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Pirates adjusting to upcoming regular season

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — The game time temperature was 57 degrees and windy, making it the Pirates' first game start below 67 degrees all spring. But with the move north from Florida, center fielder Andrew McCutchen said, came the chance to feel more as if they were playing a regular-season game.

"This is going to help more, playing in a big-league stadium in Philly, playing a night game, the atmosphere, it's going to feel like a real game," said McCutchen, who hit a solo home run to tie Monday's game in the sixth inning. "This is as real as it can get right now, and we just have to take it as if it was."

> > The Pirates used a string of relievers to handle the pitching duties last night during a 4-3 loss, with each of the first six tackling just one inning. Tony Watson, Evan Meek and Juan Cruz each gave up one run and one hit. They were followed by Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Chris Resop and Ryan Beckman, who gave up the winning run in the seventh and stayed in to pitch the eighth. Beckman was the pitcher of record.

> > Phillies starter Joe Blanton retired the first 10 batters he faced before Jose Tabata singled with one out in the fourth inning. Neil Walker drove him in with a single, and Garrett Jones doubled to bring Walker home.

> > Manager Clint Hurdle would not say when final roster moves would be made.

"We're still having the conversation of what we want to do," he said. "That's the edge we're on right now. The one thing we're talking about is the days off early. Do you need eight• Do you want the extra bat or do you want the extra reliever?"

> > Hurdle is pleased with Evan Meek's progress.

"He showed up in very good shape, is very diligent with his work, has taken the ball and gotten a significant workload the last 10 days or so," he said. "I see (his velocity) just ticking up."




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