Tabata among 12 sent to Bucs' Minor League camp

Fellow veterans Lombardozzi and Morel also slated to begin year at Triple-A

Tabata among 12 sent to Bucs' Minor League camp

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Veterans infielders Steve Lombardozzi and Brent Morel and outfielder Jose Tabata were among 11 players reassigned to Minor League camp on Friday by the Pirates, who also optioned left-hander Bobby LaFromboise to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Also reassigned to Pirate City were pitchers Deolis Guerra, Brad Lincoln, Charlie Leesman and Josh Wall, infielders Gustavo Nunez and Delbinson Romero, outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and catcher Sebastian Valle.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harrison, Walker homer as Bucs rally, then fall to Braves

Worley settles in after five-run first, retiring 13 straight in one stretch

Harrison, Walker homer as Bucs rally, then fall to Braves

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Braves jumped out to a big lead in the first inning and beat the Pirates, 7-5, on Thursday afternoon at McKechnie Field.

After the Pirates chipped away at a five-run deficit and eventually tied the game at 5 in the eighth inning, Jonny Gomes led off the ninth with his first Braves homer, a blast to left field off lefty Clayton Richard. Later in the inning, Jesus Flores singled home Chris Johnson to make it 7-5.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Likely to lead off, Harrison not concerned with spot in order

Bucs third baseman focuses on performance; Cutch expected to remain at No. 3 slot

Likely to lead off, Harrison not concerned with spot in order

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Spring Training lineups don't often reflect the real deal come Opening Day, but the Pirates have trotted out something close to their everyday squad each of the past two games.

The constants between the Bucs' lineups Tuesday and Thursday were clear: Josh Harrison first, Andrew McCutchen third and Starling Marte fifth. Not that it's on their minds at this point.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hair Cutch: Pirates star happy with new 'do

All-Star's dreadlocks will be auctioned off to raise money for Pirates Charities

Hair Cutch: Pirates star happy with new 'do

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Andrew McCutchen is going to need a new hat.

The Pirates center fielder arrived at McKechnie Field on Thursday morning sporting a newly shorn look after cutting off his trademark dreadlocks on Wednesday.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In possibly his final rotation bid, Worley shows resiliency

Bucs fifth-starter candidate allows five early runs, then blanks Braves for five innings

In possibly his final rotation bid, Worley shows resiliency

BRADENTON, Fla. -- With the Pirates set to make a decision soon about their final rotation spot, Vance Worley made what could be his final argument for the job Thursday.

The final line wasn't pretty -- five runs on seven hits over six innings -- but Worley was victimized by one bad inning. The rest of the way, he was all but untouchable.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Richard focusing on contributing, not his opt-out clause

Veteran lefty stretching out and preparing to start, whether with Pirates or other club

Richard focusing on contributing, not his opt-out clause

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Left-hander Clayton Richard's name comes up just about every time Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is asked about his club's rotation depth. It happened again after Richard pitched Thursday against the Braves.

"Clayton is a guy you have to talk about," Hurdle said.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Command is key for Bucs' reclamation arms

Focus of Searage, Benedict on throwing strikes continues to pay dividends

Command is key for Bucs' reclamation arms

BRADENTON, Fla. -- For several years, Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage and Jim Benedict, a special assistant on general manager Neal Huntington's staff, have earned reputations for restoring pitchers.

When referring to Searage and Benedict, media, industry insiders and fans have thrown around adjectives like "brilliant," "miraculous," "uncanny" and "remarkable." We may have been shortchanging them.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch shaves off dreads for charity

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Cutch shaves off dreads for charity

Wednesday, March 24 was already shaping up to be one of the saddest days of the Social Media Era, thanks to the (Facebook) official announcement that Zayn Malik had left British pop group One Direction. (We know, we know ... we'll give you a minute.)

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McCutchen not worried about being ready for season

McCutchen not worried about being ready for season

BRADENTON, Fla. -- In giving some insight into why he chose to lay low for a dozen days with "lower-body soreness," Andrew McCutchen also gave some insight into his makeup.

"There was no sense pushing it," McCutchen said on Tuesday following his first game action since March 12. "I'll make it worse when it counts."

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brown excited about present and future of Pirates

Broadcaster believes the team still has 'something to prove'

Brown excited about present and future of Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. -- No citizen of Pirates Nation had to pinch himself harder over the team's changed fortunes than broadcaster Greg Brown, who five years ago called the play-by-play of 105 losses.

