PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Gerrit Cole made his first Grapefruit League start and pitched his scheduled two innings a 9-5 win over the Tigers in Bradenton. Cole allowed 2 hits, both solo HRs helped by what seemed at times to be a gale-force wind.

“I thought it was pretty good,” said Cole who had 1 strikeout and 0 walks, “just tried to get out there, get a feel for the mound, get a feel for competing again, get a feel for the speed of the game, and we definitely accomplished those things,”

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Starling Marte went 2-for-3 with a 3-run HR to right-center and is now 8-for-16 on the spring.  Josh Harrison had 2 doubles, Andrew McCutchen a sharp RBI single and catcher Elias Diaz (the DH) had 2 more hits including a bomb over the left field grandstand. Diaz, known for his defense, is 8-for-17 in March.

Francisco Liriano (4.0ip/65pitches) and Neftali Feliz (2.0ip/33pitches) pitched in minor league camp Sunday morning.

Ryan Vogelsong willstart against the Red Sox tomorrow afternoon in Fort Myers.

Meanwhile, the newest Pirate, David Freese settled into the clubhouse with his stall next to Jordy Mercer, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison.  “Seeing McCutchen and some talent coming up, they just do it collectively and have for the last handful of years,”  Freese observes. “It was exciting to watch, but frustrating at times to play against them. I’m just glad to be a part of this now.”

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Freese, who spent his first 5 major league seasons with the Cardinals and the last 2 with the Angels, was “hoping for a full time gig” but when that didn’t materialize he looked for the best situation with a winning team. Freese was the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2011, an All-Star in 2012, but will be a role player here, especially once Jung Ho Kang is healthy.

Freese plans to be a stop-gap at third base, then do whatever is asked. “My job here is to be a good teammate and fill the roster. I think we all know how important that is in order to get the playoffs and get deep and that’s what I’m here to do.”

GM Neal Huntington says Freese still needs to “get his legs under him, get some hitting in,” so it will probably be a little while before Freese makes his debut. He will wear number 7.

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