Spring training: Maholm finds his stride

Young homers as part of strong spring, but Pirates lose to Boston, 3-2

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Paul Maholm turned in the Pirates' best start of the spring and Delwyn Young homered in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox Saturday at City of Palms Park.

Maholm pitched three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three. His control breakdown was far from exemplary -- 47 pitches, 24 strikes -- but he was far sharper than his previous outing, in which he gave up two runs in as many innings.

He credited a shortening of his stride between starts, bringing his delivery back to being as compact as usual.

Young, a strong candidate to make the bench, broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a towering home run off a Boof Bonser slider that went out of the stadium, just above the four-row set of bleachers in right.

Young is batting .286 and the home run was his second, but his swing, in general, has looked good even with his outs.

"It just comes from being healthy," Young said. "I wasn't healthy when I first got here last year, and everything feels better after you have a whole winter to get your arms back."

Young had nerve surgery on his right elbow just before being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in April.

Chris Jakubauskas gave up three runs in the seventh inning, but Steve Pearce's RBI double in the eighth pulled the Pirates within 3-2.

They had a golden chance for more in the ninth, but it ended in a triple play: Jonathan Van Every was hit by a pitch, and Brandon Jones walked to open it. Gorkys Hernandez lined out to the shortstop, who flipped to the second baseman to force out Van Every. The Red Sox then hung up Jones between first and second for what would be scored a 6-4-2-4 triple play.

Buried treasure

• Closer Octavio Dotel (oblique) made his scheduled 35-pitch bullpen session in Bradenton, and his next step will be live batting practice Monday. The timing of the step after that -- a minor-league appearance -- will be determined after seeing how Dotel feels, pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said.

Brandon Moss hit two solidly struck flyouts to the deepest parts of the park and struck out, extending his spring futility to 0 for 15. He still mustered a smile afterward: "I just can't buy one right now," he said. "But they'll come."

• The first cuts of camp are expected today or Monday.


Dejan Kovacevic: dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Find more at PBC Blog .


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