By: Mike Vukovcan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Pirates are five days from the start of the 2011 season and the beginning of the Clint Hurdle Era.

The new manager is busy making final decisions on who will fill his Opening Day 25-man roster. One of those decision was made when Hurdle and General Manager Neal Huntington decided on Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez over Pedro Ciriaco.

This spring, Rodriguez has hit .303 in 20 games while Ciriaco has hit .333 in 26 games.

It’s also likely the team will start the season with a catching platoon of Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo because Chris Synder is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury.

Synder has played in just one game the past 16 days because of the back discomfort. Keep in mind, Synder underwent back surgery in September of 2009.

The last real decision to be made is the final spot in the bullpen. Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jose Veras and Jeff Karstens have locked up jobs. The final spot will come down to left-hander Garrett Olson and righties Chris Leroux and Mike Crotta.


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