"A couple of days ago I was reading that Buster Olney of ESPN had [predicted] the Pirates and the Mariners in the World Series and the Pirates beating the Mariners," Brown said. "I actually paused and reread it to make sure. It's an odd feeling for me, but it's a great feeling."

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCutchen returns to lineup as Pirates fall to Orioles

All-Star center fielder played four innings after not playing since March 12

McCutchen returns to lineup as Pirates fall to Orioles

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Steve Pearce ignited a five-run fourth inning with his fifth homer of the spring on Tuesday and the Orioles went on to defeat Pittsburgh, 9-2, in Grapefruit League play.

Pirates All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen played four innings in his return to the lineup after a 12-day layoff with "lower-body soreness." McCutchen went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and smoothly fielded several balls hit his way.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang still getting acclimated to life in the Majors

McCutchen grants another wish, Stewart working his way back from injury

Kang still getting acclimated to life in the Majors

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates are giving Jung Ho Kang all that the club believes he needs -- plenty of at-bats. Kang hasn't yet reciprocated by giving the Bucs what they need.

Resurfacing on Tuesday after three days in the baseball workshop, Kang was the Bucs' lone position player to play all nine innings in a 9-2 defeat to the Orioles. However, an 0-for-4 extended his hitless streak to 15 at-bats and two more strikeouts gave him nine in that stretch.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cervelli, Pirates power up in comeback victory

Catcher reaches base three times, hits one of Bucs' three home runs

Cervelli, Pirates power up in comeback victory

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- With potential Opening Day starter Chris Archer on the hill for the fourth time this spring, the Rays' small-ball approach wasn't enough to combat the Pirates' power attack in Pittsburgh's 7-6 victory on Monday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park.

Francisco Cervelli, Gorkys Hernandez and Pedro Florimon each homered for the Bucs, with Florimon's eighth-inning solo shot tying the game. Wilkin Castillo hit a single to left to drive in the Pirates' decisive run in the ninth.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burnett, Cervelli reunite for first time since 2011

Former Yankees teammates form battery as catcher homers in victory

Burnett, Cervelli reunite for first time since 2011

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- At the outset of his start in Monday's 7-6 victory against Tampa Bay, A.J. Burnett had a problem with location.

Not the location of his pitches, but the location of catcher Francisco Cervelli. The two are former New York Yankees teammates, but Cervelli was catching Burnett for the first time since June 13, 2011.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mercer firmly entrenched as Pirates' starting shortstop

With support from management, incumbent protects spot from Kang

Mercer firmly entrenched as Pirates' starting shortstop

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Five weeks into Spring Training, the standard query around Florida and Arizona becomes, "What has been the biggest development in your camp?"

The Pirates have had numerous players offer surprising, welcomed performances, but for their chief episode, it is hard to top the Jordy Mercer /Jung Ho Kang drama. Because there has not been any.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fast math: Caminero may have earned bullpen spot

Capable of hitting triple digits, righty is likely on right side of Bucs' numbers game

Fast math: Caminero may have earned bullpen spot

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- New and old math spectacularly and naturally intersect with Arquimedes Caminero.

New math: The right-handed reliever fanned four more batters in two innings Monday against the Rays, giving him the team spring lead with 16 strikeouts in 10 frames. That works out to 14.4 K's per nine, a figure topped last season by only one reliever (Aroldis Chapman) in the National League.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morton's tough outing has Hurdle weighing options

Bucs' starter could see extra spring work before regular season

Morton's tough outing has Hurdle weighing options

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Pirates pitchers, and Charlie Morton in particular, must feel a little grateful that Houston no longer belongs to the National League Central. At this rate, they would hate to be exposed to Astros hitters 18 times a season.

They've come across them only twice in the Grapefruit League, and been scorched for 27 runs, including the 14-2 defeat here on Sunday. Between that and Tuesday's 13-7 loss in McKechnie Field, the Bucs allowed a total of 22 runs in five other games.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCutchen's maladies not a concern for Pirates

Manager, GM say star outfielder will be ready for Opening Day

McCutchen's maladies not a concern for Pirates

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- It is conceived as a Dream Outfield but, at the moment, it seems like the sort of dream that might feature Freddy Krueger.

Starling Marte, the displaced left fielder, is doing his part. Right fielder Gregory Polanco, however, is still spinning in the funk that enveloped him in August (7-for-33 after going 1-for-3 with an infield single Sunday). And of greatest concern, perennial All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen remains sidelined by his ambiguous "lower body soreness."

