© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

03/20/12 10:55 PM ET

Correia a strong contender for Bucs' opener

TAMPA, Fla. -- Do you put faith into common pitching rotations and common schedules? Then go ahead and pencil in Kevin Correia as the Pirates' Opening Day starter.

Correia will make his fourth Spring Training start at 1:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday -- a game airing on MLB.TV -- against the Red Sox and left-hander Jon Lester, who has already been given Boston's Opening Day assignment by manager Bobby Valentine.

The Red Sox open up on April 5 in Detroit.

On the same day, the Pirates will begin their season at PNC Park against the Phillies. Manager Clint Hurdle hasn't yet announced his choice.

Correia drew the Bucs' Opening Day nod last year and has made a compelling case for again deserving the honor. He takes nine scoreless innings into Wednesday's start, having allowed only three hits.

Stamina rising, Bedard sees progress

TAMPA, Fla. -- Erik Bedard's preseason goal is to build his stamina up to 100 pitches, so the left-hander is two-thirds of the way there. He threw 68 pitches during the first 3 2/3 innings of Tuesday night's 10-3 loss to the Yankees and thus considered the outing a typical Spring Training building block.

"I threw all my pitches and got the count up," Bedard said. "Until you get to 100, it's hard to say how the spring is going. If I get to between 90 and 100, it'll be good."

Bedard was working on a 70-pitch limit and reached 68 when he walked Curtis Granderson with two outs in the fourth -- the left-hander's third walk of the game. He also struck out three and allowed five hits and four runs -- two of them scoring after he'd departed.

With every outing, Bedard works on something specific to prepare for the opening bell. If pitching out of the stretch was on Tuesday's to-do list, the lefty got in plenty of work. He faced 19 men, 13 of whom batted with someone on base.

"I also have to work on my hitting," said Bedard, a lifelong American Leaguer who struck out looking against Michael Pineda in the second. "That was a dot. I barely saw it. Threw it right on the corner."

Worth noting

• Andrew McCutchen is batting .407 overall this spring -- but is 11-for-25 (.444) since signing his new long-term contract on March 5. He has homered in his last two games, but Hurdle sees no evidence of the overswing trap into which McCutchen would fall in the past. "Long line drives play," Hurdle said.

• You can't take anything away from this, except confirmation that different organizations have different philosophies and approaches: While No. 2 Pirates prospect Gerrit Cole is wrapping up his second week in the Pirates' Minor League camp, Trevor Bauer -- his former UCLA teammate, drafted by the D-backs No. 3 overall last June to Cole's No. 1 -- made his fourth Cactus League appearance on Tuesday by starting against the Giants. Bauer has worked a total of 10 innings and allowed four runs, with one walk and nine strikeouts. Both right-handers are 21 and made their pro debuts in the Arizona Fall League after signing too belatedly last summer to see any Minor League action.

• Despite Ryota Igarashi's rocky outing -- he allowed two runs in one inning -- Hurdle declared the righty "still in competition" for a bullpen spot. "We'll keep putting him out there -- he'll have ample opportunities," Hurdle said.

• Lefty Daniel Moskos added another inning to his scoreless spring, now at five appearances and six innings.

• Yamaico Navarro kept busy with a late-game appearance in right field. The versatile Navarro has played in 15 of the Bucs' 16 exhibition games.

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.