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Pirates Pirates Report: 4/3/03

Thursday, April 03, 2003

By Robert Dvorchak, Post-Gazette Sports Writer


Pirates vs. Reds, 12:35 p.m. today, Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. No TV. Radio: KDKA-AM (1020) and Pirates Radio Network. RHP Josh Fogg (12-12, 4.35 in '02) will pitch for the Pirates, LHP Jimmy Anderson (8-13, 5.44 in '02 with Pirates) will pitch for the Reds.


Jimmy Anderson will be pumped for his start today against his former team. "If you can't get up for this one, I don't think you can. The way it went down, it left a bitter taste in my mouth," Anderson said. The left-handed pitcher was removed from the rotation Aug. 13 and pitched once in the final 31 games before he was released by the Pirates after last season. He entered the Reds' camp as a nonroster invitee and pitched well enough to make their starting rotation. Manager Lloyd McClendon didn't want to be drawn into any controversies but said the reason Anderson was taken out of the rotation was he wasn't performing. "Believe me, I'm not going to sit here and waste my time thinking about Jimmy Anderson and what was fair or unfair," McClendon said. "We were starving for pitching last year. If the guy performed, don't you think we'd have pitched him? People ask me all the time, do you have something against the guy? Is he in the doghouse? I don't have a doghouse. I want to win. There's nobody who has a bigger stake than me. It's got nothing personal to do with anything. I learned a long time ago that the best thing I can do is comment on my team and not worry about the other team." Anderson has eliminated the pause in his motion and is throwing more fluidly. He credited Pirates bullpen coach Bruce Tanner with working out the pause late last year. Anderson said he concentrated on the new delivery since he began throwing in December.

With a left-hander throwing, Kevin Young likely will get his first start at first base and center fielder Kenny Lofton likely will sit in favor of Rob Mackowiak, even though Mackowiak also is left-handed. "I talked to my guys. I explained to them that we'll play the guys who give us the best opportunity to win games. Obviously, if someone gets hot, they could be out there for that streak. But, at the same time, we're not going to be afraid to put the guys out there to help us win games," McClendon said. Last night, Matt Stairs started in right field instead of Reggie Sanders, partly because McClendon didn't want Sanders to play a day game after a night game. "It also gives us an opportunity to keep guys sharp. Matt swung the bat extremely well in spring training. To have him sit too long, we would have wasted all that productivity," McClendon said. Stairs singled in his first at-bat.

Ryan Vogelsong will start the opener for Class AAA Nashville, where all but three players on the 24-man roster have major-league experience. "One thing we tried to do is add depth. If we have injuries, then we can reach down and get somebody that has major-league experience to help you up there," McClendon noted. Also pitching for Nashville will be Brian Meadows, Shawn Camp, Mark Corey, Nelson Figueroa, Mike Holtz, Pat Mahomes, Jim Mann, Ariel Prieto, Justin Reid, John Wasdin and Duaner Sanchez. Also on the roster are catchers Humberto Cota and Brad King; infielders Carlos Rivera, Tomas de la Rosa, Mike Gulan, David Doster and Aaron Holbert; and outfielders Adam Hyzdu, Tike Redman, J.J. Davis, Tony Alvarez and John Barnes.

Class AA Altoona opens its season today at Reading. The pitching staff includes Sean Burnett, Mike Connolly, Landon Jacobsen, Ben Shaffar, John Grabow, Jeff Bennett, Brady Borner, Mike Johnston, Brad Guy, Neal McDade and Rick Palma. Among those on the roster are infielders Jose Castillo, Ray Navarette and Joe Caruso; outfielders Josh Bonifay, Chris Duffy, B.J. Barns and Shawn Garrett, and catcher Ron Paulino. Half of the 24-man roster played at Class A Lynchburg last year.

Looking for an omen? For just the fifth time in 117 season openers, the Pirates scored 10 runs. In each of the previous four years they put up that much offense, the Pirates finished the season with a winning record. They beat the Reds, 14-0, in 1911 and finished 85-69; beat the Reds, 12-6, in 1935 and were 86-67; beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-7, in 1982 and were 84-78, and beat the New York Mets, 12-3, in 1990 and were 95-67.

Hitting coach Gerald Perry checked out fine after returning to Pittsburgh on the off day for follow-up medical tests. During his annual physical in spring training, tests showed a chest lump.

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