Jung ho Kang rebounds, Polanco stars as Pirates beat Twins


2. 4. 4. Final. 2

Jung ho Kang showed some much needed signs of life, and Jeff Locke rebounded somewhat from a previous shaky start as the Pirates outlasted the Twins 4-2 today in abbreviated Grapefruit League action.  The game was called in the eighth inning due to rain.

Kang was 1-for-3 with a triple, walk, and a run scored.  More importantly, he did not strike out and made very good contact on his outs as well.  It was a very encouraging day to say the least for the struggling utilityman.  Perhaps he was buoyed by Pirates GM Neal Huntington’s vote of confidence, as seen here:

It was a very productive day for Pirate bats all around, headlined by Gregory Polanco.  Polanco finished the day 2-for-4 with an impressive solo home run, and two runs scored.  Jaff Decker continued his excellent spring with a 1-for-3 day with an RBI.  Tony Sanchez rounded out the scoring, continuing his excellent spring with a 1-for-3 day of his own, with a solo home run and a walk.  

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Jeff Locke had a somewhat-encouraging start, going for 5.2 IP, but giving up eight hits and walking three.  Despite putitng Twins on base, he escaped the outing having only surrendered two earned runs.  He struck out two on the day.

The Pirates got to Twins’ starter Trevor May, to the tune of eight hits, and four earned runs in only 4.2 IP.  Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer each had an RBI for the Twinnies.

Antonio Bastardo chipped in, pitching a clean inning in relief.

What Stood Out:

Offense was the name of the game today, but not to be overlooked today was Locke, who rebounded from a horrendous start against the Astros.  He continues to make Clint Hurdle‘s decision for the last spot in the rotation a tough one.  While I would still give the edge to Worley, Locke continues to knock on the door.

I had mentioned a possible boost in confidence for Jung ho Kang, and his performance today could prove very vital as he looks for a strong finish to the spring.

What’s Next:

Charlie Morton will look to rebound from a bad start of his own as he opposes Randy Wolf and the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday at 1:07 PM EST at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.  In his last spring start, Morton went 4.1 innings, and gave up seven earned runs.  The Pirates have already announced their lineup for Saturday, and it is pictured below, again courtesy of Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review:

Next: Pirates bench picture clearer after latest round of transactions