• James McDonald will make his final Spring Training start Monday, but it will be at Pirate City in a Minor League game. A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez have also been getting their work against Minor Leaguers. The approach enables rotation anchors to stretch out, while staff hopefuls continue to be evaluated against big league lineups.
General manager Neal Huntington is comfortable with that arrangement.
"For them, it's about conditioning now," he said. "Sure, you'd love to see them competing at this level, but for them, the pitch count is almost more important than facing the competition. They know what to do and how to do it."
• Lefty Francisco Liriano (fractured right arm) threw his third bullpen session Sunday, but has yet to face hitters.
• Brandon Inge, whose status with the club must be decided by Tuesday morning, is penciled in to start Monday night's game against the Rays at first base, his final shot at earning a spot on Pittsburgh's roster. Inge, invited to camp on a Minor League deal, is 5-for-32 in 12 games.
• Felix Pie went 1-for-2 Sunday, giving him eight hits in his last 17 at-bats and a spring average of .317.
• Andrew McCutchen, scratched from Saturday's game with flu-like symptoms, made a quick return to the lineup Sunday and hit his third homer of the spring. He may be experiencing slow start, hitting .231, but is already punishing left-handers in form. After going 2-for-3 against Orioles lefty Brian Matusz in a 12-10 loss, McCutchen is hitting .417 (5-for-12) against southpaws, whom he hit a .392 against last season.
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.