Who woulda thunk our Bucco’s would be in first place? Currently the Pirates are 6-1 in Grapefruit league play and sit right at the top of the standings. Pittsburgh has played good ball all spring long. Clutch hitting and timely pitching performance from the starters has been key early on this spring.
In yesterday’s game aginst the Twins, Andy LaRoche stepped up in the 5th inning with a 2 run shot that would be the dagger for Minnesota. In most games 2 runs would surely not be enough to get the dubs, but thanks to a superb start from Tom Gorzo and a nice outing from new face Chris Bootcheck the Buccos were able to cap off a solid win.
Today (3/5) the Pirates face an NL central rival in the Reds. The starting lineup features many familiar faces that will be penciled in on the opening day roster. However, four minor leaguers will get their shot at big league competition. 1B Garret Jones, C Robinson Diaz, 2B Shelby Ford and SS Brian Bixler. Although Bixler has gotten his shot many times last season he will give it another go this spring to redeem himself.
Jones and Diaz intrigue me. Not alot of fanfare has been pronounced for these two youngins. The Pirates are in need of a quality backup for Doumit, Diaz may just be the ticket. Jones has had a solid spring in his few chances. With Adam solidly at first and Steve Pearce gritting his teeth at the chance, Jones could look to give some competition at first. Ford has been deemed the 2nd baseman of the future and according to Baseball America he will be at the helm by ’11. Today all 4 players will bat at the end of teh lineup. It’ll be interesting to see how they’ll fare against Red’s starter Nick Masset…also gunning for his spot in the big show.