now) and some missed time with shoulder tightness, Meek never got much of a chance to settle in. Maybe he is finally doing so now.
  • Speaking of the bullpen, the group as a whole has been tremendous lately. In the ‘pen’s last 20 innings, it has allowed two earned runs. Overall, the bullpen’s 2.56 season ERA ranks fourth in the National League.
  • Joe Beimel’s one-inning appearance on Saturday was his first as a Pirate at PNC Park since September 21, 2003.
  • Look for more on Andrew McCutchen stealing bases and Chris Resop’s strong start in the Pirates Beat on the main site later this afternoon.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), L. Overbay (1B), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (RF), P. Alvarez (3B), C. Snyder (C), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

NATIONALS: D. Espinosa (2B), R. Ankiel (CF), J. Werth (RF), A. LaRoche (1B), M. Morse (LF), J. Hairston (3B), I. Rodriguez (C), A. Cora (SS), J. Marquis (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 39: Pirates @ Orioles

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

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.

Lineups:

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

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Intrasquad results

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Some highlights from this morning’s intrasquad game at Pirate City this morning:

  • LHP Brian Burres pitched four shutout innings. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out five
  • RHP Jeff Karstens threw three scoreless innings. He struck out six and did not allow a walk
  • RHP Evan Meek and RHP Fernando Nieve each tossed two scoreless innings of relief
  • Steve Pearce went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. He played third and had two balls hit to him in the seven-inning game. He made both plays cleanly

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Day 31: Blue Jays @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

There is an MLB Security meeting (another one of those annual Spring Training meetings) going on currently in the clubhouse. So since players are unavailable, I figured I’d get the blog rolling a little earlier than usual today.

In case you didn’t visit pirates.com on Tuesday because it was an off day, let me draw your attention to this playground build that was led by Pirates outfielder Matt Diaz. Diaz runs a foundation with his wife Leslee, and their latest project was to purchase and build a playground for the Boys and Girls Club of Winter Haven.

He invited teammates to make the 90-minute drive to Winter Haven to help build, though Diaz said he didn’t expect anyone to show up given that Tuesday was the team’s first off day of the spring. And yet four teammates — Charlie Morton, Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, Brian Burres – came to help, as did Triple-A manager Dean Treanor and hitting coach Gregg Ritchie. I showed up, too, to document the event, and I think I was most impacted by the willingness of these Pirates players/coaches to go out of their way to give something back to kids during their precious free time.

Even if you don’t want to read the story about the community work day, I recommend you check out the video.

As for your other morning news…

  • Manager Clint Hurdle will not be managing the Major League team on Wednesday. Instead, Woody Huyke, who has spent the last 42 years with the organization, will be taking over managerial duties for the day. Hurdle is observing Minor League camp today.
  • The team is supposed to issue injury updates on, at minimum, catchers Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit today. I’m hoping the team also has something to say about James McDonald, though as I’ve mentioned previously, the Pirates’ new policy is to say very, very little about injuries.
  • Scott Olsen, who made his spring debut on Monday, will take the mound on Thursday for appearance No. 2. Depending on his efficiency, Olsen will pitch one or two innings.
  • Also pitching on Thursday will be: Ross Ohlendorf, Joe Beimel, Daniel McCutchen and Sean Gallagher.
  • In case you missed it on Tuesday, former Pirates pitcher Ian Snell announced he is retiring after the Cardinals informed him he was headed to Minor League camp. Details here. I will add that Snell earned over $8 million in a career that spanned five seasons and included a 38-53 record.
  • While the Pirates do have a home game against the Orioles on Thursday, the club will be sending a handful of pitchers over to Pirate City to pitch in an intrasquad game. Burres (four innings) and Karstens (three/four innings) will both use this as an opportunity to get stretched out. Tyler Yates and Evan Meek are slated to throw two innings, as well
  • Another reminder for those who want to get in on the NCAA Basketball blog challenge. Go to ESPN.com’s tournament page and search for Bucs Bits Bloggers. Join that group and fill out your bracket if you want to get in on the friendly competition.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Overbay (1B), Garrett Jones (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), D. Brown (C), P. Maholm (LHP)

Pitchers: P. Maholm, J. Hanrahan, C. Resop, J. Veras, M. Crotta

BLUE JAYS: C. Patterson (CF), M. McCoy (SS), E. Encarnacion (3B), E. Thames (LF), J. Molina (C), D. Cooper (1B), J.P. Arencibia (DH), J. Tolisano (RF), J. Diaz (2B)

Pitchers: K. Drabek, C. Villanueva, C. Janssen. S. Henn, Ro. Lewis

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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