FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata snapped an 0-for-13 streak with a first-inning single and added a second hit in the eighth inning on Saturday afternoon, lifting his Grapefruit League average to .288.
"He's still trying to stay on the ball, still trying to find his groove a little bit, and it should be a building block for him," said bench coach Jeff Banister, who served as the Pirates' acting manager after a 15-3 split-squad loss to the Twins. "So we'll see where that takes him tomorrow. We still got a few games to go left."
Despite a 10-0 hole after three innings and a 13-0 deficit after five, Pittsburgh's hitters remained aggressive, and solo home runs from Michael McKenry (eighth inning) and Matt Hague (ninth) gave the Bucs some late life.
Hague's homer, to left field on an 0-1 pitch from lefty Caleb Thiebar, was his second in as many days, giving him six on the Grapefruit League season. Hague, a 26-year-old first baseman who has some experience at third, would be in line to play in the Majors for the first time in his career if he breaks camp with the team.
"Hague again continues to collect hits and show the power that I think some people questioned coming into Spring Training, and it is what it is," Banister said. "It's Spring Training still, but he barreled some balls up and he looks nice at the plate right now."
Bedard gets work in, ready for Opening Day
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Erik Bedard did most of his work on the McKechnie Field mound, put in a little overtime in the bullpen, then declared himself ready for Opening Day -- happy to hear that wind is rarely a factor in PNC Park."No? Nice," Bedard said after going five inning against the Orioles in his final preseason start, a scoreless outing only interrupted by fourth-inning back-to-back homers, the second a high drive apparently helped over the wall by stiff winds that would eventually bring rain clouds. "They were both bombs," Bedard said. "but I just kept doing what you do in the spring, get the pitch count up and get ready for the season." The 79 pitches he needed to get through his five innings were not enough, so Bedard added 15 more on the side on his way into the clubhouse. Manager Clint Hurdle was particularly pleased with Bedard's overall effectiveness while pitching against the same team he had faced five days earlier. On Monday, he had given the Orioles two hits in six innings. On Saturday, he faced two batters over the minimum around the costly fourth. A lifelong American Leaguer, Bedard will be making his National League debut in his Opening Day assignment against the Phillies on Thursday.
Correia looks past subpar outing vs. Twins
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With a strong spring coming into Saturday afternoon's start and his 10th Major League season about to start, Pirates right-hander Kevin Correia didn't read much into his disappointing outing against the Twins.
Correia gave up 10 runs on 12 hits in 2 1/3 innings, with no walks or strikeouts in a 15-3 road loss to Minnesota. Six runs came home in the second, and four more crossed the plate in the third.
"You know, better now than in a week," Correia said. "Pretty much I felt fine out there. I'm not concerned with any of my pitches or anything. It was just one of those odd outings and I'm glad it was now."
Not knowing Minnesota's lineup was partly to blame, Correia said.
"I've never really pitched against the Twins, so we don't go over scouting reports and stuff like that," said Correia. "[We] just go out there and pitch."
The lone home run Correia allowed came off the bat of Ryan Doumit, Correia's teammate with the Pirates last season.
"[We] probably could've made a couple plays behind him to help him out in certain situations," said bench coach and acting manager Jeff Banister. "He continued to battle as the innings evolved. [I] sent him back out there and try to continue his pitch count to get him where we need to go. But you know, Correia will be fine."
The only Pirates pitcher who threw at least an inning and didn't allow a run Saturday was righty Matt McSwain. Daniel McCutchen, the first pitcher on in relief of Correia, let up three runs on a bases-clearing double by Joe Mauer in the third. McCutchen's given up 12 runs on 20 hits in 11 innings this Grapefruit League season.
"We're still evaluating and trying to put the bullpen together," Banister said of McCutchen. "[We] still [have] guys competing. You got to look back at his track record and what he's done, what he did for us, too. ... He didn't quite have an answer for them today."
With an average of 5,493 fans for their 15 dates at McKechnie Field, the Pirates just missed the club record in that department (5,500, set last year). Jose "Jumbo" Diaz, all 320 pounds of him, came within 90 feet of becoming the Pirates' only two-game winner of the spring, the tie with Baltimore ending with the winning run on third after Diaz had retired the side in order in the top. Diaz, who would be the heaviest player in Major League history, got enough invitations from the Bucs' Minor League camp to put in five scoreless appearances while holding foes to 1-for-14. Kevin Correia's rough outing in Saturday's split-squad game against the Twins in Fort Myers means half of the Pirates' season-opening rotation (he and James McDonald) gave up 20 runs and 19 hits in six innings of its final starts. Then again, both came against the Twins, who are still in the American League Central. Chris Leroux, who struck out two in a scoreless inning, was instructed a few days ago to trash his changeup and just be a power pitcher. In three outings since, he has logged three hitless innings with four strikeouts. With one day remaining among the palms, manager Clint Hurdle called the players in this camp "the hardest-working group I've ever had in Spring Training. The preparation is done. Now it's time to put it into practice. We need to take the field with a soldier's mentality."
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. Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.