Diving into the depths: Pittsburgh Pirates

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Rotation
1. Paul Maholm
2. Ross Ohlendorf
3. Zach Duke
4. Charlie Morton
5. Kevin Hart
6. Daniel McCutchen
7. Brad Lincoln
8. Donnie Veal
9. Chris Jakubauskas
10. Jeff Karstens
11. Tim Alderson
12. Virgil Vasquez
13. Brian Burres
14. Brian Bass
15. Daniel Moskos
Hart will be the heavy favorite to hold off McCutchen for the last spot, but my guess is that he’ll finish the season in the pen. I see McCutchen as the superior option, and Lincoln, Veal and Alderson could all earn shots as the season progresses.
Bullpen
1. Octavio Dotel
2. Joel Hanrahan
3. Brendan Donnelly
4. Evan Meek
5. D.J. Carrasco
6. Javier Lopez
7. Steven Jackson
8. Jeff Karstens
9. Brian Bass
10. Donnie Veal
11. Vinnie Chulk
12. Jack Taschner
13. Chris Jakubauskas
14. Anthony Claggett
15. Daniel McCutchen
16. Wilfredo Ledezma
17. Brian Burres
18. Justin Thomas
19. Daniel Moskos
20. Ramon Aquero
Yeah, there’s going to be a lot to sort through here. Jose Ascanio, Neal Cotts, Craig Hansen and Tyler Yates will also be in camp with the Pirates, but none of them may be healthy enough to compete for a job in spring training.
Dotel, Donnelly and Carrasco should bring stability to the pen, though it still looks like a pretty weak group. I’m penciling Jackson into the last spot, even though he was recently bumped from the 40-man roster.


Catcher
1. Ryan Doumit
2. Jason Jaramillo
3. Luke Carlin
4. Hector Gimenez
First base
1. Jeff Clement
2. Garrett Jones
3. Steve Pearce
4. Brian Myrow
Second base
1. Akinori Iwamura
2. Delwyn Young
3. Ramon Vazquez
4. Bobby Crosby
5. Andy LaRoche
Third base
1. Andy LaRoche
2. Ramon Vazquez
3. Bobby Crosby
4. Neil Walker
5. Pedro Alvarez
Shortstop
1. Ronny Cedeno
2. Bobby Crosby
3. Ramon Vazquez
4. Argenis Diaz
Barring the late addition of Hank Blalock or another first baseman, it appears as though a starting job is Clement’s to lose. If he struggles in spring training, then the Pirates could go to Jones at first base and Ryan Church in right field.
LaRoche is listed on the second base depth chart since there’s been some talk of moving him there once Alvarez is ready. I don’t think it will happen, but it’s possible the Pirates will make the switch come August.
Left field
1. Lastings Milledge
2. Ryan Church
3. Delwyn Young
4. Brandon Moss
5. John Raynor
6. Brandon Jones
7. Jonathan Van Every
Center field
1. Andrew McCutchen
2. Jonathan Van Every
3. John Raynor
4. Lastings Milledge
5. Ryan Church
Right field
1. Garrett Jones
2. Ryan Church
3. Brandon Moss
4. Delwyn Young
5. Brandon Jones
6. Jonathan Van Every
With Church, Vazquez, Crosby and Jaramillo penciled into bench spots, there are just two openings on the Pirates, one of which will go to Clement unless he throws it away this spring. The other should go to an outfielder from the group of Young, Moss, Raynor, Jones and Van Every. Van Every’s chances would be helped a bunch if the Pirates don’t look at either Milledge or Church as a legitimate backup center fielder. Still, Young is probably the favorite.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.