BRADENTON, Fla. -- Charlie Morton didn't seem to think it was a big deal. But to others, seeing the right-hander pitch against batters for the first time since hip surgery in October definitely was noteworthy.
Pirates' official makes biggest delivery of spring
BRADENTON, Fla. -- New baseball seasons traditionally begin with the joyous delivery of the ceremonial first pitch.Trevor Gooby delivered an entirely different joy Tuesday night: The Pirates' director of field operations delivered a baby. Latisha Kirk went into labor during special pre-Grapefruit League opener festivities at McKechnie Field for season ticket holders and invited guests, including neighborhood fans. Gooby's attention was called to Kirk as she began to experience pain, and he immediately called 911, placed her in a wheelchair and began pushing her toward the front gates and into the care of emergency responders. But by the time they reached the gate, Kirk announced the baby's impending arrival. Gooby sent staff members for towels and gloves and looked down.
"I could see the baby's head," Gooby said.The 35-year-old father of two let instincts take over, gently gripped and "wrapped the baby up in towels. He was crying and EMS arrived a couple of minutes later and cut the umbilical cord." Kirk and her unnamed son were later reportedly doing well at Manatee Memorial Hospital. "It was definitely an interesting night," Gooby said.
Rotation set for first week of exhibition games
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Want to set your calendar by the Pirates' Grapefruit League-opening pitching rotation? Well, now you can.This is how the Bucs' pitching plans shape up for the first few games of exhibition play: Saturday at Blue Jays: James McDonald, Brad Lincoln, Tony Watson, Daniel McCutchen, Chris Resop, Chris Leroux, Ryota Igarashi, JuanCruz. Sunday vs. Blue Jays, at McKechnie Field: Erik Bedard, A.J. Burnett, Shairon Martis, Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Evan Meek, Doug Slaten. Burnett's ability depends on result of the examinations he will undergo Thursday in Pittsburgh on his right eye, after getting hit by his own foul ball during Wednesday morning's bunting tournament. Monday night at Orioles: Jo-Jo Reyes, Justin Wilson, Daniel Moskos, Jared Hughes, Bryan Morris, Mike Crotta, Tim Wood. Tuesday vs. Yankees: Kevin Correia, McCutchen, Resop, Leroux, Igarashi, Watson, Slaten. But, first, one intrasquad game. The Bucs will break their Pirate City camp on Thursday and shift bases to McKechnie Field, where on Friday at noon their lone squad game will pit the Blacks against the Golds. Scheduled to pitch for the Golds are Gerrit Cole, Correia, Reyes, McCutchen, Moskos, Walker and Wood. The Blacks will have Jeff Karstens, Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, Hughes and Morris on the mound.
The Pirates' bunting tournament continues on Thursday with the Elite Eight, and the Final Four will be held Friday morning at McKechnie Field.Much of the fun of this second annual bunt-off was obviously dampened with Burnett's injury in Wednesday morning's Sweet 16 session. Kevin Correia, one of the No. 1 seeds, was ousted by Charlie Morton, The other No. 1 seed, Brad Lincoln, is still in play. The Bucs' first bunting tournament last spring was won by Joe Beimel, the left-handed reliever released by the club at the end of August. Daniel Cabrera was originally scheduled to take a turn in Friday's intrasquad game, but has been scratched with tightness in his right forearm. Cabrera is in camp as a non-roster invitee, after sitting out 2011 following Tommy John elbow surgery. Reliever Jason Grilli is now being represented by agent Gary Sheffield, who is intent on retracing Dave Stewart's transition from player to player agent. This is not a surprising development: Sheffield negotiated his own contracts near the end of his 22-year career. Grilli had a simple explanation for going with Sheffield: "I found him to be a tremendous teammate, someone I really respected." The two were teammates on the 2007-08 Detroit Tigers.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.