BRADENTON (93-7 THE FAN) — Pirates manager Clint Hurdle named Jeff Locke the fourth starter over Vance Worley on Monday.
“It’s the second most challenging decision that I’ve been a part of with our group,” Hurdle said. “The first one was giving Cole the ball in Game 5.”
Hurdle says he had a transparent conversation with Worley about the importance of him and what he means to this club. Hurdle says he expects Worley to handle it like a pro.
“We wrestled with it all over the place, all the way down to their ages,” Hurdle said. “They both worked so hard, they both want to be the guy. We feel that to get out of the gates, we wanted to start with Locke in the rotation and Vance out of the bullpen. We really believe we will need both of them to start games for us this year.”
Pedro Drives In 6
Pedro Alvarez hit 2 homers, both shots to right center, the second being a grand slam as the Pirates beat the Phillies 18-4 in the final game this season at McKechnie Field.
“They don’t carry over into the season, as far as statistics they don’t count,” Alvarez said. “But it does matter in terms of the work you put in and obviously you want the work you put in to have a positive end result in the end.”
Josh Harrison, Pedro Florimon, Tony Sanchez and Starling Marte also homered for the Pirates.
It’s rare for a Spring Training game, but the benches cleared after the 4th inning when apparently Sean Rodriguez had an issue with a quick pitch leading to a strikeout from Phillies starter Kevin Slowey, from Upper St. Clair. Rodriguez wouldn’t comment after the game as coaches Rick Sofield, Pirates and the Phillies Juan Samuel were tossed for yelling back and forth. The players left the bench and the bullpens started jogging in, but no punches were thrown.
“Sometimes Springs get long and we don’t communicate like we should,” Hurdle said. “We just need to move past it.”
Hurdle was later tossed in the 6th for arguing a strike call.
Decker Doing Better
Outfielder Jaff Decker strained his calf running out a grounder Sunday afternoon, Monday he went through treatments and told KDKA Radio he feels much better. Decker hopes to do some hitting on Tuesday and potentially play in another Spring Training game before camp breaks on Thursday.