Notes: Duffy responds to Schilling

Notes: Duffy responds to Schilling

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Chris Duffy arrived to the Pirates' clubhouse at McKechnie Field on Sunday morning still feeling a bit sluggish less than 24 hours after being hit in the head by a pitch from Boston Red Sox ace Curt Schilling.

While Duffy suffered the first concussion of his career on the play, the Bucs' center fielder appeared to be stung more by Schilling's postgame comments than the pitch that hit him on the helmet. Duffy was particularly bothered by Schilling's claims that he should have been able to get out of the way of the high and inside pitch that hit him.

"I didn't believe [Schilling] said it at first," said Duffy. "My dad called me and told me what [Schilling] said. I didn't know how credible my dad's source was. Then I read it and was kind of like, 'What's up?'"

"In that situation we've got to man up and say you are wrong when you are wrong," Duffy continued. "I saw the tape [and] there was no way I could have moved out of the way. For him to just blow it off, that's not great sportsmanship. There is a certain way to handle things. That wasn't it."

Upon learning that Schilling had decided to pitch inside more this spring, Duffy, 25, offered some professional advice for the 39-year-old Red Sox star.

"If you are going to start establishing the inside pitch this late in your career ... you've got to have a little more control," said Duffy.

Duffy was given permission to leave McKechnie Field on Sunday before the Pirates hosted the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He will not play again until Wednesday, at the earliest.

Tough inning for Duke: For three innings Sunday, Zach Duke looked a lot like he did last summer -- an ace in waiting. With his two-seam fastball dipping and diving, Duke limited the Rays to two infield singles. Eight of the 10 batters he faced hit the ball on the ground.

In the fourth, Duke went more to his offspeed stuff and wasn't nearly as effective. He hit two batters, gave up a pair of doubles and surrendered a two-run home run to Tampa Bay catcher Josh Paul that put the Devil Days ahead, 6-0.

Duke threw 31 pitches in the first three innings. He needed 25 pitches to get out of the fourth.

"For the first few innings I felt like I really had the two seamer down," said Duke. "It was down in the zone and I was getting ground balls and I was throwing it for strikes. In the fourth inning, I just got away from throwing it. I went to a lot of offspeed and left some up. Good hitters hit those.

"I kind of got out of whack a little bit."

Welcome back Bay: You could excuse all-star Jason Bay if he wasn't exactly excited to be back in Pirates camp on Sunday.

Bay, after all, had been part of team Canada's huge upset win of the American team in the World Baseball Classic on March 9. His hopes for a trip to the second round of the tournament were dashed when Canada was routed by Mexico on Thursday.

"Being there and getting caught up in the emotions of how exciting it was, it's tough to go home, especially after winning one big game and then losing one game," said Bay. "But this is more of what we [normally] do [in March]. It's not a bad place to be."

Because of his participating on the Classic, Bay believes he is closer to being ready for the start of the regular season than he would have been if he'd stayed behind with his Pittsburgh teammates.

"It wasn't just that Spring Training mentality. I kind of went from feeling my way around to being locked in [for] about a game or two."

Bay certainly appeared to be locked in Sunday. He went 2-for-3 with a single and a two-run home run before leaving the game after the fifth inning.

"I saw 15 at-bats in three games, so I have seen some pitching," said Bay. "I felt good. After playing nine, seven and nine [innings], a five-piece and three at-bats is like a walk in the park."

Bucs bits: The Pirates will likely make their first round of cuts Wednesday. ... Reliever Roberto Hernandez, who has been bothered by a sore shoulder, is scheduled to make his first appearance in the Grapefruit League on Monday against the Tigers. ... John Van Benschoten, who missed all of last season while recovering from surgeries to both shoulders, threw his second bullpen session in three days on Sunday. ... The crowd of 5,919 on Sunday represented the second consecutive sellout at McKechnie Field.

Quotable: "He wasn't even there [at the World Baseball Classic], so he can put that thing down." -- Bay, as Pirates catcher and Mexican native Humberto Cota waved a Mexican flag during Bay's interview with reporters.

On deck: The Pirates will play a pair of split-squad games on Monday.

Right-hander Ian Snell will start for the Bucs against Yankees right-hander Jaret Wright at McKechnie Field. Sean Burnett, Terry Adams and Matt Whiteside are also schedule to pitch in that game.

Lefty Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates against Tigers southpaw Wilfredo Ledezma in Lakeland, Fla Tom Gorzelanny, Mike Gonzalez and Nerio Rodriguez are also expected to pitch against Detroit.

Ed Eagle is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.