Pregame: Alvarez Loses Toe Tap, Pirates vs. Rays

Good morning from McKechnie Field. Today is my last day in Bradenton for spring training. I fly back to Pittsburgh in the morning. I’ve spent over 40 days here in Florida, and have enjoyed covering the team. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to heading back and for the season to start. Just wanted to thank everyone for reading my coverage this spring.

  • The Pirates will face the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 today. Manager Clint Hurdle has elected to use all bullpen arms today to get them some work in since the starters are pitching deeper into games. Lefty Tony Watson will get the “start”. Brad Lincoln and Jason Grilli are also expected to pitch. The Rays will send lefty Matt Moore to the mound.
  • The Buccos lost 11-6 to the Twins in Bradenton yesterday. Here is the recap. Pedro Alvarez picked up two hits on the day after eliminating his toe tap. Alvarez incorporated the toe tap over the offseason, but after struggling at the plate this spring (7-for-42, .167 avg with 20 strikeouts), Alvarez has decided to eliminate the tap and keep things more simple at the plate. Alvarez will take a bunch of at-bats today at Pirate City during minor league games, bouncing from field to field, and will return to the lineup tomorrow.
“I think we’ve talked about it after his last game here,” Hurdle said after Thursday’s game. “I’m of the mindset, and I think he is, we’ve got to find a way to simplify some things. Just pick it up, put it down, see the ball out of the pitchers hand…We’ll just keep looking for progress.”
  • Pirates lineup vs. Rays:

Jose Tabata 9

Yamaico Navarro 7

Andrew McCutchen 8

Casey McGehee 5

Rod Barajas 2

Neil Walker 4

Matt Hague 3

Clint Barmes 6

Michael McKenry DH

  • Navarro is returning to the lineup today for the first time since getting hit by a pitch on the forearm by a pitch on Tuesday. Navrro had x-rays and they came back negative. He was diagnosed with a left forearm contusion.
  • Rays lineup vs. Pirates: Desmond Jennings 8, Luke Scott DH, Evan Longoria 5, Ben Zobrist 9, Carlos Pena 3, Matt Joyce 7, Jeff Keppinger 4, Jose Molina 2, Reid Brignac 6
  • The Pirates will play two games tomorrow in a split squad affair. They will face both the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins at 105 PM. Lefty Erik Bedard will face the O’s Jake Arietta at McKechnie Field and Kevin Correia will face the Twins Anthony Swarzak.
  • The Pirates are facing an opposing left-handed starter today for the 13th time in 26 spring training games.
  • MLB Network is in Bradenton again today taping for ’30 clubs in 30 days’. Billy Ripken is on hand at McKechnie Field. The show will Saturday at 7 PM.
  • Yesterday’s links:

Pirates Notebook: With Morton on DL; Roster Desisions Loom

Charlie Morton will start the season on the DL

Pirates cut four from big league camp: Evans, Fox, Fryer, Igarashi

Jared Hughes learning to pitch inside more efficiently




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John Duberstein

Has anyone looked at how many of Pedro Alvarez’s ABs have come against LHP in Spring Training? Not that it explains his struggles entirely, but Kristy’s comment about the high percentage of LHPs is interesting. He won’t face a LH starter in the regular season 50% of the time.


Not to mention all the extra practice he is getting at attempting to hit LHP.

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