McPherson pleased with his spring debut

BRADENTON, FLA. -- Good thing the Pirates did not have a Kangaroo Court scheduled for Monday afternoon. Had court been in session, Kyle McPherson might have been fined: He gave up a hit in the Grapefruit League game against the Twins.

The second-inning single to Josh Willingham is all McPherson gave up in two innings. But that did make him the first of three Pittsburgh starters to give up a hit, in the hitless wake of Jeff Locke and James McDonald.

"Yeah, I did give up a hit," McPherson said with mock regret. "Overall, a good day. Just tried to keep it free and easy. The high point was just getting the first one out of the way, and if you have some success, that's also a plus."

"He made a statement," manager Clint Hurdle said with a wry grin, playing off what had been the observation after the first pair's outings.

McPherson pushed the scoreboard radar reading to 95 mph during his economical outing. He made only 15 pitches in the two innings, but unlike when Locke was allowed to go a third on Saturday, McPherson was done after two. It was a concession to him having been a biceps tendinitis patient last fall.

"We're not worried, but after the setback, for his first time out our biggest interest was the up-and-down twice," Hurdle said. "We weren't going to give him too many pitches, but the fact he came in underneath, that was fine."

"We want to err on the side of caution but, at the same time, I'm still going out there and competing for that spot in the rotation," said McPherson. "I want to be healthy and ready to go."

Asked if he had any apprehension about how his arm responds, he replied, "none whatsoever."

"If there's any hiccups," said the right-hander, "you just try to put it in the back of your mind, do what you need to do and not worry about it. You need that trust factor."