Pirates name Correia Opening Day starter

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia will be the starter on Opening Day, April 1 when the club plays the Chicago Cubs, a National League Central rival at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Left-hander Paul Maholm will start the Pirates' home opener on April 7 at PNC Park against the Colorado Rockies.

The announcements were made this afternoon by manager Clint Hurdle who, earlier in spring training, said the decision on an Opening Day starter had been pared down to Correia and Maholm.

Hurdle also set the rotation order: Correia, Maholm, then Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.

"There are two significant dates for every team, Opening Day and the home opener," Hurdle said. "Kevin and Paul have piggybacked each other throughout spring. We actually had pretty much of a spilt house internally. ... For every [stat] that would make you think this, there was another one that would make you think that. At the end of the day, I wanted these two guys leading the pack and thought this way."

This spring, Correia and Maholm have each started five games. Correia has a 1-2 record and 6.38 ERA and has given up 27 hits in 18 1/3 innings; Maholm has pitched 20 innings, giving up 26 hits with an 0-3 record and 4.50 ERA.

Correia, 30, has two starts at Wrigley (and four other relief appearances) and has thrown a total of 11 2/3 innings there, amassing an 8.49 ERA. He has, however, given up just one home run at Wrigley Field.

Correia was an offseason free agent signing who went 10-10 with a 5.52 ERA with the San Diego Padres last year, working 140 1/3 innings and yielding 86 earned runs.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Colin Dunlap: cdunlap@post-gazette.com


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