BRADENTON, Fla. -- The interests of Pirates staff and fans will be divided along with the team's squads for Sunday's exhibition action. In a double dose of defensive debuts, Russell Martin will return behind the plate in Sarasota, Fla., and Brandon Inge will start at third base in Fort Myers, Fla.
Martin is penciled in to bat third against the Orioles, while Inge is in the five-hole against the Twins.
Manager Clint Hurdle has opted to trek to Fort Myers, to check out Inge and other players who are on the bubble as the first camp cuts near. Hurdle and staff, including front office personnel, will meet following Monday's game to discuss those initial cuts.
Jonathan Sanchez, the non-roster lefty who has had a difficult spring, will have a final chance to impress Hurdle as he makes the start against the Twins. Clint Robinson and Ivan De Jesus will also be in that starting lineup.
The game against the Twins will also be notable for the debut of the Sanchez Trifecta. All three thusly named players in camp will start: Gaby at first, Jonathan on the mound and Tony as his catcher.
Otherwise, Hurdle is splitting the squad in a sensible manner, with regular infielders Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes and Neil Walker busing to Sarasota, and the regular outfield (Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider) taking the longer drive to Fort Myers.
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.Less