Final roster moves must come soon for Bucs

| Sunday, April 4, 2010

PHILADELPHIA — The Pirates still need to make several roster moves before Sunday's 3 p.m. deadline, including finding room for left-hander Jack Taschner and righty D.J. Carrasco on their 40-man roster.

The team is expected to move righty Jose Ascanio to the 60-day disabled list, freeing up one roster spot. That leaves one slot for right-hander Hayden Penn, whom they claimed off waivers from Florida last week; infielder Ramon Vazquez; Rule 5 pick John Raynor; and utility man Steve Pearce, who struck out to end Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Phillies.

Pearce is the only one with a minor-league option.

Penn pitched one inning of relief in the spring training closer at Citizens Bank Park, allowing three hits and two runs with one strikeout. He gave up a 380-foot homer to Jayson Werth.

Penn has pitched 1.2 innings and a minor-league outing in his brief time with the Pirates.

"You have to look not so much at results but what you see in the action of the pitches. He's got a good angle, good velocity, a ball that moves and an off-speed pitch, so that's what you look at," manager John Russell said. "It is tough, but when you do have a short look, that's what you're looking for."

Right-hander Joel Hanrahan is expected to be moved to the 15-day DL.

Maholm battles

Paul Maholm, Saturday's starter, threw three innings, allowed five hits and two runs and had one strikeout.

"He was a little sick," Russell said. "I thought he threw the ball well. He didn't feel great, but he kept the ball down for the most part and got the work that he needed. He's ready to go."

Maholm, who's scheduled to start Thursday's second game of the season against the Dodgers, went 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in spring training and led the team in strikeouts (18).

Young's power surge

Delwyn Young led the Pirates in home runs (six) and RBI (18) in spring training. His RBI total is the most by a Pirate since Craig Wilson had 18 in 2005.

McCutchen growing

Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 2 against the Phillies and ended spring training with a team-leading average of .351.

"He consistently grew as the spring went on, in terms of his game progressing," Russell said. "He got stronger with the things he was doing. He started seeing the ball better, started driving balls, and his outfield play continued to improve. Not that he wasn't good, but he progressed."

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