PITTSBUGH (93-7 The FAN) – Juan Nicasio was dominant again leading a Pirates’ split squad team in Ft. Myers to a 2-0 win over Minnesota.

Nicasio struck out eight over five scoreless while allowing five hits. So far this Spring, Nicasio has gone 15 innings, allowed no runs and struck out 24.

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David Freese started at third against the Twins, going 1-for-3 and hit what turned out to be a Minnesota error, allowing Chris Stewart to score the first run. Catcher Jacob Stallings drove in the other Pirates run.

Francisco Liriano gave up four runs on seven hits including a pair of RBI doubles to Nick Swisher over 3.2 innings as the other Pirates team lost 7-3 to Atlanta in Bradenton.

Liriano said his fastball was all over the place, but adds he’s where he wants to be physically and mentally at this point.

“One more start and get myself ready for Opening Day; hopefully, everything turns around for me in the next start and I have better fastball command.”

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“Threw the pitches he wanted to throw,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Frankie is not a guy you are going to lose any sleep over. We’ll give him the ball again and see how he does.”

Lefty Eric O’Flaherty has an outside chance to make the bullpen, and threw two scoreless with four strikeouts against Atlanta. O’Flaherty’s ERA now 2.25 this Spring.

Liriano did hit a solo homer in the 3rd inning, borrowing Gregory Polanco’s bat. Second baseman Erich Weiss doubled in a run. Francisco Cervelli went 1-for-2 and has now reached base safely in eight of his first 9 games.

Diaz Out

Essentially the Pirates third-string catcher, Elias Diaz is experiencing lateral right elbow discomfort and as of now, the Bucs’ doctors are prescribing only rest and treatments. The 25-year-old 2015 International League All-Star will be re-evaluated in approximately one week.

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