Pirates notebook: De Jesus will skip WBC, remain in camp
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013, 7:12 p.m.
Updated: Saturday, February 23, 2013
BRADENTON, Fla. — Because he was promised only sporadic playing time in the World Baseball Classic, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. opted out and instead will remain in camp with the Pirates.
De Jesus was on the Puerto Rico's provisional roster, but took his name off the list before final rosters were set Thursday night.
“It was a really tough decision,” he said. “If they had told me I was going to play every day, I would've gone. I wish the best to Puerto Rico, but they're not going to pay the bills by me going over there for a couple weeks. My bills are here and my dream is here.”
De Jesus was one of four players acquired Dec. 26 when closer Joel Hanrahan was dealt to the Red Sox. De Jesus, a non-roster invitee, is fighting for a roster spot as a backup infielder.
“I want to play for my country, but I don't want to miss one or two weeks (of spring training),” de Jesus said. “The coaches and staff here really don't know me yet. I need to have them see me play.”
• It was only a couple of two-inning stints in an intrasquad scrimmage, but manager Clint Hurdle liked what he saw from pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. “They both had a very good pace out there,” Hurdle said. “The things we've heard about them are showing up.” Cole threw a first-pitch strike to all seven batters he faced and did not have a three-ball count. Taillon went 5 for 8 on first-pitch strikes. “You expect to see good things from them, and they both were efficient today,” Hurdle said. Cole said he wasn't fazed by working in front of the front office execs and major league coaching staff, along with 2,100 fans. “I felt comfortable out there,” he said. Both right-handers put up two scoreless innings. Taillon said there was no friendly wager between the two former first-round picks. “Not today,” Taillon said, smiling. “Maybe when we're on the same staff.”
• Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Russ Martin are among those who will not make the trip Saturday for the Grapefruit League opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. The lineup has Starling Marte batting leadoff, Garrett Jones in the cleanup spot and Pedro Alvarez hitting fifth. Josh Harrison will start at second base and Chase d'Arnaud will play shortstop.
• Hurdle said he won't try to rein in Marte, who laid out his body trying to make a catch. “You've got to let him play the game,” Hurdle said. “You see once again why you like the guy and why he's had some success.”
— Rob Biertempfel
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