Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Rays 1
Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, Fla.
Opp. name starter:
RHP Mike Wright
RHP Clay Holmes
Pirates 4, Rays 1
Walk-off: How nondescript is Edwin Espinal? When he entered the game in the sixth inning, the nonroster player on loan from minor league camp was not only wearing the too-high-for-a-serious-Pirates-roster-contender uniform No. 79 – he was an imposter No. 79. The backup No. 79, if you will. (Barrett Barnes has been assigned that this spring). But Espinal ended Friday's game with a homer to left on a 1-0 pitch with two men on. “He told Andy Barkett, our Triple-A manager, if he had another shot (after striking out in the seventh) that he was gonna cash in,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “And he did. It was really cool.” Espinal, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound 23-year-old first baseman, had a .739 OPS at Double-A Altoona last season.
Homer Hutch?: While the totality of Drew Hutchison's start was positive, he did allow a deep home run pulled to right by Tim Beckham in the third inning. “I executed a pitch down and away — and he made a good swing and went with it,” Hutchison said. “I was not too upset about that. Those things happen. Guys are going to make good swings.” Last season in 24 major league innings, opponents hit six home runs off of Hutchison. He has allowed two in eight innings this spring and 59 in 417.1 regular-season innings in his career, including 23 during his only full MLB season (2014).
Osuna stays out: Jose Osuna maintained his .500 Grapefruit League batting average when he went 1 for 2 with another extra-base hit (a double to right). “He's using all of the field — and he's hitting breaking balls, he's hitting fastballs, he's hitting soft stuff,” manager Clint Hurdle said. Osuna also made a nice running catch in left field for his final in-game act of the afternoon, off a ball Beckham hit to end the fifth.
Hot shots: An inordinate number of sharply-hit foul balls (and bats) plagued the LECOM Park seating area (and pressbox) Thursday. First-base coach Kimera Bartee, for instance, made a barehanded snag on a hard chopper hit right at him. A potentially ugly scene was avoided when an older female fan was struck by a flying bat that Max Moroff had lost his grip on. It flew well into stands eight rows up. Multiple paramedics came out to check on the fan, but she remained in her seat and appeared to be fine.
— Chris Adamski