Let’s go through an injury checklist first. This will all appear in a story on the main site in a bit, but since it often takes quite a while for those stories to get posted after I send them in, here is the update in the meantime…
- Phil Dumatrait – He has been shut down after experiencing arm soreness while throwing live batting practice earlier this week. GM Neal Huntingon said there is no need to be overly concerned, as this type of soreness is common during the type of rehab work Dumatrait is progressing through. Huntington estimated that it will be about seven to 10 days before Dumatrait can throw live BP again, though depending on how long Dumatrait sits, he may have to first take a few steps back (i.e. play catch and throw side sessions) . Dumatrait is almost certain to start the year on the DL.
- Andy Phillips – Phillips is sidelined with stiffness in his lower back and will be out at least for another day. Unexplicably, the stiffness started on Saturday and is still bothering Phillips a bit, he said. The Pirates will want Phillips to be able to take part in an entire morning workout before letting him return to the field for a game.
- Shelby Ford – Ford (pictured above) jammed his wrist while diving for a ball on Wednesday and is going to be out at least a few days. He tried hitting on Thursday, but reported some tenderness in the wrist after taking a few swings. With another round of cuts coming next week, Ford could potentially have seen his last appearance in a Major League Spring Training game. He’s slated to start the year as the organization’s Triple-A second baseman and could be moved to Minor League camp soon.
- Eric Hinske – Hinske took 60 dry swings on Thursday after taking 30 on Wednesday, and he reported no discomfort in his left rib cage area afterward. Hinske is also slowly increasing his throwing distance. After throwing from 60 feet on Wednesday, he moved back to throw from 90 feet on Thursday. Manager John Russell seemed optimistic that Hinske could be ready to return within a few days.
With Craig Monroe’s three-home run day the focus of the game-related story on the main site, we’ll give some props to starter Virgil Vasquez here.
Vasquez made his first spring start (second appearance) and pitched three shutout innings. He allowed just two baserunners and struck out one.
“He attacked the zone, used both sides of the plate,” Russell said. “Made a couple of mistakes up, but when you hit your spots, you can make a couple of mistakes. I thought he threw the ball very well. Overall, using both outings together, he’s shown the ability to attack the zone.”
Vasquez is being listed as a candidate for one of the Pirates’ open rotation spots, though it still seems most likely that he’ll start the season in the Triple-A Indianapolis rotation. Still, Vasquez’s competitveness on the mound has drawn praise already this spring and has opened some eyes for future consideration.
Up Next: The Pirates make their only trip to Clearwater, Fla., on Friday to play the Phillies in a 1:05 p.m. ET affair. Scheduled to pitch for the Pirates: Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Matt Capps, Brian Slocum and Dave Davidson. This will be the first appearance for Davidson since he returned from playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Philadelphia is scheduled to start righty Joe Blanton.