Stolmy Pimentel struggles in first spring outing against Jays


In the wake of home runs by Pedro Alvarez and Jung-ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Stolmy Pimentel brought Buc Nation back to earth a bit in the bottom of the third inning Tuesday – turning in one inning and allowing three earned runs.

Last season, Pimentel walked 16 batters in 32 2/3 innings of work with Pittsburgh – a trend that dates back to his time in the Pirates’ farm system, as well. The right-hander allowed 19 earned runs on 34 hits in 2014 – leaving plenty to be desired heading into Spring Training this year.

He entered in relief of Bucs starter Casey Sadler, who turned in two scoreless frames against a potent Toronto Blue Jays offense to open Grapefruit League play, and things got worse before they got better for the 25-year-old.

Pimentel opened the frame with a walk to Maicer Izturis – which was followed by the Jays’ first offense on the afternoon – a two-run shot to left off the bat of Kevin Pillar, which cut the Pittsburgh lead to 6-2.

The pitch was down-and-in on the hands of Pillar, who drove the pitch right down the left field line – taking Pimentel deep on the first pitch he threw to the Toronto outfielder.

More from Rum Bunter

Dalton Pompey then grounded a single to right before Pimentel issued his second free pass of the inning – this time, allowing Jose Reyes to each, giving the Jays runners at first and second with no outs.

After a sacrifice fly allowed Pompey and Reyes to move up 90 feet, a Jose Bautista groundout gave Toronto its third run of the frame. A lengthy battle with slugger Edwin Encarnacion ended favorably for Pimentel, as he was able to get the Jays’ designated hitter swinging on a pitch low in the zone for the third and final out of the frame.

It wasn’t the start to the spring that the Pirates – or Pimentel – had hoped for. With multiple quality options vying for the final slots in the Pittsburgh bullpen, this righty will have to address his control issues and keep the ball in the ballpark if he wants a meaningful role with the big league club in 2015.

Next: Stormy Pimentel must step it up this season