Pirates notebook: Payroll ranks 20th in the majors
According to data obtained by USA Today, the Pirates have a $79.55 million Opening Day payroll — which ranks 20th out of 30 big league teams. However, when portions of salaries that will be paid by other clubs are included, the recalculated total is $66.05 million.
At the end of last season, the payroll for the Pirates' 40-man roster was $61.4 million.
• Tuesday, utility infielder Brandon Inge will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. Inge is on the 15-day disabled list due to a fractured right shoulder blade, which he sustained when he was hit by a pitch in a spring training game March 14. He tried to play through it for a handful of games, but the pain was too intense. “I wanted to try to show them what I could do, but it was just too much,” Inge said Monday. On March 21, general manager Neal Huntington said Inge's X-ray results were “normal” and the Pirates never revealed the extent of Inge's injury.
• Right-hander Charlie Morton was on the field at PNC Park when the teams were introduced Monday, but by the eighth inning he was on a plane back to Florida. Morton will spend the next two or three weeks at Pirate City in Bradenton, continuing his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Morton recently threw a two-inning simulated game, facing batters without using a protective L-screen on the mound. It was the fourth time he's thrown live batting practice. Wednesday, Morton will toss another sim game, probably throwing 30 to 40 pitches.
• The Pirates won't need a fifth starter until Sunday, so left-hander Jeff Locke will make a start Tuesday in extending spring training in Florida.
• The bullpen was sharp Monday against the Cubs, tossing 3 1⁄3 hitless, scoreless innings. Justin Wilson, Jared Hughes and Mark Melancon combined for five strikeouts. “We all are really aggressive, competitive guys,” Hughes said. “We all want to win, and the way to do that is trust our stuff and attack the hitter.”
• Three uniform number changes from spring training: infielder John McDonald will wear No. 17 (was 80), left-hander Jonathan Sanchez will wear No. 57 (was 36) and Inge will wear No. 2 (was 78).
— Rob Biertempfel