Let me start by notifying any PETA representatives that stumbled across this that no actual animals were harmed, with the possible exception of whatever may have gone into the hot dogs they serve at the ballpark.
For the past several years, the Pirates tune up for their spring training schedule by playing Manatee Community College in an exhibition game. While the school that sits just down the road from the Pirates spring facilities has changed their name to something along the lines of the “State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota”, the fierce rivalry has not been lost. Last year they actually managed to beat a “Pirates” squad of minor leaguers, and it appears that this year they brought in the ringers to help assure victory: Steve Pearce and Brandon Moss were two representatives with some major league experience. John Van Every also came in off the bench (he has seen 31 plate appearances and 0.2 innings pitched for the Red Sox).
The Jason Bay trade contingent performed admirably, as Bryan Morris started off the game throwing a perfect inning with two strikeouts. The aforementioned Moss (who has been offensively meek in Pittsburgh) went 2-2 with a double, 2 runs and an RBI. Top prospect Pedro Alvarez went 3/4, also with a double, a run and an RBI.
For the Manatees, B.J. Zimmerman cranked a solo home run off Jeff Sues for their only run. They did manage a respectable eight hits and four walks (it’s good to see Pittsburgh’s pitchers still know how to walk batters, even throughout the farm system). Shortstop Nick Goody had a tough time in the field and committed three errors.
The game was only seven innings, I believe by design, and the final score was 6-1 for the Pirates. Nothing quite like a local state college beatdown to get spring training started off right.