Pirates notebook: Players show support for Franklin Regional

Chris Harlan
| Friday, April 18, 2014, 7:24 p.m.

In a show of community support, Pirates players donned Franklin Regional shirts Friday at PNC Park, and the team announced plans to raise money for the victims of last week's school stabbing.

“We're trying to help out in whichever way we can,” Gaby Sanchez said before facing the Milwaukee Brewers. “It's just a situation where you want to contribute as much as you possibly can. For us, there's not much we can do, so we're showing our support. We're here with you.”

The team tweeted a clubhouse picture of Sanchez, Clint Barmes and Jordy Mercer wearing gray-and-blue T-shirts that read “FR Proud.” Another showed Tony Sanchez in the shirt.

Pirates Charities announced that proceeds from Saturday night's 50/50 raffle will benefit the “We Are FR Fund,” which assists victims and their families. Charity raffles are held at every home game, and the one on Opening Day raised $26,383. A Franklin Regional Night at PNC Park was being planned for this season.

“When a tragedy like that happens in your community, if we can touch one life or many lives, we're here to offer some support,” Mercer said. “We have your back, and we're praying about you.”

• Russell Martin remained the team's No. 2 hitter Friday, a lineup switch that saw much success a night earlier. Martin reached base four times Thursday, when moved batted there for the first time this season.

“It worked out great,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “(Martin) hit second more than anybody in spring training. ... We'll see where he takes it. But anybody who can work, get on base ahead of (Andrew) McCutchen, we need to get him up in that two spot.”

In 46 at-bats last season as the No. 2 hitter, Martin had a .339 on-base percentage. Martin had been batting fifth.

“The give and take is how hard you want to push your catcher offensively,” Hurdle said.

• The Pirates hired Pittsburgh native Drew Cloud as a vice president for sales and marketing.

The Allderdice graduate will oversee ticket sales, marketing and corporate partnerships, the team announced Friday. Cloud most recently worked for the NBA as a vice president for team marketing and business operations.

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