PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – “Nobody has jumped out miles ahead of anybody.”
That’s manager Clint Hurdle’s assessment of the ongoing competition to be the Pirates’ fifth starter.
After Drew Hutchison gave up six runs on Thursday, Trevor Williams went five scoreless in a 4-0 Bucs win over the Rays on Friday.
“I thought I did a great job of getting ahead, Stew and I were on the same page all game,” Williams said. “I think it’s my third or fourth start with him this Spring and we’ve gotten more-and-more on the same page.”
Williams struck out four, allowed three hits and didn’t walk a batter. Williams Spring ERA is now 2.63 in 13.2 innings, the lowest ERA of any of those competing for the final spot.
“When you do all of the little things right and you go and compete on top of that, everything kind of falls into place,” Williams said. “I just simplified it today, I’m just going to go out and compete and that’s all I’m going to do today.”
“They all have an internal clock running as well as they are getting ready for the season and they know the days are running out,” Hurdle said. “They are getting more in game mode.”
Gift Ngoepe had two more hits as his average rose to .436 this Spring. Playing second and third base, Phil Gosselin was 2 for 3 and drove in his 12th run this Spring.
Catcher Chris Stewart was removed from Friday’s game in the 8th inning with left groin discomfort and is day-to-day. Stewart has played in 141 games in three years with the Bucs, hitting .272 and a career .989 fielding percentage.
McCutchen/Harrison In Lineup Saturday
Friday, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison returned to the team from the World Baseball Classic and Saturday they each return to the lineup. It’s a chance to put the new look outfield together. Here is the lineup against the Tigers in Bradenton:
“I don’t have many concerns about that, I think they will be very representative when they get out there,” Hurdle said of having the outfielders together. “There are some nuances that they will be able to work on. It’s out of our hands, there was nothing we could do about it (speaking of the WBC), there was no reason to stress over it. Now when we get them back, we’ll get them plugged in together as often as we can and we’ll go from there.”