Pirates notebook: Cole learns lessons from Martin
Gerrit Cole cruised through the first two innings of his start against Baltimore on Sunday and retired seven straight batters before he ran into some trouble in the third.
He walked Manny Machado to put a runner on base for the first time then fell behind in the count to Ryan Flaherty, 0-2. Catcher Russell Martin, making his first start behind the plate since Feb. 24 (shoulder) took a trip to the mound to talk things over with the 22-year-old right-hander.
“My hunch was that he was thinking about the runner and over-emphasizing the runner,” Martin said. “It's something that we've preached about, but you don't want it to affect your delivery and you don't want it to affect the quality of your pitches. I just went out there and said, ‘Look, we're leading by four. It's a situation where you want to get outs.' ”
Cole's next pitch was a good four-seam fastball, but Flaherty put a nice swing on it for a two-run home run to right field.
“We talked after that inning on the bench with the pitching coach, and we all agreed that what got him in trouble wasn't the 2-0 pitch. It was the mindset and how he got the 2-0,” Martin said. “He understood it.”
Overall Cole said he was pleased with the outing, which was his fourth of the spring but only the second against Major League opponents (he pitched in the team's Black and Gold scrimmage and against Team Spain). It was his first win.
Cole also enjoyed working with Martin.
“Hopefully I work with him a lot more,” he said.
• Although the Pirates will meet to discuss cuts after Monday's game, general manager Neal Huntington said they may not make them until after Tuesday's off day or even later. They still have 62 in camp, although Huntington said the figure is deceiving because of various injuries and players at the World Baseball Classic.
• RHP Charlie Morton will throw 20 pitches of live batting practice Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. “I think for him it'll be good to compete again against somebody besides himself because Charlie has worked so hard,” Huntington said. RHP Jeff Karstens is also scheduled to throw a bullpen session.