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morton roughed up in longest outing of spring

Pirates veteran starter surrenders seven runs against Astros

Morton roughed up in longest outing of spring

 

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus each blasted their second home runs of the spring as the Astros rode the strong pitching of starter Roberto Hernandez and an offensive outburst to beat the Pirates, 14-2, on Sunday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano looks impressive in latest outing

Liriano looks impressive in latest outing

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Boston's Blake Tekotte singled with two outs in the ninth to drive in the tying run, as the Red Sox and Pirates played to a 2-2 tie in Grapefruit League action on Saturday.

Boston starter Wade Miley blanked the Bucs through five efficient innings, allowing two hits and walking two, while fanning five.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

First-base tandem delivering for Bucs so far

First-base tandem delivering for Bucs so far

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Early, pre-Spring Training analyses of the Pirates identified only one true hazard, one trap door through which the team's high expectations might tumble: first base. The plan was for the position to be shared by one man who'd never played there before and another who, for two years, hadn't played much anywhere because of injury.

With a little longer than two weeks before Opening Day, the tandem of Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart is looking more like a hazard to National League pitchers.

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Marte seizing center stage in McCutchen's absence

Marte seizing center stage in McCutchen's absence

BRADENTON, Fla. -- As understudies go, Starling Marte could be the best off-Broadway performer, when it comes to taking center stage when given the chance. As Andrew McCutchen's placeholder, Marte rapped two more solid singles in three at-bats on Saturday, improving his spring average as a center fielder to .550.

"I've played a long time in center field," said Marte, referring to his original position. "I feel very good when I play there."

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Pirates send prospects Kingham, Diaz to Minors

Duo will join Triple-A Indianapolis after impressing at Major League camp this spring

Pirates send prospects Kingham, Diaz to Minors

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-hander Nick Kingham and catcher Elias Diaz, two of the more impressive prospects in the Pirates' camp, were optioned Friday morning to Triple-A Indianapolis.

The moves were necessary as Opening Day nears to ration more playing time to players the Bucs will count on in 2015, and for Kingham and Diaz to ramp up their own work in Pirate City as they try to position themselves to provide supporting depth later in the season.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Richard feels good after longest outing of spring

Richard feels good after longest outing of spring

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The second-best left-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues named "Clayton" (there are only two of them) was all smiles after his longest outing of Spring Training.

Clayton Richard also confirmed having an "out" in the Minor League contract he signed with the Pirates on Dec. 3 -- but hopes not to have to use it.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Marlins, Pirates featuring outfield of dreams

Both clubs possess MVP candidates, young stars among top units in MLB

Marlins, Pirates featuring outfield of dreams

BRADENTON, Fla. -- A manager associated with neither the Pirates nor Marlins was asked which outfield he'd rather possess for the next four seasons -- the one in Pittsburgh, or the one in Miami?

"Tell you what," he said. "You pick first, and I'll take the other one."

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Valle's walk-off double caps comeback for Bucs

Alvarez leads charge with three hits, homer; Worley works five innings vs. Phils

Valle's walk-off double caps comeback for Bucs

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Sebastian Valle ripped a walk-off double in the ninth inning to cap a comeback from four runs down as the Pirates topped the Phillies, 6-5, on Friday at McKechnie Field.

Brian Bogusevic began the scoring with a solo homer and Cody Asche added a two-run homer to give the Phillies the early lead against former teammate Vance Worley.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cervelli's two blasts back solid Cole, carry Pirates

Catcher hits pair of solo shots; righty allows two runs over five innings vs. Twins

Cervelli's two blasts back solid Cole, carry Pirates

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Catcher Francisco Cervelli homered twice to help lead the Pirates to a 4-2 win over the Twins on Friday at Hammond Stadium.

Cervelli's two solo homers came against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks. Cervelli's first shot came in the third inning, before he crushed another blast in the fifth to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Corey Hart predicts who will have Pirates' best beard

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Corey Hart predicts who will have Pirates' best beard

Before baseball beards began spanning the globe, spreading across the faces of big league players like a fuzzy, invasive plant, Corey Hart was sprouting one. As a forefather of the movement, possessing what he calls "one of the first beards in the game," he knows he belongs on the "Mount Rushmore of beards ... next to Abe Lincoln up there."

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