Pirates re-assign five players
• Pitchers Sean Gallagher and Tyler Yates, catcher Wyatt Toregas and infielder Josh Fields were re-assigned to minor league camp Friday, and pitcher Daniel McCutchen was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Fields, 28, likely won’t get much playing time at Indy, so might ask the Pirates to release him. “I have an option, so I can go either way,” Fields said. “I’ll think about it. We’ll see.” Yates, 33, had elbow surgery in July 2009, but his health has not been an issue this spring. “The best thing we can talk about with Tyler Yates is we’re talking about command, we’re talking about stuff,” GM Neal Huntington said. “It’s not, ‘How does the elbow feelâ¢ Is the velocity coming back?’ He hit 98 in his last outing (Thursday against the Astros). Unfortunately for Tyler, it was up. He recognizes that. Our focus is to get him to Triple-A and get him as many innings as we can and make an evaluation as to where he’s going and can he come and help us.” Fields’ departure means the competition for the backup corner infielder job comes down to Andy Marte and Steve Pearce. When asked if it’s possible both will make the team, Huntington replied, “Most likely, one or the other.”
• Huntington said there should be a decision within the next couple of days about carrying two or three catchers. “It will come down to … how do we best give Clint (Hurdle) weapons to win games off the benchâ¢ How do we give our club the opportunity to rest players appropriatelyâ¢ We’re working toward that decision, and we’ll make it sooner than later. But we won’t be forced into that decision.” The status of backup Ryan Doumit is a big factor in the makeup of the bench. The team simply will not cut Doumit and eat his $5.1 million salary, but they are not finding any takers on the trade market, either.
• Right-hander James McDonald (side injury) will pitch today in Tampa against the Yankees’ Triple-A team. Righty Jose Ascanio threw 24 pitches yesterday in one inning of a minor-league game.
• Actor/director Robert Redford will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day against the Pirates. Redford has no ties to either team; he’s better known in fictional baseball circles as Roy Hobbs, the Brooklyn Knights slugger who hit a game-winning homer off Pittsburgh in the movie, “The Natural.”
Pirates at Yankees
1:05 p.m. today, Steinbrenner Field, Tampa
TV/Radio: FSN/WPGB-FM (104.7)
Probable starters: Pirates RHP Kevin Correia, Yankees LHP Manny Banuelos