Right-hander Kyle Kendrick toes the rubber when the Pirates visit Bright House Field today at 1:05 p.m. This is Pittsburgh’s Grapefruit League opener. [Live Boxscore]
Pitching probables: Joe Savery is scheduled, along with Josh Outman, Francisco Rosario and Rule 5 right-hander Lincoln Holdzkom. For the Bucs, Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to start followed by Bryan Bullington, Phil Dumatrait, Jaret Wright, Juan Perez, John Grabow and Matt Capps. Update: Gorzelanny is not starting.
The Pirates were the worst team in the National League last season and chances are quite strong they’ll finish that way again. They actually lost depth in their bullpen, which was an enviable unit for a couple of seasons. Gorzelanny and Ian Snell are nice pitchers, but I have some doubts. I was shocked their pitching staff ranked as low as it did in 2007; even worse than the Phils in many respects. They’re sinking pretty low for help, signing Byung-Hyun Kim to a guaranteed deal. Kim was technically their biggest off-season acquisition. Wright, the very definition of an up-and-down career, is a non-roster invitee trying to catch on at 32-years-old. Their lineup is wretched and without power. Too many Chris Duffy types. Their mission should be to get as much as they can for Snell and others at the non-waiver trade deadline. They need to do a better job finding cheap talent. I'm not high on their prospects.
In the spirit of positive spin – which I’m warned is at an all-time low here – at least we’re not Pirates fans. At least our star nucleus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and at least management addressed a couple needs this off-season. What's Pittsburgh done? What's the point of it?
What to watch: Holdzkom, for one. The right-handed reliever must make the 25-man roster or be offered back to Boston. Unlike Travis Blackley yesterday, Holdzkom is cut-and-dry reliever who reportedly throws hard, sinking stuff. Rosario is in the same boat as Clay Condrey: out of options and on the bubble.