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Pirates acquire John McDonald from Arizona

 

Ken Rosenthal first reported that the Pirates and Diamondbacks have agreed to a trade that will send utility infielder John McDonald to the Bucs for a player to be named later or cash.

McDonald, 38, is coming off a season where he hit .249/.295/.386 over 213 plate appearances. He is in the final season of a two-year, $3 million contract and is set to make $1.5 million this season. McDonald is a pretty good fielder and is capable of playing second base, third base, or shortstop.

McDonald is almost a certain lock to take one of the bench spots on the Opening Day roster, leaving pretty much just one final bench spot up for grabs between Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Ivan DeJesus, and Brandon Inge.

The Pirates placed Chase d’Arnaud on the 60-day disabled list, after undergoing hand surgery, to make room for McDonald on the 40-man roster.

This move looks like it lowers Mercer’s shot of making this team, who is someone I would like to see get a roster spot. My money is on Inge to head north.

 
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Jose Tabata Homers in 5-4 Loss to Twins

Final: Twins 5, Pirates 4 (box)

WP: Cole De Vries (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
LP: Kris Johnson (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
SV: Pedro Hernandez (1, 0.00 ERA)

50x50_t470Kyle McPherson got the nod on the hill today for the Bucs and pitched two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, which turned out to be the first hit given up by Pirates’ starters this spring. Pirates’ starting pitchers have still yet to give up a run through the first three games.

50x50_t470Jose Tabata went 1 for 2 with a solo home run to left field in the seventh inning off reliever Esmerling Vasquez. Jordy Mercer was 2 for 3 and Travis Snider drove in two runs, going 1 for 1 with a double and two sacrifice flies.

50x50_t470Chris Leroux, Phil Irwin, and Ryan Reid combined to retire nine straight batters and three strikeouts as they each pitched a scoreless inning.

50x50_t470Jeanmar Gomez got roughed up a bit, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks. Gomez is on the club’s 40-man roster and is out of options, so he is someone to keep an eye on as the spring goes along.

50x50_t470Wandy Rodriguez will make his first start of the spring tomorrow against Baltimore at 1:05 ET.

 
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Clint Barmes Homers in 9-2 Win Over Braves

Final: Pirates 9, Braves 2 (box)

WP: Jason Grilli (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
LP: Jonny Venters (0-1, 18.00 ERA)

50x50_t470James McDonald started and pitched two scoreless innings. He struck out one, walked one, and didn’t allow a hit. Through two games, Pirates’ starters have yet to give up a base hit.

50x50_t470Three of the left-handers competing for bullpen spots pitched this afternoon. Newly acquired Jonathan Sanchez gave up one hit over two scoreless innings along with two strikeouts, a walk, and a HBP. Tony Watson pitched a scoreless inning and gave up two hits. Justin Wilson pitched the ninth inning and gave up a run on two hits.

50x50_t470Closer Jason Grilli got his first action of the spring and pitched a scoreless fifth inning. He struck out two batters and walked one. Jared Hughes did the same with two strikeouts and a walk in a scoreless eighth inning.

50x50_t470Mark Melancon, who was acquired from Boston is the Joel Hanrahan trade, made his Pirates debut in the sixth inning. He gave up a run on two hits, with one of those being a home run by Jason Heyward.

50x50_t470Clint Barmes went 2 for 2 with a two-run home run in the fifth inning off All-Star reliever Jonny Venters. He also singled in the third inning.

50x50_t470Gaby Sanchez and Clint Robinson each doubled as they combined to go 3 for 3 with two doubles, a walk, and three runs scored out of the first base position.

50x50_t470Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker all went 0 for 2.

 
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Jeff Locke Pitches Three Shutout Innings in Spring Opener Win

Final: Pirates 3, Rays 2 (box)

WP: Jeff Locke (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
LP: J.D. Martin (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
SV: Brooks Brown (1, 0.00 ERA)

50x50_t470Jeff Locke started for the Bucs and pitched three scoreless innings. He struck out one, walked one, and didn’t allow a hit.

50x50_t470Starling Marte went 1 for 2 with a single and a stolen base in the fourth inning. He eventually scored on an RBI groundout by Garrett Jones.

50x50_t470Chris Leroux, Bryan Morris, Mike Zagurski, Duke Welker, and Brooks Brown each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Vin Mazzero gave up two runs on two hits and a walk.

50x50_t470The Pirates play the Atlanta Braves tomorrow at 1:05 ET. James McDonald will get the nod on the hill for the Bucs with closer Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes, Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, Jonathan Sanchez, and Ryan Reid all schedule to pitch as well.

 
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Pirates agree to extension with Clint Hurdle

 

I don’t think there are too many fans out there who really care for Clint Hurdle all that much, at least not fans who read this site, but it’s hard to argue against this move.

The Pirates have actually been playoff contenders pretty deep into both seasons Hurdle has been at the helm and have improved under him both seasons. Sure, there were epic collapses both years. Sure, there were countless sacrifice bunts. Sure, there were way too many dumb stolen base attempts. Sure, there are hundreds of dollars worth of bubble gum expenses. But in the end, wins and losses are what count, and the Pirates have won more games under Hurdle than previous managers have been able to.

 
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Francisco Liriano Deal Officially Done

For real this time.

 

It’s gotten to the point where I won’t believe Francisco Liriano is actually a Pirate until I see him in uniform. Still no word yet on the terms of the contract, but I would assume there is some language in there protecting the Pirates if he were forced to miss any time due to his broken right arm.

 
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