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Pirates notebook: Wandy enjoys pain-free outing in spring debut

| Saturday, March 1, 2014, 7:27 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez delivers to the plate against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday, March 1, 2014, at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez delivers to the plate against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday, March 1, 2014, at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez delivers to the plate against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday, March 1, 2014, at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla.

BRADENTON, Fla. — The defense behind him was sloppy, but Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez looked sharp Saturday in his spring training debut.

Rodriguez worked the first inning, did not allow a hit and got two strikeouts. The Tampa Bay Rays got an unearned run off him, thanks to two errors, and tied the Pirates, 2-2, in 10 innings.

Rodriguez, 35, missed the final four months last season because of chronic forearm discomfort. So far this spring, he is pain free.

“My first pitch, I felt (anxious),” Rodriguez said. “After that, the key was to concentrate and put the ball wherever I wanted. That's what I did.”

Rodriguez used a mix of curveballs, four-seam fastballs and sinkers.

“Everything went good today,” he said.

Well, almost.

With his second pitch of the game, Rodriguez nicked Rays leadoff batter Sean Rodriguez. With one out, Wandy Rodriguez had Sean Rodriguez picked off first base, but Matt Hague's wild throw sailed into center field and the runner went to third.

Wandy Rodriguez then struck out Logan Forsythe looking. Wil Myers hit a slow roller, but shortstop Robert Andino booted it and Sean Rodriguez scored. Ryan Hanigan's infield popup ended the inning.

Rodriguez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday, then likely will pitch two or three innings Friday against the Minnesota Twins at McKechnie Field.

Planet of the aches

Gaby Sanchez was scratched from the lineup Saturday because of a sore right knee. He hurt it while sliding in Friday's game, manager Clint Hurdle said. ... Right-hander Phil Irwin did not make his scheduled outing Friday because of a cranky right elbow. “I'm still on a full throwing program, but I won't throw bullpens for a few days,” Irwin said. ... Outfielder Travis Snider got the stitches out of his finger and will be the designated hitter Sunday against the Phillies. ... When will Snider be ready to play some right field? “One day at a time,” Snider said. “I'm getting there.” ... Closer Jason Grilli will throw a two-inning simulated game Sunday. Grilli, who sat out six weeks last season because of forearm pain, is on a reduced workload in camp. ... Travis Ishikawa remains day to day with a tight right hamstring.

Burnett ‘excited' to face Bucs

Even though A.J. Burnett is one of his best friends, lefty Jeff Locke won't go to Clearwater, Fla., on his own time Sunday to watch Burnett face the Pirates.

“It's not protocol to go on the road when you're not pitching to see your friend pitch,” Locke said.

The game will be Burnett's spring training debut with the Philadelphia Phillies. Although they're on separate teams, Locke still keeps in frequent contact with Burnett.

Did Burnett specifically request to make his first outing against his former team?

“I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't know,” Locke said. “It's in A.J.'s nature to want something and try to go get it. But I wouldn't want to throw against our guys, so good luck to him. I know for a fact that he's excited. And I know we'll be ready. It's going to be a really good challenge for our guys to face someone like him.”

Around the horn

Infielder Chase d'Arnaud cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was designated for assignment Tuesday, when the Pirates claimed Brent Morel off waivers from Toronto. ... Four Pirates spring training games in Florida will use the new instant replay rules: March 12 at the Twins, March 17 versus the Yankees, March 19 at Boston, and March 26 at the Twins. The system also will available for the two exhibition games March 28-29 against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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