The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 3, 2014

Alvarez, Martin hit two-run shots in Bucs’ win

BRADENTON, Fla. — Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin hit two-run homers off Brandon Workman, who started in place of injured Jake Peavy, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox 7-6 Monday.

Pittsburgh leadoff batter Starling Marte reached on an infield single in the first that stopped an 0-for-9 start, and Alvarez homered to right off Workman with two outs.

Marte singled in the third, and Martin followed with a drive to left, his second homer in two days.

Workman gave up five runs and five hits in 21⁄3 innings in place of Peavy, the right-handed hurler who accidentally cut his left index finger with a fishing knife last weekend.

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano struck out three and walked one in two hitless innings.

Mike Carp, trying to win a bench job with the Red Sox, hit a two-run homer against Bryan Morris in the eighth.

Starting time

Liriano zipped through his two innings on just 25 pitches. After giving way to Edinson Volquez, Liriano threw 10 more in the bullpen before calling it a day. “I felt a lot better about my fastball command today,” said Liriano, who’s made two starts. “The sinker was a lot better.”

Trainer’s room

Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez has not played since Friday, when he hurt his right knee while sliding into third base. Tests showed no structural damage, and Sanchez took some swings in a batting cage Monday.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said there was no change in the status of Peavy. “He’s going to be pretty much day to day,” Farrell said. “We’ve got to be careful how much he sweats and be cautious about any potential infection getting in there. That’s what we’re gauging everything by now.”

Taking the field

Travis Snider made his first start in the outfield this spring training. Snider had offseason foot surgery and sliced his left hand in a kitchen accident a few days before reporting to camp. He found out via Twitter about Peavy’s injury.

“I heard that I’m not the only guy who had issues with a knife this spring,” Snider said. “We’ve got to come up with some kind of glove or something. Freak things happen.”

Snider is battling Jose Tabata, Andrew Lambo and Jaff Decker for the starting job in right field. The Pirates hoped to make Snider their everyday right fielder last season, but he batted .215 in 111 games.

“It was good to get back out there and run around a little bit,” Snider said. “When you don’t play for a handful of months and then get back into it, there’s going to be adjustments to make. I feel good about the work I’ve already put in. I’ll play a few more games, get some more at-bats and we’ll see where we’re at.”

Call to the pen

Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa each pitched one scoreless inning. Earlier this spring training, Farrell planned not to use either reliever until about one-third of the way through the exhibition schedule.

“They’re going to have ample rest between their outings,” Farrell said. “We still target roughly seven outings in spring training for both of them, so we can use the schedule to our advantage.”

Farrell said Uehara is a different – and better – pitcher than he was when he first was in the majors as a starter in 2009 with the Baltimore Orioles.

“He always had the ability to strike people out,” Farrell said. “The deception and the split-finger were evident, even as a starter. But you always wondered how deep into a game could he maintain his stuff and continue to be effective. He’s obviously made a very seamless transition to the bullpen.”

Small role, big stats

Carp put up solid numbers last season in a limited role with the Red Sox, hitting .296 in 86 games with a .885 on-base plus slugging percentage. He batted .321 coming off the bench.

“His acceptance of the role can’t be overlooked,” Farrell said. “He has a very compact swing, a low-maintenance swing, so we felt he’d be equipped to handle inconsistent playing time.”

Farrell believes Carp also was aided by frequent conversations with outfielder Jonny Gomes.

“Our guys last year, their conversations around the game of baseball were so evident and so regular that they fed off one another,” he said. “And Mike Carp had a number of big games for us.”

 

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