Sights & Sounds from Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training – Injuries Mount

The Pittsburgh Pirates get to Ubaldo Jimenez early, but the Baltimore Orioles bullpen holds the Bucs at bay in spring training action.


After the first inning, it looked like this spring training game was destined to be one of those back-and-forth high scoring affairs.  The wind was blowing steadily out at McKechnie Field, not that back-to-back, two out homeruns by Pedro Alvarez and Nolan Reimold needed any assistance from Mother Nature.

Trevor Williams made the start for the Pirates, going five innings, while allowing seven hits, two runs, both earned, and striking out five.  He’s destined to start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis after just 14 innings of experience at the level last year in the Miami Marlins organization.

Here’s the Pirates lineup:

The Pirates original lineup for scheduled work included Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Francisco Cervelli, and Sean Rodriguez.  Marte and Polanco are both recovering from minor injuries, so their absence is understandable.  No word had been given why Cervelli and Rodriguez were removed, although it’s probably safe to rule out an injury given how the Pirates have reported lineup scratches due to injury.

After entering the bottom of the first down two, the Pirates got to work.  After a John Jaso walk and Andrew McCutchen single, Matt Joyce grounded out, and Jason Rogers fouled out.  Josh Harrison refused to let the inning be fruitless though.  A bloop triple to shallow left brought Jaso and McCutchen home to tie the game, and Jake Goebbert drove Harrison in on a line drive to right center.

The Pirates 3-2 lead held until late in the game as Williams and Tony Watson both got Alvarez to strikeout as part of a combined six scoreless innings after the first.  Arquimedes Caminero ran into trouble in the eighth, but it was a passed ball by catching prospect Reese McGuire that allowed Xavier Avery to score from third.

Bullpen hopeful Cory Luebke allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth to give the Orioles all the offensive support they would need to pick up the 5-3 win, which is significant this Easter Sunday especially as the Pirates dealt left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations this morning.

The game wasn’t without its positives though.  Jaso made a slick pick on a pickoff attempt while staring into the setting sun.  It shows he has dramatically improved from the first week of spring training.  Jason Rogers also made a nice play on a sharp grounder to start a double play.  He’s struggled at third in his brief major league career, but the value of prospects Keon Broxton and Trey Supak he was dealt for, combined with the upside of his position versatility and offensive capability make him a likely candidate to make the opening day roster until Jung Ho Kang is healthy.

Watson appears to be in midseason form after back-to-back solid outings.  Harrison is hustling as if the Pirates were facing that other American bird team, and Jordy Mercer went two for two at the plate before a hard slide to beat out a play left him limping.  He was removed from the game with leg soreness and is considered day-to-day.  He becomes the Pirates third opening day regular to go down to injury in the last two days.

The Pirates wrap up spring training and head back to Pittsburgh for the season opener a week from today.  They will have to balance getting the regulars the work they need to be ready to avoid a slow start and prevent further injuries that could derail the first month of the season all the same.


Thanks for checking us out here at Pirates Breakdown. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the best Pirates coverage all year long!

Arrow to top