Musgrove Makes Debut in Spring Training Tie

Pirates hit four more homers vs Rays

Jeff Hathhorn
March 15, 2019 - 10:11 pm

93.7 the Fan

BRADENTON, FL (93.7 the Fan) – Joe Musgrove made his Grapefruit League debut and the Pirates hit four more homers in a 6-6 tie with Tampa Bay Friday night.

Musgrove went four innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

“I felt really good getting some competition in an A game is nice,” Musgrove said.  “It’s a nice changeup after facing our guys for a couple of weeks.  I got to go out there and work on some of the things I got to work on the last couple of weeks in these sim games.”

“Nothing but good thoughts,” manager Clint Hurdle said.  “Pitch efficient, swing and miss, fastball had movement and life.  Change-up played with bottom, back-door cutters were an efficient pitch, he threw some breaking balls as well, a really solid outing.”

Musgrove said first and foremost he’s glad to be healthy, unlike last spring.  The righty said he would like to control the top of the zone better and clean up a few of the waste pitches, but overall he felt like he did a bunch of good things.

“It was exciting,” Musgrove said.  “It was the first time of the year.  Regardless of how many times you pitch in front of big stadiums or a bunch of people, there are always a little bit of butterflies and anxiousness to get out there.  It kind of showed in my first inning.  That’s why we have Spring Training, to get those little gitters out and the first time back out on the mound in a competitive situation, get that out of the way.  I felt really good about my last three (innings).”

Offensively, Starling Marte has now homered in back-to-back games and Friday night’s was a shot that left LECOM Park’s left field boundaries.

Francisco Cervelli and Josh Bell also hit their second homers of exhibition play while Jung-Ho Gung hit his team-leading 5th homer. As many as any player in MLB has hit this spring, in fact all of Kang’s hits have been homers and he joked all he wants now is a single or double.

“He’s getting to see pitches he hasn’t seen in a long time,” Hurdle said.  “He’s getting to see some that he hasn’t missed.”

Kang also made a couple of solid plays at third base and believes his health has contributed to better defensive play.

“I rely on these guys a lot to pick me up and make plays for me and he did exactly that tonight,” Musgrove said.  “That’s another threat and another weapon we have added to our team this year.”

“He’s moving very, very, very good,” Hurdle said.  “He’s putting a lot of work in defensively and understands the importance of that.  He wants to be a complete player.”

A day after Kevin Newman had three hits at short, his competition for the starting position, Erik Gonzalez, went 3 for 3 to raise his average to .214.

Bucs on Blass

The Pirates honored Steve Blass before Friday’s game for 60 years in the organization.  Owner Bob Nutting and team President Frank Coonelly presented Blass with a  couple of framed items.  The mayor of Bradenton proclaimed it “Steve Blass Day” and the team renamed the radio broadcast booth “The Steve Blass Radio Booth”.

“He’s done a ton,” Musgrove said.  “We sat in here the other day, and I knew his history here, but to hear him say it himself is a completely different story.  I mean I have goose bumps.  It was an honor to get to pitch on a night like tonight.”

“I don’t know if I can even understand everything he’s been a part of and everything he’s contributed to,” Hurdle said.  “I try to get these young pitchers to understand the magnitude of throwing two complete games in a World Series.” 

“This guy has been a pro.  Organizationally, he’s done so many things.  He’s been such a goodwill ambassador.  It was a very special night for him.  Most deserving.   Very well you will never see this again.  Sixty years with an organization, there is a very good chance you will never see it again.”

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