Wandy Rodriguez felt fine and in a "good place" physically after his rehab start on Tuesday, Clint Hurdle said this afternoon.
He and Jason Grilli both threw bullpen sessions today. Hurdle did not have a report on how those sessions went.
Suspensions for Snider and Martin upheld
Major League Baseball upheld suspensions for both Travis Snider and Russell Martin today. I have more on the suspensions and their relationship to Brent Morel's promotion here. The short of it is that the Pirates will play the first two games of the series against right-handed starters, without a left-handed outfielder. Hurdle would not reveal whether the team found out about the suspensions before promoting Morel.
"I take full responsibility for my actions," Snider said today. "I do not think a two-game suspension is unfair."
Snider said that the reason he appealed was because he felt the punishments handed out to other players involved in the incident were not proportionate to their crimes.
"The reason I appealed my suspension was based on a comparison of the other fines that were handed out for other people involved," Snider said. "When you compare the number of punches thrown and using a helmet, it's kind of just unfair."
Marte to remain where he is ... for now
Hurdle said that he likes the lefty-righty-lefty combination that Marte provides in the fifth spot. As long as the team continues to get production from the top of the order, it seems likely he will stay where he is.
With Snider's suspension, Jose Tabata will bat leadoff and play right field tonight.
Hitting approach update
On April 9, we looked at the Pirates early season approach at the plate. At that point, an improved approach was noticeable. Then, a perfect storm of slumps ruined the Pirates' offense, and the team spun into a 4-15 slide. The offense and the team have slowly bounced back during the recent homestand.
It's been 30 days since the original post, so here is a quick update.
Hurdle emphasized three aspects of approach during the first homestand of the season:
- Plate discipline: i.e. not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.
- Hitting the curveball: Hurdle said they "lit up" the pitching machine during spring training, taking "more reps than we've ever done before; more swings than we've ever done before [against the curveball]."
- Driving the ball to all fields: a skill of added importance with more teams aggressively employing defensive shifts.
Plate Discipline update:
Apparently, when Michael Wacha pitches, Cardinals' fans like to chant "Wacha, Wacha" in a cadence similar to that of Fozzie Bear's catchphrase "Waka, Waka." I tell you this only so that you can enjoy this video in which Wacha uncomfortably participates in his own "Wacha, Wacha" impression.