Notebook: Pirates brave frigid weather, beat Indians
BRADENTON, Fla. — The weather outside was frightful — at least for spring training baseball.
A cold front moved across Florida on Monday, dropping temperatures from the 70s into the 40s, with the wind chill making it feel like the 30s.
Still, the Pirates braved the elements. Not once, but twice, playing a split-squad, day-night, home-and-away doubleheader.
“I wore long johns and four shirts, and I was still cold,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said after a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the afternoon game.
“It felt like Chicago at the end of the season,” said left-hander Scott Sauerbeck, who wore a stocking cap before and after his three-inning appearance. “It was colder than it was all winter back in Cincinnati.”
At least the cold weather made pitchers work quickly. The game was played in a rapid-fire 2 hours, 6 minutes.
With the wind blowing out to right field, Pirates starter Dave Williams gave up a two-run homer to Early Snyder in the second inning and a solo shot to Brady Anderson in the third.
McClendon said both home runs would have remained in the park if not for the gusting wind.
Sauerbeck replaced Williams in the fourth and worked the next three innings. That matched his career high in a major-league game.
“It wasn’t hard,” said Sauerbeck, who is being stretched out so he can handle a starter’s workload. “It usually takes me an inning down here to settle down and get into a groove. As a reliever, you’re one inning and done. Halfway through the second inning, I had burned off the nervous energy and started making my pitches.”
Sauerbeck, a starter throughout his minor-league career, gave up three hits, including Anderson’s second home run. He is scheduled to pitch four innings in his next turn, although chances are he’ll return to the bullpen when the season begins.
“I have motivation to prove people wrong,” Sauerbeck said. “They say I can’t be a starter, and that motivates me.”
Sauerbeck drove in a run with a ground ball, and Kevin Young knocked in his team-high eighth run with an RBI double. He is 7 for 10 in four games.
The Pirates rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the eighth inning. Non-roster infielder Shawn Gilbert hit a two-run homer, and Rob Mackowiak broke the tie with an RBI single.
Sauerbeck, for one, was glad to see the game end. Unlike those Pirates scheduled to play in the night game, his work for the day was done.
“It might snow tonight,” Sauerbeck said.
NOT HIS CHOICE
Don’t blame second baseman Pokey Reese for not making the 10-mile trip to Sarasota last night to face the Cincinnati Reds, his former team.
“It wasn’t my decision,” Reese said.
McClendon opted to use Reese in the day portion of the doubleheader. Reese started against the Cleveland Indians at McKechnie Field.
McClendon didn’t want Reese to face the Cincinnati media in light of Reese’s remarks a few weeks ago when he questioned Ken Griffey Jr.’s leadership skills.
But McClendon can’t put off the inevitable forever. The Reds visit McKechnie Field on Thursday.
“When they come here, I’m sure I’ll play in the game,” Reese said.
The reunion will be a hot topic in Cincinnati, but Reese is not interested in rekindling any controversy.
“I don’t care what they’re going to do,” he said, referring to the media. “I’m not afraid of no one.”
Reese also said he wouldn’t duck Griffey.
“I’ll talk to him. I’ve got nothing against Junior,” he said.
After resting for a week because of a small tear in his abdominal muscle, catching prospect J.R. House was able to hit and throw yesterday.
“It feels good,” House said. “They want me to come back real slow.”
House said the pain subsided a few days after he was given a steroid injection when he returned to Pittsburgh for an MRI.
“I don’t feel anything now,” he said. “I hope it stays this way.”
Kip Wells will make his second start when the Pirates play the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin. Also scheduled to pitch for the Pirates is Pat Rapp, Mike Williams and Joe Beimel.