BRADENTON, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Pirates' spring training ...
The game: A seven-run Yankees seventh, which included just a Melky Cabrera run-scoring single and a Nick Swisher walk at the top of a lineup otherwise dotted by minor-leaguers, propelled this New York split squad to a 13-10 victory against the Pirates before 5,866 at sold-out McKechnie Field yesterday. Ross Ohlendorf pitched four no-hit innings, twice striking out $20-million-man Mark Teixeira and inducing six of his first 10 outs on balls that never left the infield. The bullpen, though, faltered: The next four pitchers were tagged for 10 earned runs in the next three innings. Loser Craig Hansen, tagged for five earned runs -- his first this spring -- and Chris Bootcheck plus Denny Bautista with two each suffered the worst fates -- though Jesse Chavez's three in the ninth proved to be the difference.
Injury update: Corner outfielder/infielder Eric Hinske (ribs) participated in full batting practice and defensive work for the first time since last playing Feb. 26, and second baseman Shelby Ford (wrist) returned to take only a handful of grounders in infield drills. Ford is expected to be hampered for a few more days. Hinske said he was pain-free and planned to return to the lineup as a designated hitter possibly tomorrow or Tuesday. He may well get sent to Pirate City's minor-league camp to work "a bunch of innings, get some at-bats. I'm close." Meantime, pitcher Phil Dumatrait, rested earlier this week after live batting-practice pitching caused soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder, has resumed throwing and is scheduled for tosses today then a brief mound session tomorrow.
Today: Tom Gorzelanny is set to start vs. the Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Garza in Port Charlotte, with Jeff Karstens, Jason Davis, Tyler Yates and Matt Capps to follow. It will be broadcast on WPGB-FM 104.7.
Camp roster: 53, with 26 pitchers, 5 catchers, 13 infielders and 9 outfielders.
Competition: "Every start is part of it -- a big part of it for quite a few of us," Ohlendorf said of the starting-rotation shakedown. He lowered his ERA to a team-leading 0.96 and retired all 12 batters he faced, including the top four: Cabrera, Swisher, Teixeira and Jorge Posada combination that earns a total of $39.8 million, nearly equal to the entire Pirates' payroll. Added Ohlendorf, "There are still a lot of outings to go, though."
Fun in the sun: Minor-league umpire Rob Healey's strike zone raised a few Pirates eyebrows, at least, on a day when 17 batters were punched out. Among them was mild-mannered Freddy Sanchez, who muttered a criticism -- but not a profanity -- after a called third strike in the fifth inning, whereupon Healey ejected him. Manager John Russell came onto the field to complain, and second base umpire Jerry Crawford tossed him. Sanchez and Russell received a lusty ovation upon walking up the foul line to the clubhouse. "The last pitch, he saw it a different way," said a diplomatic Sanchez.
Inside pitch: Talk about throwing inside -- Pirates pitchers plunked three Yankees. Donnie Veal hurt the right wrist of John Rodriguez and left the Yankees without a healthy Rodriguez, Alex (hip) being the other.
Meet me in St. Louis: 23 days until the opener.