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Andrew McCutchen displays skills in loss

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
 

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Even in an otherwise uneventful and mostly forgettable spring training game, Andrew McCutchen finds a way to put on a show.

McCutchen displayed his grit and athleticism in the fifth inning Monday of the Pirates' 8-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

In the top of the inning, McCutchen was thrown out trying to score from first base on Matt Diaz's hit. Catcher Matt Wieters blocked the plate as he went up the line a couple of steps to take the throw, and did not budge when McCutchen slid into his shin pads.

"I tried to avoid the tag," McCutchen said.

McCutchen shook his head and grinned as he walked to the dugout. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle went out for a brief, on-field discussion with umpire Bill Welke.

"It was a bang-bang play and (Wieters) held onto the ball," Hurdle said later. "'Cutch' plays hard. There was a play at the plate and we were out."

McCutchen seemed more surprised than upset by the collision.

"I don't know what (Wieters) was thinking," McCutchen said. "It's spring training. We're not trying to get hurt. I wasn't expecting that much contact. I'm OK, though."

McCutchen proved that in the bottom of the inning. As he leaped and tried to snag Randy Winn's home run, McCutchen lost his glove over the outfield wall. McCutchen hopped the wall with ease, retrieved his glove and jumped back onto the field.

"It's only a 6-foot wall," McCutchen said with a shrug. "It would've been better if I had caught the ball. I caught it, but took it over the fence. I've got to tighten up that glove."

This time, it was Hurdle's turn to shake his head and smile.

"He's got six tools," Hurdle said. "And we saw the sixth tool today."


›› Right-hander James McDonald will miss a turn in the starting rotation this week. McDonald injured his side -- the Pirates refuse to clarify the nature and severity of his injury -- Friday while throwing a pitch. Monday, general manager Neal Huntington said McDonald is "feeling better" but will skip his turn as a precaution.

›› Also cut from major league camp Monday were outfielders Alex Presley and Gorkys Hernandez and pitchers Daniel Moskos and Tony Watson were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis; pitchers Jeff Locke, Ramon Aguero and Aaron Thompson were optioned to Double-A Altoona; outfielder Andrew Lambo and infielders Chase d'Arnaud and Brian Friday were reassigned to minor league camp.

›› Lefty Joe Beimel pitched one inning in yesterday's loss and allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits. It was the first outing for Beimel, who'd been out with a sore forearm. "It might not look like it, but it felt like everything was coming out (of my hand) really good," Beimel said. "I think it was pretty positive. I've got to fine-tune things from here." Left-hander Scott Olsen pitched the eighth and allowed Nick Green's homer and Josh Bell's triple. Olsen had been out a month due to a strained hamstring.

›› Catcher Ryan Doumit (strained oblique) took some dry swings in the batting cage, a step forward in his recovery. Doumit and catcher Chris Snyder (sore back) will be evaluated again today, an off day for the team.

›› Right-hander Charlie Morton threw four innings (63 pitches) Monday in a minor league camp game.

›› Wednesday, Paul Maholm, Jeff Karstens and Joel Hanrahan will pitch against Toronto. Kyle Drabek, the son of Pirates' Cy Young winner Doug Drabek and Octavio Dotel, who began last season as the Pirates' closer, are scheduled to pitch for the Blue Jays.

›› Manager Clint Hurdle said the Opening Day starter probably will be announced sometime next week. "We might even have it lined up already and you just don't know it," Hurdle said.

QUOTE

"I didn't want to use another glove."

Andrew McCutchen

Pirates outfielder, after he jumped the wall to get his glove back after losing it on a home run against the Orioles on Monday.

DIGITS

.533 -- Jason Jaramillo's batting average in nine games this spring

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Pirates Spring Training 2011

Pirates Spring Training 2011

Images from Pirates spring training in Bradenton, Florida.

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