If you missed it, check out Part 1: Pirate City.
As I walked into McKechnie I got word that Pedro Alvarez was in the batting cage.
This is five shots of five different swings I’ve put together in a gif. Pedro looked to be swinging well and the ball had a good sound coming off of his bat. The coach pitching to him was having him work on staying back. This was bout two hours before news broke that Alvarez has discomfort in his knee and will be held out for a few games. As you can see he’s not wearing a brace and I saw no sign of a limp. But as someone who has some knee issues of my own, I can say that certain movements trigger the pain more than others. It may be an issue where he can’t run or field as well as he needs to but swinging does no harm.
Good: Charlie Morton was lights out. 4 IP, 2 H, 2 K. Mostly groundballs. I’ll have more on him below. Matt Hague continued to look strong in his bid to make the big league club both at bat (2 run HR) and in the field (nice pick of a throw in the dirt.) Jose Tabata went 3-4.
Up and Down: Casey McGehee booted one easy grounder but made a nice play later on one which was hit harder. No hits fell in for him but he hit the ball square each time. Rod Barajas went 0-3 but had a good throw to catch Georgia Tech alum Tony Plagman stealing.
Just Bad: Daniel McCutchen was more unlucky than anything else. Most of the hits he gave up were soft ground balls that just eluded the defense. However, the grand slam was a no-doubter to centerfield.
After the game I was able to briefly speak with Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington. I asked him about Morton not being named to the rotation for the opening week in contrast with his stellar outing today, and if it was just a matter of getting him stretched out. I didn’t have a recorder so I’ll paraphrase in an attempt not to misquote Mr. Huntington.
- The team is in a fortunate position in that the schedule allows them to “find out where he is” and take the time to make sure Charlie is healthy and ready to go without rushing him.
- In a similar situation last year with James McDonald, James came back too quickly to start the year and ended up not performing well in April.
- Asked if Charlie could be used the first time the 5th starter is needed on April 14, Huntington responded that it was “an option.”
Barring any new developments, my gut says to look for Charlie on the 14th. Many thanks to Mr. Huntington for his time and words.
Tomorrow: Last day. Probably go to Pirate City and see if A.J. Burnett will be throwing his simulated game there.
Filed under: baseball, Pirates, Spring Training Tagged: | Andy Van Slyke, baseball, Casey McGehee, Charlie Morton, Chris Leroux, Daniel McCutchen, Jim Leyland, Jose Tabata, Matt Hague, Neal Huntington, Pedro Alvarez, Pirates, Rafael Belliard, Rod Barajas, Spring Training, Tony Plagman, WHYGAVS